Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Five In a Row - TOS Crew Product Review

I love Five In a Row. I remember sitting at my very first homeschool convention in Orlando listening to Steve Lambert speak, and being encouraged in my beginning journey. I was inspired and brought to tears in laughter as he shared stories of his family's experience in homeschooling, and I promptly bought the first book.

As the years passed, we moved to other curriculae, and our old favorites were shared with friends and family. I was immediately "warm and fuzzy," then, when we received Beyond Five In a Row, Volume 2, written by Becky Jane Lambert, to review!

From their website: "Five in a Row was created by Jane Claire Lambert, a successful home-school teacher with more than 17 years experience. Five in a Row provides students with a unit-study approach to early education based on outstanding children's literature. Together, the three volumes of Five in a Row provide 55 lesson plans covering Social Studies, Language, Art, Applied Math, and Science in a way that causes children to fall in love with learning. ...Beyond Five In A Row and the optional Christian Character Bible Study Supplement (one volume correlating with the three Beyond volumes) is aimed at ages 8-12. There are three Beyond volumes and each volume will take one semester to complete. It is similar to Five in a Row, only Beyond uses "chapter books" rather than "picture books."

Because the "bigs" were dug in deep in another study, we put Anna onto FIAR in the Skylark study. To begin with, as any good literature-based unit study must be built upon a great book, this was evidenced in Anna's love for this sweet, old-fashioned selection by Patricia MacLachlan. I love that each section begins with a parent summary, along with an overview of the unit. Anna enjoyed the "family portrait" assignment, as she's been learning photography with momma. She also really dove into the writing assignments, and the character lesson along with the art and science sections were very interesting. An aspect I don't remember from our first Five In a Row book is the "Internet Connections" included in each section for further research. This unit also included vocabulary, history, and geography assignments, all of which are varied and interesting.

My only reservation on this series (and this comes from one who has taken the dive into classical methodology to some extent), is that the variety of subjects within a given time frame may not allow for in-depth immersion, and therefore complete understanding, of a subject.

As my friend Tami would say, though, Five In a Row hearkens back to the sweet innocence, the simplicity of why so many of us began homeschooling in the first place.

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