Recommendations for Grades 2, 3, and 4
Read "The Home Schooling Toolbox" for lots of comprehensive, but not overwhelming suggestions on getting started in home education successfully. It will also give you valuable ideas regarding a variety of approaches to home education and to curriculums.
JUST Math and English to start.
I highly recommend starting with just math and English for at least the first few months with children you are just taking out of a school system. This allows you to discover where they are actually functioning in math and English. You may have to relay some stronger foundations! Take the first months to work towards having your family working together as a team. It often takes time for "schooled" children to "like" each other and to work together effectively. You will be under much less stress if you take a couple of months to get into a routine.
FOUNDATIONS up to age 10:
Prior to age 10, I believe it is wise to lay very solid foundations in math and English and develop research and thinking skills. Use this time to also teach life skills, music and art, and to develop the character and spiritual growth. We personally use a variety of complementary English resources simultaneously for building an exceptionally strong foundation in that area. Choose resources that will train the heart and lay foundations in Biblical wisdom along with the academics! Once a child is aged 10 or older: add in formal science and social studies. When the child is ready, add one additional subject at a time as you gain confidence and have the time. If you zero in on math and English and use the ungraded Professor B Math, you can have high school level algebra completed by the time the child is 12. The Climbing to Good English yields an equivalence of about grade 10 grammar and writing skills by age 12 or 13! The Critical Thinking Press books yield high results in thinking skills. In Canada, French is not actually necessary in the younger years. One or two years of tutoring will give them the requirements for French if you are looking to get high school credits. Once the child is reading well you have opened the world to them. With strong foundations in these areas your child will be ready to tackle any other curriculum later on, not to speak of facing life with Biblical wisdom and Godly character.
Our recommended resources help you to educate your child spiritually (at the heart level), academically, and, in some cases, physically. They complement each other, are easy to use, and are effective. Unless otherwise noted, all recommended resources are available from JOY Center of Learning. Each curriculum we sell is carefully explained, giving samples, on our website or CD catalogue.
Plan to spend about 2 hours in total per day in some organized academic math and reading instruction and practice, spread out over small increments of time.
FOR TEACHING PHONICS, READING, SPELLING, GRAMMAR:
Teaching WHY and HOW to read:
Christ-Centered Curriculum: - (about 30 to 45 minutes per day, 3-5 days per week)
• You need the Teacher Phonics Kit #010 and Student Phonics Kit B #012. This curriculum focusses on Biblical principles and character development while developing reading, spelling, and grammar skills.
• Children ages six plus who are not yet reading – start with Level B
• If completed Level B - proceed to Level C1. Yes, book C1 does repeat what was taught in B1, 2 & 3 but you will now add more content and expect greater mastery and understanding.
• If your child has not been using the CCC or is not reading well, consider Level B or C.
Teaching - READING COMPREHENSION
Pathway Readers: (about 30 minutes on days you use it, 2-3 days a week)
• at grade level or child's reading level - we recommend you have the child complete our Pathway Placement Test on our CD or website at http://www.joycenter.on.ca
Teaching – USING the English Language
(about 15-30 minutes – 2-3 days a week)
Climbing to Good English: These workbooks reinforce what the child is learning in the CCC or can be used on their own.
• at grade level OR, if child has not been using Climbing to Good English or has not had a solid foundation in beginning grammar, Level 2 is an excellent starting place even for a grade 3 or 4 child. Have the child proceed quickly through Level 2 within about two months and then go on to Level 3. Level 3 is VERY comprehensive and introduces many of the basic grammar and writing concepts, laying a solid foundation for Level 4. Look over the list of what is covered at each grade level (see our website or CD) to determine where to place your child. Beginning at an earlier Level can help the child gain confidence.
LANGUAGE ARTS RECOMMENDATION: Purchase one of our grade level Language Arts kits that include Pathway Readers and Climbing to Good English. If not also using the Christ Centered Curriculum, we recommend the CCC "Phonics Drill Reader" for spelling instruction.
Be sure to read our information entitled "Using Pathway,Climbing to Good English & Christ Centered Curriculum Together" for ideas for using these three programs as a dynamic trio that will be comprehensive without being overwhelming! No, you do NOT use them all every day!
Supplemental Reading Practice:
The "Bible Times" and "Bible Wise" titles are excellent. Grades 3 & 4 can often handle the Thornton Burgess titles. See also our books in the section entitled "Cuddle Up" books. Critical Thinking Press "Reading Detective" is excellent for developing reading comprehension.
Teaching – PRINTING:
If your child does not have good penmanship use "A Guide to Teaching Printing With Character" which presents a simpler method of printing than the traditional "stick and ball" approach. You may also find the rubber pencil grips to be helpful for some children.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Until a child is reading and spelling well on their own, I personally recommend that you not have them write out sentences independently. If you have taken your child out of a school, they may be accustomed to writing in a journal that has never been corrected for grammar or spelling. It can take a while to repair the damage done. I know this recommendation is a little radical according to some people but it works! Have the child dictate to you any answers that require being given as a sentence or paragraph. Some children need "prompts" for answering in sentence form. You discuss the grammatical structure and possible rewording. You write out the results on scrap paper with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation and then the child writes the answer in their workbook, etc. Using this method they are practising correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation and eventually they recognize when there are errors. This saves you and the child much frustration and frees up loads of time for accomplishing other tasks. The child does not have to unlearn incorrect spelling and punctuation but instead develops excellent skills from the very beginning. Most children benefit from this method until they are around nine to 12 years of age, depending on their academic abilities. Test the waters from time to time to determine if they are ready to write on their own. For additional information and ideas, see our "Writing Suggestions" flier on our website or catalogue CD.
