Out of the Zone ~ Lessons 1-10

out of the zone2 We have completed 10 lessons of Calvert’s 3rd grade and I am loving it so far.  I am wanting to keep more of a journal for Pac Man {which I neglected to do for 1st and 2nd grades ~ bad mommy}, but better to start now than not ever!  I did well with journaling {privately and on this blog} for his PreK and Kindergarten year and want to do better for him.  Honestly I am learning new things right along with him now {relearning most} and it is fun!  I am enjoying 3rd grade so much more than I thought I would.  I also think the grandparents {and maybe some of you} will enjoy reading specifics about what he is learning.


I am amazed with how fast 3rd grade math has moved.  Pac Man LOVES math though so this is fun for me since I hate math!  He is very easy to teach so far.  Daddy also loves math so he casually teaches the boys lots of math skills before we even get to them in school!  Pac Man has flown right through many new math skills so far with no trouble at all.

For spelling, I still would choose to do All About Spelling, but for now Pac Man is doing well with the spelling book we are using with Calvert, I will be adding in AAS lessons as needed down the road as needed..  For his first 2 pretests he got 9/14 correct and then finished both with a perfect score for the post-test!  Calvert has an awesome online program called “Calvert Mastery Spelling” which gives Pac a simple activity each day to work with the words.  He loves this and I think it really helps.

Speaking of the computer, he has some cool programs that are integrated into Calvert.  The technology lessons are wonderful and he really enjoys them.  He is currently learning typing and has already learned many word processing skills.  IMG_5303 Daddy actually walked in and saw him working and said, “man, I don’t even know how to do some of that!”  Pac loves the computer {like me} so this is really fun for him!  Calvert also has daily check points online, which are brief review questions for each subject taught that day.  He logs in and takes the checkpoints and I can easily see his scores immediately to see anything we need to review.

He doesn’t usually like Calvert writing lessons, at least he didn’t for 2nd grade.  But, this year he has more freedom to construct his own stories and he is really enjoying it so far.  Once I got him over the “I hate writing” attitude, he was good to go for the most part.  His first story assignment was “School at Home” which I think he did really well on!IMG_6469

My favorite line… ”I am excited because my mom is going to keep the little kids away from me.” 😉


For reading he really enjoyed his first stories, “The Lost and Found,” and  “The Ballad of Mulan.”  Would you believe we have never even seen the Disney movie Mulan, and I was unfamiliar with the story myself.  Not only did Pac enjoy it, but he also read the story aloud to Krash one day!  Pac’s reading comprehension is amazing, and we rarely have to review anything. 

Science is fun, but not as fun as it will be when we begin to actually do the experiments.  I have put those on hold until we are in the new school room ;-).  We have been studying living things, and really enjoying the science book.

Nothing too exciting in Social Studies or Geography yet, but it has been GREAT to see how much P already knows.  The basic geography that has been taught is just a review for him so far.  I can already see where our USA PowerPoints have come in handy!

Neither of us are really enjoying Mythology, it is just so far fetched and I am not into it-never really was when I learned it in school either.  He struggles with it, I believe at the heart level a bit.  He doesn’t really understand why he has to study “fairy tales” as he calls them.

We are both loving the Famous Americans book!  So far we have learned a lot about the American Revolution and studied these people: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Paul Jones, and Molly Pitcher,   I am reading this aloud to him and it becomes a nice cuddle time for us.  I decided not to have Pac do the written pages included {they are optional via Calvert} and we go over them orally together.  I think he is really enjoying the laid back approach to this subject and in turn really enjoying it.  He has actually asked to read additional stories each day!  I am researching some supplemental activities for us to do about the American Revolution, probably a lapbook ;-).  We’ll see!


Overall the first 10 days have been a success.  He really struggled for the first 5 days or so with the amount of work and the difficulty.  He breezed through school until now and is finally having to put real thought into things.  This was a very hard adjustment for him but I am amazed that he has handled it well for the past 5 lessons.  He really turned a corner and the excitement about the new schoolroom keeps him going!

