Friday, June 12, 2020

Homeschool: Grade 3, Term 3 (2019-2020)

In the Charlotte Mason world, I call the "grade" Sophie is in "Form 1A." But in trusty American talk, she is in third grade. This was our second term for third grade.

As mentioned in this post, these are the subjects we cover in a term:

Natural History
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation

We use the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to schedule each of these subjects into our week, some being just once a week, and some being every day, some being 10 minutes, and some being 20.

Here is what we feasted on in Term 3:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Joshua/Judges and Luke this year. We finished our Judges reading and read Luke 13-18. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not (typically) an entire chapter in a day. 

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term three, we focused on Langston Hughes. We read A.A. Milne's The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh. We read poetry every day, so we also read from A Child’s Book of Poems and Mother Goose by Gyo Fujikawa. I hadn't planned to read from A.A. Milne this term (we covered him two years ago with Sophie), but the girls pulled it out one day and loved it, and as a rule in our house, we roll with things we love!

Math: We love Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic. Unfortunately, book 3 is not out yet, but we were given the opportunity to beta test book 3. It is wonderful and I hope will be available to everyone soon. We covered short division and began small long division problems. We continued practice with multiplication. And we covered time and the clock as well as months and days of the year.

Reading: We no longer have a specific time for this in our school day. She reads on her own time, though. 

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies two lines of poetry or from a book. The goal is to visualize each word before writing it so that she can write the whole word from memory. This helps her learn to not only be a good writer but also a good speller! Sophie also has started dictation- where she looks at a short passage for a few minutes, to make sure she knows all of the words, and then I read it and she writes it out, ensuring to have correct spelling and punctuation. 

History: This year, we are covering American history from 1700-1800. I used A New Nation by Betsy Maestro as our spine for the term. For biography supplements, we used the following books:
- Many Thousand Gone by Virginia Hamilton
- Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle
- Paul Revere's Midnight Ride by Stephen Krensky 
For historical fiction, we read Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Geography: We studied Canada this term. We used an old 1961 textbook called The American Continents. Old textbooks aren't typically great for geography, but I simply cannot find any great new books for children. Older books discussed more than just the land- they also talk about resources and the people and jobs. So I just updated where I needed to, such as population counts or new industrialization. We looked at the map and took time pointing out different locations. Along with studying Canada, we read and learned about Niagara Falls. We read Crossing Niagara by Matt Tavares.

Natural History: For Natural History, I choose two books that we will spend the whole term using, and then we have a special studies topic for the term (and sometimes two special studies), and I choose several books to cover that topic.
Book 1: A Day and Night in a Forest by Mary Adrian 
Book 2: A Walk in the Tundra by Rebecca Johnson
Special Studies Books: 
Our special study was dinosaurs! I wanted to use a book that Sophie could read herself as next year she will start doing more studies on her own, so we used Finding the First T. Rex by Kathleen Weidler Zoehfeld 

Literature: We have two days of literature.
Day 1: We read Legends of the Iroquois by Tehanetorens. We love this book!
Day 2: Mythology- We finished Tales of Troy and Greece by Andrew Lang. This is a retelling of The Odyssey. We loved this book. Upon completion, Sophie joined in with Brielle's literature time where we read fairy tales.

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): We did some swedish drill, some exercises, some Cosmic Kids yoga, and a lot of free play.

Music Appreciation: We studied Hildegard de Bingen this term. Sophie wanted to study a woman composer. We read Hildegard of Bingen by Demi. We listened to Ordo Virtutum, O dulcis Divinitis, De Spiritu Sancto, O pastor Animarum, O virtis sapientie, and Ava Maria.

Art Appreciation: We studied Jan Vermeer. We again used the artist packets from Simply Charlotte Mason... they are great! The picture quality is incredible, and I love that they come with information on the artist and each picture. We studied The Geographer, The Art of Painting, View of Delft, Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, View of Houses on Delft, A Woman Holding a Balance, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Milkmaid.

Spanish: We mostly used Little Pim this term. You can find their videos for free on Youtube.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- "We are the World" (with motions)
- "Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Recitation: We do recitation three times a week. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. Sometimes we each read a line and share the recitation, and sometimes Sophie does it all on her own. This term, we did the following:
- The Declaration of Independence 
- Verses: Numbers 6:24-26, Luke 11:33-36, Luke 12:22-34
- Poems: Oliver Herford's "The Elf and the Dormouse," "Foreign Kittens," and "The Milk Jug" (Brielle, grade 1, learned "A Thought," "Song," and "I Heard a Bird Sing.")

Drawing: This term, we mostly veered away from using this time as Charlotte Mason would have. I was influenced by Waldorf pedagogy this year and began keeping a book for each of them where they can color and paint the things they are learning in literature. Sophie has one for Tales of Troy and Greece and Narnia and Brielle has one for fables and fairy tales. We loved ending the year with these treasures!

Handicrafts/Work: We didn't learn any new handcrafts but worked on some we had already learned, such as embroidery, sewing, hand-sewing, paper folding, and baking. They also learned string art.

Brielle is in first grade this year. While we didn't do everything the same as we did with big sister Sophie, we have a general same outline. As I learn and grow as both a person and as an educator, I find better books or different ways of teaching things... sometimes because of a better grasp on the way Charlotte Mason actually taught the subject and sometimes because I'm dipping into other pedagogies that have beautiful insight as well. Brielle is a different person than her big sister too, and I keep that in mind. However, I'm not going to write out all that we did since I have already blogged before about year 1. You can look at the pictures below to see what books we used (sometimes only parts of the books... it looks like a huge stack, I know!). And you can click on this link to read the full posts of what I have done in past years/terms with Sophie: Homeschool Archives.


  1. Thank you for this blog post! It is very helpful as I'm fairly new to CM. We are using Maestro's book 1 as our spine for term 1. I had a few questions: How many days a week do you cover history using your spine and how do you divide the readings for the term being that the books are not that long? Im trying to assess how much to read per lesson for narrations. How do you schedule the biographies and HF in your school day and do you require narrations for those too?

    1. Hi! We do history two days a week, and until 3rd grade, we only cover American history (this coming year, in 4th grade, we will also cover British history). I don’t break up my books ahead of time and just use our allotted time and see how much we get through (20 minutes two days a week). We usually read for 15 and have 5 minutes for narration. I read through a spine throughout the year and throw in bios when they fit in- so like, if we come to something in our spine talking about women’s rights, I might read a spine then about Susan B Anthony or Sojourner Truth. Then continue on with our spine. I typically get through probably 4 pages of a Maestro spine in a day. I also like to use a spine that focuses more on black history alongside Maestro, like Heart & Soul. We do narrations with all readings. Occasionally we have a rough day and might not, but typically we do.

  2. Alisha - did you use a different history for you girls for 1st and 3rd grade? Mine are entering the same years and I'd like to overlap subjects as much as possible (my 1st grader is just turning 6 mid September though so still want to take it a little easy). Thanks! I'm new to CM and just diving in for the year and trying to create my own curriculum as well. You blog is immensely helpful.