In this post, I would love to share with you our experience so far with the homeschooling curriculum, Five in a Row. Released in 1994, it has been a blessing to families for many, many years. It may not look as exciting or nostalgic as other homeschooling curriculum/styles, but I promise you, it is well worth looking into for your family.


3 Reasons Five in a Row Will Bless Your Homeschool


Snuggles on the Couch with Good Books



Sitting down together with my children and reading good books is my number one favourite thing to do with them - and I think it is their favourite thing to do also! The closeness, the pouring over pictures, the words creating worlds in our minds, the giggles we have, the conversations that are sparked - books bring families together. And Five in a Row is based upon digging deep into books.

The books suggested by the makers of FIAR are excellent and picked for their beauty, depth, and perspective on the world. Of course, there will be some books that your children don't love as much as others, but as a mother, it's a blessing to be able to sit down with trustworthy and beautiful books.



Natural, Well-Rounded Learning



Five in a Row is essentially a literature-based unit study curriculum. This means that the book of the week, say Lentil by Robert McCloskey, is the basis of all activities of the week. When we read Lentil, because of the content of the story, music and the harmonica were something we looked into. The children had never heard the harmonica before, so watching some videos on You Tube was a great activity. For science, we studied a little about the tongue - the four main tastes we have - because Old Sneep sucked a lemon and made everyone pucker their lips!

There is nothing forced about the activities for each book. From art and culture to science and history, there are a broad range of beautiful and meaningful learning opportunities that are drawn from the story. And this is what makes the learning meaningful and lasting - the children can see how learning is, as Charlotte Mason said, a "science of relations".



The Freedom of Flexibility



I learned fairly quickly that I am not a super structured homeschooling mother. Though I like freedom, I am not so relaxed that I don't want some routine or intentional learning with the children. This is one of the reasons why I think Five in a Row has suited us - and me, the mother! - so well. 

Within each unit, there are around twenty activities to choose from. You can do as many or as little as you think will suit your children. Some people just use the manual and others supplement with Pinterest or lapbooks found at Homeschool Share. Some weeks you may be able to do a vigorous week of learning, other weeks only minimal. Sometimes we have gone a few weeks between books, and many times, we 'row' a book over two weeks and not just one. The flexibility of Five and a Row is one of it's best assets.


As you can see, we just love Five in a Row. My children are 6 and almost 5, and I can foresee that we will be doing it for the next few years. There are more volumes for older children also, which we may very well go on to. 

My favourite thing about our journey so far with Five in a Row are the memories we have been cultivating together, with the books themselves and the things we learn and do from them. Nine months since rowing Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel (our first book we rowed), we still talked about it. I loved hearing my kids giggle through Cranberry Thanksgiving and hearing them repeat fill sentences after reading The Story of Ping.

If you're looking into a gentle, literature-based curriculum that builds togetherness and organic learning, Five in a Row could definitely be the one you are looking for.



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  1. Hello Sarah,
    Way back in 1996, I met the folks who wrote 5 in a Row at the first homeschooling conference I went to. I was impressed with it for many of the same reasons you were. I enjoyed using it with my first son. It was a cozy way to begin our homeschooling adventure. I think that you will enjoy Karen Andreola's whole book approach to homeschooling based on Charlotte Mason's methods. I encourage you to check out her blog at https://momentswithmotherculture.blogspot.com/ .

    Thanks so much for visiting me at Harvest Lane Cottage and leaving such a sweet comment. I hope we'll become blog friends. May God bless you and lead you in your homeschooling life.

    Be blessed,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. I love Charlotte Mason and we implement her method through Morning Basket, and I am hoping to do it more fully one day when the children are more ready for it.

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