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Please review my fifth grade plans (long)


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First some background info: Ds9 is going to be 10 when he starts 5th grade. In fact, we start school the day after his birthday. 

 

He is imaginative, a dreamer, builds xyz with Lego once and leaves it like that for playing as a toy, talks about building and creating things nonstop but doesn't care to actually provide the blueprints, etc. Most things he wants to build are not grounded in reality.

 

He doesn't enjoy school very much, but he's ok with it most days. Other days he actually enjoys it. He has a happy nature in general, and extremely enthusiastic about the stuff he's imagining or wants to build or he's seen on TV or wants to have. History is his favorite subject, but he has trouble remembering names and dates. He gravitates towards the most exciting part of the story, regardless whether it is important to the whole. We've been using and enjoying SOTW.

 

Ds is also a reluctant writer. He's been a touch argumentative for some time now, enjoys watching videos and learns from them, loves video games, and would rather play than work. In fact, he has imagined several times a world where weekends are five days long and lessons are only two days a week. He tells me this with a big grin on his face :)

 

He likes reading and doesn't have a problem with assigned reading. He loves comic books. He devoured the whole local library's selection of Calvin and Hobbes, and he enjoys Tintin too. He is fond of cuddling up with me on the couch and listening to me read.

 

We use the Charlotte Mason method, this year doing approx. 30 min. per lesson, with a few exceptions. We may go 40 min. with Science this year, and Poetry is about 15 min daily.

 

Here are my planned resources and materials (BTW, I've been asking for his input in his studies since third grade and he's very nonchalant about it, hurrying up so he can go back to playing with his sister, imagining, whatever):

 

Grammar - 

 

Grammarland, Emma Serl's Intermediate Language Lessons (Hillside Education), and BBC Bitesize English Spelling and Grammar games http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/english/spelling_grammar/

 

Spelling - once a week, reinforcing during week

 

Phonics review using Noah Webster's Reading Handbook, then cull word lists from Natural Speller and upload to Spelling City.

 

Vocabulary - once a week

 

Vocabulary Cartoons - read it together, have him write down, memorize, use.

 

Writing - once a week

 

Wordsmith Apprentice - excited about this, as it is written to the reluctant writer, and it looks fun, perfect for ds

 

Math - daily

 

Math Mammoth (MM) 4B and 5A and a some living books in Math, such as Famous Mathematicians and the Sir Cumference series. Also Fridays, online math games listed in MM.

 

History - 4X a week

 

Mondays through Thursdays: SOTW 4 Modern Times with AG and Usborne Encyclopedia (ds and I love this program, and the mapwork - not to forget the Usborne Quicklinks) with readings culled from Complete Book of United States History, Children's Encyclopedia of American History, a few Landmark Books, and a wide selection of biographies (both historical figures as well as scientists) and relevant historical fiction (see literature). We're focusing on the Civil War and World War I. I'm also including some lovely picture books, mostly fiction, but including the nonfiction World War I scrapbook Where Poppies Grow. We're also watching America: The Story of US. This year I'm excited to include Graphic History Library titles (History in comics) for ds to enjoy.

 

Natural Science - 4X a week

 

Mondays through Wednesdays: BFSU2 (we're finishing this up this year) and Usborne Science Encyclopedia (Quicklinks again) with plenty of living books and a topical study of Rivers, Oceans, Marine Life on Thursdays. On Fridays he joins dd6 in Nature Studies. I'm also making it a point to watch videos on NeoK12. We all enjoy them.

 

Literature Readings - daily

 

Read, narrate, and discuss. This is a kid who loves to share what he reads.

 

The Black Stallion, The In-Between Days, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The House of Sixty Fathers, The Hobbit, Swallows and Amazons, The Moffats, Twenty and Ten, There's an Owl in the Shower, Snow Treasure, Miracles on Maple Hill, Island of the Blue Dolphins

 

Literature Read-Alouds - daily

 

I read aloud, we discuss. I'm going to pick two classics for Literature Analysis. I have Critical Conditioning as a resource for this.