Teaching – MATH:
Professor B Math: ungraded and teaches to advanced grade seven within three books (3-4 years)
• Have your child complete the placement test on our website or catalogue CD.
• Use Level 1 of Professor B for a second grader, and also for a third and fourth grader not having a strong foundation in adding and subtracting. The first half of Level 1 will be a review but your child will learn speed and accuracy, laying foundations for other math skills. By the end of Level 1 the child will be adding and subtracting to an advanced grade seven level.
• Use Level 2 if child has completed Level 1 or has a good understanding and mastery of adding & subtracting and is ready to learn multiplication, division, fractions, prime factorization and so on.
• Use Level 3 if child has completed Professor B Level 2.
Math Manipulatives: although Professor B Math does not utilize manipulatives, some children benefit from them and the curriculum lends itself well to using the Cube-a-Links, counting sticks, and the Beginner Counting set. The Master Innovations products (Master Ruler, Clock & Fractions are also excellent.)
SUPPLEMENTAL MATH RESOURCES:
• Mathematical Reasoning by Critical Thinking Press - Book 1 for grades 2-4 (item #CT6902) – use this along with the Professor B to cover other important areas of math, including basic geometry & mathematical reasoning skills.
• Telling Time book (item #D104) along with the Master Clock (#8515)
THINKING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
from Critical Thinking Press
• Building Thinking Skills Book 1 for grades 2-4 (items # CT5209 & CT5201) You need a set of interlocking Cube-a-Link cubes (item E131) and Logic/attribute blocks (item #121). The Pattern blocks suggested are optional (item #E101 or E102).
• Building Thinking Skills Book 2 for grades 4-7 (items # CT5210 and CT5203) Most grade fours would benefit from the foundations of Book 1 if they have not yet completed it.
• Cassettes: #504 Songs of Virtue. In addition, any of the cassettes and CD's we sell for children.
- The charts by Doorpost Publishing
– "Manners Made Easy" is an excellent book for training in manners that aren't so common any more! All from a Biblical perspective!
– "Mind Your Manners" game for ages four and up.
– "Life Skills for Kids" is a terrific book for training any child from about seven through the teen years to be able to eventually live on their own without mom or dad doing everything for them. It covers skills you might never have thought of actually teaching your child.
• Developmental Resources: be sure to consider the neat resources in the "Developmental Resources" section of our catalogue and website.
• Music & Art: consider the Music Maker Lap Harp and the Master's Recorder & Piano courses. Learning to make melody in your heart enhances academic ability! Introduce some of our "How to Draw" books to develop lots of skills.
• Indispensable Recipes for Crafts and Projects – a booklet full of neat ideas for use with all ages!
• Spiritual Development: the book, "Leading Little Ones to God" is excellent for spiritual instruction; Doorpost Publishing charts and their books entitled "For Instruction in Righteousness," "Plants Grown Up" and "Polished Cornerstones."
The following books are NOT available from JOY Center of Learning:
- take about 20 to 30 minutes per day in each area
As mentioned earlier, hold off until you have laid those solid foundations in math and English. Generally add science and social studies in at around age 10. However, in the event your child is keen on these subjects at an earlier age, or that your education laws insist on them, consider:
• School of Tomorrow and Christian Light offer good science and social study workbooks with lots of Canadian content in the social studies booklets. These help with reading comprehension and encourage independent study. You will not need answer keys at this level unless you do not have time to glance through the books to find the answers, or if you want the child to mark their own work.
• "Backyard Scientist" books with easy, interesting science experiments that your children would enjoy doing together once in a while. It is available from many distributors.
• "Character Sketch Books" These beautiful books study various creatures from nature and Bible characters together, using reading and discussion as opposed to experiments. Design your own projects – build a beaver lodge out of play dough and sticks, pretend to be a badger by donning an extra large coat, act out some of the characteristics of the creature being studied, etc. In Canada: available from IBLP, 511 Piercey Rd., Bolton, ON L7E 5B8 (phone: 905-951-0001); Character Concepts, in Vernon, BC at 1-866-444-2288; Character Foremost in Ontario at 519-899-4344. In the U.S.: IBLP, Box One, Oak Brook, IL 60522-3001 at 630-323-6394.
• "Five in Row" has a variety of programs at different age levels. You read a recommended book every day for one week and follow the suggestions for study included in the Five in a Row guide. Topics are determined by the story or the pictures in the book being read. E.g.: if the story takes place in Japan, find Japan on a map, perhaps study about the Cecropia Moth (silk worms), make a meal based on Japanese cuisine.
• "Canada, My Country" by Donna Ward and available from most major home school distributors. Not specifically graded so you can often teach many ages of children at once.
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