Homeschool 5th Grade Curriculum Choices 2019-2020

Homeschool 5th Grade Curriculum Choices 2019-2020

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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.

Before jumping into our curriculum choices, though, 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

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. ūüėú

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. ūüėú

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
Spelling You See Curriculum Review

Spelling You See Curriculum 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.

As the name implies, Spelling You See is a spelling curriculum published by Demme Learning. I’ve used Level B in our homeschool with my oldest, and Level A with my middle boy. I’m currently trying out Level B with my middle boy.

Spelling You See Level B Review 

Spelling You See takes a unique approach to spelling. Rather than using word lists or learning phonograms, students learn¬†to spell by marking (“chunking”) letter combinations in a passage, then using portions of the passage for copywork. The same passage is used for a week, with the parent dictating the passage for the student to write at the end of the week.

While I’ve heard of other homeschoolers having great success with this program, it did not work at all for my oldest. The primary learning method used by Spelling You See is the Written Word, and that’s one of my oldest son’s least preferred learning methods. But my middle boy does better with the Written Word, so I’m trying it out with him.

Curriculum Elements 

  • Instructor’s Handbook – This little handbook holds a lot of information. Highlights are a description of the philosophy behind this curriculum, parent instructions for usage of this program, parent instructions for each lesson, and an answer key.
  • Student Workbooks (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Colored Pencils
  • Guide to Handwriting

I will mention one of the things about this curriculum that drives me batty – the font! In the font the curriculum uses, uppercase “I” looks like a lowercase “l”. I found this to be unnecessarily confusing for my kids, that were within a couple of years of having learned to write their letters.¬†¬†

How It Works 

Spelling You See has 36 lessons, split into two workbooks (18 lessons in each). Each lesson has five worksheets (ex. 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E). 

In the first student workbook, each lesson consists of the student marking certain sounds or letters in a passage, and then writing words dictated by the parent (words for dictation are found in the Instructor’s Handbook). ¬†¬†

In the second workbook, the student marks up a passage as instructed, then uses a portion of the passage for copywork for worksheets A-C of each lesson. Worksheet¬†D gives the student a chance to be creative, while on worksheet¬†E the parent dictates the passage after the student “chunks” it.

Teacher Prep 

I would recommend that a parent using this curriculum for the first time familiarize herself with the Instructor’s Handbook and read the Getting Started pages.¬†

Also, one of the weaknesses of Spelling You See is that information for each lesson is spread out all over the Instructor’s Handbook. So it’s helpful to mark the following sections in the with flags/paperclips/bookmark for easy reference:¬†

  • The section giving instructions for each lesson.
  • Dictation pages.
  • Chunking answer key.¬†

Student Time 

Lessons shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes, usually less.¬†

To whom would I recommend Spelling You See? 

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

Recommend to…¬†

  • Students that prefer the Written Word and Spoken Word as learning methods¬†since Spelling You See focuses on copywork and dictation.
  • Students that prefer¬†working One-on-One since there’s so much dictation (especially the first half of the curriculum), but Independent learners may do well with the second workbook since there’s more copywork.
  • Level B uses nursery rhymes for the passages in each lesson, so students that very much enjoy nursery rhymes may find that element of Spelling You See¬†delightful.¬†¬†

I would NOT recommend to…¬†

  • Students that are below the reading level required for the nursery rhymes.
  • Students that struggle learning via the¬†Spoken Word¬†since there’s so much dictation.
  • Students that prefer¬†Independent¬†work – again, because of the dictation.¬†

My Best Tip for Using Spelling You See 

Set a timer for 10 minutes on the days you do passage dictation. A student that is struggling will not benefit from spending more time on this activity, and it may actually discourage and frustrate them so much that they resist in the future. 

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Spelling You See 

While I always encourage parents to customize the curricula that they use for their particular students, I feel that Spelling You See is not as easy to customize as other curricula, and that doing so would be time-intensive with questionable return on investment. Consequently, I feel that Spelling You See either works for a student or it doesn’t. And that the students that it will work for have an affinity for the written word.

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