Homeschool 101: Third Grade Curriculum

Third Grade Thoughts

Around ages 7-8, we start third grade.  An almost completely independent learner, my third grader loves learning, and she’s getting excited about doing school.

Where second grade is about routines, third grade is about expressing and choosing. In third grade, because of the ability to be independent, I start emphasizing time management and making good choices. Learning is more than just the academics, after all.  I want my girls to learn how to manage themselves and their work, as well.

Third Grade Goals

Third grade is the first year of “big kid” school time. Up to now, I haven’t done much in terms of marking, as I’ve been more heavily involved directly in their learning. With my third grader being so much more independent, I’m now marking their work.

I teach to mastery, in the elementary grades. I don’t do tests or quizzes, nor do I give out grades. They either understand it, or we go over it again until they do. So marking their work is simply noting where they got it wrong (in math and spelling, for example), or where I think they can do better (in science or reading, etc). I will then ask them to complete corrections before moving on to the new assignments.

Expectations and goals are largely the same as in second grade.  I’m looking for improving comprehension skills in reading, improving penmanship skills, and improving communication. We do more with writing and grammar. I want my third grader to be able to express their own opinions and thoughts in their writing.

In math, I look for a more rounded understanding of all four operations, and we begin to explore place value. In science, we’re studying botany (plants), and in history, we do Ancient Greece and Rome, along with pre-medieval Europe. Now I’m insisting on full sentences in the lapbook pieces, though I won’t mark against poor spelling or grammar.

We extend music lessons, and I start drawing lessons for art. I encourage my girls to keep sketch books to practice their skills outside of our formal school time.

Third Grade Curriculum:

  1. Reading:

    Third grade is our last year of reading comprehension work. We use BJU PressReading 4 program.

  2. Writing:

    Writing in third grade presents more opportunity to express oneself. We stick with the curriculum, Winning with Writing. The simple format, and short easy writing prompts make writing fun not difficult.

    I don’t do any more copywork in third grade.

  3. Spelling:

    In third grade, we continue with Rod and Staff‘s Spelling 3.  The simple workbook-style lessons and self-teaching assignments make it a great fit for independent learners.  I also appreciate the emphasis on phonetic rules and spelling patterns.

  4. Grammar:

    Third grade grammar becomes a little more intensive.  We still use the program Growing with Grammar, doing level 3.  Depending on how quick my student is, we may also complete level 4 this year as well. We skip the sections on diagramming sentences, though.

  5. Math:

    In third grade, we delve deeper into arithmetic, using all the operations on larger and larger numbers.  I love Math Mammoth, for elementary grade math. The digital format makes it more affordable, and reusable from student to student.

    Problem Solving Skills

    We continue to develop problem solving skills in third grade.  We move on to The Critical Thinking Co‘s Math Detective Beginning, from the Thinking Skills and Key Concepts series. The short stories are entertaining and the problems definitely make you think. Some of them are even challenging for me!

  6. Science:

    Third grade science means we move on to the living world.  For this year, we study plants. From flowers to trees, mushrooms to algae, we look at all the different kinds of plants and their life cycles. We even plan and plant a garden!  Hands of A Child , as always, is my favorite place for lapbooks.  For third grade, I use the project packs Plants, Traveling Seeds, The World of Trees, and Get Ready to Garden. I use some other science packs as well.

  7. History:

    Third grade completes our study of the ancient civilizations. We finish off by looking at Ancient Greece and Rome. We also look at some of the pre-medieval cultures of Europe — the Vikings and the Celts.

    The lapbooks we use from Hands of A Child are: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and The Vikings.

    We also use this lapbook from Knowledge Box Central: The Celts.

  8. Geography:

    For third grade geography, we study the geography of Europe, to go with our history studies. I use the Classroom Complete Press book Europe. 

  9. Art:

    In third grade,  we continue our music lessons. We also do Book 2 of Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades from ZeeZok Publishing.

Other Choices

Third grade also contains a Bible program and French lessons. I create my own curriculum for these subjects as it’s been difficult to find programs I like for this age.

Third Grade Tricks

Third grade means time management skills. I work to develop not only their skills at learning, but their ability to manage their time. I also want them to start working on correction and motivation to do their job well. My goal continues to be improvement at independent learning.

For third grade, I expect about 2 hours of formal academics, to start the year. As my third grader improves her skills, it will take less time. The actual amount of time will change over the course of the year.  Homeschooling flexibility for the win.

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