Ever since my oldest was in first grade, I have forgone using a traditional math curriculum in our homeschool in favor of my minimalist approach. Rather than doing tons and tons of math problems every day, my kids do ten problems a week. Each week, those ten problems are selected from ten different categories. Over the 36 weeks of school, the problems in those ten categories get progressively harder. My theory is that if by the end of the year, a child can do all 360 problems, they will have a thorough understanding of what they are expected to know.
These problems were written after I took notes on index cards on a variety of different curricula such as Saxon, Singapore, Kumon, and Mammoth Math. I then divided the problems into categories and arranged them in order of difficulty. I used my stack of cards for each category to create 36 problems in each category for each week of the school year. You can learn more about my methodogy here.
The categories covered by this fifth grade curriculum are:
- Understanding Numbers
- Word Problems
- Graphs, Charts, and Tables
- Units and Measurement
- Rounding and Estimation
- Ratios and Percentages
In addition to these worksheets, I also have my kid do a logic puzzle each week to help with their critical thinking. In the past we have used Mind Benders (easier) and Logic Safari (much harder). My goal is to play math games with my kids a couple times each month as well to help with their math facts, but this doesn’t always happen. My favorite math games for fifth graders are Zeus on the Loose and Prime Climb.
As my kids are getting older, I admit that I find myself questioning if they are doing enough. Because of the 2020 pandemic, my kids were not tested at the end of the last school year, so I do not know for sure if they are still on track. However, I do see progress. While my younger kids typically need help with all or most of their problems, I find that my oldest usually only needs help with 3 or 4 problems each week. The other problems I just check and explain if he made a mistake.
Since my kids do not have all the repetition found in a traditional curriculum, it takes a little longer for skills to be mastered. However, I find that they have to think more critically about the problems which may actually lead to a deeper understanding in the long run. They are definitely not doing their math on autopilot.
Occasionally, I find that I need to give my kids a concentrated lesson on a topic. Since there are so few problems, these sheets highlight areas that a child might be struggling with. Recently, I had to review simplifying fractions with my fifth grader. To make sure he understood, I had him do about 5 practice problems on scratch paper. Sometimes, the repetition is undoubtedly valuable, but I still question whether it is always necessary.
While my family uses these sheets as our math curriculum for the year, I have had several families tell me that these worksheets are a great review either at the beginning or end of a school year. However you decide to use these sheets, I hope they are helpful to you!
Recommended Age Range: Fifth Grade
Time Required: about 30 minutes per week
Difficulty: starts off fairly easy and gets harder as weeks progress
Cost: Free printable
Print out the curriculum and help your child complete one worksheet each week for each of the 36 weeks of school.
Click here for all the Minimalist Math curricula available for different grade levels.