After some thought and research, I’ve decided on my daughter’s 4th grade homeschool curriculum.
I have to start by covering what’s required by law. Where we live in Quebec, Canada, we have 2 choices.
Option A is doing pretty much exactly what a 4th grade student in public school would do. One of the biggest reasons we homeschool is so we don’t have to follow a one size fits all approach. So option A is off the table for us.
Option B consists of varied and stimulating activities that includes:
As well it has to include one subject belonging to each of the following areas:
- math, science and technology
- social sciences
- personal development
French is a very important subject for us. We live in an area where french is the language of the majority.
And so, for the subject of french, my goal is for my daughter to keep up with the skills a 4th grade french student would learn. This is challenging since french is not our mother tongue.
But one benefit of homeschooling this subject is that we can work at my daughter’s pace, and focus on her unique challenges in the language.
The 4th grade homeschool curriculum I have chosen for french is a workbook many public school students in Quebec are using. It’s called: “Vingt mille mots sous les mers“.
This will be a bit of a challenge for us, but she’s totally capable, just at a slower pace than she would be doing if she were in school. One thing I like about this curriculum is it comes with 950 online exercises. I find having online components to any foreign language is a great asset.
Spelling in French
My daughter is not at grade level when it comes to spelling in french. So this year we’re going to put a huge focus on trying to catch up. She’s learned the third grade words, but has trouble with easier words. I want to fill in any gaps so I’m going to start her back at first grade spelling, see where the gaps are and progressively move forward. I hope to complete the 4th grade words by the end of the year, but we’ll work at my daughter’s pace.
To be at grade level, I will make sure that by the end of 4th grade, my daughter knows the following verbs well:
- the 10 grade 2 verbs in present tense
- these 5 verbs: avoir, être, aller, aimer & finir in these tenses:
- futur simple
- conditionnel présent
- futur proche
- participe présent
English book work is going to be kept quite minimal this year. I’ll have her complete the english section in “Complete Canadian Curriculum“, which is really not a lot. There’s only 28 chapters, which has a story plus 3 pages per chapter. That’s less than a page of book work every 2 days.
This year I’m putting the focus on learning to read for enjoyment. My daughter knows how to read, but will only read the bare minimum, and often chooses books because they are easy or quick to read. So I’m cooling it with any major english curriculum this year.
We will do a lot of read alouds, where I will read various novels to her, and I’ll have her read books of her choosing every day, trying to integrate more and more novels.
No questions, no work on the books, just a lot of reading. If by the end of the year my daughter is reading because she wants to, and is reading age appropriate novels, I will feel like we succeeded in this area.
Another strong focus for us will be on spelling. Spelling is something my daughter struggled with. So I put a lot of effort in creating a 4th grade spelling curriculum that would make spelling more enjoyable and help her remember the words past the week we worked on them.
I want my daughter to be excited to write, so we are going to run with her natural interests. For a few years now she has enjoyed writing her own songs and comes up with some pretty good stuff. However, I want to help her develop this further.
I will also have her do writing activities to go along with various themed spelling weeks. For example, during the “Mail / Letters” spelling week, she will be able to get creative first making some cards, and then writing cards or letters to family or friends. During the “Friendship” week, I’ll have her write about her best friend. And she can write a short story during “Fairy Tales” week.
My daughter does not love Math Mammoth, but of all the math curriculums we have tried, I have noticed that her math abilities, number sense and even mental math is the strongest the years we’ve used it. So we’re going to continue to use what works.
We are also going to really focus on learning the multiplication tables this year. By the end of the year, my hope is that she’ll know them extremely well.
I chose Netmath for several reasons:
- it looked somewhat fun
- it could be used in either english or french. We’re using it in french so my daughter gets more exposure to the language – french immersion homeschool style :).
- since it’s online learning, my hope was that she would be more engaged, have video lessons for explaining things, with the ultimate goal that I would have more time to get my work done.
From our short one week of using it, this is my opinion of it:
The first day my daughter did a section on exploding dots. It started with a video. The video was quite humorous and I found myself watching it. What I didn’t expect was that I would learn as much as I did – from a 4th grade math video. After each video, there was a section for my daughter to “play” to try and find the answer. Now I was hooked. It’s like math became a puzzle, and we both were trying to solve it together.
Next she did a section on roman numerals. I mean I learned roman numerals in school but never like this. Again I learned so much.
Afterwards, she went to a puzzle section of the website where there were various logic puzzles. Once again, I was actively involved solving the puzzles with her.
So far, the initial hope of me being able to get work done during my daughter’s math time, has faded somewhat. However hope is not completely lost, as there was a bunch of things she did that was not new to me haha.
Another area that would help greatly to give me that time during her math, would be if the audio feature would work for us. Video’s and sound works no problem, but they advertise that the questions and explanations can be read to the child with a click of a button.
That was a huge selling feature to me, since we’re using this not only for the math but for the french immersion aspect of it. I thought it would be great for her to hear the words pronounced properly by someone fluent in the language.
So far this feature has never worked for us. Currently without that feature, my daughter reads the questions herself, but doesn’t read every word correctly, skips some words and because of that doesn’t always understand what she’s supposed to do. So then she asks me. If it was read to her, I have more of a chance of staying out of it. I sent an email to tech support tho so hopefully we can figure that out.
