This year’s curriculum choices are a little eclectic, but I’m really happy with everything so far (beginning week 3). I’ll try to remember to come back at the end of the year with an update. These are what’s filling Jonas’ 3rd Grade Workboxes.
Math – Teaching Textbooks 4
This is one of the most exciting changes we made this year. Instead of doing A Beka’s math (which is wonderful, thorough, arithmetic instruction; albeit a bit on the busywork side of things and a tad dry) we decided to purchase a computer-based math book. Jonas has a huge, spiral bound math text to accompany 4 CDs (and an answer key). His daily math lesson is taught on-screen by a narrator while illustrations and examples pop up, questions are asked, and his answers are checked immediately. We have a small table off to one side in the school room, where I’ve hung a set of headphones. Each morning I turn the laptop on and log in; when it’s his time for math Jonas sits down with his book and a pencil and logs himself in to the program. He watches a lecture, works problems in his book and on-screen, and some days takes a quiz as well. (And yes, I realize that says “4.” Not a typo – A Beka is kind of advanced, so he tested into the fourth grade TT level.)
Science – BJU Press Science 3
This is another new choice for us. We’ve done A Beka for science the last two years, but I felt like their “cover everything” approach meant we were just skimming science topics and never getting into much of anything new. BJU’s Grade 3 science also covers all the major areas, but from my previews before purchase it appeared to go into more depth. Now that I have the materials here, I really appreciate the way the activity manual is laid out with a variety of pre-lesson, review, and extension activities. The reading level of the textbook is perfect – a few challenging words, but not so many that he cannot read the assigned paragraphs on his own. I also purchased the tests and quizzes to accompany the textbook; this will be the first year Jonas gets a percentage grade in Science.
Language Arts – Can you say, “eclectic?” I knew you could!
Grammar: Language Smarts Level D by Critical Thinking Press
Word Roots Beginning, by Critical Thinking Press
Spelling: Building Spelling Skills Book 3 by Christian Liberty Press
Penmanship: A Reason for Handwriting C by Concerned Group, Inc.
Reading Comprehension: Read & Think Skill Sheets 3 by A Beka Book
Composition: Writing Aids by Tapestry of Grace*
Literature: lots and lots and lots of real literature!*
The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything [for our family, at least] – Tapestry of Grace, Year 2
I blogged about our decision to start using Tapestry of Grace last year, and I’m still completely enamored by this curriculum. It is demanding of my time and my attention (especially since this year’s slice of history covers the Fall of Rome through the Presidency of John Adams – we’ll be doing the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, the explorers and colonizations and then the New World. This is probably my weakest area of historical knowledge. Or it might be better to say that I know lots of these facts and people, but I don’t know the connections very well. I have a lot to learn this year!) and it is demanding of students, too. As a third grader, Jonas is on the cusp between Lower Grammar students and Upper Grammar students in the Classical education model. He is a strong reader, and can handle the independent reading work for UG; but he is still a rather concrete thinker and not always ready to make abstractions the way a 5th or 6th grader would.
Tapestry moves chronologically and weaves together the threads of History, Geography, Literature, Fine Arts, Writing (composition), Church History, and Worldview. It’s incredibly exciting stuff!