Homeschool 5th Grade Curriculum Choices 2019-2020

Homeschool 5th Grade Curriculum Choices 2019-2020

Today I’m sharing my homeschool curriculum choices for the 2019-2020 school year for my 5th grader, along with why I made these choices for this particular child.

(You can also read about this year’s curriculum choices for my second grader and kindergartener.)

Before jumping into our curriculum choices for fifth grade, please remember that you and I may be working toward different requirements for homeschooling, depending on where you live. So please inform yourself about your local homeschool laws! (I talk more about the importance of that here.)

Ok, on to our particular choices…

(Our general weekly schedule is toward the end.)

2019-2020 Homeschool 5th Grade Curriculum Choices

Group Subjects

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

In years past, I tried to save time in our days by doing history and science as a group. This worked pretty well for our first few years of homeschooling, but became more difficult as the boys grew older and their personalities and learning preferences became more apparent.

Last year, after defining what I know of their Learning Preferences so far, I realized that a group environment was not an ideal way for any of my boys to learn. So I let go of the group paradigm for the most part. For now, we still do our memory work (religious studies, poetry memorization) and read-alouds together.

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Individual Subjects

Bible

5th grade curriculum choices

My 5th grader reads one devotion from One-Minute Prayers for Boys each day independently. I chose this book because the devotionals are short and clear. He writes the verse from that day’s prayer on a whiteboard at his desk, then writes a little prayer of his own into a journal.

5th grade curriculum choices

After he finishes One-Minute Prayers for Boys, he’ll work out of Kay Arthur’s How to Study Your Bible for Kids. I chose this book as an introduction to Bible study for my oldest because I thought Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible study method would appeal to my interactive learner. If it works out, will continue with other Kay Arthur kids’ Bible studies. If not, I’ll probably create my own copywork/journaling Bible curriculum for him.

5th grade curriculum choices

We’re also working on memorizing the books of the Bible as a group, but Spoken Word learning is my son’s weakest learning method. So I created some copywork worksheets for him to accompany our group work.


Math

5th grade curriculum choices

Math-U-See has been a staple in our homeschool from the start and has been a good fit for my oldest, so I decided to continue with Math-U-See Epsilon. I chose this curriculum because I like its mastery approach to teaching math, and also that new concepts are introduced only once a week or so (the way we use it), with intervening days being dedicated to practice and review.

You can see my review of Math-U-See here.


Literature

5th grade curriculum choices

After completing basic phonics instruction two years ago, I switched my oldest to using a reading list that I curated for him. He was a reluctant reader, so I required him to read for at least 30 minutes a day and tried to find books that I thought would interest him.

Mission accomplished! He now says that he looooves to read, and reads a lot on his own. So this year I decided to try out the Literature Units created by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. My goal is that my son will learn to read more closely and thoughtfully. I chose Erica’s literature units because my oldest is an interactive learner and really loves lapbooks.

As for our specific choice – I looked through the lapbooks Erica has available and selected a few that I thought might interest my son. Then I let him choose. But I know my kid and his love of candy, so I knew that he would choose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 😜

After he completes his current choice, I’ll guide him in choosing another one of Erica’s literature units.


Grammar

5th grade curriculum choices

We started using IEW’s Fix It! Grammar series last year. I wanted to try it because its unique approach to grammar (editing and marking up one sentence a day in a continuing story) seemed perfect for my interactive learner. We liked it so much that we are using it again this year. It’s a very good curriculum as-is, but it became excellent for us when I customized it by creating checklists for my son to guide him through the daily editing and marking process.


Spelling

5th grade curriculum choices

My fifth grader has used All About Spelling since we began homeschooling, but it didn’t work as well for my second grader and I had to find something new for him. I ended up choosing Spelling Power, so decided to use it with my fifth grader, as well, since I was buying it anyway. I chose Spelling Power because it looked like I could customize it to suit my son. And bonus: it’s supposed to be the only spelling curriculum I will ever need!

After receiving the book and reading through the lengthy introduction, I saw that they highly discourage customization of the program. Honestly, that kind of made me chuckle and kind of made me roll my eyes because no curriculum is perfect for every single student as-written. But I gave their method a go, just to see.

I’ve realized that no, my instincts were right, I need to customize. So we’re still in the process of finding just the right way to use Spelling Power that will allow both of my older boys to progress in their spelling skills without loads of angst and frustration.


