Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Grade 4

With Grice starting school Monday, and Sarabelle in Australia, Monday should be the official First Day of School for Elle.

Time to plan, I suppose.

Waiting until the last minute has its benefits. I have had plenty of time to mull over ideas for studies. There are plenty of books and curricula on my shelves, I don't need to go researching books and placing orders for more materials (If you could see the books I've dumped...) I know there are still some terrific unexamined resources out there, but I'm confident that what I need I already own. My initial Cover-Every-Topic-and-Have-a-Fun-Accompanying-Activity-and Supplemental-Reading plan has evolved into Just-Do-the-Next-Thing. That is a very satisfying feeling.

The big mental debate I'd been having about whether or not to completely drop The Story of the World has been decided in all the extra thinking time I've had. It's served me well over the years with Sarabelle and Grice and more recently with Elle, I even have the activity book for the next round which sure makes coming up with comprehension questions easy, and frankly, I'm rather fond of and sentimental about the whole series -- it was The Well-Trained Mind which got me started after all -- but I'm a little tired of the detail. As I became enamored of ideas found in Climbing Parnassus and The Latin-Centered Curriculum, I've pared things down. We're going to stick with the Western Civ basics, not studying every culture in the world. We'll leave that to our travels and any interest-led learning.

Since we had just begun to get into the explorers, I'm planning to switch over to the Genevieve Foster books, beginning with The World of Columbus and Sons. Elle has shown great interest in the timeline book sitting on the shelf, A Timeline for All Time. She had a chuckle when she realized the book begins with Adam and Eve and not the Big Bang. Language studies will be "do the next thing," First Language Lessons Level 4, the most recent release of the series that has been a good fit for Elle and me. Lessons are short but thorough. She loves diagramming and enjoys memorizing the poems. I like that it's all scripted and I don't need to do any prep work. It's part of The Well-Trained Mind collection so I don't feel as if I'm completely abandoning ship. Write With the Best Volume I will be dusted off and put to good use. Elle does not have much patience for writing I'm afraid, but the lessons in this book are fairly short and spread over two-week periods. I'm hoping her handwriting improves with constant practice, otherwise the Getty-Dubay Italic books come back out. I planned to continue her Latin studies with Latina Christiana I, a book we were slowly working our way through, but like Sarabelle's exasperation over Abeka math ("Does the number 2 always have to be about Noah and the ark?"), Elle is questioning the need to recite prayers if one doesn't believe them, despite my arguments for the familiarity and the beauty of the material. Time to pull out the Esopus Hodie perhaps, though I will still try reciting the prayers at the beginning of our lesson for memorization's sake. For math we will continue to use the workbooks she's into with some added flash card review, preparing her to move into Saxon 5/4. The rest of math studies will be everyday usage, calculating mileage and fuel, shopping, counting change, figuring tips, measuring...

So let's see, history, English, Latin, math, what else...? Oh yeah! Science! Cleaning off my shelves I found a good geology study, Lyrical Earth Science she might enjoy, and quite a few books with experiments she could do mostly on her own. That should suffice in addition to anything else that piques her fancy. We'll continue to make the most of our surroundings, like going on turtle patrol with our friend, marking new sea turtle nests and excavating hatched ones, raising tadpoles, and trying to grow something, anything, in this desert of a yard.

With Grice's very early morning schedule for motivation, I'd like to add in a little yoga before lessons and get finished with our studies relatively early in the day. Gymnastics at the YMCA should help burn off some of her extra energy, if I can coordinate lessons with Grice's afternoon bus stop schedule.

Ready...set...GO!

5 comments:

Queen Bee said...

I love how you do "The Plan" with "The Reality" as a follow-up. Great idea! I'm afraid to do this, but it might be fun. At least I have a year to think about it. lol

Carole said...

Reading the few pages of Latina Christina on Amazon made be nostalgic for my Latin classes.

BTW -- Are you out on the island watching the Perseids?

Tammy @ Cappuccino Confessions said...

First of all, thanks for that link to classic art at the top of this post. . .I've been on the look out for those additions to our homeschool! And secondly, "Just Do the Next Thing" is how I make it through the day! Otherwise, I'd be paralyzed by the fear of not getting anything done. Love your practical perspective here!

Wendy Hawksley said...

Ah, "Story of the World". Too bad it was a flop in our house; it is so nice to have everything set out for us (the text, activities, etc.). Now I've got the task of creating our own history curriculum for the year.

I like the plans. It looks like you're organized and ready to go!

Paula (Belgium) said...

Thank you for blogging on planning Grade 4. I will have a look at Lyrical Earth Science, since I need inspiration for science. We will read 'A Really Short Story of Nearly Everything' by B. Bryson, but I need to add to it a few workbooks.