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Five in a Row for the Busy Homeschool Mom

Five in a Row for the Busy Homeschool Mom

Products received at no cost and payment received for time to write post.  All opinions my own.

In the introduction of Five in a Row’s Volume 1 lies a wonderful quote:

“YOU are the leader of this great adventure, so gather the children around and have a great time!” — Jane Lambert

Written in 1994, Ms. Lambert meant these words as encouragement for enjoying good books as a family.  The wonderful truth is — this statement is still very true for today!

Five in a Row (FIAR) is a literature-based unit study style of learning primarily for children ages 4-8 years old.  The goal centers on reading a particular book five consecutive days, and doing activities across the subjects on different days.  The whole process is called ‘rowing’ a book.

As a 100% fan of excellent children’s literature, and a lover of unit studies, I believe Five in a Row provides great tools for homeschool Moms!  It truly is a fun adventure.

Take a peek at some of our past rows:

Five in a Row When Life is Full

Our homeschooling has thrived from this curriculum, but in different seasons of life, the rowing process has felt overwhelming.

I almost canned the idea of including FIAR at times.

Instead, I’ve brainstormed ideas to ‘cut corners’ this year and still enjoy the Five in a Row journey — maybe you’ll find them helpful.  Thanks to for providing books and resources for our rows.

Row books over two weeks

Give yourself a break Mom, and take everything at a slower pace.

Row a book over two weeks instead of one.  A few years ago I planned our year around two FIAR books per month.  It worked wonderfully!

You could choose a MWF schedule or simply pick days which best fit your routine that week.  We read the book 3 times one week and twice the next.  All hands-on activities were shared over the two weeks.

*Our We’re Going on A Bear Hunt row

Include the whole family in FIAR activities

Reading and rowing a book doesn’t need to be Mom’s job alone — involve a spouse or older children.  They can take turns reading and even participating in activities.  Use evenings as well as daytime if needed.

This month, my Kindergartner and I will row Little Nino’s Pizzeria.  Since each Friday evening is pizza night at our house, we’ll take one of those to make homemade pizzas and play a pizza math game as a family.

A win-win for everyone and it doesn’t require I do the Five in a Row time alone!

Make one FIAR subject area the bigger deal

The curriculum guides for Five in a Row offer generous ideas and insight on how to approach math, art, science and more.  They are the backbone to rowing a book.

If busyness holds you back, choose instead to primarily focus on ONE main subject area.  All others receive less attention.

For example, this spring we will row Truman’s Aunt Farm (Volume 3).  I plan to make science and the study of ants a BIG deal by using an illuminated ant farm for our study – my boys will love it!

When we row Storm in the Night (Volume 1), science again will rule the week with a weather study, charting daily weather with stickers, and creating storms in a bottle.

*Our row of The Red Carpet

Plan to repeat a Five in a Row book

Isn’t it every homeschool mother’s dream to execute all of her carefully laid plans with beauty, grace and loveliness (cough, cough)?

The truth is sometimes children get sick, you get sick, something breaks, another is threatening to, and those plans fly out the window in short order!  If you have tried the above ideas and still don’t feel as though your best shone through…

...row the book again in the future.  You don’t have just one shot at this!  It’s a book after all and will be around for a long time. 🙂

Next year, I hope to repeat How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World.  We enjoyed a wonderful row but my then 3 year old (now Kindergartner) doesn’t remember too much of our time.

So, we’ll do it again next year when he is in first grade!  Repetition cements learning.

If you STILL feel like you’ve failed at Five In a Row…

Remember:  “YOU are the leader of this great adventure!”  

Try not to overthink the plan.  Take a breath and take it in small chunks at a time.

If you need a bare bones plans for now, enjoy reading books aloud, and focus on application of the character trait lessons.  All teacher guide volumes include this focus for almost every book.

Traits such as service or hospitality are discussed with tips on sharing more with your children.  Make it the center of learning.

Most of all, celebrate this learning opportunity with your children — it is truly a GIFT.


Thanks again to for providing items for our Five in a Row journey!  Do check them out on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.

Also, check out my Five in a Row Resource page and Pinterest page for helps!


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  • Kelly SNovember 2, 2015 - 10:59 pm

    This is helpful! I’ve been thinking about starting 5 in a Row next year with my 4 yearold (right now we are doing God’s Little Explorers) but it does seem alittle overwhelming. I like the ideaof doing it every TWO weeks. (Especially for preschool, which isn’t”required” anyway).ReplyCancel

  • DanieleNovember 3, 2015 - 5:47 am

    Yes Kelly! Take your time with it and enjoy. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SandeepDecember 30, 2015 - 6:41 am

    I’m sure she is doing something right, but the poewrs that make the decision are just doing something not as right. Or, maybe they are waiting to make her the Mustang of the year.ReplyCancel

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Daniele Evans