Making seasonal memories is one of the most delightful things you can do to begin family traditions with your children, as it has been with us at Five in a Row! As the air gets cooler, days get shorter and leaves start to change, fall seems to pull us to get out into the world
And why am I excited about them?
Those two questions will be forever interwoven. I was a very poor student. If there was one comment I could count on seeing on every single report card it was this: “Steve doesn’t work up to his ability.” Why? Because school wasn’t interesting. It was boring, structured, mindless and frankly- pointless. I was bored senseless beginning in about first grade. The ONLY thing I remember finding interesting was learning to read. Beyond that school was mindless repetition.
There were only a handful of truly great learning moments- days when the light bulb of learning clicked on. Invariably those were days when I was turned loose with some basic tools and an open-ended learning objective. Suddenly the juices began to flow and I became lost in a world of creative learning, self-directed learning, spontaneous learning. I can still remember each of those days and the projects, discovery and knowledge that emerged from the fog of classroom boredom. Today I am an AVID learner, but that didn’t begin until after college. Only as an adult when I could take a subject and explore at my own pace, putting the pieces together as the story unfolded did I finally discover the joy of learning and the value of education.
Five in a Row was created to give children a less rigid approach to learning the content areas of education. (Note- Educators refer to two areas of learning; the skill areas and the content areas. Skill areas are basically the 3 R’s– reading, writing mechanics and math. Content areas are all of the other subjects such as history, science, literature, creative writing, fine arts, geography and more.) There is no substitute for drill and practice in a systematic, sequential regimen for the skill areas of learning. However, for the content areas it’s an entirely different story. Each content subject is a treasure to be
One question parents consistently ask me is, “How can we help our children prepare for college?” There are many areas and subjects I could mention, but in this post I want to focus on increasing your student’s research skills.
When I am working on a unit study for one my books, I often spend over one hundred hours researching facts, figures, dates, stories, and background information. I feel blessed because I truly love doing research. It taps into my hidden dream to be Nancy Drew! I adore finding the answers to difficult questions. When I went to college I was amazed at the number of students in my classes who were unable to do their own research. Whether they were writing a paper or speech, or conducting a science experiment they were unprepared to find
My child is 9 or 10 or… can I use Five in a Row with him? This is a question I see almost every week on one of our social media pages. The short answer is: YES! Here’s the long answer:
In the surveys a number of you asked for more posts on Beyond Five in a Row. I thought I’d start with this note from Becky Jane on how she suggests you go about your planning. ~ Melissa
Many of you have compared FIAR to Beyond FIAR and made the astute observation that FIAR neatly packages its lessons into a separate subject for each day — 5 days a week. And unlike FIAR, Beyond gives you a bevy of different subjects (some being more present in certain books than others) and no specified day on which to do them. This is true!
When you are using a chapter book unit study (and if you have chosen to purchase and use Beyond FIAR that is indeed what you are using ), there is no way to neatly extract a lesson in all five subject areas out of each chapter. I suppose it could be done, but the lessons would be forced and nonsensical. Instead, I like to take a more organic approach to unit study planning —