What does your third grader do all day?
It’s a common question from all sorts of people. Fellow homeschoolers are curious and eager for a peek into someone else’s routine. Non-homeschoolers wonder what “school” looks like in our home. Today, I offer you a peek into third grade at the Wilson Academy.
First of all, you should understand that third grade in this house, much like first grade, involves a whole lot of playtime. As Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) once said, “Play is really the work of childhood.”
That being said, third grade involves a lot outside time. We climb, hike, jump and throw rocks. We travel on bikes, plasma cars and ripstiks. We take in sunshine and lot of dirt too.
School at this age involves swords and nerf battles. Fighting. Conquering. Training.
We include constructing and building as much as we can. Legos, Minecraft, blocks, Lincoln Logs are all tools of learning.
There is a lot of space in our day for games. Inside games and outdoor games. Board games and card games.
Third grade includes a lot of time with siblings too. Giggling, laughing, arguing, and living.
That being said, most people are curious about the “seatwork” of school. So without further delay, here are the subjects and books are part of our third grade school routine.
Math. Nothing fancy or too creative here. I love Singapore math and it continues to work for my son this year in third grade. I appreciate the short lessons each day. It has also worked well to dive into topics instead of having a constant spiraling review.
We chose to use the standards edition simple because I liked the teachers guide for the standards edition better than the teachers guide for the US edition. Either edition does the job.
Language Arts. (Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar)
Let’s begin with spelling. We are working our way through All About Spelling. This program has the potential to be a pretty intense program, but we don’t do it quite like it is assigned. Instead, we focus on an introductory look at the rules and then use the word lists and dictation for practice.
He keeps a composition book to write the words in each day. His dictation sentences from the book are kept in there as well.
I use a post-it note as a bookmark and I record any words he misses from the lists. Then I throw those words on to the lists in the future, even when they aren’t suggested. Occasionally, we have days that I only review the words on the post-it note to see which ones he can spell at this point.
Reading and Literature….and some spelling and grammar. Yes. ALL of these subjects are covered in our Brave Writer Arrow Guides.
We maintain a school year subscription to the Arrow Guides, giving us 10 guides each school year. I read the title out loud to my younger three children and we work through the various activities and discussions in the guide.
The Arrow guides contain copy work passages, such as the one below for the book Understood Betsy:
The copywork passages provide an opportunity to discuss literary devices, grammar rules, and writing techniques. They also provide real life spelling practice as the student copies the selection.
I typically write the passage (or parts of it, if it is particularly long, such as this one) on the dry erase board. We take a look at it to analyze the grammar components that I want to discuss. Sometimes they are my own and other times they are suggested in the Arrow Guide.
It is VERY hard for my third grader to copy the passage from the board or from the guide. Instead, I copy it in his notebook and leave empty space for him to write it below my words.
In addition to our monthly read aloud book, my third grade selects all sorts of books to read on his own. Thankfully, he loves to read and as long as I keep the library basket full of choices, he is often seen with his nose in a book!
Grammar Supplements. While The Arrow Guides provide lots of great grammar discussion, I occasionally turn to supplemental books and materials to reinforce grammar concepts.
Daily Grams is a pretty straight forward grammar review, though we don’t do it daily. He completes every other lesson in the book, leaving the others for his brother to complete in two years. Even doing this, we won’t finish every other lesson in the book this year, but it is a great supplement when I want to use one.
First Language lessons is another resource that I turn to in the Elementary School years. We use First Language Lessons 1 and 2 throughout the elementary years. It has been a great foundation without becoming tedious.
Of course, our Language Arts Brave Writer lifestyle also includes Poetry Teatime each week as well as Freewriting occasionally. My third grade son enjoys doing his own writing for his Friday Freewrite, though he always has the option to dictate his thoughts to me.
Science. This year we are studying Anatomy and Physiology using the Apologia guide. It is pretty in-depth for my third grader, but we make it work doing fun activities with friends along the way.
I have talked about it on periscope and described how I approach it. I definitely try to create some “notes” that I want the kids to focus on and some fun, memorable activities. I am fortunate enough to have a local friend who wants to do the same thing for her kids, so we can alternate the chapters.
Our science get-together is always a fun time to reinforce the concepts that we read about in the chapter.
History. This year we are working our way through Story of the World, volume 3. The world is getting larger and there is a lot more to keep up with. I have to admit that this year has felt more scattered when it comes to the topics as we are jumping all around the world. But that is also what is great about this curriculum – we are looking at the WHOLE world and not just America.
We meet with friends every month to do the crafts and activities related to our chapters that month. It has been a fun way to celebrate learning together and to do the hands-on-stuff that we don’t always get to on our own.
Of course, as we were moving through the chapters on Colonial America, I realized that I wanted to spend a bit more time learning about Colonial America for my third grader and first grader in particular. As a result, I ordered the Colonial America lapbook from the Time Travelers Series created by the company, Homeschool in the Woods. We added it in for a few weeks and truly enjoy the activities in the guide. I have a feeling we will do another lapbook from this company next year.
If you want to see more details about the Homeschool in the Woods study, then you can check out my periscope where I explained it in more detail.
Of course, so much more is included in our homeschool that is not mentioned here. We spend a lot of time taking field trips related to our studies, including Jamestown and Yorktown this year. I didn’t mention fine arts or music, but we do include art activities every time we meet with friends for science and my son take piano lessons. Our Morning Basket time was added to our day during the year and we all participate in learning during that time.
We consider homeschooling to be our family lifestyle. It is the way that we live and learn together, so while I tried to break down the pieces here, there are many that are so intertwined that they become hard to describe.
In the end, we have routine items and a plan for learning each day, but we are very content to follow inspiration wherever she might lead….