What are 3rd graders expected to learn from their third grade curriculum? You have to understand the basic objectives for 3rd grade before you can develop or choose an effective homeschool curriculum for your children.
Your primary reasons for homeschooling may have included the ability to determine what your children learn and on what schedule they learn, but you cannot shun the basic objectives established by your state. Make sure to check your state requirements before you get into major third grade curriculum planning.
At the same time, you want your child to have the same opportunities as other third graders. They will be more challenged with longer sentences, vocabulary, multiplication, and memorization tasks. Depending on the state you live in, you may have to even prepare your child for standardized tests.
If you are lucky, you live in a state that is not overly restrictive when it comes to curriculum requirements for third grade. If you do live in a more restrictive state, then it is essential that you know the requirements and meet them. To help you get started, make use of this generalized list of objectives for third graders everywhere.
Reading/Language Arts Objectives:
- Continue improving reading fluency
- Start to read and comprehend more detailed stories and nonfiction texts
- Discuss books and stories with others (story themes, meanings, personal opinion, etc.)
- Begin to formulate summaries to describe basic ideas in texts
- Begin reading online, in newspapers, magazines, and other forms
- Start to identify and enjoy different literary genres (biography, historical, plays etc.)
- Introduce concepts of research and organizing notes before writing text
- Continue working with spelling lists to enhance vocabulary
- Learn more punctuation elements such as commas, semicolons, pronouns and adverbs, and subject and predicate
- More emphasis on proper spelling and an understanding of how to punctuate and form paragraphs
- Begin to write longer stories, book reports, and other texts with proper format and punctuation
Third grade reading and writing is more intensive than in previous grades. Once your child develops the necessary skills, they become more excited and enthusiastic about writing. You’ll see this in their willingness to read for pleasure and write on their own time, even to entertain themselves.
- Start adding and subtracting large numbers (four and more digits)
- Work with basic multiplication tables and commit many to memory
- Introduce and start working with fractions and decimals
- Understand odd and even numbers
- Find more advanced patterns in numbers and shapes
- Learn how to measure area and see how a shape can be broken down into smaller ones
- Compare/classify shapes using sides and angles and integrating fractions into geometry problems
- Start to understand division
- Problem solve story problems with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
By third grade, math often becomes an intimidating subject. It challenges a child’s memorization skills. Math is also a progressive subject; to understand multiplication, one must grasp how it relates to other operations such as addition, subtraction and, something that might be completely new to them, division. Lots of other concepts factor in too. Fractions, decimals, and larger numbers are added to the mix. Your child will fall behind quickly if they don’t understand one concept before going on to the next.
- Introduce the planets, sun, moon and basic solar system
- Understand the food chain and animal life in more detail
- Introduce basic concepts of geography (oceans, lakes, states, etc.)
- Understand how scientists, their careers, and contributions relate to scientific discovery and advancement
- Demonstrate an ability to engage in scientific inquiry
- Participate in hands-on activities and simple experiments to learn basic scientific concepts and take on the role of scientists
- Understand how Earth science, biology, physics and chemistry are interrelated
- See how scientific concepts apply to daily life
At this stage models of real things become important. For example, a model of the solar system will be useful, or even a reconstruction of the human body with internal organs and skeleton. Children at this stage learn that, by solving one problem, new ones are created. They also learn there are different points of view on subjects, and it’s important to listen to and tolerate each one.
Social Studies Objectives:
- Explore methods of travel
- Get into details of how other people live around the world
- Explore different religious beliefs
- Identify the purposes of government and how the U.S. government functions
- Explore economic concepts such as supply and demand, trade, resource allocation, etc.
- Compare different economic systems and their impacts
- Explore competition versus economic impact and how global economies have an interdependent relationship
- Expand their understanding of geography, in relation to physical elements and processes, and how people and their activities shape the environment
A third grade curriculum is far more analytical and comparative in nature. In social studies, you will be able to compare one culture or concept with others throughout the world. Cause and effect can be expressed and used to analyze historical events. Events from around the world can be examined and compared with each other and other types of knowledge. Your child will gain a thorough understanding of how events in American history have shaped their lives.
