Nurturing Minds Through Stories and Exploration
“‘Before Five in a Row’ is a curriculum developed with the recognition that the initial years of a child’s life represent a period of remarkable growth and present a unique opportunity to establish the groundwork for lifelong learning. This early childhood education stage is crucial, providing essential building blocks for knowledge, creativity, and critical thinking. In a time where educational approaches are continually evolving, embracing innovative learning methods is key to enriching this foundational stage, ensuring that learning is not only effective but also engaging and enjoyable. The challenge lies in finding the right approach, whether you homeschool, participate in a cooperative learning group, or engage in a traditional classroom setting.
This article will delve into literacy-based curriculums, highlighting how ‘Before Five in a Row‘ and its successor, ‘Five in a Row‘ (FIAR), differentiate themselves with their unique approach to early education. These curriculums, centered around the power of storytelling, leverage the captivating narratives of children’s literature to cover a broad spectrum of subjects, from math and science to art and ethics. FIAR and BFIAR transform the simple act of reading a book into a comprehensive educational journey, illustrating how stories can serve as both windows to the world and mirrors reflecting our own experiences.
Yet, the journey of learning extends beyond the pages of a book. Seeking resources that complement and enhance the FIAR and BFIAR curriculums has led to the development of innovative tools designed to bridge the gap between reading and real-world experience. Enter TigerKubz storybook-based learning kits, the perfect companion to enrich the FIAR and BFIAR experiences. These kits provide hands-on activities aligned with the themes of the stories, deepening the educational impact and turning every lesson into a memorable adventure.
Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Five in a Row’ curriculum to determine if it’s the right fit for your homeschool journey.”
Exploring ‘Five in a Row’ for Your Homeschool Journey
What is Five in a Row?
‘Five in a Row’ (FIAR) is an engaging, literature-based homeschooling curriculum designed for children ages 4-8. It was created with the philosophy that children learn best through engaging, memorable experiences, particularly through stories that capture their imagination. The curriculum was developed to foster a love of learning, reading, and discovery by using outstanding children’s literature as the cornerstone for a comprehensive educational journey. The inception of FIAR was motivated by a desire to provide parents and educators with a resource that not only covers academic fundamentals but also enriches the child’s understanding of the world.
Integrating ‘Before Five in a Row’
‘Before Five in a Row’ (BFIAR) is designed as an enriching program for the youngest learners, typically aged 2 to 4 years, setting the stage for their future educational journey. BFIAR builds on the same foundational principles as ‘Five in a Row’—using outstanding children’s literature as the backbone for early learning—but it is tailored to the developmental needs and attention spans of toddlers and preschoolers.
The curriculum introduces children to the joy of learning through stories, fostering an early love for books and a curiosity about the world around them. BFIAR’s activities are crafted to be simple yet engaging, focusing on sensory experiences, basic concept formation, and the nurturing of fine motor skills, all through the lens of beloved storybooks.
Key Differences and Similarities between BFIAR and FIAR
- Age Range and Developmental Focus: BFIAR is tailored for children aged 2-4, with activities and lessons designed to meet the developmental stages of toddlers and preschoolers. FIAR, on the other hand, is aimed at children aged 4-8, introducing more complex concepts and discussions.
- Curriculum Structure: Both curriculums are centered around literature, but BFIAR places a stronger emphasis on sensory exploration and foundational learning concepts, such as colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, through interactive read-alouds and play-based activities. FIAR expands on these basics, incorporating more structured lessons across a broader range of subjects.
- Activity Complexity: BFIAR activities are crafted to be shorter and more flexible, accommodating the shorter attention spans and the learning styles of younger children. FIAR introduces more detailed projects and activities that require greater concentration and involvement, suitable for the older age group.
- Educational Goals: While both aim to cultivate a love for reading and learning, BFIAR focuses on creating a nurturing and exploratory learning environment that sparks curiosity. Five in a Row builds on this foundation, aiming to deepen understanding and encourage critical thinking through a more diverse set of subjects.
