Third Grade: The Child and the Curriculum
The third grade year is a time of transition; the children have moved out of innocence and into the age of self-consciousness. They gradually awaken to the difference between self and the surrounding world and develop more awareness of their own inner worlds. The nine year old, becoming aware that he or she is forever leaving the world of early childhood, suffers a sense of irretrievable loss, often with the feelings of insecurity, separation and even isolation. Frequently, this can be a dramatic, even traumatic, process for both the child and the adults around him. The experience of loss is akin to the fall from paradise and is addressed on a soul level by the study of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Movement, speech and listening are the basis for skill development in writing and reading. Throughout the year, the children hear Old Testament stories which depict the journey of the Hebrew people as they move towards redemption and freedom, exploring their experiences of human strivings, struggles and triumphs along the way. These stories are retold, reenacted, drawn, painted, sculpted and written as compositions. Language arts branch out from oral language into the four interrelated areas of reading, writing, grammar and spelling. Reading moves from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”
In mathematics, the concepts of carrying and borrowing are solidified and put to work in all four processes. Students continue with memorization of the times tables and math facts relying less on strong, rhythmic repetition and more on recalling the tables automatically and randomly. Linear, solid, and liquid measurements are introduced and practiced in conjunction with the house building and local geography/home environment curriculum. The concepts of time and currency are also explored. Long multiplication becomes a focus later in the year and simple long division may be introduced.
The social studies curriculum centers on the theme “Living on the Earth.” The children have left paradise behind them where they lived off the fruits of the land without taking notice of the work involved. The students’ will forces are tested with practical work in the farming and house building blocks helping them feel capable and at home on the earth. By physically encountering the earth, the children gain knowledge beyond that learned in books, awakening feeling for and connections to nature that leads to responsible stewardship of the earth. As much as possible, children have direct, hands-on experience in the endeavors of home and hearth chores, traditional trades in working the earth, house and shelter building, and other typical occupations. Other creation stories, e.g. Native American, build a holistic image of the origin of the earth and the role that plants, animals and man serve on it.
Grade 3 Morning Lesson Blocks: Stories of the Hebrew People, Hebrew Celebrations, Basic Parts of Speech, Introduction to Spelling, Shelters, Farming, Time, Measurement, Money, continue Four Processes & Place Value, Grammar, Class Play
Grade 3 Trip: Farm Overnight
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