Third Grade is Really Hard

the difficulty of 3rd grade

My middle child is in third grade, and we’re all struggling. There seems to be a major turn in responsibility level expected as well as a shift in curriculum delivery at our school at this grade level. The amount of reading required has jumped substantially and much more online learning / testing is now standard practice. It’s been really hard on my child and on us.

The transition seems to be easier for some students, but our child isn’t a quick reader, so the comprehension struggle as well as the time it takes to just read through the assignments has been a major challenge for her. We are also struggling with the workload expectations for homework and for studying for tests and quizzes. It’s just a lot to deal with on top of normal evening activities like extracurriculars, dinner time, bath time, and managing several children.

While trying to stay calm and take things day by day, I’ve also reached out for support from other parents and for guidance from the teachers. Several parents have reminded me that, short of failing, grades in elementary school aren’t incredibly important. It’s more about the process and achieving new study skills and computer skills to make it through the next grades. Many days, the assignments (and time required for them) seems overwhelming and not doable. So we just tackle what we can and limit our homework / study time to one to two hours. Any more than that seems excessive and not helpful to our tired child anyway. Plus, we’re too tired as parents to do much more than that.

What are your helpful strategies for parents surviving third grade? Send your “Study Guide” our way!

Rachel Harris Ledet
A New Orleans native and entrepreneur, Rachel is a mom of four with an active schedule. Rachel maintains a daily balance of running her own marketing firm, 30|90 Marketing, managing her kids’ schedules, and maintaining extracurriculars including coaching dance, volunteering, and occasionally teaching courses. Rachel lives in Mandeville with her best friend and husband Lenny, daughters Addison and Amelia, stepson Luke, and son Tucker. With a family of six and a million balls in the air, Rachel keeps things light by continuously learning, spending time with amazing friends, blogging, finding any route to a concert or outdoor festival, and planning her next getaway with her husband. A sense of humor can get you through almost anything, so she tends to surround herself with fabulous and very funny people.


  1. While the grades may not matter much at this age (short of failing), the impact on a kids mental health does matter. I hear, too often, of kids in third grade crying about studying and/or test grades with this new curriculum. Kids who were used to making high grades are now making D’s and F’s on tests. I try to focus on the effort my kids make rather than the outcome. If they make a C or D and put in everything they have, they did their best and that’s worth being proud of! They have really opened up during those conversations and are starting to hold themselves more accountable because they know effort will yield better results than no effort. If they bring home a low grade, we talk through what was missed, how was it missed, and how we can prepare better for the next test. We are focused on a growth-mindset!


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