“We live in the cultural twilight of a great civilization in which a growing darkness is increasingly blinding us to the wonders of creation and the nature of who we are as beings created in the image of God. It is a battle that will require far more than a mere method,” Martin Cothran, author and director of the Classical Latin School Association.
While play-based learning is key in the youngest years, stepping forward into middle elementary requires a precise clarification of your end goal. What do you want for your children at the end of this K-12 process? Are those goals merely academic? Career based? Or do those goals include, and emphasize, spiritual growth and character training?
Before you choose any curriculum, you must wrestle with this question.
With that in mind, here are some of our curriculum picks for 3rd through 6th grade.
Learning with Friends co-founder Aracelly Garces uses this program for her middle elementary sons.
“The focus of the program is mastery and depth of a concept,” she says. “Each level covers only about 10-13 concepts, allowing students to really work on the same skills until mastery is achieved.”
“Their approach is not ‘spiral’ like most math curriculums in the U.S. They have an approach called ‘concrete to pictorial to abstract,’ which I love because it allows students to visually understand before you move on to simply work on the specific math concept,” she adds.
Aracelly also says she likes the mental math focus of the program, which emphasizes solving the same problem in multiple ways.
Veritas Press Online
Geared for grades 4-6, these online history classes are a good extension to add in some independent work for a busy homeschool mom. Following a Christian worldview, the classes operate at the pace of the student.
The teaching is interactive using a variety of games, and students remain engaged with eye-catching historical period characters, costumes, and settings.
Story of the World
For a less intensive, but also hands-off approach to history, try the audio books from Story of the World. Narrating history as a story to be remembered, this four-volume set moves from ancient history to modern day. You can also purchase a student workbook to reinforce concepts and give busy hands something to work on while they listen.
Homeschool in the Woods
For a teacher-led, hands-on approach to history, the Homeschool in the Woods history units combine read-aloud history texts with hands-on crafts and projects.
Children are engaged through the process of creation, using visuals and hands-on crafts to bring the history narrative to life. Units are designed to move chronologically through the timeline, and include details about lifestyles, customs, important events and historical figures of the time.
Institute for Excellence in Writing
Using a method of key word outlining, the IEW program takes the mystery out of teaching quality writing to young students. To begin learning the writing process, students use source texts to guide their writing, focusing on quality structure and style before being required to create original content.
There are several paths for integrating the IEW program into your curriculum, but the most popular is its history-based writing program, which can be matched up with your history content for the year.
Read, Read, Read
And, finally, an encouragement to read aloud quality literature to all ages in your homeschool.
The Read Aloud Revival podcasts and book lists at readaloudrevival.com are a wonderful resource for finding quality literature.
Our Science with Friends bundles are geared toward ages 6-12, making it the perfect pairing with any curriculum choice. Exploring science with simple materials and a focus on wonder and discovery is perfect for all ages!
Nicole Paitsel is the creator and co-founder of Learning with Friends, a curriculum enrichment brand that focuses on hands-on science projects that invoke discovery, conversation, and connection.
This post may contain affiliate links.