Homeschooling Elementary School {4th Grade 2015-2016}

This year, we have three students in elementary school! Our 4th graders, Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro, are 10 and 9 respectively, though Li’l Miss will be 10 in less than 2 months. CANNOT believe these two precious children are double-digits now! In addition to these Littles, we have Li’l Bit, who is a big Kindergartner this year. She has been asking “When will I be a Kindergartner?” for the past year, and she has taken well so far to her schoolwork! She loves our Thursday tutorial and is most eager to read and “do math.” In fact, as I type on a lazy Friday night, she is doing math problems on IXL on-line. But for this post, I will focus on the plans for our two 4th graders. If you’d like to see our Kindergarten plans for this year, click here!


Our 4th graders have been attending our Thursday tutorial for 2 years. I love the tutorial and they do as well, but they don’t offer math classes and the language arts class wasn’t a good fit for our focus this year. So, I scaled them way back and they are taking only afternoon classes there this year. We take our math and language arts work with us for the three-hour block we have in the mornings, and we are also reading the same text they are using for science there. Since Li’l Bit is in classes all day with other Kindies, we find a quiet room and have gotten a lot done the past three weeks. We already had the science book and it’s a text I love and have used before, but we are doing a lot less of the extras. If I can tie it into writing work, we will add the extras in here and there. I am excited about the Tennessee History class they’re attending and they are loving the 3D Art class. Next semester, the 3D Art will be replaced with another semester elective course: American Girl Book Club for Li’l Miss and LEGO Robotics for Li’l Bro.

Below is a list of the classes Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro are taking for 4th grade, and I will expound more on our plans specifically below:

  • Tennessee History*
  • Elementary Math
  • Elementary Science
  • Elementary Language Arts
  • 3D Art (Fall Semester)*
  • American Girl Book Club (Spring Semester / Li’l Miss)*
  • LEGO Robotics (Spring Semester / Li’l Bro)*
  • Physical Education (e.g. Farm Chores, Horse Riding Lessons for Li’l Miss, Boy Scouts beginning in Spring for Li’l Bro)

*Classes at Thursday Tutorial

Social Studies: Tennessee History


• Li’l Bro and Li’l Miss will be taking this class at the Thursday Tutorial.
• One of my favorite aspects at our Thursday tutorial and particularly with the Social Studies classes is each semester the children from the youngest to the oldest are given assignments that involve sharing orally presentations to the entire class. These have been hugely helpful to my Little learners, who both once faced huge speech challenges. I’m so proud of them!


Exploring Tennessee, Notgrass History  (I purchased each of them their own workbook but only one teacher text was needed for our oral readings each day.)


Math: Math on the Level (for our spine)


• We’ve used Math on the Level for years now, and I always come back to it because it’s solid and so easy to implement with multiple learners with varying strengths and weaknesses.

• I created a planning guide to use this year, because I do love to use my RightStart guide as well as games and Pinterest for interactive ideas for our math notebooks we keep from year to year (for a useful reference tool). I can jot down things I see/think of at any time and then when we get to that concept, I will hopefully have lots of ideas ready to go. The numbers correspond to the number in the MOTL teaching guide.


• I need to make the spines prettier, but I did color-code my notebooks to the curriculum. Over time I found the coil binders the books came in didn’t hold up to my heavy use. With the notebooks, I can also pull out a few pages at a time if we’re on-the-go and it lightens my load. I do still have the coils if I ever wanted to switch them back.



Math on the Level



Science: Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals


• We’ve used this book before several years ago when both Curly and Mo were younger. We are very happy with Apologia Young Explorer series, but we just chose to opt out of the tutorial class with all of the extra work and read the text.
• We will incorporate narrating/journaling during our free writing time. One of their favorite subjects about which to write is animals anyway.


Apologia Young Explorers Zoology 3: Land Animals



English: Language Arts and Creative Writing


• I have lots of options here. For now, we’re focusing on free writing and spelling. I need to use some interventions at this point, because quite frankly this is a weak spot for us.

• I am NOT a fan of worksheets or textbooks, but I’ve found a few old things as of late at the used book sale at our library and I’m going to try this gem. I have scoured it and it is really solid. I like the amount of work and the meat is thorough.

• As with any resources, the options are fluid and we will adjust if/as needed. I will also be incorporation games and some on-line resources as well.


The Logic of English Spelling Program
Using Good English Textbook from 1964. Yes I’m going there because some things needed to be left the way they were, and this is in excellent condition and I bought it for $1.


IMG_9487 image2 IMG_9485


3D Art/American Girl Book Club/LEGO Robotics (1 Semester Each)


• Both Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro are taking 3D Art this Fall. Li’l Miss will take American Girl Book Club this Spring and Li’l Bro will take LEGO Robotics this Spring.


 Physical Fitness

• Weekly Horse Riding and Care Lessons (Li’l Miss)

• Boy Scouts beginning in the Spring (Li’l Bro)

• Farm Chores

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