Homeschool, Uncategorized

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2020-2021

My 10 year old would be in 5th grade if she still attended the private school she did for her first few years of schooling. Due to her having a June birthday that puts her on the very young side for that grade level, but she is easily reading at an 8-10th grade reading level so we are going to just call it 5th grade or year 5 and go on from there.

This particular daughter is my self taught reader and ravenous book worm. She finished all her historical fiction free reads (goes along with our history study) the week before we started our last term in the spring, which showed me two things.

1. I need more free reads available for her.

2. I need to hide them better before the term starts.

Because of her ability and confidence, she is able to do most of her work and readings independently. Our goal is that by year 7 she be fully independent and will then leave our “family studies” to do Ambleside Online year 7 in full. In an effort to get to that level of independence and responsibility we are working towards the goal in increments. Last year she began independently completing a few history and science readings as well as language arts. This year she has added all her science readings to her independent studies which already included math, language arts, literature, and a few others.

Just a reminder we do many subjects together as a family during our Morning Time. That means we have a family bible study, history readings, music and arts, and other enrichments all together before they split off to their personal grade/age appropriate studies.

Also, as a reminder we are learning about Ancient Egypt from now until December, then Ancient Greece in the spring, and Ancient Rome in the fall. We may stretch any of those if necessary. I pull her personal history readings and free reads from lists at Ambleside Online (Year 1 and Year 6 have some ancient history selections), Beautiful Feet Books (lovely ancient history book selections), and a few others I have found on the inter webs. I will share our Ancient Egypt selections for those now, and will update when we get to the other time periods.

I will denote each section either by the history focus or as follows

Morning Time (Family Subjects)

  • Bible– Family bible readings from Simply Charlotte Mason guide
  • HymnsHappy Hymnody & Ambleside Online
  • Scripture Memory- We have a scripture box like this.
  • History– Family readings
  • Music
    • Composers: Wagner, Handel, Vivaldi
    • Folksongs: First Folksong Favorites- my oldest is learning to play these in her piano lessons to accompany us
    • Sol-Fa: Children of the Open Air
  • Beauty Loop
    • Lambs Shakespeare
    • Family Read Aloud
    • Poetry: Walter De La Mare & Alfred Lloyd Tennyson
    • Foreign Language: Latin & Spanish
    • Picture Books: usually to go along with nature study, history focus, or holidays
    • Artist Study: Ambleside Online rotation with A Humble Place prints and Simply Charlotte Mason prints when available
These are family taught lessons. I Speak Latin by Andrew Campbell found on Cherrydale Press Spanish, and lessons printed out.


Personal Devotions– My 5th grade daughter has daily devotions in which she is attempting to read through the entire bible in the whole year. So far she is right on track! Thats better than me. I encourage her to journal when she feels led to.

Bible Study– She is following the Ambleside Online schedule for Year 5 which takes her through the prophets, kings, and life of Christ or Gospels in Harmony. These sections she narrates orally or once every two weeks does a written narration from her Bible readings.

Some of these are family reads and some are her independent reads.


History Spine- This we do together and we follow the Simply Charlotte Mason Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome guide. We are doing these in double time because I did not want to do 3 years of ancient history, so instead we are shortening it to a year and half. We are either doubling readings in a day or cutting something out. We are also reading through Trial and Triumph as a family.

Plutarch 3 Prong Folder: The image is from a public domain printing and the lessons are from Ambleside Online. I simply copy and pasted and edited the spacing and font size.

Personal History Study

These are history books she reads to meet our family study at her level and help her to dive in a little deeper.

  • Book of Centuries– using a Century Journal from Juniper Grove Journals with one entry per week
  • Ancient Egypt– The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Adam and His Kin, Plutarch: Ameillius Paulus
  • Ancient Greece– TBD
  • Ancient Rome– TBD
Her free reads for History. I give her several to choose from, she reads them all though usually and then several others as well.

Historical Fiction/Non-Fiction Reads

I set these as free reads. I choose three for each 6 week term and ask her to read a minimum of one before heading over to her free reading selections from Ambleside. She generally reads all of them though.

