It’s officially summer break (with the exception of some leftover math and spelling lessons), and I’ll soon be sitting down to schedule and plan curriculum for the fall. I already have most of what we’ll need for next year, which is a wonderful feeling. Since I love reading about other people’s curriculum choices, I thought I’d write a post about our 2019-2020 choices for grades three and four. (Our kindergarten choices will be featured in a seperate post). I’ve decided to combine grades three and four into one post because there is so much overlap in subjects due to our method of education. So without further ado, here is what we’re using next year:
Our Morning Collective (or Morning Time) is our favourite time of day. We gather at the dining room table, often with steaming cups of tea and a large platter of finger foods, and we delve into beauty and truth. During this time, we’ll be using the following resources:
We would like to continue with the Hero Tales series by Dave and Neta Jackson; however, volumes II, III and IV are out of print and difficult to find. We have a couple of them in our local Charlotte Mason library, so I will be able to borrow a volume in the upcoming year (and hope that no one notices if I renew it for a few months in a row). These books are so inspiring.
I’ve been collecting scripture verses that I’d like the girls to memorize over the next year. However, I recently came across a set of 52 Bible verse coloring cards, which would be such a great way to work on weekly scripture memorization. I may invest in a set for each child.
Have you heard about the inductive Bible study series for kids published by Precept Ministries International? I’ve heard wonderful things, so I decided to invest in a few of the books, some extra Bibles for the girls to mark up, highlighters and Bible index tabs. I’m excited to dig deeper into God’s Word with my children this upcoming school year!
I was really excited when I spotted an inexpensive, used copy of Favorite Poems, Old and New, and immediately grabbed it to use during our morning poetry readings next year. The book contains 700 children’s poems by a variety of well-known and beloved poets. It’s such a wonderful resource!
We’ve recently begun to incorporate hymn study in our homeschool using two old hymn books (one from the 1800s!) and the Mr. Pipes series. The Mr. Pipes series aims “to rekindle a genuine interest in the traditional hymns of the faith” by presenting an engaging history of the hymns and their authors. Although written for middle school and high school students, my girls have been enjoying the books immensely. They are available at my Charlotte Mason group library, which is wonderful because I can borrow them as needed.
I’ll be putting a copy of each hymn that we study in their narration journals.
While at the KWCHEA 2019 Conference, I attended a session on how to incorporate art into your homeschool. After explaining the importance of picture study, the speaker took us step by step through the process using Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. One of the first things my girls and I did on the next school day? Picture study. They loved it.
I’ll be using public domain artwork for picture study next year. The speaker suggested printing copies at Staples, as it’s far cheaper than ordering pre-printed picture study packets. A copy of the artwork will be placed in their narration journals. Underneath the picture, I’ll write down their oral narrations about the piece, as we were shown to do at the conference. We started this practice last month and it has been a huge hit.
We’ve recently switched back to All About Spelling, and it is making such a difference. We’ll be wrapping up Level 3 over the summer months and starting Level 4 in the fall. The older two girls will use the same level.
This year, we’ve used Daily Grams for grammar practice. I copy the grammar work on the chalkboard and the girls edit/change sentences and answer questions with colourful chalk. They look forward to their grammar exercises and retain just as much as they’ve retained in the past using other, less enjoyable grammar programs. Since we purchased the book partway through this past year, we’ll continue with the Grade 3 level.
We’ll be continuing with weekly, timed, free-writing exercises. My daughters really enjoy these and I truly believe that they’re beneficial.
Both my grade 3 and grade 4 students will be working on grade 4 math using the Teaching Textbooks digital subscription service, as they are both working at the same level. We love this program. We do additional drills using the Ray’s Arithmetic series. We also play games to reinforce math facts.
This past year, we’ve used a combination of Raising Little Shoot’s Exploring Nature with Children program and TGTB’s Human Body unit. Each week, we met with several other families and held science classes together.
I’m not sure what form science class will take next year or if our co-op will continue. Just in case it doesn’t, I have two Apologia programs on hand: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (pictured) and Astronomy. I’ve tried these programs a couple of times in the past, but they seemed a bit too advanced for my girls. However, this might be the perfect year to pull them out again.
