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Topic Closed3rd Grade Language Arts

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Tulip19 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: 3rd Grade Language Arts
    Posted: 21/Feb/2011 at 5:43pm

What should a third grader really be doing in language arts? I have ds8 doing spelling and cursive writing. I'm trying to get some creative writing out of him, like book reports, but he struggles with exactly what to write. We started the year with Sonlight's LA 2 Intermediate, but many of the assignments were too much for him, so we dropped it after 5 weeks. But now I'm concerned that he's not getting enough grammar and creative writing. I wonder if I should pick up a 3rd grade ABEKA LA workbook...

Any suggestions?

 

 

 

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mrs twain View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/Feb/2011 at 10:30am

I have a second grade son, and this year for LA we are doing Rod and Staff "Building Christian English" for English grammar, Spelling Power for spelling, and Wordly Wise 3000 for vocabulary and a little bit of reading comprehension.

For writing, I have done exercises with the book "Any Child Can Write" by Harvey S. Wiener, and we are using two Evan-Moor workbooks called "How to Report on Books" and "How to Write a Story" for grades 1-2.  I also had my son do a report on ancient Greece where each week he read one chapter, took notes on two or three questions from the chapter (on a sheet I prepared), and then wrote a paragragh which contained answers to the questions.

I have also found it difficult to help my son in writing, but I do think it is necessary to work on those skills at this age.  I'm sure there are a lot of other good materials out there which would suit your needs, but these are a few that I have found good for a second grader. 

I am definitely planning to stay with Rod and Staff for grammar in future years, and I think I will start IEW for writing in either 3rd or 4th grade. I also plan into looking at something to add for more reading/listening comprehension work for 3rd grade if we can fit it in ("Critical Thinking..." by Steck-Vaughn maybe).

Just some ideas!

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Rene View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22/Feb/2011 at 8:37pm
One way to teach writing is to analysis what he has read
or has been read to him. If you know there is a book he
really liked than analysis paragraphs in this book. Find
a good paragraph with all the elements.
A good opening sentence, 3-4 details and a closing
sentence. Pick several. Then pick some that aren't
quite so perfect. See if he can add a detail or a
closing sentence to these not quite perfect paragraphs.

Sometimes working with something he likes will stimulate
the thinking process. Some children are just more
creative than others. He may not be one to think
creatively in order to write a paragraph about anything.
But he may be one that likes to do reports because he is
writing about a known thing versus an unknown out of the
blue something.

Pick a topic for him. Help him come up with 3 detail
sentences, then talk about what a good opening sentence
would be. And of course a closing sentence. The Evan-
Moor books are great. I have used them in my tutoring
business as well.

Remember, some children need more repetition and
instruction that others. He may be very smart in math
and not need much repetition, but the writing comes hard
for him. We aren't all equal in every subject.

I hated science and excelled in math. I didn't like to
read or spell when I was in school. Then in college I
started to like reading. Now I am a Reading Specialist.

The beauty of homeschool is you can use the trial and
error method. He has many years to learn writing.
Starting early is a great idea, BUT you have time to find
what will work with him. Think about how he learns and
what he is interested in and go from there.

Hope this helps.

Rene
READING: The Cornerstone to Success
http://learning-disabilities-reading-tutor.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/Feb/2011 at 4:16am

Thanks you, ladies! These are good suggestions. It's funny - I don't remember learning to write paragraphs or reports when I was in 3rd or even 4th grade. (I'm 43.) But I rememeber "getting it" (writing paragraphs, reports, short stories) at some point and really taking off. As a little girl, I was always making up stories, and my teachers got a kick out of them. But they didn't do the creative writing with kids that is done now in K, 1st, 2nd. I wish I had written those stories down!

I did get some creative writing out of ds yesterday. I started a sentence: Once upon a time, a boy found a frog. Right away, ds changed it to a "blind boy fell down into a sewer (he's fascinated with sewer systems) and ran into an alligator." The blind boy wrestled his way to victory, btw. So it's not a lack of creativity. I think it's a fear that he'll not follow the right format. And that fear paralyzes him.

