School Year, Part 3 (3rd grade)

Last one!


I just realized yesterday that I left out one book from Link’s book list – The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler.  And it was going to bug me if I didn’t mention it.   So yeah – that’s on the eighth grade reading list!!

That brings the total for Link’s reading list to 53, I think?

Astro’s is… 44.  Maybe.  Something like that.

Random, I know.

So, Pink is the last kid that I need to make this yearly entry for, and the last kid doing 3rd grade, and that’s so exciting!  I’ve never had any issues with the idea of the kids getting older lol :).

So here we go.  Third grade.  Hard to believe that in just a couple years she’ll be hitting the logic stage and I won’t have any elementary schoolers anymore!  😀


We’ll be following The Well-Trained Mind‘s recommendations for 3rd grade science and studying chemistry.  For that, we’re using Books I and II of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules and a couple fun science kits – one is ‘Kitchen Chemistry‘, I think, and the other is ‘Fizzy Foamy Science‘.  They seemed like ones that Pink would like.

For this, it’s really low key.  I’ve already gone through the books and picked out experiments – about 20 weeks worth.  We’ll do the experiment and then she’ll define any unfamiliar terms (usually underlined in the section with the experiment).  We’re going to do the science kits here and there throughout the year, and I’ve also got a few planned that I’ve found elsewhere online.  From those different things, we’ve got 36 weeks worth!  I’m also thinking about doing something fun with the periodic table – but I want to get to working on it first, to see how it goes!


Keeping with our schedule, Pink will be going through Story of the World, Vol. 3 this year, which covers 1600-1850.  I see it asked all the time, ‘How do you use Story of the World?’ and really the only answer is to use it however you see fit.  We use it for the grammar stage only, and I have the Activity Guide to go along with it, but we rarely use it, honestly.  However, I wouldn’t want to not have it, just in case.

We read the chapter and look at the map.  Much of her reading list consists of books that are historical fiction or biographies or other things related to the age.  On occasion, we’ll do an activity or project from the book – some appeal to us more than others.  If there is an animal in a picture to color, maybe she’ll color it.  Some of the art projects are fun.  We’ve done a cooking one here and there.  But really?  For us, history is very much just reading.

And I say it a lot, so I may be sounding like a broken record by this point, but just remember – the idea isn’t for a third grader to be able to tell me all sorts of details about everything in history from the early modern times.  The idea is to introduce them to these things that they will revisit again in the later years (twice), as they go through the history cycle again a little deeper each time.  It’s not about acing a quiz right now, but about providing some familiarity so that it doesn’t seem so foreign to try to introduce world history all of a sudden later on.

fullsizeoutput_355a‘Language Arts’ subjects:

Pink will be starting on Queen homeschool‘s Language Lessons this year – they start them much younger as well as going further than we use them for, which I mentioned in Astro’s post.  We use the Elementary and Secondary Child ones – 4 years worth.  I’ve found them to be a good in-between, mixing some grammar basics with picture study and copywork, etc.  We usually end up skipping some copywork lessons by the end of the year, which I’ve gone ahead and crossed out, this time.  There are lessons for a full 180 days included – with field trips and co-op days and other stuff, we don’t necessarily do all 180 days of work.

For handwriting this year, I was going to pick up a Zaner Bloser book, which is what we usually use.  Funny thing is, I really liked the 4th grade book that Astro used, but it wasn’t the current/newer editions – it was actually a much older one!  But either way, I’ve always been pleased with ZB.  Last year we skipped any handwriting curriculum because I didn’t find it necessary – we practiced handwriting and learning cursive on our own.  I just decided to get a book again this year to switch it up.

But then I stumbled across New American Cursive Penmanship at the Rainbow Resource booth at convention and I just loved the look of it.  I don’t know why, exactly.  But so that’s the one I picked up for her for this year!  🙂

As always, titles for her reading list are under the pictures.  I had to spread out some of the smaller books, as they were hard to see all standing up!


IMG_6946Pictured:  You Wouldn’t Want to be an American Colonist!; N.C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims; A Picture Book of Patrick Henry; And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?; Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography; If You Lived at the time of the American Revolution; What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?; George Washington: The Man Who Would Not Be King; Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady; John Adams Speaks for Freedom; The Story of the Constitution; Who was Marie Antoinette?; The Industrial Revolution; Sacagawea: American Pathfinder; How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark; Tecumseh; Andrew Jackson; Davy Crockett: Young RiflemanIMG_6947Pictured: The True Story of Pocahontas; Madeline Takes Command; The Three Musketeers; Robinson Crusoe; Pilgrim’s Progress; Gulliver’s Travels; Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots; Daniel Boone: Young Hunter and Tracker; Abigail Adams: Girl of Colonial Days; Betsy Ross and the Silver Thimble; Songs of Innocence; George the Drummer Boy; Sam the Minuteman; Molly Pitcher: Young Patriot; Why Not, Lafayette?; Hans Brinker; Les Miserables; Sitting Bull: Dakota BoyIMG_6949Pictured: Moby Dick; Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Buffalo Bill: Frontier Daredevil; Great Expectations; Oliver Twist; They’re Off: The Story of the Pony Express
Not pictured: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Around the World in 80 Days; Journey to the Center of the Earth


