Summer 2013 (pre-4th)

Great Fun Children’s School
2013 Curriculum
Pre-Fourth Grade / age 8

Mission: Cultivate academic skills, multicultural awareness, and a joyful resilience, nurturing connections in a community of increasing love and complexity.


  • Books-on-tape (cd), daily. The Two Towers and The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan. Year of the Dog (A Pacy Lin novel) by Grace Lin. Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Fairies and the Quest for Never Land (A Fairy Dust Trilogy Book) by Gail Carson Levine. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman. Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean. Diary of a Fairy Godmother, by Esme Raji Codell. Rules, by Cynthia Lord. The Wedding Planner’s Daughter, by Coleen Murtagh Paratore. Thor’s Wedding Day, by Bruce Coville. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.
  • Independent reading: Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (ch.5-end). The Princess Test; Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, both by Gail Carson Levine.
  • Phonics Pathways by Dolores G. Hiskes. (For spelling), pp.145-152.
  • Writing With Skill, Level One (5th grade) by Susan Wise Bauer, lessons (“weeks”) 1-2.
  • What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch Jr., Language and Literature section.


  • Singapore Math: Discovering Mathematics Common Core, 7A (sections 1.1-2.7)
  • Beast Academy, 3B, chapter 6/end; 3C, chapter 7-8).
  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, Chapters 36-46/end; Kidneys, by Stanley Schmidt. Reading/exposure only, no tests.

History & Geography

  • Story of the World, Volume III: Early Modern Times, by Susan Wise Bauer, supplemented by library books suggested in the companion Activity Book. Chapters 28-31.


  • Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology, by Stanley Schmidt.
  • Academic Talent Development Program summer “camp” run by UC Berkeley Graduate School of education ( Human Anatomy course with Leif Asper & Jesse Padilla, three weeks  (12 sessions, 3 hours each; post-3rd-grade group level.)

Computer Literacy

  • Weekly classes in MIT Scratch at The Museum of Arts and Digital Entertainment (MADE).  Online video tutorials with Kodu Game Lab. Gamestar Mechanic website. Super Scratch Programming Adventure (ch 1-3), by The LEAD Project. Apple Camp 3-hour workshop for kids on digital filmmaking.

World Languages

  • Mandarin Chinese: some Skritter, using vocabulary list from Discovering Chinese 1 by


  • Free doodling, misc crafts (at church, etc). Nature Journaling classes with John Muir Laws, 1x/mo. Zentangle book. Five-day Friends of God arts & spirituality summer camp at St. Gregory’s Episcopal in San Francisco with Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia.
  • Finished Progressive Method for Young Beginners: Keyboard Book One by Andrew Scott and Gary Turner. Began (7/29) John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano, First Grade Book.

Values, Religion, & Character

  • Weekly Sunday school at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. Friends of God camp (see Arts above.)

Phys Ed

  • Swimming lessons at City of Berkeley aquatics program. Daily lessons, 25 mins, 4x/week, six weeks total. Completed Red Cross Level 3 certification.

Friends! Attachment parenting. Classes and group activities, structured and unstructured, same-age and multi-age, cousins, groupmates and neighbors. ACHC housing cooperative, BFUU religious congregation. Weekly Park Day with SFBUN and Homegrown Kids at local playgrounds; also active in  BAGHS (2x/mo), Girl Scouts (2x/mo), and East Hills 4-H (4x/mo).