We've been living with these plans for a month now and they feel like a great fit, so I'm ready to share them here. These are my fourth grade plans for my two oldest, Vincent and Gianna.
As always, we draw heavily from Ambleside Online's wonderful bookslists. These are based on their Year 4 programme. Their site has weekly breakdowns for the whole year, as well as exams and study guides for some of them, so be sure to take a look! (My booklist here is posted with permission from Ambleside Online.)
I have marked the portions of our schedule that are directly from AO in blue. The rest are my own selections. Portions marked in pink are are not narrated, either because they are added readings for just my older two or because they are part of our Morning Basket and done as a family. (More about that below.)
|Religion||Bible - Acts of the Apostles in Schuster's Bible History (Term 1), two epistles from the Douay-Rheims Bible (Terms 2 and 3)|
Saints and Catholic History - Lomask's Isaac and the Indians (Term 1), Demarest's The First Californian (Term 2), Garnett's The Red Bonnet (Term 3)
Spiritual Reading - Hunt's The First Christians (Term 1), Mother Mary Loyola's Hail Full of Grace (Term 2), Mother Mary Loyola's Forgive Us Our Trespasses (Term 3)
Mass - St. Augustine Press' Treasure and Tradition
Catechism - St. Joseph's New Catechism No. 1
Liturgical Year - Flos Sanctorum
|History||World - George Washington's World, A Child's History of the World, Our Island Story|
National - Marshall's This Country of Ours
Biographies - Daugherty's Poor Richard (Term 1), Abigail Adams (Term 2 and 3)
Catholic - saints by time period as listed in religion, The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas
Keeping of Timeline and Century Chart
|Kingsley's Madam How and Lady Why|
Fabre's The Story-book of Science
Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas
|Geography||Holling's Minn of the Mississippi |
World - Hillyer's Child's Geography of the World
State - O'Dell's The Cruise of the Arctic Star (one section weekly)
Weekly mapwork - formal Keeping of maps of the Thirteen Colonies (This Country of Ours), California (The Cruise of the Arctic Star and The First Californian), and the Mississippi River (Minn); noting of places mentioned in other readings on printed maps of Europe and America
Map drills - countries of Asia, countries of North America, cities of California
|Literature||Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing (Term 1), Midsummer Night's Dream (Term 2), A Winter's Tale (Term 3)|
Plutarch / Citizenship - Marcus Cato (Term 1), Philopoemen (Term 2), TBD (Term 3)
Robinson Crusoe (Term 1 and 2), Kidnapped (Term 2 and 3), The Incredible Journey and various short stories (Term 3)
|Poetry||Tennyson (Term 1), Dickinson (Term 2), Wordsworth (Term 3)|
|Music Study||Brahms (Term 1), Shubert (Term 2), Palestrina (Term 3)|
Readings from Opal Wheeler book for each composer
|Art Study||Velazquez (Term 1), Corot (Term 2), Waterhouse (Term 3)|
Readings from Hillyer's A Child's History of Art
|Art||Weekly art lesson with instructor|
Daily drawing drill
|Music||Weekly piano lesson and daily practice|
|Nature Study||Weekly nature study outing and journal entry|
Monthly object lesson and in-the-field sketching session focusing on Trees with our nature study group
Keeping a Calendar of Firsts as a family
|Italian||Daily work, one unit each month, including songs, games, rhymes, picture narration, conversation and review|
Written work including translation and copywork twice a week
Amy Steedman's Legends of Italy
|Latin||Written and oral work twice a week from Getting Started with Latin|
|Handicrafts||Cooking (Term 1), more sewing with felt (Term 2), wet felting (Term 3)|
|Language Arts||Copywork - daily cursive practice with Startwrite pages, weekly print entry in Prose and Poetry Copybook|
Dictation - one studied dictation passage weekly
Grammar - discussion of parts of a sentence alongside dictation work and Latin
Daily math drill from one of the following - Wrap-ups, Singapore Challenging Word Problems, topical worksheet printed from math-aids.com
Daily lesson - Jacobs' Algebra/Singapore 6B
Weekly lesson - from RightStart Level G
Occasional supplement in lieu of lesson - from Challenge Math or Math Olympiad
|Free Reading||Pulling from Ambleside Online's Year 4 free reading list with lots of additions for my book-loving kids|
|Scheduled Free Reading|
Together - The Secret Garden (Term 1), Swallows and Amazons (Term 2), Gone Away Lake (Term 3)
Independent - Bambi (Term 1), Calico Captive (Term 2), Johnny Tremain (Term 3)
|Other Assignments and Projects||Reading Log|
Physical Education - Calisthenics during memory work, weekly run with Mommy
Typing - twice weekly using TypingClub.com
|Memory Work||Bible - The Parable of the Salt and Light, the Ten Commandments, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Christmas Story in Luke 2 (continued from last year)|
Poetry - from each term's poets
Hymns - Veni Creator Spiritus, St. Michael Byzantine chant, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming, Veni Veni Emmanuel, Dear Guardian of Mary, Adoremus Te Christe
Folk Songs - Scarborough Fair, The Ballad of Davy Crockett, Red River Valley, Lavender's Blue, Billy Boy, O Dear What Can The Matter Be, Goodnight Irene, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Come Along Little Dogeys
Shakespeare - from plays read
Prayers - Confiteor in Latin, O St. Joseph, Divine Mercy prayers, Apostles Creed in Latin, St. Alphonsus' Night Prayer, Words of Consecration in English and Latin
Some notes about our Year 4 plans:
:: Not-Narrated Readings. As I mentioned, the selections in pink are not narrated, most of the time because they are part of our Morning Basket but occasionally because they are additional independent reading for my older two. I do like to add a bit of reading to the schedule since they are such eager bookworms, but I usually don't ask them to narrate it. So I suppose it is more a method of directing their plentiful free reading time rather than adding schoolwork, if that makes sense.
