Homeschooling Fifth-Grade

Welcome! If you’re new to This Little Home of Mine, I’m Elizabeth. I am a former elementary school teacher who is now homeschooling my kids. In this post, I’m sharing all about homeschooling fifth-grade!

Homeschooling Fifth Grade - An Overview of Our Year

Around here, we embrace a year-round family-style approach to homeschooling – a 365-day-a-year round-the-clock approach to living and learning together.

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I love how educational opportunities can so naturally be woven into day-to-day life, and I’m excited to give you a glimpse into what that has looked like in our house during the fifth-grade year.

Homeschooling - First Day of School

If you’ve visited me in this space before, you may have seen where I share about homeschooling.

I have put together age-specific posts to assist homeschooling families in their journey, and my hope is that as I share what has worked well for us that you will be inspired to find what works best for your family.

If you are considering homeschooling your fifth-grader, I’m so glad you’re here.

My goal for this post is to keep things as simple as possible – providing you with a glimpse in to what we’ve done, hoping you will feel inspired in our own way. 

Homeschooling Fifth-Grade Resources

Let’s get started – We’ll go subject-by-subject!

Bible

In the early years, we used The Jesus Storybook Bible for our Bible time.

I know we will continue to enjoy that book as a family, but since then, we have discovered some other favorites that I’ve shared here.

Our favorite time to read together?

At the breakfast table…

Homeschooling Fifth Grade-02

…or just before bed.

These Bible-centered science resources have been so fun to read together during family devotions before we turn out the lights.

As far as Scripture memory goes, we are part of a local AWANA program.

Throughout the school year, our memory work comes directly from our handbooks.

If you have an AWANA program near you, I would highly recommend it. It is a fantastic way to encourage your children to learn Scripture.

Free Mail-In Bible Lessons We’ve Used As Well

Language Arts

My kiddos are second generation Abeka students.

Abeka’s phonics program was used to teach me to read, and as a classroom teacher, this was hands-down my favorite phonics/reading program to use with students.

Throughout the third-grade year of Abeka’s Language Arts program, we move beyond the basics of phonics and focus more on application: using the special sounds we know to spell more challenging words and using our fluent reading skills to understand and apply text, and that continues on in the fourth-grade and fifth-grade years.

Handwriting

In the early years, we begin with Abeka’s manuscript option for handwriting. In the second-grade year, we begin learning cursive using Abeka’s cursive option…

Homeschooling - Abeka Third Grade Resources-

…and throughout the third-grade year and fourth-grade year, we continue along with a focus on neatness in our form as well as exploring practical opportunities for using cursive writing in everyday life.

For the fifth-grade year, I do not purchase any kind of cursive writing curriculum – in stead, I ask the child to complete all of their assignments in cursive.

When they write their spelling words, complete their language grammar work, draft writing assignments, I ask that all of it be in cursive. This has worked really well for us!

Is your child new to cursive, but you feel Abeka’s program is a bit laborious for them?

You may find that Learning without Tears’ cursive program is the perfect fit!

I like to find creative ways to encourage handwriting practice – activities that don’t include pencil and paper.

Homeschooling Fifth Grade - An Overview of Our Year

Many of these five-senses-friendly ideas can be used to practice manuscript or cursive letters.

Color Wonder Paper Taped to Refrigerator for Vertical Writing Activity Idea for Kids

Creative Writing – This is an area where I like to add in some additional activities – fun writing prompts, out-loud storytelling games, various holiday activities, etc.

Building Writers is another fantastic option we have used to provide additional opportunities to write creatively.

The sky is the limit for how families can incorporate these writing books into their learning lifestyle.

We have also enjoyed several of the Creative Writing books from Usborne:

  • The Usborne Writing Box
  • Write and Draw Your Own Comics
  • Write and Design Your Own Magazines
  • A Year in My Life
  • Write Your Own Poems
  • Write Your Own Scripts

All perfect for older elementary students!

Young Boy Working in School Workbook

Math

In the summer months, Usborne Math Activity Books have been great for extra reinforcement – with Abeka’s math curriculum being our go-to throughout the year.

Homeschooling Fifth Grade

I like to bring to life whatever is on the page – using as many hands-on manipulatives and activities as possible.

Does this mean veering from the lesson plans a bit? Sometimes – and that’s okay!

Abeka’s program makes it easy for me to teach concepts in ways that work best for my kids.

For one of my kids, this is the year we started transitioning to using Teaching Textbooks for math. This program can be a great option, and we’ve been so grateful to have discovered it!

Young Boy Working on a Laptop - Wearing Headphones

History/Science/Health

As my oldest walked through the kindergarten through second-grade years, I used Abeka’s history, science, and health readers as guides for various topics I wanted to cover with him and his younger siblings.

I used each chapter as our guide, finding my own ways to bring the material to life: read-alouds, field trips, hands-on experiences, experiments, art activities, etc., and this has continued to be a great approach for us.

