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Using Five In A Row - With a Printable Planning Page

* I am very thankful to today's Homeschool Guest, Jen.  The curriculum she is writing about is near and dear to my heart:  Five in a Row.   We have rowed many books over the past few years and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.  I KNOW you will find Jen's post informative and helpful.  Don't miss her printable at the end, either!
Five in a Row {FIAR} is, hands down, my favorite homeschool resource.  I love being able to introduce great literature to my children.  I think it helps my children develop a taste for good books at a young age and stay away from some of the mindless “twaddle” available.  The FIAR curriculum guide is a gentle, but very thorough way to introduce a broad range of different subjects to your children.
Five in a Row isn’t a sit at your seat, open a workbook approach, and it doesn’t require hours of intensive prep work for mom either.

I have used Five in a Row with all of my children at some point in their homeschooling career.  Now that my older children are grown a bit, they are familiar with most of the books in the FIAR volumes.  They will still occasionally sit down and listen to the stories, and are always invited to be involved in whatever craft we may do.  Most of the time when I pull out an old favorite, one of the kids will say “oh, I love that book!”.  

   Over time, some of the stories have become part of the backdrop of our family.

 If you peruse homeschool blogs, many FIAR families do beautiful and extraordinary crafts.  I am not one of those moms!  While the crafts are fantastic and can create many wonderful memories for your children, FIAR still works even if you are not the "crafty" type.  Please, don’t let that stop you from using and enjoying FIAR.

While I don’t do elaborate crafts, I do often make a meal or food item that goes along with the book.  I have found that making the food item for dinner is an easy way to get dad involved in our week.  The kids can narrate the story, share their favorite part of the story, and tell Dad why they have made or are eating that particular food item.  That time spent sharing the story gives each child the opportunity to share insight into what they remember from the story and why.  

Delightful LearningThe Five in a Row cookbook is very helpful, but not a necessity.  Most often the books do mention some sort of food item or ingredient, and it’s so easy to look around the internet and get ideas from others.  Homeschool moms are very eager to share what has worked, and what hasn’t worked, with a particular books.  Delightful Learning has a blog roll of FIAR blogs, a great collection!

Since we have read through most of the volumes, this fall we are going to do a “best of” .  Twenty of our favorites, as well as a couple of new titles to keep things fresh.  Here is our plan for the 2012-2013 learning year.


Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha

They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston

Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews

Mr. Grumpy’s Motor Car by John Burningham

Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey {Before Five in a Row}

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

Pappa Piccolo by Carol Talley 


My schedule is pretty simple, and we do read the book each day.  This is integral to the point and purpose of FIAR.  I know some complain its boring to read the book each day, but I have not found this to be true in my home.  I have one child in particular with some short term memory issues and I have found this method to be most helpful to her.

Monday we read through the book, Tuesday and Wednesday we read and discuss math/science/language arts/health etc., Thursday we read and do a craft or make a food item and on Friday we read the book a final time and read our go alongs for the week.  Also, we do a bit of a review.

Five in a Row allows for so much flexibility to the day and to the week.  The suggestions are there as a starting point, but the possibilities are endless. 

For more about how I plan our Five in a Row weeks you can read here, and I have created a Five in a Row planning sheet to help keep myself organized, maybe it will be helpful to you too.  



Enjoy your Five in a Row adventure! 



Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids.  Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.  All while trying to fit in exercise and healthy eating.

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Reader Comments (7)

We love FIAR. What a great list of books for next year.
Blessings, Dawn

June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Fabulous post, Jen! We love FIAR, too! The printable will be super helpful. Thanks for making it for all of us :)

June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHope

Love this post, Jen! :) We've started using FIAR in our homeschool too! :D Thanks for sharing the printable! :) God bless always!

Thanks for posting this! I have been thinking about what to do for my preschool/kindergartner now that he is finished with his letter of the week curriculum. I have been thinking about FIAR and now after reading your post I'll be looking even more closely. Thanks a ton!

June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I'm glad to know that there are other FIAR families who are not into beautiful crafts! And thank you for the tip about the cookbook. I've been meaning to buy a digital copy but I also realized that I can find any recipe that I want in the Internet.

Thanks for the planning sheet! We love FIAR, too! I like your schedule, too of just reading the book only on Monday with no other go along activities! It's a good "primer" to start the week!

Kristina@ School Time Snippets

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

I'm late to the game, but so glad I found this post. I have an upcoming Kindergartner who needs what I'm calling "a gentle, old-fashioned kindergarten" program so that we can build positive learning experiences at her own speed. She'll be focusing much of "intense" academics on letter learning and basic counting so I want all the other subjects (that I'm required by law to provide) to be very laid back. I also have a first grader on an academic fast track and a 4 year anything that I can combine them for is also a big hit with me!

January 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamey

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