I have heard before about Five in a Row from friends and relatives who have used it, but just never had the opportunity to really look at it or use it.
With Levi just turning three years old, I really wanted to try this out with him. I really don’t have anything that "fits" for him right now. Well, let me just say this fits like a glove!! I was truly blown away from the very first few pages. I have since become a HUGE Five In a Row fan, even joining the message boards over at the website. I have been overwhelmed at the support that is out there for this awesome program due to the extreme popularity. I purchased a couple of the "Fold-n-Learns" (check them out!)to go with a couple of the books. One we have done and the other will be for later. I went ahead and purchased the Before Five in a Row Planner as well because, well this stuff is just too cool! (Can you tell I’m head over heals here?)
So, about the actual program…Before Five in a Row has 24 "mini-units" focusing on 24 popular children books for preschool aged children. The author states this is not a "curriculum", and not meant to be "schoolwork." This is a gentle and neat way to get littles excited about learning!! I will admit that at first I started to think, well, we read books and pretty much talk about all this stuff anyway. But as I continued, I began to see the very rich and thoughtful progression and organization of these lessons.
When I searched our poor little local library expecting not to find too many of the books, I was pleasantly surprised that 12 of the 24 were available at our library! I then began searching a few booksellers online and purchased several more. We are only missing about three at this time, which are out of print and have been discussed quite a lot on the FIAR boards. I’ve really gleaned some wonderful information from those boards that have made this journey even more fun!
We started out with Jesse Bear What Will You Wear, and Levi didn’t really like it much at first, but as we talked about a few of the ideas, he began to become more interested. Our next book I purchased online, and found out I was lucky to have found this out-of-print book for a minimal price. I’m so glad I did, though, because it was one of our favorites so far. As a matter of fact, our experience with this has really convinced me we will be using FIAR for years to come with Levi! This story is called Yellow Ball, and has very few words, but very artistic and creative photos. It is about a ball some children are playing with on a beach that floats away as the children are sidetracked with other beach activities. The ball goes through a storm out at sea, ends up back on a beach, and is found by a mom and little boy who picks it up and hugs it, then takes it home and snuggles with it at bedtime. I tell this story because we looked and looked for a yellow ball, and after finally finding one, took a trip to the beach to let Levi "find" it on the beach. (Nice to live so close to the beach!! )
So, it was a windy day, and just as Levi spotted the ball, the wind caught it and blew it into the water and it floated out too far to reach before we could get it!! We watched the ball float away, just like in the book, instead of picking it up and hugging it and taking it home as we thought he would! So we talked about where we thought it would end up… over across the bay at Port Aransas? Florida? China? We talked about the blessing some other little boy might receive when he finds it on distant shores. We even prayed for it that it would survive any terrible storms it might encounter.
Well, I looked and looked for another yellow ball, but all I could find was one very small little yellow squishy ball. So, we decided to go ahead and let him find that one so he would have one to keep. He was, indeed, very excited about getting to keep his very own yellow ball the day we went back to the beach. I asked him if he thought it was the same ball, but just shrunk. He said, "no, Mom, I know you just bought this one at Wal Mart for me. That’s ok, I like it anyway!" Kids are too smart.
We made art projects from this story, talked about Jesus calming the waters, and so much more. This was just so much fun, and, as intended, will be a memory that lasts a lifetime for Levi, as well as his sisters! We are currently working through Blueberries for Sal (which I don’t think Levi will ever want to move on from, he LOVES it, LOL), and then onto The Little Rabbit surrounding Easter.
Stay tuned for updates, and pictures to come!
The second half of Before Five in Row is packed full of learning readiness activities in everyday life…the kitchen, at the store, at bedtime, bathtime, etc.
My 8 year old loves this program, and I have told her I will go ahead and order the regular Five In a Row for her to use as well. They do have "Beyond Five in a Row" for 8-12 year olds, but I think she will really enjoy FIAR in addition to her regular studies. Can’t wait to see where this takes us!!
I’m so thrilled to have been introduced to Five In a Row. I officially join the ranks of FIAR fans everywhere, and I finally see what "all the fuss is about!"
You can read all about the Lamberts here, but be prepared to spend quite some time over at Five In a Row; you’ll be so glad you found them! Thanks, Lamberts, for your incredible dedication to nurturing and teaching our precious children!! You are really special folks; may you be as richly blessed as your curriculum blesses others!
Go make some memories with your kids!