 

Heidi, Across Five Aprils, The Secret Garden, Little Britches, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Black Beauty

 

In Nonfiction dh is reading aloud Bully For You, Teddy Roosevelt and I am reading The Flying Scotsman, a Biography

 

Culture, Myths, and Legends (part of read-alouds)

 

100 Best Children's Stories from China and the audio collection Shakespeare's Greatest Hits Retold by Bruce Coville.

 

Geography - once a week

 

The 7 Continents: Asia by Evan Moor (got this for free one year)

Usborne Peoples of the World 

The Kingfisher Children's Atlas

 

Spanish - 4X a week

 

He's had a few years of Spanish under his belt, but this year we're definitely starting to write and use it more. I speak fluent Spanish.

 

Rosetta Stone Spanish Homeschool Edition and So You Really Want to Learn Spanish - Student and Teacher's Book

Usborne Spanish Dictionary for Beginners

 

Poetry - daily

 

We focus on one poet per semester, reading his or her short biography, and enjoying one poem per week, memorizing at least 4 per poet. Some poems are discussed and analyzed more than others.

 

Poetry for Young People Series Carl Sandburg and Maya Angelou 

 

Music - once a week

 

The Story of the Orchestra with websites to reinforce learning, plus Piano lessons chez moi on Saturdays

 

Art - once a week

 

Dh is teaching again, this time dd and ds are learning about the Impressionists - Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso. Dd5 excels at art, and is right there with ds. She'll be six then. Dh is also building his own art program around them. I'm intrigued. He's always done a stellar job.

 

Getting To Know the World's Greatest Artists Series, Linnea in Monet's Garden, The First Starry Night, Pablo Picasso (Artists in Their Time), Laurence Anholt's lively picture books (I know ds will enjoy as well), Picasso and Minou, Katie Meets the Impressionists, Katie and the Sunflowers

 

Online Resources

 

I'm making it a point of including online videos and games more often, as I can see ds really likes them and learns from them. Here is a selection of our resources:

 

  • Math Mammoth Videos (thank you, Maria!)
  • NeoK12
  • BBC Games
  • Nitro Typing
  • Usborne Quicklinks (History, Science)
  • Sheppard Software (Geography)
  • Khan Academy
  • Art of Problem Solving videos (math)
  • National Geographic Geography
  • Coursera
  • The Jason Project

 

After school, ds has swimming 3X a week, Taekwondo 2X a week, basketball (one season, putting Taekwondo and maybe swimming on hold), and possibly dance.

 

Thank you if you have read thus far. I really appreciate your input.

 

It does look like a lot, but remember I'm doing it CM-style, meaning I have shorter lessons than many, and I'm clustering the Music, Nature Study, Art, etc. on Fridays. 

 

What do you think? Am I forgetting anything? Do I have time to teach my dd too? She's going to be in first, using a tweaked Living Books Curriculum 1st Grade.

 

I can't believe I have a fifth grader already!  :willy_nilly:

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Sounds fine to me......

 

I imagine you could combine your 1st grader into a lot of that. 

 

We also do nature study, art/music on Fridays. We do it all together, all three ages. I just let the little ones do what they can. 

 

Also let your 1st grader tag along with read alouds and history projects and science activities. Just adjust for what you you expect as far as writing etc.

 

Let the 1st grader watch the documentaries. 

 

I would just find what your 5th grader can do independently and focus on the short lang arts and math lessons with your 1st grader and then work with the oldest while you have the little one do something quiet and independent.

 

I combine all the content as much as possible. 

 

 

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I think it looks like a LOT to juggle, mama!  How do you plan to keep it all straight?  If it were me, I would possibly cull some things and add a bit more writing (once per week sounds pretty minimal).

 

I feel like I have too much to juggle too.  And I am not completely solid on my writing plan.  I really am antsy to get going so I can see if my daily schedule is realistic!

