PDA

View Full Version : Newbie-- Need your Advice!



Julie V
01-29-2014, 01:39 PM
:hi: Hi there everyone,

I will be new to homeschooling this Fall, and I am in the research and figuring out phase right now! It's exciting but a little overwhelming, too. I am pretty sure I want to do FIAR for the backbone, but I'm not sure where I should start. When we begin our homeschooling journey, I will have a 9.5 yo 4th grader, an almost 7yo 1st grader (Nov bday), and an almost 4yo preschooler (Oct bday). When my 6yo was 3-4, we did BFIAR together and we both LOVED it. I think ideally, I would do BFIAR again with my preschooler, and then combine my grade school kids in FIAR to make it easier and less time consuming for me, and to have that togetherness feeling. Maybe have the older 2 join in with BFIAR when they want to, or even help with it by reading or narrating the stories to their little sister occasionally. But I wonder if the spread between my older 2 will be too much of a challenge?

My oldest is a very advanced and voracious reader, but he still enjoys being read to (and cuddling:) ), as well when he is in the mood. I know he would really enjoy the chapter books and autobiographies in BYFIAR, but I am hoping he would be fine (and still learn and be challenged) with the FIAR titles this year, and can start Beyond next year when I have a better idea of what I am getting myself into with homeschooling in general, planning lessons, time management, etc. My son's biggest challenge is staying focused--he tends to get distracted. This is usually on certain tasks, not in reading or listening to stories, but I am not sure he would be patient with repeated readings. Maybe he will surprise me. I do know I want to take advantage of the willingness to snuggle while it lasts. :)

My will-be-1st-grader is an easy-going, go with-the-flow kind of girl. She would probably be happy with anything, but I don't want her to miss out on learning because it's way below her or way above her. She is reading level 1 and 2 readers right now, so she should be reading really well by Sept. She still loves to do the coloring, cut and paste kind of things. And she truly LOVED BFIAR and has asked on a few occasions when we can "do it again." (And that was 2 years ago!)

My pre-K gal is really bright and loves books. I could see her wanting to tag along with the older 2, as well as fully enjoying her personal one-on-one time.

Given these factors, what do you think the best option is for our family? If I do FIAR for the older two kids, do you think any of the 1st 3 volumes would be fine, or do you think I need to do volume 4 for my son's sake? Would Vol 4 be too much for my 7yo daughter? If I do 1, 2, or 3, will I definitely have to beef up the lessons/activities for my son, or might it be just fine as is? So many questions! I feel so unsettled right now and just want to get my plan of attack nailed down so I can begin hunting down the books, etc. But I do have lots of time. THANK YOU for your help.

PS We already own BFIAR and FIAR Vol 2, but I don't mind investing in all the volumes. Unfortunately, I've loaned out the FIAR vol 2, so I can't see or remember what the lessons/activities entail....otherwise I might have a better idea of how it would work with my son.

BethInOK
01-29-2014, 02:11 PM
:hi: Welcome!
My personal opinion would be to do FIAR with your older two, and B4 with your little. You could also do some of the before with your first grader. You can beef up for your oldest by getting some go-along books relating to the topics covered.
Right now I'm rowing with my PreK and 1st grader and there are some things that go over his head.

Joy in Alabama
01-29-2014, 02:33 PM
I've done FIAR with older kids (using Vol 4 with my 11 yo right now) and I think it's easy to make it work. It's pretty easy to do a map or get a book or assign a report or a paragraph or assign research of a particular subject or think of a project to go with the books. :thumb: So I ditto Beth's advice: Fiar for the 2 older, B4 for the younger. And my olders have actually done the B4 with several of my youngers and it has helped them in many ways, so maybe your olders can indeed help with the younger.

How exciting to be a new homeschooler!!! :hop:

Julie in FL
01-29-2014, 11:37 PM
I've done FIAR with older kids (using Vol 4 with my 11 yo right now) and I think it's easy to make it work. It's pretty easy to do a map or get a book or assign a report or a paragraph or assign research of a particular subject or think of a project to go with the books. :thumb: So I ditto Beth's advice: Fiar for the 2 older, B4 for the younger. And my olders have actually done the B4 with several of my youngers and it has helped them in many ways, so maybe your olders can indeed help with the younger.