  • Ancient Egypt– Tirzah, Adara, Tales of Ancient Egypt, The Egypt Game, The Cat of Bubastes, Mara: Daughter of the Nile, The Golden Bull, The Golden Goblet, God King: A Story in the Days of Hezekiah
  • Ancient Greece– TBD
  • Ancient Rome– TBD
The Bible Maps we use with our SCM history spine, Visits to Middle East is for Family, and Book of Marvels is independent.


This subject we complete primarily as a family using Simply Charlotte Mason’s Visits series. However, she also completes the Ambleside Online readings for this subject. We are excited to use Book of Marvels together and are using our journals from Juniper Grove Journals to create a “travel journal” of what we read. I purchased one for myself and am doing it with her.

  • Semester 1Visits to Middle East (Simply Charlotte Mason), Book of Marvels (Ambleside Online), Longs Home Geography (Ambleside Online Schedule), Charlotte Mason Elementary Geography (Ambleside Online Schedule)
  • Semester 2– TBD
  • Semester 3– TBD


For this year she begins following Ambleside Online and uses it as a personal or independent study. We are still using Exploring Nature with Children as a family, but rather than having a new topic each week I have selected one topic from each month to focus on for the entire month. Our Ambleside Online nature focuses we do as a family as well with trips to local areas and library books.

  • Nature Study– This we will continue to do as a family using Exploring Nature with Children and the Ambleside Online Term/Semester studies.
    • 2020-2021
      • summer/fall: Reptiles
      • winter: Brook, river, ocean
      • spring: Garden flowers/weeds
    • Fall 2021
      • summer/fall: Invertebrates
  • Personal/Independent Study- This one follows the Ambleside Online schedule for Year 5 and Year 6
    • Semester 1 & 2
      • Madam How and Lady Why
      • Wild Animals I Have Known
      • The Children’s Book of Nature
      • Great Inventors and their Inventions
      • 1 Science Biography per term: Marie Curie (Term 1)
    • Semester 3
      • The Mystery of the Periodic Table
      • The Sea Around Us
      • It Couldn’t Just Happen
      • The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
      • 1 Science Biography per term


My daughter does very well with a self taught method and very little intervention for me. We have had great success with Rod and Staff curriculum, but after coming out of private school she had to go back to fundamentals (thank you common core). Thus she is “behind” what her regular classmates would be doing, but is right where she needs to be. We plan to use Rod and Staff through their 6th grade book and then switch to Pre-Algebra.

  • Semester 1– Rod & Staff Math 4, Xtra Math, game schooling
  • Semester 2 & 3– Rod & Staff Math 5, Xtra Math, game schooling
  • Logic- We added this logic book this year and she loves it.

Language Arts

King Arthur, Age of Fable, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Poetry

I have broken this up by the major language arts categories you might see on a state standards list. We follow a Charlotte Mason model for this subject and use a variety of materials.

