When I started thinking about homeschooling, Five in a Row kept popping up in a lot of the searches I tried. I looked at Before Five in a Row (geared toward younger kids) and ordered a copy, but I wasn't sure if it was where I wanted to go. Ami (from HomeschoolShare) encouraged me to look into it some more and when I looked at Five in a Row (for kids who are 4-8), I really liked what I saw. (I do think Before FIAR is good, we were just a little past that point and had already read many of the books--many times!)
When I taught fifth grade at my first school, everything was focused around social studies, which was right up my alley since one of the best books I've ever read (professionally speaking--I am not that much of a nerd) is Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies. For reading, we used historical fiction novels taking place during the time period we were studying. At my second school, we didn't have the freedoms I was used to, but social studies was still a major part of the curriculum. FIAR has a strong social studies focus and the stories take place in different locations and different time periods and have a wide variety of characters. (The picture above is Jack reading The Rag Coat, from Volume 1.)
While I am not going to claim to be a strict Charlotte Mason-ite , I like how Simply Charlotte Mason defines the method:
And then there is the something extra that makes FIAR different from other methods. The ladies (and Steve) on the message boards are kind and helpful and really are people that I consider to be friends, though I have only met a handful in real life. Stories like this one (have a kleenex ready when you click the link) are not uncommon in the FIAR community. It's nice to have a place to "go" to chat about school and life--especially when you are snowed in your house for more than a week.
That, in a nutshell, is what made me choose FIAR. I am going to try to get a few more related posts up soon, so if there is anything you want to know, leave me a comment!