Hi everyone! I’m seeing a lot of activity in the COAH Community so I know you are all starting to plan ahead for next year! So today I’m sharing our top 5th grade homeschool curriculum picks! We’ve gotten to the point where we’re pretty pleased with our line up of curriculum. While I like to do a variety of student independent as well as teacher led activities I like to start introducing a little more independent work at this grade level. I think it helps make the transition to 6th grade and above where a lot of their work becomes more independent a bit easier.
I also like to add in something fun and hands-on since this is their last year in elementary school and things get a bit more serious as they continue up the grade levels. I usually try to pick something more engaging for science and history at this stage. It’s the perfect excuse to do fun experiments, and build cool things. It’s also a fun grade to do robotics and electronic lessons.
So let’s get started! Here are the basic subjects that I suggest you cover for 5th grade.
Of course you’ll want to make sure to check with your state requirements to make sure you’re including anything specifically required by your district. The * indicates subjects that are usually optional.
- Social Studies/History
If you’d like to see how I schedule out our 5th grade homeschool schedule, click below to see what our typical 5th grade daily schedule looks like!
Download a copy:
- Daily Learning Notebook (You can choose either Elementary level manuscript version. or Elementary cursive version, I normally do cursive by this age.) – These are free downloads found on my blog, and they come in a variety of styles. I have an elementary specific one I like to use for ages 6-11. I also offer them in a variety of languages if you’ve already done the elementary notebook and want something new! It’s just a fun way to cover a variety of skills each day.
- World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1 or 2: My artist studies are a great way to learn about some of the world’s greatest artists as well as learn about different artistic styles, techniques, and mediums. You will learn a ton about the work of each artist and become well familiar with their style, methods, and images. Students will also learn to discuss artwork in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for art in general. You will also create several of your own unique masterpieces emulating the styles and techniques of the artists as you learn. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, artist note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, artist fact flashcards, and art projects to correlate with each artist.
- I love the Home Art Studio DVDs they have really fun art projects. They are sold by grade level, which might not work as well if you have multiple-grades represented in your home. But I’ve found that for the most part, if you pick a DVD closer to the upper grades in your home, you can have everyone do a project from one DVD and it will still be okay. The DVDs may cost a bit more, but they also take the pressure off of you to teach a lesson. If you’re not comfortable teaching art, you can simply gather the required materials and let the DVD do the teaching for you.
- Another one of my favorite all time resources for art is the Deep Space Sparkle website, she has tons of free art ideas for kids also sorted by grade level! And it looks like she’s also created a curriculum you can purchase as well. I haven’t tried it out myself, but I love her website overall!
- Word of Life Challenger Quiet Time devotions. These are great for starting to teach independent Bible study for kids. They come by grade levels so you can get one that is appropriate for your child. We do one per day, and they only take about 5-10 minutes each. These are my favorite right now because they can be done independently.
- Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum: The Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum comes with a video series along with accompanying worksheet lessons. My kids love anything that is DVD related, and I they have enjoyed the lessons as well. The lessons include a 10 minute devotional, memory verses, games and activities, and printable pdf files that you can use with students as well. This is a great option for anyone who prefers to have a bit of variety to their lessons!
- Grapevine Units: These are great for all ages. Since I have 4 different grades in our homeschool, I purchase the multiple-level teacher’s manual, along with a combination of the traceable student workbooks (for my younger kids) and the blank ones (for my older kids) and we all do the same lesson at the same time. It’s worked out great for teaching multiple levels at the same time! That said, they also have grade specific levels if you don’t need to teach more than one grade together.
- Character Studies: I have a series of FREE character studies available for download on my website. They’re great for teaching basic character skills to your kids while having a fun and engaging Bible study at the same time. You can find them all here on my Bible printables page, I hope you enjoy them!
