I was very excited when I found out I'd been chosen to review Before Five in a Row. Little Miss just turned two in August, and I wanted something to use with her on occasion when she gets a little too interested in her brother and sister's schoolwork. I plan the typical distractions I've seen suggested: "special" toys, art, taking turns playing with an older sibling, etc. However, I also wanted some sort of little lesson to do with her sometimes.
When my copy of Before Five in a Row arrived, I eagerly flipped through it. I had an idea of what the format would be, as some friends and I used Five in a Row volume 3 for a co-op years ago. I was pleased to see that we already own some of the books, and knew that, like the volumes for older children, I'd likely be able to find the others at our local library or the thrift store. I actually had a list of the books used with FIAR in my wallet for a while, to refer to while shopping yard sales and such, because they are such good, classic books. Anyhow, I picked 3 units to schedule in my lesson book and checked those three books out from the library.
Our first "official" school day of the year began, and predictably, Little Miss just wouldn't leave her siblings alone. When I explained they were doing schoolwork, she said, "Where my schoolwork?" I showed her a copy of Good Night, Moon, and told her it was her schoolbook. She was thrilled, and I read it to her. I then took the suggestion from Before Five in a Row to talk about shapes. We looked at different shapes in the book, then I let her play with a shape sorting set. The next day, we read the book again, and I chose the art activity. Those were the only two activities we completed, but we read Good Night, Moon several times. Little Miss delighted in pulling out her "schoolbook" and reading it with us, and it was a delight to see her enthusiasm.
Before Five in a Row has reminded me how important it is to read to my little ones. Unfortunately, this was something I had let slip away from me. I'm now looking forward to reading more with all my children, and doing more of the units with Little Miss. One thing I really like about BFIAR is the section in the back that gives a multitude of activities to do with your little one. The other things I really like are the wide availability of the story books that are used and the way the units cover multiple subjects. Before Five in a Row is geared toward children ages 2-4, but would be appropriate for older children with developmental delays.
Five in a Row can be found at www.fiarhq.com. FIAR has products available through the high school level. Some of them are even available as digital downloads, including some of their out-of-print products. I am especially interested in the Fold & Learn activities, nature studies, and Five in a Row Holiday. Before Five in a Row retails for $35 and can be found at Rainbow Resource Center, along with volumes for older students and the companion story books.
***Note: I received a copy of Before Five in a Row in exchange for my review through the TOS Homeschool Crew. All opinions are my own - I REALLY like FIAR!