Learning Guide: Fourth Grade

With peer pressure kicking in this year, your child seeks independence but still needs your loving guidance.
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Portrait of a Fourth Grader

Fourth graders worry: "Did I pass that test? Does this person like me?" They can separate fact from fantasy, but they tend to make mountains out of molehills. Kids this age search for perfection. They don't like creative activities as much as before because there are too many options. They w ant a ruler, a pencil and instructions to make a square. They have concerns about family, too, and may worry about the family's security. Some begin waking up at night, wandering around the house. Peers are the guiding force now, causing your child to insist on independence from you. But not all of his decisions will be wise ones, and as he responds to peer pressure in matters of dress and behavior, he still needs your firm guidance.

What your child will learn

In many states, fourth grade is a year of extensive standardized testing. Everywhere, it is a pivotal point for independent academics. Your child no longer needs constant teacher guidance; he'll be asked to complete complex homework and class assignments, including writing reports and organizing presentations. Students are now going to be developing important skills such as researching, investigating and thinking critically about what they have learned. They may be asked to read sources with differing points of view -- and to evaluate the validity of those views. In math, he'll be exposed to -- and if all goes well, master -- long division. Many schools offer courses geared to peer pressure and discuss the social and physical consequences of using drugs and alcohol, and smoking.

Continued on page 2:  In the Classroom


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