Thursday, August 15, 2019

4th Grade Afterschooling Goals and Curriculum

Xander is eight and a half and about to enter 4th grade.  Since he has been so far ahead from first entering public school, I've always supplemented at home. Because I was working, we mostly focused on math, with some other subject thrown in. Last year, he did a LOT of IXL.  This year, I've decided to take a much more organized approach to his "Afterschooling".
I wrote out my goals and then figured out the curriculum that would meet it, but he would also enjoy.  Since he does go to regular school all day, I've had to be picky about what I teach him so that he gets free time too.  My goal is about 45 minutes of afterschooling work most days. He doesn't normally have homework from school, but when he had a huge project last year, we just skipped my work for him those weeks.

Here is what I decided to supplement and how:
Visual Spatial Reasoning - While Xander has scored really high on all of his standardized and gifted tests, his visual spatial reasoning is just the tiniest bit behind the other areas of math.
  • Games - We try to play a lot of games together. Several of these include a visual spacial component (Carcassone, Pylos, Q-Bits, Tsuro, Brick Party, Blokus). He also has a lot of solo logic games that work on these skills as well.
General Math - He's always enjoyed math.  Every time we go to the library he comes home with Life of Fred books and he would watch Mathtacular on repeat if I let him. Since he tends to be ahead of where they are at school, I supplement at home.
  • Beast Academy - We just discovered these books and love them! He reads the textbook, which is written like a comic book, on his own. We do the workbook together. (Not affiliate link, just love them) Library Call Numbers - I've started writing his/my list of library books by call numbers and having him find them.
  • Cooking - I plan on having him bake every so often, but halving or doubling a recipe

Logic/Critical Thinking
Logic and critical thinking are some of those skills that spill into everything else, but don't normally get taught directly in school.
  • Solo Logic Games - We have tons of these, so we'll just rotate them weekly.
  • Family Games - We play a lot of games together, but I have no patience for luck only games. As a result, a lot of our games have plenty of strategy and logic.
  • Mind Benders Level 4 - Xander loves these logic grid puzzles. Sometimes he needs some help walking through them, but he can usually figure them out on h is own.
  • The Basics of Critical Thinking book - My goal is to have Xander read just a few pages of this every week. However, I'm sure he will probably sit down and read the whole thing the first week I get it out. I haven't looked through the whole thing, yet, but it seems like a nice approach to critical thinking.
  • Added* Dr. Funster's Visual Mind Benders A1 - Xander finished his logic grid book in October, so we moved on to this visual logic book.


The kid has hated drawing/writing/coloring since he was little. Unfortunately, it is causing him to shorten his answers at school, so that he can write less. He also sometimes writes so quickly, it is entirely illegible. We're working on it, slowly.
I'm a former science teacher, so there was no way I could skip the science. I used the Next Generation Science Standards, which are the national standards, to figure out what he should be learning in 4th grade. From there, I am going to write my own activities and curriculum to meet the standards. I'll share as I go, and probably put the whole thing together on Teachers Pay Teachers eventually.
Keyboarding is not taught in our district until middle school. I originally purchased a subscription to keyboarding curriculum, but Xander didn't really like it. Lately, he has just been using Nitrotype. I don't love it, but he does, so we're going with it.
  • Tuttle Twins Books - Last year, my dad got Xander the entire set of Tuttle Twins books for Christmas. Xander's read all of the books multiple times, but I also want to make sure he's pulling the lessons out of them. My plan is to do a monthly "book club" with him. I'll read the books and write discussion questions for us. It will also be a great way for him to practice his summarizing skills.

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