20 Best Tips

Multiplication Worsheets

While our older children are able to use graph paper for their math problems, our youngest struggles with his penmanship size and also the graph paper doesn’t help him quite enough in keeping his numbers in the right column. Even though he may do his math correctly, when it’s time to add up the numbers – well, the columns don’t line up correctly and mistakes are made.

I tried adding lines to regular notebook paper, but that didn’t always do it either, so instead I put together a simple worksheet for him to use when he is working on multiplication facts (I’m working on a division one too, because that’s the next thing we need to straighten up a little). 

We love our Teaching Textbooks program

With the multiplication worksheet pages, he is able to use the sheets over the course of a few days to work through problems (he can note the problem number next to his work), and be reminded of where the numbers go. This has helped TREMENDOUSLY in cutting back on mistakes and frustration for him.

One thing I wanted to do as well – keep the main lines black and columns grey so he can get a better visual of how to line things up. Above is a little peek at how the worksheets are set up. 

There are two sets included in the free muliplication worksheet printables: one with and one without zeros as place markers to remind children where to place numbers. Each sheet has at least twelve spaces to work on multiplication problems and there are different sheets based on how many digits are being multiplied: 2×2, 3×2, or 3×3. 

We’re printing them off double-sided and using them over the course of the week. It’s already helped so much! Feel free to download a set by clicking below – enjoy! 


Still need a little work on multiplication facts? Check out these FREE Skip Counting Charts

Making a Simple Compass – Learning about the Earth’s Magnetism

making a simple compass and learning about the Earth's magnetism - HomeschoolCreations.net

As part of our history time this year, each week we are working on simple projects with friends to go along with our studies. One week we may make miniature teepees, another we tie knots that sailors use. This past week we talked more about how compasses work and had fun making a simple compass of our own. 


We’ve been learning about early explorers to the Americas and talking about how they used compasses to help them find their way across the wide ocean. Truly they were much more adventurous than I am, because I don’t believe I’d be willing to do what they all did (however thankful I am to be living in North America now). 

It only require a few simple supplies to put our compass together and the best part of all – it really worked! Granted, we won’t be taking our compass on any grand ocean expeditions in the near future, but the kids were so excited and carefully watched as it found north each time. We tried it with several different needles to see if there was any difference, but all three we tried worked well.  

Making a Simple Compass


Here’s a quick look at what we used to create our compass. You’ll need: 

  • a needle
  • a magnet (a washer-sized magnet will work as well – we used one the size of a domino)
  • a cork
  • a bowl and water
  • tape (optional)


  1. Carefully rub the sewing needle on the magnet at least 30 times in the same direction (be sure not to rub it back and forth). 
  2. Tape the needle to the outside of the cork. We didn’t have any tape handy, so instead we poked it into the side of the cork. 
  3. Place the cork in a bowl full of water. Be sure the bowl is wide enough to let the cork rotate and move around a bit. 
  4. Once the cork has stopped moving, check and see what direction it is pointing. Compare the location to an actual compass – don’t hold the compass too closely to your homemade compass because it can skew the results. Gently turn the cork again and wait to see where it is pointing this time (is it the same area?). 


Why it works: When the iron/steel needle is rubbed against the magnet, the particles line up and turn the needle into a temporary magnet. The needle then aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field. 

The entire project took us less than ten minutes – super easy and a great chance to talk more about magnetism and compasses. 

3rd Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

3rd grade homeschool year in review

We are far past officially DONE with the year, but it’s fun to look back and see what worked well – or didn’t work. (There’s no shame in that. We can always learn from what happened!) 

Last year I shared a series of year end posts and it really helped me figure out a plan of attack for the upcoming year as well. You can see all of our curriculum choices in this post here, but below you’ll get a good look at what we used for Kaleb’s 3rd grade year and how it all worked out overall. There were a few more challenging spots for us with him (and one area we didn’t get to), but it has been a great year overall. 

progress in small way adds up to big improvement - HomeschoolCreations

The one thing that I feel I personally have walked away with this year and Kaleb’s learning is that progress is progress – and sometimes it’s seeing the small progress over time that adds up to big improvement. 

