Comprehensive 13 Week Unplugged Project-Based Homeschooling -3rd – 4th grade


Indoor Home-Based Schedule, Curriculum, and Projects for 8 to 10 Year Olds  

All the Explanations, Resources and Curriculum You Need

The Projects are in a separate page, here. Scroll down to reference the Math curriculum, links to books, illustrated projects guide with instructions, suggested books, suggested chores, suggested history, etc. For the Natural Science part of the schedule please use this free curriculum, which contains all the projects, activities and required materials for Science and Geography

Obviously, the proposed homeschooling routine and schedule goes against one of the most important aspects of a “true Jedi” -that of leading a rich social life and doing activities outside of the house and being outdoors. However, in these times of social distancing and in some cities’ shelter in place order, we can still keep our kids engaged and creative practicing Homeschooling in a manner that engages them in hands-on projects, age appropriate and without electronics. I am sure your kids, just like mine, will find time and reason to get connected at some point in the day (or night). With the schedule below, we are going to delay screen time for most of the day, and our kids will come to embrace their unplugged learning.

Some clarification points for the project-based homeschool schedule

  • Project-based learning allows us to unplug and learn that the Internet is a tool to find certain information and resources, but to rely more on ourselves, our resourcefulness, our intelligence, and our creativity. To develop wisdom.
  • Projects are meant to be “owned” so the child should be involved in all parts of the project.
  • You will have to sit with them for certain tasks. Think of it as sitting down with your child to help with her homework -That’s about as long as it should take.
  • The most detailed and well engineered schedule, even if it was built by a professional project manager (which it is), will need some adjustments that fit your family, life style, and routine.
  • As the weeks go on the schedule is more involved, and loaded. There is always a bit of math, and a bit of reading, etc. to stay up with the academic skills their grade level demands. But you will notice there are days that are more project-based and science based. Those projects should take as long as needed.
  • Please notice that we have Foreign Language twice per week in our schedule. If Language Lessons are not possible, there might be something else like music that they might practice or learn on their own. Perhaps designing a video game or flowchart for one (which is not an online endeavor). Perhaps work on writing, or any other skill.
  • The point of this schedule is to get the child and the parent to get the hang of homeschooling. What this means is that the parent is able to relax and not feel like their kids are in a race, or that the curriculum dictates how much and how fast the kids should learn. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t evaluate what the kids know by making it fun like: challenges, against the clock games, cha-Ching challenges, stickers/prices, wheel of fortune, talking about what they learned, tell me all you know about…and ask questions, etc. 
  • You will need to buy some supplies and books. The research has been done so that you spend less on curriculum and more in materials and supplies needed to provide a richer learning environment.
  • And lastly but most importantly: The “free play”, “personal time” and “personal projects” in the schedule is distributed in such a way that kids will start to embrace it. They’ll start utilizing that free personal play time better and better each time. The whole point of Mindful Homeschooling is to get to that place where kids become autonomous with their time, with their learning, with their projects. This will lead them to develop and expand on current interests, new interests, ask questions and expand their curiosity and act on it. 

The project-based homeschool schedule is as follows:

Week 1

Notice “Chores” appears on most days. It sounds boring to stat off the day this way. But I have seen chores turning into projects, like for example organizing their room in such a way that works for the child at that point in time, based on what his or her interests are. Chores can take the form of helping, developing routine, developing responsibility, owning how we do something in the house, projects, organization, or just doing something you don’t really like to do!

Monday – Chores. Math Practice addition 1, 2, 3, 4, digits and carrying -3 pages. Start Entrepreneurship/Business Challenge.  Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill.

Tuesday- Chores. Natural Science and Geography: Study the continents and the oceans on the globe. Paint a world map as accurately and creatively as possible. Read favorite book. Talk about what they read. 

Wednesday – Chores. Math Practice addition 1, 2, 3, 4, digits and carrying -3 pages. Free play. Drawing practice. Read favorite book. Talk about what they read.

Thursday – Chores. Geography Recap. Project from At Home Activities. Free play. Structured play. Read at night.

Friday – Chores. Work on business. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1hr. Free play. Reading favorite book. Talking about the reading. 

If you are not stuck at home, there is a good chance that your child will have too many activities going on during the week days that there is no way you can get all this done Monday to Friday.

