• Attendance

    July 2013
    M T W T F S S
  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

  • Subjects

  • Portfolio

Notes on Third Grade

My head is a bit of a scrambled mess about third grade. And my schedule is up in the air. So here is where I am going to put my miscellaneous thoughts down until it gets unscrambled.

The schedule:


Avery will be in Goddard for the Day. There is some issue with Destination Imagination which I will get to later. I also have this new job and when Avery is gone might be my prime time to work on it without interruption.


Avery is guaranteed  to be in ECSE until December, and then I might have to fight at his IEP meeting to continue after that, which is the plan. Also, Naim will have soccer practice on this day, likely.


Right now, they are scheduled to be at VH all day from 9:30-3:30 and I will have Avery with me. But I don’t think I can afford this. I am thinking of putting them in for Explorers in the am and then using the rest of the day as a fieldtrip day or special project day. Also library day.


This will look like Tuesday.


I am thinking of putting Avery in Goddard all day this day so I have some more time to work on my job. School would be in the morning.


In Fall, Naim will have soccer games that I still don’t have transportation for. I am thinking of using the kamikaze approach. I am going to go to the parents with a sign-up sheet for rides the first day and have some “kickstarted” like incentives. (1 ride is a $5 Starbucks card, 3 rides is a free night of babysitting, 5 rides is a $20 amazon or iTunes card and all 8 rides is a ???? Tursi’s soccer card? Season tickets to Timbers? I don’t know…something.) Then I am going to shove the sign up sheet in their faces.  There is no free ride in Portland, you have to bribe them and force them.



So I need to work maybe some swimming and outside time into there, maaaaaybeee destination imagination, and sufficient worktime for me at this job.

Ok, now some general thoughts about where I want to go and objectives I have.


I feel like I have been holding him back a bit because of Naim. Mostly, I think he needs to write more and create more. Also, I want to get him off the workbook routine into doing more projects. Also, finding ways for Aaron to get physical exercise which almost has to be done on the sly.


Reading, obviously. And I want school to also be more meaningful for him and to reflect more of what he can do with his wisdom and maturity that is often held back by the reading issues. I am on the fence about working more on his handwriting, which is horrible, or whether to just say fuck it and go to keyboarding and maybe just do a bit of handwriting here and there as survival handwriting.


Communication! Communication! Communication! We are on a roll. Also, he really needs to move on from toddler to little kid. So working on some ADLs like dressing and hygiene. Going to bed routines, Getting rid of nighttime diapers. Getting rid of the “air bottle.” Picking up after himself. Participating more in chores. Also, working on walking endurance and speed so he can graduate from the stroller.

Now, thoughts on Subjects:

Unit Studies:

Since they are at such different levels and workbooks are nice for skill building but not much else, I would really like to get into some more comprehensive projects. So, there are a number of ways I can do this.

  • I can use the global village curriculum I have, which gives a limited list of books, but I would have to come up with my own units. Which I can do, god knows I spent enough time in college making up unit studies. Some of the books seem good, but the whole curriculum is very vacant and fragmented so it would be some work.
  • Along with that, we could just figure out what subjects we wanted to do and make units from scratch.
  • I could go literature based. There are several books you can buy that have premade literature-based plans in them like Teacher Created resources. Those are mostly with a youth novel like Charlottes Web or Because of Winn Dixie.
  • There are several others that take more of a form of lapbooking or notebooking. This is not a big expense and the planning, if not done for you at least helps you along.
  • I could do the well-trained mind history route. Which uses  world history in such a way that you read literature, do science, etc. from that time period.
  • I am still trying to figure out this discovery education website that I have a 30 day trial on that seems to have a bunch of videos games, etc. that could be incorporated into unit studies.
  • ???


I am pretty happy with the Singapore Math program math in focus that we have been using. I think we will continue on in the current book, and then go on to the next book.


We have been doing the Magic Schoolbus kits, which we can keep doing, except I think they have really done all of them already in OMSI or VH classes. It does not appear that VH is doing the OMSI classes again this year, which kind of sucks because they rocked. But I think I could take them on our own. Not sure.

So, we may continue to do some of the Magic School bus stuff because they think it is fun. But also probably just incorporate into our new found wonderful unit studies somehow.


Aaron-He will be doing HOP Master Reader this year. I have an old version I got dirt cheap, so I need a windows machine to run the software, so will be trying dual boot. Ugh! But other than that, he could just read the hard copies and be fine.

Naim-I am thinking of Naim doing the Reading Horizon’s curriculum this year, but still don’t have the $$ to buy it. And then, in addition to HOP or instead of? HOP does work for him, but I think RH would be much more effective, and let him work at a pace without me having to hover over him so much. He has also been working through Starfall online, and he likes that. Although I am not sure how far it really goes. We are on the last of the primary sets of lessons now. That has been our evening thing. We are not at a loss of things for him to read or do around here. We also have Bob Books, the Calvert K books, and some other apps and things. Although he thinks all of those are for babies.

