I’ve really enjoyed this Top Picks series. It’s been fun to share what my favorites have been and I enjoy hearing the feedback on your top curriculum choices. You can see the previous Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Top Picks for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, and 3rd and 4th grade.
Today, I’ll be sharing my top picks for 5th and 6th grades. Really, there aren’t a lot of changes this week because so many of my favorites just move into higher levels. But, for what it’s worth…
Math. My top picks are still Horizons and Teaching Textbooks. Up until Pre-Algebra, Teaching Textbooks does the grading for you, plus you’ve still got the video teaching lessons. This makes it really great for fifth and sixth graders who are most likely ready to begin working mostly independently, if they’re not already.
Grammar. Again, hands-down my picks for grammar are Easy Grammar with Daily Grams. I can’t say enough good things about them. The cyclical teaching format, along with continually building more complex concepts on previously learned concepts makes this duo my top choice for grammar from elementary through high school.
Writing. During the upcoming year, we’ll be using WordSmith Apprentice. Now, I’ll be completely honest and tell you that I’m making this a sight-unseen pick based on the fact that we’ve used and enjoyed WordSmith. I expect this to be a gentle introduction to the art of creative writing.
Reading. By this point, reading instruction should (hopefully) be over and kids should be reading for information and, we hope, pleasure. I try to tie reading into our other studies, with my favorite being historical fiction. This would also be a prime time to explore great books. Period. Those books that you remember from childhood or the award-winners are great places to start. Some that come to mind for me are: The Black Stallion series, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Little House on the Prairie…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What are some of your personal favorites?
Spelling. You know, by now, that I love All About Spelling. Currently, this curriculum only goes up through Level 6, which doesn’t necessarily correspond with grade level. If you’re using AAS and your child is still working his or her way through the levels, this would still be my top choice.
If you’ve got an older child who struggles with spelling, we’ve had great success with Apples: Daily Spelling Drills. Apples is designed for older students who are struggling with spelling and it does a great job of breaking down the spelling and phonics rules for older students (middle to high school age). It is decidedly Christian, so if you’re looking for a secular spelling program, this would not be for you. If you are Christian, you may run into some issues with Bible translation differences for some fill-in-the-blank spelling practice. We had this issue — a lot of times the word that the workbook was going for was not the word used in our translation. This wasn’t a big issue, but it did come up from time to time.
History. I really like Pandia Press History Odyssey for kids who have completed the four year Story of the World cycle. Pandia Press History Odyssey combines great, hands-on learning with fantastic literature. Based on what I’ve seen so far, unless you have a really strong reader, I would stick with Level 1 through middle school. Brianna is finding the Level 2 reading very challenging. If you take a look at History Odyssey, be sure to read the book lists for each level to find the right fit for your child.
Science. We’ve long been fans of the Christian Kids Explore science series. Fifth and sixth grades would be a great time to take your child through the Chemistry and Physics books in the series. This year we’re also going to be taking a look at two other science options that look promising: R.E.A.L. Science, by Pandia Press, and A Reason for Science from the same people who brought you A Reason for Handwriting and A Reason for Spelling.
Just a note, R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey is a secular science curriculum. From what I’ve been told, evolutionary topics are not really addressed in the younger levels. We don’t have a problem using those references to talk about our beliefs and what other people believe, but I did want to make you aware of that fact so that you can make the best decision for your family.
My Bible Study, handwriting, fine arts and nature study choices haven’t changed from those I suggested for third and fourth grades, so I’m going to be lazy and not type those out again. 😉 (Hey, it’s late and I’m a very slow typist.)
What favorite choices would you add for fifth and sixth grades?
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This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.