Friday, July 27, 2007

Review: CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006)

Review: CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006)

Do you remember third grade? I do – the field trips, the reading everything on which I could get my hands, the multiplication tables and pride when I had done all the way from zero to 12. Third grade is a marvelous year – independent learning starts and reading really takes off. Critical thinking, composition and communication skills broaden and strengthen. But, how does a home school parent ensure creating an environment that allows for these skills to grow, that encourages independence while nurturing?

Theresa Johnson’s CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006) may just be the answer! Johnson encourages the parent to allow the third grader to keep his own study chart while the parent monitors progress. The third grader is given a list of weekly tasks in all subject areas, including some suggested wonderful books to read for pleasure, and the parent can adjust as necessary. In CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade, you get all the subjects covered: math, reading, spelling, grammar, religion, science, social studies, handwriting and the fine arts. Each subject is laid out for each for the entire school year, with a different presentation for the independent learner and a more-detailed plan for the parents.

One of my favorite parts of any of the CHC Lesson Plans is the supplemental material that CHC provides in addition to the actual lesson plans. CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006) includes many extras such as the age-appropriate and curriculum tie-in “Memory Gems” –short quotes or poems that the student can memorize, recite or copy into her own journal. Longer poems or quotes are also suggested and included in the plans.

Usually, third graders are becoming more fluent with their reading – to encourage this, CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006) includes not only a wonderful age- and topic-appropriate reading list, but also some fantastic suggestions for creative book reports including creating movable dioramas, writing newspaper articles based on “interviewing” a book’s main character, scripting of a pivotal scene from the book and other ideas. There is also a section for the reader to keep track of the different genres read throughout the year – adventure stories, folk tales, lives of the saints, and others. This is a great way for kids to expand their reading and taste-test some different types of books.

Because CHC is a Catholic publisher, there is always a wonderful religion program included in their lesson plans. In CHC Lesson Plans: Third Grade (revised 2006), there is an amazing and creative rosary project titled, “At the Feet of Mary”. Notebooking pages, beautifully illustrated with original sketches, are also included.

For Social Studies, CHC has created a “Tour a Country: Learning About Other Lands and Peoples” project for the student to work on throughout the year. Basically, the student “travels” to a different country each month and completes notebooking pages and activities to “own” the information he learns about each country and its inhabitants. Reproducible pages make this a keepsake project for your world traveler!

The final extra in this lesson plan is a packet of suggested “Catholic Math Activities”. These are great ideas for living math, but the Catholic aspect can be a bit of a stretch. But this doesn’t reduce the value of these ideas – many different and creative ways for the third grader to embrace math as a fun and exciting subject, not just memorization of math facts.

Overall, I like the CHC plans the best of most of those on the market that I’ve reviewed. I don’t follow them slavishly but adjust as I see fit for my children. I can’t wait to “do” 3rd grade this year with my son, thanks to CHC’s lesson plans! By the way, most of the resources suggested in the lesson plans are also available from CHC's web site -- I LOVE one-stop shopping!

Mary G. 7/27/07

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