Friday, April 23, 2010

Before Five in a Row: Looking Forward

I have been inspired.

Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR)
After reading Michelle's post over at Delightful Learning about starting Before Five in a Row with her two younger children, I just knew that's what I wanted to do for our upcoming year. I was looking for a way to combine Treyton, who is 4 1/2, and Lexa who is 22 months and very interested in participating in school with us. I will be following a VERY similar approach to Michelle. (Thanks for the inspiration Michelle!)

For those of you who are not familiar with Five in a Rows approach - to put it simply you read a book everyday for five days. You then use a unit-study approach to dig deeper into the story. You can really use it however you would like, in which ever direction you and your child would like to go. I love the fact that it is literature based - if there is one thing my children love it's reading together, I want to build on this love. I am grateful to be using something that is a little less work for me, that has plans already there for me; BUT that still gives me the room I want to mold and form it to fit our family.

I don't want to re-post Michelle's post (which I'm kind of doing), so I will just vaguely mention what I have done so far. I have gone through the resources on homeschool share, printed, cut, laminated and organized all the printables and lapjournal pieces I thought we would use for the 19 books that I currently have (there are 23 units in B4FIAR, 4 are out of print). I am pretty much set for each weeks work.
At this point, I am not strictly planning out any of the units. All of the books that we will be reading can be taken in 100 directions and I don't want to tie us down to doing a particular direction on a given book, so I have not gone too deeply on any topic. I have prepared our units in a way that we will cover each book at a level I am happy with. I have printed out activities that I can use with both of the kids as well as activities suited for each child individually. If we decide to go deeper into a particular book or topic I will add what I need at that time. We have enough stuff to keep us busy while I put together a little bit more or if I am unable to (due to lack of time or energy) put into it any more, it's okay, we will certainly still get much from the book and resources I have prepared.  

The plan is to start Before Five in a Row after the turn of our school year which will be in June.

School Calendar

We do plan on homeschooling throughout the summer without a significant break. I have a hard time with the "three month gap" - in my opinion stopping school all together for three months requires you to spend a large amount of your time re-learning and reviewing concepts once covered. And in addition to that, I like to be able to go at a relaxed pace, taking breaks when we need them, not when they are scheduled, and doing school all-year long with smaller breaks gives us the freedom to do that.

Lapbooking vs. Lapjournaling 
We have truly enjoyed lapbooking and I plan on continuing the concept with our B4FIAR curriculum. We will be doing lapjournaling using sturdy cardstock or folders cut in half and displaying and storing them in a 3-ring binder.This allows easy access for the kids as well being able to show them off to the grandparents and family.

For Other School
The B4FIAR curriculum for Treyton is covering his language arts and science.
I plan on continuing what we have already been doing for Treyton in the other subjects:
Horizon's K for math
ETC for Phonics along with the other things I wrote about here
Bible Units I write
US Geography Pages along reinforced with our GAPS postcard swap

I am so excited to get started with BFIAR and our new school year!! I am so excited in fact you can look forward to me posting on using the B4FIAR concept before the turn of our school year with some other books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear here we come!!)
This past year has gone better than I could have ever dreamed and I look forward to what this next year will bring us. According to Wisconsin's new Kindergarten law I will officially be registering Treyton as a homeschool/private school student in the fall. At first this scared me a little bit, but now I'm much more comfortable with it.
I also look forward to incorporating Alexa in our school more, I know she will love it. And I feel completely confident in our choice of curriculum and approach to teaching both kids thus far.


Unknown said...

I hadn't heard about the new law. Can you let me know what it is and what I am suppossed to do? Thanks:)

michelle said...

Looks great Amber! So happy that you were inspired and looking forward to watching your children grow this year. So much fun and learning ahead! =)

Shannon said...

I looked over Five In A Row when I first started homeschooling,but I chose not to use it being a newbie (after using public school). I now use My Father's World K and Adventures, but it was causing me some stress, too. About a month ago I started changing some things up and for the MFW K I am doing it much more like Five In A Row and we are loving it. We don't really read the same book five times, but 2-3 and do some special study with it (which goes perfectly along with MFW). Anyway, am I confusing you? I am saying all that to say that I think you will like FIAR. If I was starting from the beginning with a Pre-K age I think it would have been the right choice, but my fears were too many with my older child and I had to waste some time struggling through trying to copy "public school" some before I learned to do it different.

Ticia said...

I've heard so many cool things about this. I can't wait to see what you do.

Kenan said...

I enjoyed reading your post about FIAR. I did find some of the out of print books on Amazon this evening. Good luck with FIAR. We will be starting B4FIAR this fall (if I can wait that long) :)

angela said...

I just happened to come across your blog, and i think that it's wonderful you are going to do Five in a Row!
it's been a great blessing to our family. make sure you visit the FIAR forum there is a ton of encouragement and info out there!
God be with you,

alison said...

this post was very inspiring for me... I had seen people mention FIAR before but hadn't realized that younger kids could do the B4FIAR. and I looked into it and it sounds awesome! I think we might try it this fall! --I love how you prepared everything ahead of time... thinking I might do that because we will have a brand new baby and I want some special time with my 2 year old ;)

Susana said...

We are going to be starting B4FIAR here too and I am so excited! Thanks for sharing this post, it is going to be helpful. Between you and Michelle, I'll have my bases covered :-).

I was wondering if you would mind telling me how long it usually takes you to plan for one unit, and how long it took you to put together all you have pictured here?