Here we are: the fifth grade! I guess you could say I “officially” started 5th grade on September 1st this year, but truthfully, I started some of this curriculum a little earlier, and some of this is just a continuation from last year. I only use grade levels as a sort of approximation or guide. I believe we achieve better results when we go at our children’s pace, while also challenging them at appropriate times too.
I came up with a game plan, and I’ve been tweaking it ever since Sept. 1st. It formed partly from necessity (i.e. to make progress, we need to do writing and math at least three days per week) and partly from my kids’ desires (i.e. they picked the times they want to practice their instruments and do their formal lessons). I have mostly tweaked the morning lessons as I’ve been able to see better how much time we have to complete things.
It’s also important to note that this schedule is not set in stone. We don’t follow it to the letter, and everyday is different, but it’s roughly how I schedule our days. It’s a guide to help me as I plan our daily lessons, which I try to do the night before or early in the morning before the boys wake up. 🙂
Note that I do the eight-year-old’s main lessons (2nd grade reading, math, handwriting, etc.) right after lunch time, but he also joins his eleven-year-old brother for a few lessons in the morning, such as Spanish, History, and Readalouds (a.k.a. literature).
I will be writing more detailed reviews of each of these curricula, and when I do, I’ll link them all to this page.
Writing — I’m using the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Student Writing Intensive Level A. We haven’t used it long enough for me to write a proper review, but so far, so good.
Literature — At the moment, we’re reading Blood on the River: James Town, 1607, which is a young adult novel about the first permanent English settlement in North America. Both my boys are enjoying it, and it’s a great history lesson. In the evenings, my eleven-year-old and I are reading the Redwall series together, and he also reads a ton of graphic novels to himself everyday.
Note: See my page Book Reviews to learn about some of the books we’re reading.
Grammar — Fix it! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Student Book 1) with the Teacher’s Manual. This is the same book we began about half way through last year. This past summer I also read Grammar Island to both the boys, and they enjoyed that book.
Cursive — Believe it or not, it took me awhile to find a workbook for cursive that I liked. I finally found Beginning Traditional Cursive. It’s super cheap and just what I wanted.
Math — We are still using Life of Fred, and we’re about to complete the elementary series and move into the intermediate series! Whoo-hoo! I also use Spectrum Workbooks for a little extra practice where he needs it. Also, the workbooks more closely resemble the standardized tests he’ll need to take, which I want him to get used to.
History — My husband is a history professor, so we’re having a lot of fun exploring history with his help. I’ve written about the history books we purchased in Diving into Human History, and you can follow along with our history lessons on this blog. (See the menu at the top of the page for our history lesson logs.) I’ve already written the first one.
Science — You might have noticed that science isn’t on the schedule, and that’s because I had not really decided on what to do for science when I made it. My son hated the curriculum I bought last year. I have had more luck “unschooling” science because my son is very interested in it. (See all our science posts.) He just taught himself how to use our old telescope, and we’re hoping to get a lot of use out of it this year. We’ve also decided to read The Usbourne Science Encyclopedia, which is a cool book because it has over 180 QR links that I can scan with my phone and then we can watch videos related to the material we’re reading. Perhaps we’ll figure out some experiments we can do along the way too.
Spanish — I have been on a grand search for a Spanish curriculum that would work for us, and I finally found it. I will be writing a review on this for home/school/life soon. We are using Risas y Sonrisas.
Art — Art is an important subject to me, but our exploration of art ebbs and flows. At the moment, I am not planning any formal lessons like I did in the past because we’re busy doing everything else. Both boys are also working on their music lessons in earnest. However, I have found that the best way of getting the boys to get a little creative has been to buy new art supplies once in a while. I also throw art history into our history lessons. I have found Cave Paintings to Picasso to be a helpful book. We also visit an art museum once or twice a year.
Music — Music is still my eleven-year-old’s “project.” He continues piano lessons, preparing for competitions, learning about music history, and attending as many classical music concerts as we can take him to. He’s very serious about it, and it has been an adventure for the whole family. 🙂
As I mentioned before, I will add my reviews of these curricula as I write them. I will also follow up with a post about my 2nd grader’s curriculum.
What are you working on this year?