Curriculum Choices for Preschool & 5th Grade

Can you believe (not) Back to School time is upon us already?   The last of our curriculum orders arrived last week and our homeschool planning is underway.

Last year was a fantastic year in our homeschool for several reasons.  First of all, we went from a homeschool of one to a homeschool of two: The Boy and Prissy are both at the table now.  Secondly, we’ve finally locked in on the best methods for us; that’s a huge relief!  Lastly, we gained a schoolroom.  It really was a great year for us, but we’re looking forward to an even better 2015-2016 homeschool year.

(Not) Back to School: Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for Preschool and 5th Grade

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One of the reasons we’re looking forward to a great year is that we have some awesome curriculum choices awaiting us!  Here’s a look at the resources we’re using this year:


Prissy will turn four years-old during this school year.  What a perfect time to break out God’s Little Explorers.  Her year will primarily be built around this and I already know she’s going to love it.

(Not) Back to School - Curriculum Choices for Preschool and 5th Grade

I also plan to mix in Brookdale House’s  Look What I Can Do! from week to week.  I was blessed to grab it while it was available for free earlier in the year and it will be a great complement to God’s Little Explorers.  Prissy’s got great things in store, that’s for sure!

5th Grade

The Boy’s year will center around Year 2 of Illuminations, which focuses on the early church and the Middle Ages.   Because of that, Mystery of History, Volume II and The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide will be major players in The Boy’s 5th grade year.  I’ve already spent some time learning my way around Illuminations and can tell we are in for an amazing adventure!

Language Arts

The Boy is so excited that Brookdale House is once again the heart of his language arts plan.  He finished up Sheldon’s New Primary Language Lessons last year and is moving on to the Grammar Workbook.  He’s also using The Fun Spanish from Brookdale House this year.  We learned the hard way last year that Rosetta Stone isn’t a good match for him – apparently a strong southern accent can affect your progress with the software!  I’m hoping a change in his approach to learning Spanish will make a difference for him.

5th Grade Curriculum Choices

The rest of his language arts plans involve A Reason For Spelling,  The Write Stuff Adventure, and tons of great literature from the Illuminations reading list for the year.

Science & Math

The Boy will cover science through Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics and through our homeschool co-op’s STEM focus each week.

The Boy and I are both so over looking for the right math fit – we are ready to find what works and stick with it.  After lots of research and consideration, we decided on Math U See.  He’s good with math, but he’s starting with Gamma just to be sure he doesn’t miss anything he’ll need for future levels.  Math U See is concept-based rather than spiral; we learned that there were concepts in Gamma that hadn’t been introduced to him yet through spiral-based curricula.

The Arts – Working Together

Thankfully, Prissy and The Boy will be able to tackle the arts together.  They’ll join our homeschool co-op group to learn about well-known artists and recreate their own art using methods and inspiration from those artists.   They had a great time with art through our co-op last year and I know they will this year, too!

Preschool & 5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

We’ll continue to use SQUILT for music appreciation in our homeschool.  We’ve all loved SQUILT in the past and are happy to have it back.  This is a perfect match for us because Prissy can listen and color while The Boy handles the more detailed aspects of SQUILT.  I love that it’s so easy to keep them together for music appreciation!


That’s it for our homeschool lineup this year.  We’re changing up a few things and keeping some old faithfuls.  What about you?  What’s in store for your homeschool year?

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9 thoughts on “Curriculum Choices for Preschool & 5th Grade”

  1. Hi Emily,
    So, I can see in other posts that Explore Chemistry didn’t work out for you. Are you willing to share what about it didn’t work for you guys? I have looked over and over again at Apologia for next year and I just can’t decide. Something keeps making me think it isn’t going to work for us, but then you read all the reviews and think, well…
    However, I have had that experience with All About Spelling and All About Reading. Everyone raves about those programs. We did one level of AAR and it was alright, but it wasn’t for us. We also tried one level of AAS and neither of us liked it at all, so we stopped and started something else. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen,

      I’m happy to share what didn’t work about Exploring Chemistry and Physics. I do want to mention that my son is a little young for his grade level so while this was fifth grade, he was nine at the time. We started strong with it, but found it to be overwhelming. It’s incredibly thorough, which is a great thing. However, we were dealing with lots of reading on challenging subject matter. We found it difficult to break up the chapters in chunks that worked for us and still work through the notebooking journal that matches the text. It became too much for both of us and we were both dreading science!

      That said, we put it on the shelf for a while and worked through some resources I found on CurrClick (I can share those if needed). We also opted for a completely different, more gentle approach for science last year (Sassafras Science) and it was exactly what he needed. We did pull Exploring Chemistry and Physics off the shelf again a couple of weeks ago because we’ve finished our year of Sassafras. I’m willing to let him try it again because this time he’s nearly 11 now and he’s more curious about the subject matter. I’m thinking it’s worth another try if it keeps me from buying new curriculum in April. 😉

      To sum it up, I don’t think it’s a bad curriculum, but I think it can be too much for some kids (or parents). It turns out it wasn’t a good match for us at that time; it was too much to digest. Hope this helps!

  2. Sounds exciting! We have used Math U See for three years (Primer, Alpha, Beta) and it has worked well for us (so far). The twins will begin Primer this year so I’m interested to find out if they like it as well as our son.

    Best wishes for a fabulous school year! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Monica! I’m hoping Math U See will be “the one” for us. We’ve been searching for the right fit for a while now, but feel good about this one. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a great line-up for school this year 🙂 Your kids look excited, too! I’d love for you to share your post at Homeschool Memo, if you have a chance! God bless 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dawn! SQUILT certainly makes music appreciation easy for me … that’s always a welcome thing! 🙂

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