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Calming Tea

Fun sweet literature rich experience for my 5th grader?

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So if I wanted the big girl version of Five In a Row what would I use?


My dd loved the idea of sonlight and is very interested in core F -but this child is rather sensitive. Going forward I'm not sure a few of the Core F books would work for her and I certainly know that we would be nixing a lot of books in the older levels as well.


So I'm just not so sure about it...


I want something pretty much all inclusive and also easy to use with a lot of books to read and a few crafs here and there. MFWs cycles don't work for us. This is also a very well read and knowledgable child so it would have to be either full of breadth or depth to be interesting.


I'm looking at AWOA. But she read 90% of the books from volumes 1 and 2


I think it's going to be SL but I want to see if I'm missing anything .

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How much like FIAR does it have to be??


A new book each week or every so often? If so what about using Beyond Five In A Row which uses chapter books for a few weeks or more at a time to learn lessons. Books like The Boxcar Children, Homer Price, Betsy Ross, etc. 


There's also Literature Packs/Guides from a few places you could snatch up. Total Language Press comes to mind. Or Moving Beyond The Page {full curriculum I think though}.. 


Core F does have a few rather sensitive stories in there. But they also scheduled a LOT & you could easily drop half & still have a rather rich & full year of literature. There's also Winter Promise which has a different book list then SL & only one of their books was rather sensitive. We skipped it entirely, mostly because I wasn't sure I could handle it & we didn't own it after having all the Core F books. I wasn't up for purchasing another one, kwim? They use books like Mandy {very sweet story}, Listening For Lions {also sweet, but sad at the start}, George Mueller, etc. Much more gentle books. They have more then just the cultural theme, but it would depend on what you're specifically after.


There's also

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Thank you Koalamum....WInter Promise! I had forgotten about WP.  I think it would be perfect as this dd is creative and crafty too.  


BYFIAR would not work. She is way way beyond it.  I think it's perfect for 3rd graders.  We did do one BY unit two years ago and enjoyed it immensely.


I also looked at Living Books Curriculum but it looked very dry, and some of the books seemed kind of out of place.  For example, they schedule 6th graders to read The Hiding Place.  I read that as an adult and found certain parts extremely intense and upsetting.  (It's a great book...just not maybe for 11 year olds or at least this will-be-11-year old.)



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Never mind.  My dd woke up, looked at WP very earnestly, examined all the books, and all the titles and was absolutely clear that it did not interest her.  Meanwhile, she's spent a lot of time drooling over the SL catalog and asking me about the books, and telling me which one she is most interested in, and going on and on about how interesting the books sound and how they are all stories, not just informational or pictorial books, but stories about people and places.


Well that was easy.  :o)



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OK, WP is ruled out.  The type of books just aren't that appealing.  


I'm still waffling on SL thought because I don't want to take on more than I can handle.  With a 7th grader needing oversight with math, and some pretty challenging subjects, and our lives, I am not sure that Sonlight would not end up making me feel overwhelmed...


I am going to take another look at BY FIAR.  I think it's a lot more meaty than it seems at first.  And TLP while I'm at it.  :o)

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FWIW, we combined WP & SL together. :) That allowed the hands on & the lovely non-fiction books {which are read in very small bite sized bits} mingled with the fiction. It was a great combo for us. :D

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Something else I might keep in mind is that while your child may have read some of these books before being used in a curriculum might present them differently. For instance, when she reads them with BYFIAR she'll explore different aspects, not just read the stories.


When she reads the Non-Fiction over at WP there will be notebooking pages, crafts, & movies that tie in with it as well as non-fiction reading {which is often not pictured} to tie it all together. FWIW, I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction, but I adore the way they only schedule 2-3 pages at a time of those books. It makes it so easy to read & ENJOY too.


With Sonlight, she may again, find that the books she's previously read come to life as she finds their locations on the maps & see how they fall into place historically. If you're worried about the books in Core F being too emotional for her what about doing D/E this year & doing F next year? Is that a possibility for her? If not then you could become a member of the forums over there & look through the books people have written about in regards to how they are emotionally. If you posted a list of them here I might be able to give our take on the books for you. FWIW, though, my kids aren't emotionally frustrated by a book unless the adult in charge mistreats a child. That really unglues them in a sense of, "This is wrong. This should not be. Fix this. Fix it now." 


So for them the book they were most upset with in Core F was Stalin's Nose. It was an emotional book all be it VERY short & the ending was rotten because there was no way to fix it. My eldest was annoyed by the ending & my youngest kept saying, "But why!!!" Other then that they greet most of the books as old friends & speak fondly of those people. A Long Walk To Water wasn't hard on them emotionally, but it is an emotional book & might be too much for a sensitive child.



FWIW, I often give my child the ability to pick between things that I KNOW will work for them, because it means they will be more interested in their education. ;) If you think WP would be a better fit for your girl due to crafts & notebooking you could go to their blog & peek at their free sample for Europe. Then you oculd go back to the SL Catalog & ask her which books she's most interested in & see if you can match them up. That's exactly what we did. It worked beautifully. 

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I really like MBtP, but they just don't have the same feel as ABFIAR or Where the Brook and River Meet. Is she too old for Prairie Primer?

