When my daughter was young, she was all about exploring, making things with tons of tape and cardboard, asking lots of questions, wondering “why’s” and always eager to learn new things.
So when we were looking for a elementary curriculum, we wanted something that would nurture this spirit of exploration 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 projects.
What is Included in Oak Meadow 5 ?
- 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
- Oak Meadow Teacher’s Manual – with lesson plans, if you want to use them, and answers to all the quizes
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 easy to teach, either by following the weekly lesson plans as they were laid out, or by changing them up to meet your child’s needs and interests.
Everything was integrated, including the geography, which encouraged 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 – 9 history related books
Hands on projects were suggested in each weekly lesson and included many to chose from, eg, making butter for the colonial times, a diorama of Jamestown, pilgrim bread, etc.
History lessons, history literature, essay writing, grammar lessons met the academic needs. 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!
And the heart was 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.
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?
The 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. Click here for those titles.
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.
A sampling of science topics include:
- Stars and the solar system
- Scientists and their lives
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!
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 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 the related projects, Science 5 taught my daughter scientific observation skills.
One of favorite projects was to chose a place, a biome, and observe it over time. To the left, our child stood at her biome observation project, where she observed, over time, all the little changes that took place in her chosen area.
Each week, we went to this stream, and sat quietly, observing and recording any changes she observed.
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.
The best part of Science 5 for our family, was how it developed my daughter’s to love nature, and desire to protect it.
Oak Meadow Math 5 is similar to Saxon Math and also uses the 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 was 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. In addition, the text includes quality art and beautifully drawn illustrations.
Hands were always busy with meaningful activities, including needlework and building things. Oak Meadow does incorporate a lot of hand arts, eg, knitting, weaving, etc, like Waldorf does grade by grade. Great for building task skills and concentration.
Oak Meadow strives to meet the child where she is: head, hands, and heart. I loved its gentle, yet complete approach to academics as well as it’s efforts to make it interesting to the fifth grader’s experience!
If you like unit studies but don’t want not to write your own, you will like Oak Meadow’s approach. The unit studies are embedded into the whole curriculum. All the planning is done for you!
No need to do the research yourself, to find that science experiment, project or book that is needed. And OM inspired my daughter to write, with so many things to write about. It is great for building strong writing skills.
If you are looking for a quality project oriented fifth grade curriculum, my family recommends Oak Meadow fifth grade. Options are also available to purchase the 5th grade courses separately, and you can either add the novels or just get them from the library.
There is also a Facebook page for Oak Meadow, where a lot of used OM curricula is bought and sold. Amazon has Oak Meadow Seconds for sale, too, used OM curriculum. 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 2e college senior, whom she homeschooled through high school. She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool, about the early years, high school, college, gifted/2e and wrote – Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ’s Consulting, and has had her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.
-originally published 2013