As I'm not sure about homeschooling him next year, I'm going to hold off on ordering more curriculum. I went ahead and printed some free worksheets about nouns, verbs, synonyms, antonyms, and such to work on, and I will put that paragraph analysis into action.

Mrs Twain, I will keep your suggestions in mind if we do continue to homeschool. It's good to hear personal stories about different programs.

Thank you both for taking the time to advise me

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23/Feb/2011 at 10:54am


I am going to offer a different perspective on the necessity of writing in 3rd and 4th grades. Some children, particularly those who are right brained learners, are not ready to do a lot of writing at those ages. I did not learn about this until long after my older kids were that age and I did make them do a lot of writing, with a lot of gnashing of teeth. My oldest truly hated writing at that age and it was amazing to me that several years later, she decided she wanted to be a writer! I truly believe now that it was in spite of and not because I pushed it on here earlier.

Here is a lens that tells about right brained learners:
http://www.squidoo.com/Right_Brained_Learner

If you see your child in there somewhere, you may want to consider learning more about their timetable in which writing develops much later than the typical school scope and sequence.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Feb/2011 at 6:50am

I would love to go at my son's own pace, but I fear the state. I'm in PA, and he has to be assessed this year, 5th, and 8th. So, I'm under this constant low-level state of anxiety that I may not be doing enough.

Here's what his total LA program is:

20-30 minutes of silent reading (fiction or esp historical fiction) every day

I read to him every day, either history, a Bible lesson, or quality fiction, for 30-60 minutes.

Alternating assignments in copywork, spelling lists, or grammar worksheets. (Though not a lot of grammar sheets, just enough to make sure he understands nouns, verbs, and correct punctuation.) Any work he does, I correct, and make him re-write out. (For example, erase a small letter at the beginning of a sentence and replace it with a capital.)

As for creative writing, I start him with an idea, and let him go, expecting at least 4-5 sentences which I will correct. I almost hate to correct his creative writing, so as not to discourage him. I always complement his writing at first and then gently show him what we need to fix. I have him do about one creative writing assignment every other week. I think I'll soon have him begin a journal, and write 2-3 sentences in it every day.

All of his writing is in cursive now. We devoted much of Jan and Feb to getting that under his belt, so that he could do future assignments in cursive alone. He didn't do much else in grammar/copywork/creative writing at that time. He's doing fairly well in his writing. (Creative writing and copywork are now done on hand-writing paper.)    

Vocab: we meet new words as they come, look them up, and he seems to retain them. Perhaps I should have him copy some out weekly...

I sorta feel like a goof-off. But there it is. Am I doing enough? 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Feb/2011 at 7:10am
HistoryMom, that is a great link! I cried at the first video, Animal School, and laughed at the second. Still have to get to the others, but I just had to thank you for that link. I hope more take a look/listen! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Feb/2011 at 10:55am


Oh - I do understand being in a state where there are evaluations like that. I have to say that I am SO GLAD not to have those especially with my youngest. It would be, as you say, a constant background source of anxiety.

To me, your LA program sounds FABULOUS. How much local homeschool support do you have? What i think is that you need to hear from someone in the know about really what these evaluations involve. I used to get the PA Homeschoolers newsletter and at that time, you chose evaluators and it seemed that the person themselves made a huge difference.

Okay, here is a website that looks helpful though I can't tell how up to date it is:
http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschoolevals.html

Do you now have a yearly portfolio evaluation and then something else which takes place 3rd, 5th and 8th year? Is that a standardized test? If so, then what you really need to know is what does he need to know for the test (in terms of being ready for that).