How exciting to be a new homeschooler!!! :hop:

I agree with Beth. FIAR for the older 2 and B4 for the pre-ker. One thing I did for my dd this year....I dug deeper into the geography and culture of the country we were covering in our book. She loved it! I did an "around the world trip" here's (http://aussiepumpkinpatch.com/uploads/pdf/FIAR%20by%20Seasons,%20Geography,%20Themes.pdf) a link to a great guide. I also covered time differences and currency. I found a book for us to read about the country we were studying. It really "beefed" up the geo and culture part of the unit.

HTH!

Paige P
01-30-2014, 08:27 AM
Hi Julie :hi: Welcome :D

Agreeing with the others..... Before with your preschooler, and FIAR with your older 2. Personally, I'd do Vol. 1-3 with the older two. If you own Vol. 4 (or want to download individual units -- they're available in the digital store individually http://fiveinarow.com/store/products/ ), you can always intersperse a unit or two in the with 1-3 books if you want. Personally, I'd stick to 1-3 and then the next year (5th) would do Vol. 4 with both of your olders THEN would move to BY. There are plenty of chapter book go-alongs that your older child can read, plenty of "extra" go-alongs to read (children's biographies, science and historical accounts, etc.) -- as Joy suggested, he can write a paragraph or two about XYZ that you're studying, he can read some extra books, etc. whatever you think he's able to do. It's SO much easier to have them together :)

Kendra AU
01-30-2014, 05:07 PM
:hi: Welcome to the Boards! :)

Because your eldest is a voracious reader I'd be more tempted to obtain Beyond FIAR for that child, & using FIAR with your younger two. Your eldest could sit in on the younger lessons, but could also work independently on his own. It would allow you that one-on-one type time you might need with your littler two as you explore all the fun lessons in FIAR. There even use to be a little chart that showed you how you could row certain FIAR books that lined up with the BYFIAR titles. ;) I'm not sure it's still around anymore as the person's website was taken down, but I use to enjoy the time they put into making the chart. :)

Regardless of what you choose, I'm sure you'll have a lovely year!

Julie V
01-31-2014, 12:24 AM
Thanks for your responses, everyone. So much to think about! Those of you that have beefed up FIAR for an older child, how do you know how much extra work to give? Is this just something I will figure out and fine-tune as I go along? For the research/reports type assignments, do you make the assignment on Monday or Tuesday and ask they be due by the end of the week? Less time-consuming things need to be worked on same day or due next day? Just trying to get an idea of how this works for everyone else.

Julie, I love that chart by theme, season, and setting. Thanks! Kendra, I wish the chart you mention was still available; that sounds great. I might just go ahead and buy all the guides now so I have a better idea of what I am comparing. :) I'm pretty sure we will use them all eventually!

Joy in Alabama
01-31-2014, 12:09 PM
Julie, I always plan my unit and plan what I want the older child to do and a time frame, based on whatever else we're doing for school. So, if I want my child to do research and write one paragraph, I might have him spend the morning doing that or I might break it into parts, so he's reading a book about that subject one day, doing a rough draft the next, etc. And some things I would do with him, such as making a salt dough map, so I would figure out when that would work into my schedule. I think you'll probably have to play it by ear until you see how it's going to work.

Heather W
01-31-2014, 12:43 PM
I'm more in the camp with Kendra having your older child begin with at least volume 4 and let him soar.

I am working with my last FIAR kid now and he's 8. We haven't finished FIAR with him, but he's more than ready for BY. I started my oldest with BY at 7 and once I got going with FIAR with my next two I often regretted not doing volume 4 with him at the time to start things off. Now that I'm working with my youngest, I remember well why I started my oldest with BY. :lol:

You can try it both ways, but ultimately you'll want the combo that gives each child the most room to grow. I'm a long time FIAR user at this point and it's been wonderful. In retrospect, I know that starting my then 7yo with BY was the right thing to do and we used it from then until he was in 7th grade with some other units mixed in. Good stuff.

So, start with the oldest two together and see what happens. You may find that you want to change things around.