- Kay Arthur Discover 4 yourself: These are great for kids who are good readers and ready for something a little more in depth. They have a reading assignment each day along with some specific Bible markings to help them remember the text and think about what it means in a more critical manner. These books are great for encouraging 4th grade students study their Bible more independently. I do NOT get the teacher’s guide for these book as they’re fairly self-explanatory in each lesson.
Handwriting: (Note: I do not purchase teacher manuals for handwriting. I’ve found they’re really not necessary and a good place to save money!)
- BJU Handwriting 5: I like the BJU Press handwriting workbooks. They have a variety of activities students do each day to practice handwriting skills. There are some references to their other curriculum, but we haven’t ever had an issue with using them. I do NOT get the teacher’s manuals for this subject as I don’t think they’re essential. They do transition into cursive in this level.
- Note: I usually use cursive handwriting at this point depending on my student’s readiness. But you’ll want to do whatever works best for your child.
- Spelling You See F or G: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this curriculum. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only does it take some of the teaching time off of me, but it seems to be fun for my kids and it is working well. This curriculum is not your standard memorization of words and rules. There is a reading passage each day and students mark particular items in the passage. Then they copy the passage down on the following page. The repetition of seeing the words along with writing them has really helped quite a bit in my children’s spelling. I also love that in the books they learn a variety of information in the passages. Each grade level has a different theme so students learn the information as they’re copying the passages. I recommend level F or G for your 5th grader, but they have a placement test online you can check out to help determine an appropriate level for your child. I don’t usually use the TM for this grade, there are dictation assignments, and for that we just tear out our worksheet and I read from their book.
- All About Spelling Level 5: I love AAS for phonics rules memorization. I think they do a great job really drilling the phonics, as well as teaching sight words, and giving spelling words to work on each week. One thing that you should note with this curriculum is that it’s teacher led, and we spent about 15-20 minutes each day working on our lessons. The books come with about 26-30 lessons for each level, and so I split the lessons into two parts. We do the new teaching one day, then the word writing and practice the following day. they use letter tiles to help students spell words which helps with really seeing and sounding out each sound, popular vowel teams, and consonant teams. Another thing we did to make this curriculum more fun was to use our iPad chalkboard app to write words, we also stamp the words, and I created a “Word Jail” bulletin board on our wall where we added all of the phonics rule breakers (sight words). We reviewed these often and it was really easy to do since they were all in one place! Note: You will need the teacher manual’s for AAS as the lessons are only in the TM!
- BJU Press English 5: I love the BJU teacher’s manuals because I think their easy to follow. The worksheets also have information on the tops as well, so you can teach from them if you prefer. I also like that there is an answer key included in the BJU TM and so that makes it easier for me to teach it as well.BJU covers basic grammar, sentence structure, and writing practice. English 5 gives more practice with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns. You can also purchase English 5 tests and the test answer key separately.
- Abeka Language B If you like Abeka and want to stick with it, this is a good option for language and grammar. It covers basic grammar and and sentence structure along with nouns, verbs, and adjectives. They also cover quotations, capitals, modifiers, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections at this level. I do recommend purchasing the teacher’s manual and the Language B answer key for the student work pages. Quizzes and tests can be purchased separately if you wan those as well.
- Fix It Grammar: Fix It Grammar is a program that has students fixing sentences in a story format. Students correct one sentence per day, look up a vocabulary word, and add any ending punctuation. Once the sentence has been fixed it is re-written in a notebook. Lessons are short, and editing parts of speech in a story format provides a better sense of the language usage as well as anticipation to see what will happen next.
Depending on my child’s skill level, I may not do a formal reading program for 5th grade. If they are reading well, I will instead let them pick from my Literature Units as well as read library books of their choosing as well. I’ve found that they tend to enjoy reading more when they can pick something they’re interested in as opposed to doing a more structured reading curriculum. We still do comprehension practice with all of our reading units.
- Abeka Read & Think Skill Sheets 5: These are 5 minute timed reading comprehension tests. They’re a great addition to our 5th grade year especially since I usually don’t following a structured reading program around this age. They are also good practice for standardized testing if you plan to do that.
