I have loved this book and have used it as a guide when making a lot of choices in curriculum:
I don’t always follow everything they recommend, but it has been a wonderful guide for me to know what each grade level is expected to learn, along with curriculum to help teach it.
My 5th grader’s list of subjects/curriculum:
copy work. I have her copy Bible chapters, poetry, and sentences from her spelling book for practice. Her handwriting is awesome, so I didn’t have to purchase anything this year just to practice. If I needed to work more on it, I would order the Handwriting Without Tears 4th grade book (cursive) or a lower level for basic writing. The books don’t actually say the grade on them, so only I would know.
Spelling Workout D- super cheap, with tons of independent and fun practice. There are crossword puzzles and word searches as well as harder stuff. I have her do 1 activity per day for 3 days & write out sentences and study on day 4. On the 5th day, she gets a test. For homework, I assign that she has to write out missed words 10 times each. Cost per book is about $10.
Rod & Staff English book 5. Really great series, written by Amish people with lots of Bible verses as examples. It’s very tough & thorough. When my kids complete each year’s book, they know their stuff and tend to score high on grammar testing. You can assign a lot of written work or very little, depending on what you feel needs improvement. This year, we’ve done most of the assignments out loud, one on one, since it’s a review of a lot of stuff she already knows (so far). These grammar books are about $17.
I bought a public school math book on Amazon for like $5. It was like 10 years old. Be wary of any recent publications, though. They will have the newest government-promoted, common core material. I’ve never seen that, but I’ve heard it’s confusing to parents and kids alike. I love Abeka math workbooks and teacher answer keys. If I had had more money to spend this year, I would have purchased those instead for this child. Abeka math is very thorough, but easily understood by my oldest child that has struggled with math in the past. And the workbooks are great b/c there’s no need to waste time writing out each problem- the child can write answers directly on the workbook pages. Together, the workbook and answer key are about $50-60. There’s also a cool little (FREE) computer program that one of our private schools around here uses as a means of teaching children to know their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. It’s called Xtra Math. We use it in lieu of doing flashcards. Every time one of my little ones completes one of the 4 sections, they get a treat of their choice. They think it’s hard but fun.
I assign 1 hour of read time in the mornings (alone). I printed off “1000 Great Books” online, which lists a ton of classic books per grade level. We check out what she wants to read from the library, along with books that go along with what we are learning about in science and history. She picks from those for her reading time. I also have her read aloud to me from time to time without her being aware that I am checking on her- directions, part of a science chapter, whatever. I also read aloud to the kids for about half an hour in the afternoons from a classic book that is above their reading level, but something they would care about (Anne of Green Gables, Narnia, etc.) I only do that with 3rd grade and up.
Jeannie Fulbright’s Apologia series. We love “Exploring Creation with Zoology”- several different volumes. There are lots of books to choose from. My kids have loved them all. Activities and experiments are optional, but usually pretty fun, like building a wooden birdhouse for your backyard or experimenting to see if birds prefer to eat directly on the ground level or at tree level. Christian series & very sound. The author loves to prove God’s existence and ongoing care for His creation throughout all of her books. I read this book twice per week to all the kids at once (or retell it in my own words).
Mystery of History (LOVE) Can come in cd form, where you listen aloud together or book form, where you teach it yourself. These books show what was going on around the world at the same time as the Bible stories were unfolding all the way to modern times. Very, very well researched and presented. There are currently 4 volumes available, and we’re on #3. I just read a chapter aloud, three times per week. Sometimes we do activities as recommended or color a picture I print off the internet. You can order a coloring/ activity pack that goes along with this, but I never have due to expense. Sometimes I’m super on it & also research cool videos to show that relate. One year we also created a timeline and bought tiny little coloring cards that you can buy with it to tack on to it. It’s as laid back or intense as you want to get. I love finding field trips that go along with our lessons. The book is around $50-60. I teach this to all kids at same time.
My 2nd grader’s list of subjects/curriculum:
Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power. This one has little places to color, along with writing practice. This is my little one’s favorite book. About $10
We’re not ready for that yet, but I have an Abeka Spelling and Poetry 1 book ready for her when she’s ready. I want her to read a bit easier first.
We worked through a phonics book together from kindergarten through last year. She’s really gotten the basic rules of reading down, so this year, I’m just concentrating on practicing what she already knows. Bob books (can check out from library or purchase a set for about $10 on Amazon) are great at helping. We were also given a Hooked on Phonics 2nd grade kit that she loves. We check out lots of books. Basically, we just read, read, read. If the skill is already there, just let them practice reading out loud. You don’t really need a program. My 2nd grader reads to me for 10-15 minutes each time, or until she’s just really tired of it. Some days, she wants to go a bit longer. I also read aloud to her with stories for her age- usually at night.
First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise (it has 1st and 2nd grade in the same book- can be done together). Lessons are short, so they keep little ones’ attention span. They are parent-led, but it doesn’t take any preparation ahead of time- just read aloud. There are cute, short poems to memorize, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, basics of grammar to memorize, teaching about how to narrate back a story. I love it. I bought it years ago & can’t remember the price, but it wasn’t much.
Arithmetic 2 by Abeka. It’s a workbook with colorful pages. It reminds me of preschool books that were fun, but on a harder level. My little one feels challenged, but like she is having fun too. I also have her do Xtra math online.