The 3rd Grade Year Plan…

Here’s a quick look at the overall plan for our 3rd grade year…




Science is hands-down one of Kaleb’s favorite subject areas. In addition to Nancy Larson Science 3, Kaleb had a BLAST with creating Little Bits projects and creations with KEVA planks (secretly I may want to get many more of both). 


We also added in some more hands-on fun with the  Rock Hound’s backpack and it has opened up a love for ALL rocks with Kaleb. He is constantly looking for rocks to learn more about and I love that it has inspired something in him. His backpack now sits in our living room and there are rocks on our counter all.the.time. 

While we are not planning to use a full science program next year, these three will definitely be handy and we are looking at getting more of the Little Bits and Keva Planks to use! 

Spelling & Reading

Our weekly schedule for All About Spelling was about one lesson a week or every other week, and I love that our spelling and All About Reading overlap and tie-in together. We didn’t push too hard but did see huge improvements in the area. We also worked on All About Homophones, but that was more of an occasional lesson (maybe seven throughout the year based on what we were learning).


Writing is one of Kaleb’s least favorite areas, but one thing that helped a lot was our Boogie Board LCD tablet – for Kaleb it made the handwriting bit of things a bit more bearable (grins). Every lesson we worked on several sentences as well. Overall, a slower year than what we were planning, but we were trying to keep pace and not have him get frustrated, so we’ll be finishing up the book next year.

One thing I’m thankful for is the flexibility the lessons offer in working through the levels as appropriate for our kids.The similar formats simplify the teaching and they streamline well together. This will definitely be a program we use again next year. (For those of you who know me well, you know that it is our favorite homeschool spelling program, hands down!). 


While we didn’t get through our All About Reading Level 3, Kaleb did make some HUGE strides in his reading. Buddy Reading was something that made a big difference in our reading as well (taking turns reading pages – this article explains it a little better). 

We took a bit of a break for a little while and added in the Life of Fred readers – and oh my goodness, the boy LOVED them. Kaleb prefers to read these over and over again, building his reading fluency and speed as he goes through them – and I LOVE that. You can learn more here. For now, we’ll move the rest of AAR 3 to next year and keep going at a pace that works for him. 



We managed to get through almost all of the read-alouds from Kaleb’s 3rd Grade Reading list and then some other great books and audio books as well. Kaleb has loved the audio adventures from Heirloom Audio this year especially, and those CDs have been in the boys’ room during their rest time to listen to over and over.  



Using Teaching Textbooks was a great fit for Kaleb and we will definitely plan on using it again next year for him. We added in some fact learning fun using Times Tales (we used the download version). This program helped the boys focus on some of the harder times tables and we’ll keep the videos on hand to review next year as well. 



This isn’t one of Kaleb’s favorite subject areas, but it was made tolerable with our comic strip illustration printables. He isn’t a huge fan of drawing overall, but he does stick figures like a boss, especially since he can keep up with them. For us, that’s his way of ‘writing’ so he doesn’t have to ask how to spell every word and the pictures help him remember the story. 

Next year we will be switching up history a little bit – not because we don’t likeMystery of History 1 and Story of the World 1 – but we are going to try to tie in our learning with our high schoolers so we can go on some fun field trips together for US History. 



This boy loves his grammar work. There honestly isn’t much to show in this area, but it is one thing he is determined to work on each day. (grins) For vocabulary, we worked through several cards a week and will continue to use the cards from Marie’s Words next year. All of the kids really enjoyed the visual part of learning the words. 



Kaleb finished up most of his WriteShop C program, although he didn’t necessarily do a lot of physical writing, but would dictate his stories to me. One thing he loved were the Story Detective printables that I put together to go with some of his lessons. 

Next year may prove a little more interesting in the writing department, but I have to remind myself that we’ve had another reluctant writer in the past as well. These tips for a reluctant writer have been a renewed encouragement to me this year too. 


We took it slow and easy with Grapevine’s New Testament Overview (as a group) and also added in Big Truths for Young Hearts each morning. The latter is one we will continue working through since it’s more of a family discussion time and has about 52 weeks of reading. 


Definitely a subject we will continue next year, especially with Home Art Studio. Kaleb enjoys art so much and creating projects to display (where we have other kids who could care less – grins), so if he is willing to work on them, I am more than happy to oblige!



