3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Top Picks

Hi friends! Need help picking your homeschool curriculum out? Fear not, because I’m back today with another homeschool curriculum top picks! Today I’m sharing my favorites for 3rd grade.

As always, each family is different, but hopefully this will give you a good place to get started researching 3rd grade curriculum for your homeschool.

 

3rdgradecurriculumpicks

 

Here are the basic subjects that I suggest you cover for 3rd grade.

Of course you’ll want to make sure to check with your state requirements to make sure you’re including anything specifically required by your district. The * indicates subjects that are usually optional.

  • *Art
  • Bible
  • Reading
  • Math
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling
  • English/Language
  • *Music
  • Social Studies/History
  • Science/Health
  • *PE
  • Vocabulary
  • **US History (If you live in the United States most states require that you do a certain amount of US History each year, so you’ll want to check with your state to see what is required.)

 

Here are our top picks for 3rd grade:

 

General Skills:

  • Daily Learning Notebook (Elementary level manuscript version. or Elementary cursive version) – These are free downloads found on my blog, and they come in a variety of styles. I have an elementary specific one I like to use for ages 6-11. I also offer them in a variety of languages if you’ve already done the elementary notebook and want something new! It’s just a fun way to cover a variety of skills each day. The notebook includes things like:
  • What day is it?
  • What was yesterday?
  • What will it be tomorrow be?
  • Writing the date
  • Color in the day number
  • Is today’s number ODD or EVEN?
  • Write today’s number in word form
  • Write the number that comes before and after today’s number
  • Weather
  • Money
  • Handwriting Practice
  • Tally marks

 

Art:

  • World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1 or 2: My artist studies are a great way to learn about some of the world’s greatest artists as well as learn about different artistic styles, techniques, and mediums. You will learn a ton about the work of each artist and become well familiar with their style, methods, and images. Students will also learn to discuss artwork in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for art in general. You will also create several of your own unique masterpieces emulating the styles and techniques of the artists as you learn. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, artist note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, artist fact flashcards, and art projects to correlate with each artist.
  • I love the Home Art Studio DVDs they have really fun art projects. They are sold by grade level, which might not work as well if you have multiple-grades represented in your home. But I’ve found that for the most part, if you pick a DVD between the upper grades in your home, you can have everyone do a project from one DVD and it seems to be okay. There have been a few times where it was more difficult for my youngest, but I don’t expect her work to be the same level as her older sister. So we just go with it and they’ve done fine. The DVDs may cost a bit more, but they also take the pressure off of you to teach a lesson.  If you’re not comfortable teaching art, you can simply gather the required materials and let the DVD do the teaching for you.
  • Another one of my favorite all time resources for art is the Deep Space Sparkle website, she has tons of free art ideas for kids also sorted by grade level! And it looks like she’s also created a curriculum you can purchase as well. I haven’t tried it out myself, but I love her website overall!

 

Bible:

  • Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum: The Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum comes with a video series along with accompanying worksheet lessons. My kids love anything that is DVD related, and I they have enjoyed the lessons as well. The lessons include a 10 minute devotional, memory verses, games and activities, and printable pdf files that you can use with students as well. This is a great option for anyone who prefers to have a bit of variety to their lessons!
  • Grapevine Units: These are great for all ages. Since I have 4 different grades in our homeschool, I purchase the multiple-level teacher’s manual, along with a combination of the traceable student workbooks (for my younger kids) and the blank ones (for my older kids) and we all do the same lesson at the same time. It’s worked out great for teaching multiple levels at the same time! That said, they also have grade specific levels if you don’t need to teach more than one grade together.
  • Character Studies: I have a series of FREE character studies available for download on my website. They’re great for teaching basic character skills to your kids while having a fun and engaging Bible study at the same time. You can find them all here on my Bible printables page, I hope you enjoy them!
  • Word of Life Challenger Quiet Time devotions. These are great for starting to teach independent Bible study for kids. They come by grade levels so you can get one that is appropriate for your child. We do one per day, and they only take about 5-10 minutes each.
  • Kay Arthur Discover 4 yourself: These are great for kids who are good readers and ready for something a little more in depth. They have a reading assignment each day along with some specific Bible markings to help them remember the text and think about what it means in a more critical manner. I usually start these books somewhere between 2nd and 3rd grade depending on the child. I do NOT get the teacher’s guide for these book as they’re fairly self-explanatory in each lesson.

