Thursday, September 15, 2011

TOS Review: Before Five in a Row


I'm really excited to be a part of the TOS Review Crew this year. I'll be sharing our experiences with you throughout the year, as we try out various products and curriculum aimed at homeschoolers. 


If you homeschool, you've almost certainly heard of Five in a Row, (FIAR.) What you may not know, is that the same company also has a preschool curriculum, called Before Five in a Row. I got to try it out with V, who's three and a half.


Before Five in a Row, (called BFIAR here on out,) is a preschool curriculum, aimed at children aged 2-4. It retails for $35.00 through the Rainbow Resource Center, which is the official retailer for this company.

The curriculum is based around 24 classic children's books, (which you'll need to buy separately, although you'll likely have a few of them around your house already. I did. At any rate, your library will almost certainly have these titles on hand.)

The first section of the book is broken down into 24 units (one for each book,) each lasting 5 days. The backbone of the curriculum consists of reading the same book for five consecutive days. Along with the book, you'll be doing a variety of other activities, including age appropriate discussion of art, science activities, and reading related verses from the Bible.

The second half of the book is filled with enriching (and fun,) activities to do with your preschooler. Some of these are pretty standard suggestions, others are things you may not have considered. I thought this this section was a great resource. Sometimes, when you're cooking for, cleaning up after, and trying to keep your preschooler from giving the dog a hair cut, it's hard to remember to just have fun with them. This book includes lots of ideas for just that.

Here are some of my favorite aspects of the program:

It requires very little prep work. This is a big deal if you have older children who are using a more planning intensive curriculum. It would also be a huge plus if you had any younger children in the house who keep you hopping. There are only so many hours in the day, right?

The BFIAR curriculum is infinitely reusable. There aren't any consumable components to it. Even if you decide to buy all the accompanying books, it's a one time investment for however many children you have.

It's gentle, perfect for little ones. This curriculum would be great for little ones who are anxious to get started having school like their older siblings, or parents who are looking to gradually ease their preschoolers into doing "school." It's not a rigorous, worksheets and flashcards program. There's no emphasis on phonics, etc. The emphasis is on enjoying good books, appreciating different kinds of art, appreciating, and making connections in the world around you, and practical application of scriptures.

It's based around really good books. These are books that you'll actually enjoy reading over and over.

V has enjoyed working on this program with me. She likes having what she calls "baby school," and enjoys the one on one time with mommy. At three and a half, the's on the older end of the recommended age range. Perhaps it's because she's spent such a lot of time eavesdropping on L's school, but some of the activities and discussions seem a little simple for her. I think it would have been a perfect fit for her about a year ago.

I'd recommend this product for "relaxed" homeschooling families, or those that are interested in the "living books," sort of learning. You can view a sample of the included activities here, to get a feel for how the curriculum might fit into your family.

I really liked it.

 FIAR sells several other products, for a whole range of ages. Here are some quick links to their other products, if you'd like to know more:

Five in a Row (Ages 4-8)
Beyond Five in a Row (Ages 8-12)
Above and Beyond Five in a Row (Ages 12+)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in order to facilitate a review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment