How is it possible we are going into our 4th year of homeschooling? I can’t wait to share our 2nd and 3rd grade homeschool curriculum with you, and kindergarten too! We’ll have two kids reading, and one learning how to read.
This is the first year we are not making many curriculum changes (woo!), and it’s also the first year I’ll be homeschooling 3 kids. With a one year old in tow. Send help!
This is going to require a little less winging it on my end. I’ll be using the baby’s nap time for school so I can help the kids without being so mentally distracted.
Our 1st and 2nd grade homeschool year was really challenging for me. We had our 4th baby at the beginning and had to plan and pack for a cross country move at the end. I experienced homeschool burnout a bit, and am looking forward to a fresh start this year with less going on.
Even still, seeing the kids spend hours of extra time playing and going on outdoor adventures together only makes me more glad to be homeschooling! They’re becoming better buds, and they’re progressing in each subject. That’s what I’m looking for. 🙂
If you are new to the homeschooling, I’d recommend reading How To Start Homeschooling For The Total Beginner: Curriculum, Schedules, Socialization, & Legal.
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Subjects we will be learning together as a family for 2nd and 3rd grade
Typically science, history, language arts, creative writing/handwriting, and bible have been together. What they take away from each subject is different depending on age, but the teaching is done at the same time as a group.
Math is done one on one with me.
We’ve also done some watercolor birds together.
I’ve found that the more we can do “family style”, the better. This shapes the curriculum I am drawn to because I can’t imagine having 3 kids doing all separate workbooks for all subjects (and eventually 4 kids). Unless they are completely independent.
That’s one reason I’ve veered from Masterbooks a bit. While I love a lot of their curriculum, Masterbooks would take a LOT of independence on their part because there’s just not enough of me to go around homeschooling 3 levels of math, science, history, and language arts.
While language arts and writing are done together, the kids are working at different levels. And the kids do handwriting together too, but in their separate books.
Ok, ready to see some specifics?
Third grade homeschool curriculum picks
My 3rd grade boy will be starting the year at age 9, as he has a late summer birthday.
He’s an avid reader, and if I can get anything in graphic novel form…he’ll read it. He is a very independent self taught kid mainly because he loves to read for hours a day if we have books he likes.
This year I’d love to focus on getting him a hands on hobby…perhaps beginner whittling wood. I’d also like to get him in a sport he likes in our new town since rock climbing was such a big hit last year.
Third grade math
What we’ll be using:
- Singapore Primary 2022
- Math games using addition and subtraction
Math games are GOLDEN! If you’re on the fence, make this your year to get a couple to try. They don’t even mind doing the math…my kids just love the games. See my full list of math games for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade here.
We are continuing with Singapore Primary 2022! I love the new format, the great visuals, and clear daily lessons. We switched last year from Singapore Primary US to Primary 2022, and it was easier for me to teach and shorter lessons too.
For 2nd grade we finished 1B & 2A. We’ll continue on with 2B and 3A for 3rd grade. (2 A&B is technically 2nd grade, 3 A&B is 3rd, etc, but we switched to 1A in the middle of my sons 1st grade year so we are just moving forward where we are).
Here’s my YouTube video explaining how easy it was to plan 1 week.
Place value practice
One thing I want to invest in (once the move is over) is a base 10 block set for place value. It gets used almost daily in a lot of Singapore lessons, and will go through all the kids.
My son seemed to pick up place value fine without it, using the pictures in the workbooks, but that skips the “hands on” part of Singapore I guess.
I ended up making my own printable place value chart last year to save space and money. It works, but I still think a bulky version would be easier to handle and is more to scale than mine.
Third grade science mix
What we’ll probably be using:
- Science comics (This line is AMAZING. Every science comic they have has been 100%)
- A few hands on experiments
- Nature shows via Disney + (National Geographic has a ton)
- Wild Kratts (they’ve learned everything they know about animals through this show!)
- Exploring Nature With Children, just the topics we are interested in and make time for
For elementary school…my goal is for my kids (and myself) to learn more about how their world works. Nature is science. The body is science. I don’t have a huge plan for what we will learn each year in science because I want it to be interest based as we go.
I’m going to utilize the library’s graphic novel science books, we’ll watch more Bear Grylls as a family, and we will continue to use the Seek app to identify and learn the plants and bugs around us.
Nature study for science
We’ll be out adventuring in the woods of a new state, so I’ve got lots of reading to do on the plants and animals there! I want to learn (with the kids) about poisonous plants and their look alikes, about bears and cougars, bugs in the area like ticks, etc.
If nature study feels intimidating…watch my video on how to keep nature study simple if you are starting out.
We have used Exploring Nature With Children in the past and loved it. But I didn’t have the bandwidth last year for anything else that required my planning or prep.
I will probably dip into that for topics this year that they are interested in, and we’ll stay there as long as they want!
I’ll also see what resources I can pull from here: FREE nature study curriculum for all 50 states.
Third grade language arts
What we’ll be using:
- Brave Writer Dart literature singles
- Night Zookeeper for fun (here’s my 50% link for a year)
We discovered Julie Bogart’s Brave Writer Darts last year which I LOVE and we’ll continue this year with my 2nd and 3rd grader. It’s a literature based language arts program with month long book guides.
I can teach both kids together, vs working with each of them in their separate workbooks. Last year we finished 6 books, which felt perfect and not rushed!
Darts include a book to read aloud, grammar, copywork, dictation, and are very conversational. We used a white board to learn the grammar family style. No worksheets.
I’d recommend just purchasing book singles that you want to read ($15/Dart).
They sell them by the single book title or you can buy the upcoming full year of 10 of them. I’d never do that because while it is a tad cheaper than buying 10 singles, there’s usually 2 or 3 I don’t like from the lists and we would never finish 10 in a year.
If you’re curious HOW to use the Darts, watch my video on YouTube where I give an in depth look at what’s inside and our weekly schedule.
Darts literature guides vs a more traditional language arts workbook
I switched away from Language Lessons For A Living Education level 2 last year and it was a good thing for us. LLFALE is very traditional, worksheet based, covers a TON of grammar, gives writing prompts…but it almost felt like too much information.
I’ve slowly been deschooling myself to realize it’s ok to teach things later than traditional school. Plus kids often learn it easier later!
Charlotte Mason style has influenced me to believe that kids will learn grammar, but not to worry about studying the rules till around 4th grade. Instead, she recommends exposing them to some basic grammar, and basic punctuation as they learn to write,
Reading out loud, copywork, and dictation will expose them to grammar without necessarily knowing all the rules yet.
I won’t go into that more here, but read this post on what the Charlotte Mason philosophy looks like put into practice for language arts.
What’s Night Zookeeper?
Night Zookeeper is a game-i-fied way to learn grammar and creative writing based on age. It’s online. Check out my video on Night Zookeeper here.
My 7 and 8 year old thought it was the cat’s meow when we paused Brave Writer Darts to do this for a month of language arts. It was the break we needed to not get bored with Brave Writer’s format.
While it’s advertised more as a creative writing program, I found my kids actually leaned more into the grammar games!
Why no spelling yet?
I’m holding off on a formal spelling curriculum right now, mainly because I’ve got to see how we can manage what we have before adding anything else.
My new 3rd grader is a great reader and can spell anything he can sound out or visually see in his head. I’d like to start All About Spelling for 4th grade, or possibly this year once we get our other subjects in a good groove.
I have no desire to start my 2nd grader on spelling either. She writes by sounding out words. But before we ADD one more thing, I want her to be reading way more on her own. That will informally help her with spelling down the road.
To be honest, I don’t even remember the “spelling rules”. So maybe when we start spelling it will be a full family affair.
Third grade creative writing
What we’ll be using:
- Brave Writer Partnership in Writing
- Handwriting Without Tears: Finish Grade 2 Printing Power and move on to grade 2 Cursive Kickoff
Handwriting Without Tears helped us last year to neaten up letters, and we’ll finish his 2nd grade book and move on to the 3rd grade cursive book! We only do this on days we have no other writing built in through Brave Writer.
I’ve already purchased and printed Partnership in Writing by Brave Writer, which is for 8-10 year old or so.
This year I’d like to really see him WANT to write more. We write something every day, either copywork or Handwriting Without Tears…but creative writing has not been his thing yet.
I’m hopeful because all the projects in here look SO fun!
We had a lot of success using Jot It Down by Brave Writer (their creative writing month long projects for 5-8 year olds). So I’m very hopeful he’ll love Partnership in Writing!
Here’s 8 creative writing projects we did last year, some of them spontaneous and some of them through Jot It Down.
Third grade history (with my 2nd grader too)
- Gather Round US History
This year, I just had to buy and try Gather Round’s US History units! The beauty and raving reviews drew me in, what can I say! There are 6 mini units, with 20 days in each, and the last two are still being written. If we can do history a couple days a week, I’ll be looking to finish 3 units this year.
If we like it, we’ll do the last 3 units next year.
Here’s the 1st two teacher’s guides I printed out. I’ll read from the teacher’s guide, and then the kids will each have a printed out workbook at their level to do a few activities in.
Here’s an example of one lesson in the teacher’s guide (top book below), which I’ll read out loud. The kids get to open their books and complete the work.