  • Writing
    • Handwriting– Copy work is done through a book of mottoes. Her handwriting reached a proficient level and we switched to a book of mottoes. I allow her to choose her own selections on rotation of Bible, History, Poetry, Science, & Literature.
    • Composition– Written narrations accomplish this at all ages. At age 10 and with a competency in handwriting and desire to compose I have her write 2 written narrations a week on a rotation. Bible, Science, History, &Literature.
    • Spelling– Copywork and dictation accomplish this. We do dictation twice a week and copywork daily.
      • Spelling Wisdom- We use Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason one time per week.
      • Dictation- Then another time each week I give her a selection from one of our family readings and follow Charlotte Mason’s method for dictation.
    • Grammar– This is our first year really getting serious about grammar. This takes 5-10 minutes twice a week.
      • Simply Grammar- Once a week she completes a lesson from Simply Grammar by Karen Andrea which are Charlotte Masons original lessons. You can access them for free at Charlotte Mason Poetry here.
      • Using Language Well- Once a week she completes this lesson that coincides with her Spelling Wisdom selection.
    • Vocabulary– Copywork, written narration and dictation will expose her to a variety of vocabulary words.
  • Reading
    • Reading Comprehension– This is evaluated through her written and oral narrations.
    • Vocabulary– Once again through her narrations and her reading selections she is exposed to many new words.
  • Speaking
    • Public Speaking– Oral narration and recitation will accomplish this.
      • Oral Narration- This is done after every reading (unless given in written narration). Simply they tell back what they read.
      • Recitation- She has a bible selection and poetry selection. We will rotate once she can read it eloquently and with expression.
    • Sentence Structure– This is taught through grammar lessons, narration and recitation.
  • Listening
    • Comprehension– This is taught through narration, dictation, recitation, and poetry.
  • Literature– We are following Ambleside Online selections for this.
    • Age of Fable
    • Year 5- King Arthur, Oliver Twist, Kim (may sub for Jungle Book)
    • Year 6– The Hobbit, Animal Farm, The Illiad, The Odyssey
    • Shakespeare- We will be choosing a variety of his plays and working through them together. We are already really enjoying reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream together.
  • Free Reads– We are following Ambleside Online selections for this.
Spelling Wisdom (Dictation), Simply Grammar (1x/week), Using Language Well (1x/week, and her copywork notebook or book of mottoes


For music we use composer study, folksongs, hymns, and starting at age 5 my girls all begin piano lessons. They have a lot of musical exposure and outside of the piano lessons we do it all as a family. They often choose to grab one of composer cds to listen to as they play, or our silly folksong cds. They enjoy music so this is an area I don’t feel pressure to do much other than expose them to good music and variety of music that is glorifying to God.

  • Piano Lessons-She is entering her 6th year of piano lessons. This year she is switching to learning with my mother in law as her teacher due to our move last year. She plays very well, and is getting more focused on specific nuances and styling this year.

How do we keep track of everything that needs to be done? I keep our lessons fairly well planned before the year begins and review during my sabbath weeks before the start of next term. However, on a weekly basis I create an assignment book like the one pictured below for her. I put an entire weeks worth of items on there and she completes them as she desires. There are a few I put specific days of the week to complete to make sure we get a variety throughout the week (like grammar and dictation), but otherwise she completes at her own pace and order.

This is a lengthy list and took me the better part of last term piecing together, but since it will cover most of the next year and half I’m sure it was worth the time. There are many open and go curriculums and even just choosing Ambleside Online, Simply Charlotte Mason or any of them will give you a wonderfully well rounded education. I however am a rebel and enjoy piecing together my own.

I am so grateful to the wonderful mothers at Ambleside Online who provide this free curriculum, Rhea Berg at Beautiful Feet Books for her trusted selections, and the hard work of everyone at Simply Charlotte Mason who made this much easier on me. Its impossible to read all the books about a given topic so I rely on trusted booklists and recommendations to create my family’s study courses. I enjoy the process, but its not for everyone and thats ok!

Now I’m working on pre-reading before my oldest devours all the books as we get to each semester!


If you are looking for Ambleside Online books and struggling to find trustworthy in print copies, I highly recommend checking out Living Book Press! We start there with our ordering, and though we have had some shipping issues (thank you Covid) their customer service has been top notch!

Rod and Staff is cheaper if you call them directly. I have ordered both from them directly and through Milestone books and have had great results both times. They both have amazing customer service and its a blessing to do business with them!

Simply Charlotte Mason also has amazing customer service. I once accidentally ordered for in person pick up…which is in Georgia. I live in Indiana. Whoops. They cleared it up right away. Also SCM has amazing tutorials and help both in their facebook group, blog, and youtube channels.

Other places I order items from include Juniper Grove Journals, Christian Books, Thrift Books, and Abe Books. I try to limit my Amazon ordering, but it can be useful in a bind.

That’s it.

I know it’s lengthy and if you stuck it through to this point I thank you! I’d love to know what questions you may have, just stick them down in the comments. Have a great new year!

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