Third Grade Curriculum Review

Our first year of home school is complete, end of grade test scores are in, and it is time to look forward to fourth grade. I believe It was challenging for everyone to adjust to this new way of doing things. I work full-time outside the home, Hubby worked and then started attending classes in the middle of the year, and we have another daughter.

I started the year early, easing into the full schedule of home school. Seemed simple enough. When the school year officially started, not much changed. L took her binder full of independent work to the sitter’s house. We would work on a few things together each night while dinner was cooking and I would check her work. Then L started to get in trouble at the sitter’s house. She fought with her sister mostly but also wasn’t getting her independent work finished each day.

We decided to decrease the amount of work she did each day at our house and Step-Mom, who is able to stay home, would pick up the extra work. We also found L a new sitter with kids her own age and another home schooled child, also working independently most of the morning.

Toward the end of the year, L wasn’t completing her work, I was working two jobs, Hubby was in school and had his own homework, and I barely had time to eat dinner at night, let alone do school work. Again, Step-Mom picked up where I couldn’t. L also suffered her share of chores for lying and irresponsibility. I was surprised when her test scores came back as high as they were.

For third grade we had some hits & misses and we learned a lot about the kind of student L is… She doesn’t want to write more than she absolutely must and she has very very poor time management skills. We used:

First Language Lessons, Level 3 Instructor Guide-PDF DOWNLOAD

First Language Lessons

I loved the ease of this program. Everything was scripted out for me and L could follow along without my needing to guide her. She caught on very quickly to the format and we could complete grammar in a matter of minutes, sometimes even doing two or three lessons at once. While I enjoyed this program, L wasn’t very challenged. She did learn how to diagram sentences, a favorite past-time of mine, but it wasn’t much of a learning experience for her.

We chose not to use this program again this year but I will probably come back to this with G.

The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Instructor Text

Writing With Ease

I was appalled when L failed the assessment test! She began her writing curriculum at the very start of the book despite being a third grader. I don’t blame the public school system for her lack of writing skills. L writes the way she talks and only halfway listens to what you might be telling her, making up the rest with whatever she thinks sounds good. A typical girl really.

We will continue with this and hopefully see some improvement this year.

The Story of the World, Vol. 1 (Ancient Times) [Revised Edition] - Paperback

Story of the World: Volume One

This is probably our favorite subject. We read the “lesson”, formatted like a story, and then I ask her questions about our reading. (Example: What was the name of Alexander the Great’s horse? Why do you think the first people lived near rivers?) She can usually answer me with little help because the lessons are short and aren’t overly detailed.

I do try to find library books or videos that coincide with the stories we are reading. She especially loved learning about Cleopatra and Alexander the Great.

Studies Weekly: Science and Social Studies

This is a Common Core aligned newsletter that comes in the mail quarterly. It is very cost effective if you are looking to supplement but I do not see how you could use this independently.

The language is a bit complex, the information is very dry, and the games are difficult for the grade level. L dreaded this part of her daily work even when it was just one blurb. Library books were a good companion as was being there to answer her questions or to re-explain what she had just read in simpler terms.

Math U See: Gamma

Before home schooling I had no idea my girl was so great with numbers! (Maybe that’s why she has such a hard time putting words in a sentence that doesn’t like sound like she was raised in ya know a 90s movie?) We did purchase the manipulative blocks that went along with the book and didn’t really get much use out of them at my house. They helped her understand the concept of “3 across by 4 down” but later in the book she didn’t pull them out anymore. We did not like the DVD that came with the book. She realistically could have finished this book before Christmas. L’s Step-mom began supplementing her with division and more complex multiplication problems by early spring.

Because North Carolina requires end of grade testing each year, L needed skills that were not covered in this book. Combined with her speeding through the book we decided to go with a different program this year. However, I will most likely use their early math for G when she starts school. Maybe I can even keep her from building towers with the manipulatives. Their website also has a nifty assessment test to see if your child is ready for that level.

Have you used any of these curricula? What did you think? 

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