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Time Commitment for Third Grade?

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    Time Commitment for Third Grade?

    Just wondering on how much time you as a parent have to commit.. I currently have five children, including a very crazy 2 year old. My third grader is a strong but slow reader. For example he just read Treasure Island and comprehended it, but it took him 3 months to read.
    Abel (9) MP 4/ Lydia 7.5) MP A3/ James (6) First Start Reading and Rod and Staff 1/ Micah (4)/ Nathanael (2)/ Silas Born 7/13/2019

    Re: Time Commitment for Third Grade?

    I am sure you will get some feedback from moms who have recently completed the 3rd grade but I wanted to get you some idea of the time commitment. In the primary years we advocate for all the work to be done with the teacher actively watching. Most all lessons are interactive and follow the pattern of review, a bit of explanation, some practice then immediate feedback of written work. Students also need oversight while learning formation of letters in both print and cursive until formation is done correctly then reminders on the 3 P's or 3' S's are all that is needed, but it is needed. In 3rd grade student work load grows exponentially. It takes most of the year working in the same manner you did with the primary grades. The difference is that students have longer attention spans, can handle the writing load, and can complete writing without you watching over them but still giving immediate feedback on accuracy and neatness. Comprehension answers in the literature guides, Greek myths and Christian Studies should still be worked on together as the modeling stage for this is not yet over. Answers tend to be longer and more detailed but should still be developed together on the board for the student to then copy. This process is still necessary and takes a while. Reading should be aloud. There is quite a bit of reading, Golden Children's Bible, Greek Myths, literature etc. In a classroom each student reads a bit then the teacher finishes up the reading. For a home school, this reading will go faster because you only have one student read a little then you (a more experienced and faster reader) can finish the reading. But again, this takes time. All said you should plan on 4 to 5 hours allowing for breaks and transitions.

    Michelle T


      Re: Time Commitment for Third Grade?

      Hello there!

      I just checked your signature, and your little guy is already going to be a year soon - how is that possible? I remember being so excited when he was born! Geesh!

      I am now excited for you to enter "big kid" school with your new third grader! It is such a great step forward, and such a fun year. Michelle has given you a really excellent benchmark to try to reach with your third grader, and managing to do as close to what she describes as possible would really give your son the direction he still needs at this age. The "but" is that you might read her description and wonder how you can do all of that without spending your whole day just on third grade!

      This is one of those times when you really start to tailor your homeschool to your own, unique family situation. You have a baseline of what a typical third grader needs. But you also know that you have only so many hours in a day to feed, clean, clothe, bathe, school, and maintain your sanity. Therefore, my suggestion to you is to try to reach Michelle's description for a couple of days without having too many additional activities going on. Try out the "standard" and see how long it takes you. See how your son responds. See where you can fit in your younger children's work. See what elements can be combined, shortened, or even (out of necessity) eliminated. See what is going to fit your son and your situation. Do as much as you can, but then make a conscious choice of what you simply do not have time for. That will help you tailor the curriculum to you, and will help you be as successful as possible. You can see your son's biggest weaknesses and make sure not to skimp on them. You can also see his areas of strength that you can use to your advantage.

      Then you can move on, and figure out how much you can do for the next one. This is why stagger-starting your kids can be so helpful. You focus on just one at a time and start to get good at each grade without having them all asking you a ton of questions at the same time. You can start to develop a routine, one child at a time.

      I personally do not keep track of how long an individual child is working. We all simply "do school" until each child is done with his or her work and has been cleared of having time with mom (without having anyone reach a point of "burnout"). I try to keep in mind which areas I want each child to focus on each year - whether it is to get better at sentences, at Latin, at Math, at time management, or whatever. I usually have a "sense" of what is most important for each person each year. We just don't have time to tackle everything at one time. You have a lot of years ahead of you. Tackle what you can manage this year, and trust that you will have more time to get to other things in the years to come. That is why, when you have to make concessions, you try to hold on to the most important things of the year, and let the lesser important things wait until another year.

      I hope that helps a bit, even though it doesn't really answer your actual question!
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 8
      DD, 6
      DS, 2


        Re: Time Commitment for Third Grade?

        Thank you, both of you, for your responses! They were both helpful
        Abel (9) MP 4/ Lydia 7.5) MP A3/ James (6) First Start Reading and Rod and Staff 1/ Micah (4)/ Nathanael (2)/ Silas Born 7/13/2019


          Re: Time Commitment for Third Grade?

          Hi AlexandraMarie,

          When I was teaching third grade with only 1 child in my homeschool, it took at least 5 hours a day. That is because I could devote all the time I wanted to him (obviously). That said, that length of time had more to do with his WEAKEST skill. Not surprisingly it was the physical act of handwriting out all of his work for the day. The length of your day should be determined by how long it takes your child to work at the speed of his weakest skill, not his strongest skill.

          Some thoughts for you, in no particular order.

          1. Your child is young for 3rd grade, unless he has an early fall b-day, and is possibly not ready for all of the skill requirements of a full 3rd grade package. I know, I know this won't be what you want to hear. I have a child with an October b-day, so *technically* he enters a new SY "a year young", but then turns "the right age" in early October. When he was (technically 7) going into 3rd grade, I purchased the 3M package for him. Within weeks, he was floundering because he could not keep up with the physical act of handwriting to accomplish a full day of homeschool. I was forced to purchase several elements from 2nd grade for him in order to all him to work independently. That year he had a mash-up of 2nd/3M. The following year I used 4 New User to make up the difference and it has been smooth sailing ever since.

          So consider, if you will be having to do more than 25% of the work orally, you might want to reconsider his placement.

          Seriously, MP is an excellent curriculum and works slowly enough for MASTERY. But, if you have a child you will have to take over his day and work largely orally, just to check off the boxes, the placement is too high. In 3rd, he should have several periods of independent work without your involvement. That will help with your ability to work/play with your other children.

          2. You mentioned that he read Treasure Island, so I assume you are implying his giftedness? If you have read my posts around here *at all* you will know that I raised an exceptionally gifted child. One thing I can assure you is that 1) early reading is not necessarily a mark of giftedness..... it is the ability to solve problems that marks a truly gifted student, and 2) with a gifted child it is even *more* important to focus on the weakest skill in a homeschool. My son could very easily take care of his intellectual needs at age 7 by following his interests, but it took my intervention to slow him down to learn how to handwrite and spell. Both of those two activities were laborious for his brain, too "sequential" for him, so the very fact that he had someone assuring that those skills *were* the focus became invaluable to him later in his education.

          DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

          DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

          DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

          DS, 12 yrs, currently attending a classical school which would give HLS a run for its money.

          All homeschooled.

          Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....