2022-2023 Curriculum Picks: 5th Grade
We are 6 weeks into year #6 of homeschooling and I am finally ready to share what curriculum I will be using for each girl this year! This is the first year in 6 years where I have made a big change! I am not one to jump from curriculum to curriculum, so when I do change things up, I want to make sure I give it a good bit before I share. With that being said, I will break it down by each subject. First up, our new 5th grader Claire Bear!
Quick View of Subjects:
- Math - The Good & the Beautiful Level 5
- Writing- IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing)
- Spelling- Rod & Staff Level 5
- Handwriting- The Good & the Beautiful Level 7
- Daily Grammar- Daily Grams 5
- Typing- Mickey's Typing Adventure Web
- Language Arts- Classical Conversations Essentials Class
- Reading- Books picked by Claire & 2 hours of reading per day
- Science- Classical Conversations Foundations & expanding with TGATB
- History- Classical Conversations Foundations & expanding with Beautiful Feet Books
- Latin- Classical Conversations Foundations
Claire's 5th Grade Daily Rhythm:
Math: The Good & The Beautiful Level 5
This was the biggest change for us this year, and one I didn’t see coming when we started this year! We started out our school year with Claire in Horizons Math Level 5. If you have been around for a while, you know I LOVE Horizons math and have used it from the very beginning of our homeschooling journey. Horizons math is a solid, advanced and fast paced, spiral method, math curriculum and has been amazing for Claire. It was a no brainer for her to continue on with Horizons Math 5 for this year. Many moms switch from Horizons Math to Saxon Math come 5th grade, but because Claire was thriving in Horizons and I’m not a curriculum jumper, Horizons 5 it was! Horizons Math has served Claire well since Kindergarten!
We got a week or so into our new school year and Horizons 5 was starting to frustrate Claire. Not because she couldn’t do it and was ready to give up, but because she needed more instruction, she was starting to have more questions as the lessons progressed. Horizons Math is an advanced math curriculum and moves quickly compared to other math curriculums out there. Claire was beginning to find herself needing me to answer more questions and work through more problems unlike she had needed me to in the past.
However, because I’m also schooling 4 more little ones, her questions were getting pushed to the side and having to wait. If you know Claire, she likes to get her work done before lunch, so this clearly wasn’t working for her and becoming a point of frustration. Later in the week I was watching my girlfriend Ashlee’s stories (Instagram & blogger Ashlee over at @ashlee_graceandgrit) and saw her daughter, also in 5th grade, working on her math and watching a video. I immediately recognized it was The Good & the Beautiful and quickly messaged her asking how they were liking it. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about the new Simply Math, and as a former Horizons Math user herself, I knew I could trust her opinion! I went ahead and placed an order for TGTAB Math 5, and it arrived in no time!
Claire has been in TGATB math for several weeks now and we are BLOWN away! The video instruction at the beginning of each lesson has been a complete game changer! She has always enjoyed Horizons math, but the lesson videos have been so helpful and have allowed her to remain independent! I did a good flip through of the level 5 TGATB math when it arrived, comparing it to Horizons 5, and the new version of this math is much more at the level of Horizons (scope and sequence is just different), and it also seems more challenging than their previous math. I had my husband flip through Horizons 5 and TGATB 5 to compare them side by side as well, and he liked TGATB better. He could tell it was thought out very well. He liked the in-depth instructions, as well as all of the graphing and charts he saw throughout. Caleb is an engineer and very math oriented, so I knew his opinion would be extremely valuable. We both agreed that TGATB provided very clear instruction and did a really good job in the lessons explaining the “why” behind each math problem, making it a wonderful switch!
Overall, we are very happy with our math change this year and will keep y’all posted as we progress. Claire has had nothing but wonderful things to say about TGATB Math as well. I was worried it was going to be too easy for Claire, but I have found TGATB teaches more logic problems and number sense which has been so wonderful! I honestly feel it is the best of both worlds- Spiral method like Horizons (our preferred method), while also teaching logic and number sense like Singapore Math (one I have used and highly recommend as well for a mastery-based curriculum option).
Spelling: Rod & Staff 5
This is my first year to use Rod & Staff Spelling and we are really enjoying it! Not to mention, it is extremely affordable! Claire is able to complete the lessons independently. Each lesson is broken up into A, B & C sections for the weekly lesson. She completes A on Monday, B on Tuesday, Wednesday we are at CC, C on Thursday and I give her a spelling quiz on Friday. I do have her copy her list of words each day in her spelling notebook, along with completing that day’s section in the lesson. I use a personalized notebook from Family Nest Printing for her to copy her spelling words in. (Use code T5GSH10 for 10% off your purchase at Family Nest Printing).
Language Arts: Classical Conversations Essentials
We are in our 6th year with Classical Conversations. Starting in 4th grade the students start the afternoon program called Essentials. Essentials covers writing (IEW) & Grammar. It is a very thorough Language Arts program where we learn how write papers using IEW, parse & diagram sentences, learn vocabulary, etc.
Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
I start my girls in IEW in 4th grade, so this is Claire’s second year to use this program (prior to 4th grade, I only have the girls do daily journaling that is fun and I don't make any corrections to it- rid of that red pen, girl). We LOVE IEW! I highly recommend this writing program to everyone. The DVD’s that cover each unit have been extremely helpful to me, and have helped me teach IEW to Claire with no issue, as well as make it less intimidating! Don’t be scared of this writing program, once you use it, you will love it! For us, IEW is a part of the Essentials program with Classical Conversations, however, you do not have to be a part of a CC community to use IEW! Check their website to order your books and DVDs!