Handwriting

One of my son’s delights is jokes/humor, so I was thrilled to come across Cursive Writing Practice: Jokes & Riddles. Students practice writing words from jokes and riddles in cursive, then write the jokes and riddles themselves in cursive. Students can even cut out the jokes and riddles to create a booklet.

See my review of Cursive Writing Practice: Jokes & Riddles here.

We started using this workbook this summer and will continue using it until we’ve completed it. He’s also writing out the final draft of some of this writing assignments in cursive, so I’m not sure yet if we’ll need to find something new once he’s done with this workbook.


Writing

5th grade curriculum choices

We’re continuing using IEW’s Student Writing Intensive, Level A since we didn’t finish it last year. This is another very good curriculum that became great after I customized it by creating checklists and graphic organizers to fit my son’s preferred learning method.

Once we’re done with Student Writing Intensive, we’ll probably try IEW’s All Things Fun & Fascinating.


Science

I really didn’t have it in me to do a lot of science experiments this year, so I wanted a science curriculum that didn’t have science experiments as an integral part of the program. I also wanted to allow my son to continue with more delight-directed learning for science this year since I plan to move him to something more rigorous next year.

Since one of my son’s Delights is Minecraft, I decided to let him choose Skrafty science courses. He chose to start with geology. He should finish it in a couple of months, so if it goes well I’ll let him choose another course.


History

5th grade curriculum choices

For history, I chose BJU Press’ Heritage Studies 5. I’ve taken a unit study approach to history in the past, but really wanted a basic textbook curriculum this year to give myself a break. I like Heritage Studies because it approaches American History from a Christian worldview and has a colorful activity manual. I was also happy to discover that it includes mapping, vocabulary, and suggestions for hands-on activities.


Technology

5th grade curriculum choices

My fifth grader will continue learning about coding with a DK workbook – Coding with Python and JavaScript. Last year we used DK’s Scratch workbook, and it was very well done. So we’ll continue with DK as my son learns “real” coding.

I don’t know that we’ll finish this workbook. Coding is something that requires a certain personality, way of thinking, and level of maturity. If my son ends up hating it, I probably won’t require him to complete it. So I’m seeing this more as an exposure to computer coding.


Spanish

5th grade curriculum choices

We tried using Flip Flop Spanish last year as a group. While I really like the hands-on way this curriculum teaches Spanish, learning as a group didn’t work for us.

5th grade curriculum choices

For this school year, I decided to have my oldest learn Spanish on his own. I wanted to use Flip Flop Spanish since we do have it, but wanted to adapt it to allow my son to work independently and with a written element. So I’m experimenting by creating copywork worksheets based on Flip Flop Spanish. I’m also recording phrases for my son to listen to and repeat using the voice memo feature on my phone.


Typing

5th grade curriculum choices

My oldest used Typing Instructor for Kids to learn how to type a couple of years ago, but he came to me a few months ago and said that he was struggling with typing and felt like he needed more practice. So I put Typing Instructor back into the rotation. He loves the games and looks forward to typing practice.


5th grade curriculum choices

Extracurricular

Cub Scouts – My fifth grader will continue with Cub Scouts this year. I was somehow surprised by how much learning happens in Cub Scouts. The many shared experiences are a great way to make friends, and it’s also good bonding time with Daddy since my husband deals with all the Cub Scouts stuff. This coming up year will be exciting for my oldest since he’ll be moving up to Boy Scouts!

Homeschool Co-op – We recently joined a local low-stress homeschool co-op that focuses on social activities like park days with some educational opportunities thrown in. Just another way I’m trying to socialize my kid. 😜

Those are our homeschool curriculum choices … for now. I usually evaluate how things are going in December – adding, subtracting, and/or changing as needed.

5th grade curriculum choices
Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices – 2019-2020

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices – 2019-2020

Today I’m sharing our kindergarten homeschool curriculum choices for the 2019-2020 school year, along with why I made these choices for this particular child.

(You can also read about this year’s curriculum choices for my second grader and fifth grader.)

Before jumping into my kindergartener’s curriculum choices, please remember that you and I may be working toward different requirements for homeschooling, depending on where you live. So please inform yourself about your local homeschool laws! (I talk more about the importance of that here.)

Ok, on to our particular choices…

(Our general weekly schedule is toward the end.)

2019-2020 Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Group Subjects

In years past, I tried to save time in our days by doing history and science as a group. This worked pretty well for our first few years of homeschooling, but became more difficult as the boys grew older and their personalities and learning preferences became more apparent.

Last year, after defining what I know of their Learning Preferences so far, I realized that a group environment was not an ideal way for any of my boys to learn. So I let go of the group paradigm for the most part. For now, we still do our memory work (religious studies, poetry memorization) and read-alouds together.

