Five in a Row has had a big impact on me as a homeschooler and I hope on my children as learners as well.  For me FIAR has taught me to look for teaching opportunities in all that we read, to see a spark and follow the rabbit trail where ever it may lead (sorry, I’m mixing my metaphors!!)  FIAR gave us the opportunity to discuss our learning, to dig deeper and find out about the world.  FIAR lent itself to lapbooking and notebooking which established good writing habits.

It was hard to move on from FIAR.  Very hard – in fact I held on for as long as I could extending the books, finding deeper topics to discuss.  But the time came I had to move on.  I actually floundered for a while, not sure of where to go from here.  Should I pick up this history or this science curriculum, and what about geography?  Should I do it this way or that?

One day I found myself weighed down with all the subjects I had started for Nomi and Daniel.  We had full and busy days (read rushed and pushed).  It wasn’t really any fun and I was pretty sure I could see the love of learning draining away out of my children’s lives.  I had to find something else.

I was tempted – very tempted to go back to FIAR – afterall it was what I knew and I knew it worked.  But I also knew my kids needed something a little meatier, covering subjects that they hadn’t studied before.  Then one day it dawned on me – do it the FIAR way.

  • Read good books on interesting subjects
  • Talk about the topics
  • Ask questions and dig deeper
  • Record what you learn
  • Do one lesson a day
  • Have fun together

So now I am reading one book and we are discovering all that we can from that book.  At the moment we are reading Exploring Planet Earth by Tiner and it is what I would call a living text book – and if that is too much of a stretch then maybe you could call it a narrative style text. Either way we are enjoying it, I generally read one chapter a day though sometimes we have so many interjections and questions that we need an extra day or so to get through things.  Each chapter introduces us to science, history, geography, or math concepts. We can take the time to explore each idea – time doesn’t matter.   The spark is back; the interest is back and I can see this because my children are asking questions and connecting what they are hearing with other things they have thought about.

So yay!!  There is life after Five in a Row.  I have a bookshelf full of books – both picture books for older children and chapter books that I can’t wait to discover with my children.  Thank you FIAR – not just for my many years ‘rowing’ but for giving me tools to teach my children.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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