Miranda.in.WA
01-31-2014, 12:56 PM
Hello and welcome! I've been reading the responses and both sides of the fence are spot on. I think either way you do it will work.

One thing I want to chime in and recommend or encourage is to look at your Homeschool as a whole and decide what ALL you're going to do.

Are you planning on having FIAR be your entire spine? Or will it be a supplement to a current boxed curriculum or set?

For your preschooler, FIAR is more than enough.

For your 1st grader, FIAR plus a phonics/reading program and a 1st grade math is more than enough.

For your 4th grader, FIAR plus a daily math and extra reading of library books picked up on the topics of your row is enough. Writing and spelling can come from FIAR too if you are creative that way. You may find that the Notebooking pack FIAR has to offer will be a great help/asset for your 1st and 4th grader.

My rowers are almost 7yr old twins and almost 5yr old. This is our 3rd year rowing and its the first year I think it feels more organize and I feel more confident that FIAR really is enough. My twins have really blossomed these last few months and I think that by doing the binder with subjects as recommended in the manual has really helped us all :) My 5yr old is still just tagging along and listens in which is enough for me.

Make sure to post questions as they come up. The ladies here have been so helpful and encouraging to me :)

Julie V
02-04-2014, 11:59 PM
Thanks, Heather and Joy. I am going to buy Vol 4 and Beyond so I am ready if we need it. Maybe do a couple test runs this summer and see what I *think* will work best.


Hello and welcome! I've been reading the responses and both sides of the fence are spot on. I think either way you do it will work.

One thing I want to chime in and recommend or encourage is to look at your Homeschool as a whole and decide what ALL you're going to do.

Are you planning on having FIAR be your entire spine? Or will it be a supplement to a current boxed curriculum or set?

For your preschooler, FIAR is more than enough.

For your 1st grader, FIAR plus a phonics/reading program and a 1st grade math is more than enough.

For your 4th grader, FIAR plus a daily math and extra reading of library books picked up on the topics of your row is enough. Writing and spelling can come from FIAR too if you are creative that way. You may find that the Notebooking pack FIAR has to offer will be a great help/asset for your 1st and 4th grader.

My rowers are almost 7yr old twins and almost 5yr old. This is our 3rd year rowing and its the first year I think it feels more organize and I feel more confident that FIAR really is enough. My twins have really blossomed these last few months and I think that by doing the binder with subjects as recommended in the manual has really helped us all :) My 5yr old is still just tagging along and listens in which is enough for me.

Make sure to post questions as they come up. The ladies here have been so helpful and encouraging to me :)

Hi Miranda, thanks for responding! I am in WA, too. (SW WA) Curious-- do you opt for a standardized test or an assessment each year? Or have you not even worried about that yet, since your kids aren't "of age" yet? :)

We won't be doing a boxed curriculum. FIAR will be the spine (getting used to the lingo! lol) for all 3 kids ideally. Definitely for both DDs (the 2 younger) it will be. DD (1st grader), we will just be adding in math and reading practice for her. Oh, and probably handwriting/journaling practice if there isn't enough in FIAR? I found a good deal on Math in Focus grade 1 which is the curriculum her school currently uses, so I bought that.

I will be on the look out for something similar math-wise for DS, but I really don't know what else I want for him, so that is encouraging to know I don't necessarily need anything else! Picking up lots of library books each week and having him read them should not be a problem, assuming they hold his interest. Spelling seems easy enough to pull words from the FIAR books or related to the topics covered. I think the Notebooking pack looks great! Thanks for the recommendation.

I will definitely be asking more questions as I go along; you do seem like a friendly and encouraging group! Many thanks!

Miranda.in.WA
02-05-2014, 01:39 PM
Hi Julie, yes we do testing through classical conversations every year. They do the Homeschool SAT in various locations. I have 3 big kids that attended private school in the early years and did the SAT tests each year, so when we brought them home, it was a normal thing to do, so thats what I've continued with.

Haven't had the 3 little do it yet. Maybe this spring because they are capable, but its not 'required' until age 8. So next spring for sure :) joy joy...

I'll have to keep you guys in mind when we do our annual state Capitol/Governor mansion tour. :) we're in Pierce county, so a little more north from you.