The textbooks are our guides – not the only resource we use.

United States History Timeline and Books

The third-grade Abeka history book offers students the opportunity to walk through U.S. History following a timeline – learning about great Americans along the way, and that’s what we did during my oldest’s third-grade year…

…but we were pulling in so many additional resources that we found that we were moving very slowly across the timeline, and that was absolutely fine with me.

As we were wrapping up the third-grade, we realized that we were only about half-way through the third-grade history textbook…but had learned so much – dug so deep into the lives of the great Americans we had studied so far.

Homeschooling Fifth Grade

So I made a decision that was big for this former classroom teacher. I decided that throughout the next year (Yes, into fourth-grade), we would continue on across the timeline – continue slowly moving the third-grade textbook that had served as such a fantastic guide throughout the third-grade year.

What a freeing decision this was. What kinds of extras do we like to pull in along the way?

I shared a snapshot here on Instagram, and we also are wild about The American Adventure Series – an older 48-book series I was able to piece together thanks to Amazon, Thrift Books, and a local homeschool consignment store.

Thrift Books Referral Code

The same thing happened with our science and health studies as well!

We do this whole thing family-style, even though Abeka isn’t necessarily set up that way.

It has worked well for us to all read and learn together with the oldest student’s textbook being our content guide in these different subject areas.

Over the years, we’ve done our science and history at different times of the day – gathering together to read after lunch time is what we’ve done most often.

When everyone is finished eating, they can do a quiet activity or draw while they’re listening to me read.

We’ve also continued with our Continent Boxes – I have a feeling these are going to continue to grow with us.

We have a little box like this for each continent, and as we come across things that have to do with a specific continent, we add it to the box: a map, a coin, a toy animal, etc.

These have been FANTASTIC for encouraging my kiddos to consider other people and places around the world – such a neat tie-in when we read various missionary stories, hear news about needs around the world, those kinds of things.

Art

Around here, we don’t really do a lot of crafts (I’m specifically scared of glitter! ha!), but we do appreciate any chance to be creative.

My kids have always enjoyed all things drawing and painting! They love grabbing their sketch books – again any kind of drawing pad will do – and drawing along with Art for Kids Hub.

Young Boy Drawing in a Spiral Bound Notebook

If we’ve been reading about a specific plant or animal, historical figure or landmark, etc. we look to see if he has a video where we can draw that exact person, place, or thing along with him, and he usually does!

Child Standing Proudly with Artwork
Child Standing Proudly with Artwork

Music

When my oldest started kindergarten, we kicked things off with piano lessons at a local studio where he worked along in the “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” book. Though all was going well there, I decided to make the switch to music teachers who come to our house.

For our current season of life, this has been amazing!

The teacher comes weekly and works one-on-one with each of my kids. While the teacher rotates through lessons with each child, this gives me time to work more closely with my other kiddos. This setup has been perfect for many reasons!

Music - Homeschooling Fifth Grade

In this house, music is constantly in the air – while we play, while we learn, while we eat, while we rest, while we ride along in the car, etc.

I have received a lot of questions about when might be best to start lessons, what resources to use, etc. but like with so many things, I think it depends on each child – always taking in to account their development as well as their interests and enthusiasm for different things.

My advice: Consider your own kiddo – just them, no one else’s – and let that guide your decisions. In most situations, that alone will give you the answers you need.

P.E.

Throughout different seasons, our kids have participated in low-key sports programs. Emphasis on low-key! The intensity level from the coaches (and fellow parents!) is chill with the focus being on learning basic skills and having fun!

The best thing kids can do for physical activity? Play outside! Take walks, ride bikes, run in the yard!

While my kids have enjoyed swimming lessons and soccer games and basketball camps, they love the freedom that comes with simply playing outside together.

Homeschooling Third-Grade - Field Trip - Strawberry Patch

GAME NIGHT

Around here, Family Game Night is a regular occurrence!

Homeschooling Fifth Grade

Sure, we play classic just-for-fun games that families have enjoyed for years, but this has also been a great opportunity to connect over games like Zingo®, Math War, Money Bingo, Sequence® States & Capitals, and more.

Stack of Educational Games Sitting on a Table

When playing games, not only are we practicing how to follow directions, take turns, how to win and lose graciously, etc., but we’re also reinforcing concepts we’ve been learning together.

STEAM

My kids enjoy doing regular science experiments together as a family – sometimes these experiments go along with something we’re focusing in on our science curriculum, and sometimes they are simply something I spotted on social media that looked like a neat idea to try!

Simple, simple, simple – I’m always on the lookout for simple low-prep ideas.

These activities usually happen in the evenings or on the weekends – when Dad is home.

This is one of the ways he is able to participate in our homeschooling activities, and the kids love it!

Science Experiments

Another thing they love to do with dad is build!