We’re continuing with Math U See this year, moving onto Gamma – or, as she says, ‘Times’.  😛  Lol!  She’s thinking it’s going to be more difficult for some reason, but I have confidence that it won’t be so bad.  😉  I think in her head, ‘times’ is something that the boys do, because they’re older – not her!

I also picked up a little Fractions book from RR at convention to do a few times a week.  Since I’m moving away from MUS a little more in the middle years, I’m not sure exactly what she’ll do once she finishes the first 4 MUS books (the last one being Delta, and focusing on division) – whether or not she’ll move on into Epsilon and fractions will be decided when the time comes.  Either way this looked like a fun introduction!





This will be Pink’s first year with her own Bible study curriculum, so we are starting off slowly with one of Queen homeschool‘s elementary Bible studies.  It’s actually meant to be done daily over about 12 weeks (I don’t have it right here, but that sounds about right); she will be doing it 2-3 times a week over most of the school year, just to get used to it.  Astro did the one on Proverbs when he was in 3rd or 4th grade and I really liked it, and thought it was a great place to start!

Logic-ish stuff: (lol!)

I picked up this Analogies book because it just looked fun!  Sometimes my kids struggle with analogies like this, so I though going ahead and introducing them to her right now would be fun.  We’re probably only going to do it once a week or so.  Just something to break up the monotony!fullsizeoutput_355c

That sums it all up!  Let’s see… Pink’s reading list ended up being… 46?  Not surprising that she has more than Astro, if that’s the case!  Or that she’s at least right there on par with him – she’s a reader, more like Link in that aspect!

And now that all this is done, we’re ready to get started in just three and a half weeks!

But first… MORE SUMMER!!!!


Happy sun!


Looking to the new (school!) year!!

Who’s excited for this upcoming year?


So last year I was looking forward to it enough.  But THIS year, I’m really feeling it, know what I mean?

What’s different?  I’m not sure!  We’re switching some stuff up… I got The Man to build me some new shelves in our dining room and will post pictures once I get all my pretty organizing stuff in 😉 …. It will be the first year with all 3 ‘in school’ (though we don’t really have a structured school day like some homeschoolers do, it’s easiest to refer to it as such) …. Link will be starting the logic stage (5th grade!) which adds a lot more stuff that I’m looking forward to… etc!


With all that in mind, I thought it would be fun to share what we’re planning on this coming year!

Pink – Kindergarten

Little Pink will be starting Kindergarten this year!  I may or may not have mentioned it on here, but I tried starting her in OPG last year – she was totally not ready.  So rather than work like crazy on it for months with a kid who wasn’t ready, I decided to just wait.  🙂  This year, I’m definitely seeing signs of readiness.  It will be interesting, I’m sure, to get my little sanguine to desire to learn if she has her mind against it (I haven’t seen yet exactly where she stands on it!) – but that will just be a process.  I am thinking she’ll be one who will need the ‘fun’ aspect of learning, and I’m actually kind of looking forward to that (despite that not really being my specialty)!  Maybe because she’s the youngest?  Not sure.  

She’ll be doing things light – it is Kindergarten, after all!  We’ll do OPG, Explode the Code (Get Ready, Get Set, and Go for the Code books), Zaner-Bloser Handwriting K, Math-U-See Primer, and Draw Right Now.  I also have lists of sight words we’ll be working on over the course of the year, and calendars printed out to review daily, with shapes and all that (She also has this super cool board I bought at the homeschool convention…She’s OBSESSED with telling time!  Seriously she’ll know that before we even start, I think!).  I bought a lot of math concept books, which we’ll probably read a few times over the course of the year.  So far for read-alouds, I’ve decided on The Story of Doctor DolittleA Little PrincessThe Hundred DressesMisty of ChincoteagueStormy, Misty’s Foal, and Misty’s Twilight. When we finish those we may go on to the Narnia books, as she is the only child I haven’t read those aloud with; we may also read some of the Fairy books, as I have all of those on my iPad.  I chose to read the Misty books to her because she LOOOOOVES horses.  I have actually never read the first three books listed – so I’m looking forward to reading those with her, as well!


