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!

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  • Reply
    Julie Hanson
    September 13, 2012 at 7:20 am

    This is great! I have to admit that I have never heard of this program before. I have read a lot about homeschooling but somehow missed this. My kids learn so much from children’s literature. This sounds like a natural extension of that. What a great use of these classics! I’m looking forward to learning more about the program.

    • Reply
      Mrs. Houseful
      September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Julie, and I am sure that you will be able to pull more out of it than you think. I just ordered the manuals (through and interlibrary loan) from RMD the other day. I’ll continue to take them out this way, as purchasing at this time is not in our budget. THIS is why I love our CPL system! Free items when I need them!

      • Reply
        Melissa C
        October 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        I’d like to encourage you to purchase the manuals yourself. Copying them is a direct violation of the copyright expressly stated in the manuals. We’re so glad you love Five in a Row, but also appreciate you following copyright laws out of respect for us and our business. 🙂
        Melissa C – Five in a Row Media Director

        • Reply
          Mrs. Houseful
          October 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

          So noted! Thanks for coming through, I guess that I’ll just continue taking it out from the library for the moment.

    • Reply
      Melissa C
      October 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Julie, check out for more info on the program! It is so worth a look!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

    FIAR is fabulous. You can check on for more free printables and FIAR ideas (or entire lesson plans). At her age, it’s all about exploring, so just focus on what she likes and make it fun. School doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) all sitting down at tables and paperwork. Get that kiddo messy! We have a pre-k class at our co-op on Tuesdays but it might be a bit far for you…. Hmmmm….

    • Reply
      Mrs. Houseful
      September 20, 2012 at 12:27 am

      We love messy! I think that we are going to go on a nature walk – or a ‘bear hunt’ since that is the next book we’re rowing. She is also in love with Corduroy, so we’ve taken more of those books out as well. I love that she wants me to read to her and she asks so many questions! <3 Email me the info on the co-op. We may be able to do it!

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