- Paperback: 159 pages
- Publisher: Five in a Row; 2nd edition (March 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1888659009
- ISBN-13: 978-1888659009
- Package Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 82 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Five in a Row (Five in a Row): Volume 1 2nd Edition
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We're just about to finish up Volume 1, and it has been a great fit for us. My son loves books, so this is literally the best part of our day, when we curl up on the couch under a blanket and read our Five in a Row book together. We also really enjoy the suggested discussions and activities. I would estimate that I use about 75% of the suggested activities and come up with about 25% on my own. I also try to take my lead from him--if he's really interested in a particular aspect of the story, then we run with it for as long as he wants to, even if that means we don't have time for the other activities. (Case in point: he built a replica of the hospital from Madeline out of Magna-tiles and Playmobil pieces, so we spent a full day playing with that, instead of doing the suggested activities.)
Have all the books been a hit? No. "How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World" was a dud for us, as was "Another Celebrated Dancing Bear." But I've been surprised by how he responded to other books. He really enjoyed "Who Owns the Sun," and he also loved "Papa Piccolo." Those are books that I never would have checked out from the library, so it was great that we gave them a try. And even when the book hasn't resonated with him, we've been able to find activities that we enjoy doing together to highlight aspects of the book.
If you decide to use this curriculum, you might consider buying the books, instead of checking them out from the library. These are books your child will want to hear again and again, so it's a worthwhile investment. Also, definitely get both a U.S. and a world map! My son loves putting the story discs on the map and pointing them out to friends and relatives who come to visit. He's actually learned quite a bit of geography from this. We also made a historical timeline that we put story discs on, too, which he really enjoys. There are homeschool websites that sell the entire package of books, as well as laminated maps and story discs, so don't be deterred if you're not the crafty type. I know I'm not!
Best of luck to all new homeschoolers out there!
When I was figuring out the curriculum for this year, I found my FIAR book and decided to give it another try. I'm glad I did! While I can understand the comments made by the people who gave negative reviews, I think anyone who is having a tough time with these books and activities should re-think how they're approaching it and give it another chance. I found that flexibility is key - I view the activities as guidelines and adjust to my son's abilities and interests as needed.
First of all, I don't think anyone intends for FIAR to be a complete curriculum - it's just one lesson a day. We use it as supplemental material to break up the day with something different. Each FIAR book has at least one lesson on Math, Science, Art, Social Studies, and Language Arts. There are actually many more than 5 lessons for each book, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to do (or you can do a couple in one day).
One of the negative reviewers mentioned that the lessons for Madeline included counting hats & talking about the Eiffel Tower, and that the lessons were "unstructured and flighty." I don't believe FIAR is perfect, but I feel the reviewer made a horrible misrepresentation of FIAR, and would like to use the book, Madeline, as a brief example of how well-rounded the lessons are for each book:
- One of the FIAR Art lessons involves a discussion on Paris architecture based on the pictures in the book. I found plenty of photos of all the landmarks easily online. My son enjoyed matching the photos with the book illustrations and drew his own picture of one of the landmarks. (The other Art lesson helps the student appreciate the variety of sizes & color drawings in the book.)
- There is no lesson that says to count hats. However, there are three Math lessons: one deals with grouping & dividing skills using manipulatives (my son is past this stage, so I would write out some simple multiplication problems that deal with the same concept); another deals with relative size order; and the third explores symmetry.
- The Science lesson has to do with health and developing healthy habits (based on Madeline's trip to the hospital).
- The Language lessons explain the literary devices used in the book, and teach new vocabulary (I actually have my son look up the words he doesn't know in our dictionary and he writes them out - FIAR gives me a good starting point in what words he might not know).
- There are three Social Studies lessons: geography, human relationships, and history. Sure, a lot of homeschoolers already look on a map to find the place they are reading about in a book. But the history idea was something new that we now apply to every book we read.
And that's just a very brief overview of ONE of the FIAR books! So I would describe FIAR as quite thorough and a great inspiration for thinking outside the book. Of course, some lessons need to be tweaked for my son's skill level, but to me that's what homeschooling is all about - not making him fit some kind of mold, but rather molding the curriculum around him.
As far as finding the books - it hasn't consumed more than a few minutes of my time, spent filling out interlibrary loan forms. I haven't had any difficulty finding any of the books this way.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that one of the things I did this time around was to make all the FIAR books into an ongoing art project, which has made a huge difference in the level of my son's excitment about the books. I bought a binder and each time we read a FIAR book, he uses construction paper to make a page for the book - he writes the name of the book at the top, marks the place where the book takes place on a small world map that he pastes on the page, and writes the name of the place below the map. Any activities that involve writing (sometimes I make some up) and his book-related art projects get added to the page (or hole-punched and added behind the book's page). It's a great addition to his school portfolio, and he really loves going through his FIAR binder often and showing it off to friends and family - each time he shows it off, he talks about the books we've read and explains what his projects had to do with the book, which helps reinforce the lessons.
So to the folks who have tried it and not had success - I would say to try again with a different mindset!
This book is awesome and I wish I had this book years back when I taught in school.