Homeschool Curriculum to Challenge a Third and Fourth Grader

23 June

There was a theme to our homeschool this year. No, I'm not an overachiever who designed an entire year's worth of curriculum to fit in a theme; nothing like that at all. 

In fact, I didn't realize it until near the end of the year, but our theme was, "I already know this."

So maybe not a real theme, and certainly not for every subject, but both my older girls really showed the areas they are gifted in this year.

So much so, that my oldest has been complaining about how boring her math is, and my middle daughter was caught reading her sister's All About Reading 4 readers repeatedly.



Now the ability to work at whatever level a child is at is a huge benefit to homeschool in my eyes.

So, our curriculum choices for this next year clearly reflect that. Although my girls will be third and fourth grade based on age, not all their curricula will be geared for that particular age.

Third and Fourth Grade Curriculum Changes


Reading/ Grammar/ Writing


The first change we are making is for my younger daughter. She has always been advanced in language arts, and after telling her to put down her older sister's readers so many times, we decided to move her ahead.

Of course, I was concerned she would miss something. Isn't that a fear all homeschool moms have? Because of that, I offered to let her work trough the last level of All About Reading this summer to catch up with her older sister. 

And she is racing through it! She is doing a lesson a day without any trouble. She already knows it.


All About Reading


We also finished the first 2 levels of First Language Lessons, so I was needing something new for grammar as well. 



In all my searching, I happened upon Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts.

This curriculum is unlike any I have seen before. It is intended for gifted students, but can be used for all students. It covers grammar, writing, vocabulary, poetics, and literature. 

It sounds like a lot, but you don't do all of it every day. It does however look very in depth!  

So I will be starting both girls on Michael Clay Thompson Island Level. This should offer a challenge for my middle daughter and be the appropriate level for her older sister.


Math


The second thing we are doing is skipping a year of Teaching Textbooks! After hearing, "I've already learned this,"for a year, I finally thought to give my oldest a placement test.

And it wasn't too surprising to see that she was ready to move to Teaching Textbooks 6!




I never thought I would completely skip a year of anything, but she has always done very well with her math and I know most of the middle years are review with a little more difficulty added on. I fully expect her to thrive with the challenge of a harder grade. 

Math will change a bit for my third grader too as she moves away from Singapore Math and on to Teaching Textbooks. They did well with Singapore, but I am trying to get them some more subjects to work on independently as their little brother needs more of my time for Kindergarten.

She will be using Teaching Textbooks 4.


Curriculum We Aren't Changing for Third and Fourth Grade


Spelling


You know we love All About Learning Press. We would still be using All About Reading if there were more levels. Even though we moved to something new for most of our language arts, we will continue spelling with All About Spelling 4.






Handwriting


My girls have been practicing cursive for a few years now, and we aren't changing that. We will continue working our way through the Write and Draw through History series.



History

None of us are huge history fans. My younger daughter enjoys geography, and they both like listening to the stories in Story of the World.

This is the last volume for them although I suspect we will use it again and just go more in depth for their middle grades as it makes an excellent world history spine.



Science

We are continuing our way through the elementary levels of Apologia Science; these texts are not really leveled as you learn each subject in depth with lots of hands-on activities!

So far, we have covered Astronomy, Flying Creatures, and Botany. This year the kids decided to explore Swimming Creatures.




Why Challenge Homeschoolers


The ability to provide individualized education is one of the biggest benefits to homeschooling in my opinion.

I have 2 children who are gifted in 2 different areas. Sure, I could use a boxed curriculum, but they would undoubtedly be bored in the area they are more proficient in.

You don't learn when you are bored. You learn when you have material that will provide a bit of a challenge without being too difficult.

So it will always be my goal to challenge my homeschoolers.

And if you aren't sure what level of curriculum you need, have them take the placement test!





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