If your child is 8-9 years old, he’s probably entering the third grade. By now, he’s used to your homeschooling routine and knows what’s expected of him. In this grade, you might choose to continue with unit studies or lapbooking, or you might move more into workbooks and practice sheets. You might begin using a formal spelling or grammar book, or you might have your child write a journal entry every day. As a homeschooler, the choice is still yours.
There are several resources you can use to get a basic idea of what your child should learn in the third grade. You could check with your state’s educational website for the third grade standards. Or, you might refer to books such as What Your Third Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, which includes sections for language arts, social studies, math, the fine arts, and the natural sciences. Either way, some of the things your third grader should be able to do by the end of the school year include:
• Alphabetizing a group of words to the third letter
• Reading words with more than one syllable fluently
• Reading common abbreviations fluently
• Identifying the meaning of common antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms
• Identifying and compare story elements such as plot, settings, and characters
• Using sources such as books, magazines, encyclopedias, textbooks, and computers to find information
• Writing simple and compound sentences
• Using capital letters for proper nouns, abbreviations, and titles
• Punctuating sentences using periods, question marks, and exclamation points
• Punctuating dialog with quotation marks
• Using nouns, action verbs, and adjectives in simple sentences
• Writing a paragraph that contains a topic sentence with supporting details
• Writing a thank-you note, a friendly letter, a business letter, and an invitation
• Addressing an envelope
• Writing a book report or book review that identifies the setting, the characters, and the main events of the story
• Writing whole numbers through six digits
• Counting money using coins and bills up to $100
• Adding and subtract whole numbers up to four digits
• Solving word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
• Knowing multiplication and division facts through 10
• Using U.S. customary and metric units to measure objects
• Planing and conduct a simple science investigation based on a formulated question
• Organizing data with tally marks, pictographs, and bar charts
• Using timelines to show the sequence of historical events
This list is in no way exhaustive; there’s much more your third grader can learn. As you look at curricula, you’ll find there are just as many different types available to you now as in the earlier grades. You might purchase a complete curriculum set, or you might put your own curriculum together using books from different publishers. You might base your curriculum on good literature and create a plan using library resources. Another option you may want to consider involves computer-based learning.
Switched on Schoolhouse, by Alpha Omega Publications, is an example of this type of curriculum. Designed for grades 3 – 12, Switched On Schoolhouse offers entertaining lessons featuring video clips and 3-D animation. Lessons are available in science, math, history and geography, and language arts, as well as a number of electives. Features of this software includes automatic grading, advanced lesson planning, customized projects, games, and more.
The Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum is another option. Developed by Dr. Art Robinson, a scientist and a widower with six children to raise and educate, the Robison Curriculum encourages students to think effectively and learn independently. Although all the coursework for twelve years of school is contained on the 22 CDs, they are actually just for parental use; the materials are designed to be printed out and assigned to the student.
There are also web-based programs available to homeschooled students. InternetHomeSchool.com is an accredited K-12 online school. Students can enroll at any time to take classes in math, science, English, history, foreign languages, art history, and computer science. Certified teachers are available during the weekdays, and records are kept in an online grade book.
KeystoneHighSchool.com is an online high school that offers four years of high school credits. Over 80 online courses, including Advanced Placement classes and electives, are available to choose from.
Many private schools now also offer classes online for homeschooled students, and some public school systems do as well. As you consider your curriculum for the year, keep the option of computer-based studies in mind. However, remember that no one knows your third-grader as well as you do. You are not only his parent but also his teacher, and if you’ve homeschooled him in the earlier grades, you know his learning style. Find the curriculum that fits your child best, and enjoy the year!
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo by sean cambodia4kidsorg