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Five in a row

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I was thinking about using Five in a row next year for my dd. She will be 4.5. I would love to know how other people liked it. I have two main concerns:
1 Is there enough diversity, i.e, I looked at the books and they seemed good, but many of them were old; I am concerned that they might contain stereotypes?
2 Is there any Christian content or influence (aside from the bible study supplement), as we prefer a curriculum without religious content?
post #2 of 6
I have really enjoyed Five in a Row. It is very easy to use, and provides a nice instant lesson for someone who doesn't always have time to plan. It also provides about 12 different lessons for any given book, so you can choose which ones fit your goals and your beliefs. I have been able to check it out of our public library - see if your has it, too. Then you can decide whether you want to use it without spending the money.

Volumes 1, 2, and 3 will get you through about 1 to 1-1/2 academic years.

About the Christian component - Five in a Row doesn't contain specific Christian elements, but it definately "feels" Christian to me. By that I mean that optional lessons include discussion of morality in some stories. I guess my perspective is that morality is a good thing to discuss with children, but I wouldn't expect to see such lessons in more secular homeschooling programs. Some of the stories are Christian in content (Clown of God, for example), but could easily be taught with a "this is just a story" or "this is a story that some people believe to be true" approach. I should add that the Five in a Row lessons for Clown of God make no reference to god or religious belief - it is treated strictly as a story.

We are only partway through volume 1, so I can't speak to the issue of stereotyping very well, but the stories we have read so far span a number of ethnicities and genders. Many of the books are older, but for our family they are classics that I would tend to read anyway. And she also includes some topics (Who Owns the Sun is about slavery) that I would not have known how to introduce to a 5-year-old. On the other hand, no books with lesbian or gay characters are included in the series, so it is by no means an inclusive curriculum. It is definately very mainstream in its approach, but that doesn't prevent me from using it as a springboard for the kinds of issues I would like to discuss. For example, I thought the grandmother in Cranberry Thanksgiving was very selfish, and so I included a discussion of her character on our social studies:human relationships lesson day. You might also use this book to introduce Native American perspectives on Thanksgiving.

What I have most liked about Five in a Row is that it gives me ideas for how to approach homeschooling with other stories as well. I preview the stories at the library and only use those that are consistent with something I want to teach. Or sometimes I'll get a different book, but use the Five in a Row approach to come up with my own lessons.

Good luck.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks your reply it was very helpful. I am still not sure if it is for us. I have been using Oak Meadow this year with my older daughter and like that, but I was not impressed with the K stuff.

Thanks again
post #4 of 6
How interesting! I plan to use Oak Meadow 1st grade with my dd next year. What grade are you using with the older one? I have heard that under grade 2 it's "too easy", but I really like the nature and arts focus. I have thought about using 1st grade but supplementing the math and reading if necessary. If you don't like FIAR, why not just start your younger one in Oak Meadow 1st grade?

by the way, don't even consider "before five in a row" if you are concerned about Christian content.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
We are using oak meadow 3rd grade this year. My dd#1 is almost eight (second grade). The second grade language program was too easy for her. the math would have been fine. We just skip some of the stuff in math that she's not ready for. I'm thinking about covering the stuff that we skipped over the summer months. I have really enjoyed the art emphasis that Oak Meadow has. With oak Meadow K seems not worth the money and 1st is more than I want to do with dd#2(she will be pre-K next school year). I may just decide to go out on my own.

post #6 of 6
Just thought I'd add my .02 here. I bought the first volume of FIAR, and did the first two books. I didn't feel any Christian content - and believe me, as I'm Jewish, I wouldn't want any. Of course, we only looked at the first 2 books, so I'm not exactly the expert. But I certainly don't feel like it's saturated with X-ianity, and wouldn't not get it because of that. (did that make sense????) I personally don't see anything wrong with introducing Judeo-Christian _values_, so maybe I didn't see it as X-ianity as such. The first volume is only about $20, so it's not like you're sinking a ton of money into it - I think it's worth it.

Anyway, in the end, I did actually stop using it, because I wanted a bit more structure - as in, first do x, now move onto y. I looked at Oak Meadow (we're doing K) and it seemed way to simplistic. So I bought Calvert. So far, it's been okay - I'm not ecstatic about it, and neither is ds. But, it does give us a bit of structure (I'm not doing everything included - just the math and reading, basically).
If I had the time (I have 2 younger children) I'd probably opt to string together curriculum from a few different sources, though.
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