Recap and Review Fourth Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans 2021-2022

Another year is in the books for John! When I made this plan for him, I knew that I would have to be flexible and adapt depending on how his reading progressed. This year it feels so good to say that John is a reader. He can and does read recipes, instructions, signs, and even Shakespeare. But it isn't an effortless pleasure for him yet. 

So while my plans provided many opportunities for John to read, we didn't get to all of them this year. We also added some things that were a great fit even though I hadn't planned for them. I'm already thinking about how to provide the atmosphere and resources for John to continue to grow as a reader while supporting his interests in science and tinkering.

Daily Schedule of Lessons for Student in Form IIB
We followed this schedule for 1/2 of the year, except that we moved morning time from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. After Christmas, we enjoyed a few pared-down weeks and then I opted to fold the rest of John's history into morning time to simplify his mornings. Then, he was able to do his individual work from 8:30-9:30 and work on science with his older brother before morning time.

Plans by Subject
I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculumA Gentle FeastWildwood Curriculum,  A Delectable EducationSabbath Mood Homeschool, and Heritage Mom for book ideas, but I put our plans together in my own way. I have tried to note in [ ] whether I'm using a free book or how much I paid for each of the resources we are using. I am committed to homeschooling with free or really cheap books as part of our journey to be debt-free while living on one income. I have also listed all of the subjects we do as a family here.

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Language Arts
Several days a week John read a book of his choosing. He started with Dragon Masters or The Last Firehawk series at the beginning of the year and graduated to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Are they literature? No way, but he can read them for pleasure which is so important for developing his identity as a reader.

Every day, immediately before or after piano, he read for about 15 minutes from an assigned book. This year he read:

Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla [$8.99 from Rainbow Resource Center]
The Coming of Gray Owl by Ida May Hobbs[$6.89 from Thriftbooks
Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla [purchased for his sister - $4.19 from Thriftbooks]
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla [already owned, purchased with credit earned on Microsoft Rewards]
The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fischer

John also read from several of the books assigned to him for history and science. But as it was still interfering with his ability to enjoy those lessons, I released him from this after Christmas as well.

John slowly copied his recitation pieces into cursive into a wide-ruled composition notebook for the first half of the year. We then replaced this subject with spelling.

Last year, John started All About Spelling Level 2 but his progress had stalled. He didn't seem to be retaining rules and struggled to spell most words. I left off this subject knowing that we could come back to it. 

Because it seemed like he was ready for it, we added this into our schedule 3 days a week after Christmas. First, we reviewed all of level 1 in a couple of weeks. John remembered almost everything from that book. We then began level 2 from the beginning and John got a lot more out of it this time. He is not a natural speller but the All About Spelling rules do help him a lot. We managed to finish/review level 2 by the end of the year.

John recited three pieces per half-term of homeschooling (about 6 weeks) at our family poetry tea during break weeks. I choose a poem and passage (or another poem) and he chooses one poem.  This year I chose:

The Kind Moon by Sara Teasdale
Death Be Not Proud by John Donne
The Sea Wind by Sara Teasdale
Prospero Monologue from The Tempest by William Shakespeare
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
The Oven Bird by Robert Frost
O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts; from Henry V by William Shakespeare
The Fly by William Blake
Fool's Speech from King Lear by William Shakespeare
A Poison Tree by William Blake
It Couldn't Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest

John got was captivated by Longfellow's Hiawatha poem and choose to practice long sections of it for his chosen pieces. It is so heartwarming to hear your child who still works hard to read reciting an epic poem with feeling. His daily recitation practice (which he mainly read to himself this year) has been a very important part of building his reading fluency.
John made rhubarb sauce and helped decorate the table for our recent poetry tea. 

Social Studies: History and Geography
History and Geography
John read or listened to the following books about history and geography this year. Some were individually assigned to him, but most of them were read as part of our morning time:
Discovery of the Americas by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro [$4.19 from Thriftbooks
Journey to Cahokia by Cahokia Mounds Museum Society [already owned - gift from grandparent]
Exploration and Conquest: The Americans After Columbus 1500-1620 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro [$7.99 on Amazon, purchased with a gift card and credit]
Bound for America: The Forced Migration of Africans to the New World, to page 23 [$6.39 from Thriftbooks] to be continued next year
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro, to page 29 [$5.99 on Amazon with a multi-buy discount] to be continued next year
Turtle Island: The Story of North Americas First People, Chap 2 to page 92 [$11.99 from Target with book coupon] to be continued next year
Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling [already owned - used book gifted by a friend]
Pyramid by David Macaulay [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki [library]
Mosque by David Macaulay [$6.59 from Thriftbooks
Encounter by Jane Yolen [Library]
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherin O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro, to page 29

We were also gifted a Little Passports subscription and used the state books to begin a tour around the US. While I had heard so much about Little Passports, I have to admit that I was very underwhelmed. The workbooks seemed like twaddle and my kids had no interest in the workbook pages. They were inspired by some of the activities and it did provide a format for learning about different states and where they are on a map.