Grammar: Daily Grams Grade 5
Daily Grams 5. I start daily Grams in 4th grade. There is one sheet per day (front side only) which covers things like: capitalization, editing, parts of speech, sentence combining, analogies, etc. The answers are provided in the back of the book. Daily Grams make for a great daily warm-up.
*We also do in depth Grammar work in Essentials*
Typing: Mickey’s Typing Adventure Web
Claire started typing this year and she loves this program! I pay monthly for our subscription online. She practices for 20 minutes each day. I laugh at myself when I think of the time I tried to start Claire in typing in 1st grade. Oh the things we learn along the way! Tip- only start them in typing when it's something they can do independently and doesn't require your help. Trust me, its worth the wait! HA!
Classical Conversations: Foundations
CC Foundations covers all subjects using memory work; however, we do supplement! My favorite CC memory work subjects are skip counting, Timeline and the English! If you are looking into Classical Conversations, know that you will need to supplement the memory work math with an actual Math Curriculum. If you have a younger kiddo, you will also need to supplement some type of reading program for teaching your little one how to read (I use All About Reading for all of my girls). While CC covers all subjects, and memory work is enough if you are truly following the Classical method, always feel free to add in great literature or additional curriculum supplements if you are wanting to expand on subjects such as Science & History, but just know you don’t have to!
Science: TGATB Space Science, TGATB Science for Little Hearts & Hands & T5GSH Science Toolbox #4
Because we are in CC, we do cover a new science topic in memory work each week. However, I like to expand upon the weekly memory work sentences and dig a little deeper when we can! This year we are using TGATB Space Science Unit study to expand on the space memory work in CC. I just pick and choose lessons that I think would interest my girls! We will also be using T5GSH Science Toolbox #4 as a visual & spine for our CC science and will expand upon, and dig deeper in, each topic as the girls show interest. I will be pulling books that go more in depth on each topic and from there we will be note booking and doing fun hands-on learning, keeping this subject fun and engaging! I will also be using TGATB Science for Little Hearts & Hands. While this is geared for Preschool-2nd grade, and Claire is a 5th grader, this will mainly be for my younger girls, but I already know Claire will be interested in the stories and videos too! As you can see, I piece together different things, but don’t let that intimidate you. I keep things VERY simple around here and pick and choose lessons as the girls show interest and as we can fit them in- this is KEY, if we don't have time that day, we don't do it- no worries! Right now I have our expanded science day set for Friday’s. I hold this schedule loosely- remember your curriculum should serve you, not the other way around!
History & Geography: Beautiful Feet Books Around the World Part 1
History and Geography are both covered in Classical Conversations Foundations, but, as I mentioned above, we will be digging deeper in these subjects when we can! BFB Around the World Part 1 pairs so well with the countries we will be covering this year in CC, making this pick a no brainer! I will choose the lessons in this curriculum that tie in well with our weekly memory work and read the corresponding literature. Again, we hold all supplementation loosely and add it in only for fun! Right now, I have extra History days added into our weekly schedule on Monday’s & Thursday’s. Again, if we can't fit it in that day, we don't do it. I purposely put it as the very last time slot in our day for a reason!
Handwriting: The Good & the Beautiful Level 7
Claire and I both agreed she is good to go when it comes to handwriting. She has wonderful handwriting, and her cursive is beautiful (I start all of my girls in Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Kickoff in 2nd grade), so we decided to go ahead and order her TGATB level 7 handwriting book. She only completes a line or two each day-- 1 page could take her a whole week. Handwriting is solely just “extra” at this point.
Claire reads on average 2 hours per day. I have always allowed her to choose books that interest her (this is huge), and she takes the lead when it comes to her reading! If you are needing some book recommendations for your kiddo, I highly recommend utilizing the book lists from:
- Honey for a Child’s Heart By: Gladys Hunt
- Lists broken up by age, reading level and interest
- The Good & the Beautiful Book list on their website
- Utilize the booklist search tool on the website and check a book before your kiddo reads it! I love how the book review rates the Level of Moral, Literary Level, and Educational Level. This really helps us mamas to choose books that we aren't able to read ourselves before the child does!
FAQ regarding the Classical Conversations Foundations & Essentials program
Classical Conversations as a whole is for ages 4 years old- 12th grade. This is not a drop and go program for the Foundations & Essentials classes. Mom or Dad is required to stay on campus with their child(ren) during the Foundations and Essentials program time.
Foundations is from 9 am to 12 pm one day per week at a local church (check the CC website to find a campus near you). Foundations is for students from 4 years old through 6th grade.
Essentials is from 1 pm-3 pm. This is for children from 4th grade through 6th grade. You can just do Essentials for your child, or you can add Essentials onto their foundations portion (they would be on campus from 9:00 am-3:00 pm if you do both). You can choose what works for you! Essentials covers Writing (IEW), Grammar & Math (mental math games). The child's parent is required to sit in on Essentials with their child for the entire 2 hours.
I hope you found this blog post helpful and I will be back soon with curriculum picks for the other 4 girls! Have a wonderful week ahead!