Astro – 3rd Grade

This year we’ll continue to work on Astro’s reading – we’ve reached the point now where we’re past remediating, and just working on fluency and continuing to get better (he actually scored ‘slightly above average’ on his standardized test in reading!  How awesome is that?!)  We’ll begin focusing more on good spelling and handwriting.  This last year, we would have been on year 3 of the history and science rotation outlined in The Well Trained Mind – however, we focused so much on reading and ‘language arts’ skills this last year that science and history fell by the wayside (which is totally acceptable in the grammar stage – they have to have the fundamentals of reading, writing, and mathematics to be able to go forward at all) so we’ll be going ahead with the usual 3rd grade rotation, meaning we’ll be on the ‘Colonial’ time period, as I call it – 1600-1850 in history, and a chemistry focus in science.  

Specifically, he’ll be doing Writing With Ease, Total Language Plus (we are giving this a try after seeing it at convention – he’ll be doing The Whipping Boy and the guide to go along with it), Story of the World 3, Math-U-See Gamma, and Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 3.  For science I bought him a few kits on – bouncy balls, crystal growing, ‘outrageous’ science, chemistry – and we’ll do some experiments from both levels of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules.  He’ll finish up Atelier Art level 2 before moving on to level 3.  He doesn’t have any interest in learning the piano, so we’ll just stick to some classical music appreciation for him; for art appreciation, I purchased 3 portfolios from  I’m really looking forward to using them – I saw Sonya Shafer (I may be messing up her name, yikes!) speak at the homeschool convention and loved this method of just getting classic art into the kids’ brains.  😀  I’ll actually be doing that with all 3 of the kids together – one of the VERY FEW things they’ll be doing all together!  

As I have yet to find a spelling program that I LOVE, I’ll be pulling lists from various sources for Astro this year and having him work on them kinesthetically as well as on SpellingCity.  I also purchased Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason, which I will use with both the boys 2-3 days per week.  

I also bought some mental math books that each of the boys will do at the start of the day (just a column of math for each day of the week) along with their Daily Grams.  Second semester I plan on using the Elementary Diagraming Worktext with both of them a couple of days per week.

For reading, Astro and I will read Swiss Family Robinson, Flower FablesTreasure IslandThe Secret Garden, and Black Beauty.  I say ‘we’ will because, at least at the start of the year, these will probably be read alouds.  On his own, he will be reading abridged/simplified/children’s  versions of Gulliver’s TravelsPilgrim’s ProgressThe Hunchback of Notre DameLes MiserablesThe Three MusketeersGreat ExpectationsOliver TwistThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Moby Dick.  Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are also on his list for later in the second semester – at this point I have no idea whether those will be read alouds for the two of us or if he will be reading them on his own.  Only time will tell!!

Before I go on to Link’s section – you’ll notice that I’m NOT doing science and history with them together this year.  I’ve had a lot of fellow homeschoolers question the sanity of this decision!  But from what I’ve experienced this last couple of years, they are NEVER done with their other stuff/ready for history all together/science all together at the same time.  Also, they are far enough apart ability wise when it comes to their writing abilities that it ends up being difficult juggling the two.  I think it will be more enjoyable for everyone involved to have them do history and science separately.  Another HUGE factor in this decision was my desire to start Link back on the Ancients for 5th grade so he can get through the history cycle a full time in both the logic and rhetoric stage.  I also felt that the subject matter for the period I was originally looking at – Modern times – was better suited to him when he’s a little older (8th grade), since that’s the way it’s outlined in TWTM anyway.  I decided just to have Astro go through the 3rd year cycle again because we didn’t get through a lot of it last year, and there are always more chemistry experiments to be done in science. 😉  This will also align him with his correct grade level, rather than going ahead with everything one year ahead for him (one year behind for Link, as it was originally).

I may get through this year and swear up and down to never do it again.  But I’ve got a hunch that won’t be the case.  While it may be a little more work for me (though not much), I actually think it will be good for everyone.  I was also able to cater their science stuff to them particularly – each of the boys picked the science kits they wanted on the website, for example.  They have picked which experiments in the books look interesting to them.  Etc.

I really think it will be fun.  🙂


Link – 5th Grade

Link has quite the list this year, going into the logic stage!  If things go as I hope they will (meaning if I actually remember to BLOG as often as I’d like!) then I’ll go into everything a little bit more in depth over the course of the year.  I know this is all sort of just a run down, a list that may or may not make sense and may include some things that no one is familiar with.  

I’ve got 3 different ‘logic’ workbooks for Link – Red Herrings, Brain Builders, and Red Herrings Science Mysteries.  We will switch between the 3 and do this a few times a week.  It’s really a very informal introduction to logic in preparation to more serious stuff in the coming years.   I mentioned we are trying out Total Language Plus this year – Link will start with My Side of the Mountain and the corresponding guide, and I also bought him a smaller, focus guide for The Phantom Tollbooth.  For Bible I found a 4-workbook series called The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study – I fully expect this to take him a few years to finish.  As of right now, we’re still happy with Math-U-See (I have read some things about the higher levels maybe not being rigorous enough – NOT A COMMON CORE WORD, PEOPLE! 😉 – but for now it is working for us in the grades we’ve done thus far.  So we’re taking it year by year.) so he’ll be moving into Epsilon.  He’ll also be doing real-life math once a week – we have the Family Math book as well as a book called Math on the Menu that we’ll work through.  