We are still not in daily school mode yet, just getting a bit of a jump start before we go on our 2 week trip in September. We will be officially staring our every day school year when we return mid-September.  Pac is working hard now so he won’t have to take any schooling with him when we travel!

~I asked Pac Man if he was OK with me publicly blogging about him and school, he is very interested in my blog.  I have promised him I will never write anything about home online without him knowing first {things that could possibly be embarrassing.  He was fine with it and excited to be featured! ;-)  I hope this will be a neat thing for him to look back on!

Out of the Zone ~ 3rd Grade Planning Sheets

out of the zone2I am always making stuff on the computer, so of course I have to create my own personalized planning sheets. For those of you who just happen to be using Calvert’s 3rd grade, you’ll be able to use them too-since they are specific to the program. The rest of you might be able to get ideas, and I also included a blank form in case you like the layout but don’t use Calvert.

This is the front page of the planning sheet, which shows 5 lessons{days} at a time. Each subject is on the left and I write short notes of page #s to the right for each day. These are not detailed plans {those are in the manual written for me ;-)} just notes mainly so we can check things off each day and also so I can pull papers in advance.



This is the back of the sheet where I am dividing each day into 3 parts. 1-Morning Independent, 2-With Mom, 3-Afternoon Independent. I hope to keep up with this to help organize P’s days for him in advance so he can see what he should be able to do independently before needing my help, what he should wait for me on and what he will need to do after we work together.IMG_4284

I am pulling all worksheets for the week and putting them in a binder with each page labeled with a highlighter in the bottom right corner to show which lesson it goes with.IMG_4286For those of you using Calvert-I broke down the following workbooks: Math, Maps, Globes & Graphs, Critical Thinking, RWP, Phonics, Reading Word Cards, and Activity Pages. I did NOT rip apart: Spelling, Gods & Goddesses, Famous Americans or any hard bound textbooks. In case you missed it here is my Details About Calvert 3rd Grade post

I have one large 3” binder with tabs dividing each section of 5 lessons. Calvert goes in groups of 20, so I have a 1” binder that is our current plans. Currently we have lessons 1-20 in there, each section of 5 divided by colored tabs. As we finish the work, I am grading it and placing it in the back pocket of the notebook.IMG_4280

In the back of the notebook I keep the assessment sheets. Calvert has these for each 20 lessons and with our cyber school, we have to send them in to be graded and reviewed by a teacher. I actually like this component because it is automatic assessment and ongoing review. I always know that we are on target.IMG_4288

You can download my planning sheets here. I also made a blank version in case you like them but don’t use Calvert.

Out of the Zone ~ Details about Calvert

I have been asked so many times by so many wonderful readers if I would begin to blog more about my experiences with Pac Man.  I have been reluctant to do this because it is SO far out of my comfort zone and I feel I have nothing to offer.  A kind reader commented on last week’s Pac Man post that it would be helpful for me to actually share what is like to be “Out of My Comfort Zone” which has inspired me to create a new feature on my blog {hopefully weekly} to share something regarding Pac Man and his schooling.  3rd grade and beyond is not comfortable for an early childhood educator ;-), so everything I will share about him officially falls into being out of my comfort zone!  I am excited about learning along with him and growing as a teacher and mom through our experiences over the years.  When out of my zone, I tend to learn the most!

I do better with features on my blog {so I don’t forget}; Tot School, Raising Rock Stars Preschool  Behind the Scenes, Preschool Printables, Raising Rock Stars, In My Spare Time, Thank You.  It just seems to make sense to add a new feature to help me remember!

