I have used the Core knowledge books for a number of years (original Core Knowledge book post). Over the summer I finally got a copy of the year 4 book – so this is what I think about the Year 4 book.
The year 4 book is broken down into the same topics as the previous years and is written in the same style. It is not a detailed curriculum with daily lesson plans. It is a general outline of ideas and activities which you can include in your learning. It does build on some of the learning which was covered in the earlier books of the series.
As with the previous Core Knowledge books I love the resources list at the end of each topic. Lots of brilliant suggestions and I have already bought a few and I have a bunch sitting on my Amazon Wish List.
The book is broken down into the following categories.
1. Language and Literature
This includes examples of poetry and stories to read with the kids (and no it does not include comprehension type questions after each story or poem). It also includes Legends and Myths from Ancient Greece and Rome.
The language part includes bits about how you set out a letter, sentence structure and parts of speech. I find it useful to read these bits before I do a project with the kids as it helps to refresh my existing knowledge
2. History and Geography
This section is broken down into Mediterranean Europe, Eastern Europe and British geography. The geography sections does assume that the kids already have a bit of basic geography knowledge like what the continents are. The historical part deals with Ancient Rome in quite a bit of detail (we are hoping to use this soon) and British History.
3. Visual Arts
I really enjoyed skimming through this chapter. Lots of great ideas and activities which I am dying to try.
This chapter deals with the elements of music, different parts of an orchestra and composers. It also gives some ideas for songs which the kids can use. I especially like the fact that they give suggested audio recording at the end of this chapter as I really want to get some new music for us to listen to while we are at home or out driving somewhere in the car.
I love this chapter. As with all the other maths chapters in the earlier books it breaks maths down into manageable bits. It explains the concepts in simple terms and gives ideas on how to teach the kids the maths concepts in ways that are straightforward. No it is not as detailed as if you bought an entire maths syllabus but I really enjoy reading the maths chapter and in past years I have referred to the maths section on numerous occasions.
It covers place value up to 100 thousands, rounding numbers, ordinal numbers, addition and subtraction, more than one operation in a sum, multiplication and divisions (short and long ways of doing both), roman numerals, fractions, decimals, time, graphs, geometry, weight and measurement. I know I am going to find this chapter very useful.
I love that at the beginning of this chapter they recommend taking your kids to a Science museum and name a few in the UK (brilliant way to start a chapter on science encouraging you to get out and experience it with the kids).
The chapter cover classifying animals, ecology, the human skeleton and muscular system, the human brain and nervous system, light and vision, sound and hearing, astronomy and the lives of famous scientists.
In previous years I have used the Science chapters in the earlier books a lot and I have a feeling that this year a lot of our inspiration and starting points might also come from the Science chapter.
I have used the earlier Core Knowledge books over the past three years and I am definitely going to be using this year 4 book with my daughter. As in prior years I do not expect the book to be the only resource that I use. I will use it as a guide, a suggestion of what to cover with my daughter and how to help her grasp certain topics. Her way of learning is not the same as mine so I find it very useful to read books which give suggestions on how to explain and tackle concepts.
I plan on doing an updated review of the year 4 book at the end of my daughter’s year 4 academic year and I will include more detail about what we used and liked.
You can buy the Core Knowledge books in Amazon – here is a link for the What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 4 Education