by Eaman Elhadri
I hesitated typing this post. If you know me well enough, you know that I don’t usually like to share what resources we use with other homeschooling mamas for one reason – our families are unique.
I know the feeling of thinking, “So and so is using this curriculum, so I must be doing it all wrong.” With that being said, I’m sharing our curriculum with you today, but if you aren’t the type to benefit from hearing what curriculum other sisters use, feel free to skip this post. 🙂
As always – do you x 2 boo!
Although we started our new homeschool year in September, I like to do a quick overview around this time of year. This is when ask myself what’s working and what’s not.
What is curriculum?
The definition of curriculum is as follows –
The subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.Oxford
For the sake of this post, I will use the term curriculum in the way that it’s widely used – the products purchased to teach a subject. However, my views about curriculum are similar to Sarah Mackenzie’s from the Read Aloud Revival. –
Curriculum is something we “do”, not something we buy. It is the form and content of our children’s learning experiences. Singapore Math isn’t the curriculum. It’s just the book that I use to teach the actual curriculum, which is: math. Curriculum is life. It can’t be contained within the pages of a book.Sarah Mackenzie
Keep in mind that curriculum isn’t a magic pill that will take away all of your problems! The child is the curriculum after all. Don’t forget to focus on the needs of your children and let go of the rest.
The child himself is the curriculum.Rudolf Steiner
What works for one child, may not work for another
Not only do we have different family units, every individual has a diverse set of skills, gifts, etc. It’s also important to understand that what works well for one child, may not work well for the other.
It might make sense at first, to use the same exact approach, curriculum, or resource for each child. It worked for the first child, why not the next, right?
To find out if it’ll work for your third grader, you’ll need to first observe them.
Observe your third grader and make an honest decision as to what he needs. You may realize that he needs a totally different approach to reading instruction, for example.
Changing the curriculum is not as cost effective, but one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can cater to the diverse needs of your children. What an awesome blessing! Alhemdulilah!
What is working for my Third Grader
Last month was the perfect time for a Periodic review. This is when I ask myself, “Are things working?”
After contemplation, I’ve decided that we will continue using the same resources, inshAllah, however our routine will differ because of the season.
We live in the northeast U.S. It’s warming up a bit, however the kids have been catching sickness after sickness, therefore we can’t get outside daily for nature walks as much as we’d prefer.
Third Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks
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We don’t take grade levels seriously in our home. I mention grade levels because our state legal requirements ask us for it. Otherwise, it isn’t important.
A child may be two grade levels higher in science and one grade level lower in math, according to someone who’s never met children, and wears his tie too tight. 🙂
Grade levels are arbitrary!
We prefer to practice the freedom of allowing our children to work at their own pace.
Although this post highlights our curriculum choices, I tend to change things up as the year progresses.
Now that my third grader is older, we feel as though he’s on his way to manhood.
We take bulugh seriously in our home, MashAllah and Alhemdulilah, therefore we’re gradually shifting our parenting styles and trying to treat our third grade child more like an adult? Why? So that he can act like an adult in the near future.
May Allah AWJ help us all and all the Muslims. Ameen.
Although we integrate Islamic Studies throughout every single subject, I’ll share our Islamic Studies Curriculum and Resources in another post in the near future, inshAllah. So look out for that!
English Language Arts
The definition of English language arts is as follows –
…the study and improvement of the art of the English language. … Language arts instruction typically consists of a combination of reading, writing (composition), speaking, and listening.Wikipedia
Reading aloud is a key component to Language Arts in our home which will, inshAllah, set them on the road to become lifelong readers.
After Islamic Studies, reading aloud is the BEST thing you can do for your homeschool. Reading aloud builds important skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.
You may read aloud various materials to your child, however let’s talk specifically about children’s literature.
Children’s literature is defined as. –
Children’s literature is a dynamic entity in its own right that offers its readers many avenues for pleasure, reflection, and emotional engagement.Kerry Mallan
Kerry Mallan continues on to explain:
The irony of children’s literature is that, while it is ostensibly for children, it relies on adults for its existence. This reciprocal relationship between adult and child is, however, at the heart of education .
Even if your third grader is reading on his own, continue reading aloud frequently.
In the Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease explains the immense benefit of reading aloud to your child, even when they’re older. Make it a goal to read aloud every other day for at least ten minutes.
You can purchase The Read Aloud Handbook here or by clicking on the image below.
Silent Reading is a reading skill which allows one to read without voicing the words. Be aware that this isn’t the only form of reading that should happen in your home.
Reading Aloud to your child is still necessary for children of all ages.
