March 20, 2008

Third and Fourth Grade Homeschool Curriculum

I keep records of the curriculum books/resources we use for each year that we homeschool and add the records to an ever-growing Homeschool Series post. Although my style has been eclectic, my purpose is very solid - to train up my children in the Lord. You'll find a lot of things on my list of curriculum that can be used by homeschoolers in various different methods of teaching. My advice to you is not to go off of someone else's 'list of favorites', but to get out and GO to the book fairs and SEE for YOURSELF. TRY IT and see if it works AT HOME - with YOUR family.

We have always homeschooled on a tight budget and have used the library and field trips with our unit studies as a main source of curriculum.
I'm not big on a heavy amount of packaged curriculum, but as you can see - we do use some A Beka and have had success with it. Even with the packaged stuff, there is often a lot of good if you pick and choose what works for you and don't load yourself down with "busy work" or "twaddle" that will kill the love-of-learning your children need to succeed.

Most homeschool kids have a lot of opportunity to do extra curricular things outside of regular academics. My list of those type things was slim for this particular school year - partly because of the state we lived in (not as many resources available in Arkansas). Some of the reason was due to finances, also. When you don't have enough money to afford piano lessons, you wait until you can afford them and pick them up again. Thankfully we were able to find Rosetta Stone online through a library for free and enjoyed learning some Italian.

Below is a short list of things we used for the 2006-7 School Year. If you have children who are younger than 3rd or 4th Grade, check out my previous years that are listed on the Homeschool Series Post.

If you have any questions; please by all means, leave them in the comments section. I will get to them as I can (if you log in and leave an email address when you comment, I can email you back as well).

MAIN CURRICULUM for 3rd & 4th Grade
KONOS Unit Studies - History, Science, Life skills, Etc. (Christian perspective)
Library Books / Our Home Library (on and off topic per unit study)
Field Trips
(I review most of my field trips here on my blog!)

Our 24 Family Ways - Clay & Sally Clarkson (devotional)
Prayer journals (daily)
Bible (daily readings)
Songs of Faith and Praise (Hymn Book)
Biblegateway (internet site - for copy work scriptures)
Church Bible Classes, Small Group and Worship Services (weekly)
Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren (devotional)
Home Making - JR Miller (devotional)
Jesus Freaks Vol. 2 - DC Talk (devotional)

PHONICS/LANGUAGE/HANDWRITING/SPELLINGExplode the Code (phonics workbooks - higher levels)
Generic Grade-Level Workbooks (for Reading, Grammar, Comprehension, etc.)
Journal (blank spiral notebook - just add creativity!)
A Beka Penmanship workbooks (Grades 3 & 4)
Draw∙Write∙Now! (Drawing lessons and handwriting workbook - rolled in to one)
Spelling and Copywork (correcting misspelled words and writing assigned by mom)
Correspondence (pen pals, birthday cards, thank-you notes - weekly)
Scott Foresman Online Free Grammar/Writing PDF Worksheets

MATHA Beka Math (Grade 3 & 4)
Math videos (from the library)
Generic Grade-Level Curriculum Workbooks (for extra help with areas of weakness)
Multiplication Table Charts (internet free print-outs)

EXTRA HISTORY/SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY MATERIALS (not required by KONOS)Visualize World Geography by Theresa A. Blain
A Beka Science Reader "Exploring God's World"
A Beka History "Our American Heritage"
Families Around the World, One Kid at a Time
Geography of the World (DK Atlas)
Usborne World History
Online BBC Science Quizzes
Mavis Beacon Typing
(computer program)
Rosetta Stone Italian
(travel version online)


Up next in the series will be:
Post #4 - 3rd and 4th Grade Learning Enrichment Ideas
Post #5 - Favorite KONOS Memories from Third and Fourth Grades
Post #6 - Photos and memories from the unit we pick as our favorite for 2006-7

Check back in here every day for more on this series and encouragement for homeschooling in general.

Have a super Thursday!

Quick Links:
2/3 Homeschool Curriculum
1/2 Homeschool Curriculum
K/1 Homeschool Curriculum
PK/K Homeschool Curriculum
Sprittibee's Homeschool Series

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maggie said...

Do you feel it necessary or beneficial to add more history and science to Konos?

Sheila said...

Looks good to me! We use Jesus Freaks for our devotional, too!

I think it's great how many math resources you can get for free on the internet. We still have a regular program (Saxon), but other parents, especially of schooled kids, are always wanting to do the drills we do when they see how good the kids are at their times tables. So we just print stuff out. I love it.

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Sprittibee said...

Maggie... It is certainly NOT necessary to add extra Science or History to KONOS. The program is complete in both areas as far as I'm concerned. However, there are times when we spend too long on units (double the recommended time) and if a unit is mostly about history (like the one we are doing now on the Tabernacle), I will add the reading of our A Beka Science book. When we did bread and grain for a few weeks, we would read the A Beka History book. I had been recommended the A Beka history as a supplement to KONOS due to the way it covered Christian figures in American History. It is an excellent book from a Christian perspective. I highly recommend it to add to your American History study. I don't always get the history books from A Beka. We aren't really using the Old World one this year since our main focus later this year will be the states and we will end at the Civil War.

