I have written a few detailed posts about what I am planning on using with my daughter as she starts year 7 but I have not really mentioned anything about my son who is starting year 4, I think that is largely because Year 7 resources were new for me whereas I feel like I have a handle on what resources we will be using with my younger son just because I have already learnt through trial and error what works for us.
But a few readers have asked so here are my plans.
Maths and English I tend to do in a more structured manner whereas our other subjects are covered by topics / projects. And yes most of the topics are driven by the kids interests and no I don’t worry about that because I have learnt over the years that we cover a LOT more when we follow the kids interests than we do if I try and force something. Also when the kids start learning about a topic you would be surprised what other subjects naturally get included. All our animal topics cover biology but they also end up covering a lot of Geography – habitats, countries, weather and Maths – he is constantly comparing sizes and converting measurements. With my son’s interest in planes we have already covered design, a bit of town planning, history, physics – yes physics – forces – streamlined shapes, wind, gravity, magnets and electrical circuits all relating to planes. So I am very happy with continuing on our project way of learning. And I do have a good idea of the kind of topics that interest my son so I do record documentaries and even reserve books in advance but I also often end up searching spur-of-the-moment for resources we can use when he goes off on a new tangent.
English. My son’s reading is excellent and he reads a lot by himself so I don’t feel like we need to work on his reading but we do still do family-reading where we all read a book together. This has become one of my must-do activities because I have seen how much they learn by just sitting, next to me while I read and it is often the starting point for new projects.
Writing – he actually writes quite a bit about the topics that he is interested in. He likes creating his own animal stories and he does this independently. But I do want to do a few exercises on story structure, just have not figured out what yet. Spelling and Grammar – I feel like he needs work on these two. He is not a natural speller and I have found that learning some basic spelling rules work for him but I need to reinforce them A LOT and he need LOTS of practice. For me this is something that we will persist with over this coming year as I personally struggled with spelling and grammar when I was younger and want to try and give him a better grounding. We will use a combination of resources/ ideas for this – I started using the Understanding English Spelling book with him last year and I really like it so we are continuing with it and are going to add some more workbooks from that series. They are the Understanding English: Grammar: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11,Understanding English: Punctuation: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11,Understanding English: Vocabulary: KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11, Understanding English: Spelling : KS2 English Study Book, Ages 7-11.
I like these books but I do not tear through page after page. We will complete a spelling page, do an activity on in, probably mix in a vocab page, another activity, maybe a grammar page and then go back to a different spelling page – and that can take us 2 weeks or so. If I just did a page a day and tried to work through the entire spelling workbook from cover to cover it would not work. For us it is a framework and then we add activities in.
And the activities don’t need to be complex. A simple thing like covering our kitchen table with paper and then us picking adjectives out of his favourite book and writing them in groups with coloured pencils can be just as effective as some fancy Pinterest idea.
Maths – I started using some of the Understanding Maths Range with him in his Year 3 and we will continue with those. I like the explanations and the structure of this range but it does not include lots of practice and I believe kids need to practice Maths. So for practice pages we will be using the Bond Arithmetic books and possibly the Schofield & Sims Written Calculation books (I am thinking of buying him the Written Calculation: Multiplication Book 1 – KS2, Ages 7-11 and Written Calculation: Division Book 1 – KS2, Ages 7-11). He also likes practicing with Maths dominoes, so I will make more of those for him.
My aim for his maths is to finish learning all the times tables, work on long multiplication and division, we need to spend time on fractions and he enjoys geometry and graphs so that is always easy to slip in (in fact we often manages to include geometry and graphs in his different projects).
I have mentioned using the Oaka Books Key Stage 2 games quite a bit recently but I feel like I need to include them here again. We find it a relaxed form of learning and both my kids learn a lot while playing the games so we will definitely continue. So far we have three which cover different areas – The Predators and Producers game (Biology), The Space Race game (Physics) and the On the Map game (Geography).
That is my basic starting point but as always we will adapt as we proceed through Year 4.
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