What fourth grade looks like at our house

Homeschooling at ButterscotchSundae.comWe have two primary goals this year for Poppy: improved reading comprehension and becoming more independent with her schoolwork.

Poppy reads really, really quickly, but that isn’t always a great thing. For one thing, it means it doesn’t make much sense to buy books. She zooms through them so quickly that it doesn’t really feel like she’s getting her money’s worth. (I speak from experience, because I am the same way.) More important, though, is that she reads so quickly that she doesn’t always absorb what she’s reading. (I’m guilty of the same.) So this year we’re going to be emphasizing reading comprehension, which is why the Language Arts section further down this page is, shall we say, robust.

On the independence front, I want her to be able to self-motivate her way through her day. Obviously that’s not entirely possible for the subjects that she and Pete are doing together, but she could definitely do it on a lot of other stuff.

Without further ado, here’s what Poppy is doing for fourth grade.

Social Studies

Story of the World: Volume 3

We’ve returned to SOTW after a brief dalliance with another publisher. The kids enjoy it, and they’ve retained information from it. As always, I’m going to try to do more of the crafts and activities this year.

Math

McRuffy Math 3 and 4

Poppy is on track to finish her third grade math book by Christmas. She’ll start on the fourth grade book when we start up again after the holidays. I’m not sure how she ended up on this schedule in math. I’d like to get back on a book-a-year schedule, but it’s really not that big of a deal.

Language Arts

“Growing with Grammar”

This is the one thing that Poppy consistently does with very little help from me. The text is very straightforward, and the workbook instructions are usually clear. It might not be the most exciting grammar text (ha!), but it’s doing the trick.

Michael Clay Thompson’s Language Arts curriculum

I mentioned in the Pete post that this was our first year with MCT. We’ve read a little bit of the first book every day this week, and so far the kids like it.

“Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter”

The woman who proctored Poppy’s standardized test last year suggested this one, and it’s pretty much exactly what the titles says it is. Short bits of text and a page or two of questions. She’s midway through the level she started last year, and I have the next level on deck for when she finishes.

Literature

Over the summer I made a list of books I wanted Poppy to read this year, and I’d planned to cobble together a few worksheets for her to fill out on each title. Imagine my delight when I found that Reed Novel Studies had a full curriculum written for most of the books on my list! I bought the study for “The Borrowers” first, and I liked the looks of it so much that I revised my reading list.

Science

Nancy Larson Science 1

OK, so the Nancy Larson website recommends this for kids ages 5 to 8. Poppy just turned 9, and even last year I think it would’ve been on the simple side for her. That said, we’re going to use it anyway, for both kids.

Handwriting

McRuffy

Phys Ed

Tae kwon do

We were gone a lot this summer, so Poppy is still working to learn her green belt techniques. She does class twice a week. She could take a third or even a fourth class every week, but so far this year she hasn’t been motivated to do so.

Soccer

Poppy is playing in a new soccer league this year, and she has practice twice a week. She started this week, and she was surprised to learn that practice was an hour and a half long. “Really?” she said. “It felt like twenty minutes!”

Art

“Creating Masterpieces Like the Modern Masters”

Poppy has always enjoyed making art, and I have never enjoyed the mess that art projects leave behind. So we’re fortunate to have a great local artist who teaches kids’ classes.

About that independent-learning thing: I don’t know exactly how I’m going to accomplish that goal. It’s on my mind, though, so please leave me your sage advice!

What first grade looks like in our house, version Pete.0

Pete started first grade yesterday! If some of the titles sound familiar, it’s because we’re using a lot of the same publishers as we did last year. We seem to have hit on a good combination of curricula for our needs.

Social Studies

Story of the World: Volume 3

This year I decided to spare my voice a little and buy the book on audio. Turns out that was a great decision. I put the first chapter on Pete’s iPod, and he’s listened to it about 10 times since yesterday. I’m hoping that trend continues.

Math

McRuffy Math 1

Pete got about halfway through McRuffy’s first-grade math book last year, so we’re picking up right where we left off.

Teaching Textbooks: Math 3

He wants to try Teaching Textbooks this year, too. I’m going to let him play around with it, but we’ll discontinue it if he starts to get frustrated.

Language Arts

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 2

One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to cater the curriculum to the child’s learning preferences. Poppy used “First Language Lessons: Level 1″ when she was younger, and she hated it. I still had the book when it was Pete’s turn to start grammar, so we tried it out. It was a really great fit for him, and we finished Level 1 last year.

