- Paperback: 159 pages
- Publisher: Five in a Row; 2nd edition (March 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1888659009
- ISBN-13: 978-1888659009
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,754 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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Top Customer Reviews
Also, one might get the impression that this book is not readily available from the way it is listed here, as a hard to find title. This isn't true. Amazon may have to special order it, but they should be able to get it without a problem.
I do have to offer one clarification, of sorts, from what some others have said. It is suggested that the lessons require no further preparation than glancing at this book and then getting started. That isn't true. If you want a curriculum where all the information your child needs is right there in front of him, this is NOT it. Five in a Row suggests *topics* on which to teach based on the book of the week. You may be learning about the Revolutionary War, or Japan, the sense of taste, or ducks. But if you want pictures related to that topic or some information about it on the child's level, you need to supplement with other books.
That should be achieved easily enough in the public library, same place many people get the FIAR books themselves. But it helps to know that in advance, rather than assume this material is something it's not.
For those who are interested in teaching their children the Charlotte Mason way, FIAR makes a GREAT curriculum. It will grow a love of literature. While my son sometimes resists his math and phonics lessons, he LOVES FIAR. He often asks me, "What are we learning today from the book?" I don't have to tell him, "It's time for *Papa Piccolo* (or whatever book we are on that week) twice. He's there, ready and waiting for the next lesson!
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!
There are nineteen picture book titles (ex: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say) with extensive lesson plans for each title. Units can be repeated easily without repeating the same information each time. My children have been using Five in a Row for three years and the knowledge they have gained is incredible! This is a fun and enjoyable curriculum that teaches a love for learning and I highly recommend it!