Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Third Grade - What We're Learning

We have so much planned for third grade this year!  I am sticking with a philosophy of short, rich lessons - no use trying to read for a half hour and then retain all that was covered in all those pages!  The things Caroline does range from 5 to 30 minutes to complete before switching to a different task. 

I am also easing Caroline into more independent work this year, and so far (three days in, that is!), it is going very well.  We do lots of reading of real books and then retellings, or narrations, of what was read.  This is supposed to help the students remember what they have read better.  Up until now, Caroline has been retelling things to me orally, but at the end of second grade, she was expressing a real desire to just write her narrations.  Most of what I have read says it is best to start them writing narrations around age nine, or 4th grade, but they can begin to do this in third grade.  So, here is our weekly schedule of written narrations:
* Saint story (read aloud to everyone) from Saints for Young Readers for Every Day - 2x/week
* American History Stories Vol. III and IV (read independently) - 3x/week
* A story from one of the following: Andrew Lang's Fairy books, Of Swords and Sorcerers, or Favorite North American Indian Legends (read independently) - 1x/week
* Little Stories books by Laura Large (read independently) - 1x/biweekly

Her other independent work will include:
* Math U See Gamma workbook (after completing the introduction to each new concept with me) - every day
* Primary Language Lessons (those that are written or done silently) - 3x/week
* Maps, Charts, and Graphs Book C - 1x/week
* Journal writing - 2x/week
* Practicing the recorder - every day
* Reviewing Spanish songs, prayers, and word lists on headphones - 1x/week
* Copywork from self-selected poems, quotes, Bible verses - every day

For the work I will still be doing with her...

We are still keeping her a part of Circle Time/Morning Basket.  She will continue to review money and time daily, hear about the saint whose feast day is celebrated each day, recite prayers, learn hymns, and memorize poetry as a part of this time each day.

Her Ancient Egypt book is written on a pretty high reading level and is nonfiction, so I will be reading it aloud to her and having her narrate it orally.  I am excited to learn about it as well!

I mentioned the magnitude study... it is called Universe in my Hands and includes finding items in each size range and filing them in a binder.  She has begun working on the "1 meter" range and drew herself for today's entry.  I will have her look for magazine picture, draw things, and take the camera around the house to find other items that also fit in the "1 meter" range - basically, anything that is is a little more or a little less than a meter would qualify. This will be really neat when we get to huge things (like planets) and tiny things (like bacteria), because I really have no frame of reference for how large/small these things truly are, and this should give a clearer picture in our minds!

Another geography topic this year is "extreme environments" - she will read from a book about the desert, the arctic, or the jungle and then narrate the information to me orally and make a notebook page about it.  I also plan to get a few resources from the library as supplementary reading.  Her first book is on the Sahara Desert.

She will be studying mountains and volcanoes using the book The Earth.  We'll also be doing the mapping section from this same book.  We'll continue to plot people and events on our world map.  I have ordered an atlas to hopefully help us with our Egyptian studies as well as American History.

We will also continue with nature study as usual.  I bought the girls a flower press, so we will see how that works!  We currently have a clematis and a hibiscus in it.  We also go to the beach in a week and a half, so I bought a copy of the Burgess Seashore Book to take along.  I also reserved a few seashore books from the library: the One Small Square series book about the seashore as well as a couple others.  The nature backpack will be coming along with us, of course, and the girls are already hoping to see more marsh rabbits in the dunes!

One other thing that is related to nature study... Cecilia will be doing the Alphabet Path this year, which includes a different "flower fairy" for each letter.  Well, each flower is actually a real flower that can be studied more in depth, so Caroline is going to have her own flower studies time each Friday.  I am going to let her choose a flower for each letter of the alphabet - maybe the same one as each flower fairy, or maybe one mentioned in the flower fairy songs.  So I have gotten her a blank book, several resources to pull from, and will also bookmark a couple websites.  She will make a page for each flower, however she wants, including drawings and information that she thinks is important for each one, and she'll be encouraged to treat the book as a work of art, doing her best writing and illustrating as possible.  I think it will be really fun to see where she goes with this!

For religious studies, we will still be learning catechism answers.  We used the Faith and Life book last year and will do so again... it includes catechism questions in each chapter, but I am wondering for other Catholic homeschoolers who may have used this book... is it worth it to learn the answers in each grade level book, or is it better to just dig in to the Baltimore catechism?  It seems like the Faith and Life questions build on each other and get more complicated - like in the 2nd grade book, the one answer was something like, "God is everywhere," whereas this year's book has the answer, "God is everywhere.  He is all-knowing," or something along those lines...

And we are not finished with the Learn Spanish with Grace book yet... in addition to reviewing the songs and prayers and word lists, she will continue to work through the program and hopefully finish this year.  The plan for foreign languages is to begin Latin next year...

So that is most of what is going on here for third grade!  Tomorrow - school room organization, and then maybe a post on what we are doing for Kindergarten with Cecilia!


Amy said...

Hi Erin! It's me--Amy. I like to check in from time to time on your blog--I hope you don't mind. You are so organized and I love to get motivated after reading your posts. It looks like you have a fun year ahead. Tell the girls hello for us. See you soon.
BTW--I am still learning on Google + but Kevin hasn't been able to walk me through it.

Erin said...

Hey Amy, of course I don't mind! I was just talking to Amy H. today (our kids happen to have swim lessons at the same time together this week) and saying how neat it would be if we could go to each other's houses and just watch how a school day is run in other homes... but that it wouldn't be practical because I wouldn't want to bring my kids to distract the other kids, ha! I love to see how people organize things and what materials they use and just to see that maybe somebody else's one year old also pulls all the colored pencils off the shelves 200 times in one morning and screams when I pick them up! ;)

I saw you found me on Google+... I don't use it very much, don't really know how either, and I think I only have two people connected to me on there... I don't even remember setting it up, ha. It's just there magically thru the power of the Internet!