Michael Clay Thompson’s Language Arts curriculum

I’ve been looking at Michael Clay Thompson’s books since we started homeschooling, but I’ve always ruled them out for being too expensive. This summer, though, I found a pretty good deal on them on eBay and decided we’d try them out. We just started the first book today; I’ll give you an update on how it’s going later this year.

Science

Nancy Larson Science 1

I think I bought this last year, and we still haven’t finished it. Resident science guy Rockford is supposed to lead our science lessons this year; hopefully we’ll make it all the way through this year.

Handwriting

McRuffy and “Star Wars Writing Skills

Phys Ed

Tae kwon do

Pete is starting the school year as a yellow belt. He isn’t very passionate about TKD, but he’s plugging away at it. Mostly because I told him he can’t quit.

Soccer

This will be Pete’s first season of soccer with a mid-week practice! He’s hit the big time.

Art

Class with a local artist

Yes, it’s the same place as last time. I’ve talked to the instructor, and we’re going to take it on a week-by-week basis.

A menu plan for our first week of school

Poppy turned 9 on Friday, and we spent eight hours at a water park. I got my feet tangled in my purse and fell out of the car onto the sidewalk, and I got my first legitimate hug from my 11-month-old nephew. Take the good, take the bad, take it all and there you have an overall pretty great weekend. (Water park fun + baby hugs > dinged-up knees.)

Monday: Breakfast for dinner
It’s been too long since I’ve microwaved veggie sausages.

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken
I forgot to thaw the chicken for last week’s stir fry. Hopefully I’ll remember this week.

Wednesday: Hanburgers
It’s Pete’s Choice this week. He usually asks for cheeseburgers, but this week he requested the “Star Wars” version. Complete with Jabba Jiggle Jell-O.

Thursday: Poppyseed Chicken
We enjoyed this so much the last time I made it that I set it to repeat on my calendar. I’m looking forward to Thursday.

Friday: ???
We’ve been trying to get to my in-laws’ house for the last several Fridays for dinner, but the fates have not been in our favor. Maybe this week no one will be ill or otherwise indisposed.

Today was our first day of school. Poppy started fourth grade, and Pete started first. Our co-op, which hasn’t started yet, meets on Mondays, so Monday is our lightest day of at-home assignments. Which means the kids were finished with their first day of school by 10:15 this morning. Now they’re playing video games, and we’re going to the playground after I hit the “publish” button here. Not a bad way to start the year.

What’re you up to this week?

I’m linking this up with OrgJunkie.com’s weekly Menu Plan Monday thing.

I’m slightly sleep-deprived, and that’s no state in which to write a sensical post title

Poppy wanted a slumber party this year for her birthday, so we had eight little girls in our house on Saturday night. It went swimmingly, they had a great time, and I am still tired. One week from today, we’ll be starting the school year. So we’re taking it super, super easy this week. My calendar looks, for the most part, like a field of freshly fallen snow.

Monday: Tacos
Rockford wanted Crunchwraps. We compromised.

Tuesday: Cheeseburgers
We never had Pete’s cheeseburgers last week, so we’re having them tomorrow instead.

Wednesday: Fish sticks
And this week it’s Poppy’s Choice, so we’re having fish sticks.

Thursday: Kung pao chicken
This was the rest of the Crunchwrap Compromise

Friday: Poppy’s birthday!
I’m not sure what we’re having yet.

I’m linking this up with OrgJunkie.com’s weekly Menu Plan Monday thing.

Return to the Planet of the Homebody

We drove more than 5,000 over a nine-week period between May and July. We visited family, played at Disney World, celebrated a life well-lived and spent time with friends we hadn’t seen in a decade. It’s been an exhausting and wonderful summer. I’m so grateful and glad that we were able to do so much, and I’m equally grateful and glad to be back home and sleeping in my own bed and making my own meals.

Monday: BLAs
That’s a bacon, lettuce and avocado sandwich. Nothing blah about that.

Tuesday: Chicken sausages and mac & cheese
Easy, and it makes everyone in the house happy.

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers
Because it’s Pete’s Choice night.

Thursday: Undetermined

Friday: Pizza
Did you know that Trader Joe’s sells bags of pizza dough for $1.19. They do, and they’re great.

I’m linking this up with OrgJunkie.com’s weekly Menu Plan Monday thing.