2022-2023 Curriculum Picks: 3rd Grade
Quick View of Subjects:
- Math- The Good & the Beautiful Level 3
- Spelling- Rod & Staff Level 3
- Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears Cursive & TGATB Level 4
- Language Arts- The Good & the Beautiful Level 2
- Reading- All About Reading Level 3
- Additional Phonics- Explode the Code (currently on 4)
- Calendar Work- My Monthly Calendar
- Writing- Draw Write Now & Creative Writing
- Science- Classical Conversations Foundations & Expanding with TGATB
- History- Classical Conversations Foundations & Expanding with Beautiful Feet Books
- Latin- Classical Conversations Foundations
- Music- Piano
Evelyn's Daily Rhythm:
Here is a look at Evelyn's Daily Rhythm. Believe me when I tell you this schedule looks NOTHING like it did the first day of school. Each day I would take notes on what worked, what didn't work, what needed to go and what needed to stay. I had to rework independent times with mom, rework the order in which we did things, etc. I wasn't expecting the jump from 3 students to 4 students to be such a change, but it was! WHEW! I realized quickly that 4 elementary aged students required a lot more of ME and that I was no longer able to go in between my girls...they each needed time with mom. When I tell you to be flexible and patient when it comes to figuring out your school days, I mean it! It really is a process to figure out what works and what doesn't.
This is a schedule I created and every girl has one. This keeps up on track during the day and week so I know all of our subjects are getting done, and everyone is understanding their material and getting that one on one time with mom. Their schedules are laminated so when they complete their tasks, they check it off. The section titled "Seatwork" is each girls' independent work that they must completed solo while I work with another girl. I made sure that what was included in that seatwork section can 100% be done independently. Don't put a subject or workbook in that category if it will require help from you.
Math: The Good & The Beautiful Level
If you read my Blog post about my 5th grade curriculum picks, you know that I switched Claire to TGATB Math 5. My reasoning for switching Claire from Horizons was for the help of the video instruction (to help lighten my load some), however, my reasoning for switching Evelyn from Horizons to TGATB math is for different reasons. Evelyn successfully completed Horizons Math Kindergarten, Horizons Math 1st grade & Horizons Math 2nd grade. Just like Claire, I started Evelyn in Horizons Math 3rd grade at the start of our school year, however after a few weeks in, I could tell that Ev needed a more hands on approach and a math that would provide more “why”, one that taught more number sense. Because I had just ordered Claire’s Math 5, I went ahead and looked into TGATB Grade 3. I looked through the scope and sequence on the website, examined the sample pages and gave Evelyn the placement test. She placed perfectly in Level 3, and after being very pleased with what I saw on their website (and just the wonderful explanations and examples in Claire's Math 5), I went ahead and ordered TGATB Simply Math 3.
Fast forward to week 6 in school and math is now Evelyn’s favorite subject! Yep, you read that right! Evelyn is a very visual learner and loves learning through games, reasons TGATB is a big win for her. When we play games and learn things through songs, she thrives. TGATB Math has been a game changer for Ev! While this math certainly didn’t free me up because it is very parent intensive, I can’t even tell you how much I have enjoyed sitting next to Evelyn every day to do math. We both look forward to it and she loves me being so involved and playing games with her! It really is the best! Because there is a good portion of “Read to your student” in every lesson, this 100% requires all of me to focus on just Evelyn during her math time (reasons we now have a very specific block schedule, and why every girl gets mom for 1 hour of one-on-one time per day).
Like I mentioned above, TGATB Math 3 is very parent intensive, so if you decide on this curriculum, do know you will need to block out time on your schedule to sit with your child and read through the lesson. Video lessons do not start until TGATB Math 4- just a heads up! At first glance I was partially annoyed with all of the reading in each math lesson, coming from Horizons Math, I found myself trying to figure out when we would get to the actual math- HA! However, I’m here to report, the readings in each lesson are lovely and we all have grown to love the stories. Evelyn’s math is taking us on an adventure with two children from China, Bo & Chun. Every lesson ties in facts, uses stories and relates back to their culture, all while using math- it's pretty awesome!!! There have been several other cute stories and adventures with other kiddos in her math which have been so fun, too! I never imagined loving math laid out this way but I’m as excited for math as my girls are at this point!
Long story short, we are 17 lessons in with TGATB Math and we love it!
