Welcome to our “Week in the Life” post with Oak Meadow Fifth Grade! If you are new to these parts, let me give you a brief overview of my family. Bug, my fifth grader, is on the young end. He’s nine. I am a full time working mom, which explains why there are not pictures for every activity Bug did this week. The wonderful thing about Oak Meadow 5 is that it is written to the student, which means it’s not totally unheard of to have Bug working independently on some of his lessons.
When I am not home, he has a wonderful babysitter who can answer his questions. Many things do wait for me to get home from work (most of our schooling happens between the hours of 3-6 pm, and on weekend mornings).
I told you in our big review of Oak Meadow 5 that advancing your young kids in the program could backfire on you, and this is where I have to be honest (and eat a little crow in front of the lovely placement experts over at Oak Meadow who did try and talk me into starting Bug on a lower level than I did initially). Oak Meadow 5 is a stretch for Bug at this time. It’s not impossible for him, and I am sure as time goes on he’ll adapt and overcome…. but these first couple weeks… they’ve been a challenge!
The challenge comes from the writing expectations. There are two pages of history writing, plus two writing assignments for science, plus grammar sentences, plus a science test to write out, plus spelling. Is it too much for fifth grade? no. Is it a challenge for Bug right now? yes.
For now, he’s doing the best he can. He’s pushing forward, and he’s writing like a madman, and I am giving him grace… while I would love to see him do a nice final draft, for now, writing is writing, and I am accepting less than stellar work. As the year goes on, I’ll help him more and more, and I will expect improvement… but had I not moved him ahead when he was younger, he’d be a year older for this level, and he’d be more mature and able to complete the assignments with the speed and quality level expected.
A Week in the Life with Oak Meadow Grade Five
Work done independently while Mom was working
1. Science Reading. Bug started the week by reading his science textbook. This week’s lesson was on “scientific ways of knowing” and discussed how science is a work in progress, and there is always something new to learn and discover. The reading covered the scientific method, and then used learning about frogs as a way to illustrate the scientific method. It talks about amphibians, and where they can be found, their life cycle, what they eat, and some things that cause problems for frogs, like habitat destruction, pollution, and predators.
2. Vocabulary: Bug took his 10 vocabulary words, and put them in alphabetical order, then, he wrote their meanings and a sentence for each.
3. Grammar: He read 10 phrases and decided if they were independent or dependent clauses. If they were incomplete, he made them complete sentences. For all, he added proper punctuation and capitalization.
4. Math: One page from his math book, adding large columns of numbers.
Work done with parental support
1. Science Exploration: Part of Bug’s science this week asked him to head to a local pond and evaluate the status of the frogs that live there. Bug was able to find frogs, identify where they are in their life cycle (we had itty-bitty tadpoles), and then he took a close look at the pond to see what potential problems the frogs living there would face. He immediately noticed our pond has a bit of a rubbish problem, and is coming up with solutions to improve life for the frogs in the pond.
As a follow-up, Bug wrote about our local frogs, the pond, his findings, and his ideas for the future.
Work done while Mom was at work
2. Grammar: Bug wrote five dependent clauses.
3. History Reading: Bug read the text of his history book, which was about explorers. It discussed Christopher Columbus and his journeys, as well as a few other explorers.
4. History Writing: Bug had a list of topics he could choose from to write about. He chose to pretend to be a native person who saw Columbus, and wrote a page long journal entry from their point of view.
5. Map Work: As bug was reading, he consulted at atlas to see what routes the explorers took.
6. Math: One page from his math book, word problems.
Work done while Mom was at work:
1. Grammar: Bug wrote two complete sentences, and labeled the subject and the predicate.
2. History Reading: Bug read Where do you think you are going Christopher Columbus.
3. History Writing: Bug was supposed to write a second one-page assignment. He choose to write a report about Columbus. He completed half while I was at work, but got distracted while doing online research. He completed the assignment with some grumbling when I saw it uncompleted.
4. Math: One page from his math book, word problems.
Work done independently while Mom was at work
1. Science Writing: Bug wrote about the way humans affect the environment, both good and bad. This writing assignment required him to support his thoughts with facts and research, which he struggled with.
2. Math: One page from his math book, adding columns of numbers. This was labeled as a test, but we did not treat it any different than his day to day work.
Work done with parental support
3. Science Research: I had to show Bug how he could use the internet to help him find facts to support his thoughts on humans and the environment.
4. Spelling: I looked over Bug’s writing for the first part of the week, and selected 10 words he misspelled to work on for the upcoming week. I had him do spelling dictation to practice writing them correctly, and we’ll work on them multiple times in the next week.
Work done with parental support
1. Science Test: This test could have been completed independently while I was at work, but Bug wanted me to “know he knew his answers” and did it when I was home to supervise. His test was nine questions long, and required more than one sentence for most answers. This took him a long time to complete… and he was lacking in stamina to pull it off because of his age and maturity level. In the future, I’ll probably just select a couple questions for him to answer, or have him do the test over two days instead of one.
2. Hands on Project: Bug followed the plans in his book to build a wooden sailboat. This was his first time following plans independently, and while he made a couple small mistakes, I thought it turned out great!
3. Math: One page of word problems, labeled as a test (and treated as such).
I am so impressed with how well Bug is doing working on his own with these books. The reading in the text is at just the right level to be engaging, without being overly challenging. Each selection is about 5 pages or so total, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed with the quantity either.
The amount of work is just about right at this level. It’s taking him about three hours a day with this book work, leaving him plenty of time to explore other interests, and do other lessons. In addition to Oak Meadow 5, I also have him working on other programs (we’re eclectic homeschoolers) and we still have plenty of time in the day left over. He also does a ton of reading in addition to what you see him doing with Oak Meadow here.
Like I said in our review, the one thing I do still need to do (it’s a work in progress) is get everything plugged into a planner and a to-do list for Bug. This week, I just added the assignments to one of the to-do lists you can grab here, and it worked really well. I’m also going to add it into my teacher planner (using the planning method here) so I can be sure to stay on top of each individual lesson.