I allow my third grader to pick his own silent reading books (after I’ve flipped through to make sure the book isn’t about shirk and haraam concepts). Currently, he’s into series books, which is great because series books allow children to make connections between different books and talk about how certain characters develop.
I try to guide my third grader to constantly explore a greater range of books and longer texts, so that he can become a more fluent reader and learn to read, define, and pronounce complex words, inshAllah and Biithnilahi Ta8la.
You don’t need a reading curriculum for third grade (or any grade for that matter). We have the All About Reading curriculum, which we love, however since my third grader is reading fluently, I find we aren’t using it as often.
We may just stop using it altogether.
If your third grader isn’t reading on his own yet, that’s OK. He isn’t ready yet. Do your research and see what resources your child may need, but don’t become frustrated.
You don’t want your child to end up hating to read altogether. After all, you want your child to develop a lifelong love of reading and learning, inshAllah.
Purchase the All About Reading Curriculum here or purchase the All About Reading Curriculum separately on Amazon here or click on the image below.
Does your child love to read?
Has anyone ever asked you what age you started reading? I doubt that. And if they did, perhaps hang out with some other folks. 🙂
Here is a question you should ask yourself – Does my child LOVE to read?
InshAllah the answer is yes. If your answer is no, inshAllah they will develop a love for reading when you read-aloud to them.
This love will be what motivates your child to value reading for a lifetime, inshAllah!
It’s unnecessary for a third grader to practice handwriting if his handwriting is already legible (enough). My third grader still needs practice with his handwriting.
Read below to see what we use for handwriting.
Handwriting Without Tears
We use Handwriting Without Tears. My third grader writes with his left hand so I’ve found that Handwriting Without Tears booklets are better for lefties.
I also like the hands-on component that comes with Handwriting Without Tears, such as chalkboards, chalk bits, sponge pieces and much more.
My third grader no longer needs the multi-sensory components, just some basic solid practice for about 5 minutes on his own each morning. I make him re-write the letters or words that are sloppy.
Your third grader will also benefit from learning cursive, if they haven’t done so already. Handwriting Without Tears provides cursive practice resources as well.
Purchase Handwriting Without Tears books on Amazon, or click on the image below.
Or you can purchase Handwriting Without Tears and multi-sensory extras on their site.
My experience is that writing instruction is best when a child is in fourth or fifth grade. I’m not interested in spending a few years going over what could be taught to my child in a few months when they are around the age of eleven or twelve, inshAllah.
Once it is time for writing instruction for my third grader, I would like to try IEW‘s Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, to see if it works for him,InshAllah. If it doesn’t, we’ll try something new, inshAllah.
You can check out Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, by clicking on the image below.
So if we’re not doing writing instruction yet, what do we do until then? Many things! However, right now, let’s talk about notebooking.
I wanted to simplify the working elements of language arts and didn’t know how to, until I found a beautiful Notebooking Guide by Jodi Mockabee.
Jodi simplified the task of notebooking with a step-by-step process as to how to implement it as well as resources used in order to enrich the experience. Not to mention, she includes beautiful images throughout the entire guide!
The awesome thing about notebooking is that you can cover spelling, grammar, punctuation, penmanship, writing, and art through narrating the information covered in literature.
Spelling Curriculum – All About Spelling by Marie Rippel
No, you don’t need a curriculum to teach spelling, unless, your third grader struggles with spelling. My third grader’s spelling needs… help. 🙂
The ‘memorize and test’ spelling approach has never worked for my children. No need to fret! All About Spelling, by Marie Rippel to save the day!
All about Spelling is a multi-sensory program with step-by-step lesson plans which are customizable for every student. The best thing about All About Spelling – it’s fully scripted! Woo-hoo, easy for us, mama!
And my favorite thing about it – All About Spelling helps children understand the rules of spelling, instead of trying to memorize how every single word is spelled! Makes sense to me!
You can purchase All About Spelling here or by clicking on the image below.
Literature-based curriculum uses stories (classic and new) combined with developmentally appropriate activities that foster a love of literature and reading in young children.
Read about a few of our favorite third grade literature-based curriculum choices for 2019-2020 down below.
A Year of Tales by Lisa Wilkinson
Description from the Wilkinson’s Nest website:
A Year of Tales is a gentle curriculum for young learners, from Kindergarten through 3rd grade, focusing on literature and nature as a base, blending together the rich and imaginative tales from Beatrix Potter, and encouraging character and exploration.Lisa Wilkinson
Important Note – A.Y.OT. contains Bible pages. I’ve created our own Quran/Hadith copy-work pages to use instead. It’s also important to note that while reading Beatrix Potter’s Tales, you will need to point out anything haraam in advance, prior to them reading it.
