Before Five In A Row

Last year I attempted to homeschool the ladybug. My efforts weren’t fruitless as she learned to identify colors properly, although we can’t just get her to say something is green – it’s always green grass, learned to identify some letters and sounds that they make, and seemed to increase her vocabulary by a million.

However, I didn’t feel as if I did right by her. I wanted something that was not so rigorous and that I could use anytime or anywhere. That’s when I remembered that a good friend of mine, who is also homeschooling her three children, recommended Five In A Row to me last year. The ladybug isn’t quite up to that level yet, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a curriculum (if you need to refer to it as that) that was more on her level and speed called Before Five In A Row. BFIAR is a series of great books aimed at those young learners between the ages of 2-4. What I love most about it, is the fact that most of these titles I have readily available from purchasing them when the cellist was young or I can get them at the library easily.

If you know my wonderful little ladybug, you know that she is a fan of all things bears and lions. Last year we spent more time at the zoo than most of the members. This year, I don’t think that I will mind so much. The book list alone will allow us to “row” several bear books over the course of about a month and a half and still keep her busy. Between the BFIAR manual, Pinterest and the creativity of other blogging homeschoolers’, we’re set!

If you are interested in the book list for BFIAR here it is. Our bear books are marked with an asterisk:

*Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, by N. W. Carlstrom
Yellow Ball, by Molly Bang
My Blue Boat, by Chris L. Demarest
The Little Rabbit, by Judy Dunn
*Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack
*Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey
*Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Big Green Pocketbook, by Candice Ransom
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
The ABC Bunny, by Wanda Gag
If Jesus Came to My House, by Joan Gale Thomas
Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina
The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
The Quiet Way Home, by Bonny Becker
Play With Me, by Marie Hall Ets
Prayer for a Child, by Rachel Field
I Am an Artist, by Pat L. Collins
Angus Lost, by Marjorie Flack
Katy No-Pocket, by Emmy Payne
*We’re Going On a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
The Red Carpet, by Rex Parkin
*Corduroy, by Don Freeman
Jenny’s Surprise Summer, by Eugenie

I’m confident that this will provide a bit more structure for us, and also allow us to accomplish a little bit more this year – and for me to see great steps being made in the ladybug’s education. What’s even more awesome is that the twizzlers sit down to listen to the books being read and participate in their own way. I’m happy!


This week we have been rowing Corduroy, and this Friday, we will be making our own Corduroy’s and decorating the house with them. I’ve also purchased a Bernstein Bears DVD to go along with these units so that I can ask questions of the ladybug as she’s watching. It has five episodes, and she can watch one episode while I get the twizzlers ready for a nap, or if I have to take a quick phone call.

Any other Five In A Row users out there? Where are my homeschoolers? I need your help now more than ever! I will honestly attempt to update each week with the books we are rowing and the lessons that we have learned. It will hold me accountable as well. Here’s to education!