Okay, now that I am reading, this seems to be more the page for the particular concern:
http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschooltesting.htm l

So correct me if I am wrong but you do a yearly portfolio evaluation and then a standardized test in 3rd, 5th, and 8th. I found on the page above this list of approved tests as of March 2009:

  1. California Achievement Test
   2. Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIV)
   3. Iowa Test of Basic Skills
   4. Metropolitan Achievement Test
   5. Peabody Achievement Individual Test – Revised Version
   6. Stanford Achievement Test (not to be confused with the SAT test for college admission)
   7. Terra Nova
   8. Woodcock Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement III


Now - do you have to meet minimum scores or do you simply include this test in your portfolio and it becomes one more thing that your evaluator looks at?


If it were me, and I were concerned about the test, I would go ahead and test now and see where he has trouble. You can get a CAT from http://www.setontesting.com/default.php
It costs $25 and only takes a couple of days to administer. You won't get a lot of useful info but it is fairly simple. The only problem is that in 3rd grade, some of the sections only have 2 or 3 questions so if he misses one, it looks bad.

I use the Woodcock Johnson for my youngest. You have to use an outside tester and it costs more - $70 in my area. But you get a lot of useful information and a good tester will help a child score as well as they are able.

FYI, the CAT is switching over to the Terra Nova as the old CAT supplies are used up.

We have to do annual testing in NC which is why I know all this. But we don't have evaluations and we don't have to meet minimum scores so the testing is all bark and no bite. I spend VERY little time worrying about testing and lots of time helping other homeschoolers not worry about them here. I hope you were able to follow my thought process.

And I am glad that you enjoyed the video. I am always up for talking about right brainers.



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Feb/2011 at 1:46pm

Using a scope and sequence is an objective way of finding out what is recommended for each grade, and I find it helps immensely in deciding what to teach and which resources to use.  There are multiple good ones available, but I have used the free one that you can download from the Core Knowledge Foundation.

Hope that goes well!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 8:04am

OK, wow. I just found, via google, a sample of the 3rd grade Iowa test and ran over some problems with ds. He didn't catch mistakes he should have. He missed enough to concern me. I'm thinking he needs some official grammar instruction now, perhaps Abeka or BJU. I saw a friend's BJU stuff for 2nd grade yesterday, and I'm wishing I had my son doing the same book in 3rd, along with the reading we're doing. And all because of a test. That kills me.

I am perplexed that he didn't catch stuff like capitalizing the name of a city. However, he thought he should capitalize "first president" in this sentence: George Washington was the first president of the United States. He also didn't get that I should be capitalized when referring to yourself in writing. Oy veh! And here he is reading, reading, reading! And for what? My belief of "show what's right and they'll see what's wrong" is not working here. The drill must be the thing after all... Or is it all a maturity thing?

I could just cry. I hope he even passes the Iowa test in April...

I'm feeling so out of control right now, like he spinning away from me, towards the school building. I have failed. And he may be lost to me.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 8:09am

I've been kinda weepy for days now. I'm peri-menopausal, so please forgive my drama, but it where I am right now. I prayed and prayed about homechooling, and thought the Lord wanted me to. And I still do for so many reasons. But I don't want to let ds slip behind in some areas while he's learning a ton of history, his fave subject. He needs to be well-rounded. And to tell you the truth, I hate to think of him drilling, drilling, drilling on busywork that he already understands, and missing using that same time on what he wants to learn. I want to mold him in his own bent, towards a career he'll enjoy.

That Right Minded link really got to me.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 8:20am

We have to test our kids with yearly standardized tests, so I kind of know how you feel.  If I were in your situation, I might take the time now before the test in April to concentrate totally on the skills he needs to pass the test.  If it is capitalization, punctuation, etc., just practice a lot of that before the test.  Print out worksheets from the internet or use workbook pages that cover the skills he needs. 

After the test, then go back to your usual curriuclum and add a grammar program or anything else it seems he may need.  He is still young, and there is plenty of time to teach him what he needs to learn to be well-rounded.  If I were you, I wouldn't give up on homeschooling just yet! 