- Abeka 5 Reading: Abeka reading is a nice and easy reading curriculum. Students read and answer comprehension questions daily. I suggest looking for the readers on eBay or Homeschool Classifieds, you can often find them at a great price used! We do have the reading curriculum TM which includes comprehension questions for older grades. The younger grades have the questions right in their books so you don’t really need a TM for them. You can just have your student read at their own pace through the books.
NOTE: I get a LOT of questions about which one we use and why. Honestly I love both of these options for reading. I have typically stuck with Abeka simply because we had all of the readers and I’ve taught it so many times that I’m well familiar with it, so it’s just an easier option for me. I do however use our AAR readers during reading time as well because my kiddos prefer the AAR stories to the Abeka stories.
- Math U See Epsilon: We have used Math U See for all of our kiddos for years. We have tried a couple of other math programs, but ended up going back to MUS because it’s just a much better fit for us. I like that it comes with DVD lessons, so I don’t have to teach them. I simply facilitate their work during the week, and help out when they have questions. Even though the skills are taught in a different order than traditional math where kids do a little bit of everything each day, I find that the MUS philosophy of mastering one skill before moving on to the next has worked well for our kids. Delta level covers single and multiple digit division to mastery.
- Road Trip USA: Road Trip is a year long USA Geography/History curriculum. It is geared towards elementary students around grades 1-6. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the wild west, you’ll uncover all the secrets this Nation has to offer! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of all 50 states, including state symbols, U.S. Presidents, famous people, landmarks, historical events, and much more! Students will also learn about animals from each state, their habitats, and other interesting facts. We did use this as our science for the year as well.
- Abeka History 5: This is more of a read and discuss type curriculum. There aren’t many hands-on activities included. However they are easy and short daily lessons and can be purchased by grade level. One thing I like about this curriculum is that the reading assignments are really appropriate for each grade level and so I didn’t feel like I was teaching above my students understanding. Since I have 4 children, the youngest didn’t participate with us, but the older three did. I chose grade 4 to use with my 2nd, 4th, and 5th grader and it worked well. I did not make my younger student take the tests, but she was capable of listening and discussing things with us. So you can make it work if you have multiple ages. You can also assign these out for more independent work as well, having your student do the reading on their own. This curriculum is great if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require much preparation on your part.
- Time Traveler Units: I used these units as a fun supplement to go along with our Abeka history. They include hands-on projects, and lapbooking type activities that helped to make the Abeka more engaging. Although they’re listed as a full curriculum, and we enjoyed it, I did find that it wasn’t quite as thorough as I would have liked. There is a 1-2 page reading passage for each lesson followed by several activities. I love the activities included, but did find that some of them were a bit confusing or difficult for my children to complete after reading just a small piece of information. If we use these again, we will definitely add them in with Abeka or something a little more thorough.
- Evan-Moor History Pockets: These are a great way to include some more hands on activities with your students. They aren’t really a full stand-alone curriculum. However, they were an excellent addition to our Abeka unit as well. The books come in a variety of topics and have one short lesson followed by a lapbooking type activity for each reading passage. I felt that they were a nice addition to our curriculum. And they weren’t very time consuming. The only preparation work required for you is to make copies for your kiddos.
- Classical Literature Units: I love including some classical literature in our day. These units are great for younger readers and encourage them to start reading longer chapter books that are both fun as well as educational. If you have multiple grades you’re teaching you can do these as a group read-a-loud, then have students complete the lapbook and comprehension questions individually. If your student is ready to read them independently you can have them do them on their own. Each unit includes vocabulary words, comprehension questions, activities where appropriate, and a lapbook project. If my child is reading well at grade 5, we’ll often skip a formal reading curriculum (see above) and go through my literature units instead. I find that they’re more enjoyable reading, and my kids still get great practice and challenge reading the classics.
