What third grade looks like at our house (version Pete.0)

Mabel's Labels GiveawayBefore we get into this curriculum talk, I need to tell you this: Mabel’s Labels has given me an Ultimate Back to School Combo to give away. And I want you to win it. So at the end of this post, you need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s and drop your name into this giveaway. I have been labeling everything since I bought a set of labels from Mabel when the kids went to camp. And the things that have gone off on playdates and to soccer practice and everywhere else have actually made it back home. It’s magical.

… and now back to our regularly scheduled programming …

Somewhere along the line we’ve dropped into a wormhole and accelerated through time and space, because my calendar is telling me that this wee, bee-driving gent


will be in the third grade when we start school in a few weeks.

While Poppy was somewhat interested in going to school this year, Pete has zero interest in such a thing. He enjoys doing his schoolwork on his schedule, which generally means getting it out of the way early and leaving the rest of his day to spend as he pleases. Here’s what he’ll be rushing to complete this year:

Social Studies

We’ll all be listening to Story of the World: Volume 4 together as we drive around to various activities. Hopefully we’ll do some of the projects this year, too. Pete will also continue working through the “Map Skills” book he started last year. It’s a book of worksheets on cardinal directions, map reading and state facts.


Pete should finish McRuffy Math 3 by the end of 2016, and he’ll start the fourth level of the program after that.

Language Arts

I’m hoping to get the next level of Michael Clay Thompson’s grammar curriculum this year, but it’s pretty expensive so I’m still not sure it’ll happen. Pete will continue doing the WordlyWise 3000 vocabulary program. And for spelling…

Spelling has been an ongoing challenge for Pete and I, and this year we’re going to try to remove the potential for Mama & Pete conflict from the equation. Pete will have a couple of lessons each week with a tutor.


Poppy is taking an Earth Science course elsewhere this year, and I thought it would be nice if Pete was working on the same subject at home since we’ll be doing some experiments when she’s home. We’ll be using “Classic Science: Elementary Earth Science” from Mr. Q’s. The texts are ebooks. I loaded Pete’s copy onto the family iPad and the teacher copy onto my Kindle, and I’m going to have all of the worksheets, lab reports and tests printed and bound. That’s going to cost about $30, but it’ll be good to have them all in one place and not be at the mercy of my printer.

Art & Music

Pete is still taking guitar lessons, and I’m thinking about having him do Kahn Academy’s art history lessons for art.


Pete is a green belt in tae kwon do now, and he’s going to be starting a chess class in the fall.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just like Mabel’s Labels a lot, and they asked if I wanted to give away a set of labels.

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What sixth grade looks like at our house

Way back when Poppy started kindergarten, I couldn’t believe she was already 5 years old. Now she’s about to turn 11, and the more things change the more things stay the same because when we start school in a few weeks she’ll be a middle schooler and I am once again in awe at how quickly the years go by.

Poppy was interested in trying public school out this year, but I was hesitant to drop my always-homeschooled kid into a 700-student middle school. We put her name in the hat for a couple of charter schools, but she didn’t get in to either of them. She was perfectly fine with that. She’s still going to get a very small going-to-school experience this year, though, as we’ve signed her up to spend three hours every week taking classes at a place downtown.

Social Studies
  • Poppy and Pete will be doing Story of the World: Volume 4 together. Last year I bought the audiobook, and the kids enjoyed listening to it in the car on the way to co-op. We’ll do the same this year. I’m sure I’ll also lament the number of hands-on projects that we actually do this year, too.
  • One of Poppy’s outsourced classes is Civilization and Culture. They’re going to spend the first semester focused on Community and Recreation — the description says they’ll talk about things like the Library of Alexandria and how baseball was invented. It sounds like it’ll be a fun class.
  • I bought the kids a couple of ginormous “Map Skills” workbooks last year. We’ll continue working through a couple of those each week.


    Poppy will be finishing up McRuffy Math 5 for the first part of the school year, and I’m not sure what she’s going to do after that because there is no McRuffy Math 6. I’ve looked at more traditional programs (Horizons, the web-based Monarch curriculum) as well as more fanciful options (Beast Academy, “Life of Fred”), but I haven’t settled on anything yet. The good news is that I have a few months to continue mulling it over.

    Language Arts

  • I’m still trying to get myself to pull the trigger on the next level of Michael Clay Thompson books. The kids enjoyed them and they retained a lot of information, but it’s a very expensive curriculum.
  • Poppy will most likely do a few Reed Novel Studies books again this year. She doesn’t love it, but they help her to slow down and pay attention to what she’s reading.
  • We’re outsourcing Poppy’s writing this year with an Institute for Excellence in Writing class. It looks like she’ll have a good bit of homework from this one, which will be a new experience for both of us.


    Poppy’s other outsourced class this year is Earth Science.

    Art & Music

    The piano lessons shall continue. For art, I’m thinking about using Kahn Academy’s art history lessons.


    Poppy is going into the school year as a red belt, and she’s aiming to test for her next belt before 2017. She’s playing soccer again this year, too, and the league she’s playing in this year includes a few tournaments and away games.

  • Please send me your secrets for making perfect fried squash


    It turns out that I haven’t been Living My Best Life this month. Sorry Oprah. Between the summer cold and the dual-eyed conjunctivitis and watching too much of the Republican National Convention and the poison ivy that keeps spreading all over my person and the water leaking through the roof and into the microwave, I just haven’t been able to take my glory and run.

    I have, however, made rather nice pickles and terrible fried squash and delicious zucchini muffins using produce from our garden. I’ve listened to “Hamilton” a time or two (or twelve). I’ve ordered most of the children’s curriculum for this school year. I’ve captured a number of Pokemon.

    So things are not all gloom and doom. August is on the horizon, as are tacos. Here’s what we’ll be dining on this week:

    Monday: Shake ‘n’ Bake Chicken
    We had a box of Shake ‘n’ Bake conveniently placed next to a box of mac ‘n’ cheese in the cupboard. Rockford, who made this week’s menu plan, though they’d make a fine pairing for this evening’s dinner.

    Tuesday: Spaghetti
    Poppy requested spaghetti last week, and then she ended up having dinner with a friend on spaghetti night. So here, again, is spaghetti.

    Wednesday: Tacos
    We are fond of taco night.

    Thursday: Chicken masala
    Rockford planned Poppyseed Chicken for Thursday night, but I had to veto that because it isn’t the appropriate season for Poppyseed Chicken.

    Friday: Pizza
    I have had a hankering for the meatball pizza from the pizzeria down the road. It’s pricier than Domino’s, but it’s also local and better. I think we’ll splurge this week.

    What’s the most memorable thing you’ve done this summer?