Despite these differences, both BFIAR and FIAR share a common philosophy: the power of literature to inspire, educate, and connect. They offer a seamless educational continuum, ensuring that children’s early encounters with books are filled with wonder, leading naturally into more complex learning adventures as they grow.
|Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) & More Before Five in a Row
|Five in a Row (FIAR)
|Age Range and Developmental Focus
|Tailored for children aged 2-4*, focusing on the developmental stages of toddlers and preschoolers. *More Before Five in Row are geared towards children aged 3-5.
|Aimed at children aged 5-10, introducing more complex concepts and discussions. Later volumes are aimed to children ages 10+
|Centers around literature with a strong emphasis on sensory exploration and foundational learning concepts through interactive read-alouds and play-based activities.
|Also literature-centered but expands on foundational concepts with more structured lessons across a broader range of subjects.
|Activities are shorter and more flexible, designed to accommodate the shorter attention spans and learning styles of younger children.
|Introduces more detailed projects and activities requiring greater concentration and involvement, catering to the older age group.
|Focuses on creating a nurturing and exploratory learning environment that sparks curiosity in young learners.
|Builds on the exploratory foundation of BFIAR to deepen understanding and encourage critical thinking through a diverse set of subjects.
|Curriculum Length/Number of Volumes
|Comprises the original volume plus “More Before Five in a Row,” offering an extended range of literature and activities for early learners.
|Expands across 8 volumes, allowing for a progressively deeper and broader educational experience as students grow.
By starting with BFIAR and transitioning to FIAR, parents and educators can provide a holistic and enriching literary-based learning experience that supports children’s development from toddlerhood through the middle school years.
TigerKubz Learning Kits as a Companion
Natural Complement to FIAR
TigerKubz preschool learning activity kits, created with the developmental needs of children aged 2-4 in mind, naturally align with the ‘Before Five in a Row’ (BFIAR) curriculum’s literature-based educational philosophy. While these kits were not specifically designed with BFIAR in mind, their focus on exploration, character building, and subject integration seamlessly complements BFIAR’s approach to early learning through engaging and high-quality stories.
Deepening Literary Exploration
Each TigerKubz kit include hands-on activities that align with the themes found within some of BFIAR’s carefully selected books. These activities are designed to take children beyond mere reading, allowing them to engage with the stories on a deeper level. By bringing concepts to life and enhancing comprehension, TigerKubz enriches the BFIAR experience.
Practical, Engaging Activities
From science activities that deepen understanding from a story’s plot to craft projects that reflect a book’s illustrations, TigerKubz kits provide practical, engaging ways to explore the narratives. These tactile experiences complement the literary journeys in BFIAR, making learning both fun and interactive.
While TigerKubz kits may not cover every book in the BFIAR or FIAR curriculum, they serve as a valuable tool for families looking to expand upon FIAR’s immersive, story-based learning philosophy. Importantly, TigerKubz can help alleviate some of the planning and resource-gathering burdens associated with implementing BFIAR.
Ready-to-use and prepped for immediate engagement, these kits allow families to spend more time enjoying activities and less time preparing, making the most of the enriching educational opportunities offered by combining literature with hands-on exploration.
Is Five in a Row Right for Me?
Selecting the right homeschool curriculum is a pivotal decision for parents, aiming to provide their children with a rich, comprehensive educational experience that not only meets academic standards but also aligns with family values and lifestyle.
As with any educational choice, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of FIAR ensuring the chosen curriculum best fits the child’s needs and the family’s educational goals.
Below is a table summarizing the pros and cons of the FIAR curriculum based on key factors:
|Pros of FIAR Curriculum
|Cons of FIAR Curriculum
|Literature-based, multidisciplinary learning that fosters a love of reading and diverse subject exploration.
|May lack the structure some families prefer for covering all academic standards.
|Highly adaptable to different learning styles, paces, and family schedules.
|Open-ended nature requires more planning and adjustment by parents.
|Promotes quality family time and deepens educational bonds through shared activities.
|High demand on parental time for planning, teaching, and activity preparation.
|Cost and Resources
|Utilizes readily available children’s books and materials for lessons.
|Can become resource-intensive, requiring purchase or borrowing of specific book titles and materials.
|Age Range and Scalability
|FIAR and BFIAR cover a comprehensive early childhood education span, allowing for a scalable learning journey that evolves with the child’s developmental stages and interests.
|Limited direct application for older students, necessitating supplementation or transition to another curriculum.
|Encourages critical thinking, creativity, and a well-rounded education through engaging, thematic lessons.
|Outcomes may vary based on the child’s engagement level and the depth of exploration into topics.
