Officially, our “homeschool year” isn’t over until August, and I will continue to give my boys lessons through the summer. However, when the weather turns warm, we start making time to get outdoors, and I begin to prioritize our lessons in this way:
- What can we finish before June?
- What do I want to stop and carry over until September?
- What will we do for summer lessons?
I have been concentrating on those things I want to finish and putting other things aside so that we can enjoy the good weather, and I’m making flexible plans for the summer, which I’ll write about later.
There are a few subjects I plan to write more detailed posts about, but I wanted to briefly go over what we accomplished and didn’t accomplish as I look back on the plans I made for 5th grade at the beginning of this year. This is for my eleven-year-old.
I’ve already written a detailed curriculum review — and our experience of — IEW’s Student Writing Intensive on the home/school/life blog. Be sure to check that out, if you’re looking for a writing curriculum. We haven’t finished it yet, and to be honest, I may try something else over the summer, and if we like it better, we may not go back to it. However, I think IEW’s curriculum has worked well as far as getting my son started with formal writing.
We finished reading Blood on the River: James Town, 1607, and we’ve been reading The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich, which I hope to finish soon. I continue to read the Redwall series to my eleven-year-old in the evenings. We’re reading them in publication order, and now we’re on book five, Salamandastron.
Yes, we read slow! I wrote all about that on the home/school/life blog too. But we’ve also been reading some long books for our history curriculum this year, including Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Odyssey. (We used the version from our library that was illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus.) We also read D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. I consider these books part of our “literature” and “history” exploration.
My son also likes reading silently to himself, and my husband will pick up a tall stack of graphic novels for him from the library every month.
This year he completed Beginning Traditional Cursive. Not sure how I’ll continue with cursive practice yet.
The Life of Fred series continues to be a winner in our house, and we’ve finished up to the book titled Liver. I will probably save Mineshaft for next year. We’ve started using Kahn Academy, which my son likes. (I tried it a year or two ago, and it wasn’t a good fit then.) We also used a Spectrum Workbook, but less so, since we began Kahn Academy. We have found the videos on Mathantics to be extremely helpful.
I keep detailed records of what we do for history on this blog, although I have not yet published what we’ve done for Ancient Greece (coming soon).
I’m very proud of how much world history we’ve done this past year and a half. We’ve covered these topics: prehistory, Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, the Hebrews, Ancient India, Ancient China, and Ancient Greece. Our huge history timeline is filling up with interesting points of history!
When you spend a lot of time doing one thing, something else has to give. This year I feel like we haven’t done enough science, but then again, we did so much science in the past, we were kind of ahead, so maybe that’s okay. We did watch plenty of science and nature documentaries, raised monarch butterflies, expanded our garden, and continued to learn about birds.
My heading at the beginning of the year was “Spanish,” but now I’ve changed it to “Foreign Language.” This is because….yes, I may be crazy!…we’ve begun learning two foreign languages: Spanish and Chinese.
Learning languages has been fun, but we’ve taken it slow (like we do with everything), and I feel like this year has been more about figuring out how to teach the languages than actually learning much of it. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m going to keep trying. I will write more detailed posts when I feel like I have more to say about it.
You can read about my search to find the perfect Spanish curriculum in the Winter 2018 issue of home/school/life magazine. We have been using Risas y Sonrisas, and I love it. We’re trying out Better Chinese for Chinese.
In November, we went to Chicago to visit relatives, and we took the boys to the Art Institute of Chicago. Leading up to this trip, I spent a few weeks teaching the boys about the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists as well as a few other artists whose works were featured in that museum. We did some related art projects too. It was so much fun, and my eleven-year-old especially enjoyed it. He likes art history, especially when he learns about an artist who lived at the same time as one of the famous music composers. In fact, I gave him an assignment to find two artists who lived during the time of two composers, and then we searched for their artwork at the museum.
Besides this, we had a couple of other art history/art project days that we did when we needed a break from our regular routine, and during our Biloxi trip, we visited the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and the Mobile Museum of Art, which I’m going to write about soon on this blog.
For our art history lessons, I have found the artist bios on ducksters.com to be a great starting off point as well as Art With Mati and Dada, other YouTube videos, and, of course, library books. I ordered several Chicago Institute of Art books from our state-wide inter-library loan system.
If you read my blog regularly, you know that music is what our days are all about, so I won’t repeat that information here. I’ve already written about my 5th grader’s third year of piano lessons, and you can view his YouTube channel here. It shouldn’t be too long before we post more videos there. 🙂
That’s our 5th grade curriculum in a nutshell. It’s been a full, good year, and I’m very pleased with what my son has achieved. I’ll eventually follow up with a review of my 2nd grader’s year too.