It has only been two weeks since I’ve decided to help Satori learn more at home. Just over a week since we started “Five in a Row”. As we completed our very first unit study on The Story About Ping, and completing our first lapbook, I just wanted to say how excited both Satori and I (and my husband) are on this curriculum specially designed for young learners (4-8 years).

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I’d like to now go over what we think about the FIAR curriculum, which takes a classic or loved children’s literature book and teaches lessons over 5 days. By doing this, a children can get quite a well-rounded view of the world. FIAR suggests that you supplement only the 3 Rs – Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic, but at the young age of 4, I’m feeling no pressure.

Keep in mind these are only my initial reactions, after all, we’ve only finished one book! 😉

DAY 1 – SOCIAL STUDIES
Satori is very proud of herself for being able to locate China on any map or globe. Granted, it’s a big country! This week we’re learning about Paris, France. She’s taken a huge interest in flags, she has loved coloring in the flag of China and France and can identify them if I point them out on a flag sheet now. She’s picked up fast on geographic details like the Yangtze river, and Paris landmarks like the Eiffel tower. I just think this is such a fun and MEMORABLE way to learn all about geography, history, culture, social relationships, etc… much better than reading from a textbook and memorizing locations.

DAY 2 – LANGUAGE

Yep, we’re increasing our vocabulary, any time we come across an unfamiliar word in a book, we go over it. We’re also pointing out literary devices the authors use in their books – rhyming, repetition…I’m having her narrate the story and what she’s learned. On one of our computer games she narrates the story and it recorded her voice, it was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard! I must get her voice on this blog soon, what a great way to capture such a precious moment in time.

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DAY 3 – ARTS

We’ve only examined the art and illustrations in Ping, but already Satori is taking books and discussing how the illustrators drew the pictures. She specifically asks me who drew the pictures and then goes on to say what mediums she thinks the illustrator used. All this after one book! We’ve also touched on the architecture of the Paris landmarks in Madeline, and she’s starting to recognize them. And we can’t forget about music! This might be Satori’s favorite topic, she loves to draw, paint, sing/dance, and I can’t wait to explore more with her.

DAY 4 – MATH

My least favorite day, as it seems the most boring, but there are many topics that belong to math aside from plain counting numbers. This week we’ll be briefly touching time and clocks, as its brought up a few times in Madeline. She is very excited to learn how to tell time. And how to count money. And I’m looking forward to experimenting all the fun and useful everyday ways we use math in our lives.

DAY 5 – SCIENCE

There’s so much to learn about science! Biology, physics, weather, chemistry, astronomy. Sounds scary, but we’ll be breaking these up into fun ways to learn simple concepts. I have a few books on how to learn more about science with activities and experiments. I think Satori’s going to fall in love.

LAPBOOKING

To pull it all together, Satori and I are entralled with lapbooking! She’s so very proud of her lapbooks that SHE’S made. She asks me to work on her books everyday. Best of all, lapbooking makes learning memorable and fun! She can look back on her unit studies and remember what she’s learned and if she ever expresses an interest in learning about a topic, you can be sure mom will be ready to get a unit study together! I have a feeling she’ll love a lapbook on cats, Colorado, animal kingdom, American Girls (yep, there’s lapbooks for them, lol)…

We just started our Madeline lapbook:

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To summarize, I cannot believe what a great learning tool Five in a Row (combined with lapbooking) is! We all absolutely love it. I’m getting to know more about my daughter, and we’re sharing such fun and happy times. I’m instilling a love of books, an interest about the world, a creative passion for arts/music, and an understanding of everything.

My blog is very new and I know I don’t have many followers yet, but if you’re considering FIAR for your young children, I say don’t hesitate! Even if you just read the book and discuss the daily topics without making a lapbook, it will be a cherished and valuable time with your child/children. Talking about children, it is very easy to teach them all at the same time, even for different ages, with the unit study method. Your 2-3 year old can listen along, maybe pick up a few things as her older siblings learn and take on the more advanced topics. The only drawback is that it is very hands-on and requires some time for you to prepare. However, as the website says, you only need 5 minutes minimal time to prepare for lessons. Or, you can really get into things and spend alot more time exploring the side topics and gathering resources. 🙂 For the budget-conscious, you only need the $35 curriculum, which covers about 20 books, which could take 20 weeks or a year or more to cover, depends on your pace. The books you can get from your library, or from garage sales if you don’t want to purchase them. There are many wonderful and some free lapbooking resources to enhance your FIAR experience.