While the cursive program (and memory verse learning) we worked on this year was great, I will likely switch us back to a pre-planned program next year, since I was the one putting it together. 

The Bust Subjects

Our geography plans went out the big ol’ window this year, but we are re-vamping that for next year. It’s all good. 


Co-op pictures-12 
This past year we participated in two different co-op groups, and I truly love the chance to get together with other families and work on different classes we might not normally fit into our year. Next year we will only be participating in one co-op (for my sanity), but it was fun while it lasted! 
Different classes Kaleb had this year were US Geography (perhaps I reason I didn’t focus as much on it at home), Five in a Row books, Spanish, PE, and Music. We wrapped up one of our co-ops with a large musical as well. 
The kids were also a part of a year round swim team, and while they started off enthusiastically, by February/March, their energy was petering out. If we decide to do it again, we will likely choose a shorter time-frame for the kids. Kaleb is one of our strongest swimmers and truly loves it, but it involves a lot of driving and time in the evenings, so sometimes finding the balance is tough! 
I’ll be sharing our year end review of 5th, 7th, and 9th grade soon, so be sure to check back – as well as our plans for the upcoming year as well!  

Creating with KEVA and Little Bits – More Hands-on Fun

One of the things that I didn’t do a great job of implementing the first half of the year for Kaleb were some of the ‘fun’ projects that aren’t necessarily tied into any curriculum we’re using, but still add in an element of learning or creativity. Kaleb is one that easily gets focused on what needs to be done and doesn’t give himself much slack because it’s not ‘school’. (It’s true – he’s a pretty focused kid.)

After our mid-year review, I decided to put together a list of weekly challenges for him to work on, rotating through a few different things, specifically KEVA planks and our Little Bits set. You all – the boy just needed it to be called school, and he has been in HEAVEN.

The most fun has been watching his creativity and curiosity take over. While each of the sets have specific projects to build, once he has finished a few, he likes to experiment and see what he can create.

Little Bits Fun

creating with the Little Bits deluxe kit

Although Zachary has been eyeing the Little Bits set (and managed to find them and try them before I knew it), this was one thing that was put aside specifically for Kaleb to do ‘first’ (mainly because he is the youngest and usually gets to do everything after his brother). So, even though Zachary did play with them for a bit, they where shelved after (see what I mean?).

While his older brother has been working on breadboards and real, hands-on wiring with EEME, this angle to learn about circuits has been great for Kaleb (who gets frustrated easily) because the pieces are magnetic and they ‘snap’ together to form a circuit.

learning how Little Bits circuits work

We have the Little Bits Deluxe kit that includes a booklet with 18 different modules and 15 projects to work on, or kids can design their own creations. The nice part is, there is no soldering or wiring for him, so for kids that are interested in the early stages of circuits and how things work, these are a great stepping stone.


There were two projects planned for him to work on the day we pulled them out, but he was so sidetracked with the kit he kept playing and tweaking things. The art bot project has been his favorite so far, since it had him stumped in a few parts (he had to figure out how to substitute parts we didn’t have on hand). The above video shows it in action. Feed readers can watch the 20 second clip here.

Needless to say, the boy is hooked and ready to work on more with little prompting!


KEVA Planks Building

KEVA planks Brain Builder challenge cards

While the kids in our co-op have been enjoying some weekly challenges with the KEVA Brain Builders set, Kaleb has been equally enjoying them at home. Although we don’t have quite the extensive resources our co-op does with the planks, we do have a small set to use that were included with the Brain Builder cards.

KEVA Brain Builder cards

Each card offers a two-dimensional view of a project from three different angles.

KEVA Planks Brain Builders

On the flip side you can see an actual picture solution of what the project should look like. These cards have really been great for Kaleb (again because he gets frustrated easily), but he is very focused on details and getting everything ‘just right’. The planks and building challenges are giving him a different way to look at projects for building.

So far after break, my personal goal to have Kaleb work on at least one project a week has been a definite success for Kaleb. And that’s a win for both of us!

3rd Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

We’re at the halfway point in our homeschool time, and even a few day beyond. Even though it’s technically a little closer to the middle of January, our Christmas break provided more of a chance to sit down and look at how each child is progressing and see if there are any changes we needed to make to what we are using.

