Our 5th grade homeschool curriculum doesn’t look a whole lot different from last year’s. I worry that I’m doing my daughter a disservice by not giving her more variety, but she’s not bored. Admittedly, I’m the one feeling a little bored. I’m not being creative. Letting the curriculum run me, instead of me running the curriculum, doesn’t sit well.
But, on the other hand, I have to be realistic. Do I really have time to invest in lesson planning when I have a 2 ½ year old who seems to need Mommy more now than when he was an infant? And did I mention that we’re moving? Leaning on the publishing companies for a while, at least until life gets less chaotic, is more than appropriate.
This year my daughter is in 5th grade, and she’s got a lot on her plate. We’re adjusting to getting up earlier and having less leisure time. I’m not sure how it will pan out for her and our family. Some things may get dropped, as they usually do, because I have good intentions and high ambitions that are often unrealistic. So here you have the first stab at our 5th grade homeschool curriculum, as of September.
Our 5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum
This is Julia’s area of strength and of high interest for which I’m grateful. She can’t seem to get enough. Even when she’s finished with her work, she’ll spend her free time writing or planning out her next idea.
Weekly Writing Class
Julia is taking a weekly writing class at co-op with a wonderful woman who has been teaching writing to middle and high school students for some time. She uses the Institute for Excellence in Writing as her curriculum. Julia will be writing both fiction and non-fiction for class and learn key elements in writing such as the importance of accurate word choice, varying sentence length and using figurative language. I’m really excited to see how her writing grows as a result of this class.
30 Minutes Daily Writing
It’s kind of ludicrous that I even add “writing: 30 minutes” to her daily checklist. She doesn’t need me to remind her to write and she writes much more than that, even on weekends.
Julia is going to participate in National Novel Writing Month again in November and continue her monthly online newsletter she started with friends. Julia told me she might try to get published in Stone Soup Magazine that she enjoys reading so much. This year she’ll work on her personal blog and write letters to family and friends. And she wants to self publish another book this school year. I told you she was motivated!
We are new to the Wordly Wise vocabulary curriculum, but I’m already wishing I’d started it with her back in third grade. She is thrilled to be learning new words to jazz up her writing.
We used Easy Grammar in third grade, but I didn’t think it was all that necessary. I figured grammar was easier to learn in the context of writing, so why buy a separate book? Last year we skipped it. But again, she said she loves grammar and was asking for it. So I added it to the shopping cart.
Every year I come up with a list of suggested titles and let her choose what she’d like to read. Julia decided to make a new goal this year. She wants to read “Fifty in 5th.” She’s off to a terrific start; six books in three weeks.
I don’t want to skimp on reading aloud, however difficult it may be in the presence of Miles, her little brother. We’re “managing” so far with the help of snacks. Making read aloud as much of a routine for him is key. Our first book for the year is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.
I finally got around to teaching Julia how to write cursive last year. That put her a bit behind her peers. Since Julia isn’t fluently writing in cursive yet, she’ll be working through Zaner-BLoser Handwriting 4. Maybe after the holidays she’ll be ready to complete some of her other assignments using only cursive handwriting.
This is the last year she’ll be using Keyboarding Without Tears as it only goes up through grade 5. Julia is already very fast with the keyboard. She started the program in third grade, because I didn’t want her to develop bad habits. Since she loves to write, keyboarding is a must. Keyboarding Without Tears is a wonderful program I recommend to everyone, because I just can’t find anything negative to say about it!
We’ve been using Singapore Math from the beginning. This curriculum moves from the concrete to the abstract, the best way to learn math. What I’ve found interesting though is how little Julia needs the concrete. We often breeze through the textbook pages together, and then she jumps right into the workbook pages. Because math is not a struggle for her and because the lessons are short, Singapore math is a good fit for her. She doesn’t need tons of repetition to grasp the concepts.
Last year we used the Real Science Odyssey Chemistry program and just didn’t have time to finish it. We would have benefited from doing two days of science per week, but it didn’t happen. We’re going to finish up the second half of the book this year and jump into all the hands-on experiments once we move and unpack.
The Mystery of History is another new purchase for us this year. After doing a cycle of The Story of the World, I felt it was time to do something different. My preference would be to take the living books approach and make it up as we go, but I know I can’t pull that off this year. In my search this summer, I came across The Mystery of History and loved the idea of learning biblical history right along with secular history. Since the author also offers a listening CD, I was sold. We listened to a sample lesson and enjoyed her soothing voice. Now Julia can listen to lessons at home or in the car.
For the fall semester, Julia will be taking Spanish at our co-op again. Her teacher will be on maternity leave for second semester. This year she joined a group of four children who are learning Spanish for the first time. Although some of what goes on is review, she’ll be learning and practicing new vocabulary.
Julia is taking her second year of Latin. Her First Form Latin class meets twice per week and is rather challenging. It entails weekly quizzes and tests, daily homework, and lots of writing.
Art & Music
We’re taking advantage of our proximity to our local public elementary school and enrolling Julia in a couple of classes. The teachers and administration have been very welcoming and accommodating. Julia has art class with a group of 20 other fifth graders. She’s also taking chorus with a small group of fifth and sixth graders. We’re hoping band will work out as well. Julia will first attend an instrument demonstration and then pick out her instrument of choice at a parent night. She’ll have a 25-minute weekly lesson.
Julia is taking a music class at our co-op too. This year the class will approach music from the middle ages through the lens of the stories music tells. Julia will also learn some chord notation and harmony writing.
Playing at the playground, riding bikes, going for walks, doing yoga with mom, and throwing some basketballs around keeps Julia active. But for structured activity, she does ballet. This year she’s in pre-point and attends class 2x week. She and her brother were given a house warming gift; a new trampoline. That will be sure to bring many smiles and be good for her heart in more ways than one.