3rd Grade Technology for Education

Third grade is fun since for many homeschoolers, it’s when they start to branch out on their own and start learning independently.

In language arts, they can start to read chapter books and their vocabulary and understanding accelerates.  In terms of word skills, they have now finished phonics and can really engage in some meaningful 3rd grade spelling practice, perhaps with VocabularySpellingCity:

Third grade marks the transition from primary elementary grades (K-2) into intermediate elementary grades (3-5). The third grade curriculum focuses on students developing a deeper understanding of words in text. Teachers need to develop word study lessons with more mature vocabulary in order to meet the English Language Arts curriculum standards. VocabularySpellingCity offers third grade leveled vocabulary and spelling lists to support the third grade state standards.

Many students develop real interests in both subject areas that they might to read about but also, perhaps about specific uses of language or writing formats such as metaphors, personification, or poetry. Some like adventure or mystery books.

Art – Teaching and Learning

Do your kids have a favorite artist? I don’t know that mine do, but they love art. We have art prints that we’ve bought hanging all over the house. They love walking through the artist alley at the SciFi/Fantasy convention we attend every year. They don’t scoff at me when I tell them that we’re taking yet another field trip to the art museum.

So yeah, my boys love learning about art. They love playing art games and they are never hesitant when it comes to trying out a medium they’ve never tried before (the oldest just completed his first oil painting).

It’s too bad that their eagerness and willingness to learn, doesn’t necessarily translate to me knowing anything about teaching art. What I do know though, is how to look for teacher resources in situations like this. Google is my friend. So is the librarian. And the curator at that art museum I mentioned. 😉

Science for the Win!

If you ask either of my boys what their favorite school subject is, they will immediately and emphatically tell you its science. Earth science, space science, biology. They don’t have a favorite area of science, they just love all things science.

They both take science courses within their online curriculum, but outside of those core lessons, they pretty lead an interest led plan of study when it comes to science. They are always coming up with something they want to learn more about (recently they started their first garden and said that science about plants was awesome), and we honestly just do what we can to not instruct them, but to make available any science tools and resources they need to learn on their own.

Don’t be afraid to let the TV help you with science either. Some of our most exciting evenings at home, are when we are all sitting around watching the Science Channel. 🙂

Reading – Love it or Hate it?

Reading. Some people love to read. I am one of those people. While I have my preferred genres, I will read absolutely anything that I can get my hands on. Fiction and non-fiction alike; written by bestselling authors or self-published indie writers. If it’s got words, I will read them, lol.

On the other side of that are people who simply don’t enjoy reading. They read when they have to but never simply because they want to. This could be for any number of reasons. Maybe they just haven’t found a book or author that really pulled them in.

Another reason might be because they struggle with reading, but don’t want to say anything to anybody. If your kids are struggling, you can help them improved their reading skills in a number of ways. Building a stronger reading vocabulary could help, as could getting them started in remedial reading programs.

Breaking for Winter Holidays

Do you take a break over the winter holidays, or do you work through? If you do work through, do you do your “normal” school work, or do you prefer to do something revolving around the holidays?

Here, we enjoy lapbooking. Holiday lapbooks are even more fun!  We celebrate Christmas, and it’s important for us to know about the holiday we celebrate, but each year we also try and learn a little about other holidays. One year it’s Hanukkah, one year might be Kwanzaa, one might be the Winter Solstice.

There are many ways that you can integrate a holiday into your school day. You could build a word search using special themed holiday words. You could play online games that have something to do with the holidays. We’ve even read A Christmas Carol together, and spent time discussing it. Literature studies for the win!

Thankful for Homeschooling…

I love Thanksgiving.

I love gathering with friends and family. I love the kick off to the holidays. And yeah…I love the food, lol.

What else do I love? The fun Thanksgiving projects and crafts we do in our homeschooling! When my boys were younger, we must have made a hundred hand-print turkeys and finger painted cornucopias. Lots of pilgrim hats were made and worn, and we still have some of the table centerpieces the boys made over the years. Table top turkeys that just fit and we couldn’t toss out, or mini replicas of the Mayflower that managed to stay put together and unharmed. 🙂

As well as crafts, we have fun with other Thanksgiving specific activities too. We will play Thanksgiving vocabulary games online. The boys practice new, yet traditional Thanksgiving recipes to add to our feast. There’s so much history to learn around the holiday, we can easily spend a whole week learning about the Native Americans and the Pilgrims!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving activities and/or crafts?

Fall Fun…

My favorite season is autumn. The hot and humid southern temperatures that have been hanging out for months are finally cooling off. The leaves are changing color. All things pumpkin (Seriously…the pumpkin spice latte from that big-brand coffee shop is delicious!) liven up my tastebuds. And did I mention the cooler weather?

Our homeschool also sees a change come fall. We are in our groove, and we have usually worked out the back to school kinks. The boys’ soccer seasons have started, so they get more physical education hours logged. We also try and take a fall vacation, which is nice. We try and plan beach vacations in the spring, before it gets too hot, and in the fall, we try to head to the mountains. More importantly, we take these trips before school lets out, or after school starts back. Cheaper and less crowded.

We also travel to the same beach, but our fall trips are varied. We try to let the boys have a say in where we go, as much as we can. They like to pour through the geography lists they’ve used for spelling and vocabulary, to see which state looks the most interesting, and we start planning things to see. Usually we have to stay pretty local (driving distance, 8-10 hours), but so far we’ve been able to see some really great places, and have some amazing family time.

Yep. Fall is awesome.

Formal Spelling Program?

Is spelling important in your homeschool? I know it sounds like a silly question, but you might be surprised to find that it’s a common question. Many homeschooling families don’t use a formal spelling curriculum, opting instead to practice and encourage spelling through other subjects, like reading and language arts.

In our homeschool, we have actually never used a formal program. That doesn’t mean that we don’t concentrate on spelling as a subject in and of itself. We have taken spelling lists by grade (we pull them from Time4Learning, our online curriculum), and have used those as weekly word lists. We also do a lot of spelling on the go, using VocabularySpellingCity’s mobile app.

What do you other homeschoolers out there do for spelling?

Homeschool Math

Around here, third grade math was really a struggle. My son didn’t get it, and we didn’t know how to teach him in a way that made it easier for him to grasp. So we turned to the internet, like we always do when we are in need of homeschool resources.

As a family, we don’t enjoy working with traditional workbooks and textbooks. So anything that is online is a plus. Combining an online resource, with game play? WIN!

One of the best things we ever did with homeschool math was to institute mandatory game time. When we first started, the wee one thought that I was kidding. I mean…mom forcing him to play games on the computer? For real? Yep. Practicing multiplication was no longer met with a frown (okay, not a *big* frown). Fractions? Fuggetaboutit. You get the drift. 😉

So tell me. What do you guys do when you hit a math wall?

Educational Games

What children don’t like playing games?! I know mine do. They like playing traditional board games and such, but their honest thoughts are “the more screen time involved, the better.” That means video/computer games are their preferred time wasters, lol.

While we love all things shiny, and tech-like, I do like to set limits as far as how much time they spend on video games. Just one of those mom things. Having said that, there are occasions when I will let them play and play and play. When is that? When they are playing educational games.

One of our favorite online game resources is Learning Games for Kids. It’s a totally free site that has games spanning several subjects. Everything from math and science games, to even art and literature games.

Do you let your kids play a lot of video or online games? How do you handle time limits, if at all?