Overall, we’ve been really happy with our homeschool curriculum choices, but we have tweaked a few things – and I thought you all might like to see what the kids are enjoying the most as well! Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a post on each of the kids (it seemed easier than grouping it all into one post!).

3rd Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

Overall our 3rd grade curriculum choices have been a great fit. We have added and/or delayed a few subject areas. Kaleb’s favorite subjects are definitely science, grammar (he loves Daily Grams), and anything art related. He strongly dislikes diagramming though (my heart breaks). While history hasn’t been his favorite, adding in comic strip illustrations to help his take notes and remember the lessons has made a difference the last two months.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Kaleb is one of our most dedicated learners (i.e. not one to complain about his work other than possibly reading). He is typically working on school work before it’s even time to start the day and it isn’t uncommon to find out that he’s finished his math and handwriting – always a nice start to the day! He is also the boy that wants to do as much as he can 1:1 with me, so this year we are pushing him a little bit in working on math via the computer (last year we used Teaching Textbooks, but I did all the lectures with him because he said the computer was too hard – it wasn’t, he just wanted to be with me more).

On the other hand – he is my baby and I want to enjoy every last minute of this 1:1 time that we have together (shhhh – don’t tell him).

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at our overall plan for the 3rd grade year…

Our cursive handwriting has really been fun too (although there are complaints some days). I haven’t figured out a way to share the printables yet, but each week we review a verse from the Bible and practice letters and words based on those verses from our Seeds Family Worship albums. It’s been a great way to review verses we’ve learned via song and further cement them in our hearts (for me too!).

The youngest three and I are working on history together and combining Mystery of History and Story of the World has been great. With comic strip illustrations, he is remembering the bulk of what we are learning. Through history we are looking at past and modern geography (I’ll admit that I’m learning a thing or two!).

The vocabulary cards aren’t Kaleb’s favorite, but he is remembering quite a bit, although he is slower to grasp the words than Zachary and McKenna. He tolerates them, but gets frustrated easily since the older two want to give the answers quickly. They have been a fun way to start the morning though.

What We’re Adding (or already have)

  • Life of Fred Readers – We added these in about a month after we started school and they have been a HUGE hit. You can read my Life of Fred beginning readers review for more information, but Kaleb LOVES them. We are using our 3rd grade reading list for additional book choices too.
  • A few unit studies from Ivy Kids. So far we’ve used A House for Hermit Crab and are in the midst of Make Way for Duckling – absolutely loving them.
  • Big Truths for Young Hearts has been our Bible time, until we start Grapevine in February.
  • Times Tales – To help out with the upper times tables, both boys worked through Times Tales (we used the download version)
  • PE – The kids decided to participate in swim team for the year. Kaleb has practices 3-4 times a week, depending on our schedule and he has really enjoyed swimming (and is improving quickly).
  • Weekly LEGO, Keva Brain Builder, or Little Bits projects – Kaleb is typically finished with his school day a little earlier than the rest of the kids and he LOVES challenges and projects like these. While this has been on our initial list, we haven’t worked them in yet, but I am planning out a weekly project for him to do
  • Kaleb has LOVED his Rock Hound’s backpack and has already added that into his school time. He is constantly looking for rocks to learn more about and I love that it has inspired something in him. While this isn’t a daily subject, it has definitely been a great addition to his learning.

What We’ve Put Aside & Postponed

  • Writing – We absolutely love WriteShop but are focusing on Kaleb’s reading for now. He does have writing prompts and copywork through his handwriting and history, so we have shelved it for the time being. If we are at a point where we can add in lessons, we definitely will.
  • Geography: Although I had grand plans with this for the year, we are focusing on what we are learning through history and not working on a specific program. Waiting until next year on this one.

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

Looping subjects – Occasionally there are areas that I tend to push aside (or they just get pushed aside) because we have other things happening or something interrupts and we get sidetracked. Spelling and learning games are two of those areas (as well as read-alouds – see below. With these two, as well as science projects, we’re going to put onto a loop schedule where we rotate what comes next. Rather than having an assigned day of the week for each subject, they are going on a rotation schedule a few days each week and work on the next in line. That way if we miss a day, it’s really not a big deal because we can work on it the next day and no area gets lonely.