Reflecting on Your Homeschool Goals
Parents are encouraged to reflect on what they hope to achieve through homeschooling. Whether your goals include instilling a love for literature, developing a well-rounded knowledge base, or ensuring learning is as engaging as it is educational, consider how the combination of FIAR and TigerKubz can bring these aspirations to life.
TigerKubz kits, though not explicitly designed for ‘Before Five in a Row’ (BFIAR), effectively enhance its literature-based approach for young learners. These kits offer hands-on activities that align with BFIAR’s themes, enriching story comprehension with practical, real-world applications. TigerKubz can bridge the gap between story comprehension and real-world application, enriching the learning experience to be both meaningful and memorable.
Free Unit Preview from ‘Five in a Row’
For a sneak peek into the curriculum’s offerings, the official ‘Five in a Row’ website invites visitors to download a complimentary unit from the instructional guides. This sample provides insights into the curriculum’s recommended activities across subjects such as social studies, language arts, applied science, math, and art, allowing you to gauge the their curriculum fits your educational approach and homeschool goals. View a copy here.
The Value of Story-Based Learning
The power of stories in education cannot be overstated. Stories captivate the imagination, provide context for complex ideas, and build background knowledge for young learners to understand how the world works.
FIAR leverages this power by building its curriculum around carefully selected children’s literature. The addition of TigerKubz learning kits enhances this story-based learning, offering hands-on activities based on stories’ themes, characters, and lessons. This combination ensures a comprehensive, engaging learning journey that nurtures a lifelong passion for discovery.
Practical Tips for Incorporating FIAR and TigerKubz into Your Homeschool
Getting Started with FIAR
- Select the Right Books: Begin by choosing books from the FIAR list that you believe will resonate with your child. Consider their interests, the subjects you’d like to explore, and the themes that will engage them.
- Plan Your Week: Once you’ve selected a book, outline your week’s activities. FIAR provides a guide for daily lessons; complement these with TigerKubz activities for a well-rounded educational experience.
- Gather Materials: Ensure you have all necessary materials for both FIAR lessons and TigerKubz activities ahead of time. This preparation will help streamline your teaching and enhance the learning experience.
Using TigerKubz Kits Effectively
- Integrate with Story Themes: After reading the day’s book, use TigerKubz activities to reinforce the story’s themes. This method helps solidify the connection between the story and the lesson.
- Encourage Exploration: Allow your child to lead the way with the activities. Their natural curiosity will guide deeper learning and exploration.
- Discuss and Reflect: After completing a TigerKubz activity, discuss what they learned and how it relates to the story and to their own understanding of the world. This reflection enhances comprehension and critical thinking.
Adapting to Your Child’s Pace
- Follow Their Lead: Pay attention to your child’s engagement and understanding. If a concept sparks interest, explore it further, even if it means deviating from the planned schedule.
- Be Flexible: If an activity or story isn’t resonating, don’t be afraid to adjust. The flexibility of BFIAR and TigerKubz allows for customization to fit your child’s needs.
- Incorporate Breaks: Learning is not just about the time spent on activities but also the space between them. Allow for breaks and free play to let lessons sink in and to maintain enthusiasm.
By integrating TigerKubz learning kits with the FIAR curriculum, you create a dynamic, multi-sensory educational experience that covers academic fundamentals and fosters a love for learning. These practical tips can help you tailor the FIAR and TigerKubz experience to your homeschooling needs, ensuring a rich, engaging, and enjoyable learning journey for your child.
What is the Book List for ‘Before Five in a Row’?
Starting on an educational journey with your little ones can be both exciting and daunting. The key to a successful start? A well-curated book list. The Before Five in a Row curriculum recommends 24 books that cover a broad spectrum of themes and subjects, making learning a delightful experience for children under five. Let’s dive into a carefully selected list of books that promise to open worlds of discovery.
- Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom – This charming story follows Jesse Bear as he goes through his day, deciding what to wear for various activities. It’s a delightful exploration of rhyme and daily routines that captivates young readers’ imaginations.
