As much as we have loved having a summer break with no required school work, it is definitely time to start planning for the new year. Since I’m expecting a baby in October, I definitely want to get started sooner rather than later so that we can take an extended break during October and the following months as needed.
This school year, I will be doing third grade with Raisin. Strawberry is 3 and a half and will be starting at a local preschool in September.
English Language Arts
First, for English Language Arts in third grade, we are mainly going to continue with Logic of English Essentials. We did 10 lessons of Logic of English Essentials during the last year because we took it very slowly. My goal is to do at least 15 this year. There are 40 lessons all together. We will do the remaining lessons (whatever we don’t finish) for the beginning of fourth grade. I feel we need to do lots of review, and at the same time I don’t want to do overkill where my son gets incredibly bored and frustrated with the program. I like how it is a very logical spelling practice. There is also a good amount of grammar practice incorporated into the lesson plans.
Also, I have my son signed up for class of the co-op called Creative Writing with Legos. He enjoys making Lego creations and making a story to go along with the prompt he was given. This will be his main writing, and I will help him with editing and typing of his stories. He is getting better at typing them so I may not have to do that. If necessary, we will practice handwriting and typing (using Typing Instructor).
In addition, I have found another great program. I really really like Zaner-Bloser’s G.U.M. workbook. This is a workbook for grammar, usage, and mechanics practice. I like how each two-page lesson contains and interesting reading passage, a brief instruction, and practice applying the instruction as the student responds to the reading passage. I want to do some of that workbook as well to supplement Logic of English, especially during the weeks after the baby comes and I cannot easily do one-on-one Logic of English work with my son.
I also own Writing with Ease 2 for copywork and dictation practice, although we found last year that he hated it! Maybe if his handwriting needs more practice, we’ll incorporate these lessons back in to our week as well. We’ll see.
I love English but I believe my son does not, so I will take it easy and follow his lead. I will encourage free reading and read alouds as well, but I’m not concerned about more formal reading and writing than what I have mentioned here.
Math is the next cornerstone of home education I believe. My son is on the first lesson of Singapore Primary Mathematics 2B, which some consider a third grade curriculum.
The idea is that my son would be independently working with Teaching Textbooks Level 4 (a computer-based learning program) when I am tied up and unable to help him after the baby comes. We’ll see if he’s ready for that after the Singapore 2B. I got Teaching Textbooks 4 because I’ve heard that Teaching Textbooks 3 is a bit too easy after Singapore level 2; we will try and see how goes.
I did find the used textbooks for Singapore 3A and Singapore 3B; however, as I said, I’d really like to see if he can do Teaching Textbooks independently on the computer before we go back to Singapore. I’ve had good experiences over the past two years in Singapore and I do think it is a rigorous program. My son loves math. I can’t say he likes workbooks, but I think if we add in games and math exploration, he will enjoy what he’s learning.
For social studies, we are doing Story of the World 3, which is early modern history. We mostly read the textbook or listen to the audiobook. To supplement that, when we get to the American Revolution, we will be watching Liberty’s Kids. I think that if we begin early, we will get to the American Revolution just about the time my baby is born, so my son can just watch Liberty’s Kids (there are more than 40 episodes) for a few weeks if I’m too tired for more formal school. That will be a fun supplement to the early modern history will be reading the remainder of the year. Depending on how much time we have, we may also dabble in The Complete Book of U.S. History, which I recently found at a garage sale.
For science, I have invested in a Brain Pop videos subscription. Homeschoolers and educators can get Brain Pop at a discount through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.
I have also purchased Galore Park’s Junior Science 1. We will be reading each lesson (there are five different units) and doing some question answering and exploration from that book, followed up with videos on Brain Pop. My son loves science and enjoys many aspects of it, often searhing out subjects on his own. The reason I got Galore Park was because I wanted to have some kind of a framework to base our lessons on. I like the look of it so far; we’ll see how it goes when we begin the year.
The state of Illinois requires health as a part of school instruction as well. There are sections in the textbook related to hygeine and the human body, so those will be our focus this year as well.
My son will be doing an art class at our co-op each week. We also probably will do some piano lessons this year if I can find a teacher. I have an idea for music appreciation and art appreciation as well, but that will probably come later in the year, as I suspect we’ll be busy enough in the beginning with the impending arrival of our baby girl!
For physical education, my son will probably do Swim and Gym through the park district. He is not quite deep water safe, and I believe the swim lessons and group games at Swim and Gym are valuable for the time and money we must invest. We might also do gymnastics, which he has enjoyed a lot in the past, although I’m hesitant to sign up for too much before the baby comes!
My son has been using Visual Link Spanish, a computer-based learning program, for a long time. Although I see progress in his vocabulary and speaking when he’s at the computer, he does not want to practice speaking to me. This has to change.
My plan is that we will read some children’s books in Spanish each week, we’ll talk in Spanish and quiz each other, and so forth. I also purchased The Fun Spanish, which has simple lessons each week and a ridiculous sentence to illustrate. My son does not like copywork and handwriting, but I hope we can do something with this program that will get him less shy about speaking Spanish out loud when he is not on the computer!
Do you have any suggestions for getting a child to speak a language to you?
Strawberry is going to go to preschool at the nearby park district. I’m really looking forward for her having the opportunity, and she’s already excited about, despite the fact that her first day is still 6 weeks away! While she’s at school, I hope to get some schoolwork done with my son, although, after my baby is born, I realistically embrace that time as possibly time to take a nap!
At home, Strawberry and I will play games together. We will work with letters and numbers, rhyming, and so forth through games, and we will read lots of books together. I do not want to pressure her toward reading but I know she loves books. If she’s ready we will follow her lead for early phonics work.
The reality of homeschooling is that the plan in August (or July as the case may be this year) is never the same as what we are doing come April. Things will change. Once baby girl Jelly Bean joins us in October, we will have to develop a new routine. I hope we can all be flexible and happy as we adjust throughout this school year!
What are you teaching in your homeschool this year?
Note: I am an affiliate for Logic of English.