Friday, July 19, 2013

Goodbye 4th Grade!

Can't believe it! We have finished 4th grade! For you homeschool moms, you know what I mean. It is definitely a WE thing. The structured learning doesn't happen without learning on my part ... often we discover things together, sometimes I come to the learning moments with prior knowledge. Sometimes, I knew it at one time, but have to refresh my mind with relevant facts and stories. Not to mention the teachable moments where Google is a lifesaver! Regardless, 4th grade is a memory.

Oh, I'm showing my American-ness. I should be saying Grade 4! {grin} Before we forge ahead to Grade 5 and planning the learning adventures for next year, a recap.

Math: Books 3B, 4A, and 4B of Singapore Math are history. No, they are math. But not math Nathan will have to face again. A year and a half in 11 months. Nice job! The octopus was created while he was studying symmetry. 

Grammar: Charlotte Mason's Simply Grammar was the fare of this year ... slowly and deliberately. Today, as we were looking at his work from the year, Nathan said, "I love Grammar!" I taught him the beginnings of how to diagram sentences this year. Love. He is indeed my son!

Writing: Daily, weekly, some "published", some drafted, enjoyed and forgotten. The year began with a unit study on writing poetry. We worked on non-fiction writing that culminated in a 5 paragraph essay about the Battle of Bunker Hill. Fiction writing is an ongoing joint effort via email with a friend back in Colorado. Ask Nathan what a Wonkaluk is.

Reading: We didn't have any curriculum concerning reading or spelling. Nathan reads at least an hour, usually two or more, daily. And if he has seen it written, he can usually spell it. He has consumed The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, Eragon, Eldest, Brisinger and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, Esther Forbes' Johnny Tremain, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Lynne Reid Banks' The Indian in the Cupboard, and a never-ending list of library books. I say "consumed" because he is on his 18th read of The Hobbit, or something like that, and that is typical. He has read each of the above, with the exception of Johnny Tremain, multiple times, and often in a single day. "Consumed" yields the perfect image!

Science: In the fall, we completed two studies about trees. Both were Simple Schooling courses. The first titled "Tree-Leaf-Seed" and the second "Evergreen Trees." Apologia Astronomy has been our curriculum since Christmas. Nathan enjoyed the first half, but the repetition of the exercises got a little old after a while. However, he did create an amazing Astronomy game called "Race through the Solar System" that contains a review of facts from each chapter. If you're using this curriculum, I would highly recommend this activity when it gets a little dry during the last few chapters.

World History: Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times took us on a tour of world history from the nomadic people in the fertile crescent through the end of the Roman empire. Great activities this year included adventures in the catacombs with the early Christians, creating sand paintings like the early South Americans, and making a miniature model fasces when studying the rise of Rome. And who knew that Attila the Hun died of a nose bleed!

US History: We began in the colonies, complete with a model of Jamestown made with salt clay, sticks, paint and popsicle sticks. The adventure continued through a week study of the French and Indian War, and culminated with the colonial victory at Yorktown to conclude the Revolutionary War. In November, we also took a week to study the presidential election process and track the election in its final days. Nathan says that this subject was his favorite for the year.

Brazil: Nathan wanted to study Brazil this year, so we did! Ahh, the beauty of homeschool. We took more of a student-led approach, which meant much more reading, fewer deliverables. But one of the greatest art projects of the year was a wire model of Pele.

Herb Study: Herb Fairies gave us hours of reading and exploring herbs and their medicinal uses. Highly recommend, if you're asking! Eight more months of online curriculum to go.

Century Book: Another of Charlotte Mason's, the Century Book has grown with times and dates from each subject area. Over and over, we gasp and say, "I didn't know those things were happening at the same time!" Highly recommend, for all you homeschool families. We made our own. If you want the templates for the pages, just comment below and let me know.

Art: Thank you, Sarah, for helping Nathan create such a beautiful copy of Van Gogh's Starry Night. It was a perfect Father's Day present for Dad. His days at Boulder Explore were filled with a variety of art mediums including paint, pottery, chalk, pencil, etc. as they studied the great artists. Thank you to others for filling in where I'm very weak!

Boulder Explore: While we were living in Colorado, Nathan attended Boulder Explore every Tuesday. If you live in the area and are looking for an amazing one-day program, check it out. It is free through Boulder Valley School District.

Music: Another year of piano lessons dwindled as we moved to Canada. We'll be picking up where we left off once we start the new school year. Nathan has a keen ear, and has written several songs to go with words found in books he's reading, including his own version of the dwarves' song in The Hobbit.  He not only composed them in his head, but wrote them down to remember forever.

Well, that's about it ... the year in a nutshell. Hope you have all spent the year filling your brains to the brim, too.


  1. What a great school year you both had! I think I need to learn how to diagram a sentence!

    1. Thanks Renee! Always learning new things from you at FIMBY! Looking forward to tracking your trek on the AT next year.