4th grade felt like the year the pieces finally came together. I was more confident in my teaching ability. Instead of being a 'slave to the curriculum' I began to focus more on what I wanted to accomplish and used our books and resources to meet those goals. We found our groove and a schedule that worked for us. It was an all-around good year.
A Year of Transition
4th grade also felt like a transition year in many respects. TJ began showing more independence. Instead of needing to be constantly by her side, I could go over a lesson and leave the table for a few minutes while she worked. Anything more than that was an epic fail (a few days of letting her take her work to another room proved that she wasn't ready for more independence).
4th Grade in action
After trying a few different scheduling formats we finally found our groove this year. After getting ready for the day, TJ did her morning routine - reading her Bible, a page of math drill or Math Rider, typing, and recitation. Then we had our "together school" time for those subjects that I teach directly (which is most things!). But instead of having her do her worksheets or workbooks, we would put them off to the side and move on to the next subject. After lunch, she would have her "independent time" and move through the work that she needed to complete.
We found that, for now, the best place for that independent work is still right at the table where I can keep an eye on things and sit with her. She's not quite ready for taking her work off to her own space.
After her independent work was finished we'd have some reading time and that was the end of our school day. For the most part, this schedule worked very well for us.
Here's what we used: (there are some affiliate links below)
4th Grade Highlights
The longer I work at this homeschooling thing the easier it gets. I've lost some of that 'deer in the headlights', must buy 5 different math programs because I don't know what I'm doing insecurity. This year, more than any other, I realized that all these programs don't control our homeschool. This post - Curriculum is not something you buy - is such a great read and really speaks to the heart of this issue.
Along the same lines, I've depended more and more on the yearly goals I set to guide our year instead of going through the 'box-checking' motions and trying to get through our list of daily to-dos. I want our homeschool and learning to be something that's just integrated into our life and not something that's just to be gotten through so we can get on with the 'fun stuff' of life.
We had our share of 'box-checking' this year - that is my biggest regret. But it also gives me the chance to see where I can change our focus. I have larger goals with this new year coming now that we've moved beyond the mechanics of reading, writing, and math and shifted focus. Our time is now being spent reading and discussing - something I need to study and prepare myself for.
I think this is my favorite season of homeschooling. I wouldn't trade this time and the privileges of homeschooling for anything.