Recommendations for Grades 5 to 8
If you are just GETTING STARTED:
First: read "The Home Schooling Toolbox" for lots of comprehensive, but not overwhelming suggestions on getting started in home education successfully. It will also give you valuable ideas regarding a variety of approaches to home education and to curriculums.
JUST Math and English to start.
I highly recommend that you start out with just math and English for at least the first month or so with older children you are just taking out of a school system. This allows you to discover where they are actually functioning in math and English. You may have to relay some stronger foundations! Take the first months to work towards having your family working together as a team. It often takes time for older students to get to "like" each other and to work together effectively. You will be under much less stress if you take a couple of months to get into a routine.
In Canada: Consider having your child complete the Canadian Achievement Tests (CAT) or the Canadian Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS) when you begin home schooling. Such testing gives you an idea of where they are academically and gives a bench mark for progress as time goes on. Available from a variety of sources. Check out Canadian Christian Academy 519-776-9091 or Wise Choice Educational Services at 705-726-5971 (both in Ontario) for ordering the tests. They will grade them for you.
In the U.S.: Contact your state home education organization or the Home School Legal Defense Association in Virginia at 540-338-5600 for information as to what achievement & skills testing is available in your state.
Unless otherwise noted, all recommended items are available from JOY Center of Learning.
• Professor B Math will fill in any gaps in the child's understanding of math concepts up to and including grade 7. Particularly good if they are not strong in math. See the placement test in the sample booklet, on our website, or on our CD format catalogue. Ungraded & takes a child to advanced grade 7 in math in just three books.
• Professor B Algebra - Complete highschool algebra in only 1 ½ years!
• Saxon Math, beginning with Saxon 5/4 are excellent. 5/4 is for an advanced fourth grader or average fifth grader - available from many suppliers. Teaching videos are available for Saxon 8/7 & beyond.
ENGLISH & Writing Skills
The following resources complement and reinforce each other without a lot of duplication
Climbing to Good English – for excellent, in-depth grammar instruction and development of writing skills
Pathway – readers and comprehension workbooks at the grade level you require (includes some grammar)
Pathway Working With Words – grades 5 & up - for spelling and vocabulary enhancement
Phonics Drill Reader - spelling instruction, phonics rules, suffixes/prefixes
LANGUAGE ARTS SUGGESTIONS: purchase our graded Language Arts kits that include the Climbing to Good English, Pathway Readers/workbooks and Pathway Working With Words. Add the Phonics Drill Reader for spelling. Have your child read the sample stories and lessons as they appear on our website, CD format catalogue, or paper copies we can send to you to determine what level they will need. Look over the listing of what is covered in the Climbing to Good English to determine if they have covered what is dealt with at each level. Many in grade five would benefit from quickly going through Levels 3 & 4 of the Climbing to Good English (perhaps completing both within about a year or a little more). By doing this they are not overwhelmed and can feel a sense of accomplishment.
• Reading Detective - by Critical Thinking Press – an excellent resource for a child with poor reading comprehension
• Excellence in Writing - available from Excellent Resources - 403-201-3855 in Calgary, Canada; and Institute for Excellent in Writing in California at http://www.writing-edu.com
IMPORTANT NOTE: Often children coming out of the school system have been writing in a daily "journal" for years with uncorrected poor grammar and spelling. It can take a while to undo the damage done! Until a child is reading and spelling well on their own, I personally recommend that you not have them write out sentences independently. I know this is a little radical according to some people but it works! Have the child dictate to you any answers that require being given as a sentence or paragraph. Some children need "prompts" for answering in sentence form. You discuss the grammatical structure and possible rewording. You write out the results on scrap paper with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation and then the child writes the answer in their workbook etc. Using this method they are practising correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation and eventually they recognize when there are errors. This saves you and the child much frustration and frees up loads of time for accomplishing other tasks. The child does not have to unlearn incorrect spelling and punctuation but instead develops excellent skills from the very beginning. Most children benefit from this method until they are around nine to 12 years of age, depending on their academic abilities. Test the waters from time to time to determine if they are ready to write on their own. (For additional information read our flier: Writing Suggestions)
The brain needs to be trained to think efficiently. You will find resources in our catalogue for such training.
Critical Thinking Press – a wide range of excellent resources
• workbook styles: School of Tomorrow & Christian Light offer excellent courses.
• project and experiment oriented: Castle Heights Press courses use materials and resources readily available using an investigative approach to learning. Apologia Science texts by Dr. Jay Wile are excellent for older grades.
• a non-curriculum supplementary resource: "Character Sketch Books" from the Institute in Basic Life Principles. These beautiful books study creatures from nature and Bible characters together. This is a study of reading and discussion as opposed to experiments and does not cover all aspects of science. Available from IBLP, 511 Piercey Rd., Bolton, ON L7E 5B8 (phone: 905-951-0001); Character Concepts, in Vernon, BC at 1-866-444-2288; Character Foremost in Ontario at 519-899-4344. In the U.S.: IBLP, Box One, Oak Brook, IL 60522-3001 at 630-323-6394. These are fairly expensive but are worth every penny.
• contact The Home Works at 613-256-9428 in Ontario for a wide range of history curriculums
• we like the workbooks from School of Tomorrow and from Christian Light
CHARACTER & SPIRITUAL TRAINING
• For Instruction in Righteousness, Plants Grown Up (for boys), Polished Cornerstones (for girls), Beautiful Girlhood and Winsome Womanhood.
• Manners Made Easy is an excellent book for training in manners that aren't so common any more! All from a Biblical perspective!
• Life Skills for Kids is a terrific book for training any child from about seven through the teen years to be able to eventually live on their own without mom or dad doing everything for them. It covers skills you might never have thought of actually teaching your child.
• Dr. S.M. Davis – consider the many titles listed for children and young people
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