School’s Out for the Summer

Can you hear me cheering? Today, Friday, May 15, is the last day of the 2019-2020 academic year for Rocky Mount Academy. Which means, drum roll here, Grandma Patsy’s School for a Displaced Third Grader is over!

Working with grandson Charlie, I’ve had an up close and personal look at third grade over the last seven weeks, at least in a private school. And I’m here to tell you, the curriculum is not for the faint of heart.

Did you have this many books in third grade? I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

Tons of Books

Back in the Dark Ages (1963-64, to be exact), Miss Annie Mears issued all of her public school third graders a reading book, a math book, and…that’s all I remember.

Did we do grammar, social studies, and science in third grade? I recall learning the multiplication tables and how to spell what I thought was a really hard word, “vacation.” Did we start cursive? Or was that fourth grade?

Examples of Handwriting Styles | Handwriting styles, Cursive ...

Like me, Charlie has learned his multiplication tables in third grade. And he has mastered a list of spelling words each week. Cursive is being taught, which I’ve heard isn’t happening in most public schools anymore.

But he’s also had some major grammar, science, and social studies lessons. Concepts like the difference between “its” and “it’s,” types of clouds, and branches of the government. Things that a lot of adults don’t know. (I was a little rusty on the clouds myself.)

There were times when he was a bit overwhelmed. For example, he insisted that his simple, across-the-board answer of “Works” for the “What” question in this chart was sufficient. And yes, he had the legislative and judicial branches mixed up, but at least he put the President in the White House!

Days like this I didn’t know whether to laugh or tear my hair out!

Charlie's answers

The biggest difference between Charlie’s third grade experience and mine is the use of technology. Boys and girls, I know it’s hard to believe, but there were no computers for third graders back in 1963, and zoom meant to fly in a speedy manner.

Of course, until seven weeks ago, there was no Zoom classroom experience for today’s third graders either.


In my opinion, Zoom didn’t come close to replacing the brick and mortar experience of school, but it did provide some sort of connection to teachers and classmates who, in happier times, were a big part of my third grader’s world.

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