It’s here already! It’s hard to believe that summer has passed and we are starting the 5th grade but the truth is, we are both excited. Summer was great and we crossed almost everything off of our Summer Bucket List but as the weather cool’s down and we find ourselves inside more often it’s nice to have things to learn. So here we go.
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Last year we bought an extremely expensive though wonderful full curriculum from A Beka. We did great with it but this year we decided to select a curriculum that best fits T. After all, we are having fun here, and focusing more heavily on things he already loves is the best way to get him really involved. Here is the breakdown of what we have chosen for this year. Keep in mind this is books only. We use countless other resources which I will tell you all about later. For the sake of this post, I’m going to stick to the hard copy.
- Science In The Beginning By Dr. Jay L. Wile
- Art Lab For Kids By Susan Schwake
- Write Your Roots By Carol Thaxton, MS
- The Mystery of History – Volume One By Linda Lacour Hobar
- Sugar Creek Gang – Books One through Six – By Paul Hutchens
- Language Arts 5- Harcourt Family Learning
- Apples Daily Spelling Drills by Susan Kemmerer
- Route 66 by Christin Ditchfield
- Around The World in 80 Days by J Verne
- Eat Your Way Around The World by Jamie Aramini
- Life of Fred – Dogs by Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph. D.
- State The Facts – Remedia Publications
- Forged In Faith by Rod Gragg
- The Holy Bible by God
Before I move on I have to recommend that first-year home school moms, like I was last year, go with an organized curriculum because they spell everything out line by line, lesson by lesson, day by day. If you are anything like I was as a newbie, you are likely terrified of letting your child down by not supplying them with every last ounce of information they would be learning in public school. I was beyond terrified. I knew I had to do it for T’s sake but I certainly had my doubts about my ability.
To be perfectly honest, I had zero confidence in my ability to teach. A year later I can smile and say, I can SO teach! We have so much fun, his grades are spectacular, his absorption is exceptional and it’s not even hard. It requires commitment, patience, and a lot of time but it can be done and more importantly, it can be fun. I have to give credit to A Beka’s curriculum for teaching me how to be organized and giving me a very good sense of what was expected of me. Now that I have that under my belt, I picked my own texts. I have reasons for every choice you see above but I am only going to highlight a few in this post and cover more in later posts.
Why did I choose Life of Fred books for T’s curriculum? Well, he has what you might call a fierce and constant hatred of Math. Last year I left the A Beka Math Curriculum and tried several other options to no avail. No matter how I tried he despised Math. I tried to get creative. At the time he was a hardcore WWE wrestling fan and had memorized about thirty wrestlers’ weights, dates of birth, signature moves, and so on. I started using this information in my personal examples such as: If Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, and Tommy Dreamer were all in the ring how much would they weigh together? Or if you had 2 John Cena’s in one ring how much total weight would there be in that ring? This creativity got us through for the first few weeks while we did multiple digit addition, subtraction, and multiplication which was cool for a while, but once again we were forced to turn back to the textbooks.
I ordered five different texts last year and he hated them all. I started asking other parents what they were using and I discovered that a lot of other kids also hate Math with the same ferocity. Eventually, I had it down to two possible contenders. Life of Fred Books or Beast Academy. I intend to try them both out but I started with Life of Fred in hopes T won’t realize that it is a Math text. In these books, you follow the life of Fred as he narrates funny stories and teaches Math almost without you noticing it. For T’s first lesson Fred is a teacher and he cleverly teaches by pulling a stove out in front of the class and cooking eggs. (Sounds a little bit nuts but it works.)
The first question asked T to list three jobs he would not like to have, without referencing any that were mentioned in the story. His answers were super creative and we were both laughing and happy by the time we got to question two which was actual Math. His mood was high and he didn’t even utter a single moan as he worked through it. So far, it’s a hit. I will definitely post updates on our, Journey To Not Hate Math.
The other area T really does not enjoy is writing. He loves telling stories and reading but writing them out bores him. This past year he has developed a sincere interest in his ancestors and how the world was when his great grandparents were little so I found this really awesome book called Write Your Roots. The end goal is to produce a book about your family and its history. You investigate research online, in libraries, and in government offices. You interview your relatives. You design a book layout and cover and you work together as a family. With all that going on he probably won’t notice that we are also learning parts of speech, using transition words, practicing grammar, spelling and capitalization rules and so much more. If he does, I believe he will be into it enough to not let that put him off.
The Mystery of History was an easy choice. T can’t get enough History. He loves it all and this text covers World History. He will have a chance to travel all over the world. This is an awesome Christian text so while he will be learning about the Egyptians, Homer, and Alexander the Great he will also learn about Moses, Noah, and Joseph. The text offers a lot of activities, pre-tests, and fun stuff. It’s the only one of his textbooks he couldn’t resist flipping through even while we were still in the midst of Summer.
Science In The Beginning – T has always been fascinated with the creation of the world and this text covers Science fully but approaches it by covering the Seven Days of Creation. The First Day is 15 lessons discussing light. This covers everything from the colors in creation to refraction to how the human eyes see and much more. The Second Day covers 15 lessons on Water. The Third Day covers land, sea, and plants. The Fourth Day covers the Sun and Solar System. You see how this goes. It’s really awesome. Also, like everything else I select for T it has tons of hands-on experiments.
Finally, I let T pick his own books for independent reading and book reports. He chose the Sugar Creek Gang. The six books in this series will take him on multiple adventures. Everything from catching a bank robber to exploring mysterious caves. The kids in these books have a ball while each story is faith-building and inspiring.
Keep in mind that none of our books will stand alone. We use iPad apps, Netflix documentaries, printables from countless sources, and A LOT of real-world exploration but these are the tools that guide us along. Whether you choose an all-in-one curriculum or have fun selecting your materials piece by piece then we wish you a highly successful year. Be blessed and have fun!
We encourage you to comment – share your favorite or least favorite curriculum with us and if you have experience with any of my chosen texts I would love to hear about your experience.
Other helpful posts for homeschooling families:
- Educational Websites Perfect for Homeschool Learning
- How Homeschoolers Make Friends
- The Homeschool Library – Top Picks for Best Books Ever
- Top Ten Tips – Help For Your Homeschool Journey
- Every Great Homeschool Education Teaches These Key Life Skills
- How To Set Up and Organize Your Homeschool Classroom
- How To Wrap Up Your Homeschool Year
- Deals and Discounts Every Homeschooling Family Should Know About
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