Homeschool Year in Review (Grades 2 and 4)
This is such a fun post to write! This is where I get to reminisce and think about the amazing year we’ve had. It has been a blast… tiring at times (particularly in February when LD had a lot of out-of-town gymnastics meets, I had lots of meetings and was training for a half-marathon). But looking back, we had a fulfilling, successful year.
We do a lot of our activities together, so you’ll see a lot of crossover between the preschool year in review and this one.
I’ll start with what we call collection… the hands-on activities we do in science and history (and other subjects like music, art, etc.) This year I made lots and lots of packets and worksheets to go along with the units we covered. You could probably spend an hour scrolling through the posts that have free materials I made for the kids! The kids LOVE pouring through their history and science notebooks to check out the activities we’ve done (we often do lapbook type foldables, but we now glue them onto construction paper and add them to our 3-ringed binders).
Some of the science units she did this year included:
- Invertebrates —Mealworms While I talked about living and non-living with my youngest daughter, I had the older kids do some observation and writing and we went over the various systems of the worm. You can download our observation sheets by visiting the mealworm post.
- From there we went on to talk about vertebrates (particularly with my youngest). The older kids did a lot of independent work on animals using materials from Erica over at Confessions of a homeschooler. (Note: You might also be interested in the Animal Unit Packet I made for ED a couple years after this post.
- Chemistry Unit: We started with the States of Matter. We used resources from States of Matter Teacher’s Guide by Molecularium and some of the books suggested in the NOEO curriculum. We did a few activities about molecule movement, water molecules, acids and bases, building molecules, and more etc.
chemistry review worksheet on the states of matter, atoms and molecules:
For more on our chemistry unit see these pages: Chemistry Unit
- Rocks and Minerals: I mentioned this unit yesterday. We did lots of hands-on activities everything from panning for gems to growing crystals to exploring the properties of rocks…
- Human Body, Digestive System (she participated in all of our hands-on activities): Again, ED was right in with us for all the hands-on activities we did in this unit…. like learning about the different jobs our teeth have, how swallowing really works, the true length of the digestive system (below). I made lots of notebook pages as we worked through this unit.
History/Geography: This year we had an amazing year studying about Africa.
- We started with the basic facts about Africa, studied Ancient Egypt. The kids loved learning about all the gods and goddesses.
- North Africa — We talked a lot about the spread of Islam across North Africa (and later into West Africa).
- Islam After we spent a week or two reading children’s books about Islam and the different holidays and learning a few facts about their religion we visited a local mosque. Despite the negative comments a couple people left on the blog, I felt it was really important that the kids get to know a bit about a religion different from our own. (On that same note, we also learned a bit about Catholicism and the Pope when the new Pope was elected.)
- West Africa — history, art, music, games, culture, modern life. The kids were fascinated by the history of Mali (Sundiata and Mansa Musa).
- Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade — We read an amazing novel about Equiano called the Kidnapped Prince. It was really powerful.
- East Africa — history of the region, modern East Africa
- We never had a chance to study South Africa, though Hubby’s family lived there years ago.
- Here are the questions I consider.
- This post looks a back at our school year. I talk about what went well and what could use some improvement.
- Yesterday’s post talked about how I assess our homeschooling philosophy: Am I happy with *how* we are homeschooling? I talked a lot about the books I’ve read that helped us find the homeschool style that works for us.
- I went into quite some deatil about our long-term goals for homeschooling at this post.
- 10 Steps to Take When Planning for a New School Year
Similar to #3 above, you might also be interested in a more recent post that talks about some of the homeschool methods that people use and how we incorporate these philosophies and methods into our homeschool: