6 Things Every Homeschooling Parent Should Know About Five in a Row

Every parent knows how challenging it can be to get kids to pay attention to their school work, not to mention doing it with a smile on their face. As homeschool parents, we’ve all been there. But what if you could make school fun? In this post we’ll discuss Five In A Row, an older curriculum that manages to do just that.

So, what makes Five In A Row special? Let’s get into it!

What is Five In A Row (FIAR)?

Five In A Row is a multi-level curriculum designed to make learning fun for your kids. You won’t find any dry, boring textbooks or workbooks in this curriculum! Instead, it’s all about taking advantage of a child’s natural curiosity and desire to discover the world around them.

The FIAR curriculum is based entirely on unit studies of classic children’s books, making it an outstanding choice for auditory learners. Each curriculum manual corresponds to a dedicated booklist, from which you select a new book each week. 

Five In A Row is aptly named since each book is read aloud for five days in a row. Each day of the week children dive deeper into the book, uncovering morsels of knowledge in all of the important subject areas including math, language arts, science, history, and geography. 

While each curriculum manual is available for about $40, It’s important to note that this curriculum is largely a la carte. This each of the storybooks are purchased separately. Because some of the titles are out of print and thus more difficult to find, you’ll want to do your homework and research the booklists to determine availability before purchasing each respective curriculum manual. 

But don’t be discouraged. Many titles are available through your local library, secondhand book stores, or online. You may want to check the homeschool curriculum resale groups on Facebook for deals and used FIAR book lots. These titles do not build on one another, so if you can’t find one or two, don’t sweat it. In addition, you can always supplement that week with a unit study you find on Pinterest.

You may be thinking, this all sounds too good to be true. After all, how much can you really learn from a simple story? You’d be surprised! 

How Does Five In A Row Work?

Much of the beauty of homeschool is in the flexibility it gives you to lean into your child’s unique learning style and interests. Five in A Row offers parents the freedom to choose from a variety of lesson ideas and activities for a customized approach to their child’s education

Many parents love the simplicity of the FIAR program. Everything is provided for you in an easy to navigate lesson book which will get you up and running each day with less than five minutes of preparation time.

And you don’t have to do every lesson and activity, nor do you have to complete them in a certain order. If your child already understands what is taught in a particular lesson, skip it and choose another lesson to focus on. This flexibility allows your child to go at their own pace, exploring the books in his or her own way.

The flexibility of FIAR doesn’t end there. With the low cost of the curriculum itself, some parents choose to use FIAR as a supplement to their main curriculum, only using it for their history and geography lesson, for example. 

Or, dive in and embrace all that FIAR offers as the main curriculum in your repertoire. 

From fractions, percentages, and literary devices, to scientific applications like buoyancy and sound travel, Five In A Row has you covered. We especially loved the cultural and historical context that each book offered, with stories set in places all around the world. 

And, while you certainly are not required to do more than what is in the lesson book, there are TONS of activities, lesson extensions, and experiments on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers just for the FIAR books! 

What Age is Five In A Row For?

Five In A Row really shines in the early years as you learn alongside your littles in preschool through first or second grade. It is also great for older children, up to the age of 12! 

As your child grows, you’ll want to be mindful to supplement additional math and phonics lessons where necessary. While FIAR is considered to be a comprehensive program, older kiddos will require more in-depth learning in these subjects.

With applications for all levels of early education, it’s an ideal curriculum for those with kids who are close in age, as you can teach them all from the same books.

What are the Curriculum Options? 

Before Five In A Row (Ages 2-4)

This first step in the Five In A Row program is designed for preschool-aged children. The curriculum includes 24 classic children’s books that encourage young learners to explore the world around them through simple, everyday activities.

You’ll find easy, age appropriate lessons that correspond to the books in the series, as well as ideas for learning through your day to day life.

More Before Five In A Row (Ages 3-5)

More Before Five In A Row is designed to build off of the previous curriculum, but certainly does not have to if you are new to the game. It is designed for kindergarten-aged children, and utilizes play and discussion activities to get children to gently and naturally learn from the stories. 

Lessons cover concepts related to science, social studies, math, language, and art. Your child will have a solid foundation of these topics to take with them to the next stage of Five In A Row.

Optional devotionals and bible verses are also included for every book.

Five In A Row (Ages 5-9)

The main FIAR curriculum level contains four volumes. Each volume consists of between 15-21 titles to explore, with lessons in math, science, language arts, and history. 

Volume 4 is designed for children at the end of this age bracket, geared toward those in grades 2-4. There are less titles on the booklist, featuring more in-depth lessons, each typically spanning a two week period. 

At this learning level, it’s suggested that you include a supplement to teach math and phonics, as these skills require a bit more structure than what is provided by the books.

Beyond Five In A Row (Ages 8-12)

Beyond Five In A Row is the final curriculum level in the series and is designed to help teach your child grades 3 and up. Half of the titles included are chapter books rather than picture books, many of which are biographies on important historical figures. 

In contrast to the other programs, Beyond Five in a Row takes each book and dedicates anywhere from six to eight weeks on exploring the ins and outs of that particular story. 

Your child will learn how to think critically and research on their own, with applications in creative writing, essays, science, history, and vocabulary. In addition, there are included resources to help your child start thinking about their future career path.

Beyond Five in a Row consists of three volumes of four book titles each, which is enough material to keep your child learning for two to three years. 

At this stage, you will need to supplement your FIAR curriculum with a daily math lesson as well as lessons in grammar, spelling, and handwriting.

Supplemental Curriculum and Tools

Aside from those four curriculum levels, FIAR offers other supplemental curriculum through their website, including digital mini units, seasonal nature studies, holiday resources, and a cookbook. 

You can also purchase a Bible supplement that connects stories from the Bible with the stories in the Five in a Row curriculum. 

The FIAR website is rich in resources, so I definitely encourage you to check it out and take advantage of all they have to offer, like their Notebook Builder, planner, and fold & learn products.

What Are the Benefits?

Oh how I love Five In A Row! Here’s why. 

1. Building a Love of Reading

FIAR encourages a love of reading through repetition, allowing students to become more and more engrossed in the storyline as the week goes on. Since you read the same title five days in a row, kids are able to really connect with the characters in the book, fostering more knowledge and enjoyment every time they flip the page.

Most of the titles are loaded with pictures, helping to bring the story to life, enhance comprehension, and instill a love of reading from the start. And while the stories are classic, the lessons are timeless with real life applications.

2. Family Time

This one is my absolute favorite. Five in a Row is designed for you to enjoy alongside your child!  Ditch the desk and cuddle up on the couch as you build memories together and simplify the whole idea of homeschooling. With FIAR, learning is fun and effortless.

3. Fun, Flexible, and Interactive Learning for Every Learning Style

Rather than traditional lessons which can come off as a bit dry and rigid, the stories in Five In A Row and the accompanying activities encourage interactive, creative, and fun learning at the child’s own pace. 

I love the flexibility FIAR gives you to not only embrace your auditory learner, as we mentioned above, but also draw in your kinesthetic and visual learners. With so many hands-on activities to choose from, the possibilities are endless!

Is Five In A Row Secular?

The short answer is no.

Although Five in a Row was developed by Christians, the bulk of the FIAR program does not expressly include Christian content. That said, the lessons do reflect an overall Christian worldview. 

Some of the volumes do include optional Christian content, as is seen in Volume 4 of the main FIAR program. In addition, both Before Five in a Row and More Before Five in a Row include biblical references and scripture based learning opportunities. 

Final Thoughts on Five In A Row

Five In A Row provides a unique learning opportunity for children and parents alike. 

The possibilities are endless, and the curriculum is very easy to mix and match if you don’t want to fully commit to the entire FIAR lineup. It is a great way to get children excited about learning, in a relaxed, natural way, with a multitude of fun activities to choose from. 

And, with a low cost of curriculum, it is a great option for those wanting to try out something new!

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