Third Grade: A Change in Attitude and in Work

Heart of Dakota Dear Carrie - picture shows a red felt heart pinned to a distressed aqua wood background. Pinned in front of the heart is a small brown card-stock sign that reads "Dear Carrie" in red script.

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Dear Carrie

What kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

My sister-in-law was homeschooled and has graduated 3 kids. Now, she has 3 more she is still homeschooling. She once told me that around 3rd grade all of her kids just had a less positive attitude. My oldest is now starting 3rd grade in Heart of Dakota. I don’t really tolerate complaining or outbursts. But then, she has enough self-control to control those things. I can tell she is frustrated sometimes. This is usually when she is not doing school, but when we are talking about whether we will do it tomorrow. While we are actually doing school, she seems to have a really good attitude and enjoy it.

In school, since she is older, she has more work to do than her younger sisters who are in Little Hearts for His Glory. Some of my older daughter’s work in Bigger Hearts is not easy for her. I guess I have increased what I am expecting of her. For example, I am now trying to encourage her to use better penmanship. Is this just a normal transition? It is really hard for her to sit down and focus on something with 3 younger siblings running around. During some of her work the younger ones are off doing other things, like watching a video. I know she is jealous they get to do that. I guess my question is, what kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work,”

There are definitely several things to keep in mind in looking at kiddos’ ages and stages. One is that grades K-2 are typically grouped together with K being a bit of a transition from the “fun” of preschool to the “work” of formal school. This is followed by 1st grade where kiddos are often ready for a bit more “real” school and are better prepared to handle a bit more attention-span wise. Then, in grade 2 they are even more ready (and grade 2 is not as much new as grade 1), so they seem to handle grade 2 better. After that comes the next big step up in grades 3-5. :D

Third grade is a change because there are many new skills.

Third grade is almost all new with many skills the kiddos have never had before in all areas. The day lengthens and more is expected. So, third grade is often a crucial year. It is hard work for the kiddos. Add to that the fact that they are often coming off of a care-free summer, and the workload and mental activity seems even more stressful because it is almost a direct contrast to what their summer days felt like. Plus, if you add to that a new wake and sleep cycle, new eating times, and less free time, you can easily see why our little 8-9 years old aren’t exactly “skipping through the tulips” in the initial weeks of school (no matter how fabulous the curriculum might be)! :D I must admit to having a bit of a transition myself when we head back to school after summer! :wink:

Third grade is an opportunity to shape and mold good habits.

As a public school teacher, I taught quite a few different grades, but 3rd grade was my longest stint at 9 years. I loved third grade because you have such an opportunity to shape and mold good habits, train kiddos to be attentive, work on character, and really see a difference in the child by year-end. On the flip side, it also can be an opportunity to battle with kiddos daily if you look at this as a daily battle of the wills instead of a training opportunity. :D That is why this year will be so important not only academically, but also character issue-wise. It is where your little people learn how to be big helpers and good listeners. They learn how to work even when they may not feel like it. They can begin to be trained in daily obedience and in curbing their wills to glorify their Father in heaven rather than seeking to glorify their own wants and needs. It is a huge transition year that takes much parenting and much patience! :D

Devote needed time to character and academic training, and you will make huge strides with your third grade child!

If you happen to have a third grade child, I encourage you to settle in for the long haul. Know each day will be new training ground. However, by the end of the year, you will have made huge strides forward if you devote the needed time to character and academic training. The fruit of this daily training will follow you into the next guide and the next guide after that. By the time you walk through these important middle training years, you will also have built a close relationship with your child. :D

This is the opportunity homeschooling affords us, and it is not an easy one because it takes much time and effort! I wish each of you the stamina to do what is needed each day and the patience to train your children both academically and spiritually. As we travel this road together, let’s remember that we have the added blessing that each day is made new through our heavenly Father. So, if you’ve had a hard day, you can remember that tomorrow is a new day! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

Update from “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Carrie, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experiences! Just yesterday we had one of those heartwarming moments! My 8 year old and I were curled up on the couch for her read-aloud time. She hugged me and said, “Mom I’m so glad you’re my teacher! I think you are the best Mom and teacher for me.” That encouraged me. It is more work, and she is really growing and that is good to see. I pray for character. I can see that this time is really critical in developing her character. May God give me inspiration, patience, wisdom, and peace. And again thanks, I cannot say how much I appreciate your wisdom along this homeschooling journey!

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