 

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 8:33am

Oh and one more thing I forgot to add--what you said about needing to drill.  Yes, I think they need a grammar program or driling.  My son reads above his grade level, but it doesn't translate into spelling or grammar at all.  We have had to do a lot of work on writing and basic grammar to get him to an acceptable level in those subjects.

Just because you need drilling or a grammar program doesn't mean that you can't continue a lot of reading and history.  The drilling/grammar/etc doesn't need to take that long to be effective in my experience.

I'll pray for you, too.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 9:04am

Hugs to you!!! I know what it is like to be in a hormonal state. It does make everything harder. don't worry about crying on our shoulders, most of us have been there and done that for one reason or another.

Try not to mix apples and oranges here. There is NOTHING wrong with your homeschooling. The problem is the stupid testing. that doesn't make it go away just try not to mix up what you have to do with what is best. There is really no good reason why they insist on getting all that grammar in those early grades. It comes MUCH more easily in later grades. The whole "show them what is right and they will absorb it" absolutely works because I have seen it work with my children. The problem is that it is a natural organic method that works over time. And works a whole lot better IMHO. BUT it doesn't always produce the year to year results demanded by tests.

So do like mrs twain says, take some time for the kill and drill needed for specific test items but don't let it color your whole year. If he goes back to school that is ALL he will get (just about). At home at least you can give him a lot more on top of the drill for the test.

I just wish I knew exactly what resource would help best with the drilling. Here is what I would  do since you know what test he is taking. Get as many practice tests as you can (within cost reason). Take one a week. Then practice exactly what he missed over that next week for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Take another and keep repeating. I bet in the time you have left that you will eliminate many of his problem areas.

I have a group in my area that uses the Iowa for group testing. I am going to contact them and see if they have suggestions for preparation. Even though we don't have minimum scores, parents still tend to freak a little over test results here and they might have suggestions. I have never used the Iowa so I don't know anything about it. Oh you know, I take that back, I think that was the test my kids had to take when we were in AR and if so, they did not so great on it. They were quite young at the time and they went on to do fine on later standardized tests. It was their first group testing experience.

This is just a hoop you have to get through. Don't let it pass judgment on your home school. I have come to believe that these standardized tests are worse than useless. The schools have to have a broad evaluation stick - that doesn't mean that it is good for truly determining how a child is progressing.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Feb/2011 at 2:23pm

Probably I am in the minority, but I don't think standardized tests are all bad.  Of course I don't plan my courses around those kinds of tests, but I think they are useful in two regards.

One is that they can help show if you are missing something in your curriculum.  I wouldn't have found out about my son's weakness in reading comprehension without those tests.  If there is a gap in my homeschool program, I want to know about it so that I can fix it.

Secondly, a lot of things in life involve taking standardized tests, so it is a good skill in which to gain proficiency.  Appying to college is an example.  Many colleges look almost exclusively at SAT scores to evaluate homeschool students because there may not be anything else objective in the record.  Medical schools look first at MCAT scores because they are directly correlated with how people perform in medical school and on the medical board exams.  Regardless of the quality of a student's education, admission to any medical school is almost impossible with having a certain minimum MCAT score.

In other words, you can look at standardized tests as a useful tool rather than as an enemy.  I would still teach my kids test taking skills and give them yearly standardized tests even if I weren't required.  They are not the most important parts of our school year, but they can be a help in planning the curriculum and provide practical and necessary skills for life.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27/Feb/2011 at 10:04am


mrs twain, I actually agree with many of your thoughts on testing though I don't think it necessary to do them every year in order for them to be ready for the college type testing.