:: Italian. I will also write more about our Italian plans soon as they are more robust this year. Now that Gianna and Vincent are a bit older, I'm adding in some written work, which they are loving! We're also added in a few new resources that are livening up this year's studies, and I'm doing a weekly prep session that is keeping forward momentum going. I only hope it lasts. ;)
:: Language Arts. We have some additions to our Language Arts this year: dictation and grammar. I could mention Latin here too, because I'm finding that it all ties together quite nicely. I'm printing their dictation passage for the week as a cursive copywork page. I also print a couple extra easy-to-read copies for them to study from and for us to use for grammar chat, finding subjects and verbs and whatnot.
We're also continuing copywork, obviously, but we have moved to cursive only. (Last year we alternated between print and cursive.) They are still doing cursive on pre-made sheets using Startwrite, and then they have a weekly entry scheduled in their Prose and Poetry notebook, which is printed. And we added in typing twice a week, which has been a huge hit.
:: Math. Both of them are still accelerated in math, so I'm just trying to keep up! Gianna finished RightStart Level E last year and spent the last half working through Singapore 5A/B. This year she's finishing up Singpore 6A/B, and then she'll move into the same book Vincent is using, Jacobs Algebra (he started in Jacobs last year after I decided that he really didn't need a pre-algebra program). We'll see if it's as good a fit for her as it has been for him! If not, I have the Key to Algebra set on my shelf, so we can try that as well. They are also doing one worksheet from RightStart's hands-on geometry program (Level G) together once a week, using the drawing tools that they used in the other RS levels. This is something they are able to together and is a nice break from traditional math. And they have a five-minute review drill each day on math facts or calculations.
:: Religion. I am really excited about our Catholic supplements this year! I was wanting to add more Marigold Hunt and more Mother Mary Loyola to our schedule after really enjoying their books for the past couple years. We read Hunt's Book of Angels and St. Patrick's Summer and Mother Loyola's First Communion last year; this year we're doing Hunt's The First Christians and Mother Loyola's Hail Full of Grace and Forgive Us Our Trespasses. The first book ties nicely in with our study of the Acts and Epistles this year, so we're reading through the companion chapters in Schuster's Bible History alongside. And Mother Loyola's books will fit nicely into our liturgical year as I have the first planned for Christmastime and the second for Lent.
They are also reading a couple pages weekly from a book focused on the history and celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass: Treasure and Tradition by St. Augustine Press. My husband and I have found a few small misprints/errors in this book, but the spreads are lovely and the rest of the content is solid. I can't think of another book quite like it. It's not a living book in the traditional sense, so I'm not asking my children to narrate it. But they love poring over non-fiction books such as these and the artwork included is beautiful.
Cate is doing sacramental prep this year, so the big kids are following along with her in their own catechism, which I read during our Morning Basket time. And I chose saints books based on this year's history cycle, one on the Catholic presence in the East and one in the West. I'm particularly interested to read about Blessed (soon to be saint!) Junipero Serra since we are in California and will be studying California geography this year too.
:: Literature. As usual, I have pulled all our literature selections from Ambleside Online. We are choosing different Shakespeare plays based on what is playing locally. In fact, we are headed to a production of Much Ado About Nothing this weekend! My Shakespeare plan is to read the play in Lambs' version (which my Year 1 student can join us for), and then the older kids and I read along as we listen to the full version as an Arkangel Shakespeare recording. The recordings are fabulous. We're also doing Robinson Crusoe as an audio (the unabridged Blackstone version) while reading along with the text.
:: Geography. Speaking of, I took Brandy's wonderful advice and scheduled an extra geography book this year that is based on our state history: The Cruise of the Arctic Star. The wonderful thing is how this and The First Californian tie together so nicely--we're going up and down the coast and learning about the founding of cities and the topography of the state in both books. Alongside, the kids are working on a watercolor map, inspired by Heather. And in case you're in California and want to read the same geography selection, check out Brandy's breakdown by chapter and a printable bookmark I made.
:: Nature Study. We still love doing a weekly nature study outing with friends! This year we'll be getting out weekly as usual, but once a month, we're planning a more focused lesson. Our goal is to study six native trees throughout the year, with a different area of observation each month (branching, leaves, nesting, lichen and moss, etc.).
And the children (and I!) will be responsible for one nature journal entry per week, as always. I've started teaching the kids dry brush more formally too (those are some of Gianna's first mussel shells above).
I think that about covers it! I've tried to anticipate some of the questions I usually get about our schedule, so I apologize for the length. ;) If you have other questions, let me know.
Over the next couple weeks, I'll be posting...
:: our Form II binder
:: our updated weekly schedule template and how I've been doing my weekly planning
:: our Morning Basket plans for Term 1
:: my Year 1 and kindergarten plans for Cate and Xavier.
(And just as a last note: I'm sure this is obvious, but please remember that our plans are just that--our plans for our family. I share them because I know many of you are looking for examples of different ways to live out the Ambleside Online curriculum, or to deal with eager and early learners within that setting, or to make Catholic additions or substitutions to the curriculum. This is one way in one home and isn't meant to work for all families or all children. So take what you want and ignore the rest! Another place to look for the ways other families live out Year 4 is the Ambleside Online forums--lots of diverse examples there!)