For the past several weeks I have been labeling Pac Man’s posts “Pac Man Loves” but soon realized that he may not love everything I share about!!!  😉 I will now be calling these posts…

out of the zone2

For my first Out of the Zone post I thought I would share my initial thoughts about our big ol’ stack of Calvert supplies now that I have planned out our first 40 lessons.  We have bumped our start date back a week due to major construction going on to renovate the new schoolroom, so I have a bit more planning time built in now!

Calvert 3rd Grade Homeschool Details

Specifically this is what we got in our Calvert 3rd Grade box…

image Here are the subjects that are not published by Calvert, but are used within the Calvert program {I linked if I could find it online}.  You can see the inside of any of the books on the Calvert website itself using their awesome interactive features.

Calvert has it’s own math program, which we like a lot-it works really well for Pac Man and he LOVES math.  Calvert also publishes a few of their own resources; one I really love this year is called A Child’s Study of Famous Americans.

We also have access to these awesome online resources, the computer component is truly amazing.

I just found this website which helps you find out if you are able to receive Calvert free of charge in your state.  You have to fill out the form and I guess they get back to you.

I have planned out the first 40 lessons of 3rd grade and I am excited!  It is a FULL schedule and will about double the workload Pac is used to.  Next week I plan to share my planning forms and how I have our days planned {I will provide downloads in case anyone else is using Calvert 3rd grade {my forms are specific to this program}.

As we move along I will try to share what is/isn’t working for us and what I think of different parts of the program. After browsing through the books, I am really excited and pleased.  I really like the changes and think this will be a great fit for Pac Man!

Pac Man Loves ~ 3rd Grade!!!!!

Pac Man is entering 3rd grade next and we are finally officially out of Mom’s comfort zone.  I must admit I am a bit anxious about this.  I have taught 1st grade and below and know enough about 2nd grade that I knew I would be fine homeschooling the early elementary grades.  I secretly always knew that the year he entered 3rd grade would be a big transition for ME!

Of course he isn’t phased in the least, and is just thrilled to have a higher grade to report to friends and family members ;-).  We are continuing on with our cyber charter school, which still uses Calvert as their curriculum for 3rd gradeIMG_4110Getting the big ol’ Calvert box in the mail is a very big deal around here!  IMG_4114I got all sappy looking at this post, which seems like just yesterday {when his 1st grade box arrived}.

We start our year by getting the first 20 lessons completed before our official school year starts.  I like having 20 built in random free days throughout the year.  Our life is so random, we need this!  Our official start day is July 26, which means I am in planning mode!  Getting the box in the mail and browsing through it is WAY more fun than actually doing the work!

I was thrilled to see 2 changes in the Calvert Curriculum…2 things I didn’t like about 1st and 2nd grade; Social Studies and Spelling.  I noticed in the box that both are now from Scott Foresman, which is a publisher I recognize and remember liking back in my teaching days…I hope I like it still!!! I am busy going through it all right now and getting my first 20 lessons planned out.  I am praying this program works well for us and that I won’t need to supplement my own stuff as much as I did these past few years {I did that because I am super picky about certain things and Calvert was good, just not exactly what I wanted}.

Krash was just happy to have a new big box to play in {he’s showing off his new Batman tatoo}…IMG_4119

It’s Here, It’s Here!

For those of you who don’t know, we use Calvert as our grade level curriculum. We use them because we get all of the materials for free since we are with a public cyber charter school. I really like Calvert so far, we used PreK and K with them too and our 1st grade box arrived today! P has been SOOOOO motivated to get this box and begin 1st grade. I love that about homeschool…moving at your child’s pace. If he were in “going school” (as he calls it) he would be in K through the end of this school year. Being at home allows him to move at HIS pace. We unloaded the box this morning and both of us got all excited with what was inside.Then I began browsing through the lesson manual and realized quickly that we’re going to have to buckle down, it’s much different than K! We’re ready for it though, and very excited. Now my goal is to go through the entire Science, and Social Studies books and figure out where our lapbooks are going to fit!!! My planning hours are going to get much longer I can see!