Thursday, March 8, 2012

Third Grade Plans

Now that we have pretty much everything we need for 3rd grade, I thought I'd do a post giving some of the details about what we'll be doing. I'm including pictures of our materials, since they just got here (and so did my new camera). April 16th will technically be Jay's first day of 3rd grade. He chose April 15th as the start date for each school year, so he always knows what grade he's in (for when everybody asks). Of course, what grade he's in is a meaningless number when it comes to what he's actually doing for school. Without further ado, here is a more detailed explanation of what we have planned for 3rd grade.

This will be a busy subject for Jay in 3rd grade. He has been working through Mastering Mathematics, a mastery program with 6 books covering 1st - 6th grade Math. He has already finished Attacking Addition, Subduing Subtraction, and Mastering Multiplication. He is currently in Defeating Division, and will be finishing in the next few weeks. So, for 3rd grade, he will be doing Perfecting the Point (decimals & percents) and Finishing Fractions (fractions, obviously). He will also be doing the Life of Fred Fractions book and the Life of Fred Decimals & Percents book with the Mastering Mathematics books. This will let us know if Life of Fred will be a good fit for him & (hopefully) provide a smooth transition into the Life of Fred series, if it does work for him. I have removed the pages from the Mastering Mathematics books & currently have them in a binder. It just seems easier to deal with the pages separately instead of in workbook form. The plan is to start with the beginning section of Perfecting the point, which focuses on place value. Then, we'll do Fractions. After Fractions are done, we'll do Decimals & Percents.

He has also been doing Key to Measurement. He's just finished the first book. He will continue to work through the series at his own pace. We also have Key to Metric Measurement. I'm not sure if he plans to alternate Measurement & Metric Measurement or work through one series completely before starting the other. He will be continuing until both are finished, though.

He enjoys story problems and requested to have more of them. So, I purchased a few workbooks of just story problems. I feel it's important for kids to understand how to do story problems, and was always amazed at kids in my high school who had no understanding of them at all. So, I'm glad that he enjoys doing them and is good at them. The plan is to do 1 page from the workbooks each day. He'll get to choose which book to do each day.

He'll also continue using Khan Academy as a supplement, as well as playing fun Math games.

Language Arts:
2nd grade was the first year he did Grammar formally. He has done quite well with it and enjoys using Easy Grammar. So, we will be continuing with Easy Grammar. We got Easy Grammar grade 3 and grade 4. He will continue to do 1 page a day (though he sometimes chooses to do 2). We only got the teacher book for each. The teacher books are different from the ones we've used so far. There are teacher pages instead of just a copy of the student books with answers in the back. There are also sections dedicated to writing. We'll likely skip the writing sections, since we have the Stack the Deck program for writing. I won't throw the pages out, just in case we decide to do them. I don't think we'll do them, though, unless he seems to need the review. I've pulled all the pages out of grade 3 & put them in a binder & will do the same with grade 4 as we get close to using it. The answers are on the opposite page, instead of the back of the book, so having him do the pages in the workbook is not an option.

2nd grade was also the first year we introduced formal Spelling. He loves All About Spelling and has made great progress so far with Levels 1 & 2. We got Levels 3 & 4 for 3rd grade. He will work through them doing 1 step a week, spending more time if needed.

We did not start formal Writing until 2nd grade, either. He has really enjoyed using Discover the Deck. So, we picked up the next two levels - Check the Deck & Flip the Deck. We will work through these at his pace.

We do a word - a - day thing for Vocab. He chooses a word, each day, to be his vocab word. Sometimes, it comes from the Roots & Fruits book. Other times, it is a word he has come across in his day, that he doesn't understand.

He's been working through Latin for Children Primer A. He's almost halfway through it. We spend extra time on some chapters and have skipped Latin some weeks, which is why he's not further into it. Our goal, with languages, is to become fluent in reading, writing, and speaking the language. This is why we spend extra time on some chapters. If he needs review or re-enforcement, we will take the time to do that. Mastery can't be achieved if you rush to stick to a timetable. We have bought Primer B, so we can start on that as soon as we are done with Primer A. We get the Mastery Bundles, which have the student text, activity book, history reader, answer key, DVDs & CDs.

He will be continuing with Tell Me More Spanish. He enjoys working with this program, though I think it will be quite awhile before he attains mastery of the language (due to how often he does it, not any issue with the program). Since we bought the 5-level package last year, we did not buy anything for this language this year.

ASL: He will be continuing through the Signing Time DVDs. We usually spend at least a few weeks on each disc. Again, our goal is mastery. If he's ready for it, he will also have access to The Joy of Signing (DVDs & Book).

The areas of focus for 3rd grade are Water, Weather, and Rocks. We do not use anything as a spine, no textbooks or formal curricula for this subject. We will be using a lot of books (both from our personal collection & the public library), documentaries (from the library & Netflix), and a few kits (for fun hands-on experience).

Much like Science, we don't use a textbook or formal curricula for this subject. 3rd grade topics will be the Middle Ages & Renaissance and Explorers & Pirates. We will use lots of books (ours & from the library), documentaries (library & Netflix), and some fun hands-on projects.

Geography/Cultural Studies:
The main focus will be U.S. Geography and continuing with Map Corner. Though, he will still have plenty of time to follow his own interests in this subject. For U.S. Geography, we have stickers and blank maps. He'll continue playing Geography games. We also have a tentative plan to fill scrapbooks with the maps, info, stickers, etc. Of course, there's also our Geography in Literature project, which we intend to continue.

Computer Programming:
We're continuing with Logo. He's really been enjoying Logo Adventures, so I bought Logo Works. He will work with both of them, plus play around with the program, through 3rd grade. There is some overlap between Logo Adventures & Logo Works, so my plan was to combine them. However, Jay wants to finish Logo Adventures and follow that with Logo Works.

He'll be doing Logic Safari Book 2. He will also continue doing fun online Logic games, online analogy games, and puzzles from the various Logic Puzzle books we own. He also will continue playing Chess, which is great for logic & strategy.

We'll continue to expose him to different genres, styles, and artists. He wants to continue with playing the recorder & Native American flute. So, I am picking up a few song books for Native American flute. He also wants to take up drums, so we're going to be buying him a drum set.

He really enjoyed the leather work that he did during his study of Native Americans. So, I bought him more supplies for that. I also picked up some more charcoal, so we can do more work with that (something else he really enjoyed). I still haven't started him on wood burning. If I don't get to that this year, we'll do it next year. We also bought The Louvre: All the Paintings. I am hoping to use this to some extent in our Art, as well. I think it will be a great starting point for a study of artists & their work.