I just want to expand on one thing and this is just as a thought - i am not arguing with you on the subject, this is just something that i did not "get" for many years. When you refer to "missing something in your curriculum," you are referring to the standard school scope and sequence. Nothing wrong with that if you want to keep up with that scope and sequence but it is important to realize that there is nothing perfect about that s&s, nothing that makes it "the one right way" for children to progress and if we never had to intersect with the school system, we would have NO need to ever be concerned about it. We could decide what we wanted our children to learn and keep taking the next steps on that plan.

I didn't mean to make tests sound like the enemy. For myself, and being in a state where we have to test but not minimum scores, I consider them a nuisance though I occasionally get a bit of useful info. I do consider the need that my children have to do well on college testing (because that is the system, not because I agree that it is the best way to determine college preparedness). In this thread, however, we have a homeschooler whose perception of her homeschooling is being colored by a standardized test which is, IMHO, very very wrong. Where continuance of homeschooling is dependent on a test score, it is heinous. Using tests for your own purpose is an ENTIRELY different case.

I am only trying to expand on the whys behind my response - not to change your opinion of testing. I responded emotionally to her because her current issue is partially an emotional one. Hope that makes sense.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 9:55am

Well, it has been a hard morning for me. I enjoyed reading to ds, but in the back of my mind, I fear I've not been diligent enough with him in LA or in math. I'm still getting the times tables into him, and only realized he needed by accident. (I overheard the Teaching Textbooks lecturer mention it was a "good idea" to memorize them! Well - that started much drilling, to be sure.)

I wish there was a guide that prescribed exactly what a 3rd grader must know by end of the year.

I think I'll order a 3rd grade Abeka LA workbook. At least I can go over it all with ds up until the test. I'm curious as to the creative writing they have in their book too. Two friends have recommended Shurley English to me, but it's not easily laid out. I need easy right now.

btw, I do struggle from a mood disorder, and I think that's been playing into things. It's related to my hormones, that's all I know. Since my hormones went hay-wire several years ago, I have to take "happy pills." And even on the pills, if I get really stressed, I struggle with crying and thinking the worst. But I have a praying mama, whom I called in tears today, and she prayed. And comforted. And prayed. I'm so blessed by her!

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 10:01am

btw, I have been getting a lot out of the testing discussion. I am intimidated by the Iowa, whereas before I had ds try it, I thought he'd pass just fine... Now all the possiblities are roosting on my head. What if he doesn't pass? Will I not be allowed to homeschool him next year? Should I homeschool him next year?

Today at lunch he was telling me that hardly anyone plays with him on the playground. That he likes being home. Last week we made friends with another homeschooling mom and her son, and we all got along great! We're even thinking of doing our art projects together. I hate to think of ds missing all this if he goes to school. My heart is torn.

Does andyone have a urim and a thummim?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 10:35am
Tulip 19,

One thing I did with my students who needed to learn the
times tables:

I took 1/2 of a 5X7 card. (Or you can buy colored packs
already cut.) On the lined side I put one fact like 2X2,
on another card of a different color I put the answer.
Do this in a light pen or pencil because you don't want
it to show through the other side. Don't use white
cards.

Then I lay these out face down. Mixed up. Every other
one a different color (should only have 2 colors). Play
the concentration game with him. (This can be
challenging even for me on a bad day!) Turn one card up
--a yellow and turn a pink one up. If one belongs to the
other, he gets to keep it and go again. BUT he must say
what the cards are: 2X2=4.

The first time you play this, it is okay to have a cheat
sheet. The second time, he can only peek at the cheat
sheet if he is wrong. The third time you play this he
must say the answer before he turns over a card. For
instance he turns over a yellow 2X5. He must say the
answer is 10. Then he can turn over a pink card. It is
is correct, he keeps it and goes again. If he didn't
know 2X5 was 10, he looks at the cheat sheet, turns over
a card. If he is correct, he keeps it, BUT DOES NOT get
another turn because he had to look at the cheat sheet.

You would be surprised how fast my students have learned
the X's tables this way. It seems a like rote memory to
us BUT most kids love playing games.

