Let’s Talk Homeschooling!

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This year I will be homeschooling a 10th, 6th, and 5th grader. But for today I’m going to just focus on my 5th grader.

I have been homeschooling my youngest since the very beginning. I had the privilege to see him learn to read and add simple numbers. There is great satisfaction in teaching your own child to read. Watching him realize he could read brought great joy to me. Fast forward and I find myself teaching him 5th-grade curriculum. Wow!! Just a little more intense than 1st-grade.

Just a little background on my youngest boy (11) and me. He learns best through touching, seeing, and experiencing. I love to pick and choose my curricula. I’ve tried an all in one curriculum in the past and find that it just never works for me or my kids. So what did I choose this year?

Let’s start with math. In the past, I have used MathUSee. https://www.mathusee.com I still love this program for teaching kids math, but when I have three kids’ papers to correct, I found I was having a hard time keeping up with all the correcting and teaching. Because of this, I left MathUSee and switched over to Teaching Text Books, which is another excellent program. https://www.teachingtextbooks.com It is all online, so there is no correcting on the parent’s part. On some levels, you can do bonus rounds to increase your grade. The other significant portion of the program is that you, as the parent, can go into the child’s account and edit their math. For example, if you are not happy with the end grade, you can choose to erase all the problems they got wrong and have the child redo them. You also have the option of deleting the whole lesson and having them start over. Teaching Text Books helped aid me in my journey of homeschooling. Is it perfect? No, but then again, no program is. Another perk to Teaching Text Books was it is more affordable.

Let’s move onto history. I have used Notgrass History for my oldest child,¬†and this year, my youngest will be using it. https://history.notgrass.com/ I love all the beautiful pictures Notgrass uses in their books. Notgrass can almost be an all-inclusive curriculum. In each lesson, you have the option of the Bible, Creative Writing, Vocabulary, Map Study, Timeline, Student workbook, and Literature. Check out the link to explore all the different books they offer. This year we are starting with America the Beautiful. I’m also only having my 5th-grader do the Map work, Timeline, Literature, and Student Workbook.

Moving onto spelling. I absolutely love All About Spelling!!! https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling/ This has been a game-changer for my kiddo. It allows him to see the word and how it is spelled by color, coordinating the letters and vowels. They build in all the spelling rules perfectly so as not to overwhelm the student or the teacher. Everything is written out for you as the teacher, so no guesswork is involved. The other great thing is it doesn’t take too long to teach a lesson. The first lesson is about 15-20 minutes max, and then it’s just practicing spelling those words, which take about 5 minutes. We usually start day 1 with the beginning of a lesson and learn all the rules and rule-breakers, and end for the day. On day 2, we do small spelling drills of 10 words each. The next day we work on writing sentences using those words and wrap up the final day with a word, which he uses in his own sentence.

What about grammar? I think for a lot of parents this is one of the most dreaded subjects to teach. Let’s face it, the English language is not the easiest to master, heck I’m still learning. So for grammar, I have found Fix It by I.E.W. has worked great, especially for boys. It’s quick and to the point. I’ve also used their writing programs for all my kids. Fix It grammar teaches kids grammar through editing. If you think about it, when you write you’re not thinking about nouns and verbs and all the different clauses that are found in sentences, you just write. When you edit your paper that is when you look for all the commas and strong verbs and what you can replace for repetitive words. So Fix It does just that. The student works on one sentence a day, makes sure the first word is capitalized and ensures it ends with correct punctuation. Each week the program adds a new grammar label. By the end of the year in the first level, your students are marking all the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and the list goes on.

My next primary subject we will be reviewing is reading. I came across this curriculum this summer and like it. I no longer have to worry about being creative in finding a book for my child. https://www.clp.org/store/by_course/7 It’s not too parent-involved but just enough. The first day the child will silently read the story themselves. The curriculum works on vocab, reading comprehension, and many other things. I don’t know about you, but for me, I have two boys that don’t enjoy reading. I’ve tried everything out there such as graphic novels, mystery, drama, poetry. You name it, I’ve tried it. I would assign a book for the boys to read, and unless I had comprehension questions available for that book or had read it already, I had no way of knowing if they read the chapter or book or if they just skimmed it. This program took away my nagging question of wondering if they really read it. Do they enjoy it? No, but after homeschooling for 10 yrs, I’ve discovered they are not going to like everything, and I must pick and choose my battles.

Last but not least is science. Apologia is the winner this year. We have used this program for many years and my oldest will not be doing chemistry!! For my 5th-grader he chose Anatomy & Physiology (the human body). Apologia science in the elementary year does more focused studies. Last year we did a study on flying creatures. Any animal that had wings we learned about it. They also have a schedule in front of the student book for you to use. https://www.apologia.com/product/apologia-superset-anatomy-physiology-with-regular-notebooking-journal/

This about wraps up my choices for our 5th-grade yr of schooling. I hope this helps aid you in your upcoming school year. Some things I’ve learned while homeschooling is to always call the company and ask questions. Check out to see if there are Facebook groups for the curriculum you will be using; this way, you can ask questions from other parents who are using the same thing. Remember you don’t have to use everything I’m using either, do what is best for you and your child. Maybe you have a newborn this school year, so keeping it simple is your goal. If you’re like me and have multiple children, I’m always looking for ways to simplify my school day without losing educational content. If you a newbie, HSLDA is a great source to have. They will let you know all the laws and requirements in your area and state https://hslda.org. They also just have a load of resources for you as the parent.

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