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  1. #1

    Default Your Favorite Science Curriculum 5th Grade

    This is our first year homeschooling and it's going great. My daughter was in public school through 3rd grade and I decided to pull her out before she started 4th because I was seeing lots of gaps. I was a kid who also had lots of gaps, especially in math, and that really hurt me through high school. I'm hoping to get her back into public school in 6th grade after two years at home and hope she will have the skills she needs. This year I decided to do Exploration Education for science and I'm kind of disappointed. The math concepts involved are over her head (I don' think a 4th grader who hasn't grasped muliplication can understand scientific formulas and ratios) and many of the experiements just don't work because of the flimsy materials they've used. I absolutely hate the little car that's used in many of the experiements because I can't get the battery to connect half the time. I bought some books to help us supplement when the concepts are too complicated and YouTube is awesome, but I'm starting to look for a new option for 5th grade. The 5th grade curriculum in our public schools covers topics in physical, earth and life sciences. I've found curriculums that cover these topics individually for a whole year, but I'm having trouble finding something that will cover all in less depth. My oldest is in middle school and I know that they will elaborate on all of these concepts at that time. Until then, I'm looking for more of an overview of the most important concepts. Thanks for any advice. It's greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2


    You moght see if the RSO by PandiaPress excite you and your DD. They are hands-on, kitchen science experiments, that dont get bogged down in minute verbage and formulas. You cancalso try a few weeks of it before you buy it... for free.
    Hint: These worked better for us when we gathered the unit’s worth of supplies, then binged on science. It was easier for us to be in experiment mode, and to “do Sciemce” each day until we were sick of it for a week than to spread it out across a momth. None of the ingredients were craxy, but running to the “junk food grocery store” each week to pick up food coloring, or pink marshmallows, or whatever other thing we needed was a bit disruptive. One trip to pick all that stuff up, and I was a lot happier.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    A lot of people like RSO. It's a good option. TOPS is a decent one for experiments. Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding is good if you're willing to put up with the hard to use format.

    Honestly, I don't think any of them are all that great. There are many good science resources out there and tons of great books and videos, but not many good curricula in my opinion.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?

  5. #4


    K12 is good for someone who wants a combined science year (physical, chemical, bio etc). It is very academic and not as hands on, but definitely rigorous. We love RSO but it is a single year of biology we are doing so doesn't fit what you are looking for.

  6. #5


    RSO looks really great and now I'm thinking it may be better to stick with one subject rather than skip around. After all, all the skipping around they did in my child's school is what motivated me to homeschool in the first place. We're doing Exploration Education this year, so it'a all about physics. Would R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Biology (Level 2)be a good place to start next year for 5th grade even though she hasn't done Life (Level One)? Thanks!

  7. #6


    It looks like Biology2 would be fine. You can look at Life and see if it looks too easy.
    Life Level One - Pandia Press, History and Science CurriculumsPandia Press, History and Science Curriculums

    According to the author, it requires no science background from the student - so it isnt a continuation from the early elementary one.

    You can also contact the author directly, I think she hangs out on her SecularEclecticAcademic site:
    Last edited by alexsmom; 01-05-2018 at 11:53 AM.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  8. #7


    I'd like to toss in another idea for consideration. As you are aware, students will go into science topics in more depth, both in middle school and in high school. Right now is the perfect age for the child to get excited about science instead of feeling it's boring.

    Step 1: Ask your dd what topic(s) she really likes in science: biology (animals, plants, cells), physics (motion, heat, optics, electricity, liquids), chemistry (reactions!!), geology (plate tectonics, rock and mineral types and what they are used for, volcanoes, earthquakes, oceanography), or astronomy (planets, stars, galaxies...).

    Step 2: Find, either online or at the library, experiment books, science biographies, videos, and activities. Most experiment books aimed at that age use "equipment" that can be found at your house, grocery store, or hardware store.

    Step 3: Let her explore the topic just until the point she's sick of it, then pick a new one.

    I'm a former physics teacher. While science CAN be more rigorous for older students, there is no need for that in elementary school. Science should instill a sense of wonder and curiosity. Don't worry if she doesn't understand EVERY concept perfectly; the time for that will come later.

    FYI: it's what I did with my kids, and one is now a computer science major and geology minor college student.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  9. #8


    The skipping around thing can be a positive for science. Nearly every serious science education group has a scope and sequence that includes multiple sciences every year. Think about it - a 6 yo is ready to understand basic things about how the world works in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc. However, she's not ready to comprehend all the biology that she'll be able to understand by the time she's 9 or 10. Except, if you only do one science area per year, then it'll take longer to get back around to biology. Plus, sciences aren't separate.

    The focus on covering each science separately in homeschool circles is very prevalent and it comes mostly from a classical education perspective. Except, classical education is mostly created and espoused by humanities experts who don't know much about science or science education. In other disciplines, the skipping around thing can be detrimental - it can create a really fragmented view of geography, history, philosophy, literature, etc. Going in depth with each topic or going in a clear sequence, such as by doing chronological history, can be really useful for kids.

    That said - it's just easier this way and the most important thing is that you do *something* - not that you get it just right, especially not before high school.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?

  10. #9


    How do you deal with or find a product that skips around sufficiently, but also goes into enough depth that learning is taking place?

    When my older was younger, I looked at all sorts of secular “general” science programs. They all seemed to not actually have any real science or learning going on with them. They would be like these Evan Moor workbooks... (even if they were marketed as more.) Evan Moor Science Lesson Plans, Resources, & Books For Children

    I get the idea of picking and choosing topics of interest, but my feeling is for learning, one needs more than a week’s commitment to the topic. Watching NOVA each week is sort of sciencey, and gives the variety of topics, but theyre rarely related to each other, and watching their episodes on beavers, foxes, coywolves, and honeybadgers (my fave) doesnt give an overall understanding of mammals, classifications, ecosystems, or evolution.

    Thats my disgruntlement with “general science” in the elementary years. It was horribly frustrating for me when DS was little.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  11. #10


    We did biology2 for my 5th grader, but I was also doing it with my 8th grader and it was definitely middle school level. It was quite rigorous. My DD is advanced in science and it was the right level for her, like she enjoyed doing punnet squares and understanding how DNA/RNA with the CGTA combos etc. I learned most of that in college. My 8th grader didn't grasp it from the lessons, but then he has learning disabilities so take that with a grain of salt.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

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Your Favorite Science Curriculum 5th Grade