 

Handwriting:(Note: I do not purchase teacher manuals for handwriting. I’ve found they’re really not necessary and a good place to save money!)

  • BJU Handwriting 3: I like the BJU Press handwriting workbooks. They have a variety of activities students do each day to practice handwriting skills. There are some references to their other curriculum, but we haven’t ever had an issue with using them. I do NOT get the teacher’s manuals for this subject as I don’t think they’re essential. They do transition into cursive in this level.
  • A Reason For Handwriting Level T: These are sold by grade level and include fun and short daily handwriting worksheets. Students practice copying and re-writing Bible verses which is nice for memorization as well. I did find that they’re too repetitive, so after doing these for 1 year we moved onto BJU Handwriting just for a change. However I will say that I like the level T transition booklet. This level starts out with manuscript and moves into cursive mid-year.
  • Note: I usually stick with manuscript until 2nd or 3rd grade depending on my student’s readiness. I find that their fine motor skills are more developed and cursive is easier to learn around 3rd grade. But you’ll want to do whatever works best for your child.

 

Spelling:

  • Spelling You See C or D:  I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this curriculum. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only does it take some of the teaching time off of me, but it seems to be fun for my kids and it is working well. This curriculum is not your standard memorization of words and rules. There is a reading passage each day and students mark particular items in the passage. Then they copy  the passage down on the following page. The repetition of seeing the words along with writing them has really helped quite a bit in my children’s spelling. I also love that in the books they learn a variety of information in the passages. Each grade level has a different theme so students learn the information as they’re copying the passages. I recommend level C or D for your 3rd grader. I don’t usually use the TM for this grade.
  • All About Spelling Level 3: I love AAS for  phonics rules memorization. I think they do a great job really drilling the phonics, as well as teaching sight words, and giving spelling words to work on each week. One thing that you should note with this curriculum is that it’s teacher led, and we spent about 15-20 minutes each day working on our lessons. The books come with about 26-30 lessons for each level, and so I split the lessons into two parts. We do the new teaching one day, then the word writing and practice the following day. they use letter tiles to help students spell words which helps with really seeing and sounding out each sound, popular vowel teams, and consonant teams. Another thing we did to make this curriculum more fun was to use our iPad chalkboard app to write words, we also stamp the words, and I created a “Word Jail” bulletin board on our wall where we added all of the phonics rule breakers (sight words). We reviewed these often and it was really easy to do since they were all in one place! Note: I DO purchase teacher manual’s for AAS as the lessons are only in the TM!

 

English/Grammar:

  • BJU Press English 3: I typically stay with Abeka language until 3rd grade. The primary reason is that I’m not fond of how BJU Press teaches phonics, however I do like their English curriculum. So starting in 3rd grade (when BJU stops phonics lessons) I move to BJU for English. I prefer the teacher’s manuals because I think their easier to follow. I also like that there is an answer key included in the BJU TM and so that makes it easier for me to teach it as well. I also like the format and speed of BJU as opposed to Abeka. BJU covers basic grammar, sentence structure, and writing practice. It also moves a bit faster than Abeka introducing nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns.
  • Abeka Letters & Sounds 3 and Language 3  If you like Abeka and want to stick with it, this is a good option for language and grammar. It covers basic grammar and and sentence structure along with nouns, verbs, and adjectives. I do have the teacher’s manual for the workbooks, but I think for 3rd  grade you could probably get away without it and just teach off of the worksheets.

 

Reading:

  • All About Reading Level 3: This is a great hands-on curriculum for younger readers. Not only does it cover daily phonics lessons for second grade, but the readers are super cute and my kids have all loved them. They also include a student activity book with hands-on games and worksheets for your lessons as well.
  • Abeka 3 readers. I suggest looking for the readers on eBay or Homeschool Classifieds, you can often find them at a great price used! We do have the reading curriculum TM which includes comprehension questions for older grades. The younger grades have the questions right in their books so you don’t really need a TM for them. You can just have your student read at their own pace through the books. These books do correlate directly to the phonics lessons in grade 3, so it might be helpful to use them together, but it’s not necessary.
  • NOTE: I get a LOT of questions about which one we use and why. Honestly I love both of these options for reading. I have typically stuck with Abeka simply because we had all of the readers and I’ve taught it so many times that I’m well familiar with it, so it’s just an easier option for me. I do however pull out the AAR readers during reading time as well because my kiddos prefer the AAR stories to the Abeka ones.

