Here's an overview of what our year of 4th grade homeschooling (age 9-10) was like. Our learning continued on a schedule that was mainly student-led.
This year was full of lots of changes in our family life as we set up a new larger homestead and took on the challenges of moving, temporary housing, and additional animal chores.
We managed to keep on homeschooling smoothly through all of the transitions thanks to our established student-led style. Remember we first switched to workbooks and more autonomy in first grade, and her time management skills continue to improve with practice.
My fourth grader continued enjoying the more independent style of learning using workbooks and studying at her own pace. Since we were moving around back and forth with temporary housing and remodeling, it was easy for her to pack her bag of workbooks and keep herself busy.
I still did science experiments and art lessons with her, but those sometimes had to be delayed until we were with the supplies. She also needed someone to read her spelling words to her when she had quizzes, but that did not have to be me.
Most nights I would finally sit down exhausted and face a pile of workbooks to check before I could go to bed. This was the first year I struggled a little more to check the math. It's hard to do long division when you are tired! I am ordering the answer keys for next year.
Again, I gave her more autonomy about setting her own schedule and how many workbooks per month. The only problem we ran into was that she miscalculated social studies. She thought there were 6 books, but there were 10, so she ended up finishing those by working into the summer.
Her interest in using a planner book to help schedule herself continued this year. She did an excellent job keeping track of which lessons she wanted to do when and tracking that they were completed.
In loosely keeping with Waldorf Essentials for fourth grade, she read Norse Mythology (specifically The D'Aulaires Book of Norse Myths) and studied local history. She was surprised at how much she enjoyed a local history tour driving around with her grandmother to see family landmarks and hear about when she was growing up.
In our science program, she studied geology, electricity, and environments. She especially liked learning how to light a light bulb and build a telegraph machine.
For physical education, she finally learned how to swim using a neighbor's pool. We also continued the Harcourt Health and Fitness series we'd used before.
Her workbooks were language arts, mathematics, social studies, music, and Bible from Christian Light Publications. She studied of grammar and vocabulary in language arts, and studied comprehension and reading strategies in science. She also had a 6 trait daily writing exercise book to strengthen her writing skills.
We really enjoyed listening to the All-of-a-Kind Family audio book series. It's about a family of girls growing up as an immigrant family in New York with lots of comical situations. It fit just right after studying Jewish culture in third grade.
For music, she did some ukulele lessons, but it became a problem with leaving the instrument out and not putting it away, so I had to take it away.
For art, she learned about sculpture and tried some on her own from various materials, including balloon sculpture.
For science, we studied soils, rocks, and land formations. She got to compare the soils at our old and new houses. The most exciting part was a lesson on cement that we were able to connect to having a cement mixer come as part of our rennovation work.
In language arts, she worked on learning the different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives. Have you ever heard of diagramming sentences? I'd never seen it before, but it's in the Christian Light Education workbooks, and she enjoys it.
In social studies, she learned about world geography and comparing climates.
For math, she learned more about working with fractions and decimals.
We had our first homeschool portfolio review in a different county. Again it was in early November! We still had plenty of work to show, and the review process went very well. I think having a balloon sculpture animal to share helped, too!
Our science studies moved into electricity, which also tied in nicely with a Junior Girl Scout Journey. For the Take Action Project, they wrote an article about light pollution and had it published in a local newsletter.
The electrical studies were useful with holiday lights, and I believe it also really helped us with upgrading our electrical fencing system later as spring approached. She understood how circuits and grounding work.
In social studies, she did an overview of each continent.
In science, she learned about environments and food webs. We learned about Mono Lake and hatched some brine shrimp. Of course we were also hatching quail and chickens.
In language arts, she studied some poetry and went through the writing process of making a rough draft, proofreading and editing, and then making a final copy.
In math, she did lowest common multiple, order of operations, and calculating an average.
Art lessons took a bit of a break as we were moving supplies, but she was able to do several projects at an Earth Day event.
She got some phys ed through Girl Scouts with hiking, camping, and earning the horseback riding badge.
We always do the summer reading programs through the library, and attended several special events. Our favorite audiobook this summer was The Ogress and the Orphans. Great storyline!
We continued our yearly tradition of looking back over what she learned in fourth grade homeschooling, what she wanted to do this summer, and what she wants to learn in fifth grade.
I am very happy with how much progress she made this year. I'm sure her schooling would have suffered a lot more with the extended moving and temporary housing if we had not already been into homeschooling and established routines.