Today I want to share with you about a company called Five In a Row. Five in a Row is based on a neat concept of reading a book for 5 days in a row and doing a different activity for it each day. The TOS Crew was asked to do a review of their book called Before Five In a Row.
Before Five In a Row was written by Jane Lambert. It’s geared toward children ages 2-4. It’s a 146 page soft back book that costs $35.00. One thing I want to point out is that this is NOT a curriculum. I will explain more of that in a moment. Before Five In a Row “consists of 23 mini-units based from some of the most well know children's literature books”.
This guide is divided into two sections. Part 1 deals with the stories and activities. Part 2 is full of creative ideas parents can use for “learning readiness”. This section includes things like ideas for coordination, has learning readiness activities for everyday life. These would be fun things to do in:
*at the store
You’ll learn all kinds of interesting uses for toys. Another thing you’ll learn in this section is how to tie in learning with the Arts like:
As I mentioned before this is not a curriculum. “It’s a series of little lessons created to bring enjoyment to little ones ages 2-4. The point is not to instruct or teach but for them to have a happy introduction to books. This helps builds intimacy between the reader and the child”. The lessons in this book uses the wonderful stories including some classics for early childhood. Each lesson also has a bible verse included for parents who want to build a foundation of God in their child’s learning.
When you purchase Before Five in a Row it does not come with everything you will need. The stories are NOT included with this manual so you’ll have to get those separate. There is a list of the books you’ll need to choose from on their booklist of the stories mentioned. You can find these books for free at your local library, or buy them inexpensively at places where children’s books are sold (ex: Wal-Mart). You can even find them online at places like Amazon.
The topical subject headings for each story title chosen in this guide are only suggestions for what areas the activities may “lay a foundation” for academic subjects to be encountered by your child in later grades. So don’t pressure yourself to do all these activities all at once. It’s not meant to overwhelm you or your child. They are meant to help inspire creative interaction between you and your child. For example: You can choose to read one of the stories during the day and save a question/discussion for eating times. You could also bring up activities/questions from previously read stories when you’re out on a walk together, at the grocery store, or during bath time.
As mentioned the ideas in Before Five in a Row lay the foundation for future formal academic training in each of these subject areas. It is not attempting to teach academics in depth, but provide a strong foundation of academic “readiness”. No the goal is not to create "little professors" to be proud of. The goal is for your 2-4 year old to enjoy a time of sharing, hugging, reading, singing, dancing, doing puzzles, building blocks, being outdoors and enjoying an introduction to the world of life. This in turn will enhance your child’s awareness of the world around him/her and create memorable times of interaction between the two of you.
As for my personal thoughts I wish I had a guide like this when my son was this age. Since he’s 11 I wasn’t able to use this with him. We did talk about the great stories mentioned. He remembers sitting on my lap listening to me read many of them. He also learned how to read from them too. We gave all his books away to his little cousin who is now also to old for them. He said “You read this to me when I was a little kid. Ahhhh...those were the good ole days"…LOL He is something else. Having this guide would have really helped us create a whole lot more lasting memories together as well as work on some skills he was delayed in. Looking at him now makes me want to tear up thinking about how big he’s getting. In a blink of an eye he may be old enough to head off to college.
Once or if your child (ren) have outgrown Before Five in a Row you may want to move on to Five in a Row for ages 4-8 or Beyond Five in a Row for ages 8-12. They follow the same concept of reading the same book for 5 days and doing 5 lessons to build on what was learned. To go along with the Five in a Row lessons I saw that Homeschool Share has many resources like units, lapbooks, activities, ect.
You can read more thoughts and opinions about Before Five in a Row from my other crew mates by visiting the TOS Crew blog here.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this review are entirely my own. I was not paid to write this but received this guide to review and give my honest opinion.