Individual Subjects

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

Morning Work

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

This is the first year that my little kindergartener is doing Morning Work. Morning Work for us is a binder that includes calendaring activities and any other work that either can be done quickly or doesn’t really fit in anywhere else.

For now, all I have in his Morning Work binder is a set of calendar pages that I’ve created for him in order to get accustomed to the way a calendar works. He updates our wall calendar with the appropriate date, then updates his Morning Work calendar.

Later on this year I plan to add some copywork/tracing of personal information, like first and last name, home address, and phone numbers.


Bible

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

The Beginner’s Bible is my absolute favorite Bible storybook because the Bible stories are faithful to the original without being dumbed down, and the language is for the most part accessible to early elementary students. I chose this book because my older two read through this book in past years and loved it so much that it’s now falling apart! Hopefully I can keep it in one piece long enough for my youngest to enjoy it this year.


Math

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Math-U-See has been a staple in our homeschool from the start, so I decided to use Math-U-See Primer for my kindergartener. I chose this curriculum because I like its mastery approach to teaching math, and also that new concepts are introduced only once a week or so (the way we use it), with intervening days being dedicated to practice and review.

You can see my review of Math-U-See here.


Phonics

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Hooked on Phonics was my choice for my little one because I’ve used it with my older two boys in the past with great success. My youngest actually started the kindergarten level of Hooked on Phonics almost a year ago, so he’s almost done with it. When he’s done with the kindergarten level, we’ll move on to the first grade level.

You can see my review of Hooked on Phonics here.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Besides Hooked on Phonics, we also read a “real” book each day. Right now we’re working through the Bob Books sets that I have. My son LOVES these little books, and they’re a great way for my little one to feel like a big boy with a big boy book.

You can see my review of Bob Books here.


Handwriting/Grammar

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

My kindergartner used the pre-k level of Handwriting Without Tears to learn how to write his uppercase letters last year, so we’re continuing with the kindergarten level to review uppercase letters and learn how to write lowercase letters. I chose this curriculum because I love the gentle and clear instruction and have used various levels with all of my kids.

You can see my review of the pre-k level of Handwriting Without Tears here.


Science

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

I really didn’t have it in me to do a lot of science experiments this year, so I wanted a science curriculum that didn’t have science experiments as an integral part of the program. And besides, I need my kindergartener to learn the very basics of science.

I chose the Carson Dellosa Interactive Science Notebooks because they are a fun, hands-on way to learn and organize new science concepts, they make suggestions for simple “experiment” types of activities that I can handle in this season of life, and they provide a way for my little student to process what he’s learned in his own way.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

We tried out this Kumon Sticker Science workbook last year, and my son loves it. We’ll incorporate it into his other science studies this year.

You can see my review of this Kumon Science Sticker Activity Book here.


History

My kindergartener will not be going through a formal history curriculum this year because I feel that it’s important that he get a better understanding of the world at large first by learning a little bit about geography, but he will be participating in some American history activities with my older two boys.


Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Geography

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

For geography I’ve chosen Skill Sharpeners Geography, Grade Pre-K. I actually meant to purchase the kindergarten edition, but this arrived so I guess I got a bit click-happy in Amazon. After looking at it, I determined that it’s appropriate for my kindergartener. I chose it because it has fun, simple activities that are age-appropriate.


Art

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

There are only so many hours in the day, so the subject of art has low priority in our homeschool. But after learning how to hold and use a crayon correctly last year (thanks, Handwriting Without Tears!), my little one developed a love of drawing and crafting in general. So I wanted to give this newly revealed Delight its place in my kindergartener’s school work.

I chose this Scholastic Step-By-Step Drawing Book because the drawings look age-appropriate and I think that, after becoming accustomed to it, my son will eventually be able to work out of it independently.


Extracurricular

Cub Scouts – My kindergartener is so excited to join his brothers in Cub Scouts! I was somehow surprised by how much learning happens in Cub Scouts. The many shared experiences are a great way to make friends, and it’s also good bonding time with Daddy since my husband deals with all the Cub Scouts stuff.

Homeschool Co-op – We recently joined a local low-stress homeschool co-op that focuses on social activities like park days with some educational opportunities thrown in. Just another way I’m trying to socialize my kid. 😜

Those are our homeschool curriculum choices … for now. I usually evaluate how things are going in December – adding, subtracting, and/or changing as needed.


Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
Indescribable Devotional Book Review

Indescribable Devotional Book Review

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

Louie Giglio’s Indescribable is a devotional for kids that incorporates scientific facts. I purchased it to use in our homeschool as a group devotional. Considering Louie Giglio’s dynamic speaking style and love for science (see this video about DNA and laminin – wow!), I was very excited about reading this book.

Indescribable Devotional Book Review

How It’s Set Up

Indescribable has 100 devotions, each being two pages long. Each devotion begins with a Bible verse followed by the devotion itself, and then ends with a prayer. Each devotion also has a “Be Amazed” sidebar with a (usually) scientific fact.

The science in the devotionals cover four major topics:

  • space
  • earth
  • animals
  • people

Devotions covering these topics are peppered throughout the book, but the introduction contains a handy dandy list of page numbers for each topic. The typical reader might start reading with the first devotion and go straight through, but thanks to the topic list, you can use Indescribable as a resource for your science studies.

My Thoughts

Indescribable is a nice devotional for elementary students, with easy-to-understand text, cute drawings, and interesting pictures. I read Indescribable aloud to my kids during our group learning time, and it usually instigates some fun conversation and online investigation on the scientific topic covered.

While it’s a nice devotional, Indescribable is not what I expected. Each devotion does talk about a scientific topic and relate it to some spiritual lesson, but the relation between the science and the spiritual lesson is often not direct. This lack of direct connection between science and “spirit” makes Indescribable a devotional with some science when I expected a book with a lot of science that reveals spiritual truths. In other words, I expected a book with a lot more of the laminin-type of material I mentioned above, only written to be understoood by kids. Since my expectation for the book was different from what I found, Indescribable did not grab me as I’d hoped.

To whom would I recommend [product]?

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)

Recommend to…

  • Students that do well learning via the Spoken Word may appreciate Indescribable as a read-aloud.
  • Students that do well learning via the Written Word may appreciate reading Indescribable on their own, possibly as part of their morning devotional.
  • Students that do well learning with Visual learning methods will enjoy the drawings and pictures.
  • Students that love science.
  • Families that enjoy a family devotional.

I would NOT recommend to…

I would not recommend Indescribable to anyone looking for in-depth, The Case for Christ-type of correlation between science and God.

My Best Tips for Using Indescribable

  • Consider your kids’ preferred learning methods before deciding how to use Indescribable. I found that even a child that really enjoys science (but does not learn well with the Spoken Word) had a hard time being attentive when I used this as a read-aloud group devotional.
  • If you decide to use Indescribable as a resource/supplement for your science studies, do the work of plugging specific pages into your planner on the appropriate dates. For example, if you’re studying DNA, you may want to plug page 76 into your planner to use as a devotion at around the time you cover this topic.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Indescribable

While not exactly what I expected, Indescribable is a very nice devotional for elementary students.

Kumon Preschool Science Sticker Activity Book Review

Kumon Preschool Science Sticker Activity Book Review

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links.

The Kumon Science workbook is one of Kumon’s sticker activity books and introduces science concepts in a fun way. I’m currently using it in our homeschool with my preschooler.

Kumon Science Review

The Kumon Science workbook is a fun sticker activity book for preschoolers. It includes activities like coloring, mazes, and, of course, stickers. The activities are very basic, but varied and colorful enough to make them interesting for a preschooler.  The cover says that this workbook is appropriate for pre-k and up, but it may be too simplistic for anyone but a preschooler.

I extend the interactive elements of this workbook by asking my student to add to each page with a drawing, stamps, or stickers from our collection.

Structure

The Kumon Science workbook is divided into four chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Life Science
  • Chapter 2: Earth Science
  • Chapter 3: Physical Science
  • Chapter 4: Space Science

Each chapter covers 12 mini-topics (except for chapter 4, which covers 11), and most mini-topics are just one page long. Each mini-topic has a fact to share and discuss with your student, along with a related activity. Sticker pages are towards the back of the book (perforated so that you can pull them out) along with the answer key (which you probably won’t need).

Teacher Prep

Some of the pages require drawing or coloring, sometimes with specific colors. The workbook suggests having the eight basic crayon colors and a white colored pencil, but the pages are so slick that we found that markers worked better.

Other than having the crayons/markers available, this workbook should be open-and-go for the parent.

Student Time

Each page should take less than five minutes to do, which is totally appropriate for a preschooler. Kids that like workbooks may want to do more than that in one sitting, so you may want to decide ahead of time if that fits within your plans.

To whom would I recommend Kumon Science?

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)

Recommend to…

  • Students that do well with Interactive learning methods since this entire workbook is about being interactive.
  • Students that could use some work on their fine motor skills – the stickers, coloring, and drawing will help with that.
  • Preschoolers that want to learn science “like a big kid.” 🙂

I would NOT recommend to…

Students beyond kindergarten – they may find this activity book too simplistic.

My Best Tip for Using Kumon Science

While it will be tempting to either rush through this workbook and give less than a minute to each page, I recommend taking it slow and fully exploring the fact on each mini-topic via discussion or related activity.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Kumon Science

The Kumon Science workbook is a fun and gentle way to introduce science concepts to a preschooler, and is one of my preshooler’s favorite things to do!

How to Create an Unschooling Learning Plan

How to Create an Unschooling Learning Plan

Unschooling Learning Plan

I’ve become interested in exploring “unschooling” as a way for my kids to delve more into their interests. The definition I’m using for unschooling is using an interest-led and child-directed approach to learning, rather than using a purchased curriculum or parent-created unit study. I think that unschooling may be a good way to teach my kids how to learn in a way that will serve them for the rest of their lives, and another step toward fully independent learning.

At the moment, I’m trying out unschooling with my oldest for his science studies. Since he’s only 9, I felt that I needed to give him a bit of structure as I guide him in this learning experiment. So I created a printable to facilitate this learning process.

Begin with Questions

Any good science exploration begins with questions, and the printable reflects that idea. After choosing a general topic, specific questions help my son to focus and direct his learning.

Learning Ideas

The printable then shows him different ways to learn about that topic, and gives him ideas for each of these learning categories.

  • Watch – My kids watch a lot of science-related educational programming on PBS Kids, so I had that in mind for this category. They also love the Magic School Bus and the newer version of that show, The Magic School Bus Rides Again (both on Netflix). There’s a wiki for both shows that tell you the scientific focus of each episode, which is really helpful for when you’re looking for something specific. I’ve also found helpful short videos on scientific topics on YouTube. Documentaries are also a good option, if you can find one to hold your child’s attention.
  • Read – Fiction and non-fiction are possibilities here, even fun reference books targeted to children (like a children’s encyclopedia).
  • Play – Games, kits, puzzles, experiments, apps, even Minecraft are possibilities here. We also have a subscription to Minecraft Homeschool, which has courses on many topics.
  • Create – My thought with this category was for my child to find a way to be creative with the things that he’s learning. So he could create a model, drawing, a Scratch program…even charts and diagrams could be fun creative outlets.
  • Write – This could be as simple as having him write three sentences in his science notebook for each activity he does. For a child that loves to write, this could be report or even a story.
  • Teach – I’ve been entranced by the leadership benefits for older children in a one-room schoolhouse as they help younger children to learn, so I was hoping to explore that idea in this context. Possibilities could include him creating/running an experiment for his younger siblings, giving them a short lecture about an interesting aspect of his learning, or even designing a lapbook or notebooking page for them to use.

This isn’t meant to be a strict plan. These are just ideas. For our first shot at this, after choosing a topic and writing down a couple of questions, my son and I explored learning activities in the Watch, Read, Play, and Create categories. He wrote down the ones that interested him. We’ll revisit these ideas, adding and subtracting as we go. When he’s ready to close down this topic, I’ll encourage him to share with his brothers an aspect of what he’s learned (the Teach category).

Implementing the Unschooling Learning Plan

So what does day-to-day learning look like when unschooling? Possibilities range from the very relaxed (“What science activity do you want to do today?”) to the very structured (transferring all ideas your child has decided upon to a lesson planner).

In our case, we’re somewhere between relaxed and structured. We keep a copy of this printable in my son’s science binder. I’ve highlighted the activities that are ready to go (we have the book, or the show, or the supplies) for him to choose from on a day that we’re doing science. If an activity requires a lot of help from me, or for someone else to be involved (ex. my husband, a grandparent), I’ll take the opportunity to teach my son to respect the time of others by getting him to schedule a specific day and time for it.

Tracking Learning and Getting Ready for the Future

Besides the learning ideas page, I also created a form for my son to keep track of his learning activities, as well as a form for him to keep track of any new questions he comes up with during his learning process. These new questions will be helpful as we consider a new science topic to explore once he closes out the current topic. My son keeps all of these forms in his science binder.

Are you ready to take a different approach to learning?

Download these learning plan printables today!

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Unschooling Learning Plan
Unschooling Learning Plan
Unschooling Learning Plan

** This post contains affiliate links.

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