 

Math:

  • Math U See Gamma: We have used Math U See for all of our kiddos for years. We have tried a couple of other math programs, but ended up going back to MUS because it’s just a much better fit for us. I like that it comes with DVD lessons, so I don’t have to teach them.  I simply facilitate their work during the week, and help out when they have questions. Even though the skills are taught in a different order than traditional math where kids do a little bit of everything each day, I find that the MUS philosophy of mastering one skill before moving on to the next has worked well for our kids. Gamma level covers single and multiple digit multiplication to mastery.
  • Optional: While we use MUS I also like to add in some math drill worksheets randomly just to help with memorization of math facts. MUS has printable worksheets that you can use and there are a ton of free online worksheet generators, I like math-aids.com, you can print customizable worksheets to work on your students weak areas. This is totally optional and I only do it maybe twice a week or so just for extra practice.

 

History:

  • Road Trip USA: Road Trip is a year long USA Geography/History curriculum. It is geared towards elementary students around grades 1-6. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the wild west, you’ll uncover all the secrets this Nation has to offer! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of all 50 states, including state symbols, U.S. Presidents, famous people, landmarks, historical events, and much more! Students will also learn about animals from each state, their habitats, and other interesting facts. We did use this as our science for the year as well.
  • Abeka History 3:This is more of a read and discuss type curriculum. There aren’t many hands-on activities included. However they are easy and short daily lessons and can be purchased by grade level. One thing I like about this curriculum is that the reading assignments are really appropriate for each grade level and so I didn’t feel like I was teaching above my students understanding. Since I have 4 children, the youngest didn’t participate with us, but the older three did. I chose grade 4 to use with my 2nd, 4th, and 5th grader and it worked well. I did not make my 2nd grader take the tests, but she was capable of listening and discussing things with us.
  • Time Traveler Units: I used these units as a fun supplement to go along with our Abeka history. They include hands-on projects, and lapbooking type activities that helped to make the Abeka more engaging. Although they’re listed as a full curriculum, and we enjoyed it, I did find that it wasn’t quite as thorough as I would have liked. There is a 1-2 page reading passage for each lesson followed by several activities. I love the activities included, but did find that some of them were a bit confusing or difficult for my children to complete after reading just a small piece of information. If we use these again, we will definitely add them in with Abeka or something a little more thorough.
  • Evan-Moor History Pockets: These are a great way to include some more hands on activities with your students. They aren’t really a full stand-alone curriculum. However, they were an excellent addition to our Abeka unit as well. The books come in a variety of topics and have one short lesson followed by a lapbooking type activity for each reading passage. I felt that they were a nice addition to our curriculum. And they weren’t very time consuming. The only preparation work required for you is to make copies for your kiddos.

 

Literature:

  • Classical Literature Units: I love including some classical literature in our day. These units are great for younger readers and encourage them to start reading longer chapter books that are both fun as well as educational. If you have multiple grades you’re teaching you can do these as a group read-a-loud, then have students complete the lapbook and comprehension questions individually. If your student is ready to read them independently you can have them do them on their own. Each unit includes vocabulary words, comprehension questions, activities where appropriate, and a lapbook project. If my child is reading well at grade 3, we’ll often skip a formal reading curriculum (see above) and go through my literature units instead. I find that they’re more enjoyable reading, and my kids still get great practice and challenge reading the classics.

 

*Music:

  • World’s Greatest Composers Vo.l 1 OR World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 2: These units are a great way to learn about some of our world’s most famous musicians. You will learn a ton about the work of each musician and become well familiar with their style and works. Students will also learn to discuss the music in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for the art in general. they will complete listening studies each day that include an accompanying project. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, musician fact cards, and listening assignments that correlate with each artist.
  • Music lessons: 3rd grade is the year I’ll usually start more formal music lessons if they’re interested. We’ve done Teach Yourself Piano, private lessons, guitar, etc.  I will say that the Teach Yourself Piano is a great starting point, but if you want to progress you’ll want to move onto private lessons  at some point. The lessons are short, and students learn songs right away which is a nice motivator. They do label your keyboard with number stickers then later on letters which help students learn.