Both-We have been doing the Calvert Discoveries in Reading Series, and although we really liked the first one, the second is OKAAAAY, but  a  little meh. So, do we finish these? Go on to unit studies and library books? (Too hard for Naim to read?)

They are not anywhere near as fun as doing Reading Rainbow and/or FanFaria on the iPad which they love. The only thing is it is so easy to get the apps to read for you. I am not opposed to audio books, but it would also be nice for them to HAVE to read themselves, too.


Aaron will be working on his Printing Power book and after that he can move on to cursive in HWT. His handwriting is grade acceptable and progressing fine. Would like to incorporate it into more of his own writing.

Naim will finish the K Zaner Bloser book. And then to go on to the next ZB book? To go on to a keyboarding program? Both? We will see then. If I have Naim work on creating, composing stories. It is either going to have to be through keyboarding or through dictation at this point. There is no writing his own story on paper right now without it being a huge illegible mess.

Other Language Arts:

Right now they are moving through the Sylvan books, which focus on Spelling, Reading and Vocabulary. They like those books, but I would like to have more grammar. I also don’t know if all that fragmentation is all that helpful. It seem like it may be better to incorporate this into unit studies, but in other terms, it is a quick and independent way in which they can skill build in this area. I was looking at some grammar and spelling stuff at Learning Palace, and am wondering if I can incorporate that. I also have a Evan Moor ebook about sentence structure that I got free from the coop that actually looks kind of fun. Or, again, roll it into unit studies.

I need to go to the Learning Palace when I have more time and less kids.

Social Studies/History

We haven’t done a lot of formal SS or history, but it comes up in life all the time. We have done the Maps, Globes and Graphs books which they hated. We have read some of the Usborne Encyclopedia of World HIstory but then after ancient times it got too violent for Naim’s liking. (I wish those books would concentrate more on culture and arts and language etc. and less on wars. It seems like they just move from war to war. I know it is unavoidable, but does it ALL have to be about war? It bores me.)

So again, unit studies to the rescue? Or we could concentrate on something like Oregon or US history. Global Village has a US history book it recommends, as well as a geography book.


I think we are going to do Calvert’s Discoveries in Music this year.

There is also a children’s chorus at church, and I have played around with the idea of Jim for music lessons, but I don’t think I can afford it this year and he just had a baby, so, maybe Calvert this year and him next if they are interested.


We will continue to do Atelier Art. Perhaps also with some classes from the Child Art Studio or PCM or the like.


So, Naim is going to do soccer in the fall. I am also thinking that we will work on swimming ourselves. I will do one kid at a time (but the other kid can be swimming, too.) I will just get them to survival levels and then if they want to, they can take more swimming lessons. I have all but given up on swimming lessons with all the teachers that didn’t show up and schedules that I can’t make work with the bus, etc. Besides, this will save money for the time being. I bought a book. We will see how it goes. The issue is when to fit it in? It was supposed to be our summer sport but see above about teachers who didn’t show, etc.

Aaron is a challenge. So I think I just need to make a point to get him out of the house doing something…anything…almost every day. When he is outside, he will run, climb, swim, etc. But not in any organized fashion. Naim also has been running on occasion with Nik, so maybe we can incorporate walks as well.

Destination Imagination:

…is really starting to piss me off. It is SUCH a popularity contest to get on a team, and I don’t mean the kids, I mean the stupid parents! I have been working and working to get him on a team and have even volunteered to be  a team manager. And each time it has fell through and they go off and have their own team because I am not in the clique. So, now, I have a decision to make. I COUUUULD have my own team. I have Naim, maybe Ruoda and Jordan, and I could drum up maybe one other kid or consider Aaron being involved and I would have a team. That I would have to run. But if I did that it is totes going to be at my freakin house. Which would save time and energy.

And that would have been well and good except now I have this new job and I don’t now if I have the time and energy to do both. So, let it go for this year??? Ugh. I know he would love it. And it kind of takes the place of drama. Maybe when I know more about how this job is going to go I will be able to make a decision.

Is that it? CAN THAT BE IT FOR THIS YEAR? Please? OK.

Now I shall go to sleep, it is making me tired.


3 Responses

  1. For unit studies, maybe you could do something with magic tree house and do mini units using the non fiction counterpart books? I am a fan of the series for kids, I think it covers a lot of good stuff for kids.

    Also what happened to your other blog. I’d love to keep reading it

    • That’s a really good idea. They love those books. I think I have even seen unit studies for those books already made somewhere.

      My other blog will come back soon. I got a job and separate from that one of my kids got interviewed for a local press story. And so I know a lot of people would be googling me and I panicked! I just didn’t want my whole like out there so soon and just didn’t want to deal with it. Once things calm down again I will bring it back. I already have blog posts swirling around in my head tryng to get out.

      As always, Thanks for reading!

  2. Yes the Tools of the Mind program uses it for Kindergarte (where they do about a week of background knowledge and then teacher reads a chapter or two every day ) but you could modify it to having at least aaron read them, they’re written at a second grade level.

    Congratulations on your new job. I look foward to reading your blog again. I don’t comment much but I always find your writing to be very interesting and thought provoking.

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