What Are We Covering for Grade 4 and Grade 6 in our Homeschool This Fall?

We’re way overdue for a general post about what we are/will  be covering this fall.   Some things we cover together and other subjects the kids work on their own, at their own pace. I put the kids “grade level” in the title of the post, but remember that as homeschoolers that doesn’t mean terribly much. We work at whatever level and at whatever pace the kids need it. Sometimes that means slowing down and spending more time on one subject or another. Sometimes we fly through things.

We consider ourselves “eclectic” homeschoolers. That is, we use a smattering of curriculums, books and other resources and borrow from different philosophies of education. And I’m terribly guilty of buying lots of different curriculums and picking and choosing bits from each (you’ll see that especially in math below!!).  Luckily we have an amazing local library and borrow heavily from there! :)

History and Science: We tend to do these units together (including my youngest who is now Grade 1)

We have started with two units:

*Civics/Geography — By civics I mean how our government works and some basic information about our national and state governments. I may even throw some basics about economics in there.

*Native Americans — We are going to spend time on at least a half-dozen different tribes and their histories.  We have started with some of the tribes of the Northeast and will move on to the Southeast, Midwest and western regions.

Then we’ll slowly move on to other units:

*Earth Science — It has been a number of years since we covered Earth Science. ED definitely needs to cover this material as she was 2 when we covered it last time!  LD and DD said they both feel like they need to review the material (and go into more depth, says Mom!!). So this will be another unit we do together.

*Cells (Animals vs. Plants), tissues, organs and more study of the human body systems.

We also have some engineering units I’d like to get to from Engineering is Elemental (see this post about some of their free engineering units). I’d also like to go over the biomes/habitats with ED (and maybe the others as well). We’ll see when/if that fits in!!

This will most likely bring us to the end of the semester, but if it doesn’t we’ll be starting an in-depth unit on the Middle Ages for history and also need to go into more depth with astronomy (we have the Astronomy book from Real Science 4 Kids that I’d like to cover with the older two).

Math: 

Grade 4: DD is currently polishing up basic arithmetic facts and will be moving on to fractions.  We still use Spectrum Math (she is using the Grade 5 workbook) and she started Math Reasoning (Level F by the Critical Thinking Company) this year.  She’s also using Challenge Math for the Primary Grades with me.  These are some of the math books we are using (gosh, that’s a lot!!)… but we obviously don’t use all the books every day. In fact, we still just keep the Beast Academy comic-style books lying around to be read whenever it appeals.

Grade4-MathBooks

 Since I mentioned Beast Academy…. Here’s what I wrote about those books last year:

DD really is enjoying the problems from this book. She is also reading through Beast Academy (3A). (It has just been lying around on the kitchen table and they pick it up to read whenever they want. The kids enjoy the comic style.) I asked DD if she would recommend it to other kids.  She said, “Well, yeah… and then she launched into a five minute explanation about the comic books… whenever this blue guy pops up… he’s a evil bad guy and you have to figure out these math problems to try and stop him…”  So, there you go!

Grade 6: LD is polishing up his work on fractions, decimals and percents again using Spectrum Math and a PreAlgebra workbook by Kelly Wingate. LD  is using Math Reasoning (Level G) for daily practice.  And, he and I spend time together working through the Art of Problem Solving PreAlgebra.  He also is using the free Khan Academy’s PreAlgebra videos.  Here are some of his books this year (I couldn’t get the Math Reasoning picture into my collage, though):

Grade6-HomeschoolMath

Language Arts:

Grammar: At the moment we’re using Editor in Chief.  In these books, the kids have to read through a paragraph, find the errors and correct them. I’ll be making some new worksheets for them soon… For example, we really need another refresher on there, their, they’re worksheet (click here for the previous one). You can view all of our free grammar worksheets by clicking on the language arts category (or this link).

Editor2

We are also going over basic grammar terms because of we need it for German this year. We’ve been reviewing all the basic terms — noun, verb, subject, predicate, pronouns, prepositions, direct object, indirect object and so forth. That usually happens without a formal book (actually, just on an index card where I’ve written out a sentence and ask them to identify the… object of the preposition… or whatever).

Reading: This year the kids have both independent reading, 30+ mins (their choice, but it has to be Mom-approved)   and literature reading – 45 mins (their choice from pre-selected books I’ve recommended). Science and/or history reading, 30 mins.  We read a lot in our family so these are more guidelines than strict rules.

Spelling: We are going to go through the lessons in All About Spelling books 5 and 6 at some point, but this fall we started using spelling lists. We got a subscription to Spelling City (because the kids like some of the games and options in their membership area) and the kids are working independently on the lists I’ve uploaded for them.  We’re using the Grade 4 and Grade 6 spelling lists put together by HomeSpelling. I needed spelling to be something the kids could work on independently this fall, so this is working well for us. (This doesn’t work as well for ED, though, who is working with me using All About Spelling).

Writing: We started back with a formal writing workshop this year.  We love it!! I plan to write up several posts about the books we’ve read together and some of the lessons we’ve done.  If you are curious about how and why we started using a homeschool writing workshop approach, you might be interested in our series of posts… Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop… or you might be interested in these posts…

Practical Pointers for Working with a Reluctant Writer (or any writer!) – The writing workshop model has been working well for us — especially for my reluctant writer. I wanted to share some things we’ve learned about making writing time a success (actually for all of us, not just for my reluctant writer!)

How Do I Help the Kids Start Writing? 5 Lesson Ideas:

        1. What makes a good book or story?
        2. Make your story come alive with details and description.
        3. Creating Interesting Characters
        4. Story Openings: Set the mood or feeling of your story
        5. Gathering story ideas from your own life: Exploring Memories

  At any rate, I’ll be writing much more about the writing portion of our day in the near future!!

German: The kids do German twice a day. They do some conversation practice with me and at a different point they have been working on vocabulary and grammar using Practice Makes Perfect Complete German Grammar. We are going through it very, very slowly, but it is working well for LD and DD.  (ED is still using some free German grammar worksheets and some worksheet packets that I made up for her.) We’ll also start using Bobo Siebenschläfer  again (we bought the book and CD) and another book, Floppy Das Monster Ist Fast Auf Immer Verloren. (Just so you know, the price is 3x more than it was this summer. You might check to see if your local library has it.)

GermanBooksForKidsLearningGerman

The other subjects the kids do most days include

  • typing practice
  • piano practice
  • handwriting practice (we needed to bring this back because the kids have gotten into some sloppy writing habits)
  • chore for the family (that’s also on their daily to-do list!)
  • LD cooks dinner for us one night each week (with detailed written instructions and times from me)

And one last comment before I go… what I *want* us to cover on a daily (weekly, monthly and yearly) basis and what *really* gets covered are two different things… but that’s the topic for another post!!! :)

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