Weekly Update – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – 4th Grade Edition

The Good

California History – It is a wonderful state with an interesting history – what’s not to like? This week we learned about the earliest Californians and the  La Brea Tar Pits.

The Creative Writer – This is technically for slightly older kids, but Decca has a passion for writing, so I thought we would try it. He loves it! This week we worked on plot points. He went over the samples in the book, and then he wrote out the plot points for his independent reading book (Bunnicula) and for a Scooby Doo cartoon. He also went over plot points in his own stories that he has written.

The Arrow – Another hit for my language arts loving guy. I got the subscription for the current year, as there is an added emphasis on grammar. I have looked at Bravewriter before, but I never liked what I saw, as the samples never seemed meaty enough. This year I decided to give it a try because I couldn’t find anything else for Decca that would work for him.  I am glad I did. The first book he is working from is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the work is quite meaningful and enjoyable.

Timez Attack – What can I say? It is a program that teaches kids their math facts, but it feels like a video game. As my son says, “It even has bosses!”. How can anybody not love that?

The Bad

DreamBox Learning – My son loved this last year and worked on it for most of the year. This year…I don’t know. He is bored by it and doesn’t seem to be learning anything new. The game choices are all the same, and we can’t figure out what he should be working on. There are too many choices in the menu, and he seems to pick the same games over and over. I would like DreamBox better if it would choose what lessons the student should work on each day to keep them progressing.

I was going to use this as his main math program, but I don’t think that will work out. Instead I will most likely have him work on his math facts with Timez Attack and then move on to Life of Fred fractions in January. This was what I did with the twins, and it worked out nicely for them. Hopefully Decca will be able to take the same path.

The Ugly

Equine Science – Honestly Decca loves it. He would be happy learning about horses, or any animal, all day long. Unfortunately I don’t share that passion, and I think after nearly four years of studying animals with him I am done. I don’t want to know about all the different horses or the points of a horse. I don’t want to teach him to draw horses, and I am not interested in looking at picture after picture of horses. I hate to admit it, but we did no science at all this week.

However I did purchase the curriculum and all the books. I took this on knowing I would most likely not like it, and we have no other science as of right now. I am just going to have to buckle down and try to get through it, or at least use the resources with Decca to get something out of it. Then we will be moving on to a different science, a more traditional science. I think it is time that we expand our studies and discover other passions.

Next week I will turn the spotlight on eighth grade and share my thoughts on our curriculum choices.

One thought on “Weekly Update – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – 4th Grade Edition

  1. Hahaha- I can’t help laugh at your Equine Science comments. It’s rough when a kid has a passion that we don’t share. My youngest would prefer to do only animal topics for science, but he will have to pursue that on his own time! Looks like you had a good week!

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