Five In A Row
I’m so excited about this series of blog posts. My desire is to blog every book from the Five In A Row curriculum that we “row”. If you haven’t heard of FIAR, in a simple explanation, you read a story every day for five days. In addition to reading, you and your child complete activities that revolve around subjects and matters in the book. Some activities may be in addition to your math curriculum, art, language arts, crafts, science, social studies, even field trips and music. There are so many activities to choose from you can even “row” a book a bit longer if your child is really into what you’re teaching. The point is to give them a concrete understanding of the story. I chose Mike Mulligan for our first row.
Our First Row
I rowed with the older boys when they were younger, so I already had a ton of FIAR books and the curriculum. I knew I wanted to do this program with Hawk this year since he was a Kindergartner because there are so many hands on projects and field trips. These moments go by too fast and he’s my last kid to do these things with. I wanted to start out the year with Mike Mulligan because I really thought that it would gauge his interest right away. Every little boy would love a book about steam shovels, digging and a guy named Mike, right? Wrong.
Falling In Love With Reading
One of my challenges going into this year, I already knew, was going to be to get Hawk to learn to sit and listen to me when I gave him direction. The next challenge would be for him to actually follow through on that direction. Within four pages of reading on day one, I had a little boy asking me for a drink of water, telling me he was bored, and turning around and talking to his sister. Were my dreams of rowing foiled already? We were only on day one. I decided to let him get a drink of water and we refocused.
Incorporating Core Subjects
We follow other curriculum to cover our core studies but there are so many activities that can be incorporated from one little book to help cover core subjects. To get him excited I knew I had to go big right away. So I went for his favorite thing. Counting. For math, he grouped marshmallows by color and counted. He then built a sky scraper with those and counted how many stories high he could make it.
Social studies focused on people in our community. We specifically concentrated on construction workers, since Mike uses his Steam Shovel to help build dig a cellar for a new town hall. We read a lot of books on construction and Hawk built buildings with his blocks. He also watched some videos on the internet about steam shovels. Notice his constructions jammies!
To cover science, we studied steam. Mike uses a steam shovel named Mary Anne to help get work done. Steam shovels are a thing of the past as well as steam boats, and steam trains, so we explored how steam powered these vehicles further. We did a science experiment about turning liquid into either a gas state or a solid state and how that happens. The kids recorded these findings in their science notebooks. This is where I got Sadie involved since it also covered some of her state standards for fourth grade science.
Field Trip Time
What better time to visit the local Boise Train Depot than this week. With the onset of my husbands new job with Union Pacific, trains are a big subject in our house right now. We visited the depot a few months ago, but this time the kids had a completely different understanding of how the steam train works because of our studies this week. There is a big steam train outside of the depot named “Big Mike”. The little kiosk near it has buttons you push to listen to stories about Big Mike. When the kids pushed the button on “How Steam Trains Work”, they were giving out information as quick and accurate as the video we were watching. I had a proud homeschool mom moment there. It’s really an educational experience and a great part of Idaho history.
Some of the extra things offered in Five In a Row books are story disks. These are small laminated disks you place on a map to show where the story took place. Since we listened to the story on CD as well that was accompanied by classical musical arrangements, that used Irish bagpipes, we placed our disk on Ireland. The story has a made up town, so it can be left for you to decide where the setting is. The musical maestro CD also contains information on the author and some fun facts about how the book was written. My kids probably listened to the whole thing, at least 10 times this week.
I thought it would be neat, since my kids used to have Disneyland passes, to bring up videos on YouTube of the Mark Twain Steamboat. The kids had been on it many times.
I let him finish the book off with a coloring picture of Mike and Mary Anne. For as inattentive as he was on the first day, by the end of the week, he was sad to put Mike Mulligan away. He said it was his favorite book ever, and was even finishing sentences along with me while I read.
Five In A Row is going to be a big hit around here. I just know it. If you want to learn about why we decided to homeschool this year, you can go here to read. Thanks for reading. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss next weeks row, Down, Down the Mountain.