Monday, August 8, 2011

Planning FIAR

I'm going to interrupt the vacation posts to talk about how I plan for our FIAR books. I was going to do this post back in the winter and took all the pictures, but never got around to it. I have two friends who are going to begin using FIAR soon, so I thought I'd go ahead and get this done and hopefully answer some questions!

One question that pops up frequently: Do you have to go in the order that the books are listed in the manuals? No! I have skipped around Volumes 1-3 for the last two years. I choose which book based on events that are going on, the time of year, or whether or not I think it's a topic that will hold Jack's interest yet. Next year we will probably move on to Volume 4, which is geared toward older students.

Obviously the first place I go is the manual! The next stop is the archives from the FIAR message boards--lots of good ideas to be found there! A close third is Homeschool Share, which has lapbooking and/or notebooking pieces for almost all the FIAR books.

(Sorry about the twisty pictures!) Next I look for related topics from the library and request the books. It's almost impossible to just go browse with Alice!

Sometimes I have some go-alongs already on my shelf. I try to keep my eyes open at book sales for cheap ones!

I got this book when I won the drawing at Mardel.

Jay got me another bookshelf that has become the science shelf. Books aren't organized by topic yet, but maybe I'll get there some day!

I pulled these for this row.

We also have tons of Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard, so I flip through to see if there is something related. I may not always use all of these magazines and books, but they are in our basket for the week and they usually are looked at at least once.

I try to pull picture books I have that are related, too. Jack likes looking back at old favorites and Alice is beginning to enjoy longer stories.

If I have anything related for Alice's level, I pull that, too. I'm not sure if I'll continue that as I move more to working on something different with her.

If I'm being productive, planning takes me a day or two, and this year I am trying to get it done at least several weeks in advance. Each day we cover one or two topics from the manual and do some lapbooking pieces. I also make Jack's copywork sheets from our FIAR story.

I know that the curriculum is call Five in a Row, but sometimes life happens and we don't get in five days in a row. Or sometimes we do more than five days when we find a topic we like. The best thing about FIAR is that it is flexible and there's not a right way to do it--it's easy to make it fit your family!

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