Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five in a Row (FIAR) Takes Us to Japan

A few weeks ago, I shared about a curriculum I heard about at a homeschool conference called Five in a Row. Well, I ended up purchasing a used, older version of Volume 1 from Thriftbooks.com as well as a few of the books in the reading list. We have been using this curriculum on and off for a few weeks now. My goal is to read through each book with them at least five different days and we don't necessarily do it every day.

The things I really like about the Five in a Row concept is that it's easy to include multiple children, it doesn't require a lot of preparation, and I find the books and recommended lessons interesting. The only negative I have found is that Jonah get's bored with the story by the 3rd and 4th reading (so far, none of the books have been about squids or pirates or submarines.)  And due to Jonah's struggles with handwriting, I have been loathe to have him do any exercises involving drawing or writing until we have overcome some of his issues. (We are working on handwriting with the help of another curriculum - I'll share more on that another time.) This has forced me to brainstorm and get creative to make the readings more interesting for him and focus on activities that are more appropriate for my kids' skill levels.

Of late, we have been reading a Red Pair of Clogs. Using this book and other resources, I've introduced the kids to the culture and country of Japan. We looked at where Japan is on a map and we watched some traditional dances on youtube. Elisabeth liked seeing the costumes and the dance - all this made Jonah bored. I asked him to recall where the island of Japan was on a map after I had showed him the day before. When he acted petulant and didn't want to participate I threw out the bate - "Did you know Giant Squids have washed up on the shore there and the oceans around it are teeming with squid." (I was pretty sure all this was true given all the squid related books I've read to him and shows I've watched with him.) "Yeah?" he said. Then he trotted on over to look at the map where I showed him again where the island county was located. I also found a Japanese Flying Squid on the internet to show him. We also talked about Tsunami's, what they are and their consequences. We wrapped up that discussion by watching some of the more benign video of the latest Tsunami which also showed a whirlpool.

At the end of that days lesson/discussion I asked, "Would you guys like to eat Japanese food this week and eat with chopsticks?"  "Yeah!!!" was the enthusiastic response.

So, we did. And can I tell you there is nothing so cute and amusing as watching a three and five-year old eating noodles with chopsticks. If you don't believe me watch these:


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