- World’s Greatest Composers Vo.l 1 OR World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 2: These units are a great way to learn about some of our world’s most famous musicians. You will learn a ton about the work of each musician and become well familiar with their style and works. Students will also learn to discuss the music in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for the art in general. they will complete listening studies each day that include an accompanying project. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, musician fact cards, and listening assignments that correlate with each artist.
- Music lessons: Instrument lessons depending on child’s interest. We’ve also done Teach Yourself Piano, private lessons, guitar, etc. I will say that the Teach Yourself Piano is a great starting point, but if you want to progress you’ll want to move onto private lessons at some point. The lessons are short, and students learn songs right away which is a nice motivator. They do label your keyboard with number stickers then later on letters which help students learn.
- Expedition Earth Geography/Science Curriculum: We are going through this curriculum again for our 2nd time and it’s still so much fun! Its definitely my kids favorite part of our week. The lessons are engaging, informative, and hands-on. It’s also great for use with multiple grades together. It includes quizzes, reports, and tests for older kids along. We’ll walk along on the Great Wall of China, wander through the Amazon Rainforest, and climb the Egyptian Pyramids! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of 31 countries across the globe. You’ll get hands-on with fun activities, crafts, recipes and more! So grab your passports, and get ready to go!
- World’s Greatest Scientists: These are super fun units where students can learn all about 7 of our world’s greatest scientists. Each study includes fun hands-on activities to go along with the unit to help students remember what they’ve learned, and also provide them with a fun reference too to review and recall each person they’ve learned about. The lessons also include book reports, vocabulary, character traits of these important figures, and critical thinking skills.
- Abeka Science 5 Abeka science is also a good option if you’re looking for easy short lessons with not much fuss on your part. There are a few experiments included, though the curriculum as a whole is not that hands on. Lessons are short and to the point, and you really don’t need much prep work. It does cover an overview of a variety of topics in one year which is nice, and like I said it’s fairly easy with little prep work for you. I usually get the TM, student text, and any accompanying flashcards, quizzes, and activity sheets. You can often find Abeka used, so check used sites before buying new!
- ROBOTICS: LEGO Education I recommend starting with the Simple Mechanisms set, if you’ve already completed these lessons they also have add-on products that cover hydro-electricity, wind energy and a few others. We did this as a co-op with some other families, but you could also do it at home. Each set is intended for 2 students to share. There are activity lesson plans you can purchase and then the students use the kits to learn all about a variety of robotics related topics. They build various models, test them, then modify their creations to get a variety of desired results. While this was an optional subject, I really wanted to list it here because I think the lessons were really cool, fun, and valuable in encouraging critical and logical thinking skills, as well as creativity and teamwork.
- EEME: If you have a student who is interested in engineering, the EEME kits are really fun. We’re going through the EEME Project AMP kit right now and my son loves it. It’s a 6 kit project where students learn basics of circuits, filtering sounds, power, generating sound and more while they build an actual speaker amplifier system. They also offer some free online lessons as well.
- Extra-curricular sports: Because we do a variety of sports in the afternoons/evenings depending on our children’s interests, we don’t do a formal PE program at this time. Right now we’re doing a mix of swimming, ice skating, and ice hockey. We’ve also done dance, gymnastics, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and cheerleading. I suggest finding something your child is interested in and get them involved in a sport. It’s a great way to get exercises and have fun at the same time.
- Family Time Fitness: This is a great program if you are looking for more structure for PE at home. I think it’s great for younger kids and helps you get them out and moving! It includes daily lessons along with video tutorials for any activities you’re unfamiliar with. There are no special products required to complete the lessons most can be done inside or out depending on your whether with little props.
- If you don’t want something formal, I would just plan in some outdoor free play time into your daily homeschool schedule. Go for a walk, head to the park, take a bike ride, play ball or Frisbee, etc. Just make it fun, and be diligent to get your kiddos out and active each day!