There’s a bit more writing you can see in the early elementary level, where’s the early reader has them dictate their answers more as well as draw or cut out/paste too.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to potentially drag out US History for 2 more years, since we’d covered some already (up through the revolution). But this just looked TOO good and I had to try it for myself.
We finished Beautiful Feet Books Early American History living books (with a kinder and 1st grader), and half of Masterbooks’ America’s Story 1 (for 1st and 2nd grade).
The kids remembered so much from the living book read aloud style, and seemed to really listen to *most* (not all) of them well.
We didn’t do any worksheets either year, so I’m curious to see if Gather Round will feel a little bit like “busy work” or not. If it is, I may rely more heavily on the Teacher’s guide and less on the student books.
All 3 of these companies are coming from a Christian perspective, with Beautiful Feet Books being the least noticeable on that since you’re just reading books. If you prefer no religious influence, you may find Gather Round and Masterbooks hard to use.
Second grade homeschool picks
My second grader will be largely doing what my 3rd grade is doing for group subjects. Math will be different though. I don’t have pictures yet, sorry! Waiting till we move to order her math and new handwriting book.
Second grade math
What we’ll use:
We’ll continue on with 2nd grade Math With Confidence by Kate Snow. 1st grade was a success!
Second grade just got released June 2022 and it will come out with one new level each June through 6th grade.
I like the way it’s scripted and has built in math games and is SIMPLE to follow. I also like that addition and subtraction strategies and number bonds really followed the same style as SIngapore Math, which we use for my oldest.
MWC includes 1 page of new math each day, 5 days a week, with the back page being spiral review. The majority of the math work comes through the Instructor’s Guide…it’s not grab n go exactly. We spend around 20 minutes on this.
What I’m torn on right now is if it’d be simpler for our family to all just use Singapore Math. It’s a good fit for my oldest which means I’ll already own the Home Instructor’s Guides and know the style.
Plus it’s more advanced math thinking and story problems (Singapore is considered advanced and Kate Snow calls MWC “middle of the road” in difficulty). For now we’ll do second grade MWC, and I’ll probably reassess for the next year.
Second grade language arts and creative writing
My main goal for her this year: Find books she can’t put down! And read picture books out loud to her every day.
She’s reading books now that my son was reading by the beginning of 1st grade. Think Frog and Toad level. I’m ok with that…but would love to see her enjoy reading and read more.
She’ll join in for the Dart read alouds and literature guides. This covers basic grammar, copywork, and dictation.
She’ll get to do Night Zookeeper (YouTube link to my review), which works on age appropriate grammar and surprisingly helps motivate her to want to read the words on the screen!
I’m guessing she’ll want to do Partnership in Writing projects with her older brother, which would be easier on me if they did it together. If it’s too much, we’ll finish a few more projects in Dot It Down.
She’s an advanced writer and attempts to write on her own often. But her spelling isn’t where her brother’s is as she’s not an advanced reader like him yet.
Second grade history and science
My second grader will be joining her brother doing the same things for history and science.
The biggest difference is she’s not reading science books for fun. So I’ll have to lean more on Exploring Nature With Children for her sake. Even once a week this is so beneficial, as are the library book lists that come with it!
Kindergarten homeschool plan
My 5.5 year old will be starting kindergarten! He’s so excited! What that means for us here is this:
- Kindergarten Math With Confidence
- Learning to write his name
- Letter and number tracing
- Learning to read
We’ll use Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons again! It’s a bit bland…and we take over a year to finish it so it seems. But it works!
Finding free homeschool activities
I have so many wants that just likely won’t happen this year due to money restraints as well as juggling 4 kids.
Instead of focusing on what we can’t do and can’t afford (was hoping to do music lessons and ski lessons but it’s looking like those are out of reach this year), I’ll be aiming to explore our new state and take the kids out on hikes and free adventures.
Since we are moving this year, it’ll be our 1st year NOT having a (free) homeschool nature group co-op or (free) Wild and Free group. Tears! I’m actually so sad about this. I feel like it took the kids and I years to find our homeschool community and now we’ve got to start over.
We’ll be in driving distance to our cousins who homeschool this year though…SO thankful for them!
P.S. celebrate with me because It’s our family’s last year of husband in fellowship, 11 years of medical training will be done! 11 years guys. And 3 moves. That’s not counting undergrad.
Homeschooling is so much more than “curriculum”
Homeschooling has stretched me. I’m learning how my kids’ personalities work differently with the same curriculums. I’m learning to recognize when learning is happening outside the box, and to follow my kids’ interests more. What a blessing it’s been to see them actively learning, to see them become better friends, and to have so much flexibility!