Third Grade: Week Seventeen Wrap-Up

We’re still chugging along with our school work. Have I mentioned how much we’re loving Adventures in My Father’s World? Turkey and Bunny really look forward to the daily activities, way more than they did with Sonlight. I think they really need worksheets and activities to round out their school experience!

We’re working really hard on grammar right now. In addition to using Primary Language Lessons, as recommended by My Father’s World, I also bought a workbook–English Grade 3. This gives us an opportunity to really practice what we’re learning, and helps me make sure we’re not missing anything. I made some flashcards to go along with the lessons,¬†particularly¬†for the parts of speech. Ever since prepositions were introduced in Latin last year, Turkey and Bunny have had some kind of mental block as what they actually are. So we review that almost daily, and I think it’s just about drilled into their heads. We’ve just started working on subject/predicate, which is a big part of the back half of the book, and so far, that’s been going well.

In this week’s post, I want to focus a bit on supplementing. I know many homeschoolers, like myself, use a “boxed curriculum,” so that they have everything they need, and don’t need to worry about having gaps in their materials. But even with a boxed curriculum, supplementing, either to the subject, or the child’s particular interest, can be very beneficial.

This week, I’ve supplemented in two ways, (three, if you count adding some of my own selections to the My Father’s World book basket). First of all, I was able to use ideas from the children’s worship folder my children received in church last Sunday to supplement our religious instruction. This year, our daily religion usually consists of reading through at least one part of Luther’s Small Catechism, reading from the Treasury of Daily Prayer, (if not the Bible readings, at least the biographies for any commemorations/feasts/festivals that may be taking place), and reading through Concordia’s Complete Bible Handbook for Students, (with which Turkey and Bunny are completely fascinated!). So, no workbooks this year, and also not many crafts. So, when Turkey pointed out a project making a shield with the Word and Sacraments on it that was meant to be completed over several days, I figured it would be a great addition to our religion lessons for the week. It was fun to do, didn’t take too much time, and fit in nicely with the things we’re already doing.

Another thing I’ve been using to supplement this year, in light of the focus on the 50 states in Adventures in My Father’s World, is the Which Way USA club offered by Highlights magazine. Every six weeks or so, we receive two different state puzzle books, along with state maps. These books have all kinds of puzzles–word searches, crosswords, hidden pictures, math puzzles, etc. And in solving each puzzle, the child learns some interesting facts about whatever state the book is about, and completes part of the final puzzles in the book. Is this a necessary supplement? Of course not! It’s mostly for fun. But, I think the wide variety of puzzles are good for Turkey and Bunny’s brains, and helping them think in different ways, and they’re also learning weird facts while they’re having fun. I think this is one of the best “extras” I’ve bought for our homeschool, and the price is reasonable, especially given how much use we’re getting out of it. I’m thinking we may try Top Secret Adventures when we’re done with all 50 states!

There are lots of different ways to supplement your regular homeschool materials. It can be as simple as adding some different, extra books for quiet reading time, finding craft projects, going on extra field trips, or getting a subscription to something, whether a magazine or puzzle club. Supplementing doesn’t have to be expensive, either–there are plenty of free ideas available online. But, however you get it, extra enrichment is always a good thing, so look into adding something extra to your school, even if it’s something you only do one day a week!

Using “I Love Lucy” in School

I have used this I Love Lucy clip in school twice since Christmas. The first time was when we were reviewing the different sounds “ough” makes in Language Arts; the second was when learning about vowel sounds in Latin, and how they always make the same sound (just as Ricky points out is true in Spanish).

I’ve always known I’d use this in school–it was just a matter of waiting for the right time. Turkey and Bunny loved it because it’s so funny, but they also understood the point I was trying to make. How great is it when you can successfully use I Love Lucy in school?!?

Beginning Latin

We have wrapped up our first five weeks of Latin using Prima Latina.

I think this is one of the most fun and interesting things we’ve done in school yet, and the children, especially Turkey, seem to agree with that assessment. From a teacher’s standpoint, I can say that they’ve learned more grammar and vocabulary in these five weeks than they have all school year…and maybe in school, period. Given that grammar is one of the things I feel our current curriculum is weak in, I’m grateful to have some instruction and reinforcement, even if I was surprised that came via (look–one of first vocabulary words!) a foreign language, and a dead one at that.

I have now witnessed first hand how true it is that young minds are more receptive to learning a foreign language than adult minds. Turkey and Bunny barely need to see a word and its translation more than once, and they have it memorized–not so much true for me. And over the course of five weeks, they have memorized the whole Sanctus in Latin. I’m still peeking at the words in the teacher’s manual, and they’re saying it rather confidently. They also don’t have the hang-ups about pronunciation that I do. After dealing with English for such a long time, it’s very difficult for me to train myself that vowels are always pronounced one way in Latin, but I guess since they’ve had less time to get used to the oddities of our language, they don’t struggle as much with that as I do.

I think learning other languages is very important (and the lack of that instruction is part of what makes American schools inferior to those in Europe and elsewhere), and Latin is a great place to start. So much of our grammar and vocabulary comes from Latin that even when we’re learning a foreign language, we’re reinforcing our own Language Arts as well. And a foundation in Latin should also make learning some languages much easier for them in the future.

I know there are other Latin curriculum out there, and I’ve heard good things about them, but I really like Prima Latina, and am planning on continuing with Latina Christiana I next year. I’ve never actually studied Latin as a language, and I’ve found that the teacher’s guide is very helpful, and doesn’t require that the instructor be familiar with the language. There are CDs available with the pronunciations that might help me with my mental block regarding them, but I’ve also heard that the Southern accent on the speaker is almost unbearable, so I’m no hurry to go out and buy them. There are also flashcards available, which I may look into getting in the future, but for now, I’m making my own (and hoping my children can read my handwriting!).

The only problem I’ve really had with the program is that when I scheduled it, I included the review “lesson” at the end of the week it immediately follows–I should have provided a full week for each review lesson, as they’re quite in-depth and lengthy. It’s too late to change that now, though, as I’ve scheduled it through the end of the year. That’s my fault, and I know for next year (as long the program is set up in a similar fashion) to reserve those extra weeks–even with the review lessons added, there are fewer weeks of Latin then there are of our school year.

I also really like that the program approaches Latin from a liturgical perspective. Turkey and Bunny have both whispered to me in church that they’ve noticed Latin words in the hymnal/service, (and they’ve also greeted their Sunday school teacher in Latin). It’s exciting to see them making connections from what they’re learning in school to an important part of their everyday life. It may be a “dead language,” but it still has a wealth of practical application for us today!