I received this product for free, was compensated for my time. All opinions are honest, and I was not required to post a positive review.
One of the biggest questions I get from people when I tell them I homeschool is this: you teach your kids how to read??
I know that teaching kids to read can be a daunting task.
I think the even bigger daunting task is teaching them to be lifelong readers.
In my eight years of homeschooling, I have tried lots of reading programs and different techniques.
I know that my boys especially need a reading program that will hold their interest.
As I start to plan our next school year, my oldest son will be starting the fifth grade. While he does know how to read, his fluency and love for reading could use some improvement.
I am ready to embark on a new reading journey with him, and I have decided to use Pathways reading and language arts program.
What is Pathways?
Pathways is a reading program that integrates language arts published by Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing Division.
The Pathways reading and language arts program focuses on five primary targets:
- Extended Reading and Writing
- Comprehending, Studying, and Evaluating Ideas
- Reference Skills
- Word Study
- Sentence Skills
Students use theme books, guided reading books, and a writer’s handbook for their work. (In earlier grades, the program teaches phonics as well.)
Parents use the daily lesson guide to lead students through their work.
Organized around broad themes and a scope and sequence of skills, Pathways reading and language arts program uses award-winning trade books that children want to read to deliver the skills that they need.
Why is it so Effective?
At first glance, I strongly believe that Pathways is so effective because of the daily routine.
I am a huge advocate of rhythm in homeschool (read all about it here).
Reading and language arts need their rhythm to become a part of daily life.
The suggested daily routine for Pathways is as follows. Each day you spend time on a read-aloud, daily oral language, words study, handwriting, and spelling.
Each day my son will read aloud from the books.
For daily oral language, each day there is a new sentence to look at correct for grammatical errors.
For word study, my son will define several words that are new to him from the read aloud.
Handwriting is provided in the back of the book, and each week has its own spelling list to use.
In addition to the daily routine, there are expansion activities.
This is a selling point for me. While I enjoy a simple daily routine, I also like the freedom to choose activities that will suit my son and our family well. I use the curriculum but make my own plan.
Pathways reading and language arts program provides the freedom and structure that I look for in a curriculum.
My Favorite Aspects of Pathways
There are nine daily lesson guides for Pathways Grade 5:
- A Family Apart
- Dinosaurs: Where Did They Come From and Where Did They Go
- First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird’s Story
- Journey to Jo’Burg: A South African Story
- Lewis and Clark: Opening the American West
- Shepherd Warrior
- Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
- Spy for the Night Riders
I know this will keep my son’s attention. He loves to learn in depth about a certain subject and then move onto the next one.
By using the themes to explore reading and language arts, the important aspects of these subjects become like second nature.
They learn without realizing they are using the skills needed.
How We Will Incorporate Pathways
Normally, I provide 30 minutes for our daily language arts block.
During our language arts block, we will follow the daily routine for Pathways.
At the end of our school day, we will explore more in-depth aspects of the week depending on the activities in the lesson guide.
Here is our first lesson in Lewis and Clark:
I had Brinkley read to me several pages from Lewis and Clark: Opening the American West. We looked at the bold words and the pictures and captions.
For daily oral language, Brinkley had five sentences to fix for this week. Each day he worked on one sentence and fixed the grammatical errors.
For word study, each week we will look at new words. For this week, we defined colonies and trading companies.
Spelling words were given, practiced, and then a test was given at the end of the week.
We also finished the handwriting sheet throughout the week.
Each portion of our daily routine related to Lewis and Clark and provided opportunities for discussions about each one.
We explored more information about the Lousiana Purchase and latitude and longitude.
Shepherd Warrior follows the same daily routine with different extended activities.
This book is about David in the Bible. It is about his conflicts and celebrations.
As the read aloud, we will read Shepherd Warrior by Bradley Booth. It is an adventure story about David and the battles he faced.
As with all of Pathways curriculum, the focus is from a Christian perspective and always concerned about the spiritual connection with the material.
While my boys have certainly struggled with reading and language arts, we have survived by using interesting books and keeping things fresh.
By reading living books and using an integrative reading and language arts program, I can keep their attention.
For our fifth grade year, we will start out with Pathways Reading and Language Arts Program.