Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things worth buying for 4th grade part 1

If you glance over a homeschool supply/curriculum catalog, it's easy to get overwhelmed. I've never felt the need to buy a pre-packaged curriculum set because eliminating "busy work" and a desire to personalize the curriculum are some of the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place. I create my own curriculum based on state guidelines and our personal choices. Sure, it would be easier to have a pre-determined set of assignments and worksheets already done, but it doesn't take that much extra effort. Also it keeps the cost of doing homeschool down a LOT. We have very minimal expenses. We use the library, the internet, etc. I make my own worksheet or find them for free on the internet.

We're nearing the end of Kendall's 4th grade school year, so here are some of the items that I did actually buy that were helpful for us this year:

"States and Capitals" memorization CD (Twin Sisters Productions)

I have used Twin Sisters CDs before. I would totally recommend them. We used "Phonics" and "Advanced Phonics" back when Kendall was learning to read and we would listen to them in the car during errands & my commute to college. They use songs to help you memorize, which saved me a lot of time and effort. Kendall memorized the states and capitals in ONE DAY (one day with a LOT of errands), which would have taken a lot longer the traditional way, so the $9 I spent was totally worth it.

Large Dry Erase Board
I used to have one of these on an easel, but a regular dry-erase board (like you would hang next to your phone) works just as well. We bought a large one (about 2' x 3'), which was only about $8.00 at Walmart. I write Kendall's school schedule on one side every night, so when she gets up in the morning she can see what we're doing for the day. On the other side, I write silly math story-problems for her to solve after she finishes her other math work.

Test Prep Book
I bought a 4th grade test-prep workbook for about $10.00 online (you can also get them at educational supply stores like Learning Palace). I bought one of these last year for 3rd grade, too, they are great for practicing standardized testing throughout the year. Also helps us identify areas where she needs more work (before the end of the year).

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