This is my 10th school year of using Five in a Row for our homeschool core curriculum, if you count the 2 years of Preschool with Before Five in a Row. Over the years my planning methods have changed and I thought I would share with you how I do my planning for each of our studies.
First of all, I don’t plan everything in one sitting. I work on it a little at a time. I know some people like to sit down and do it all in one day, but it works best for me to just do a little here and there.
The first thing I do is decide which books we will row for the school year. I typically spend 2 weeks rowing each book from Before and Volumes 1-3 and about a month rowing each book from Volume 4. We school from mid-July through the end of May so it comes down to an average of about 2 books a month with a few exceptions. Once I know which books I want to do, I look at my calendar and write down in the sidelines which FIAR books I want to do that month. Then I will pencil them in on the weeks I think we will do them. This changes a lot, so I’m sure to use pencil!
Next, I take a piece of notebook paper for each book and write the book title at the top. I said before that I usually spend 2 weeks on each book and I plan for 4 days each week. So I write Week One on the front and Week Two on the back. Then I write down the side Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and space them out about 8-10 lines for each day.
After that, I start looking in the manual and decide which lessons I want to do on each day. I try to group together lessons that will compliment each other and that are similar. I usually start with Social Studies on Day 1, concentrating on Geography first so we can place the story disk right away. Then I just go through and write down which lessons I want to do on each day. I will typically do Language Lessons on Day 2, Art on Day 3 and Math on Day 4. In the second week, I will focus more on Science and then fill in the rest of the week what I want to do depending on what lessons there are. Some of the books have a lot of Social Studies and other have tons of Science, so with each book it is different. I will scatter the Bible lessons throughout the 2 weeks and I usually have the last day of the second week to be our cooking day and we will try at least one recipe from the FIAR Cookbook.
I am very flexible, so my plans change constantly, but at least I have a list of all the lessons I want to cover. I go through and mark them off in red as we finish each lesson. A lot of times I will switch days around to accommodate whatever we have going on that day. Also, I put “read book” on day one and don’t copy that all the way down. Sometimes we read the book everyday and other times we don’t. I use this same planning method with Before, FIAR Volumes 1-4 and Beyond as well as for unit studies that are not Five in a Row, which we do occasionally. Mostly from homeschoolshare.com.
Once I have my plan written out for each book, I put it in a folder with the book name on the outside and then add to it anything I print out or any extra ideas I think of that I want to go along with the book. This coming school year is the first time that I have done all of the books that I plan to row for the entire school year. I ended up clearing off 2 shelves in our school room and put each FIAR book with the folder in the order I plan to row them. In the past, I have only planned for a few books ahead but this seemed to just work out this time. I think it will be very helpful with transitioning from one book to the next and I won’t be quite as stressed about planning for each book.
I hope that for anyone out there who uses FIAR, that this has been helpful to you. I know that I always like to see how other families plan for school. I feel like this way works best for me and helps me to stay focused and organized throughout the school year.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”