Visualize World Geography is also something that takes very little time, and we go very slowly through it. We cover about 7-10 countries per school year. We read the facts, learn the pictograph, color the flag and either create or color a map, look up a current event, find out if there are persecuted Christians there, read a book about families that live in different cultures if the country is covered in that book, look up the country in a world atlas, and sometimes cook a dish from that country. This is additional studies and not daily. We go at whatever pace we can, but it has really enriched the kids and helped them with finding things on the globe and understanding cultures of other peoples better.

Usborne World History is a rare stand-in for finding out info about other countries. I don't like the book due to the first 1/4 of it being about mythical artist represented creatures and evolution. I nearly died when I saw how much of the book was taken up by evolution. I would never have paid so much for it. It does have some good stuff if you can ignore the first 1/4th of the book.

Online BBC Science Quizzes is something we discovered a few days before the kids took their standardized tests in Arkansas. I just wanted to brush up on Science with them before they tested (it is mandatory to test for every grade above 3rd in AR). Since we cover different subjects at different times than the public school, I wanted to see if there were any gaps in what they might be tested on. I love the BBC Science quizzes. The kids saw them as a game and really had fun doing it. I learned that they knew more than I thought they knew - and it made me feel better knowing that they would probably do well on their tests. That isn't something we did regularly. They still like to get on there once or twice a year and play, though. That website has more than just Science! Check it out!

Sheila - :) We use the A Beka drill pages, too. My youngest is still working on a solid multiplication foundation. I think the oldest has it down. ;)

Hokule'a Kealoha said...

Just discovered you what part of Arkansas do you live in?...I get that comment too... "Are you going to blog THAT?"

Anonymous said...

It's awesome that you keep such great records! I know which units we've done and when, but as for the individual books and resources...I'm a finish it and forget about it kind of gal. :)

Anyway, want to comment on the Konos science and history question. I agree that Konos is complete for the learning levels it's designed to teach. There are MORE than enough science activities and experiments to give your kids a solid foundation. I do caution, though, that some of the science information is inaccurate (like their description of centrifugal force -which is not a real force - and the behavior of protons/electrons when an atom splits). As for history, if you're teaching chronologically, Konos presents a challenge. It can be done, but not easily. Same for science if you're following a classical model - Konos going to be hard to work it into the classical plan. Doable, but difficult.

I LOVE that Konos is character based, though. You just can't beat that or overestimate its importance.


maggie said...

Thanks. I am trying to figure out how important or unimportant it is to follow a traditional scope and sequence for history and science. Any thoughts on that?

Sprittibee said...

Good question, Maggie! Not an uncommon one, either. I haven't worried about it much due to the fact that we have been in Texas where it is not required to test (even though I do test them for free with the Texas TAKS that is available to print or take online). In AR, I was going to have to test them with the state (and the scores were given to the state in a group for all homeschoolers rather than individually). That is when I used the BBC Science site to "brush up" on things we might not have covered. Since we do a lot of reading and KONOS is very thorough with what it covers, there wasn't much they hadn't gone over in some form or fashion. So far my kids have outperformed their counterparts in Science and History. The only area that ONE of them has had trouble is math (not my daughter's strong point) - and Math is not covered by KONOS - it is separate! ;)

Here's what Jessica Hulcy says about scope and sequence from an email that I sent to our homeschool group in which I quote her:

Jessica says in the beginning of the Compass in the section titled "Does
Konos Meet State Requirements?":

Although Konos Curriculum was not formulated in order to meet state
requirements, by fully equipping our children in what we believe the
Lord wants for our children, we find that we do, in fact, provide all
that is required by the state and much more! Konos includes all that is
required by the state, but has not stopped there. Konos children are
also exposed to Bible, Christian values, biographies of Christians, and
practice in character development. In addition they learn practical
skills such as:

choosing friends
meal planning budgeting and tithing money
shopping and using catalogs
maintaining a safe home
handling emotions
electrical repairs
child care
scheduling time
loving the unlovable
helping the handicapped
decision making

..... and then she says "You will see that, within three volumes, Konos
covers what is normally taught. In other words, the scope is the same
(although Konos covers more), while the sequence may be different. The
sequence or the order in which certain subjects are taught is very
arbitrary. Except for subjects (like math and language) which build
upon previously learned skills, there is no necessary order for learning
topics. For example, what does it matter if the topic of birds is
learned before or after the topic of beavers? In fact, even within the
state requirements, there is a diversity about when to teach the topics.
If for some reason you want to follow the state's guidelines for what is
taught at each level, you can use all three Konos volumes during the
year. However, we do not recommend spending money when it is

Kelli said...

I would like to thank you for the homeschool blogs that you have done. I have been struggling on deciding between KONOS and another main curriculum. Seeing the posts you have done in the past about the favorite memories from each year has been the cincher. Part of the reason I want to homeschool IS to create memories. I am not sure the other unit study would be able to provide some of those opportunities. Maybe you should contact Jessica and Wade about getting a commission on KONOS sales!!! lol

nutmeg said...

I am homeschooling a 4th grader (long story, but I can't blog about it because of my job). I'm so excited to find your site!

Anonymous said...

I'm home schooling my 4th grader. Still not recovered from down time from school due to massive hurricane hits during the 2005 season. Hope this helps to fill in the gaps that were left in my daughter's life. Now, we're on the run again with this active and destructive 2008 hurricane season. At least now, I can run with the computer and continue her education. I hope it will give her a sense of continuity that is lost when our lives are disrupted.



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