Wondering what it is like when you are just getting started with Five in a Row? Enjoy this guest post from Keri Botch!
We wanted to share a special Five in a Row user and blogger with you all! Keri is a lovely person who went out of her way to share her expertise with us for a FIAR giveaway a few months ago. She takes the most exquisite photographs—ones that make you want to squeeze in next to her kiddos and enjoy the muffins, tea, and the read-aloud!
Keri’s been sharing her family’s experience using Five in a Row for almost two years on her personal blog; which is a delightful mix of Charlotte Mason, Five in a Row, Pre-K, and Kindergarten goodness. Mix in some teatime beauty and of course the gorgeous, aforementioned photos. You just have to go see for yourself, you can thank us later.
We’re thrilled that she’s agreed to be a guest blogger for us and let us post her first “rowing” experience—which, like many of you, was using the Five in a Row Volume 1 unit based on The Story About Ping. You can download the Five in a Row sample unit based on The Story of Ping at the end of this post!
This post shows one way of using Five in a Row…including many supplemental go-along books. This method is great if you have the energy to get the additional books and the resources (library) to do so. The Five in a Row manual and picture book that a unit is based on…is all you need to make lifelong memories with your child and teach inspired lessons from a wonderful story! The extras are just that, extra.
From Keri Botch…
We’ve been using Five in a Row for two years now and it’s become a staple curriculum for us. Like a breath of fresh air, it continues to give us what we crave for our home and school: wholesome picture books with deep-hearted discussions, interesting and engaging lessons, and plenty of time to play outside.
The following post is from our first week getting started with Five in a Row. I shared it at the time and am excited to share it again here to help families that are considering the curriculum or just getting started with Five in a Row to see what a typical beginning week looks like!
So far, I have been able to tailor the depth of each subject to the individual child’s age/learning capabilities while still teaching the same core subject to all the children at once. This works especially well with lessons like nature study, literature, science, social studies, history, and art.
Math and phonics/reading lessons are done separately, although we do sometimes include them in our unit studies as an expansion or review. Back to FIAR!
You can find links to all of the books that we read this week at the end of this post. I should note that we are still doing our morning basket along with this curriculum!
Our first Five in a Row book was The Story About Ping. “A duck learns there are worse things than taking the consequences for one’s mistakes.”
Monday: We read The Story About Ping, and then found China on our wall map. We talked about the Yangtze River and that it is the longest river in Asia. We briefly discussed the importance of this river in China’s history, culture and economy. I didn’t read any extra books for this, we just eased into the week by having some open-ended discussions and I answered any questions that came up. We also talked about better ways we can handle certain situations other than running away from our mistakes. We noted that this book is a Classic and talked about why. We also learned the difference between fiction and nonfiction stories. These ideas were all in the manual which made it easy to open and go.
Tuesday: We read The Story About Ping and pointed out how the boy was floating in the water with a barrel attached to his back. I explained the principles of Buoyancy. After reading a go-along book Let’s Try it out in the Water, we went outside to conduct our own experiments using various objects around the house. This was a huge hit, especially on such a hot Texas day! I think it was hovering somewhere around 100 degrees. We charted our findings and the kids continued to experiment and play long after I left to feed a very hungry 10 month old. Later that afternoon, we talked about the anatomy of a duck and discovered that they have tiny barbs on their feathers that act like Velcro, creating a balloon like effect. These tiny air bubbles add to their buoyancy in water. I’m definitely learning right along with them.
Wednesday: We talked about reflection, what it is/how it happens. We then looked at the pictures in The Story About Ping, noting all of the reflections the artist drew in water. We then found some reflections in our own home. We learned more about the Chinese culture by reading the two books, China a travel adventure, and China. We baked cherry egg rolls for our poetry teatime. I know, it’s probably NOT something you would find in China, but they were so good! We read A.A. Milne’s poem, The Mirror from the book When We Were Very Young, which was the perfect accompaniment to our talk about reflection earlier.
Thursday: We read Page 2 in The Story About Ping, and noticed just how many family members Ping has. So, we talked about our family members and used tally marks to keep track of how many parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins the kids have. Then we used a graph to chart Pings Huge family. We read the book Ducks! I also included a “Parts of a Duck” printable, which I let the oldest complete.
Friday: In the morning, we listened to the audiobook of The Story About Ping. Later, my oldest who is almost 6 years old worked on his notebooking and copywork while we all listened to traditional Chinese music. Then, I asked my oldest to narrate the Story About Ping, while I typed it out for him, (it ended up being much longer than I anticipated) and he also wanted to draw a quick picture to go along with that! In retrospect, I should have done these two art projects on different days.
Books: I love that I can find go-along books based on my children’s interests, what I want them to learn more about or what I can find spur-of-the-moment at my library.
Worksheets: The newly released Second edition manuals of Five in a Row have activity sheets for each story! Here’s one I found when we rowed this story before they were supplied in the manual for you.
Download your sample Five in a Row unit
based on The Story of Ping!
Jumping forward to May 2020: we’ve recently added More Before Five in a Row to our day for our littles. To get an idea of the play-based learning ideas and emphasis on early literacy skills in More Before Five in a Row, see what we did with Go To Sleep Little Farm!
If you’re just starting out or even considering homeschooling, I might ask you to remember the “home” in school, and that these days pass so quickly. Take advantage of your cozy couch, read good books, and read them often, and take your time in finding a daily rhythm that works for your specific needs. Don’t let a curriculum rule you, but instead let it guide you. In other words, don’t be afraid to change it up if you need to! In the end, you know what’s best for your family and you are more than capable of this job.
I’ll leave you with a question I like to ask myself from time to time.
When your kids are all grown and out of the house, what do you want to remember when you look back on the homeschooling days? I know my answer, what is yours?
I hope this post encouraged you on how easy it is when you are getting started with Five in a Row. I would love to hear from others of your own experiences.