Week 2 

Monday – Chores. Math Practice subtraction 1, 2, 3, 4 digits and carrying 2 pages. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Structured game. Reading 

Tuesday – Chores. Math practice subtraction 1, 2, 3, 4 digits and carrying 2 pages. Continue working on business. Recap Geography. Free play.

Wednesday- The Earth and the Sun. Practice drawing a sphere. Draw the the Sun with a compass and the Earth a little smaller. Mark the axis of the Earth so that it’s pointing towards the Sun on the North Pole or the South Pole. With a ruler delineate where the sun rays would shine on the Earth. Shade in the sphere. See pic below. Structured game.

Thursday – Chores. Word Problems 2 pages. Foreign language 1 hr. Art: Practice drawing. Reading from favorite book. Free play. 

Friday- Chores. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skilllanguage 1 hr. Project.

Note: Remember to praise them and guide them on their projects. No one is grading them but themselves, so please, stay away from the process as much as you can. The Projects are meant to develop skills, self assurance, and to empower kids to be resourceful, create questions and problems, solve questions and problems. Projects don’t have to be well executed or have a perfect end product. A project has to be impressive on the basis that the child did most or all the work, came up with some great ideas and solutions and if the solutions and ideas failed that is a successful project, because we learn from our failures and they will apply that learning next time.

Week 3

Monday – Chores. Word Problems -2 pages. Reading. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Free play or Drawing Practice. Personal project: Start a Recipe Notebook -Write a recipe for dinner main course, appetizer and desert. Night reading. 

Tuesday – Chores. Math Practice subtraction 3 and 4 digits and carrying -4 pages. Continue work on business. Natural Science recap from last week and previous week. Art: drawing practice. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Wednesday – Chores. Word Problems 2 pages. Art day. Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Thursday- Chores. Math practice subtraction 3 and 4 digits -3 pages. Design and Make an obstacle course. Free play. 

Friday- Chores. Work on obstacle course. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Free play or art. 

Note: While I suggest a progression for Math (scroll toward the end), I do not include a Reading, Writing and Spelling Curriculum or progression. I worked at a company that made its name in helping kids learn to read, and I have researched this subject enough to realize that it is personal to each kid and family.

Week 4: 

Monday – Chores. Word problems -3 pages. Plan for project. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Work on new project.

Tuesday – Chores. Writing Practice. Natural Science and Geography Lesson 1 2 – 3hrs. Includes: Paint a Solar System, dance party with the music from the Planets Sun and the Sun Song, make party snacks… Nighttime Read from favorite book.

Wednesday – Chores. Recap the Solar System. Intro to fractions. Free play.

Thursday – Chores. Word problems 3 pages. Personal Project: Business. Expenses (the cost of your supplies) Profit (how much money you actually made after your expenses. Sales minus expenses = Profit. Drawing practice or free play.

Friday – Chores. Math Practice addition and subtraction carrying 2 pages. Recap of intro to fractions. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1hr. Project. Free play or Art. 

Note: Remember to praise the kids for their projects and creative endeavors -There will come the time when we praise them for memorizing things and we don’t want to send the message that memorizing is more important than their hard work and creativity. In short, we don’t want to put memorization over innovation, but memorization is important too. 

Week 5

Monday – Chores. Word Problems -3 pages. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill, or music, or learn/practice a special skill1 hr. Drawing practice. Make a 3D Solar System. Recap Lesson 1. Free play. Play structured game. Reading. 

Tuesday – Chores. Natural Science and Geography Lesson 2.  Free play. Project. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Wednesday – Chores. Word Problems -3 pages. Recap profit and expenses. Art: clay pots. Free play. Brain games (playing cards, play Monopoly, etc. See below for examples). Read favorite book. Talking about the reading. 

Thursday – Chores. Recap fractions. Make pizza from scratch: each person can make a pizza for two. 2 cups of warm water (1/2 hot and 1/2 cold), one tablespoon of activated yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes or until the Yeast becomes active and foamy. Add one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix in 1 cup of flour, and one teaspoon of salt. Mix and Kneed. Kneed on a counter until soft and stretchy. Leave in a bowl covered with a cloth for 30 minutes. Come back and see how big it has become! Preheat oven to 350. Choose your toppings. Roll out the dough like a pizza. Bake for 5 minutes before you put on the toppings. Take it out and lay out your toppings. Bake until done, about 10 minutes. Serve pizzas and cut in 4 pieces. Show 1/4, 3/4 and 1/2. Cut in more pieces show 1/8…

Friday – Chores. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1hr. Continue Personal Project Recipe Notebook. Write recipes. Arrange to cook a meal for the family. Free play.

