Curriculum Planning for a New Homeschool Year

We have been homeschooling for 10+ years now. We have run through the gamut of homeschooling methods and styles, from school at home (the first year) to an eclectic, Charlotte Mason, unschooling style (this past year). The boys really enjoyed the hands-on nature studies and most of the read-aloud literature aspects of the Charlotte Mason style but for me, it was a lot of work. A lot of work that I soon got burnt out on and went back to more unschooling.

Unschooling is a great way for learning — for some kids. My boys, however, tend to be a little lazy when it comes to seeking out educational opportunities. So we need something that has a little more structure but not so much that it limits us with a strict schedule and boring book work all the time (and doesn’t tie me down with so much planning).

Planning Our New Homeschool Year with FIAR ~ faithandgoodworks.com
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In our ten years of homeschooling, I had heard of Five In A Row {FIAR} Curriculum but never really looked in to it. Five In A Row is a literature-based unit study curriculum that uses quality children’s picture books, covering Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, and Applied Mathematics.

A few months ago I came across a blog called Delightful Learning and the posts really intrigued me to take a deeper look at Five In A Row. I didn’t want to buy anything though, before really checking it out, because…well, let’s be real for a minute…how many curriculum items do you have on your bookshelves that you thought were going to be great and they weren’t a fit at all and now it is just sitting there on your bookshelves collecting dust? Wow, that many huh? Yeah, me too! 

Since I don’t know anyone locally who is currently using FIAR, I rented one of the manuals from Amazon — did you know that you could do that?

When the manual arrived, I read it. Really, I mean it….I actually read the the entire Volume 1 manual from cover to cover. There is a huge amount of information in the FIAR manuals! The manuals are a BIG must-have for using this curriculum.

After reading the manual and scouring the internet for other websites and blogs about Five In A Row, I knew that I really wanted to switch us over to this curriculum starting this summer.  I love the structure of the unit study approach with the flexible wiggle room to venture off on a rabbit trail of something that sparks an interest. Besides, we have all ready been doing some our lessons in a very similar manner as FIAR when we do our Adventure Storybook Club.

So, I ordered the rest of the manuals from Amazon, a Five In A Row Curriculum Swap group, & received one from a generous donor on the Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping group. I was excited to discover that we all ready own several of the books used in the FIAR curriculum, at least about 15. I am not a big library person…I know it can really help with the cost of books but I really just prefer to own the books that we will be using often, so over the past few weeks, I have found a few of the books at thrift stores or bought them from a friends second-hand book store, ShoeStringBooks.

Here are a few of the other Blogs and websites that I came across in my internet scouring.

And of course, Pinterest! I have started several different FIAR boards to collect many wonderful resources to use when we row a book.

Have you started curriculum planning for a new homeschool year? Are you making any curriculum changes?

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