Critique our plans

Yesterday my daily Bible reading for Proverbs was
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22

Since my recent plans have been for next school year, I thought I might seek counsel here.

My son is starting 3rd grade in the fall. I am keeping the year a bit light because we are expecting in October and we have been a family of 3 until now - so I want to give us plenty of room to breathe and adjust.

Here are the plans:

Language Arts:
First Language Lessons 2
3rd grade readers from Abeka
Abeka handwriting 2
Abeka Spelling 3
A long list of books for independent reading including classics, modern lit, and nonfiction.

Rod and Staff 3
Strayer-Upton practical arithmetics book 1 (select word problems for added practice)

We have a large collection of Let’s Read and Find Out Science books. The plan is for him to choose a book, read it, do the experiment in the book if we can, and journal about it. He can get books from the library or we can find related videos if he has further interest, which he usually does.

A Child’s History of the World - he will read this independently and journal about it. I may find a timeline of some kind. We have tried and failed a few times on different timeline ideas.

Abeka our American Heritage

Many of the independent reading choices have a connection to the people profiled in the Abeka book.

Art, Music, and PE are largely accomplished around here on his own so I didn’t stress any specific plans this year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I really appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and wisdom that you can give!


I love what you are doing next year! (And congratulations on your growing family!) Who am I to critique - sounds like you are going to do wonderful things. I like your method of science - a far cry different than what we are doing, but I really like your approach.

You said you have tired and failed with different time lines. If you are not opposed to something hand crafted that doesn’t have a WOW factor, but still gets the point across and is very easy, I have an idea for you.

Grab a regular composition notebook (or spiral bound… whatever). Label the tops of each page - a certain time frame (depends on where you start your time line… my early pages were huge spans, because we were talking about prehistoric dino times, but as we go into the AD times, the pages generally span 100 years (ie - 400AD - 499AD, 500AD-599AD, etc)… then when we got to the 1900s, I did each page in increments of decades (just because we have a LOT to add to the 1900s).
ANYWAY - I digress… after you put a time heading at the top of each page, I cut out thin strips of colored construction paper the length (height) of the page - I put them all in a plastic bag attached to the back of the notebook. We keep it on our desk. When we study something in history or science that we feel is important enough for our timeline - it’s SIMPLE! We grab one of my pre cut pieces of construction paper - we label it with the year and event - then tape it onto the page it would go on.
It’s very fast, very easy and takes up next to no space. We can add to it every year if we want. (if you wanted a picture of it to better understand, I’m happy to send one to you) Anyway - just an idea!

Anyway, as I said, CONGRATS! and it looks like you’ve got a great year planned! :smile:


Thank you! I would love to see a picture. That sounds like a great idea. We’ve tried index cards and a pre-made notebook but my son is kind of a “blank page” type - I think he might be successful with a plan like what you described. Thank you!

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I’d love to see a pic of the timeline, too!!

@triton17 I’d also love to see the timeline! Can you email me a pic?

I also use A Beka for some subjects, and Strayer-Upton along with Miquon (even though Strayer-Upton is sufficient on its own), so I think your plans look wonderful. I would say to rethink about utilizing A Child’s History of the World. I had looked into it a couple of months ago, and after reading the sample pages I was displeased with the text. Aside from some minor issues, I would recommend against it because of it’s presentation of the beginning of times. It did not seem to line up with the Bible. It speaks about a long, long, long time ago between days of Creation. I stand from a 6 day Creation viewpoint, which is Biblical, and this book seems to contradict it.
On the other hand, A beka’s 3rd grade History is a lot of fun, especially if you can add a couple of crafts here and there to go along with their reading- although my daughter would simply be delighted to just do the reading and nothing else as well.
Congratulations on your new baby! May God bless you and yours.

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@michelletown @alimaree @Luvmyboys
I’m really sorry about the poor quality of this picture. As you can see, I use a spiral notebook. The heading at the top of this particular page is 1600AD-1800AD. You could totally make smaller time spans (as I said earlier, my 1900s are split up by decades due to the amount of events we’d add). The colors of the paper don’t mean anything - just random paper colors we prepared at the beginning of the year. I suppose you could color code - have one color be for US history and another be for history around the world, but we/I wanted to keep this SUPER easy, to ensure that we would use it. The great thing about simply taping the strips on is that they are super easy to move around if/when we add something else to that page. Let me know if you have questions :slight_smile:


I love it @triton17!

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@triton17 I love the idea of using color coded papers. We are also using a spiral notebook, but instead of the paper strips we are using little pictures of the events.


I like this idea! I may try something similar next year.

I like your curriculum choices, @michelletown! You have wonderful plans! We also use A Beka for most subjects. My son is at the middle of the third grade. What handwriting is using your son? Manuscript or Cursive? If your son hasn’t practiced cursive writing before, I would recommed you to begin with the first grade book. The following books just have a brief review of how to trace each letter, the first grade book has more practice in each letter.
About the spelling, the word lists in the third grade book are very difficult in comparison with the previous books, which focus on phonics/special sounds. My daughter did great, because she is natural speller, but my son struggled a lot with this book. If your son is a good speller he will be fine, but if he struggles as mine, I would recommed you to use a different spelling curriculum or at least spend more time in each list than the traditional week. I’m currently trying Words Their Way with my son, and he is improving a lot. There are lots of free resources online. Next year I would like to use All About Spelling.
I would reconsider the idea of using two books for Math and two books for History. You are going to be very busy with the new baby. I think just one book for each subject would be sufficient. It’s not a good idea to overload yourself at this moment. Take time to rest and enjoy your growing family!
About the Timeline, I’m also using a spiral notebook similar to this in size (9’‘x12’’)
We are using two pages to represent one hundred years, I’m leaving a lot of room because we plan to use this same timeline for the next History courses. Here is a picture…

Too little pictures at this moment! :smile: We just started Our American Heritage two weeks ago. We’ll be adding more!
Blessings for you and your family!


Awesome idea! Please post a pic.

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@megroux - I did post a picture up above you will see the picture with colored strips of construction paper on the notebook page… enjoy, and let me know if you have questions (though fairly self explanatory) :smile:

Thank you @triton17 @GC123 @elizabeth for your ideas and input! I am in the process of tweaking a few things and feel much more confident about our plan for next year. Thank you!

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