Note: By now you should have seen how receptive your child is to doing homeschool work. If they push back hard, there is no need to give up. See the post Parent Tool Box -When the child doesn’t want to do the homeschool work. This worked for me well enough so that we don’t need the “crutches” anymore.

Week 6

Monday – Chores. Word Problems -3 pages. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1hr. Free play. Art. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Tuesday – Chores. Word problems -3 pages. Prepare European Continent Challenge. Free play. Project. Reading.

Wednesday – Chores. Study The European Continent for European Continent Challenge. Project from above. Structured play. Reading. 

Thursday- Chores. Word problems -3 pages. Natural Science Lesson 3. Prepare for the European Continent Challenge. Free play or Art, drawing practice. Reading. 

Friday – Chores. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1hr. Prepare for European Continent Challenge. Work on project. Free play. Reading. 

Week 7

Monday – Chores. Word problems -3 pages.Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Prepare for the European Continent Challenge. Structured play. Free play. 

Tuesday – Recap Natural Science Lesson 3. Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Wednesday – Chores. Word problems -3 pages. Design and build a building out of foam board with nails, glue or tape, or all. Make furniture and all amenities like a gym, a pool, garage, etc. Great building wins a special treat. Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Thursday – Chores. Can-Ching Challenge: European Continent. Chose the price for knowing:  where the countries are, which countries border which, which language do they speak in each country, what is the capital of the main European countries, which countries are on the Mediterranean Sea. Which countries are in Northern Europe. Which Ocean is between America and Europe. What Continent is below (south) of Europe. Etc.

Do the challenge with the globe or the atlas. Free play. Reading.

Continue work on building. Free play. Art/drawing. Recap European capitals.

Friday – Chores. Word problems -3 pages. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill 1 hr. Build a fort. Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Week 8

Monday – Chores. Number placement: units, tens, hundreds. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skillpe book. Make dinner or appetizer. Nighttime Read.

Tuesday – Chores. Word problems 3 pages. Number placement: unit, tens, hundreds, and thousands. Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Wednesday – Chores. Practice number placement from 3rd grade Math Workbook. Project from list above or personal project. Art practice. 

Thursday – Chores. Practice number placement from 3rd grade Math Workbook. Counting numbers to 1000. What number comes before 199. What number comes after 199. Count from 200 to 300. What number comes after 399. Make sure the child knows the transitions to the next hundred. What comes before 999. What comes after 999.

Ask him to write on his notebooks the numbers from 150 to 250. And from 380 to 410.

Free play. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Friday – Chores. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skilluage. Structured game. Free play.

Week 9

Monday – Chores. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Street address activity. Draw your street or an imaginary street. You can name the street whatever you like. Put houses on it (you don’t have to use a lot of detail if you don’t want to but draw at least 7 to 10 houses on each side of the street). Pick a random house and give it a number address with at least 3 digits. Now, let’s give the rest of the houses numbers in sequence from the first number you wrote. Make sure you put the odd numbers on one side and the even numbers on the other side of the street. This is how street address usually work. Make sure the even numbers and in a number that is divisible by 2. In other words, that the number can be split in two exact, identical halves. For example 2, can be split into two and you get 1 and 1. Or 10 you could split into 5 and 5. Exactly half. While odd numbers like 5 you can’t divide by 2 and get a two hole numbers. Free play. 

Tuesday – Chores. Word problems – finish 3rd grade word problems book. Project from list. Art or free play. Reading favorite book. 

Wednesday – Chores. Counting money with units, 10s, 100s, 1000s on a notebook. Natural Science Lesson 4

Thursday- Chores. Recap Natural Science Lesson 4. Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Friday – Chores. Writing practice. Spelling. Reading. Talking about the reading.Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Free play. 

Note: By now, they will have done plenty of multiplication on their Word Problems Book. They understand multiplication and what is for, but they don’t know the multiplication tables. We’ll work on multiplication drills in the coming weeks and memorizing the tables. But first, we’ll take a break from math and focus more on Language Arts and our Natural Science.

Week 10

Monday- Chores. Spelling. Free time (no media). Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Writing practice. Art/drawing. Reading. 