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I think it looks like a LOT to juggle, mama!  How do you plan to keep it all straight?  If it were me, I would possibly cull some things and add a bit more writing (once per week sounds pretty minimal).

 

I feel like I have too much to juggle too.  And I am not completely solid on my writing plan.  I really am antsy to get going so I can see if my daily schedule is realistic!

 

:iagree:  I have a son around the same age who sounds a lot like yours.  And, I totally understand your not wanting to leave anything out.  

Have you actually mapped out your days & figured out how and when you're going to do everything?  Believe me, I totally understand you wanting to get geography, art, and all of the other things scheduled in (I'm still trying to figure it all out myself), but when?  

 

Short lessons are good, especially for that type of learner, but have you allowed for the times when he might get really interested and want to spend more time on certain things?  (Like science & some of your history stuff)  Also, are the on-line resources built into your subject times, or is he doing it after school?

 

I just don't want you to get stressed out if the schedule gets too intense, or him to get burnt out.  It's a fine line, I know. :001_smile:

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I'm snipping the curricula details out so I can better see the big picture.

 

Grammar - 

Spelling - once a week, reinforcing during week

Phonics review

Vocabulary - once a week

Writing - once a week

Math - daily

History - 4X a week

Natural Science - 4X a week

Literature Readings - daily

Literature Read-Alouds - daily

Geography - once a week

Spanish - 4X a week

Poetry - daily

Music - once a week

Art - once a week

Online Resources

 

If you can adequately pull off all those parts and pieces, it could work. "Lots of little" simply does not work in my house. I've over-scheduled "little things" that are worthwhile things, but they always ended up distracting us from what was really important.

 

After that the first thing that stood out to me was writing instruction was only once a week. With a reluctant writer I'd be spending *more* time on this subject rather than less. I would cut time from other subjects if needed. Expect the argumentative streak and work through it. (My rising fifth grader is also using Wordsmith Apprentice. I expect him to work in it or on a bigger writing project daily.)

 

Vocabulary once a week wouldn't stick around in the brains of my kids either. Even five minutes spent reviewing a day would be more efficient. Maybe put the words on index cards for speedy review.

 

I'd make that bad attitude mentioned in the reluctant writer paragraph an intentional focus of mine this year. It is easier to work on at 9 or 10 than when puberty is in full swing, which is just around the corner. Maybe look at some of the CM habit training stuff for ideas? (Laying Down the Rails from SCM?)

 

For my rising fifth grader I'm planning in time blocks. An hour for math (possibly split in two sessions), an hour for English (half spelling/grammar, half composition), 30-40 minutes for history, 30-40 for science, 40 for literature, 20 for Latin, 20 for religion. That doesn't include our daily read aloud stack. Poetry study goes in his English block or the memory portion he does at the beginning of the day. Geography goes in history.

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I think it looks like a LOT to juggle, mama!  How do you plan to keep it all straight?  If it were me, I would possibly cull some things and add a bit more writing (once per week sounds pretty minimal).

 

I know, right? I was afraid of that. What I did was to schedule a tiered schedule, with subjects together and subjects apart. On good days I should end by 1. On not-so-good-days by 2. Or still end by 1 and do the rest tomorrow or Saturday :)  Writing is woven into Intermediate Language Lessons. However, I wanted to dedicate just a block of time to that as well.

 

:iagree:  I have a son around the same age who sounds a lot like yours.  And, I totally understand your not wanting to leave anything out.  

Have you actually mapped out your days & figured out how and when you're going to do everything?  Believe me, I totally understand you wanting to get geography, art, and all of the other things scheduled in (I'm still trying to figure it all out myself), but when?  

 

Short lessons are good, especially for that type of learner, but have you allowed for the times when he might get really interested and want to spend more time on certain things?  (Like science & some of your history stuff)  Also, are the on-line resources built into your subject times, or is he doing it after school?