Their playroom has been turned into a place where they can build and build and build some more – Legos, Magformers, K’nex, Erector Sets, Tinker Crates – you get the idea!

We call this space their Tinker Lab!

Homeschooling Second-Grade by This Little Home of Mine

As the boys have gotten older, another activity they love to do with their dad is what we like to call Coding Academy.

What do they do together? They’re simply working their way through these books, and it might just be their favorite night of week.

  • Coder Academy
  • My First Computer Coding Book Using Scratch Jr.
  • Coding Using Scratch
  • Lift-the-Flap Computers and Coding
  • 100 Things to Know about Numbers, Computer, and Coding
  • Build Your Own Website for Beginners
  • Coding for Beginner’s Using Python

As you can see, we take a little bit of the out-of-the-box approach to our schedule…our resources…the way we learn together as a family as much as possible, but embracing the freedom and flexibility to do this has made learning together so much fun for everyone.

A Couple of Things I Say Yes! To:

Local Activities: I am always on the lookout for local events/activities that would be a good fit for our family. I consistently watch what’s going on at our libraries, museums, parks, children’s theaters, farms/orchards, etc. and this has gifted us with so many great opportunities for learning – and another chance for daddy to be involved.

With little ones in tow, it works best for us to do these things in the evenings or on the weekends. The extra set of hands is helpful for me, and we all love having David along for these experiences.

Summer Camps: In our area, we have a handful of different places that offer excellent summer camps for kids. I am looking for quality programs that TEACH, and I have loved seeing my kids enjoy a variety of different camps that encourage them in things that interest them.

STEAM camps have been their favorite, and these kinds of opportunities have been an excellent addition to our homeschooling lifestyle.

Technology: While I realize too much screen-time can have a negative impact on kiddos, I’m definitely not one to say that it’s all bad.

We include all kinds of technology in to our homeschooling routines: educational apps, on-line computer games, YouTube videos, and television shows (Yes, television shows!).

Our current routine includes a daily Tech Time. This includes regular practice with Keyboarding without Tears as well as other favorites.

Young Boy Using Reading Eggs App

Websites/Apps:

Tinker Crate is another fantastic resource my fifth-grader loves! I always say these are a great gift idea to pass along to grandparents.

Shows/Movies

YouTube Channels

 Audio Options

A Few Things I Say No! To:

Crafts – While I realize Pinterest is full and overflowing with all kinds of cute craft ideas, we honestly don’t include many crafts in our homeschooling activities.

Opportunities for art exploration? Sure, but not many crafts.

Supplemental Resources – When I hop on Instagram, I see all kinds of amazing printable resources – super cute goodies that are right there at my fingertips ready to be printed and used with my kids.

However, I have to think carefully before I get too carried away with things like that.

  • How well does it fit with what we’re learning? 
  • Is it just busy work or would it play an important role in their learning something new? 
  • How much time is it going to take to print and prep this printable or activity?
  • Keeping our other work in mind, do I want to make time to complete this activity?

My answers to these questions determine whether or not I save the idea to a folder I set aside for activities I actually want to make happen with my kids.

Needless to say, if something is just busy work…or if something is going to take more prep time than its worth, I usually skip it.

Outside Commitments – My current season of life as a wife and mom is a full-time ministry of giving and serving at home. There can oftentimes be a lot of pressure for at-home moms to commit themselves elsewhere.

I’m not sure why others assume mamas have extra time on their hands, but if you allow them, they will quickly fill your schedule for you – over-committing you in ways that are not a good fit for your life right now.

This is an area where I have had to be careful to set boundaries. I want to say Yes! to everyone, but when I do that, I am forced to pull away from where I have been called to serve right now.

This is an area where I am constantly having to keep myself in check. Anyone else struggle with this same thing? Maybe it’s just me! ha!

One More Thing:

One of the sweetest things about your kids getting older is watching them be able to teach their younger siblings.

If you have a fourth or fifth-grader, I would highly recommend finding ways for them to teach in your homeschooling!

We have seen such sweet benefits of this in our home.

A Few Helpful Family Life Tips

In our routines, there are a few things we do that help all of this juggling run smoothly…well, on most days anyway. ha!

Reading Time: When my kiddos wake up (and before they go to bed), they have reading time. Thirty minutes or so for them to independently explore books.

In the mornings, it sets the tone for a day of learning together, and in the evenings, it serves as the perfect way to wind down before sleep.

Rest Time: All of my kids have an afternoon rest time. This gifts them with time to plan and learn independently – something I want to encourage with each one of my kids.

Flexibility: That has been the key word for me! Always being willing to adjust and find creative ways to make things work in my current season, and I hope you – as a homeschool mom (or future homeschool mom) feel that same freedom.

Homeschooling Resources Just for You

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2 Comments

  1. Have you ever felt you don’t have time to teach everything and considered Abeka academy? I feel like I just don’t have enough time…

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      I totally understand! Combining Science, History, and Bible has made all the difference for us!

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