Tuesday – Recap Natural Science Lesson 4. Start Natural Science Lesson 5. Writing practice. Reading. Talking about the reading. Free play. 

Wednesday – Chores. Reading and spelling. Talking about the reading. Grammar games. Art. 

Thursday – Chores. Recap: Natural Science Lesson 5. Grammar games:

On flash cards, write 10 adjectives, 10 present tense verbs with regular verbs and irregular verbs (for example: walk, play, eat, break, take, go, shake, feel, make, choose) , 10 nouns. Then write the Present, the Past, and the Progressive tense. Total 60 Cards. It’s kind of like Go Fish. This is a card game where you want to make sets of three cards. In the beginning you can make sets of 3 Progressives, 3 Presents, 3 Past tenses (they don’t have to be of the same verb). 3 Adjectives, 3 Nouns or 1 Presnt, 1 Past, and 1 Progressive and 1 Adjective 1 Noun, 1 Verb. The player who can gather four sets first wins.

Player 1: Do you have any past tenses?

The player who has been asked has more than one Past tense, she will relinquish all the Past tenses she has. if not: “No, Go Fish.” and Player 1 must take a card from the stack.

Etc.

Reading. Talking about the reading. 

Friday – Chores. Spelling. Free time (no media). Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Art. Project. Read. 

Week 11

Monday – Spelling. Writing practice. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Art. Free play. 

Tuesday – Natural Science Lesson 6: The Earth Orbit Birthday Calendar Activity. Free play. Do you remember how to make pizza? (see Week 4 for recap). Yeast is a living organism. Fractions recap.

Wednesday – Continue Natural Science Lesson 6. Free time (no media)

Thursday – Continue Natural Science Lesson 6. Free time (no media)

Friday- Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying. -2 pages. Stress that they have to say it out loud. Stay close by (sometimes I would be cleaning the kitchen while my daughter did her math in the kitchen, I told her I needed hear her say her addition and multiplications, otherwise it will not work and she would have to do more pages to remember).

Hand write stacking numbers from 1 – 5 x2. Then move on to: two digit numbers that include 1 – 5 x2. Example: 11 x 2, 13 x 2, 22 x 2, 15 x 2, 20 x 2, 10 x 2, 33 x 2. This way they will practice each number times two in many different combinations. At this point you tell them that x 2 is like saying +. So 15 x 2 is like 15 + 15. At this point you show them how to carry over a number and add it to the next. Always start with the far right number, and work to the right. The next set is 1 – 9 x 2. So: start with 6 x 2, 8 x, 2, 7×2, etc. and move on to 16 x 2, 18 x 2, 32 x 2, 19 x 2, 26 x 2…all kids of combinations. Remind them about caring the one or the two and adding it to the next number. No matter how many numbers there are on top, you just add them to the next number the same way we do with additions. When you review the sheets keep two strategies in mind: instead of telling them what they got wrong and to fix it, remember where are their weaknesses and address them in the next sheet. If they still get it wrong, tell them to fix it.

Friday -Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Free personal time (no media).

Note: By now, they should be used to doing chores and knowing that they’re expected to do Chores. It’s possible they may not do Chores every day. I am personally fine with that. I think they will clean their room, clean after themselves, etc. We take it off the schedule.

Week 12

Monday – Recap number placement. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Personal time.

Tuesday – Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying -3 pages. One page of recap the 2s. Move on to the 3s with the same strategy as above. 

Project

Wednesday – Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying, three digit carrying. Recap the 2s and the 3s. Memorize and say the 2 table and the 3 table. Ask the child to answer randomly and in order. Praise them for their memorizing. Project or Art. 

Thursday – Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying, three digit. Explain the three digit is the same as the two digit. Make three sheets of multiplication that recaps the 3s and add the 4s. Project or Art. 

Friday – Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying, three digit carrying. Recap 4s and learn 5s. Memorize the 4s and the 5s. Ask the child to answer randomly and in order. Praise them for their memorizing. Foreign language, or music, or a special skill. Personal time.

Note: Often, Projects spill over the next day. As you could see with the Business Project it takes anywhere from two days to weeks. Projects can be overlap or they can focus on one for two or three days.

Week 13

Monday – Recap multiplications 3, 4, and 5. Ask the child to answer randomly and in order the 3s, 4s, and 5s. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill. Free time or project. Read from favorite book.

Tuesday- Recap the European Continent. 

Wednesday – Natural Science Lesson 7

Thursday – Natural Science Lesson 7. 

