Saturday, October 15, 2011

Art, art, art...

Fourth grade: Art

We’ve talked a lot about social studies and language arts, but there is another subject in fourth grade that we don’t need to overlook. In a lot of school systems art is being cut, either entirely or at least to the bare bones. In a time when everyone from parents to school administrators is looking for higher test scores and cost cutting measures, art often gets the short end of the deal. If you are home educating then this is one of those places where you can give your child a better shot at participating in art than they might get in school. Art is important to your fourth grader for many reason, not the least of which is that it is fun. Another reason to include art in your child’s curriculum is that there are studies that show that students who are exposed to art, and allowed to participate in it , do better academically. And there are many forms of art to choose from. Art is everything from drawing with a pencil in a notebook, to painting on a canvas, to sculpting with clay, to making crafts with common, everyday items. Art is not just the hands on part of art, but it also can include studies of famous artists such as Monet and da Vinci. . Many of the classical pieces of art have historical as well as artistic importance and so should be studied and recognized for their historical significance. There are several very good art appreciation type programs online to help you expand your child’s art curriculum.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cursive writing and keyboarding

Fourth grade language arts: Cursive Writing and keyboarding

Fourth grade is an exciting year because the things that our children have learned to this point all start coming together. They are reading better, and writing better. Most of their written work will be done in cursive writing. While they probably learned to write in cursive in the third grade, they were not proficient at it, and it was still a very slow process. With the fourth grade year they will get better at cursive, faster, and more comfortable with it. And they will get many opportunities to polish their handwriting. Journals are one way to allow them to practice their penmanship. Writing the three main types of paragraphs will also give them practice. As time marches on, so does technology. Not surprisingly, some portion of your fourth graders writing will be done on the keyboard, utilizing the word processor. At our house I have exposed my child to both cursive writing and to keyboarding. She is not great at either one yet, but I saw large leaps in her fluency with cursive and her competency in keyboarding. During her fourth grade years. If your child needs extra practice with cursive, you will find many sites that offer worksheets in the various forms of cursive penmanship. Some even offer “copy work” in topics from famous quotes to Biblical references. Many of those are free. As for keyboarding, you can either purchase a typing program aimed specifically at kids, or you can find several sites online that provide games that will give your child the basic practice to learn the positions of letters and numbers, as well as drills to increase speed and accuracy. It looks like keyboarding is here to stay, but penmanship is not yet obsolete. If your child doesn’t yet have a working knowledge of both forms of expression, fourth grade is the year you will see this happen.