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Daily Summer Activities Connecting School and Home, Moving from 4th to 5th Grade Review by Donna Campos

Jill Norris
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940-5746

The Daily Summer Activities Connecting School and Home, Moving from 4th to 5th Grade book has a glossy full color cover and 144 pages, which includes practice in reading and language skills, handwriting, math, spelling, and geography. Created as a means to practice basic skills throughout the summer months while school is not in session, the book is a consumable workbook for students working at a fourth grade level moving on to fifth grade. The book includes a one page spelling list, twelve pages of Answer key in a miniature 9 pages per page design, five pages of instructional materials, a one page Certificate of Completion, a one page cursive sheet, and the bulk of the book is the two pages of activities per day of the five school day week. Each week of pages begins with a sheet for tracking progress and a child can color in symbols as the work is completed. The weeks become progressively more challenging and it is best if the work is completed in order. Additional materials are not required, although a book list is included for further reading practice, if desired.

Each week of the summer months is represented in the book, for a total of ten weeks, and the days of the week are listed at the bottom of each page to guide the work. Each week is also color coordinated with the same framing background color on each page for each given week, providing a sense of consistency each week for the student to follow. Weekly space is allotted for a reading log, spelling list, and a journaling section for memorable moments from the week. Twelve spelling words per week are also included. Two short stories are supplied each week with comprehension questions. The Books to Read List includes books by Sid Fleischman, Beverly Cleary, Katherine Paterson, Roald Dahl, Karen Hesse, Carolyn Keene, and more. Titles include "The Cricket in Times Square," "Julie of the Wolves," "June bug," "Matilda," "Smart Dog," and "A Wrinkle in Time," along with many others. The reading material within the book includes information on Jesse Owens, the Loy Krathong holiday of Thailand, renowned collage artist Lois Ehlert, the peanut, George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson, Arctic Tundra, and farming, to name a few. The readings include three information segments about black Americans, a variety of map activities, and a good record of handwriting progress. It presents a fairly good range of activities and subject areas to keep fourth grade students learning bits of information throughout the summer months or during any break of formal school work throughout the year for home schooling families.

The book is encouraging to parents and includes an explanation of the five finger method of choosing appropriate books to read. I was disappointed to find a misspelled word in the very first week of activities, as well as a reference to a salamander that remains unchanged for 330 million years, but did not find any other blatant evolutionary or long earth terminology in the rest of the activities. There is one short story with the "great stone" telling a story, parents holding to stringent guidelines for little to no fantasy will want to be aware of this and pre-read all the material. For an activity book of ten weeks worth of material designed for public school formats, we were pleasantly surprised to find so few instances of evolution or other non-Christian ideas. This resource is ideal for use by homeschoolers during vacations, hospital stays, or as a useful tool during sporting events of siblings to keep students actively learning. Children who work well with textbooks or who have been previously public schooled will find this series helpful as they transition to home schooling, while consistently home schooled families will appreciate the convenient worksheet style activities that are easily handy for travels or the intended summer work. This is one of a series of books, so families may find it a good record keeping system of handwriting and general skills if they choose to complete each one as the student progresses. We found the book helpful; children who thrive on worksheets and enjoy extra activities when regular schooling is not taking place will appreciate Daily Summer Activities Connecting School and Home, Moving from 4th to 5th Grade. The included reading list will be helpful for families as they supplement this workbook or as a family read aloud during the summer and throughout the year.

Product Review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2008