Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TOS Review ~ Before Five In A Row (BFIAR)


I am so excited to share this review with you! I have been wondering about Five In A Row {FIAR} since I first started hearing about it about a year ago. As a former public school teacher, I wondered if I "really needed" a manual to read a book five days in a row and do some educational activities based on the books. I am a teacher and I was "trained" to teach children. Well, read on to discover the answer to my question.


From the {FIAR} websiteFive in a Row is more than just a set of lesson plans. It’s an approach 
to learning that will forever change how both you, and your children view education, books and teaching.

Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} is an adaptation of the original {FIAR} curriculum. It is 23 mini-units (plus a bonus unit) based on excellent children's literature. The book selections and activities are geared for 2-4 year-olds (although my 5 and 11 year-olds love the books and activities too).

The Details:
by Jane Claire Lambert
$35 at Rainbow Resource Center
149 pages
paperback book
23 mini-units (+1 bonus unit)
ages 2-4
Christian based
Religious and non-religious activities to choose from for each book selection
2 Parts: Part One is the mini-units & Part Two is a "Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness"

How it works:
You choose a book (either borrow them from your Public Library or purchase them) and go to that section in the {BFIAR} manual and read through all the activity ideas. After you look through all the AMAZING ideas, choose the ones that your little one will enjoy and learn from. Generally, you read the book everyday for a week (hence, five in a row) and do one activity a day. However, if you have a child who is begging for more, for many of the stories there are enough activities for two a day or even two weeks of rowing the same book. The amount of preparation needed varies based on the activities you choose (and to some extend the amount of effort you put into it). You can choose to make the activities as elaborate or as simple as you wish. 

Books we "Rowed":
We're Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
Corduroy, by Don Freeman
I Am an Artist, by Pat L. Collins
Yellow Ball, by Molly Bang
The ABC Bunny, by Wanda Gag
Jesse, Bear, What Will You Wear?, by N. W. Carlstrom
Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack

Some Activities We Did:
We went on a Bear Hunt.
Talked about Homes and Habitats.
Talked about our 5 senses and used them to discover nature.
Painted a scene of a Yellow Ball (see picture below).
Discussed weather (lightning, clouds, wind, hail, etc.).
"Can You Find" Search.
Made puppets and put on a Puppet Show.


Our Thoughts:
I absolutely love it. I am not super creative and would never think of even half of the ideas in this manual (nor do I have the time to do so)! At first I thought the $35 price tag was kind of high, I do believe that it is worth the investment. Especially if you have more than 1 child that would benefit from it. While Monkey (age 3) was the main child to benefit from this product, my other children loved it too. We all sat to read the books as a family (sometimes Unicorn age 11 would read out loud for me). Then we would do the activity together or the girls would go off and do their own thing while Monkey did the activity on his own. Most of the stories were read multiple times a day! Since we are tight on funds we chose activities that were simple and didn't require a lot of materials.

Many of the books are difficult to find and some are downright expensive (because they are out of print). To save money be sure to ask your local librarian about Inter-Library Loans. I have had to do this to find a couple books (Yellow Ball and My Blue Boat for example). Other places to look for the books are at Thrift Stores, Yard/Garage sales, and ebay. Also, you can purchase the books from Rainbow Resource Center.

Remember my question from above? Do I really need a manual to help me come up with educational activities for great literature? The answer is Yes! I don't have the time or creativity to come up with all these amazing ideas! Also, I had never heard of most of these books and probably wouldn't have ever picked them on my own.

Additional Products:
Five In A Row volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (ages 4-8)
Five In A Row Bible Supplement
Beyond Five In A Row volumes 1, 2 and 3 (ages 8-12)
Beyond Five In A Row Bible Study Supplement
Above & Beyond Five In A Row (ages 12+)
Digital Resources (Nature Studies, Holiday Studies, Cookbook, Timeline, Planner, etc.)

Additional Resources:
{FIAR} has a Forum on their website where you can go to "meet" others who use {FIAR}, get support and get ideas. If you choose to use {FIAR} a couple other useful sites are Homeschool Share and for {BFIAR} be sure to visit 1+1+1=1.

{Disclaimer: I received a copy of Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.}

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  1. I too have used Before Five in a Row and I think my biggest complaint
    would be the fact that so many of the books were out of print and
    expensive to purchase second hand if you wanted to have them for
    yourself.  I actually obtained a good number of them despite this fact
    because I felt it was worth it.

    Thanks for linking up with NOBH!

  2. AdventuresinHomeEducatingSeptember 14, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Hi Heidi! Yes, that is my biggest complaint too! There are some books that I would REALLY like to get but just can't justify the prices. Thank goodness for libraries! :)


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