Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beyond Five In A Row




Beyond Five In A Row is a gentle, cuddle on the couch type of literature based unit study. Designed for ages eight to twelve, it is an obvious next step for those who love the Five In A Row series and a wonderful first step for those desiring a simple approach to home educating their children. Simple doesn’t mean fluff though. Just in the first chapter of the first book of volume two, your child will study the geography of Maine, begin a prairie notebook, discuss babies and human development, look at the three types of rocks, work on letter writing and creating a personal introduction, learn to avoid clichés, and get started with composition in drawing.

This unit study is based on chapter books, two fiction and two non-fiction, and is meant to be used for one semester (or about 90-100 school days). Volume Two uses the books Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, The Story of George Washington Carver by Eva Moore, Skylark by Patricia MacLachlan, and Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson. Taking topics mentioned in the chapter books and going further with them, you will cover history, geography, language arts, science, fine arts, and human relationships. As with most unit studies, you will need to add math, grammar, spelling, and penmanship.

My ten-year-old daughter was very drawn to this curriculum. I picked up the books from the library (regular use of the library is recommended) and she began bugging me daily to get started. We had used Five In A Row a few years ago, and she must have retained good memories. As with Five In A Row, this is very easy to use. You simply read the chapter and choose the activities you’d like to pursue. My daughter was quite disappointed to realize we didn’t have the needed materials for the first art project. I’d recommend deciding which activities you’d like to do in advance, so that you can collect the needed supplies and books.

This, to me, is the epitome of the relaxed “hearthside homeschooling” I envision; sharing good books with your children, discussing what they’ve learned and what they can learn by digging a little deeper, working together in hands-on activities, and simply learning and growing together. Beyond Five In A Row seems like a great fit.

Beyond Five In A Row is available for $24.95 each. There are currently three volumes available. A book package and Christian Character Bible Supplement can be found on their website as well. If this sounds like something that would fit your family, give one unit a try and see how it goes. If this is a curriculum you own and love (or hate!), share your experience in the comments section. It’s always helpful to hear how it works for you!

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