The image below is a small snippet of how we merge literature and nature. Our A.Y.O.T. tale that week was The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
In Exploring Nature With Children, by Lynn Seddon, we were studying trees, I believe. We were also conducting activities from The Peaceful Press’s Tree Guide.
A few of A Year of Tales hands-on activities are shown here, such as making peanut butter cookies.
Purchase the beautiful Beatrix Potter tales here or by clicking on the image below.
Five In A Row by Jane Claire Lambert
Five in a Row is a literature-based unit studies curriculum and has been one of our favorite resources since…the beginning!
Description from the Five In A Row website –
Five in a Row was created by Jane Claire Lambert, a successful homeschool teacher with more than 17 years of experience. To use Five in a Row, just pick one of the 70 books used in Five in a Row, locate the corresponding lesson plan in your teacher’s guide, read the story aloud each day during the week and use Jane’s suggestions and lesson plans to lead your children on a wonderful learning adventure. It’s that simple!
Purchase Five in a Row here or by clicking on the image below.
Math. My palms are sweating. Are yours? 😉
I must admit, it isn’t my favorite topic. Bismillah ya Rabb! 🙂
Your third grader will move from addition and subtraction to multiplication and division, inshAllah. They will also be comfortable with the basics of math, inshAllah.
If they aren’t there yet, don’t worry. They’ll catch up when they’re developmentally ready, inshAllah.
Your third grader needs daily, formal lessons in math. When they were young, it was OK for math to be completely hands-on. Not anymore!
How much time you work on math depends on your child and circumstance. I recommend giving them a mental math sheet every morning for them to work on independently, and then conducting a formal math lesson with you later on in the day.
Don’t forget that you will need to check his work when he’s done. 😉
Our favorite math curriculum is Singapore Mathematics. The mental math worksheets we use are in the back of the ‘Home Instructor’ book, which is why you shouldn’t skip purchasing it.
You can purchase all of the books separately, here on Amazon if you’d like, or click on the image below.
Nature study is a main subject in our homeschool that we participate in as a family.
What is nature study?
Nature study can be described as “conceiving of the movement as a loose coalition of communities composed of individuals, societies, and institutions able to find some common ground in the study and appreciation of the natural world. The purpose of nature study is to educate the child in terms of his environment, to the end that his life may be fuller and richer.Wikipedia
Introducing the simplest nature study activity of all time!…
Take a walk!
And yes, it’s that simple! 🙂
Every walk is an opportunity for your child to learn about the natural world! Don’t underestimate the power of going for a walk around the block!
It’s free, easy, and fun. What more could you ask for? Alhemdulilah!
PRO TIP! – Oh, and by the way, if you’d like your child to sleep better at night, have them run laps outside, ok!? 🙂
Nature Study Curriculum
You guessed it! You don’t need a curriculum to study nature! As I’ve stated above, going outside and observing nature around you is more than enough!
Read on to find out about why we’ve decided to use a nature study curriculum this year.
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon is a year-long curriculum that allows you to study nature in your own backyard. Many activities easily adjust for different age levels, and you can select from among others, those most suitable for each child, all of which make it easy to keep the entire family involved.
Most importantly E.N.W.C. frees up my mind from the question of, “What should we study next?”
My third grader also uses the Exploring Nature With Children Guided Journal.
You can purchase Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon from her website at Raising Little Shoots.
Tree Guide by the Peaceful Press
The Peaceful Press: Tree Guide is an awesome literature and project based four week guide for 3-5 year old children, however I’ve found that it can be used with my third grader as well!
We enjoyed all of the activities in this guide, Alhemdulilah!
Literature Based Nature Study
If you’ve been following along, it’s obvious that we’re huge fans of learning through literature as much as possible. It’s only natural that we use literature for nature study as well.
Read below for a few of our nature literature picks for 2019-2020.
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman is beautifully illustrated. I love how she combines art and science. I also appreciate the author’s candid explanations and observations.
The entire series of Anatomy books by Julia Rothman is wonderful!
You can Purchase the Anatomy books from Amazon here or by clicking on the image below.
Curiositree – Natural World by Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley
Curiositree – Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders by Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley is packed with short, informative paragraphs and gorgeous illustrations. It is absolutely stunning and a total must-have for my wild children.
You can Purchase Curiositree – Natural World here or by clicking on the image below.
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.
This book is huge! Keep in mind that it won’t fit on an average shelf!
You can Purchase Botanicum here or by clicking on the image below.