Reading with Kaleb – I also need to focus more on reading alone with just Kaleb – my reading TO him, other than our read-aloud time. He is a ‘get it done’ boy and focuses in on making sure everything is done properly (cough) and doesn’t always take a lot of time to relax and enjoy – and that is so important too.

Read-alouds – Much of our read-aloud time was spent with audiobooks in the car, but was also hard since one child was here and another was there and no one wanted to miss out on anything. We’ve decided instead to push along in a book and later tell the missing sibling what happened when they were gone. That way we can cover more ground together. Having the kids DOING something (like building with LEGOs or drawing) has been a huge help.

That’s about it for our 3rd grade mid-year curriculum review! How is your year going so far?

Take a peek at our 3rd grade5th grade, 7th grade, and  9th grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images below to look over their curriculum piles.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations



Our Third Grade Homeschool Reading List

3rd grade homeschool reading list from Homeschool Creations - book choices and read alouds for a reluctant reader

While I managed to put together a reading list for our 5th grader, 7th grader, and 9th grader, I somehow forgot to share our 3rd grade homeschool reading list! I’ll admit there is a part of me that has been hesitant because our 3rd grade boy is very much a hesitant and struggling reader. His older brother was very similar at this age – and truthfully it’s tough.

When you have other children that picked up on rules and fluency with little effort, it’s hard not to compare progress and wonder if you are doing something wrong. When other moms are sharing the amazing progress (and seemingly novel-sized book) their similarly aged or younger children are reading, it’s difficult not to worry that you are missing something.

I mentioned our oldest son (now 11) struggled as well, but last year something ‘clicked’ in his brain and he has been devouring books ever since. Part of it centered on finding books that he truly enjoyed, but once he started – well, now we have to beg him to turn the light off on many nights! Having that in the more recent future has definitely given me hope and a lot more patience in working with Kaleb as I try to remember each child is different and learns at his own pace.

(Can I get an amen?)

With that said, here are the key programs and books that we have been using this year. I’ve listed them out and tried to explain best how we are using them throughout the year, so feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

The ‘Core’ Homeschool Reading Program

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-2

Our kids love All About Reading and All About Spelling, and although it can be a little more intense for him some days, we are using the last 1/3 of All About Reading 2 as review for Kaleb. When he is ready, we will move into All About Reading Level 3.

The one thing that I love most (and our boys need) is the multisensory approach that All About Reading offers. You can read a bit more about why we love it so much here. We work through one lesson each week (usually Monday and Wednesday), as well as review word cards each day to work on fluency and recognition of phonograms we have learned in past lessons.

Each level includes two readers and about every other lesson has a short story to tie in with the lesson and fluency charts. Sticker dots have also helped our reading time tremendously!  Read more about that here.

Additional Readers

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-3

Before we started school I put together some various readers for Kaleb with the intention of building his confidence and reading speed, and in September we added the Life of Fred beginning readers set thanks to a great deal from Educents. The independent readers on our shelves are typically ones we use twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) unless Kaleb really wants to read them another day as well. In that case, we READ!!

The Life of Fred readers have been AMAZING for Kaleb. While they don’t follow a phonics program, they have induced more giggles (and attention from the older kids as well) in the few months they have been in our house. Kaleb prefers to read these over and over again, building his reading fluency and speed as he goes through them – and I LOVE that. You can learn more here.

Other independent readers on our list:

Read Aloud Together

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-4

After going through Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12, I picked out six books to read aloud with just Kaleb throughout the year. While the other books on our list focus on what he can read independently, these are books that we’re reading together.

When reading these books we are talking more about the plot/summary, story themes, different stylistic devices used in the stories (alliteration, rhyming, etc…) and getting a bigger picture of literature as a whole. I have found Reading Roadmaps to have some wonderful suggestions by grade level (you can get a peek inside here).

What’s in YOUR child’s reading pile this year?


Have You Tried Buddy Reading?

If you have a child that is a reluctant reader as well, one thing working well for us this year is something called buddy reading. When Kaleb is feeling overwhelmed or needs a little help, we take turns reading pages in the book – and then the next day switch to read alternate pages. Check out this post for more information on how it can help out (be sure to read through the comments as well – there are some additional great tips to try with your kids!).

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below.