Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I did a What’s in the Workbox Wednesday post, so I thought I might do another one for you today!

I’m taking pictures of Strawberry Shortcakes boxes today for you. And I can’t believe it but she’s nearing the end of her 5th grade year! Ouch! (…Insert sad face here…)


Drawer #1:

1) As you’ve probably already seen, our top drawer houses our expandable drawer organizer and it holds all of the pencils, glue, erasers, lip gloss, etc. that a 5th grade girl needs on a daily basis. It hangs on the drawer sides, so it can slide back and forth out of the way which is a nice feature. It also expands/contracts to fit most drawer sizes.

2) This drawer also holds her Apologia Who is God? student notebook, which we’re enjoying. This curriculum is great for elementary aged students. This is just the student journal, then I keep the teacher’s guide in my shelves. We do this as a group with our 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade kids.

3) It also has her weekly assignment printout. I get a lot of questions on this, and it’s just a report printout from www.homeschooltracker.com that I print and spiral bind for them. Granted a few things changed since we started the year, so you might prefer to print this out on a weekly basis, but for the most part it works to help her keep track of her daily workload.


Drawer #2:

1) Vocabulary Fundamentals for 5th grade. None of us liked the Wordly Wise curriculum, so we’ve switched to Evan-Moor Vocabulary Fundamentals 5 for now. They come in several different grades, and so far we are enjoying these a bit more. I’ll let you know my final decision on this later on.

2) We also have the BJU Press Spelling level 5 in this drawer. She’s finished her All About Spelling and so I wanted to still have something for her to work on so she does one of these worksheets per day, then we take a test on Friday. This is the traditional “memorize and test” type curriculum, so it’s not my favorite but it’s a good refresher for now. I also run through all of the All About Spelling rule cards (the blue ones) with her randomly just to keep them fresh.


Drawer #3:

1) Math U See Epsilon. A.K.A. Fractions. Math is the only thing in this drawer, the blocks, fraction tiles, DVD and books take up enough room. Normally I pull out the next day’s worksheet for her so she knows what to do, I just haven’t done it yet in any of these pictures.


Drawer #4:

1) BJU Press Handwriting 6. She finished level 5 around Christmas time, so I just went ahead and moved on to level 6. Honestly at her age, I don’t think she really needs to be doing handwriting as she does enough in her other subjects. But I did put it in for her this year since it’s good practice and a time filler for me.

2) Rod & Staff English 4. Strawberry Shortcake is in 5th grade this year, but it is our first year trying out the Rod & Staff English and I was told to start out a year down from their normal grade. I’m glad we did this as it’s a little more advanced than the BJU Press that we switched from so I think it was the right choice. I do like this curriculum, and the kids seem to be liking it as well. I honestly can’t say I love it any more or less than BJU Press, and I’m waiting for our testing this year before deciding whether we’ll stick to this for next year. Jury’s still out…


Drawer #5:

1) Her Literature Units and any other unit studies we do are kept in this drawer. She’s currently reading The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, but this switches out as she moves through the units. This year she’s doing them independently, so she reads 1 chapter per day (unless otherwise indicated on the teacher’s manual) and then completes her mini-book and adds it to the lapbook herself. When she’s done, she shows me her work and we check the mini-book to make sure she did it correctly. This drawer holds whichever unit she’s currently working on and we rotate through them throughout the year:

2) Kay Arthur Jesus in the Spotlight bible study. Although we do a group bible study, I like having Strawberry Shortcake do her own personal study now that she’s getting older. I love the Kay Arthur Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for kids. They’re a great way to get your younger students thinking about the bible and understanding it on their own. These are usually for ages 9-12, so they’re perfect for both Turbo (9) and Strawberry Shortcake (11). You can also get teacher’s manuals for these, but I haven’t really needed them so far. The student workbooks tell them what to do for each lesson.


What’s not in her boxes?

We do history, science, and writing together, so I don’t keep those things in their workboxes. But I did want to mention them so you can see what she does each day.