I told my daughter we weren’t going to do science this year, and she cried. Unfortunately this kid who has a natural talent and love for science, has a mother who hated science in school, and does not feel in any way qualified to teach it.
I didn’t want to deny her learning something she was so passionate about so I tried my best to find a 4th grade homeschool curriculum for science that would work.
We tried out Supercharged Science one year. It is video based and was advertised as something a child could do on their own, but I didn’t find that was the case. I felt I had to learn the material myself, and prepare in advance which was the last thing I have time to do, so it didn’t work out for us.
This year we’re going to try out Generation Genius. I did one of the sample lessons and really liked it.
What I liked about Generation Genius, at least from the sample it seemed that there is no prep for me. I don’t have to prelearn or prepare anything in advance.
And experiments were done on the video. I really appreciate that part. So even if I don’t have the time to do all that’s involved in doing an experiment, my daughter can still learn as if she did. Of course, we can always do the experiments if we wish to, as I noticed there are full instructions included.
Also, I found from a sample lesson we did, that learning was effortless as the main points were re-emphasized many times, and it was a more fun way to learn.
They currently have lessons for kindergarten to grade 5. If I counted correctly, there’s 72 topics in total. So my plan is for my daughter to do all 72 this year – that’s 2 per week. I will watch and learn with her to gain my confidence in science. Next year we may be ready to try Supercharged Science again or another curriculum.
My daughter naturally loves art and is really good at it. She has a talent for drawing which she has taught herself using free youtube video’s. I want to further her talent. I was looking at purchasing various drawing curriculums but my daughter was not impressed with any of them. The drawings weren’t “cute” enough for her.
I don’t want this to turn into work for her so we’re going to continue with what works, only with a bit more direction. So for example, instead of her drawing a kazillion LOL dolls like she loves to do, I will let her choose a different object each art session.
Today she chose a cat, so I told her to find 5 different cats online that she wanted to draw. Some of the cats had youtube video’s, some had step by step instructions, and some were just the image that she would draw by just looking at it.
Various Art Forms
Drawing is not enough for my daughter who would spend all day doing art if I let her. Fortunately I previously purchased Home Art Studio, a 4th grade homeschool curriculum for art. It has video based lessons and projects from an art teacher.
My daughter on her own pops in one of the videos and will sit and do art projects for an afternoon.
My feelings on Home Art Studio are mixed. The art projects are similar projects I feel a student would do in public school. So I don’t feel any project is like “Wow that’s amazing”. However, I like that the teacher uses all kinds of art terminology, teaches various techniques and discusses famous artists. So I feel like ok, we’ve covered the standards, the equivalent of what they would teach in school, so I don’t have to worry she’s missing out on any aspect and I can just focus on enriching art.
Music is a subject I want to let my daughter have a full education in, especially since she loves writing her own songs and has a natural talent as a singer. However, this year we already have a lot going on with our english and french components so music will have to take a minor role this year.
The online music / piano program that we have always enjoyed using is Hoffman Academy, and we will continue to use it again this year for my daughter’s 4th grade homeschool music curriculum.
See my Hoffman Academy review
As we’re required to do something for social sciences, I have chosen to add some Geography. I won’t need any special curriculum. My goal for my daughter’s 4th grade geography is for her to learn the provinces of Canada, the major cities, capital cities, and the 5 Great Lakes.
For the “Personal Development” category we can choose between physical education or moral and religious education. I’ve chosen religious education and we will focus on studying the bible.
We will use JW.org as it has many resources to help kids learn the bible, all of them free. There’s video’s to help memorize the order of the bible books, an interactive free online bible course, illustrated bible stories, printables, activities, etc.
Other Knowledge and Skills
Other skills we will include in my daughter’s 4th grade homeschooling year are:
- cleaning and various chores around the house
- cursive writing
I have decided to use Kids Cook Real Foods to help my daughter learn to cook.
She’s been begging me to teach her how to cook and I’ve let her do some things with me. But to be honest I’ve been a bit nervous to have her use sharp knives or a hot stove, and so haven’t taught her as much as I should have in the kitchen. So I feel having video lessons and a step by step lesson plan will help give my daughter the skills to cook in the kitchen.
And truthfully I can’t wait till she’s in the kitchen cooking up a storm. She says she wants to be the one to cook us breakfast, lunch and supper, so I can’t imagine all the time I will save once I let her free reign in the kitchen.
We’re going to continue with cursive writing curriculum that we previously started called “CursiveLogic” that came with a cursive writing coloring book called “The Art of Cursive”. I really like this curriculum.
See my CursiveLogic review
I had my daughter try out a few programs, and we decided to go with typing.com for my daughter’s typing curriculum. Bonus that it’s free. 🙂
So those are our choices for our 4th grade homeschool curriculum. As you probably noticed a lot of our choices are online options which I feel will be the best option for us this year.
To the best of my knowledge, all curriculum choices are secular except when we purposely study religion.
Confession, I’m a total curriculum junkie, and am always checking out various curriculum’s in search of amazing curriculum gems. If you have discovered any 4th grade homeschool curriculum gems, that are secular, let me know in the comments, I’d love to check it out.