- Yellow Ball by Molly Bang – Through simple text and vivid illustrations, this book tells the journey of a yellow ball lost at sea, offering themes of adventure and the cycle of nature as it finds its way back to the shore.
- My Blue Boat by Chris L. Demarest – This imaginative tale follows the journey of a blue boat as it sails through various waterways, expanding into a wider exploration of the world’s waters. It’s a story that combines adventure with a sense of discovery and exploration.
- The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn – Offers a look at pet care and responsibility through the story of a young girl and her bunny.
- Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack – Focuses on the quest for the perfect birthday gift, leading to lessons on gratitude and the value of experiences over material things.
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey – A sweet story that can introduce themes of foraging, animal behavior, and mother-child relationships.
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – A classic bedtime story featuring quiet poetry, perfect for teaching about routines and nighttime.
- The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom – Captures a day in the life of a little girl who fills her big green pocketbook with mementos from a day out with her mother, celebrating the simple joys of everyday adventures.
- The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown – Explores themes of maternal love and security through the story of a bunny’s imaginary journey and his mother’s steadfast presence.
- The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gág – An alphabet adventure with a bunny leading the way, introducing letters through a charming narrative that encourages exploration and learning.
- If Jesus Came to My House by Joan Gale Thomas – Imagines a child’s thoughtful preparations and the acts of kindness they would share if Jesus were to visit, emphasizing hospitality and compassion.
- Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina – A peddler and a troop of mischievous monkeys engage in a humorous tale of problem-solving, counting, and colors.
- The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss – Chronicles the patience and belief of a young boy in his tiny carrot seed, teaching the rewards of patience and persistence.
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats – Celebrates the simple pleasures of a snow day from a child’s perspective, highlighting exploration and the joy of snow.
- The Quiet Way Home by Bonny Becker – Illustrates a serene journey home through quiet countryside paths, emphasizing the beauty of the natural world and the value of quiet moments.
- Play with Me by Marie Hall Ets – A gentle story about a girl seeking animal friends who learn the importance of being still and respectful in nature to earn the animals’ trust.
- Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field – A beautifully illustrated prayer that covers the simple blessings in a child’s world, offering a message of peace, gratitude, and protection.
- I Am an Artist by Pat Lowery Collins – Celebrates the creativity and imagination of a child artist observing and interacting with the world around them, highlighting the many forms art can take.
- Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack – Follows the adventures of Angus, a curious little dog who ventures too far from home but finds his way back, exploring themes of curiosity, adventure, and the joy of returning home.
- Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne – Katy the kangaroo lacks a pocket to carry her son, leading her on a quest to find a solution, teaching about problem-solving and the help one can find in a community.
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen – A family’s adventurous quest to find a bear, featuring repetitive, rhythmic text that captures the excitement of an imaginative journey.
- The Red Carpet by Rex Parkin – Tells the whimsical story of a hotel’s red carpet and the various guests it encounters, illustrating themes of hospitality and the stories behind everyday objects.
- Corduroy by Don Freeman – The adventures of a small teddy bear seeking a home, teaching themes of friendship, adventure, and belonging.
- Jenny’s Surprise Summer* by Eugenie – A heartwarming tale of a girl’s unexpected journey and the friendships she forms along the way, emphasizing the joy of surprises and new experiences.
*Note from FIAR: Jenny’s Surprise Summer is currently out of print. It was included as an extra title because it provides an excellent opportunity to present decision-making at a very young level.
If your homeschooling vision aligns with a philosophy that values literature as a fundamental learning tool and seeks to incorporate interactive, hands-on activities that solidify learning outcomes, then Before Five in a Row, supplemented with TigerKubz, could be an ideal fit. This approach offers a balanced, immersive educational experience that respects the intelligence and curiosity of young learners, preparing them for academic success and a lifetime of learning and exploration.
Sheryll is the proud mom to 3 boys (3, 7, and 14-years-old) and wife to her better half. She is the founder and CEO of TigerKubz and is on a mission to empower parents with tools to easily engage their little learners. When Sheryll is not thinking of creative ways to make learning experiences of everyday life, changing diapers, or chasing after her kids, you may find her in the kitchen trying out new recipes, attempting to fish on a nice day, or jamming out to Disney singalongs with Alexa.