 

Science:

  • Expedition Earth Geography/Science Curriculum: We are going through this curriculum again for our 2nd time and it’s still so much fun! Its definitely my kids favorite part of our week. The lessons are engaging, informative, and hands-on. It’s also great for use with multiple grades together. It includes quizzes, reports, and tests for older kids along. We’ll walk along on the Great Wall of China, wander through the Amazon Rainforest, and climb the Egyptian Pyramids! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of 31 countries across the globe. You’ll get hands-on with fun activities, crafts, recipes and more! So grab your passports, and get ready to go!
  • World’s Greatest Scientists: These are super fun units where students can learn all about 7 of our world’s greatest scientists. Each study includes fun hands-on activities to go along with the unit to help students remember what they’ve learned, and also provide them with a fun reference too to review and recall each person they’ve learned about. The lessons also include book reports, vocabulary, character traits of these important figures, and critical thinking skills.
  • Abeka Science 3: Abeka science is also a good option if you’re looking for easy short lessons with not much fuss on your part. There are a few experiments included, though the curriculum as a whole is not that hands on. Lessons are short and to the point, and you really don’t need much prep work. It does cover an overview of a variety of topics in one year which is nice, and like I said it’s fairly easy with little prep work for you. I usually get the TM, student text, and any accompanying flashcards, quizzes, and activity sheets. You can often find Abeka used, so check used sites before buying new!
  • ROBOTICS: LEGO Education I recommend starting with the Simple Mechanisms set. We did this as a co-op with some other families, but you could also do it at home. Each set is intended for 2 students to share. There are activity lesson plans you can purchase and then the students use the kits to learn all about a variety of robotics related topics. They build various models, test them, then modify their creations to get a variety of desired results. While this was an optional subject, I really wanted to list it here because I think the lessons were really cool, fun, and valuable in encouraging critical and logical thinking skills, as well as creativity and teamwork.

 

*P.E.:

  • Family Time Fitness: This is a great program if you are looking for more structure for PE at home. It includes daily lessons along with video tutorials for any activities you’re unfamiliar with. There are no special products required to complete the lessons most can be done inside or out depending on your whether with little props.
  • If you don’t want something formal, I would just plan in some outdoor free play time into your daily homeschool schedule. Go for a walk, head to the park, take a bike ride, play ball or Frisbee, etc. Just make it fun, and be diligent to get your kiddos out and active each day!

 

*Typing:

  • Typing Web (free online typing program): We’ve been using Typing Web for a few years now and I find that it’s a great way to improve typing skills. One thing I’ve found that helps is doing typing on a daily basis. So we’ve scheduled it for 10 minutes per day 5 days per week. The best part is that the lessons are free. You just sign up as a parent account and then add your students under your account. NOTE: I usually require my kids to start typing in 3rd grade, but I wanted to include it in this list just in case you were looking to start earlier.

 

Vocabulary:

  • Vocabulary Workshop Grade 3: I’ve found vocabulary workshop to be decent as far as vocabulary goes. It’s basically a workbook with a reading selection, word lists, and then worksheets using the vocabulary presented in the reading portion. It’s not very exciting, but seems to work well.
  • Wordbuild Online: This is a new online program that we recently tried out. My son loved that it was computer based, as he really doesn’t love to have to do worksheets. I found it a little on the easy side, but overall I liked it. The lessons are fairly short so they only take about 10-15 minutes per day. You can go back and check their scores on each section, but I haven’t found out how to repeat a lesson if they needed to. I can tell you that my son who is not fond of more worksheets LOVES the online curriculum option.

Writing:

  • Institute for Excellence in Writing: While BJU English does have writing included I’ve found that my son was struggling with it. I’ve since started IEW writing in lieu of the BJU writing program. We only do the non-writing chapters in BJU when scheduling. IEW has DVD based lessons, then assignments that correlate with the video lessons. I really like that I don’t have to teach this particular subject, but instead I can just facilitate the homework. We all watch the video together, then my students complete the assignments as directed. I really like the teaching method they use and thing that the check lists have really helped my children learn how to write interesting and properly formatted paragraphs. We started with Student Writing Intensive Level A and have continued on with IEW Continuation Group A this past year.
  • WriteShop: Another favorite writing curriculum of mine is the WriteShop program. I find that it really does a great job of leading students through the writing process. Lessons are taught by the parent, and you work together with your student work together to help come up with fun and engaging stories. The lessons also include fun games and activities to help make writing a more positive experience. I highly recommend this program for anyone who has a student who is either struggling or simply doesn’t like writing all together.

