It’s hard to believe, but Brendan is nearly done with 3rd grade. Realistically, it’s not that hard to believe, because we’ve been plowing through 3rd grade material since … last July, but it’s gone by in a heartbeat.
We’ve been doing odd-books for read-alouds (him to me) here, mostly working in the Little House on the Prairie series. I’ve been doing an assortment of read-alouds as well (me to him), including The Chronicles of Narnia. We’ll continue to go through the Little House series until he’s done, and the move on to the books we didn’t finish last year.
History is almost done too, which is odd, because last year we slogged through our history material. I’m using Story of the World, and the 2nd book was a beast. I thought we were making good time, but everything else in our core was done long before it was. This year, the 3rd book has chugged along well – I was surprised to realize we have fewer than 20 days left until we’re done.
Math has gone really well this year, with Teaching Textbooks at the helm. We had been using Alpha Omega’s math Horizons, not realizing that it was the “accelerated curriculum” from AO. While it was fine to “spiral” the new concepts, there was no space to go back and review, and we found that one lesson on each concept wasn’t enough. Brendan worked his way through it for three years, but when I showed the 2nd grade book to some friends who have older kids, they were amazed at how advanced it was. I knew that pushing him further was going to be counter-productive, and so I began the hunt for a more workable math program. Enter Teaching Textbooks. It’s a computer-based program, complete with lectures and interactive work. We also purchased the workbook, which allowed him to work the math on paper without having to write the problems down. It allows for answers, corrections, and even provides hints – Brendan loves it. Their website also has placement tests, which was a great thing for us. I’ll be purchasing Math 5 shortly – Brendan informs me that he has about 10 more days left of work. Yikes!
Science has been largely in the co-op this year, but we won’t be partaking in that next year. I’m not thrilled with Apologia’s Botany program and the group wants to continue in the Apologia series, but I’m also going to be teaching drama, so I can’t teach two co-op classes simultaneously. I think we’ll go back to Building Foundations in Scientific Understanding (BFSU) by Bernie Nebel for next year’s science – we weren’t able to finish it all in 2nd grade, and it’s easy enough to pick up and do on our own next year. Dr. Nebel also has Book 2 out and Book 3 is slated for publication by June, 2011. I’m hopeful that we can pair with another family like we did in Michigan, but that’s hinged on finding a house that is close to one of our friends.
Handwriting will continue with Handwriting Without Tears, although it’s not as tear-less as promised. At least not for my kid. We’ll work on cursive this year, as Brendan now has the fine motor skills to manage it. Happily, that book is already procured and I just ordered a huge stack of their lined paper, so we’re good to go.
We’ll continue with Sequential Spelling, which has been a massive success for us. Before we started this, I was really hoping that Brendan would absorb spelling like I did – through reading. Unfortunately, he could read at a much higher grade level than he was in, but couldn’t spell crap. Literally. C-R-A-P was a challenge for him. This program is teaching him basic rules of spelling, word families, and is great.
We might pick up grammar again next year – this past year, I bought Grammar Ace, but it became quickly apparent that the concepts were far too advanced for a 3rd grader. I love the fact that it works in conjuction with “Schoolhouse Rock” (the DVDs I bought for myself, not for my kid!), but there are a multitude of topics that were not covered in Grammar Rock. I probably should have purchased the instructional guide too, but I honestly thought it wouldn’t be bad. I’m a writer and I know grammar. But when it comes to subjunctives, participles, and more, I’m at a loss for explaining them. I use them correctly, but …. I will most likely end up buying the teacher’s guide and trying this one again.
So that’s the report for the end of 3rd grade – clearly, I have some procurement to do. And I’ll be selling Math4 in Teaching Textbooks – all four DVDs that work on Mac or PC. If you’re interested in the latter, hit me up – it will be discounted from the $100 pricetag.