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Have you heard about Five in a Row? Jane Claire and Steve Lambert, homeschooling parents of two, started their company 13 years ago to share their love for great children’s literature presented in a way that encourages children to love learning. The original Five in a Row books are geared to elementary-aged students and basically have the parent read one great book to their children each day for one week straight (you’ll thrill your child who’s the "Read it again, Mommy!" type–and aren’t they all that type?) After you read the story, there are follow-up activities in various areas, with each day’s focus being different:
You’ll teach a different subject each day beginning with social studies on Monday. You’ll find history lessons, geography lessons, discussions on foreign culture taken directly from the story you’ve just read. On Tuesday you’ll examine the author’s use of language, learning about punctuation, vocabulary, literary devices, creative writing and more. Wednesday you’ll discover a comprehensive art curriculum as you explore the illustrator’s techniques, style and use of materials with lots of hands-on art lessons for early learners. Thursday your children will explore applied mathematics as they learn about counting, grouping, measurements, simple geometric shapes, etc. Finally, on Friday you’ll explore science together with activities to learn more about weather, astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry and more.
We really enjoyed using Five in a Row when my older children were young. Now the Lamberts have gone on to produce curriculum for your older children, too! If you loved Five in a Row, I think you’ll love Beyond Five in a Row. It’s written by Becky Lambert, daughter of Steve and Jane Claire. And if you haven’t seen this curriculum before and would like to do something different next year, take a look!
Beyond Five in a Row is set up differently for older kids, ages 8-12. Using chapter books rather than picture books, these three volumes each cover four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. Each volume takes about one semester to complete, as you are reading approximately one chapter every two days.
Volume 1 utilizes The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner and Homer Price by Robert McCloskey as it’s two fiction selections, and Thomas Edison by Sue Guthridge and Betsy Ross by Ann Weil from the Childhood of Famous Americans Series for its two non-fiction selections.
Volume 2 utilizes Sarah Plain and Tall and Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan as its two fiction selections, and The Story of George Washington Carver by Eva Moore and Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson from Scholastic Biographies for its two non-fiction selections.
Volume 3 utilizes The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden, Illustrated by Garth Williams and The Saturdays written and illustrated by Elisabeth Enright as its two fiction selections, and Neil Armstrong-Young Flyer by Montrew Dunham and Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium by Ann E. Steinkefor its two non-fiction selections.
There are creative writing or essay projects with every lesson, social studies including history, geography, human relationships, science, vocabulary, career path studies, internet connections and much, much more. All you’ll need to add is daily arithmetic and the trio subjects grammar/spelling/penmanship. Everything else is included.
The layout of these books makes them extremely simple to use. While you may want to look through your week’s work beforehand to make sure you have art supplies and reference books available to avoid any disappointment, in most cases you could be ready for your day’s studies in five minutes! After you’ve read your portion for the day, topics could include almost anything–from how to tie knots to dealing with death, career paths, air and sound travel, New York City’s geography, or creating your own wind chimes. You’ll never have a boring moment! Want to be free from workbooks? Really desiring to use a more unit-study approach but afraid you won’t be able to come up with ideas? Clueless as to which books are worth reading *and* appropriate for your children’s ages? Take a good look at this program. These are books my own children have loved, and I don’t doubt for a moment that most kids would really enjoy learning like this. Of course you can combine your kids who fall into this age range using this curriculum, which is always a plus. You’ll need to add your own age-specific math and grammar program, of course, but other than that, it’s all here.
Beyond Five in a Row is not only wonderful, it’s inexpensive. And THAT is a winning combination, I tell you! The teacher’s book costs only $24.95. You could borrow many of the books you’d need from the library, or hit half.com for many of them. The folks at FIAR have also made things easier for you by compiling all the books you’ll need for all their different programs so you can order those in a package if you’d rather not have to hit the library on a regular basis or run all over the internet trying to find things. The book package including all twelve books employed in the three volumes of Beyond Five in a Row is $89.95. They also have a Bible character study supplement specifically for this program which is $17.95, or you can get all three teacher’s books plus the Bible study program for $85.00 if you order online. Whew! Lots of information. Read more about this lovely program at www.fiveinarow.com .