Make a new set for 3's, 4's, 5's etc. If you make them
different colors than you can mix 2 sets together at a
time and play the game. For instance 2's X's Table cards
are yellow and pink; 4X's table cards are blue and green.
When mixed together they still have to make yellow with
pink and blue with green BUT since there are more cards
on the table, it is a little more challenging!

OH yea! Let your son make the cards. As he writes them
on the cards, have him speak it out loud. THE seeing,
saying, hearing and writing are all working together to
help the brain remember!

Spread each times table over a week each. 2's one week,
the next the 3's etc. Of course you can go faster. Just
go at his speed.

Hope this makes learning the X's tables more fun. Let me
know if it worked. Every kid is different.

Rene
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http://learning-disabilities-reading-tutor.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 12:50pm

That's great! We love games! I'll get right to work on that one. Today we walked up and down the stairs to the tables, one of each step. It helps to keep movning.

btw, I called my evaluator and cried - yes, I broke down - on the phone to her, and she assured me ds would be fine. She told me what to use to get him up to speed, Bob Jones LA, and even a used homeschooling source close by! So I am much encouraged :) I asked the Lord for comfort today, and He has graciously given it.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 2:20pm
Originally posted by Tulip19 Tulip19 wrote:

That's great! We love games! I'll get right to work on that one. Today we walked up and down the stairs to the tables, one of each step. It helps to keep movning.

btw, I called my evaluator and cried - yes, I broke down - on the phone to her, and she assured me ds would be fine. She told me what to use to get him up to speed, Bob Jones LA, and even a used homeschooling source close by! So I am much encouraged :) I asked the Lord for comfort today, and He has graciously given it.



Good for you!!!


I have had issues with depression (of various orgins) off and on. It can be really difficult to keep going in the midst of that. one thought that kept me homeschooling through the years is that even when I am not at my best, i am modeling what we do when life isn't easy or perfect. I did come very close to sending them to school when I had severe PPD one summer but we managed to make it through that. I have also been on happy pills at times. Only you can know if the situation is workable or not - I am just encouraging you not to give up just because things are not as wonderful as you would hope. It does sound like your son is really better off at home.

Hugs{{{}}}

~Karen in NC
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 3:05pm

Glad to hear about the encouragement.  Hope things continue to go well.  Happy pills are not bad, but prayer and God's words are definitely the best!

I can tell you lots of stories of the awful things the teachers at public school have taught my kids when they were there, as well as how little real adademic progress they actually made.  I believe that you can provide your child with a much higher quality education through homeschool if you put effort into it (which you obviously are!).

If you are looking for a list of what to accomplish in third grade, why don't you take a look at the Core Knowledge Sequence.  You don't have to conider it as definitive or mandatory (like Historymom said), but you could read through it as a possible answer to your question.  I have been using that to help me plan what to teach in each grade, and I find it immensely helpful.  The address is:  coreknowledge.org/the-k-8-sequence

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mrs twain View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28/Feb/2011 at 8:41pm

Here is another list of "what to know when" if you are interested.  It is the Standards of Learning (SOL's) for Virginia, with a link to the English standards.  You can find standards for the other subjects in the column on the right side of the webpage.  I think the standards are a little low in places (particularly math), but it may give you an idea of what you are looking for.  There are a lot of scope and sequence lists out there. I don't know what is the best.

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/engli sh/index.shtml

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heidijo View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/Mar/2011 at 9:04pm
My son is in 3rd grade this year and here's what we are using:

Mad Libs - once a week (I fill in his answers)
Rod and Staff language book done orally
Spellquizzer daily - see review on my site (best spelling program EVER)
Handwriting - copy presidential quotes (some italic)
Explode the Code (just because he likes it)
Tracing cursive letters with his finger each day
He picks a picture on the computer, we insert it into a document and he tells me a story to type (about once a week).
Silent reading - should be at least 10 minutes a day

I really like First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease too that we will use next year.

Hope those help...
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