Basic Tips for Teaching Third Grade:
- Independent learning really begins in third grade. Children should be capable of working independently and solving more learning problems on their own. Allow them more freedom while checking their independent work closely when they are finished.
- Allow children to make more decisions as far as what they read at this level. This will increase the chances of them finding enjoyment in reading. They may even have favorite sections of the library at this age.
- Use concepts introduced in first and second grade to make more advanced math and reading skills more understandable. For instance, children can use skip counting to help with multiplication.
- Start asking children questions about what they are reading. This is a good way to determine if they comprehend what they read.
- Flash cards help children remember multiplication tables. Make your own or buy a set.
- You should not have to use dry noodles, blocks and other counters as much in third grade. Children should start to solve math problems with scrap paper and some may start to work their problems in their heads.
- Develop a schedule for homeschooling. Determine what subjects to cover in the morning or which apply to a specific topic you’re planning during that time. Set aside time at the end of the day to review what was covered or have the child present what was learned that day. It’s also important not to forget lunch breaks and time for fresh air. Kids need to recharge too.
- Set aside time to let your child choose subjects and topics that interest them. This splits up the day and gives them an opportunity to explore their own interests and apply them to other topics.
- Have your child pick out writing books and implements from the store. If these are associated with being individual possessions, it makes writing all that more personal.
- Go to the library together and find insightful resources including maps, books about world countries, state capitals and more. Also seek out information from local tourism offices, federal government websites and public and private organizations.
- Focus on the real world. Discuss how an event in American history affects your child’s life today, or use time to solve math problems. Even have them be creative by building a clock or drawing up their own calendar. When discussing books and characters, relate certain aspects to people, places or information your child knows.
Complete Curriculum Favorites for 3rd Grade:
Homeschool Complete – Created by a homeschooling mom of three with 27 years’ teaching experience in both public and private schools at all levels, you can find quality year-long curriculum, reading curriculum, and unit studies.
Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse — 3rd grade is the earliest grade that can start using this computerized learning program. Most third graders are ready for it and love it!
Alpha Omega Life Pacs — This mastery learning program is great for kids who love to master a topic before moving on to the next.
Sonlight Curriculum — If your second grader was bored with history, make it come to life in 3rd grade by trying Sonlight’s program.
Third Grade Science Curriculum Favorite:
Apologia Science — One of the most interesting ways to teach science, this gives a great foundation for 3rd grade students to learn to love science.
Top 3rd Grade Homeschool Math Curriculum Choices:
RightStart Mathematics – We’ve used this in our household and love it. Read the review to learn more!
Horizons Math — Does your child like colorful worksheets and a little challenge? This curriculum and its spiral learning method is excellent for gifted students or ones who rise to a challenge.
Saxon Math — The mastery learning method of this curriculum makes it a good fit for students who want to master a skill before moving on to a new concept.
MathUSee — A parent favorite, this program brings math concepts to life with visual representations of problems to help kids understand how math works.
Tips on Choosing a Third Grade Curriculum
Finding the right curriculum takes time, but it can be fun. Since third graders learn different subjects at different paces, it may be easier to go line by line. There are many curriculums focused on single subjects. Here are some steps to picking the right ones.
- Research what’s available in a specific area and write down your top selections.
- Consider the cost in relation to your budget.
- Does the curriculum involve just teaching or does it let the child work independently too?
- It allows flexibility in teaching methods and learning styles.
The vast array of choices include English, writing, art, handwriting, foreign language, history, math, literature, music, spelling and science curriculums. Do your research and you can give your child a well-rounded third grade education at home.
Explore our own objectives and recommendations to guide your homeschooling efforts. If you’ve found something even better, don’t hesitate to share it with us.