My oldest son is beginning 5th grade this year in our homeschool. Each year, I make a grid with all of the subjects we plan on covering for the next school year and then fill in what curriculum I think I want to use. I explain more about this in A Simple Way to Plan Your Homeschool Curriculum.
We decided this year that we would spend less time doing group subjects with his brother. The gap in their knowledge and interests has been growing and I find that either Big Fish ends up bored or Little Fish ends up with the information going over his head. And in either of these cases, behavior challenges then begin! So, here is what we are using for 5th grade with Big Fish.
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5th Grade Math
I started using RightStart Math with Little Fish last year after he was experiencing great difficulties in learning math. I fell in love with the way it taught number sense and mental math skills. We also enjoyed how it let him explore math concepts through hands on activities and make his own discoveries about how numbers relate to each other.
Throughout the year, it also became apparent to me how Big Fish was doing well in his math lessons on the computer, but had trouble doing mental math skills when we were at a store or in any other real life context. Therefore, I decided to switch him to RightStart Math as well!
When I did the placement test for him, he fell right between Levels D and E. I decided we would work through Level D as fast as we could to make sure he had all the foundational skills and then continue with Level E for the rest of the year.
We are are 26 lessons in and he is enjoying this new approach to math!
5th Grade Spelling
Big Fish has used this curriculum since 1st grade and it has worked great for him. We started Level 6 at the end of last year and picked away at it over the summer. He is already half way through! We should be able to move on to the final level, Level 7, this year!
5th Grade Reading
Big Fish reads a ton on his own from a variety of genres. I still wanted him to read a few books for school, though, where I could make sure his comprehension was on point and we could learn some new vocabulary words. These are books that I read ahead of him (sometimes the night before!) and write up questions for him. Most of the questions are short answer as I want to make him think a little harder than answering multiple choice questions, but he gets frustrated if he has to write too much.
This year, we are starting with books that correspond to his history curriculum. They are:
5th Grade Grammar
We have used a structured grammar curriculum since 1st grade, but I decided to do something different this year. One, because this became one of Big Fish’s least favorite subjects and two, there is a lot of repetition from year to year and I just couldn’t see investing in another book so similar to the year before.
So, I am making grammar notebooking sheets. This is definitely a work in progress. We are starting with Big Fish copying a sentence each day he does his reading work and then identifying different items in that sentence such subject and predicate, nouns and verbs, etc.
This sheet also has a place where he can write a word he did not understand in the text and then make a guess to what the word means. He then confirms the guess with the dictionary. We are only a week in, but he likes choosing the words we target for vocabulary. And this gets him in a good habit to look up words as he reads! Once the grammar pages are tweaked and working well, I will make them subscriber FREEBIES throughout the year.
If you are interested in learning more strategies for teaching vocabulary, check out Five Tips for Teaching Vocabulary in Children’s Literature.
5th Grade Writing
Last year was Big Fish’s first year with a formal writing curriculum as this was a big area of stress for him. But, he actually enjoyed it more than I thought he would and his writing skills have a come a long way! I purposely bought below his grade level last year to make it stress-free. But seeing how easy it was for him, we decided to skip a level this year and will be working through Level E.
5th Grade Latin
We actually started this curriculum this past January. Both Big Fish and I are learning Latin together. We are moving slowly through it and enjoying learning together. Big Fish LOVES when he beats me on a test! It is providing a great foundation for vocabulary development and for learning other languages later in his school career!
5th Grade Geography
For geography this year, we are focusing on one continent a month. We are trying to line them up with our history and reading topics as much as possible. I talk a bit about this in Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum with Literature, although I decided to use Story of the World (see below) as our spine instead of Give Your Child the World.
I shared in my last post, Fun and Simple Ways to Learn the 50 States, about how we target map work in our homeschool. Sarah Mackenzie shares the idea in her book, Teaching From Rest. She suggests giving your child a blank map along with a completed map and have her fill in some of the information, such as five countries and one or two bodies of water. Then the next day, give her just the blank map and see how much she can fill in on her own from memory. Once she has done this, give her the educational map again to fill in anything she missed and add a few more pieces of information. Then, continue in this manner so a child commits a few more pieces of the map to memory each day. This method has worked well for us.
We are also going to be working through this Map Skills book. It is listed as Grade 4, but there is plenty of information in here that will be good for Big Fish to review.
There are a few subjects that we will do as a group this year with both boys.
Big Fish loves history and enjoyed Story of My World, Volume 1 last year. He enjoys coloring the picture for each chapter while I read aloud. The teacher’s manual provides comprehension questions for each section so that makes my job easy! It also provides lots of other books one can get on the subject, which I usually look for at the library. The teacher’s manual also includes many hands on activities children can complete. We occasionally do them, but really spend most of our time reading the book. So this is a great program for families that want hands on activities and those who prefer to not spend a lot of time on hands on activities.
So, those are two different science curricula listed above!! We still need to finish our chemistry lessons from last year! This was one of the group subjects that became a challenge with both boys.
Once we finish chemistry, Big Fish and I are going to work through the physics book. I plan on adapting the lessons for Little Fish or just getting simpler books from the library about each subject for him.
If you want to learn more about our chemistry lessons from last year, read: Can You Teach Homeschool Chemistry to Your Elementary Aged Children?
We are dedicating Friday mornings to art this year. I am pulling lessons from Arttango.com, which has free, weekly lessons for grades K -5. You can implement the lessons as they have outlined, but we are going to just use them as a jumping off point. I am also incorporating lessons from Drawing with Children. We started the year with learning about the five elements of contour shape.
If you are interested in seeing our curriculum choices from last year and how they worked out, check out: