Practical Ideas for Homeschooling Third Grade

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What does your third grader do all day?

It’s a common question from all sorts of people. Fellow homeschoolers are curious and eager for a peek into someone else’s routine. Non-homeschoolers wonder what “school” looks like in our home.

Today, I offer you a peek into third grade at the Wilson Academy.

Homeschooling Third Grade: Play

Third grade in this house, much like first grade, involves a whole lot of play.

As Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) once said, “Play is really the work of childhood.

This means that third grade involves a lot outside time. We climb, hike, jump and throw rocks. We travel on bikes, plasma cars, and ripstiks. We take in the sunshine and a lot of dirt too.

School at this age involves swords and nerf battles. Fighting. Conquering. Training.

We include constructing and building as much as we can. Legos, Minecraft, blocks, Lincoln Logs are all tools of learning.

There is a lot of space in our day for games. Inside games and outdoor games. Board games and card games.

Third grade includes a lot of time with siblings too. Giggling, laughing, arguing, and living.

That being said, most people are curious about the “seatwork” of school. So without further delay, here are the subjects and books are part of our third-grade school routine.

Homeschooling Third Grade: Math

Math.  Nothing fancy or too creative here.  I love Singapore math and it continues to work for my son this year in third grade.  I appreciate the short lessons each day.  It has also worked well to dive into topics instead of having a constant spiraling review.

We chose to use the standards edition simple because I liked the teachers guide for the standards edition better than the teachers guide for the US edition.  Either edition does the job.

Homeschooling Third Grade: Language Arts

Spelling. We are working our way through All About Spelling. This program has the potential to be a pretty intense program, but we don’t do it the way it is assigned. Instead, we take an introductory look at the rules and then use the word lists and dictation for practice.

He keeps a composition book to write the words in each day and his dictation sentences from the book are kept in there as well.

I use a post-it note as a bookmark and I record any words he misses from the lists. Then I throw those words on to the lists in the future, even when they aren’t suggested.  Occasionally, we have days that I only review the words on the post-it note to see which ones he can spell at this point.

Reading and Literature. This year we are using the Brave Writer Arrow Guides. I read these titles out loud to my younger three children and we work through the various activities and discussions in the guide.

The copywork passages provide an opportunity to discuss literary devices, grammar rules, and writing techniques. They also provide spelling practice as the student copies the selection.

I typically write the passage (or parts of it, if it is particularly long, such as this one) on the dry erase board. We take some time to analyze various grammar components.


It is VERY hard for my third grader to copy the passage from the board or from the guide. Instead, I copy it in his notebook and leave empty space for him to write it below my words.


In addition to our monthly read-aloud book, my third grade selects all sorts of books to read on his own. Thankfully, he loves to read and as long as I keep the library basket full of choices, he is often seen with his nose in a book!

Grammar Supplements. Daily Grams is a pretty straightforward grammar review, though we don’t do it daily. He completes every other lesson in the book, leaving the others for his brother to complete in two years. We won’t finish every other lesson in the book this year, but it is a great supplement when I want to use one.

First Language lessons is another resource that I turn to in the Elementary School years. We use First Language Lessons 1 and 2 throughout the elementary years. It has been a great foundation without becoming tedious.

We also enjoy Teatime each week as well as Freewriting occasionally. My third-grade son enjoys doing his writing for his Friday Freewrite, though he always has the option to dictate his thoughts to me.

Writing. We typically do some sort of cursive writing practice in a workbook or I have him practice writing his name.

Homeschooling Third Grade: Science and History

Science.  This year we are studying Anatomy and Physiology using the Apologia guide.  It is pretty in-depth for my third grader, but we make it work by completing doing fun activities.

I preread each chapter and try to create notes that I want the kids to focus on as well as fun, memorable activities. I am fortunate enough to have a local friend who wants to do the same thing for her kids so we alternate the chapters.

Our science get-together is always a fun time to reinforce the concepts that we read about in the chapter.

History. This year we are working our way through Story of the World Volume 3. This year has felt more scattered when it comes to the topics in this volume because we are jumping all around the world and the world has gotten larger. That is also what is great about this curriculum – we are looking at the WHOLE world and not just America.

We meet with friends every month to do the crafts and activities related to our chapters that month. It has been a fun way to celebrate learning together and to do the hands-on-stuff that we don’t always get to on our own.

I wanted to spend a bit more time learning about Colonial America for my third grader and first grader in particular. I ordered the Colonial America lapbook from the Time Travelers Series created by the company, Homeschool in the Woods. We added it in for a few weeks and truly enjoy the activities in the guide. I have a feeling we will do another lapbook from this company next year.

Of course, so much more is included in our homeschool that is not mentioned here. We spend a lot of time taking field trips related to our studies, including Jamestown and Yorktown this year.

I didn’t mention fine arts or music, but we do include art activities every time we meet with friends for science and my son take piano lessons.

Our Morning Basket time was added to our day during the year and we all participate in learning during that time.

Homeschooling is our family lifestyle. It is the way that we live and learn together, so while I tried to break down the pieces here, many are so intertwined that they become hard to describe.

In the end, we have routine items and a plan for learning each day, but we are very content to follow inspiration wherever she might lead.


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  1. Great post, Mary. I do have a question for you regarding all your “together” activities with friends. How do you schedule those throughout your month? 2 book clubs – same day? same week? Science and History get togethers? Are these all the same families that you are seeing often?

    1. Great questions Jamie. I actually answered this question in a periscope for you. But, I do them all on Thursdays. 1st and 3rd Thursdays are science. 2nd thursday is history. 4th thursday is book club. That generally works, but science is pretty flexible (only one other family) so I can adjust if needed.

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