Calendar Work: T5GSH My Monthly Calendar
One of Evelyn's favorite morning warm-up activities has always been her My Monthly Calendar from my shop. She loves doing her calendar work every morning, sticking on the correct day, date, weather, etc. One reason I created the My Monthly Calendar would be so my girls would know how to properly set up a calendar at the beginning of each month. I also like to dive deeper with our calendar work asking simple questions like, "What date will be the 3rd Saturday?", "What day does the 15th fall on?", etc. Teaching our kids how to use, set up and navigate a calendar is so important and using this calendar has been a complete success!
Spelling: Rod & Staff 3
This is my first year to use Rod & Staff Spelling and we are really enjoying it! Evelyn is able to complete the lessons independently. Each lesson is broken up into A, B & C sections for the weekly lesson. She completes A on Monday, B on Tuesday, Wednesday we are at CC, C on Thursday and I give her a spelling quiz on Friday. I love how spelling rules are being taught in each lesson and each letter section has great questions using that week’s spelling words that really make her think!
I do have her copy her list of words each day in her spelling notebook along with completing that day’s lesson. I use a personalized notebook from Family Nest Printing for her to copy her spelling words in. (Use code T5GSH for 10% off any purchase at Family Nest Printing).
Reading: All About Reading Level 3
Evelyn is in AAR Level 3 this year! AAR has been my top curriculum pick for reading from the very beginning of our homeschooling journey-- one that has never changed, and never will. I 100% believe AAR is the best reading program for teaching phonics. Their method is the best of the best and I have successfully taught 4 children to read using this program, starting all girls in level 1, and working our way up. Because I am teaching 3 levels of AAR this year, we are only doing 2 lessons per week to break it up. Each level averages about 52 lessons each, so breaking it up like we are doing this year, we will complete 1 level in the school year. With Claire, back when I was only schooling one kiddo, we were able to cover 2 levels in a year- only do what works for your entire family as we all know seasons change!
Evelyn just started truly reading this year at 9 years old and I credit AAR for the success! We did repeat level 2 her 2nd grade year, which was such a good decision and one that was easy to make because I knew she didn't fully grasp level 2 when we completed it-- it just hadn't clicked yet. Ev just started reading chapter books all on her own about 2 weeks ago and she can’t put them down now!
While this program is very parent intensive and does require you to devote 20 minutes per lesson to teach your child, followed by 20 minutes of reading, it’s worth it! This program literally holds your hand, walking you through, step by step, how to teach your child how to read.
If you have already purchased AAR and need some tips on how to prep your level, be sure to check out my Instagram highlights labeled AAR where I walk you through how to set up your reading binder, making it so you only have to purchase each level 1 time, and use it for all of your kids!
AAR is one of the best investments you will ever make!
Language Arts: The Good & the Beautiful Level 2
We do AAR on Monday’s & Thursdays and TGATB LA on Tuesday’s and Friday’s (Wednesday's we are at CC co-op). Because the LA lessons are not lengthy, I have found we can complete two lessons in one sitting, which will allow us to complete the course by the end of the school year. I’m so happy we have added in TGATB LA this year, I’m telling you, the new layout is phenomenal! The extra little videos are so great, too. Also be sure to check out TGATB Library for all of their leveled readers- we enjoy them so much!
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears Cursive & TGATB Level 4
My top pick for teaching good penmanship is Handwriting Without Tears (HWT), but of course my girls are drawn to the fun and beauty of TGATB Handwriting, so we do both! I will say for teaching cursive, HWT has been the best for my girls. I start all of the girls out using their first cursive book, which is Cursive Kickoff. HWT cursive is very boxy and not the prettiest, but from experience, it has been the best method for new learners. Because it is so boxy and "flat", my girls have been able to see exactly how the letters look and how they are connected. Starting in HWT for cursive is always my top recommendation, and then you can add in the books with the "fancier" cursive once good letter formation and letter connection is established. One thing I do love about TGATB Handwriting is how they use dots on their letters which go in the order of the rainbow. This is extremely helpful for knowing which way to go in order form the letter! My girls love it!
Independent Additional Phonics: Explode the Code
Explode the Code is an additional phonics practice book I added in last year for Evelyn. Last year she would complete one lesson per day (last year she was not doing a LA program, only AAR), but this year, because we are already doing a lot of phonics expansion, and I made ETC part of her independent seat work, she only completes one page per day. Sweet and simple! I haven't decided if I will continue on with ETC for Ev once she completes this book-- mainly because the little books aren't cheap and we already cover plenty of phonics. For now it's working and we have the book, so she will complete it.
