Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rowing and Beyond

I absolutely love the Five In A Row curriculum by Jane Claire Lambert. I used volumes one and two with each of my daughters when they were in kindergarten and first grade. If you are unfamiliar with Five In A Row, it is a miniature unit study for children ages 5-8 that uses high-quality children's literature as the starting point for lessons in social studies, science, language arts, fine arts, and math. At the time I was using it, I worried that Five In A Row didn't provide enough educational "meat" for my daughters, even though I used separate curricula for reading, language arts, and math. Looking back, however, I realize that Five In A Row lacked nothing academically. In actuality, it was the catalyst that encouraged a love for literature in my daughters. Also, the interactive lessons stimulated a desire to learn that no other curriculum has replicated in my children.

During my oldest daughter's fifth grade year, she liked almost nothing about school; every academic subject seemed to be a battleground. At the end of the year, I asked her to tell me something she had liked about school in the past so that I could use that information to help make positive changes for the following school year. She thought about it carefully before replying that she had loved school when we used Five In A Row. Her comment was poignant because I hold those memories of reading and learning together with her very close to my heart. Not only did she learn through our Five In A Row lessons, but we created memories together in the process that will never be forgotten. Based on my daughter's comment, I purchased the third volume of Beyond Five In A Row to use with her in sixth grade. Beyond Five In A Row was written by Jane Claire Lambert's daugher, Becky Jane Lambert, and is recommended for ages 8-12. I did not use Beyond Five In A Row as a core curriculum, but it provided stimulating supplemental lessons that gave me the precious gift of quality time with my daughter. There have been aspects of sixth grade that my oldest has not liked or have proven difficult, but Beyond Five In A Row lessons were always something that she looked forward to. That alone makes this curriculum worth its weight in gold in my estimation. The literature that we used in Beyond Five In A Row Volume 3 included The Saturdays and A Cricket In Times Square, as well as biographies about Neil Armstrong and Marie Curie. These quality books provided starting points for lessons on various topics from world history, science, fine arts, geography, language arts, and issues of human relationships.

I attended a homeschool conference this spring and Jane Claire Lambert happened to be a featured speaker at the convention. I was happy to have the opportunity to stop by her table and tell her how much her books have meant to me; not only from an academic perspective, but for fostering family relationships, which is really what homeschooling is all about.

I created a chart for each book used in Beyond Five In A Row Volume 3 to help me stay organized with the lessons I chose. Although I made these for my personal use, they are available below to use in your homeschool.

To access the chart for The Childhood of Famous Americans Neil Armstrong:

To access the chart for A Cricket In Times Square:

To access the chart for Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium:

To access the chart for The Saturdays:

To purchase Five In A Row or Beyond Five In A Row, please click the link below:


To look at literature lists for each volume of Five In A Row and Beyond Five In A Row, go to http://www.exodusbooks.com/category.aspx?id=7771&referral=xmj3rp76.