Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Before Five in a Row

We recently had the opportunity to review Before Five in a Row and boy was I excited.  I've admired Five in a Row and I was very interested to see what they had for the younger set.

About Before Five in a Row

From the Authors:

This important product includes 23 Five in a Row-style mini-units (plus an extra mini-unit) based on outstanding children’s books for ages 2-4 as well as a large section of learning readiness activities for your every day life: things to do in the kitchen, at the store, at bedtime,bath time, etc.

You’ll find an entire treasury of ideas to prepare children
for pre-learning necessary for their educational foundation. These ideas are wonderfully effective without robbing
your little ones of those special golden years of childhood. Those few brief years of early childhood can never be reclaimed later and many parents discover too late
that they pushed too hard and too early for advanced academic achievement.

You can’t go back and swing at the park, float paper
boats in the rain and do the myriad of play activities with your young children that help build the foundation for learning in a way that also encourages a flood of warm, young-childhood memories.

Before Five in a Row is passionate about teaching, but the teaching comes through the subtle forms of play that are intrinsic to early childhood. These lessons are the important pre-education lessons that will both build your child’s mind and fill your child’s heart while truly readying them for the deeper academic experience to come.

Before Five in a Row is the perfect introduction to the joys
of parent-directed learning in just a very few minutes each day— whenever the opportunity arises!

This is a book that inspires you to take a few minutes to enjoy your little ones early years, without any stress or expectations, rather than a curriculum.

The book is divided into two parts.  The first part is a collections of great stories and activities to go along with the stories.  The activities very rarely require more than the book of your choice, a comfy lap, and a nice conversation with your little one.

The activities in this section cover a variety of topics including Bible, language arts, math concepts, science, games, art, and other early learning skills.   

The second part of the book is a treasury of ideas to help develop your child's learning readiness.  There are activities for reading readiness, motor skills, the arts, and life skills.  These activities are not specific to any book but are meant for anytime.

Our Experience

Kayleigh and I had a great time "rowing" through several books.  Reading the stories five days in a row wasn't an issue because who doesn't like to read a great story again and again?

The BFIAR guide had us snuggling on the couch, talking about the characters, noticing the art work more in depth, acting out scenes, playing fun games.  

Kayleigh had a blast acting out the stories.  Here she is playing peek-a-boo with a favorite blanket, just like Jesse Bear.

If you have a child who is interested in doing "school work" like older siblings there are a variety of ways to add it in.  A really easy way is to check out FIAR's Fold & Learn Pockets.

Fold & Learn Pockets are digital downloads that you can purchase from FIAR.  These pockets include additional activities that you can use for your child.  They include songs, printable games, cooking ideas,  crafts, and other activities for your child to explore.

We decided to try one out and Kayleigh had a wonderful time dressing "Jesse Bear" for the weather.  The unit also included fun songs, games and a lot of interesting facts about bears.   Having little activities like this made Kayleigh feel like just like her big sister.

One of my favorite activities suggested in the manual was the use of animal classification cards.   Basically these are little cards featuring the many animals featured in the stories.  You could make them yourself using clip art or magazine pictures or, like I did, search the web because you know that there's already a wonderful, homeschooling mommy out there who already made them and is sharing them on their blog.  (How's that for a run-on sentence?)

The cards can be used for a variety of sorting activities: fur/no fur, fly/walk/swim, the sky is the limit.  We used our classification cards for We're Going on a Bear Hunt kind of like a scavenger hunt.  We looked through the book to locate the animal on each card.

The Pros & Cons


    * The book selections are timeless classics.  Totally wonderful.
    * Little to no prep work involved
    * Encourages little kids to be little kids without the pressure of academics at an early age
    * Very easy to expand on if that is what your child wishes


    *Only available from one source and it is sold at a higher rate than what is marked on the book.

Final Thoughts

We have been having a wonderful time with this book.  So much so that we have incorporated Before Five in a Row into our permanent "tot school" activities.  We were totally blessed to be able to review this wonderful product.  Academics are great but this book reminds you to enjoy these precious "baby" years without the pressure of academics.


Website: http://www.fiarhq.com/fiveinarow.info/beforefiveinarow.html
Pricing: $35 available only at Rainbow Resource
Ages: 2-4

Click the Crew banner to read more reviews of Before Five in a Row.

I received a copy of this book for review as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  All opinions are my own.

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