Monday, March 2

Five In A Row

I had wondered about the Five in a Row series. All of my friends had used it and loved it. I just never got around to trying it out, until now. I purchased the book "Before Five in a Row" not long before I was sent "Five in a Row Vol. 3" to review. I'll briefly review both in case anyone is curious what level to purchase for their family.

The premise for both is the same: Read one of the excellent books recommended in each chapter....every day. Every day, you sit down and read the same story. This might seem redundant to us parents, but the kids LOVE this. I thought the girls would surely begin to groan by Friday, but they didn't. I only groaned a little bit, which surprised me. There were little things to notice and share each time we read. And the repetition helped my beginning reader. After reading the story, you do a lesson or two based on the story. Lessons cover Art, Science, Math, Geography, Social Studies, Emotions, Health, and more. There are more options than could be completed, which is the point. You get to pick and choose which ones appeal to you. The Five in a Row series are a gentle way to spend a week reading and following literature based unit studies.

In Before Five in a Row, we went through Caps for Sale . This has already been a favorite book of ours for a while. We counted caps, we sorted colors, we discussed the saying "Monkey see, monkey do." We worked on balancing things on our heads, we discussed the prominence of the tree full of monkeys, and we talked about the frustrations the man felt and ways to handle emotions.

In Five in a Row, we went throughDaniel's Duck (because it was the only book on the list that my library carried) We talked about the changing of seasons, the significance of a long winter followed by a county fair, and the feeling of embarrassment. We looked at foreshadowing, quotation marks (which Honor still points out excitedly because she knows it means someone is talking,) and crafts.

These have been fun, gentle lessons for the girls and I to enjoy together. They don't qualify as a full grammar or math program, but I don't push formal teaching much before the age of seven anyway. I used to, but finally realized that it didn't get them ahead much. If you wait until they are truly ready to start formal lessons, they quickly catch up to where they would have been if you started them at age 5. I've tried it both ways and have found no benefit to formal lessons at an early age. I had an especially bright five year old, yet I still managed to frustrate the poor child. He is one year ahead of his peers in most subjects, but so is his brother who did not start too early. Gentle is good. Give them time to be kids. They learn so much by just being kids.

You might have some trouble finding some books through the library if your library is as small as mine. Larger libraries shouldn't be a problem since most of the books chosen are award winning books. Even if they need to be purchased, the cost is low. Most run between $4 and $6.

You can now order some units as digital downloads, but these are $9.00 per chapter which is a bit high I think for something that I print on my own paper. There are now several different FIAR volumes that can be purchased here.


Maritez said...

Thanks for that review. I loved your perspective on formal lessons too early.

Jennie C. said...

Trying to teach those's like beating your head against a wall. :-) But it's hard to get your non-homeschooling, heavily-invested-in-public-schooling family to understand!

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