Saturday, September 17, 2011

TOS Review–Before Five In A Row


From the Publisher:

This important product includes 23 Five in a Row-style mini-units (plus an extra mini-unit) based on outstanding children’s books for ages 2-4 as well as a large section of learning readiness activities for your every day life: things to do in the kitchen, at the store, at bedtime,bath time, etc.

You’ll find an entire treasury of ideas to prepare children for pre-learning necessary for their educational foundation. These ideas are wonderfully effective without robbing your little ones of those special golden years of childhood. Those few brief years of early childhood can never be reclaimed later and many parents discover too late
that they pushed too hard and too early for advanced academic achievement.

You can’t go back and swing at the park, float paper boats in the rain and do the myriad of play activities with your young children that help build the foundation for learning in a way that also encourages a flood of warm, young-childhood memories.

Before Five in a Row is passionate about teaching, but the teaching comes through the subtle forms of play that are intrinsic to early childhood. These lessons are the important pre-education lessons that will both build your child’s mind and fill your child’s heart while truly readying them for the deeper academic experience to come.

Before Five in a Row is the perfect introduction to the joys of parent-directed learning in just a very few minutes each day— whenever the opportunity arises!


This is the first product that I have had the chance to review through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschooling Crew for this year. I must say I was disappointed with it. I was really hoping to use it with Nathanael, who is 2 and a bit, and is “forced” to join us for school this year because Kahlen is doing a full Kindergarten curriculum and so school is just part of our day. The book is recommended for ages 2-4, so he is right in the age range for this book.

We read three of the suggested books and did a few activities for each. I had better luck using the units with Kahlen than I did with Nate.

2011-09-13 Caps for Sale (Sorting –at and –ap words)

We did them all together for the most part. One of the days, Kahlen was up in the mountains with Buela, so Nate and I did get some one-on-one time. He really enjoyed the activities and the stories, but his attention span is still very short, so we kept it light.

2011-09-12 Caps for Sale (5) (coloring vocabulary words)

Anyway, here are some things that I did like about the book/curriculum:

  • The books they picked are great children’s books. We’ve read a number of them before, and enjoyed them all. Books like Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? and Caps for Sale. Like I said, good books.
  • The second part of the book is dedicated to “creative ideas for reading readiness”, which has some good ideas in it, especially for a first-time parent.

Things I did not like:

  • A lot of the activities were much much too advanced for Nate. I don’t know if it really should be listed as 3 and up or if I just don’t have the one-on-one time to devote to him right now or what. I felt that at least half of the ideas went right over his head.
  • It would be a lot more useful if the ideas presented had a more concrete feel to them. For example, in one of the units, it is suggested that you bring out prepared puppets for a show. What kind of puppets? Am I just supposed to be a talented artist/craftswoman and whip them up?

Overall, the book has good ideas and would work well for someone who likes to prepare and who likes to take someone’s ideas and either follow them to the letter or go off in an entirely different direction. I find that I prefer when things are laid out for me and the prep work is either easy to find or included with the resource (such as reproducible pages and materials lists). I also think that it would be good for someone who likes the unschooling approach better than I.

There are resources available on the web for you if you really like the idea, but struggle with the concrete activities to go with the stories. Check out Homeschool Creations to start, she’s using BFIAR with her 4 year old this year, and is coming up with some fantastic printables.

You can purchase Before Five in a Row exclusively from Rainbow Resources for $35. They also have a literature package that include all the books for $97.50.

For more information about Five in a Row, the authors, and their teaching philosophies, go to the Five in a Row website. To see what other crew members are saying about Before Five in a Row, go here



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Debra said...

I really struggled to use Before Five in a Row with a 2 year old too. It introduced me to some books I had never seen before (Jesse Bear, for instance), but we struggled to make use of very many of the activities.

I always wondered, too, if I just had an un-academic kid (this child is now taking AP and CLEP prep courses as a 9th grader) or if this really should be for ages 3-4.

Related Posts with Thumbnails