Intro to 5GRD

IMG 0445 - Intro to 5GRD

This is a general subject-by-subject overview.  For actionable Do-Aheads for 5GRD, CLICK HERE.  For all of the 5GRD resource posts, CLICK HERE.


This year, you finish up the McIntyre Drawing Textbook book, if you like.  In the introduction of the book, he says that some of the later lessons are more suited to High School kids.  I agree.  Some of this was too hard for us. Also, the pace is quadruple time; 2 lessons per week.  You do Lesson 9-37!  My kids really struggle with the pace, even my artist kid. There are times in MODG when the Laura’s original plans were changed by overwhelming parent request. Parents don’t like leaving a book unfinished. I suspect that this is one of the cases when she provided plans to suit that request. I wish we had the originals.

Sprinkled in throughout the year is a combination art appreciation/close observation/composition/religion assignments that come from Faith and Life and dovetail exactly with your Religion class chapters. After McIntyre disappears, the above book is used for more religion/art appreciation.  We LOVE this book.  It’s really pretty.  All of the kids gather round for it each year.  Well, not the Sorrowful Mysteries.  That’s never fun.  But the rest is a crowd-pleaser.


This year is a first tour of world geography. Next year is Ancient Egypt and Near East, only.  7th is Ancient Greece and Rome. 8th is your next world tour and is an exact repeat of the Ultimate Geography and Timeline assignments this year.

From the course introductions and other resources, it’s very clear that the Ultimate Timeline syllabus is not Laura’s first choice for 5th grade. Again, it seems that it was overwhelming parent request. The preferred method is to copy a small section of a map and make the kids hunt the atlas to find it. It is a figure-ground, close observation activity. It seems to be much less about learning names and places and more about practicing detailed attention and perseverance.  That doesn’t mean you need to ditch the current assignments, but it does clarify the actual goals of the course.


This is your last swing at USA geography facts for a while. You will review ALL of the states and capitals, mountains, rivers, etc. from last year, minus the largest states/pop/electoral votes from last year.   It may also give you an alternative if your kids, like mine, start HATING the mapping.  Somewhere around Asia, my kids start really resisting.  The NEW memory work this year is not voluminous, but it’s really hard!  Big numbers!  We find drilling those things while pointing at the correct continent to help break the monotony.


This is the second half of Pioneers & Patriots.  For us, it’s the most difficult textbook year. I just don’t care for anything after the Revolution.  Maybe I will grow as a person someday.  But, I super-hate the Civil War.  Maybe it’s my upbringing here in the South; I’m worn out on it?  Dunno.

Throughout the year, there are a few short-esque papers on the different books. The Language Arts emphasis this year is on paragraphing. There are no parent instructions in the lesson plans, but I’m assuming the idea is to have the child practice sticking to one topic for each paragraph.

Language Arts

I can’t say a lot about this because it’s never worked out well for us. I’m not a good source. Just remember to focus on direct quotes and paragraphing.


We use Beginning Latin I in 5th. I know it’s for 4th, but I have yet to have a 4th grader that could get past Lesson 15. Mine aren’t fully ready for it until 5th.

BL I covers:

  • nouns, verbs, prepositions, and pronouns.
  • subject, verb, direct object, indirect object, and object of a preposition.
  • 3rd and 4th conjugations in past, present, and future.
  • 3rd Declension Singular endings (excepting neuter). All five cases introduced.


Saxon is Saxon.  This is more of the same. It doesn’t say in our instructions to do the math facts sheets, read the explanations, do the lesson exercises, and the mixed exercises, but it is assumed.  If your kid already has his multiplication/division under control, there’s no much to do in the Math Facts department until they start drilling fractions and English-Metric conversions and other stuff.


This year depends on the syllabus you use. The older plans just use music pieces and worksheets. The newer plans (Alfred’s) move some of the 6GRD operettas to this year.


This year is hard!  We never master Paul Revere.  It’s remains a “cheerfully prompt them through” kind of poem.  Also challenging is Oh Captain My Captain.  My kids hate it.  (EDIT:  Now that we know it’s about Abraham Lincoln, they like it.) The rest, however, are what you are already used to.  Just FYI, the usual “enter it into the poetry notebook” would be a massive undertaking for Paul Revere.  Other school resources recommend printing out or having Mom write in the poem, if they are a burden.  Then the child can just work on the illustration. However, for most of my kids, they long abandoned the Poetry Book entries.


Assuming your child isn’t struggling with reading, the history selections are separate from this.  However, some of the history selections are so advanced that he might need both periods to get through the history assignments.  For the free-ish reading time, we use the recommended selections from the 3GRD booklists.  Narnia was the favorite.


The catechism assignments this year will make your eyes cross!  The chapter assignments are out of order, because they are meant to dovetail with the order in Faith and Life.  But, the actual memory work entailed is MINIMAL.  You are adding new parts to 35 questions.  Only a few of the questions are brand new.  Very few.  This is the easiest year by far for BC memory work.  And the end of year final only has 11 questions with any new parts.  Also confusing, it seems like you are sometimes discussing the chapter and sometimes discussing only the questions.  Best I can tell, you are only reading the Q/A from all of the chapters, not doing the paragraph content.  For Lessons 1-14, you will do the paragraph content and exercises in detail next year.  Faith Life is the spine this year.


Make no mistake, this is more LANGUAGE ARTS and is directly related to the emphasis on paragraphing. The child “picks out the main idea” by answering the “questions in blue” all year.  But, if your child is a good reader, this is a FAST daily assignment. There are no experiments (nice break) this year and this is one of those things that the child can do largely on his own.  If the child can type, this is a good choice for typing practice.


Writing Road to Reading. Again, I’m not the best on this. We have so much *special* that our spelling course barely resembles the syllabus. It now looks more like 7-8GRD. I have a workbook. On Monday, they write all their words with Spalding markings. But if you don’t already know WRTR backwards and forwards, that’s tough to imitate.