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Hmmmm nitty would be nice but it's only an 8 week study.


Above and beyond- I looked at the samples and really felt it would be awkward. In order to make it really match her level you have to add tons of extra books and research ... That would make me feel constantly like we may not being doing enough or the right thing. I can see myself getting really grumpy about it too.


I narrowed it down right now to Beautiful Feet history of California which would be super exciting because we just moved here from very far away, or SL Core E and then just poking around on the forums for advice on the tougher books. Thank you for the info on Stalin's. Nose


My other issue with SL is that I think the sheer hours required for school might be overwhelming. On the other hand with it all being streamlined and planned out it will. Be easy to catch up on Fridays !! Love that four day schedule!

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If I had girls, I would have LOVED to spend 5th grade reading lovely literature, with mostly girl protagonists! I took a lot of time thinking through this list, esp. picking works with lovely writing and vocabulary, suitable for 5th grade, with mostly girl protagonists (or animals -- also very often a girl-friendly focus ;) ).


So, here's my suggested "DIY Sweet, Literature-Rich Program" for you and 5th grade DD! Have a lovely literature year, whatever you decide on. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.



READ ALOUDS (a book a month for 9 months, with extras for choice)

- Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)

- Little Women (Alcott)

- Five Children and It (Nesbit)

- The Light Princess (MacDonald)

- The Princess and the Goblins (MacDonald)

- Just So Stories (Kipling)

- Farmer Giles of Ham -- OR -- The Father Christmas Letters (Tokien)

- Tanglewood Tales -- OR -- Wonder Book (Hawthorne)

- The Wind in the Willows -- OR -- The Reluctant Dragon (Graham)

- Tales From Shakespeare (Lamb) -- OR -- Stories from Shakespeare (Nesbit)

- 1001 Arabian Nights -- pick a version with lovely illustrations ;)

- The 13 Clocks (Thurber)

- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll)

- Heidi (Spryri)



READERS with GUIDES (a book & guide every 6 weeks -- with extra for choice)

- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (O'Brien) -- Garlic Press guide

- Island of the Blue Dolphins  (O'Dell) -- Garlic Press guide

- My Side of the Mountain (George) -- Garlic Press guide

- The Hobbit (Tolkien) -- Garlic Press guide

- Phantom Tollbooth (Juster) -- free Homeschool share lapbook/guide

- A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle) -- Blackbird & Co. lit guide

- The Twenty-One Balloons (DuBois) -- free The Literature Place guide



READERS (a book a week for 36 weeks if you have a voracious reader -- or, enough for 2 books/month, with extras for choice)


animals / animals & people

- The Incredible Journey (Burnford)

- Black Beauty (Sewell)

- The Black Stallion (Farley)

- Kildee House (Montgomery)

- Daughter of the Mountains (Rankin)


fantasy / talking animals or dolls

- One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Smith)

- Rabbit Hill (Lawson)

- The Rescuers (Sharp)

- Half Magic (Eager)

- The Silver Chair -- OR, other book from Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)

- Hitty, Her First 100 Years (Field)


fairytale feel

- The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)

- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Li)

- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken)


futuristic setting

- The City of Ember (Du Prau)

- The Green Book (Walsh)

- Enchantress from the Stars (Engdahl)


historical fiction

- A Little Princess (Burnett)

- The Secret Garden (Burnett)

- I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade (Wilson)

- Twenty and Ten (Bishop)

- Caddie Woodlawn (Brink)

- Calico Bush (Field)

- Thee Hannah! (de Angeli)

- I am Regina (Keehn)

- Strawberry Girl (Lenski)

- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi)


realistic / modern setting (i.e. set post WW2)

- Plain Girl (Sorensen)

- Understood Betsy (Fisher)

- In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (Lord)

- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Robinson)

- Because of Winn Dixie (DiCamillo)

- The School Story (Clements)

- Family Under the Bridge (Carlson)

- The Hundred Dresses (Estes)

- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweiler (Konigsburg)


real people / fictionalized biography

- Naya Nuki: The Blackfoot Girl Who Ran (Thomasa)

- Behind Rebel Lines (Reit)

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Thank you for taking the time Lori D.  That is a great list and includes several titles that my dd has not read and which look appealing and appropriate!  And really, I love your idea.  

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Calming Tea: So, when you finalize your 5th grade plans, let us know what you settled on! I always like to hear how it ends up -- usually with something perfect that I never would have thought of! ;)

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Lori D this is such an amazing list! I am squirreling it away for my DD in a year or two.


Just this morning she was lamenting the boy heavy focus in all of her favorite books. She is an adventure girl at heart and really gets frustrated she cannot find books she likes with female characters. She was even frustrated that Hogwarts didn't have a defense against the dark arts teacher that was female. She felt like men get all of the dangerous and interesting teaching posts.

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A few titles to consider adding to the list, with girl protagonists:

- The Birchbark House (Erdrich)

- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly) -- and sequels

- Baby Island (Brink)

- Two Are Better Than One (Brink)

- The Penderwicks series (Birdsall)

- the "Shoes" books (Streatfeild)

Edited by Lori D.

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