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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Peter’s 3rd Grade Plans

Our 3rd child tends to thumb his nose at the idea of “grades”---if I had to place him, really place him, I’d say that he’s straddling 3rd and 4th, but probably functioning more at a 5th grade level in terms of verbal development.  He has some sensory issues that tend to distract him, so it’s hard for him to focus on things that don’t interest him for more than a short time.  Math lessons are murder.

3rd Grade Learning Plans at Homeschooling Hearts & MindsWhat I’ve found over the past 4 years of homeschooling him is that it’s easier to start with the level of things he has trouble with and add to other areas to get him where he needs to be to keep him challenged.   It used to be that I pushed him too hard, but I’ve learned to relax my expectations, which has given him the room he needs to grow at his own rate.

We started him in kindy a year earlier than he would have started  if he attended  public or private school (our state has mandatory kindergarten beginning at age 5, but the age cut-off is almost a full month before his birthday) and while that was good for him at the time to keep him engaged, it has had the affect of causing more competition between him and his older sister (they were only 1 grade apart instead of 2), and contributed to a sense of his “being behind” in some areas.

When an objective observer pointed out---he’s a rising 3rd grader who happens to be advanced in some areas---well, yeah, duh!

So, this year, Peter will be a 3rd grader.  Again. 

But only on the profile I send to our homeschool monitor.  He’ll be doing all new stuff at his own rate, which is just what he should be doing.  The plus, is that I won’t feel like he’s behind when he isn’t.

I mentioned in a previous post that I used to group Peter with his older sister for the content subjects, but that was causing some conflict.  This year his learning will intersect with hers in a couple of areas (you’ll see that if you look at our 2014-2015 Learning Map or compare their lists), but the two will not be joined at the hip as they have been previously. 

Instead, he’ll be serving as a role model for his younger sister, Emma (age 5) as she officially becomes a student in our homeschool---we’ll be using Five in a Row unit studies extensively, adding in lots of hands-on activities plus extra content for Peter.

Note:  This post DOES NOT contain affiliate links.

3rd Grade Learning Plans at Homeschooling Hearts & MindsFive in a Row Unit Studies

Volumes 1 & 2 (science, social studies, art, language arts)

Language Arts

Writing & Rhetoric books 1-2 Freewriting

Pentime Transition (to cursive)

Chapter Book Club at our local homeschool group


Math U See Beta (finishing it up) and moving onto Gamma

MEP year 3

Life of Fred Elementary

Beast Academy 3


The Nature Connection

The Private Eye

possibly Science in the Creation Week if it fits with our FIAR studies

Social Studies

Complete Book of Maps & Geography

Local geography as inspired by a really old copy of Oak Meadow 3

Health and PE

Healthy Me

Family Time Fitness (with the rest of the family)

The Arts

Recorder (Using the Nine-Note Method) we may later in the year, but not ready for this

Ready-to-Use Music Reading Activities Kit

Complete Book of Arts and Crafts


Catholic Treasure Box complete set


STEM Club at our local homeschool group

Cub Scouts

A few notes:

You’ll notice a whole lot of math!  I used to be a one math program per kid per year kind of gal.  What I’ve found is that:

  1. The perfect math program doesn’t exist.
  2. If you have a child who really hates doing math and gets bored easily, retention is better and the whole experience is less painful if you change things up. 

We won’t be spending hours a day on math---most of the math I do with Peter is either oral or on a whiteboard (he’s allergic to worksheets) and lessons will be short.

Updated 9/27/14:  I should have had more faith in FIAR---it really is the right approach for us this year, so I’m dropping some “extras.”  Also simplifying the math a little and using a less formal approach for music.  I’m dropping a formal writing program for this kid, because he is a natural writer and it was killing his creative spunk---he’s now writing a sequel to the Oz books all on his own. 

After using my original plan, I realized I was making things much too complicated and simpler was better.  Our homeschool days are much more peaceful and productive after these changes.

Do you have a 3rd grader this year?  What are your learning plans?

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