Topic | 5th grade-narrowing focus


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  • aksnave

    My dd will be starting 5th grade in the fall. I also have an almost 4 yr old ds. I run a business from home as well….SO, with being so busy, I am just trying to figure out what the “essentials” are for 5th grade. I have always followed the SCM planning guide however next yr I am thinking about not doing hymn study, composer, artist, poet. Haven’t started grammar either and was planning to use ILL for language arts and then start “formal” grammar in 6th grade. I wld like to focus on oral and then written narration next yr. Haven’t started a “formal” writing program and thought I shld wait until she is good at narrating and then maybe do EIW (Andrew Pudewa) in 6th grade. I feel like this is a big grade and dont want to skip things if I shouldnt…just seems overwhelming sometimes because we do about 15 subjects including all the ‘extras’ to lay out a feast. I have decided to do Veritas online history next yr to help take that subject off my plate (although not CM). Thank you for your thoughts and input!


    We dropped the extras during a busy season this year,  which helped me.  We picked a few up again recently.

    For next year,  I asked the kids which they were interested in.  I was surprised that they wanted most of them. Only one wanted poetry,  so she will do that independently.  I was glad I asked,  because I learned a lot about each child, and saw that the extras really do enrich the program.


    The extras are done only once a week each for about 10 minutes.   I think the matter is more about choosing curriculum that lends itself better to independent learning, rather than dropping subjects.


    I’d also be hesitant to drop extras.  We aim to fit in one or  two each day and they don’t take much time.  In fact they seem to save us time since they sort of refresh my kids’ minds!  It gives them a nice break so they go back to their other subjects with more focus.

    You can also try doing them at other times in the day.  We used to do composer studies while cleaning up the kitchen!  Currently we listen while they are doing independent work.

    Next year we’ll be using ELTL 4 for 5th grade.  It covers grammar, narration, writing, poetry, artist study, etc.  There are only 3 lessons per week, so I’m hoping it will be easy to fit in (I have 5 DC).  It is a mix of CM and classical methods.   You might be interested in it.

    I’m also going to implement assignment notebooks to increase their independence.  I don’t work from home, but there is always so much that needs to get done each day!


    Looking back,  I think I dropped the extras because I thought it was these “extras” that were making the days longer.

    I think mostly as someone newer to CM, it was these things that I wasn’t doing before that made my paper schedule and my mind swim a bit because they were not something I was used to doing.

    After more time and reading the posts here, I am starting to see just how enriching and worthwhile the extras are.


    You also can make the extras lighter, which is what we have done.  We haven’t done hymn study, but we do picture study, poetry, and composer study.  I read poetry to them on Fridays during lunch.  Sometimes we focus on one poet, but usually I just read out of a poetry collection.  They seem to enjoy it, and it doesn’t add any time to the day.  Sometimes just listening to a CD during lunch, or chore time, is our composer study.  Sometimes we study about their life, I use this book:

    Picture study is something we love, and have done from the beginning, I get books from the library, or use SCM portfolios.  We do that on Tuesday, and it takes 10 minutes.

    The extras aren’t something I’ve focused on, and if you feel stressed by adding them in it will be just fine not to do them.


    Of course, every family must choose what is best for their current situation, but what you’re calling extras really are an integral part of a CM education.  I would cut elsewhere time wise to allow space in the schedule.

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