 

I just don't want you to get stressed out if the schedule gets too intense, or him to get burnt out.  It's a fine line, I know. :001_smile:

I will try to post my schedule next. Geography, Music are done on Fridays. Art dh is in charge so I don't have to worry about that (phew!). Religious Education is on Sundays and not by me either. I'm still debating whether I should do Piano for my son, too, or just dd. Dd6 is much more interested.

 

I'm snipping the curricula details out so I can better see the big picture.

 

If you can adequately pull off all those parts and pieces, it could work. "Lots of little" simply does not work in my house. I've over-scheduled "little things" that are worthwhile things, but they always ended up distracting us from what was really important.

 

Yeah, it's not for everyone :) "Lots of little" is what we've been doing from the start, but I still keep an eye on the core for us, meaning Reading, Writing, Math, History, and Science.

 

After that the first thing that stood out to me was writing instruction was only once a week. With a reluctant writer I'd be spending *more* time on this subject rather than less. I would cut time from other subjects if needed. Expect the argumentative streak and work through it. (My rising fifth grader is also using Wordsmith Apprentice. I expect him to work in it or on a bigger writing project daily.)

 

Thanks for this advice. Intermediate Language Lessons (ILL) spends a considerable time on writing. Even though it's a grammar program, there is plenty of copywork, dictation, letter writing, and composition. The reason I'm throwing Wordsmith Apprentice into the mix is that I think ds needs more explicit teaching. So while it looks like Writing is done just once a week, in fact he's writing all week, it's just more the "nuts and bolts" of writing as a standalone subject on Fridays. I value your opinion, and my aim is to help produce a good writer.

 

Vocabulary once a week wouldn't stick around in the brains of my kids either. Even five minutes spent reviewing a day would be more efficient. Maybe put the words on index cards for speedy review.

 

Taking notes. I will make sure to present the new word and review (even if just five minutes). It's Vocabulary Cartoons, so we may even post the page with the word where he can see it. I like the index card idea and I will use it.

 

I'd make that bad attitude mentioned in the reluctant writer paragraph an intentional focus of mine this year. It is easier to work on at 9 or 10 than when puberty is in full swing, which is just around the corner. Maybe look at some of the CM habit training stuff for ideas? (Laying Down the Rails from SCM?)

 

I do own it! I have never been able to implement it fully because we seem to get "stuck" on one character trait. I need to work on mine, too. Believe me, we are working on this. When I meant argumentative, I guess I was trying to say that yes, he does talk back more, but more in a sense that he's getting to that logic stage SWB says in WTM. We are reading Virtues on Saturdays and focus on one character trait at a time. Thanks for bringing this up.

 

Geography goes in history.

 

I did this last year, with the inclusion of a workbook I'm not too fond of (not too workbooky around here). However, this year I want to try an Asia book I got for free last year and haven't used. It looks interesting, and we don't have to fill in all the worksheets, we can just discuss orally if necessary. All this could be dumped in favor of more fun activities such as going on Sheppard Software, TapQuiz Maps, jigsaw puzzles, atlas, globe, etc.

 

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to take a look, read, and respond. I really appreciate it! I feel like a member of a new club - The Logic Stage forum. 

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Okay, here's my schedule. The yellows are the ones I'm teaching together (both kids) and the purple ones are one-on-one time with my dd6. She'll be in first grade :)

 

The Gr stands for Grammar, beside the Spanish. We already did Spanish daily last year, but this year I'm cutting it to four times a week. Literature Analysis on Mondays has a star, because we are only going to do in-depth analysis on two classics, not all the reading we are doing. When I put English, I mean English Grammar in the form of Intermediate Language Lessons, which includes letter writing, beginning composition, narrations, dictations. Hence on Fridays, no English, just Writing.

 

Art is actually is done over the weekend, whenever dh can get to it. I just schedule it on Friday as the last thing, because I know dh always teaches it by Monday morning.

