When my daughter was 10, she was all about exploring, making things with tons of tape and cardboard, asking lots of questions, wondering many “why’s” and always eager to learn new things. Sometimes she would take her World Book encyclopedia to bed with her for hours and read about penguins, the life cycle of frogs or any other interest of the day.
So when we were looking for a curriculum for fifth grade, we wanted something that would nurture this explorative spirit, with lots of hands on projects – yet would still cover all the bases. We found this and more in Oak Meadow’s Fifth Grade Curriculum Package!
Oak Meadow (OM) included all the subjects that we needed. It came with easy-to-follow instructions plus tons of fun, hands-on learning options throughout. And I loved how hands on crafts and art are integrated together throughout the curriculum.
What is Included in Oak Meadow Fifth Grade Package?
- US History/English 5 syllabus – with 10 novels and books to go along with it
- Science 5 – with an Environmental Science focus
- Math 5 – similar to Saxon Math
Our favorite subject in fifth grade was US History, and I loved how it integrated so nicely with English 5, with all the fun to read literature books that added so much to the learning!
Oak Meadow US History/English
If you are looking for a way to motivate you fifth grader in writing skills, you have come to the right place. The US History lessons include many facts that meet the 10 year old’s interest level. All of the language arts lessons are integrated into the history and geography lessons. So there are many things to write about. As my daughter finished her history lesson for the week, she had no trouble thinking of something of interest to write about. I was so pleased to watch her writing skills developed naturally as she progressed through the year.
History and English were also easy to teach. After my daughter read her history lesson, she studied the vocabulary that was related to history. Then she would write a bit. Then she would pick up the novel or book that correlated to her history, read it, then pick a project to do. Everything was integrated, including the geography, which encouraged her critical thinking skills! And when it came book report time, that also flowed naturally, from the related reading – in such books as Where Are You Going Christopher Columbus?
OM US History/English is laid out for you in weekly lessons and covers:
- US History from the Age of Exploration through the Civil War- written to the student
- Vocabulary and spelling
- Grammar – including sentence structure, parts of speech, and punctuation
- US Geography
- Writing skills – short essays, book reports, beginning research
- Reading – 11 history related books
Hands on projects were suggested in each weekly lesson and included many to chose from. We loved making butter for the colonial times. Another hit was the diorama of Jamestown! We also enjoyed making pilgrim bread (what they ate on the boat) but we didn’t enjoy eating it! Please see the CRAFTS section of this review for a list of sample hands-on history related projects.
I also liked how OM encouraged my 10-year-old in critical thinking. For example, one day she worked on this question: “What could you bring on the boat if you were a pilgrim? What foods would not spoil, with no fridge, no canned goods? When studying the Mayflower Compact, she was asked to “Establish 10 rules for an entire group to agree on.
Some of our literature books for US History include:
- The Story of Harriet Tubman
- Ben and Me
- Sarah Mortan’s Day – a pilgrim girl’s story
- Little House on the Prairie
….and five more.
Oak Meadow Science 5 is all about learning the scientific method through using it. The process of observing, making an hypothesis, analyzing the results is readily learning through doing the simple experiments in this course. Everything is laid out for you in the form of weekly lessons.
Science 5 focuses on Environmental Science, which emphasizes the workings of the planet and the life upon it. Written lessons to read, hands on activities to do, and experiments to conduct, all serve to introduce the branches of science to your child. So my daughter learned basic biology, chemistry and even a little physics from this course!
A sampling of science topics include:
- Stars and the solar system
- Scientists and their lives
There were tons of fun science activities to do! During the year, we made a brain, using different colors of dough for the separate parts, and studied how Einstein’s brain differed from others. Later we visited a pond, a lake, and a stream, then built a wetland model. Another favorite project was to make a Sky Journal, and spending a month of evenings studying the phases of the moon. Each experiment or hands on activity dovetailed nicely with the week’s science lesson. Everything was clearly laid out in weekly lessons, which were easy to follow.
In addition to studying the topics above, and doing the related projects, Science 5 also taught my daughter how to observe like a scientist does. One of favorite projects was to chose a place, a biome, and observe it, over time. On her biome observation project, where the student chose a place to observe, over time, to observe for changes in their tiny environment. My daughter chose a stream, surrounded by trees at a local park. Each week, we went to this stream, and sat quietly, observing for any changes, in the leaves, etc. In this busy world, with even young kids on cell phones, learning to be still in nature is such an important skill. And my daughter loved taking data on her biome! By the time she finished this project, she learned how to appreciate it in a new way. And she loved her OM science!
The best part of Science 5 for our family, was how it developed my daughter’s to love nature, and desire to help protect it.
Oak Meadow Math 5 is similar to Saxon Math and uses the same spiral learning approach. It offers plenty of practice, with each lesson building on the next. However, unlike Saxon, the amount of practice problems are a little less, and not so overwhelming.
Math 5 covers the following skills:
- Place value
- Division, including long division
Math 5 gave me a helpful structure to my daughter’s math learning, with the following components in each weekly lesson:
- Introduction of the lesson
- Skill Practice
- Applications – word problems
I found it to be a solid math course, which is written to the child. We would read the lesson together, then do a few problems together, then I turned her loose to apply what she had learned. There were many chances to practice the skills learned in a more real way through the many word problems. Putting the math skills into practice through the applications questions really helped my daughter to retain what she had learned. OM Math 5 is set up for mastery and success!
CRAFTS and HAND ARTS
Crafts, drawing, needlework, cooking, baking and art are found throughout OM fifth grade package! They fit with the learning and extend it so much more! If you like unit studies, but prefer not to write your own, you will like Oak Meadow’s approach. The unit studies are embedded into the whole curriculum. They are already there! No need to piece together your own unit study! We loved how one subject fit with another. And we didn’t have to think of what to write about, for a writing lesson….OM inspired my daughter with so many things to write about.
Oak Meadow strives to meet the child where she is: head, hands, and heart. I liked its gentle, yet complete approach to academics as well as the effort to make it most interesting to the fifth grader’s experience! History lessons, history literature, essay writing, grammar lessons met the needs for the head, cognitive. Hands were always busy with meaningful activities, including needlework and building things. And the heart is in all the OM lessons throughout. Especially in the way the history lessons written to the child, to points of interest that the child would want to know, (e.g. how they lived, what they ate, toys of kids, getting to reenact history through activities), touch the child’s heart. In addition, the text includes quality art and beautifully drawn illustrations.
If you are looking for a quality project oriented fifth grade complete curriculum, my family recommends Oak Meadow fifth grade package! Options are also available to purchase the 5th grade courses separately, and either add the novels or just get them from the library. For more info please go to www.oakmeadow.com There is also a Facebook page for Oak Meadow. You might also be interested in my review of Oak Meadow First Grade.
~I received sample curriculum in exchange for an honest review and have used Oak Meadow extensively in my homeschool. Please see our disclosure policy.
Betsy is mom to her now college senior, whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool, about the early years, high school & college and wrote the book – Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. She offers FREE homeschool help through messages at BJ’s Consulting.