Before Five in a Row {Our 2013 Plan}

I’ve read books on all the different theories and methods of homeschooling, and I have perused dozens of blogs for teaching during the early years. Through my reading as well as observations of other homeschoolers and traditional schoolers, I have formulated theories and convictions of my own on how my home should function.

However, I haven’t been able to finagle a plan of action that worked consistently for my son and me. I knew what I wanted our early years to look like, but I was having a hard time putting it into action!


Then I found Five in a Row.

After exploring the FIAR website, gathering information from others who use it, and talking with my husband, we have decided to use the Before Five in a Row Curriculum for Samuel throughout his preschool years as our main guide for teaching.

Before Five in a Row Curriculum captures almost perfectly my hopes for the culture of our homeschool.

Before Five in a Row Curriculum is geared toward two to four year old children and is based on good, quality literature. From their website:

Before Five in a Row opens up the world of learning through great books and creative play, and builds a solid foundation for more formal education to come.

Samuel loves books and we try to immerse him in good quality literature multiple times a day. It honestly doesn’t take much work. He is constantly asking to be read to! Before Five in a Row Curriculum is a natural extension of what we are already doing with him, but now I have more focus and a wealth of ideas at my fingertips!

The curriculum book is filled with lesson plan ideas that are simple to implement. The basic idea of this curriculum is that you will read the same story five days in a row (hence the name), and when appropriate, you’ll do additional activities to enforce and enrich the story. I will pick and choose what my son is ready for as well as explore Pinterest for how others implemented each unit. This curriculum can stand as a complete preschool curriculum, if you desire.

Of course, I do not desire. 🙂

I said the Before Five in a Row Curriculum almost perfectly captures what we want to do. There is nothing in this curriculum to help with letter recognition and sounds, at least not as much as I would like. So I’ll be adding in a lot of letter work and phonics to our weeks over the course of the next year in order to prepare my son for kindergarten and even better reading readiness. Not to mention, he loves worksheets, “table time,” and letters – to eliminate this aspect of our homeschool preschool would devastate him. {You can see our full curriculum plan here.}

Since we have baby #2 on the way (due mid-September), I want to go ahead and get started with Sam now even though it’s technically summer. This will allow us to relax a little when the baby comes, but one of the things I love most about this curriculum is it’s literature based! This means I can continue to read the books with him and do a few easy activities each week even with a newborn (and it’s already planned for me). So here’s our plan for rowing books in 2013.

BFIAR 2013 paln

Before Five in a Row 2013 Plan

Samuel is currently 2.5 years old (29 months) at the start of this plan.

Links are updated as we row each book!

June 2013

Corduroy by Don Freeman

July 2013

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by N.W. Carlstrom

August 2013

Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack

September 2013

My Blue Boat by Chris Demarest

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom {We rowed this book by simply reading the story five days in a row.}

October 2013

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Katy No Pocket by Emmy Payne

November 2013

If Jesus Came to My House by Joan Gale Thomas {We didn’t get to this one. I moved it to our 2014 plan.}

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

December 2013

We have no plans to row any books in December. We will be using Truth in the Tinsel with Samuel to prepare our hearts for Christmas. We did this last year and loved it!

Additional Resources for BFIAR & FIAR

  • My FIAR Pinterest Board– This is where I will be gathering all of my ideas for each unit. So be sure to follow along if you’re interested in FIAR!
  • Goodnight Moon Sample Lesson Plan – The Five in a Row website has a free sample for the classic book Goodnight Moon. This helped me decide whether or not this curriculum was right for us.
  • Before Five in a Row Curriculum Book – I bought my book from Rainbow Resource, but be sure to check your local library. I’ve heard many people have found the curriculum books there. The books themselves are also at the local library (in most cases…I haven’t been able to find all of them yet).
  • Homeschool Creations Printables – These are great for preschool age children, and many of them are over Samuel’s head right now. But I always start here when looking for printables to go along with our story. I just pick and choose what I will print.
  • Before FIAR Lap Journal from Delightful Learning – A great idea for saving all the memories created with each unit.
  • Fun Things to Do with B4FIAR from Delightful Learning
  • Five in a Row {FIAR} Planning Resources from Domestic Serenity

I will be sure to link back to this post as we “row” each book so feel free to pin this page for future reference!

*I am not an affiliate of Five in a Row or Rainbow Resource. This is simply a product I use for my family and wanted to share about. I received no monetary compensation or incentive for sharing about our experience.


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  1. Love this! I am in the same boat with my 2.5 year old. I have never pushed learning on her but she loves learning and I am shocked by what she already knows. I never wanted to force my kids to learn things like the ABC’s young and just wanted to enjoy learning. I started doing activities with my daughter and she LOVES it and I love having set things to do with her. I have just recently decided to home school and have obsessively been looking at things online. I have decided to go with BFIAR and Pre-All About Reading. She already has the alphabet down but I wanted to make sure I had a curriculum to make sure I am teaching her phonics in an appropriate way. I also plan on using their All About Spelling program when she gets older. I am a horrible speller and am hoping that as I teach her I will improve. I also want to start implementing different calender/circle ideas I’ve seen. Ill probably be adding some type of scriptural learning as well. I am so excited to have a set plan with her for this coming fall and her little sister will do letter of the week activities and themed activities with FIAR if she wants. She will only be 18 months in the fall and I have a feeling she won’t be as ready for school as her sister has been so we will see how it goes. Anyway, I just wanted to share that I am piecing together curriculum as well. Sometimes I wonder if I should be using so much structured curriculum for my (will be) 3 year old but I recently read a blog that mentioned preschool was a great time to try out different things and decide what kind of homeschooling works best for you. Hope things have worked out for you this past year and I’m excited to start our journey.

    1. I can relate to just about everything you shared. I’ve never pushed learning with my toddler either, and I’ve often felt like I’m working too far ahead with him. But I stand by following his lead and this is where it has us currently. I’m looking into getting Pre-AAR as well! I plan to start this with him soon!

      1. Great article and really useful thank you, am looking into B4FIAR form my two year old, we’re in the UK. Grateful for the mention of Pre All About Reading as well as I hadn’t heard of that but it looks fab, hope you’ll be writing about that too x