Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fourth Grade Summary

checking out the baby turtles at Sunshine's fiddle teacher's house

I started writing a post describing what we're doing for 5th grade this year, and then I realized I never recapped 4th grade. Our summer has been so busy that I haven't done as much posting as usual and I completely spaced it. And then I looked back through the archives and couldn't find the post talking about our plan for 4th grade, either. Guess some things just get lost along the way when you have a newborn :)

4th Grade Subjects

History & Geography
We finished the fourth book in the Story of the World series. The workbook included outlines to be filled in along with the maps, and while I liked the outlines, Sunshine did not. She was starting to dread history, which has always been one of her favorite subjects, so we dropped the outlines and had a much less stressful year. We also continued attending our history club and had a great field trip to Historic Jamestowne (though I don't think I did a post about that, either). We had a fantastic guide who was very knowledgeable.

Sunshine's main math curriculum is CTC Math, which we started using in third grade. It's continuing to work pretty well for her (she doesn't love the subject, so she doesn't love CTC Math, but she is doing pretty well with it). She also finished the intermediate math Life of Fred books (Kidneys,  Liver, and Mineshaft). I finally found a Zillio mountain (I saw it reviewed years ago here, but they're no longer made and very hard to find) on eBay, but I haven't had a chance to figure out how to use it yet. We'll figure it out in 5th grade....

We started using Song School Latin 1 at the very end of 3rd grade and continued using it in 4th grade. We finished it and started Song School Latin 2. Song School Latin is much more interesting and engaging than Prima Latina, which was quite dry. This morning I was thinking about my high school Latin experience: I couldn't keep tenses straight and always translated everything in present tense. Despite that, my grasp of vocabulary was very good and has been useful many times over the years. Latin grammar would not have been nearly as useful as being able to figure out the meaning of words based on their Latin roots. This thought helped me solidify my goal for the kiddos in learning Latin (and Greek, which Sunshine wants to learn next): it's all about vocabulary. So many of the words we use on a daily basis have Latin and Greek roots, and even if you don't know what a particular word means, if you know the root you can figure it out.

Sunshine learned cursive in 3rd grade, but her handwriting is still pretty messy, so she had copywork to help improve her printing and cursive. I wrote out scripture mastery verses, each one printed twice  and in cursive twice. It was a bit labor intensive on my part, but it was fairly effective. Her handwriting improved a bit and she started learning scripture mastery verses. Only they're not using them anymore- now it's doctrinal mastery. I'm curious to find out the difference when she starts seminary in 9th grade.

We used with some success. Sunshine liked the games, but she didn't always score well on the tests and I didn't enjoy typing up lists for her to work from. It worked, but neither of us loved it, so when our subscription ended I didn't renew it.

We used DiscoveryEducation again, though when the subscription expired I didn't renew this one either. I like the site and Sunshine likes the content, but we've had a hard time integrating it into our schedule. No sense paying for something if we're not actually using it. We may come back to it in the future though, since it is a really good resource. Sunshine also watched videos on the FreeSchool Youtube channel.  

Sunshine did lots of reading for school- history, handwriting, etc, but she also did a lot of reading for fun. She was very excited for the most recent installments in the Penderwicks and Mother Daughter Book Club series, and loves all the Percy Jackson books, including the associated newer series.

We did a few projects, though still not as many as I'd like. Finding the time to pull out materials, make a mess, and get it all cleaned up again before the boys wake up and get into the materials is difficult.

We did a couple projects, but again, not as many as I'd like. So much to do, so little time.

We worked on a couple specific recipes and Sunshine has started taking more responsibility for her own breakfast and lunch (i.e., she usually makes them herself).

This has dropped by the wayside. Sunshine's not interested in it, so as much as Mr M and I want our kids to learn Japanese, we'll hold off for a bit and come back to it in a couple years.

Mr M was going to help with this using this book, but we never figured out a consistent time for it to happen, so for the most part, it didn't happen. Computers aren't really my thing, so I didn't work with her on it either. We still want to use the book, so it's staying on the list for 5th grade.

Sunshine continued with her fiddle lessons and is playing very well. She took a break from the Irish music school fall semester because we needed a little more freedom in our schedule as we adjusted to the addition of Ocean to our family, but she played with them winter semester. She doesn't enjoy performing in front of people, but she does play well.

Sunshine didn't do soccer or dance in 4th grade, and it was nice not to feel harried and over scheduled. She did spend more time in unstructured play outside, and she walked a couple road races.  We didn't attend many park days because Sunshine's fiddle lesson time slot is late enough that it's been a struggle to get the boys down for naps early enough, and I do not wake sleeping babies, even if it's to go play at the park. She does like riding her bike in our driveway.


We have to submit proof of progress at the end of each school year and we've opted for an evaluation by someone with an advanced degree in an education-related field (i.e., a friend and local homeschool mom). This year I also had Sunshine take the CAT test. We didn't submit the results, but I wanted her to start getting used to the idea of taking standardized tests and learn how to take them. The version we used was an online version and easy to use. The results were interesting.

She didn't do well on the math portion, but part of that was because she got upset about something right before she started that section. Frame of mind really makes a difference, especially when it comes to Sunshine and math. The rest of the test she scored above grade level, and one section in particular she scored very high on. It was enlightening and encouraging. We didn't do much with grammar this year, but she scored above grade level on the grammar section, so she's obviously picked up enough along the way. I credit all the reading she does.

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