1) Read & Comprehend Skill Sheets 5 from Abeka. These are great for grades 3 – 6! Every Friday she complete one of these sheets. They’re basically a timed reading and questions drill for your student. I find them to be great practice for standardized testing, and also a good way to improve reading speed while still enforcing the need to comprehend what’s been read.

2) Understanding God’s World 4 (Science). Like I mentioned we do this as a group, so it’s not in their daily workboxes. We do science 4 times a week right now, and I normally read the text to them, then we complete any additional quizzes, tests, or experiments as indicated in the lessons.

3) The History of Our United States 4. Again we do this as a group, and I chose level 4 just because we hadn’t started with Abeka history from the start and I wanted to make sure we hit all of the topics. I read the text to them, then we answer questions, take quizzes, tests, and complete any of our Evan-Moor History Pockets that go with our reading for the day. Right now we do history 4 times per week.

4) Institute for Excellence in Writing Level A DVD and lessons. Turbo and Strawberry Shortcake do this together, and we only do writing twice a week, so I don’t keep it in their boxes. Instead on writing day, we will either watch the DVD together, or complete the next assignment in the teacher’s manual together. I found the DVDs used at a local curriculum fair ($45), then purchased the consumables online for about $15 I believe. The curriculum can be very expensive brand new, so if you can find it used I highly recommend it!


And that’s it for a day in the life of our 5th grader! I hope you enjoy these posts, and I’ll do a few more before the year’s out. I can’t believe it’s almost summer time!

Can I get a “Whoot-whoot!”


  1. I would love a post on Vocabulary. I decided to add in a formal curriculum for it next year, thought I had decided on Wordly Wise, based off of your forum last year. Would be nice to know the like/dislikes of that and the new curriculum. I did make some mid year changes this year to Winning with Writing and Growing with Grammar from recommendations from the forums as well. Quite happy with those changes, very glad you did those forums.

      1. It is “okay” and worked fine for my oldest student, but the word list is huge for each week, and the assignments can be a bit overwhelming for younger students. The curriculum is also secular in nature, which might be an issue for some.

  2. Hi Erica,
    I’m getting ready to have a dedicated homeschool room downstairs (yay!) and I wanted to ask you how you like the IKEA chairs you have in your school room. I’ve narrowed it down to those or another IKEA chair, but I wanted an opinion from someone who has actually been using them. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Laurel,
      we have the same IKEA chairs that you see in Erica’s classroom and we like them very much. We have 3 kid sized and one adult size and have been using them for a year now. All of my kids are color coded in our school room, so I was able to spray paint the chairs their assigned color and they turned out beautiful. The kids loved their new colorful chair and still do. This is a great chair to go with if you want to customize the color, they are made of wood and the white finish is perfect for painting over. They are not the most comfortable chair, but not uncomfortable either. No complaints from me or the kids.

  3. Thank you for this, I finally understand how you use each subject from different curriculums and make them work for you. I currently have 3 children who will be working at 4th and 1st grade levels can I make Science work for them the way you do or do you think the science would be too advanced for the first grader? I am also interested in the inductive studies. My girls read a chapter a day but their biggest pet peeve is that sometimes they have no idea what they are reading. I want them to learn to do their Bible reading alone as well as with the family. Would the inductive studies help them do that?

  4. Hi,
    I was wondering what you keep the Math u see blocks in?
    It looks like a plastic case w/ dividers. We have the blocks and right now they are in ziploc bags(which is less than ideal) 🙂

    Angel D
    1. Hi Angel,
      They’re in a plastic bead organizing box. They’re the kind with the moveable dividers. You can get them at Michael’s, Walmart, JoAnn’s, and probably most hobby stores.

  5. Hi Erica,
    Where are you on the Rod and Staff? Looking at this for next year (Up coming 5th grader). I need to make the call by March when the homeschool convention comes my way. Just wondered what you thought?



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