I'm REALLY excited to bring this product to your attention. How I got this review was seriously one of those situations where Heavenly Father knew I needed this and things just fell into place. I hadn't gotten on the computer the weekend that my husband got home from his last assignment, and when I finally did I realized that I'd missed like 3 different opportunities for products, this being one. I had NO idea at the time what Before Five in A Row was, but after reading the form I couldn't help but get caught up in the need for people with children ages 2-4. HELLO??? I have an almost 2 year old, a 3 year old, a 4 year old and a 5 year old who loves to do everything his siblings do! I felt like such a schmuck for not being able to put out there that I was available... I'd say we fit the bill pretty well. Anyway! I contacted the coordinator, apologized for being a space cadet and told her that I could absolutely do this review if I was needed.
Well... then I went and saw the product AFTER putting out the notification that I was available and it was then I knew that I NEEDED this program and was desperately hoping that I hadn't blown the chance to get it. Yah, after being chosen for this review I had to write the coordinator and thank her up and down for the opportunity to have this!
SO! Without further ado, what is Before Five in A Row?? Before Five in A Row is a wonderful program written by Jane Claire Lambert that is targeted at children ages 2-4 to help expose them to literature and learning in a very fluid and fun way. After receiving my book/manual from the company I went to work collecting books from the library... most of which I'd never heard of, and took them home to my children who LOVE them, and we've since checked them out several times. Why this "program" works so well for us and fits perfectly into what I need to do for my younger children is because as a family we lean towards this kind of learning. We feel like literature and hands-on learning/experiencing the world around you is the best way to take in information and have it truly become a part of you.
The Before Five in A Row book is broken into two different parts. The first part helps a child develop "learning-readiness skills" by incorporating simple activities that play off of the books. The second part consists of specific activities to do with your child(ren) to make the most of your time with them. For both of these reason is why I needed this book... I'm not all that great when it comes to thinking up ways to make readings come alive for the little ones. This book gave me the added kick that I needed to pursue activities and additional learning around what we were reading AND add in fun in coordination activities, as well as ideas to make the most of bath time, and time in the kitchen. My main issue is that I'm not terribly inventive when it comes to hands-on learning opportunities. It wouldn't actually occur to me that after reading Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, by N.W. Carlstrom that my children would enjoy mix and matching clothes on a cardboard "Jesse Bear' that I would cut out. Nor did I think to collect a couple books from the library on shells and rocks so that my children could enjoy looking at different variations that happen in the world naturally. We also took the opportunity to discuss all the ways that Jesse Bears parents showed love for him throughout the book. How fun and awesome is that? For each book suggested (there's 24 in all) there are A BUNCH of different ideas that you can use to help enrich your experience. Ideas fall under the categories of language arts, science, numbers, patterns, colors, art, music, emotions, nature, food, loving relationships, character, safety, and animals... just to name a few. There's no need to use every book suggestion in Before Five in A Row, nor is there anything that makes you start the book and work through it from beginning to end. I especially like this flexibility because I didn't have ANY of the books used in the program and had to go off of whatever was available at my library. I've also noticed that some of the titles are not in print anymore, so you may have trouble finding those in general. Anyway! That aside there are still a lot of titles that are available and add to that additional book suggestions that are IN the different suggested activities throughout the Before Five In A Row book.
Do I have anything negative to say about this program? NOPE! Not a word. The description Before Five In A Row says "It isn't a curriculum. Neither is it an aggressive, academic training regimen designed to turn you pre-schooler into a scholastic super-achiever. It is a rich treasury of creative ideas designed to help you gently, consistently prepare your children for the life-long adventure of learning." I couldn't agree more, and it was exactly what I was looking for! We needed this to add some structure to the time that was spent with our younger children without adding in a "curriculum".
Before Five in a Row can be purchased here for $35. There are also MANY other products available through the company that look lovely, including Five in a Row,Beyond Five in a Row and Above and Beyond Five in A Row, that are geared towards older children! I'm going to have to look into those!
If you'd like to see what other crew members are saying about this product feel free to go here.
*As a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review of its content. I have not received any other compensation for the opinions stated here, and they were not promised a positive review.**
4 hours ago