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What curriculum did you love the most/have the most fun with for upper elementary?

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My last child is a 4th grader.  For 5th grade I'd like to do something fun/different.  With my other kids, some memorable years included Winter Promise Animals and Five in a Row. 

DS has dyslexia and is reading and writing at a 1st grade level, so I read 100% of school to him.  I am looking at half a hundred acre wood Mission:World Wonders as a possibility, but wanted to see if there were other ideas. 

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We still used Story of the World as the spine of our history at that age. And I also was just reminded in another thread how much we loved Memoria Press science. In fifth grade, we had a great year with their bird unit. The next year we loved the astronomy with Greek Myths year from them. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy

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When my older kids were around that age we had very memorable years with Adventures in the Sea and Sky (Winter Promise) and Further Up and Further In (Cadron Creek). 

I think this coming school year is the year to pull one or both back out for my youngest two! One will be 6th and the other 3rd. Either both of them in Adventures or little guy in Adventures and bigger girl in FUFI. 

Edited by SilverMoon
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I made my own curriculum for those years since I had saved so much on my computer over the years; I realized that my kids were going to be too old for many of them soon, so I decided I would use them up. So I did two years of unit studies when my youngers were 4th/5th and 6th/7th grade, flipping between approximately 4-8 week long studies with a literature focus, a science focus, and a history/geography focus. We did a couple of biography months where the kids chose a person to study (Black History and Women History months). It was an awesome couple of years. 

My formula was for science and history was a read aloud loosely associated with the topic (ie: Anatomy - Tuck Everlasting, North America geography - Anne of Green Gables, etc), a non-fiction reader, and some sort of encyclopedia book. Other books/movies were added as I found them. The lit studies we did were a couple of Harry Potter books, My Side of the Mountain (with lots of nature study thrown into this), Treasure Island, and the Hobbit. I tried to get to minimum one hands on activity per week during history and science months, usually more. I tried to do one field trip per topic as well. 

I used: 

  • Build Your Library's Harry Potter (these include science usually as well) and Hobbit unit studies
  • a free pirate lit study of Treasure Island 
  • freebie and inexpensive lapbooks I had saved over the years
  • various experiment books for science months
  • Pinterest for hands on ideas

 

Going off of my Pinterest boards for a reminder, I see Anatomy, Ancients, Animals & their care, Christmas & other Winter Festivals, Famous People, Knights & Medieval Times, Nature Studies, North American Geography, and Pirates & Exploration. I know we also did Harry Potter 1-3 (so the books and Herbology, Astronomy, and Care of Magical Creatures.

 

Edited by beckyjo
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1 hour ago, SilverMoon said:

When my older kids were around that age we had very memorable years with Adventures in the Sea and Sky (Winter Promise) and Further Up and Further In (Cadron Creek). 

I think this coming school year is the year to pull one or both back out for my youngest two! One will be 6th and the other 3rd. Either both of them in Adventures or little guy in Adventures and bigger girl in FUFI. 

Thanks!  I had been eyeing Adventures Sea and Sky.  I wonder if WP has gotten better with their shipping. Thanks!

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We did a Natural and Political History of the PNW one year (where we used to live).  It was fabulous! We did all the local things - tons of museums, parks, hikes, visitor centers, markets, landmarks/sites, etc. - read a lot of great books, note-booked marine biology and geology, took some extended-local trips, seine netted the sound, dissected fish and squid, collected rock specimens, visited working homestead, made native toys, ... lots of fun things, just emphasizing place.  I just gathered resources over the summer, and used as I felt would be good (more of a giant unit study kind of year). You could do it with pretty much any location.

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What a wonderful idea to plan to make 5th grade special for your last one! Fifth grade was 14-15 years back for us (...sob! so long ago now!...), so what stood out to us may be too old or out of print for you. But esp. fun here for that age:

- Reading = big favorites for books that year -- these were special stand-outs for our DSs:
My Side of the Mountain; The Incredible Journey; By the Great Horn Spoon; Trumpet of the Swan; The Whipping Boy; The Wolves of Willoughby Chase;  In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
- Writing = Wordsmith Apprentice (and BOTH DSs hated writing, but enjoyed this one)
- Handwriting = I made our own out of jokes and riddles from some "big books o' jokes/riddles"; it went over well
- Grammar = supplements of Mad Libs; Comicstrip Grammar; Take Five Minutes: History Fact a Day for Editing; and Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar Rock all went over well
- Science = made our own; lots of living books and kits and hands-on activities
- History = made our own American History; lots of living books and activities -- we also did a unit on state history/culture/geography that was quite fun
- Geography = Beautiful Feet Geography guide + map pack + 4 Holling C. Holling books
- Logic = Logic Countdown and Logic Liftoff
- Art = Mark Kistler's Draw Squad
- extracurriculars = each DS did a sport; and we did a ton of fun field trips with our homeschool group

Making time for some explorations could be fun -- movie-making; robotics; soldering electronics kits; cake decorating; rock-climbing or orienteering... so many things to try!


No personal experience with these, but more ideas:
Further Up and Further In -- I love Silver Moon's idea of this full year 7-books of Narnia study; perfect for grades 4-6.
A World of Adventure -- gr. 4-6 -- an all-subjects (except Math) year-long study with lots of hands-on activities,based around Ancient and Medieval History
Konos -- and there's always this good ole company for unit study fun to plug into your year at different points
Moving Beyond the Page -- either age 8-10 or age 9-11 -- these multi-subject units (Lit., Science, Social Studies) look interesting
Lit Wits kits -- some of these extension activity guides/kits look very fun; maybe add 2-3 to your year to dive deeper into the world of a few books


BEST of luck as you make a fantastic 5th grade adventure to share together! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Story of the World...both for upper and lower, but it wasn't really the curriculum itself (I mean I love the curriculum but I think I would love teaching history no matter what I did.  I love looking up videos, getting books at the library, finding pictures and stuff online to show my child.   I wish my kiddo liked projects more but I love the few and far between ones he agrees to do...mostly writing stuff...hieroglyphics, Chinese writing, runes...which is ironic cause he hates writing in general (I was going to say he hated learning to write too but that's not completely true...he hated learning printing, but wanted to learn handwriting.   Guess he just likes pretty writing.)   I also loved combining it with science when I could...doing egg mummies, testing the strength of Greek columns with paper cups, learning Volcanoes with the Myceneans about constellations with the Greeks.  Not much of that was in the curriculum, but I loved adding it in.  

Edited by goldenecho
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On 3/13/2019 at 5:38 PM, beckyjo said:

I made my own curriculum for those years since I had saved so much on my computer over the years; I realized that my kids were going to be too old for many of them soon, so I decided I would use them up. So I did two years of unit studies when my youngers were 4th/5th and 6th/7th grade, flipping between approximately 4-8 week long studies with a literature focus, a science focus, and a history/geography focus. We did a couple of biography months where the kids chose a person to study (Black History and Women History months). It was an awesome couple of years.

 

Thisnis what I am just starting on with my 5th grader! We need a change of pace, and I have a ton of saved resources that we need to use now or never. It’s wonderful to see that it worked out well for you. We are doing a WWI unit now and I have a bunch queued up. I will probably do 2-3 at a time. 

Math: Zaccarro books & other challenge math, Patty Paper Geometry, Hands On Equations higher levels

Social Studies: WW2, Irish History (we are going to Dublin in a couple of months), Alaska, world religions, micronations, 

Science: The industrial revolution & inventions, recycling (and visit a center), Ellen McHenry units

English: Excavating English, Nanowrimo, Hot Fudge Mondays, Moving Beyond the Page lit units

Other: Health, Family Time Fitness

I have the first 3 HP units from BYL, but I think we missed the boat on those. 

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Tin Man Press books - these were great quick thinking things that are really different.

Prufrock Press's logic workbooks - we liked these all through elementary and early middle school.

We did Dino 101 from Coursera in fifth grade and loved that.

Time Travel Math was a great hands on math project book that we loved for 5th grade.

We did several of the GEMS guides in 4th and 5th grade and really liked them.

We loved doing all the projects in Partnership Writing from Bravewriter. Great program. Still my favorite BW product of all time.

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Farrar, The Tin Man Press books look like so much fun. I'm positive my daughter who is in sixth grade would adore these. Can you recommend any titles in particular?

Edited by pitterpatter
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2 hours ago, pitterpatter said:

Farrar, The Tin Man Press books look like so much fun. I'm positive my daughter who is in sixth grade would adore these. Can you recommend any titles in particular?

 

Though sixth grade might be pushing it for other kids, my 11 year old still loves Gotta Think! and Are They Thinking? as fun things to pull out once or twice a week ❤️ 

I'm note sure about it, but I think that one or both of these books might be a collection of other, shorter, Tin Man Press titles. 

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4 hours ago, pitterpatter said:

Farrar, The Tin Man Press books look like so much fun. I'm positive my daughter who is in sixth grade would adore these. Can you recommend any titles in particular?

In addition to Gotta Think, that OKBud mentioned, we liked Wakeruppers. I think 6th grade is probably the last year on it for a lot of kids though. They were huge for us from about 3rd-5th grade and we still did them in 6th sometimes. We often started a day with a page.

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Thank you both! I'm bummed I didn't discover these sooner. My daughter loves doodling and making lists, so I think the ones you've mentioned will be a good fit. 😄 They will be a nice end-of-the-year treat, I think.

21 hours ago, OKBud said:

 

Though sixth grade might be pushing it for other kids, my 11 year old still loves Gotta Think! and Are They Thinking? as fun things to pull out once or twice a week ❤️ 

I'm note sure about it, but I think that one or both of these books might be a collection of other, shorter, Tin Man Press titles. 

 

20 hours ago, Farrar said:

In addition to Gotta Think, that OKBud mentioned, we liked Wakeruppers. I think 6th grade is probably the last year on it for a lot of kids though. They were huge for us from about 3rd-5th grade and we still did them in 6th sometimes. We often started a day with a page.

 

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