- Typing Web (free online typing program): We’ve been using Typing Web for a few years now and I find that it’s a great way to improve typing skills. One thing I’ve found that helps is doing typing on a daily basis. So we’ve scheduled it for 10 minutes per day 5 days per week. The best part is that the lessons are free. You just sign up as a parent account and then add your students under your account. NOTE: I usually require my kids to start typing in 3rd grade so by 5th grade we step it up a notch. They have 10 minutes of typing per day scheduled into their workload. I’ve found 10 minutes is short enough that they don’t mind doing it, but enough practice to help them become relatively fluent typists over the course of the year.
- Typing Instructor: This is either an online or CD based curriculum. We’ve used it before and like it, however I have to be honest and say that since Typing Web is free I tend to prefer that one instead! They’re both very comparable in format.
- Vocabulary Workshop Grade 5: I’ve found vocabulary workshop to be decent as far as vocabulary goes. It’s basically a workbook with a reading selection, word lists, and then worksheets using the vocabulary presented in the reading portion. It’s not very exciting, but seems to work well.
- Wordbuild Online: This is a new online program that we recently tried out. My son loved that it was computer based, as he really doesn’t love to have to do worksheets. I found it a little on the easy side, but overall I liked it. The lessons are fairly short so they only take about 10-15 minutes per day. You can go back and check their scores on each section, but I haven’t found out how to repeat a lesson if they needed to. I can tell you that my son who is not fond of more worksheets LOVES the online curriculum option.
SUGGESTIONS PLEASE: Finding a good vocabulary has been my nemesis! I still don’t feel like I’ve found something that really works, just things we are tolerating out of lack of something better. Does anyone out there have something they LOVE for vocab? If so share it below!
- Institute for Excellence in Writing: While BJU English does have writing included I’ve found that my son was struggling with it. I’ve since started IEW writing in lieu of the BJU writing program. We only do the non-writing chapters in BJU when scheduling. IEW has DVD based lessons, then assignments that correlate with the video lessons. I really like that I don’t have to teach this particular subject, but instead I can just facilitate the homework. We all watch the video together, then my students complete the assignments as directed. I really like the teaching method they use and thing that the check lists have really helped my children learn how to write interesting and properly formatted paragraphs. We started with Student Writing Intensive Level A and have continued on with IEW Continuation Group A this past year.
- WriteShop: Another favorite writing curriculum of mine is the WriteShop program. I find that it really does a great job of leading students through the writing process. Lessons are taught by the parent, and you work together with your student work together to help come up with fun and engaging stories. The lessons also include fun games and activities to help make writing a more positive experience. I highly recommend this program for anyone who has a student who is either struggling or simply doesn’t like writing all together.
Final Advice for fifth grade:
When preparing your curriculum for 5th grade I think the best advice I can give you is to keep it fun and engaging. I like to plan in a lot of field trips wherever we can fit them in or where they correlate with our lessons. I also make sure to keep track of my student’s workload when planning the year. I use a sample schedule (see above) to chart how long each subject will take before buying curriculum at this stage.
Fifth grade workloads usually increase a bit, and so the transition can be difficult if you add in too many subjects each day. You may find it easier to alternate between electives doing them only a few times a week instead of daily. I also like to include more student independent work to help prepare them for 6th grade where they will be required to work more on their own.
I also like to choose elective curriculum that is more hands-on and engaging. Fifth graders will have a more worksheet oriented year depending on your choices, so I think incorporating hands-on activities can help keep school more fun.
Continue teaching them how to work diligently and more independently where appropriate. I like using the workbox system to help my students learn to complete tasks more independently. Here’s a video on our workboxes and how we use them in our school!
I hope this has helped you in planning your homeschool curriculum for first grade! Make sure to check out our other top homeschool curriculum picks here!
Don’t forget to stop by the COAH Community to see what others use for 5th grade too! Have questions? Start your own discussion!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage if you purchase through my link. That said, please know that I do NOT recommend anything unless we like and use it!!