Friday – Reading. Foreign language, or music, or learn/practice a special skill.

Monthly Planning to help you formulate weekly schedule 

Frequently Asked Questions about this Schedule

To be quite clear: the point is for the curriculum to be a tool for the parent and the child. The child should dictate how long and how much he/she is able and willing to learn from it. There are no tests or grading.

Why Is Europe Being Taught Before USA?

You will notice that one of the first projects is the European Continent Challenge. It is important at this age because once kids are familiar with the layout of the European Continent, its countries, main cities, etc. it will be easier to read and hear stories about Greek History, The Romans, Discovery of America, etc. At 9 and 10 years old they embrace games like Risk, which are really fun to play as a family and can go on for hours and hours!

US History is a bit more grown up and more politically inclined so I think it’s best leave the US geography and its history for when the kids are a bit older. 

POSSIBLE CHORES

Vacuum , Put dishes away, Clean up owns room, Organize books, Organize toy closet, Organize storage closet, Organize pantry, Organize miscellaneous drawer, Organize kitchen drawers, Learn to sort laundry and set the washer machine, Dusting , Clean the bathroom, Tidy up living room, Clean and wash counters and surfaces

RECOMMENDED READING

MATH

Math practice: three digit addition, and carrying, three and four digit subtractions and carrying. You can make your own sheets. Or scroll down fo ruggested Math book.

Word Problems: See below for suggested math book.

Intro to fractions

Number placement to 1,000. The street address 

Multiplication: one digit, two digit carrying, three digit carrying. 

Multiplication tables 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Angles, measuring degrees -From Natural Science Lesson 9: Angles and Degrees.

180, 90 and 4t degree angles. Estimating angles. 360 degrees.

Quadrilateral triangles

Multiplying by 10s

Metric system

Solving for X

Dividing and fractions

Multiplication tables 6, 7, 8, 9

You will find that it is not worth buying multiplication workbooks for 3rd and 4th grade -you can make the sheets by hand. Making the sheets by hand give you the chance to: monitor their learning, support areas of trouble, see where and how they are getting stuck, and fast-rack multiplication concepts instead of piece-meal by grade level. That is why we wait until they are ready to learn it all at once.

3rd Grade Book Word Problems:

Math Practice for 4th grade 9 – 10 year olds:

Book for beyond 4th grade:

Natural Science and Geography Milestones

Identify the oceans and the continents on the globe.

Earth’s orbit around the sun – understand the seasons.

Where is the Equator. What does the Equator divide.

Hemispheres. 

Cardinal points. 

The Solar System

The planets.

Earth’s orbit around the Sun and the seasons.

Lines of longitude and parallel lines.

Familiarity with the European continent, countries and capital cities. 

Earth Science: The Atmosphere, photosynthesis, germination, pollination.

4th Grade -9.5 to 10 years old:

Natural Science

Recap: 

The Solar System

The planets.

Earth’s orbit around the Sun and the seasons.

Lines of longitude and parallel lines.

Familiarity with the European continent, countries and capital cities. 

Angles and measuring degrees. 

Coordinates. Degrees of longitude and latitude. 

Map of United States

HISTORY

Macedonia – Philip, Alexander and the conquest of Asia

Alexandria. Constantinople 

Athens and the invention of democracy.

The Greek Gods. 

Greek words in our language – Etymology 

Romans – Roman Empire. Fall of Roman Empire

Spain – Conquest of America 

Games to train the brain:

Uno, Battleship, Tic tac toe, Monopoly, Risk, Legos, chess.

While we start off the day in the proposed schedule without media, it is possible that after several months of homeschooling your kids will develop the autonomy to start their day with a little screen time and go on to their homeschool work seamlessly. This is incredibly difficult to accomplish though because once you start the day with media, it is very hard to focus on other tasks. The most creative and productive days will be those that are entirely media free. You will see. 

At this age they find that they can get very good at skills like drawing, 3D modeling, reading, writing, playing an instrument, writing music, etc…

When kids are 9 and 10 years old it is increasingly important to incentivize and encourage their love for creativity and open ended pay. Why? Because by this age kids are so immersed in academic work that they forget to play, they lose the ability to pretend play and play creatively. This loss is devastating to creativity, developing skills, and developing a love of learning. Which in turn can be detrimental to innovation, leadership, or an entrepreneur spirit.

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