In term 1, John listened to Stories from the History of Rome on Libra vox. In term 2, he joined Peter to listen to me read from Plutarch. Although I had planned to read 2 of Plutarch's lives with him this year, we only accomplished half of Publicola before giving it up. 

Personally, I got a lot out of reading Plutarch's Lives, but the boys really disliked it and I couldn't justify why we were putting the energy into it. It doesn't seem important to me, so I'm letting it go. If I want to read Plutarch, I need to make time for reading it on my own.

John worked through Beast Academy for 30 minutes a day. He started the year in book 3D and ends the year halfway through 4B. His pace is slow, but he is doing well and understanding the material so we plan to keep with it next year. I've never come across another math curriculum that I like as much, so if it continues to work for him we will continue to use it.

Experimental science
John studied a new science each term with the following books and materials:

Astronomy: Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey [$1 book sale find] with activities from Astronomy for All Ages by Phillip Harrington [already owned]. 

Chemistry: Matter Molecules and Atoms by Bertha Morris Parker [already owned for his brother's 4th-grade year - $14.79 new on Amazon] along with experiments and activities from or inspired by the text.

Electronics: Electronics Study from Sabbath Mood Homeschool using Electronics for Kids by Oyvind Nydal Dahl

I had planned for him to use Magnets by Rocco V. Ferovolo [already owned for his brother's 4th-grade year - $12.61 new on Amazon] along with experiments using this kit [bought for his brother's 4th grade year - $12.60] but truthfully, he already knew so much about magnets and would have found it boring. 

He LOVED Electronics. So much so that he was super motivated to do his other lessons to get to work on electronics with his brother. He wants to continue to learn more in this area next year so if you have any ideas of great resources for that, let me know.

John also participated in a 5-week robotics club at a local museum and had a great time building and programming robots. He also got into building simple games using Scratch.

Nature Lore
John listened to and narrated 1 chapter per week of The Story-book of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre on Librivox.

Special Studies
He also listened to the following nature and science books in morning time:

The Moon of the Mountain Lions by Jean Craighead George
The Moon of the Deer by Jean Craighead George
Beaver Tales by Audrey Tournay and the Aspen Valley Beavers
The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery, Photographs by Nic Bishop
The Moon of the Chickarees by Jean Craighead George
Moon of the Bears by Jean Craighead George
Sphinx: The Story of a Caterpillar by Robert M. McClung

Wild + Free
John was happy to attend our year-round all-weather nature group at a rural property. He continues to enjoy getting wet and muddy. I count it as physical education and science on our schedule. 

Art and Music

Artist study, music appreciation, and folk singing 

As planned, we used picture study aids from A Humble Place during morning time to study

Term 1: Waterhouse
Term 2: Michelangelo
Term 3: Brugel

We subscribed to SQUILT for July-August and November-February. The last few months we continued to listen to SQUILT calendars that we hadn't already completed. It was not focused on particular composers, but we listened to great music and learned a lot.

We learned a few new folk songs, including
The Golden Vanity 
Brown Girl in the Ring
King John And the Abbot of Canterbury 
The Happy Wanderer
Heath to the Company 

We also sang our old favorites in the car, on hikes, and whenever the mood struck us. 

I didn't plan as much in this area as I had in the past, but lots of learning happened. John made many gifts for family, including a nice woven basket which was given as Christmas gift using this kit that had enough materials to make 4 baskets with plenty of leftover materials. John also did a lot of cooking and baking this year, making everything from rhubarb sauce to turkey burgers to muffins. 

John's attitude about piano practice definitely improved throughout the year although mastering the songs does not come easy to him. He completed all of Unit 7 and is currently in Unit 8 of Hoffman Academy. I require him to practice for 15 minutes most days of the week. 

Physical Education
John participated in the following this year:
  • Swimming lessons (summer)
  • AYSO Soccer (Fall and Spring)
  • Ice skating (Winter)
  • Hiking, biking, and frequent walks around our town

This is the year I breathe a sigh of relief and feel like I have helped John get to the point where he can more easily pursue his interests when reading is needed. This summer I hope to provide the right books and the right enviroment to encourage reading. At the same time, we'll be taking a long break from formal learning to make room for the things that John loves--family camping, swimming, hiking, kayaking, a backpacking trip, whitewater rafting, and 2 weeks of residential camp.