We are wrapping up third grade this summer and I just placed our order for 4th grade materials the other day! Since we homeschool year-round, we are able to stretch the work out and do less work each day. Last year we focused heavily on reading and K has now been reading a minimum of 45 minutes EVERY day! With the “learning to read” hurdle out of the way, we were able to shift focus to spelling and grammar this year, as well as level up our math program.
Since we are more on the unschooling side – we do not do much structured learning for things like science, art, etc. but I will list the resources we used below for those times we DID do sit-down explorations for science and social studies.
Here’s the recap of what we used this year to make up our Third Grade Homeschool curriculum!
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For grammar we chose to use a workbook that would span multiple grades, so far I LOVE this workbook. Each concept has an explanation page and then a practice page. Concepts covered in 3rd grade level include subject, predicate, nouns, proper nouns, pronouns, verbs, action verbs, etc.
For spelling, I spent a LOT of time researching various workbooks and curriculum. For kids like K, who have visual processing delays, autism, or ADHD, working memory can be a HUGE challenge. When working memory is difficult for a child, the traditional methods of teaching spelling via word lists and memorization DOES NOT work. Instead, we opted for Spelling U See, which employs a method involving “chunking”. Each week, a short passage is used and students must chunk out specific parts of words, such as vowel chunks or consonant blends. Through repetition, reading the same passage each day and chunking each day, students learn to visually recognize the shape and composition of words. Then they are given dictation at the end of the week.
I honestly wasn’t sure if Spelling U See would help K or not. I was skeptical that simply reading the passages and doing a few chunking exercises each week would actually teach her how to spell, but it has! I highly recommend this program to anyone whose child was a struggling reader, has visual processing delays, dyslexia, adhd, autism, etc.
In addition to her formal workbooks, K is required to read 45 minutes a day for homeschool and may choose to read additional time to earn electronics time.
We “bank” each 30 minutes read as 30 minutes of free-play electronics time. This method has worked WONDERFULLY to both incentivize her to read and to control how much electronics time she uses. A couple of her favorite books this year have been the “Foxcraft” series and the “Wolves of the Beyond” series. Also, “Star Friends” and the “Diary of and 8-bit Warrior” Minecraft books.
We started out the year using Spectrum Math workbooks but switched to Beast Academy halfway through. With math concepts getting more difficult, especially for a child with autism and working memory difficulties, the workbooks were no longer cutting it. K benefits from multi-sensory approached to learning, and despite her visual processing delays, does actually need visual teaching strategies. The workbooks were too dry and bland and did not offer enough instruction or visual material to keep her focus.
Beast Academy includes math instruction for each new concept via comic book style panels and dialogue between various characters. The online version, which we are currently using, also includes instructional videos which are simple and broken down into small pieces throughout the learning pathway. K does still struggle with executing the math concepts, but having the comics and videos to refer back to has been immensely helpful, especially as a parent who doesn’t really know how to teach math beyond the basics. I can help her navigate and solve the problems, but having the pathway set out for me and the instructional portions taken care of for me has been so very helpful!
Beast Academy does also have physical workbooks, which we have purchased for the 4th grade year, but the online curriculum is the best I have seen, and we have tried several online platforms (IXL, Miacademy, Time4Learning, etc).
science & Social Studies
As I said before, we do not structure science or social studies with a traditional curriculum or learning pathway. What we HAVE done this year is utilize some resources to help facilitate learning. One resource we used that K REALLY loved is Snap Circuits.
Snap Circuits explore and teach electrical circuitry using project-based learning. Different sets have different projects, but I’d recommend starting with the SC-100 set. You can always purchase other sets later as “add ons” since they do all work together.
We also used Nature Anatomy and an accompanying workbook I found online. Granted we did not get far through the book/workbook, and we will likely continue to use this in the upcoming year. Nature Anatomy introduce important concepts like the rock cycle, formation of volcanoes, plate tectonics, life cycles, the water cycle, etc. This book (and the others in the series) are so beautifully illustrated, they are honestly just nice to have!
We also used media such as How It’s Made and YouTube for whatever random questions and explorations came up during daily life.
For Social Studies, we continued using “101 Awesome Women who Changed the World” and learned about the Samurai and Native Americans using our Honest History magazines.
If you haven’t heard of Honest History, I HIGHLY recommend you check it out! History can be a beautiful subject, or it can be dry and boring… Honest History is definitely the former. Each magazine is colorful and informative in a fun way! You can get a subscription for $50 a year or you can buy individual issues from their website. These magazines are recommended for ages 6-12 but I thoroughly enjoyed them as well, and I’m quite a bit older than 12 😉
And there you have it! I am excited to add in a few new things for 4th grade, including cursive, writing, and an Early Times history focus. We’ll be finishing up our third-grade work over the next month and then I’ll definitely be posting those new resources once we’ve had a chance to explore them a bit!