Are you trying to figure out how to homeschool your third grader when you’re stuck at home due to school cancellations?
I’m here to help!
Do you suddenly find your third grader at home due to school cancellations?
Currently my five oldest kids are home due to (indefinite) school closings.
I’m a former teacher myself, but I never planned to homeschool.
Yet … here we are!
Here are some tips for teaching your third grader at home.
*Heads up: Most of my resources for third graders are inside my affordable online membership site, but I’ll only include free resources in this post.
How to teach your third grader
If you have assigned work from the teacher …
If you already know what your child needs to do – and you just need to do it – here are some tips:
- Keep your regular waking up/going to bed routine.
- After your child has breakfast, move into “school time” as soon as possible.
- Start with the work that requires the most patience from you and your child. Get that out of the way while you’re both fresh.
- Recognize that homeschooling your third grader may take just 3-4 hours a day (probably less), and that’s perfectly fine. You are not failing your child if your school day is fast. Remember that much of a third grade teacher’s day involves managing a large group (I speak from experience here).
If you don’t have a lot of guidance from the school (or want to supplement) …
Review phonics skills as needed.
By this time, most children are fluent with multi-syllable words. However, here are some basic resources for one-syllable words if your child needs extra practice.
- Here’s a giant post with over 50 free printables for teaching silent e words.
- Here are some freebies for words with vowel teams.
It’s important that your child can decode longer words with ease.
- Check out these strategies for reading longer words from This Reading Mama.
- This Reading Mama has these great activities for working on prefixes and suffixes.
- Teach your child about the six syllable types. This Reading Mama has a post for that, too.
Practice sight words if necessary.
- Most third graders don’t need a lot of sight word practice, but if your child struggles be sure to ask his/her teacher for a list. Then use my free editable sight word games to type in the words you want to practice. Remember to practice just a few at a time, and always mix in words your child already knows.
Schedule time for your child to read on his/her own.
Make sure your child sits and reads for at least 20 minutes a day.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to get your hands on books right now since libraries are closed. But a great (usually for a cost, but currently FREE) resource for books to read online is Epic.
Focus on reading comprehension.
- After your child reads a book, ask about it. Use the words who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Does your child struggle to remember what s/he reads? Check out these tips.
- If you’re looking at no school for more than two weeks, teach your child reading comprehension strategies. This Reading Mama and I put together a series about these, and it’s mostly written for parents. You can do it! You don’t have to teach all of them; just pick a few to focus on. Learn more here.
Grammar concepts are becoming a big focus now, and you don’t want your child to forget what s/he has learned.
While most of my grammar printables are in the membership site, here are some freebies from mine and other sites.
- Print and refer to these parts of speech posters from This Reading Mama.
- Try these parts of speech word sorts from This Reading Mama. I love that they focus on nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
- Don’t forget to teach about pronouns (my only printables for pronouns are inside the membership).
- Third graders should know when to use capital letters, but they often don’t! This game teaches capitalization rules.
Creative writing is important, but I’ll be honest … teaching writing isn’t easy (even for experienced teachers). This is because writing isn’t easy. Teaching it isn’t supposed to be either.
Don’t give up, though!
If you’re looking at an extended homeschool situation (more than two weeks), I recommend writing with your child a few times a week; schedule 20-30 minutes each time.
- Make sure there’s an audience for the writing. Don’t have your child write just because you say so. Here are some ideas for audience:
- grandparents (share it on FaceTime or over the phone)
- another parent
- a sibling
- a friend or neighbor (email it)
- someone in a nursing home (mail it)
- Consider different genres of writing.
- a personal narrative (writing about his/her own life)
- writing a nonfiction piece about something he/she knows about, like a particular animal
- a how-to piece (how to make a sandwich, etc.)
- a letter
- a free-verse poem
- MODEL first. If you ask your child to write a letter, have him/her watch you do that first. Yes, even third graders need this. It will also help you remember that writing isn’t easy and will give you empathy when your child is stuck (which will happen, I promise).
- Writing to a prompt is okay once in a while, but it’s best to have your child come up with his or her own topics. This post will help.
- As your child writes, sit down and do your own writing. It can help your child stay on task and reminds him/her that you’re in this together.
- Don’t insist that the work is perfect. After your child completes a piece (or
complains that this is too hardwants your help), compliment your child on one positive thing in the writing. (Yes, this may be hard, but you can do it!) Then pick just one thing to focus on improving.
- It’s helpful to keep track of spellings using a personal spelling dictionary. Download a free spelling dictionary here.
- Share it! Read it to a parent or grandparent (use FaceTime or the phone if needed). Email it or snail mail it.
I could spend a whole post sharing just third grade math topics, but I’m highlighting the biggest concepts below.
Review addition and subtraction with numbers up to 1000.
Here are some sites with worksheets.
- Math Goodies
- Super Teacher Worksheets requires a fee, but it does have free printables mixed in.
Help your child memorize multiplication and division facts.
Also practice multiplying one-digit numbers by multiples of 10. Use the worksheet sites I linked above.
Teach problem solving.
I have a growing collection of problem solving activities in the membership, but nothing on the free site. I recommend checking out Math Geek Mama and asking her which freebies on her site would be good for third grade.
Work on fractions.
- Teaching the concept of fractions can be tough, but there are resources out there to help you. BrainPop usually charges a fee, but is currently free during the school closures. Request free access, and then check out the fractions videos here.
- Teach kids how to see and name fractions on a number line with this freebie from Math Geek Mama.
Teach about measurement and data.
- It’s hard to find free resources for interpreting data (I have a big set of graph worksheets inside the membership, but not the free site). Try searching on Pinterest.
- Focus on area and perimeter.
Social Studies and Science
These concepts are important, but your child is not going to be forever behind in school if don’t teach them for a few weeks (or even months) in third grade.
Watch a few YouTube videos and have conversations with your child about the world. It’s okay if you don’t spend much time on these.
How should you fill the rest of the day?
Those are the academic skills I recommend working on, but you have a whole day ahead of you. What else should you do?
- Read, read, read to your child. Do this as often as possible – for as long as both you and your child are enjoying it. Yes, even kids who can read on their own should be read to. Here are some book ideas for family read alouds.
- Get moving. If possible, send your child outside. As often as possible.
- Pull out things that will keep your child busy.
- Do simple art projects. My favorite site for easy, fun crafts to do at home is I Heart Crafty Things. Have fun browsing her site! I also recommend creating small cards/crafts that you can mail to family and friends.
- If you can, FaceTime grandparents and other relatives.
- Cook together. Here are a bunch of fun ideas.
- Do simple science projects, like these.
- Find some free drawing tutorials on YouTube. We absolutely love Art for Kids Hub and use it all the time. Check out the channel here.
- Give them screen time. Yes, I said it. I recommend planning this for specific times in the day – as late in the day as possible so you save it for when you really need it. Here’s a list of free education sites for kids.
I hope this helps as you plan for several weeks at home. Please feel free to reach out to me through my email: anna(at)themeasuredmom(dot)com.
My inbox is bursting these days, but I do my best to answer every message.
Hugs to you!
Check out the full series here