We’ve made a deal that he’ll do Latin every day 1st semester and finish Latin for Children A, and then he’ll move on to Japanese in 2nd semester.  Right now I’m looking at Mango Languages for his Japanese this year… I don’t think I’ll be making him go any further with Latin unless he wants to.  I know, I know, Latin is important!!  But I think, too, that the time comes when a student just really doesn’t like something, and it isn’t absolutely necessary, and he can always pick it up again later… so we’ll go with it.  There are more important things than how many years of Latin he does.  

I know.  I’m classically educating my children, and here I just said I’m not worried about Latin!  (Where’s the fainting emoticon?! 😉 )

For Science, Link will be back in the study of living things – we’ll do experiments from the book Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method to start off the year (and periodically throughout) – he chose kits, as well: sea monkeys, owl pellets, praying mantises, genetics & DNA, carnivorous creations terrarium, and a desertscape.  It pretty well covers the three areas we’ll cover – biology in the animal kingdom, the human body, and the plant kingdom.  For history he’ll be using encyclopedias and some Jackdaw portfolios for primary sources for the study of the Ancient time period – 5000 BC-AD 400.  

Link chose to start piano back up, so I bought him the Piano Adventures books and am thinking of taking another path when it comes to his learning.  In the past, we’ve tried the traditional ‘weekly lesson with the teacher (aka me)’ approach with daily practice.  This never produced good results, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I could homeschool my kids but couldn’t teach my own kids piano!!  So this year, I’m thinking of going at it a little more the way we do our other school stuff – practice daily, yes, but working more at his own pace.  When he feels like a song is ready and he wants me to listen to it to see if he can be ‘past’ it and stop practicing it, he can tell me and I’ll listen.  I’ll be available for questions and such all the time, of course.  I’m really thinking this may work better.  

For art, Link decided against another level of Atelier in favor of some books – he’ll be using Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Fine Art Studio Painting, and Fine Art Studio Sculpting.  He’ll read through The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra for music appreciation (as well as the classical music CDs that I have for Astro).  He’s gone through Dance Mat Typing online, and wanted just a traditional ‘Keyboarding’ book this year for his typing/keyboarding skills, so we went with that (I believe it’s Keyboarding Made Simple).  For writing, I’d like to finish up CAP Writing & Rhetoric together while he’s starting Wordsmith Apprentice.  

He’ll also be doing the mental math and Daily Grams first thing in the morning, as well as Spelling Wisdom and Diagraming with Astro.  Link is a natural speller, so even before I had decided to go the SpellingCity route with Astro, I knew I didn’t need a formal spelling program anymore for Link.  I’ve also pulled several lists for him over the course of the year, that he’ll do primarily on SC.  He also has an outlining workbook, since with history he’ll begin making outlines along with the other new aspects that come with this learning stage.  He’ll work through that over the beginning of the school year.  

He’ll start recording everything on a timeline, which I haven’t found a spot for yet. 😛  My friend keeps trying to persuade me to get one that’s in a book because I can’t find a space, but I really like the idea put forth in TWTM to have it up and visible as a whole.  So we’ll see what I figure out!!

For reading, Link has quite the list this year.  Some of the books are recommended for his grade level on the Great Books Academy website – others are books that were recommended in years before but I couldn’t find at the time – yet others are just some that will be ‘easy’ for him, but that I think he will enjoy (a bit of a break/breath of fresh air between some of these!)  He’ll read about 2-3 books per month: The Boy KnightThe HobbitFrom the Earth to the MoonHans BrinkerTarzan of the ApesReturn of TarzanBeasts of TarzanThe Door in the WallThe Dash for KhartoumThe Song of HiawathaThe Boy and the SamuraiThe Ranch on the BeaverThe Cat of BubastesBig RedWells Brothers: Young Cattle KingsAt the Back of the North WindHospital SketchesBonnie Prince Charlie, The John Carter Mars Trilogy, The Chessmen of MarsIn Freedom’s Cause, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Some of these may be subject to change as I read ahead – I don’t pre read ALL of Link’s books, by any means – only those which I’m unfamiliar with, either the book or the author or both.  


SO that is what we’re looking at for this coming year!  We are scheduled to start August 4, though we’re considering starting sooner – who knows, it could be this coming Monday (July 21)!  Who knows?

I’ll post more about our daily schedule in the upcoming days.  But I think I’ve taken up enough space for today!!

Have a wonderful day!

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