Monday, August 23, 2010

Beyond Five in a Row: Some Planning Advice!

Recently, I was contacted by three new homeschooling moms. One mom asked me about how to schedule the Beyond books. So, I thought my answer would make a good blog post. Happy Planning!

  • Seeing as this is your first experience homeschooling, would you consider doing a semester of FIAR before going into BY? It would give you a feel for the learning appeal of Five in a Row without the confusing nature of scheduling on your own. In addition, you could do volume 4 which is a great transition to the longer books.
  • What is your goal for homeschooling? I know when I pulled my oldest out of first grade half way through, my only goal was to restore his love of learning which had been so efficiently squashed right out of him in his first year and a half of school. So, with that in mind, your 11yo would not mind diving into some picture book studies. I’d be happy to share the ones my 11yo has enjoyed and we are about to start tomorrow with an annual favorite that even he would not want to miss- Night of the Moonjellies.
  • In regard to BY, I would say you need to choose how long you want to spend on the unit and THEN plan out your activities. With three days down, none of you know what kind of rabbit trail you may feel compelled to hop down when you come across it! I try to leave margin for that sort of thing or try to be flexible with what I’ve planned so that if my kids get excited about one topic, we can keep going with it. Then we return to the regular schedule of events I’ve lined up.
  • I have my kids help to choose which BY lessons we will do. I try to do several each chapter that I want them to do and then I let them choose another one or two.
  • I pick a long activity to do over several days (or the whole study) and a couple short ones that are done in one sitting for each chapter.
  • Staying too long in a book can get very cumbersome for everyone, HOWEVER Becky Jane wrote these volumes to last a whole year. She meant for one book to last for a semester. So, your timeline isn’t really all that off to start.
  • The book is an easy read for most kids and how you handle the reading of the book can make a difference with your kids. Do they want the whole thing at once? Read to them weekly? Daily? Do they read it to you? I like go back and forth between reading to them and them reading to me. Sometimes I assign it silently for them.
  • Consider getting LOTS of go along books for them to read so they are diving in and aren’t so concerned with being in one book too long.
  • Start with a briefer experience the first time and add on a week as you go into more books. They may find they like it as they go.
  • Assign your kids different projects from the book at the same time that they come back and share about at a specified date. So, they are learning about more than one thing but not doing all the work themselves. My kids love this approach and it can be as simple as the same assignment on two different subjects within a topic. While doing Arabella, my kids studies islands and each did their own research and salt dough map of a real island. Then we had a family night share time. They LOVE this.
  • These units were not designed so that you do it all for every book. We have enjoyed re-rowing one book in particular (Betsy Ross) which is a family favorite and coming back to an old favorite and doing more lessons we hadn’t done before is really fun for the kids.

If you are a Beyond Five in a Row user or you are curious about the curriculum, be sure to visit a post on planning right from the author of the program Becky Jane Lambert.


Tracey said...

Heather, this is very insightful and should help out the new Beyonders.

The Unsell Family said...

Hi Heather,

I just wanted to let you know that I am passing on a blog award to you.

~Jen Unsell