How To Write Your Own Homeschool Curriculum: Fifth Grade

Before the first day of home school with your 5th grader, make sure you understand your state's curriculum requirements.

If you've decided to home school your 5th grader, it's not enough to set up a classroom and begin reading and spelling with your child. It's important that you understand the requirements of your state for passing a 5th grader on to the 6th grade. It would be a terrible shame to teach your child for an entire year, only to find out that he or she will not be promoted to the next grade simply because one required course was left out of the home school curriculum. Many home school teachers check with the local public schools to get more information about what classes are mandatory, which are optional, how long each class should last, and other pertinent information. Because some people still take a negative attitude towards home schooling, you could run into some difficulty obtaining the correct information, so find out the home school requirements through your own research. Your state could help you in this respect. Most, if not all states, have a website, library references or pamphlets which discuss curriculum requirements for schools by that particular state. After locating the resources for your curriculum, take notes and make lists which will help you set up the classroom schedule. Some things worthy of notation are the amount of hours per day required of home schools, which courses are optional yet beneficial, and how many classroom hours are needed for each course.

Some courses are required for the full school year, whereas others, such as physical education or music, may only be required for half of the year. You can teach in one of these courses, then halfway through the school year, switch to one of the other courses. After deciding how many hours you'll need for each subject, make or purchase a planner for the year, and note what you'll be doing on each day. You may not be able to schedule the entire year, but you can begin by scheduling the first 4 to 6 weeks, then decide whether or not changes need to be made. And, don't forget to allow a couple of weeks at the beginning of the school year for reviewing last year's work.

A good 5th grade curriculum should most definitely include Science, Mathematics, History, Social Studies and all aspects of English, including reading, writing, comprehension and spelling. It is acceptable in some states to combine certain courses, such as history, social studies and science all under the heading of "Social Sciences". Try to allow a slightly longer work period for these combined classes, since they cover such a broad range. Other courses, such as foreign languages are often required by the time the student reaches the 5th grade, so decide if you will be able to teach this course, or if you'll have to find a tutor. Some towns or counties have an organization that you can join where the home school teachers can pitch in together. For instance, one home school teacher might teach an hour of Spanish once a week if another teacher will take on the students for an hour of music later that week. This is helpful for those courses which some teachers are not qualified to teach. Find out more about these organizations by checking the local paper, calling the Chamber of Commerce or doing a search online for organizations in your area.

Plan how the days will go, such as History for 45 minutes, English for 45 minutes, then a 10 minute break, followed by Mathematics, then lunch, and so on. This will make it easier to plan how to fill the entire day and give you a schedule to follow. On certain days, you might want to schedule a trip to the library or another local establishment. Try to schedule these in advance and decide whether these trips will count towards the hours in that subject, or if these hours will need to be made up in another way. If the student has a little trouble in a particular subject, try to schedule this subject for the end of the day, and allow an extra 15 minutes or so when creating the schedule, for working on the problem subject.

If you're able to enlist the help of a public school official or teacher, ask about how often the students in public schools take field trips and whether or not these hours can count towards the total hours needed for that course. Some schools will allow certain home schools to attend field trips with the public school students, so long as they contribute towards the costs of gas or admission fees. Also, find out if your home school, even if it is only one child, will be permitted to attend the local book fairs held at the school. If not, perhaps one of the teachers can make purchases for you and your home school.

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