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Topic: Extra curriculum for a 3rd grader

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Subject: Extra curriculum for a 3rd grader
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2009
Posts: 784
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My brother and his family will be moving in a couple months to a new city, thus a new school district. My niece is in 3rd grade right now, and struggling just a little bit. They will be moving from a school district where what they would consider excelling would be expected abilities in the new school district, if that makes sense. My brother has asked me to work with her, to try and better prepare her so she's not even further behind when she switches schools. He's asked me because I always did better in school than he did, it came naturally to me, and I have experience tutoring, but with high school students.

So, I wanted to ask how I should go about doing this. I have no idea where to start, and what resources I have available to me.

Subject: hmm...
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2007
Posts: 308
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Are you looking to homeschool?  Or just looking for supplemental material?

You might want to head over to a local educational store and spend some time browsing the shelves.  Also, places like Barnes & N. and Staples have some workbooks.

You literally have thousands upon thousands of resources available to you.  Maybe give us a bit more direction as to what you are looking for or your goals with her and we might be able to direct you better. :)

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2009
Posts: 784
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Supplemental. Get her better prepared for a school system that is a bit ahead of her current one. 

I guess I need to find out where she's at right now in her subjects, find out her problem areas, and go from there.

Subject: reply
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I would give her a standardized test to see her strengths and weaknesses.  You can use the free, Texas released tests:


If you find a publisher you like, most have placement tests.  Actually, you could use the free, online tests, just to see if she has any major weaknesses or strengths.  The K12, Inc., curriculum is at least one year ahead of public schools, if not two.  When we moved to a new district, in a new state, I compared the K12 Scope & Sequence with the school district's S&S (even their "challenge" program) and K12 was two years ahead, if not more in some topics.

Here's the link to K12's Math & Language Arts placement tests.  Just ignore when it says to submit them...that's for virtual schools.  Just print the tests off on paper and then score them.


There's a new, just announced, free curriculum site, that will be Kdg-8th, but right now they're Kdg-2nd.  They may roll out 3rd grade soon.  You could write and ask.  I've tried it out and it's fantastic!!!  It not only has long, 500+ page guides for each grade, but also online activities and loads of worksheets.  It's called "Head of the Class":



Another idea would be to get the Core Knowledge "What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know" books by E.D. Hirsch; they should be at your public library, and there are nearly always the older versions available here on PBS.  All Core Knowledge stuff is fantastic!  They only have lessons, and no worksheets, but with the Internet and a search engine, you could find free worksheets.  My favorite is ABC Teach.  It's only $20/year through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op (normally $40).  They have thousands of free items, but the $20 is worth it to me to have the extra stuff.


Core Knowledge:


CK "Grader" series:


ABC Teach:


Homeschool Buyers Co-op:



There are actually many great resources at HSBC.  Some of the online programs might be good for her.  She could do them at home in your absence.


There are loads and loads and loads of stuff I could talk about, since I've been HS'ing over 7 years.  :P


But these are my favorites for quick, all-encompasing learning.  Oh, and I would concentrate mostly on Math and Language Arts.  You might take a look at K12's Scope & Sequences and see if she has gaps based on that.




Have fun!  You're a great Aunt!!!  (I'm a Great Aunt because I'm "old" LOL!)



Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2009
Posts: 784
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Thanks J.C.! All of that was very helpful!

Subject: reply
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2010
Posts: 25
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If it was me, I would buy this book:  http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Bridge-Activities-3rd-Grade/dp/1594417296  They are great books to work through over the summer.  Also, once you know her problem areas the Sylvan Learning books are great and cheap as well:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sylvan+learning+workbooks

I like to get the vocabulary and reading comprehension ones to supplement with my son.  He needs extra help with his reading comprehension and well I just want him to have a good vocabulary, lol.  The biggest issues to worry about are being strong in math, reading well and reading comprehension and being able to write.  Writing Strands is also a great book and kinda fun.  You'd need writing strands level 3.  Science and history aren't as important, mostly because each year they learn the same things at this grade just getting more in-depth (as with science) and history they'll revisit it again in a year or two.  See what she likes to do and make it fun for her as much as you can.  She is just a year older than my son and he doesn't like worksheets that much which is why I just get Sylvan ones because they aren't thick books.  Just one worksheet here and there. 

He likes activities where he can move around.  To teach him nouns I explained what a noun was and gave him a pad of post-it's and he had to find as many nouns as he could.  He'd write the noun on a paper and then stick it to the object.  I'd just do dishes and when they were done we'd go find all the post-its together.  It was fun and we'd race each other or if he got a certain amount he'd get a special treat or something.  You can also roll two dice and add, subtract or multiply them together instead of just more worksheets or do the same with dominoes.  She shake it up a bit...some more hands-on mixed with the worksheets.

Subject: multiplication
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2010
Posts: 25
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I forgot all about my multiplication tip!  I know starting in second grade they start basic multiplication towards the end of the year so I'm sure they do a lot more in 3rd grade.  My son had a hard time remembering the times tables until I found Timez Attack!  There's a free version you can download or for more fun you can buy it for $40.  It's an awesome computer game.  We just use the free version and my son learned the times table really well really fast.  Way better than the leap frog twist and shout multiplication, worksheets and flashcards that I was using before.  Here is where I blogged about it: http://educationalrr.blogspot.com/