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
The description, from the back of the book –
A matchless handbook for decades, this classic has been the natural history bible for countless teachers and others who seek information about their natural environment. …
My third grader uses this book independently to look up information about the natural environment. I don’t prefer to read this book aloud because it can be total information overload for his age.
You may purchase the Handbook of Nature Study here, or by clicking on the image below.
For the most part, we cover social studies through literature. You can choose any book with social studies concepts that you can read aloud and/or your child can read silently.
You can purchase 50 Cities of the United States here or by clicking below.
A Year of Tales – Geography, by Lisa Wilkinson
A Year of Tales by Lisa Wilkinson includes a Geography Curriculum, which is awesome! It focuses on states, continents, oceans, Europe, and England.
Letters from Afar
With a subscription to Letters from Afar, you’ll receive a beautiful hand-illustrated letter and awesome vintage stamps from a far-away land each month!
Literature studies through project-based learning
Description of the image above –
My son is a wild child and loves The My Side of the Mountain Trilogy by Jean Craighead George. Therefore, I decided to purchase the Pocket Guide to the Outdoors, also by Jean Craighead George. She is one of our favorite authors!
- Above you can see that everything has an autumn theme. It was Autumn Leaf Week in Exploring Nature with Children. Our art study is on the clipboard to the left.
- The cursive notebooking page was probably a sentence from The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger.
- We usually have nature treasures everywhere in the house, but if you find acorns in the couch, pantry, and in your shoe, you can guarantee that that the season is autumn, and that we’ve turned into squirrels. 🙂
- The book at the bottom of the table is called The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Bottsford Comstock.
You can purchase the My Side of the Mountain Trilogy by Jean Craighead George here or by clicking on the link below.
You can purchase The Pocket Guide to the Outdoors by Jean Craighead George here or by clicking on the image below.
You can purchase The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger here or click on the image below.
A Beautiful Blend of Thematic Units
Plenty of times, we’ll blend different themes using literature and project-based learning.
Below is a description of what we’re working on this month –
For our Year of Tales lesson this month, we are reading through The Tailor of Gloucester, which has a sewing theme of all things needles, thread, etc.
For Black History Month, we’re reading Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson, which also has a theme of all things quilting, sewing, etc.
We are also reading through the Jannah Jewels Book 8, by Umm Nura which is a great book for Black History Month because it describes a Muslim ‘freedom-seeker’, Ibrahima Abdur Rahman, who was a West African prince that was captured and lived most of his life as a slave in America.
You can purchase Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt here or by clicking on the image below.
STEM/STEAM – KiwiCo Tinker Crate
My third grader receives different subscription boxes for extra enrichment. Above is a Kiwi Crate box we received in the past.
Basically, you pick a line, it’s delivered monthly, and your kiddos have fun! MashAllah, and Alhemdulilah. The kids work on it independently, Alhemdulilah!
You can subscribe to Kiwi Crate here.
My kids take swimming classes, however we haven’t been there for ages. The kids have been sick for six months straight. Alhemdulilah a8la kulee hal.
May Allah AWJ Heal us all and all the Muslims. Ameen.
Common Questions/FAQ About Third Grade Homeschool Curriculum
What is the best curriculum for third grade?
The curriculum that you are going to use. 🙂
What should a third grader be able to read?
Whatever they’re currently reading. 🙂 Some third graders aren’t reading yet, and that is perfectly fine and very common, in fact.
If you’d like help your third grader read fluently, try to read-aloud books from different genres of fiction. And of course, increase your read-aloud time!
Are there any Third Grade Curriculum Kits?
There are, however I don’t personally like using them. Here are a few popular homeschool kits:
- Sonlight Curriculum – https://www.sonlight.com/homeschool/grade/3rd-grade-curriculum/
- Abeka – https://www.abeka.com/homeschool/products/kits/
- Watch the LIVE VIDEO of S. Eaman’s Gentle Homeschooling Resources here!
- Are you new to homeschooling? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families and watch the VIDEO of S. Eaman explaining how she can see you from a mile away!
- Have a kindergartner in tow this year? Read about S. Eaman’s Kindergarten Resources and watch her LIVE VIDEO – Gentle Kindergarten Resources!
- Want to know what products you need for homeschooling? You don’t need much! Read the Minimalist Guide to Homeschooling Products and watch S. Eaman’s Video – Run, Mama!
- Homeschooling a middle school child? Read 20 Homeschooling Tips for Middle School! Watch Sister Iram’s (Urdu) VIDEO with Tips to Homeschooling Middle School!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Third Grade Homeschool Curriculum
- Third Graders have climbed out of their younger stage and have matured significantly.
- Don’t follow what we do if it isn’t good for your family. As always, Do you x 2 boo!