My girls have also requested that we redo our habitat studies, which might be an even better fit since my youngest is entering kindergarten and will participate in science class as well. As with Apologia, I have everything I need on hand, so I’m not required to invest anything other than time, regardless of what route we choose to take.
We’ll be restarting our four-year history cycle. Our core text will be Mystery of History: Creation to the Resurrection, which we used a few years ago. I’ve also amassed a number of supplemental materials, some of which are new (or new to us, at least) for this round of history and include the following:
- Aesop’s Fables for Children (purchased several years ago)
- Boy of the Pyramids by Ruth Fosdick Jones
- Cleopatra by Diane Stanley (available at the CM library)
- Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld (purchased several years ago)
- God King: A Story in the Days of Hezekiah by Joanne Williamson (available at the CM library)
- Hittite Warrior by Joanne Williamson
- The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
- The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
- The Imagination Station: Attack at the Arena by Marianne Hering (purchased several years ago)
- The Imagination Station: Secret of the Pyramids by Marianne Hering (purchased several years ago)
- The Imagination Station: Showdown with the Shepherd by Marianne Hering (purchased several years ago)
- Tirzah by Lucille Travis
- Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse
Reference and Activity Books
- 100 Facts: Ancient Rome by Miles Kelly (found in a discount bin)
- Ancient Egypt by George Hart (library discard)
- Ancient Greek Homes by Haydn Middleton (library discard)
- Ancient Rome by Philip Steele (library discard)
- City: A Story of Roman Planning and ConstructionCity: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay (available at the CM Library)
- Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster (available at the CM library)
- Egyptian Things to Make and Do by Emily Bone (used book sale)
- Famous Figures of Ancient Times by Cathy Diez-Luckie (purchased several years ago)
- History Through the Ages Historical Timeline Figures by Homeschool in the Woods (purchased several years ago)
- Life in Ancient China by Paul Challen (library discard)
- The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne (available at the CM library)
- Safari Ltd. Ancient Egypt Toob and Kinetic Sand (purchased several years ago)
- Silk Moth Life Cycle Set (for Mystery of History Lesson #18)
- Wooden blocks (to build the Great Wall) (purchased several years ago)
- Creatology Project Bricks (to build ancient cities) (purchased on clearance)
- Foam Head Models (to use with plaster/clay to create Roman-style sculptures)
- The Royal Ontario Museum (field trip)
To be honest, French is one of the the things I struggle to teach at home. For the past year and a half, a friend of mine has had us over for weekly conversational French lessons, which has been a lifesaver. We’ve also enrolled our children in French lessons with a local homeschool mom/French teacher, which has been beneficial. This year, in addition to outsourced lessons and oral practice at home, I’m likely going to try FrenchSmart 4 with the girls. This workbook is designed to align with Canadian curriculum and supplement classroom learning.
Y’all are going to have to pray for me because I’ve decided to teach my girls the recorder this year. I’m probably crazy (and if I’m not, I probably will be by the end of the year) but it’s the only instrument I know how to play. Their musical education is sorely lacking, and I figure this is better than nothing. Also, it’s an easy instrument to learn, so there’s that.
I’m not completely certain what we’ll do for art next year, but I do know that I will outsource the bulk of it. The girls’ French teacher also teaches art (it’s a combined French/art class) so I may enroll them in that again. We’ve also been quite impressed with the art lessons that my oldest daughter took at our local community centre. These lessons are quite inexpensive, which is an added bonus.
We keep a variety of building toys on hand for the winter months, which are always a huge hit. This year, I’ve also invested in a set of Smithsonian micro-science kits, which I purchased at a discount. We have some other neat science supplies on hand as well that I pull out periodically.
My next task is to work out our schedule. We’ve had a nice rhythm to our homeschool days this year, but next year’s workload will be slightly heavier. The good news is that I have all summer to plan.
If you’re a homeschooler, what is your year going to look like? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!