 

Critical Thinking is a drastically reduced Critical Thinking Press workbook I found that helps with Reading Comprehension (Social Studies is the theme). I may or may not use it. Just trying it out. If not, we'll just keep thinking critically across the curriculum ;)

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag5mjTDGN-BzdFpFQ2w5MUttNGJOZUVqTU9NOU1iZGc&usp=sharing

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Thanks for this advice. Intermediate Language Lessons (ILL) spends a considerable time on writing. Even though it's a grammar program, there is plenty of copywork, dictation, letter writing, and composition. The reason I'm throwing Wordsmith Apprentice into the mix is that I think ds needs more explicit teaching. So while it looks like Writing is done just once a week, in fact he's writing all week, it's just more the "nuts and bolts" of writing as a standalone subject on Fridays. I value your opinion, and my aim is to help produce a good writer.

Ah! That makes more sense. We've had PLL before, but I've never looked at ILL closely.

 

My older kids had vocab boxes set up somewhat similar to the SCM scripture memory system. English From the Roots Up started the habit, which they continued when they'd run across a root in another subject. Over time they collected so many cards we had to break it into smaller daily portions.

 

 

I do own it! I have never been able to implement it fully because we seem to get "stuck" on one character trait. I need to work on mine, too. Believe me, we are working on this. When I meant argumentative, I guess I was trying to say that yes, he does talk back more, but more in a sense that he's getting to that logic stage SWB says in WTM. We are reading Virtues on Saturdays and focus on one character trait at a time. Thanks for bringing this up.

Well, one can be argumentative politely...lol. I'll banter with mine if they're respectful about it, but rudeness gets stopped immediately. They got to where they valued the bantering enough that it became the motivation for arguing politely.

 

Think of the Laying Down the Rails work as chiseling off the roughest edges of negative traits rather than obliterating them. Once you've chiseled a fair amount off, and it's stuck, move to the next one. You can always come back around to the first one later.

 

 

Sounds like you'll have a great year! :001_smile:

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In fact, he has imagined several times a world where weekends are five days long and lessons are only two days a week. He tells me this with a big grin on his face :)

 

:iagree:  My DH & I have sometimes imagined a world where we could each work two days a week & spend the other three days with each other -- and somehow make it work financially. I see nothing wrong with such a world. I have a dd (same age as your ds) who would make a story out of such a 'world.' *She* is not my reluctant writer.  :laugh:

 

Your plans *do* look like a lot, but I'm not used to the lot-of-little that you do. If you have been making it work, by all means, go for it.

 

You will want to ramp up the writing slowly over the year. It is time. Make it count, though. Don't make it busy work. This has worked well with dd#1 who was allergic to the pencil for much of her early years. While she doesn't like it, she can now write much longer and better than I once thought possible. We still have a lengthy process ahead of us -- as we soldier through WWS1 (stretching from the end of 6th grade until probably the start of 8th) together.

 

Not for this year, but consider adding the Fallacy Detective (if you don't mind the Christian & conservative nature of the book) to your schedule for 6th. No writing - as we did it all orally. It fits neatly into a 30 minute block for most lessons. DD#1 loved it this last year. Filled her cup for 'argument' needs as we would take turns providing the answers for the questions at the end of each lesson. When we differed on the answer, she liked to make her case -- and enjoyed when the author's answer in the back agreed with hers.  :coolgleamA:  We're trying the Art of Argument this year for an expansion of FD. We'll see how that goes.

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Fallacy Detective looks like something that ds would like next year (6th). Thanks for sharing this resource. I don't mind Christian, as I am a Christian. We're restarting Ancients in 6th and BFSU also includes a "Baloney Detection Kit" that I need to review with ds some time.

 

Right now he's going to have his summer vacation (a month off) while I work on curriculum purchases, planning, reading, and listening to hs lectures. First on the list? SWB's Homeschooling the Real Child. Ds is highly distractable. I can be, too.

 

I will have ds work on a book called Study Skills, practice his multiplication tables on our iPhone Apps, finish up Theology lessons online, and read, of course.

 

I forgot to mention I have a two-year-old dd who loves to distract all of us :)

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