Writing: Creative Writing & Draw Write Now
Keeping writing simple and enjoyable in the early years is key! I don't do any formal writing program until 4th grade. Once my girls hit 4th grade I start them in IEW (The Institute for Excellence in Writing). I alternate days for Draw Write Now and Creative Writing.
Draw Write Now is something we have done for several years and my girls love the books. There are 8 DWN books available, each covering different topics. Within the books are short facts for copy work, along with a step by step drawing of what is mentioned in the fun fact. These books make for great copy work practice, drawing practice, and are even a great way to expand on any history, science or geography you are teaching!
I use this Primary Journal for their DWN entries.
For Creative Writing I just put a fun question on the board and have the girls write whatever they wish. This is done independently and I don't correct anything- rid of that red pen, mama!
I use this to write my question on the board:
I have this paper in their Morning Warm-up binder, behind their My Monthly Calendar, for them to complete their Creative Writing on for that day.
Classical Conversations: Foundations
We are in our 6th year of Classical Conversations (CC). CC covers ALL subjects using memory work, however, we do supplement! My favorite CC memory work subjects are the skip counting, Timeline and the English (wonderful for when they move on to CC Essentials)! If you are looking into CC know that you will need to supplement the memory work math with an actual Math Curriculum, and if you have a younger kiddo, you will also need to supplement a reading program for teaching your little one how to read (I use All About Reading for all of my girls). While CC covers all subjects, and memory work is enough if you are truly following the Classical method, always feel free to add in great literature or additional curriculum supplements if you are wanting to expand on subjects such as Science & History, but just know you don’t have to!
Science: Classical Conversations Foundations, TGATB Space Science & Science for Little Hearts and Hands
Because we are in CC, we do cover a new science topic in memory work each week. However, I like to expand upon the weekly memory work sentences and dig a little deeper. I will be pulling books that go more in depth on each topic and from there we will be note booking and doing fun hands-on learning, keeping this subject fun and engaging!
For my Science spine I use T5GSH Science Learning Toolbox #4 which covers each week of CC science using visuals, and then we are able to take that visual and expand upon it. So helpful! *You do NOT have to be in CC to use my Science Toolboxes! Use them as a spine and expand. These make for wonderful Elementary science tools!
This year we are using TGATB Space Unit Study to expand on the space memory work in CC. I just pick and choose lessons that I think would interest my girls. This is the part that you have to be flexible with if expanding upon CC memory work-- pick and choose what works! You can't do it ALL, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to! CC in itself is A LOT!
I will also be using TGATB Science for Little Hearts & Hands. While this is geared for Preschool-2nd grade, and Evelyn is a 3rd grader, I already know Evelyn will be interested in the stories and videos too- who doesn't love outdoor exploring?
As you can see, I piece together different things, but don’t let that intimidate you. I keep things very simple around here and pick and choose lessons as the girls show interest and as we can fit them in. Right now I have our expanded science day set for Friday’s, I hold this schedule loosely- remember your curriculum should serve you, not the other way around!
History & Geography: Beautiful Feet Books Around the World Part 1
History and geography are covered in CC, but we will be digging deeper in these subjects as well! BFB Around the World Part 1 pairs so well with the countries we will be covering this year in CC, making this pick a no brainer! I will choose the lessons in this curriculum that tie in well with our weekly memory work and read the corresponding literature. Again, we hold all supplementation loosely and add it in only for fun! Right now, I have extra History added into our weekly schedule on Monday’s & Thursday’s.
I highly recommend using this Maps book for any geography and history expansion! Such a fun one!
Evelyn started piano at 5 years old and is currently in her 4th year! She takes 30 minute private lessons each week and is required to practice 20 minutes each day. She participates in two piano recitals each year- Winter and Spring.
And that's it! While it looks like a lot, it really isn't! I structure our day to where each girl gets a reasonable workload for just the right amount of daily learning, while also leaving plenty of time for playing & exploring. Remember to keep your homeschool simple, and if you are struggling to figure out how to fit it all in, remember to only do the essentials first (Reading, Math & Writing), and then add in the extras once you've gotten a good rhythm down with the essentials. Figuring out a good schedule and rhythm take weeks & sometimes months, so don't give up!