Final Advice for third grade:

When preparing your curriculum for third grade I think the best advice I can give you is to keep it fun and engaging. Also keep track of your student’s workload using a sample schedule to chart how long each subject will take before buying curriculum at this stage. 3rd grade workloads usually increase quite a bit from 2nd grade, and so the transition can be difficult if you add in too many subjects each day.

I also like to choose elective curriculum that is more hands-on and engaging. They will have a heavier work load and I think incorporating hands-on activities can help keep school more fun.

Continue teaching them how to work diligently and more independently where appropriate. I like using the workbox system to help my students learn to complete tasks more independently. Here’s a video on our workboxes and how we use them in our school!

I hope this has helped you in planning your homeschool curriculum for first grade! Make sure to check out our other top homeschool curriculum picks here!

Also, stop by the COAH Community  to see what others use for 3rd grade too! Have questions? Start your own discussion!

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage if you purchase through my link. That said, please know that I do NOT recommend anything unless we like and use it!!

9 Comments

  • Tiffany May 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

    WOW! Thank for covering each subject so in-depth. You have some great ideas.
    We have always used the free spelling program GradeSpelling.com but I think we will be trying Spelling You See this year.
    We also love using FreeRice.com for vocabulary. It’s quick and easy! The kids love that they can earn rice for countries in need, while doing their schoolwork. While it’s not a complete curriculum, it’s something fun they can do when they have a few extra minutes.
    It’s that time of year again, so I guess I better get to work on next year’s picks, too! 🙂
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  • Amber May 2, 2016 at 11:04 am

    You can use both AAS and Spelling you see without a TM? Do you think Spelling you see could be used as a handwriting for the 1st-3rd grade?

    Reply
    • Meghan May 3, 2016 at 6:48 am

      You must have the TM for All About Spelling. It doesn’t come with a workbook. Just the TM, word cards, and letter tiles. We have used it several years and love the program. It is non consumable and holds its resale value. It can definitely be used as handwriting as long as you can help instruct how to form letters that the child may struggle with. For the first 2 years as homeschoolers we used it with my son, who is autistic, for handwriting and grammar lessons. After writing the sentences used for dictation, I would talk to him about punctuation and capitalization. As we moved on I would have him highlight the nouns, then verbs, etc. It worked well for him. It saved me money, and dealt with the issues he had at the time. As the levels progress the amount of dictation increases, and you can do as much or as little as you deem necessary.

      Reply
      • Amber May 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

        Thank you Meghan! And thanks for the the grammar suggestion, that is an ideal idea for my son.

        Reply
    • erica May 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Sorry, thanks for the correction Meghan! YES I DO PURCHASE THE TM for All About Spelling, you can’t do the lessons without it! I do NOT purchase TM for SYS or BJU Spelling if you use that one.

      Reply
  • Rose May 15, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Erica,

    Did you purchase/use the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style before you use IEW with your kids? I read the comments that it seems to be very important to learn it yourself to maximize the benefit of learning for the kids. Would you agree? Thank you!

    Reply
    • erica May 16, 2016 at 9:58 am

      No, we’ve just gone through the Student Writing Intensives. I’m sure it helps to go through that first, but with the DVD lessons, I don’t feel like I’ve had a hard time following along. And each lesson has a checklist and grading sheet that tells you exactly what to look for, and how to grade student work. So it’s worked well for me without the Structure and Style course.

      Reply
  • Andrea August 2, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    My son is starting 4th grade this year and we’re doing almost everything with Abeka. This is our second year HS and still working on “catching him up” from many years of the public school system education. He STRUGGLES with writing. It’s like pulling teeth getting him to write a simple story about anything!! I am really wanting to try IEW with him.. My question is, can I make IEW work along side Abeka’s Language Arts program? Or should I choose one over another…?

    Reply
    • erica August 8, 2016 at 11:34 am

      IEW is a writing program, not a language/grammar program really. So you would want to use a grammar program along with the IEW writing. I’ve used Abeka as well as BJU Press. This year we’re trying IEW Fix It grammar.

      Reply

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