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Five-in-A-Row, Sponsor Special, Zip Code Fun

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, May 12, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 19 May 12, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing are below.



Notes from Heather
-- HelpMe2Teach!
Kid's Corner
-- Mother's Day
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Picks
-- ZipDeCode
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information


A special FREE offer just for our readers!

I'm very excited to announce that one of our longtime sponsors,
Elaine Taylor from HelpMe2Teach.com, has graciously offered to
allow our readers an exclusive FREE 3-day trial offer!

This 3-day trial for readers of our Homeschooler's Notebook
can be used at any time from now until the end of May!

The website is:

Our trial code is: 3DAYFREE2006 (all letters must be capitals)

To begin, look for the "sign-up" link under the member login area
on the home page. On the sign-up page you will choose the free
3-day trial and then enter the code above in the coupon area.

Feel free to share with other homeschooling parents you know, but
do remind them the code won't work after May 31st.

Have fun... and I'd love to hear your comments about the free trial!

If there is good participation I will try to arrange for more special
offers like this with other websites of interest. I know sometimes
a service looks sooooo inviting, but it is still hard to spend money
when you don't know if it will truly meet your needs. Here is your
chance to "try before you buy". Thanks so much, Elaine!


Send your feedback from the trial offer to:



Kid's Corner - Mother's Day

For your enjoyment, here are some of the wonderful email entries
sent in by the children of our readers about what makes their own
homeschool moms so very special.

Happy Mother's Day from The Homeschooler's Notebook!


"I think what makes my homeschooling mama so special is
that she is our teacher and she's also my mom and she
takes really good care of me." – Rachel, age 8


"My mama is so cool! She is the most awesome teacher in
the world. She is so amazing to be able to teach 5th grade,
2nd and Kindergarten all at the same time. She is the kindest
person I ever met. My mom is always keeping us motivated
and moving to get our schoolwork done and do our best.
Thanks, mama!" -- Aaron, age 10


"My mom makes everything fun to learn even when I'm not
really wanting to do anything. She takes things from around
the house to teach me math then I can snack when we are
done. We have trips where we are learning about growing &
different trees & plants what they need what they are to look
like she has all kinds of Freebies coming in to help teach me
if we had a second living room for a class room it would be
filled with all kinds of learning materials. She is just the best
mom ever she teaches with love." -- Destiny, age 10, Texas


"My homeschooling mom is special because I was born from
inside of her!!!" -- Paxton, age 8, Alabama


"My mom is special because she loves me and I love her!"
-- Landry, age 6, Alabama


"I think my mom is special because... she cooks me lunch
and breakfast and supper." -- Kessler, age 4, Alabama


"What makes my homschooling mom special is she always
makes our school fun and makes even the worst subjects
become fun and exciting. And she always loves us even when
were being a pain."

Last Issue's Question

"Anyone using 'Five In A Row' and want to share some ideas
regarding it? I am just really struggling to make it interesting
and fun, but educational at the same time." -- Darcy

Our Readers' Responses

"There is a wonderful forum on www.fiveinarow.com that I highly
suggest using for ideas to go along with each book in FIAR.
Many people on there have wonderful ideas, suggestions, book
and video go-alongs. Also, we would look for videos and books
on tape of the books in FIAR to mix things up a bit. We have
made passports for each area we 'traveled' through using FIAR
and also mapped those places on big wall maps. I didn't follow
the books as listed always, but jumped around according to our
interests -- for instance, we read Madeline, then read The Giraffe
that Walked to Paris -- this let us learn about France/Paris and
then Egypt. We connected the two countries and also learned
about their differences. In spring, we read books that dealt with
that time of year -- Peter Rabbit (as well as other Beatrix Potter
books) and other books that tied into spring for us. Of course,
you can use the books in FIAR in any way you wish and I had
the first 3 volumes that allowed me to jump as we pleased, so
it was helpful." -- Debbie


"I have been introduced to FIAR by another home schooler. I
am planning to do some books with my 6 and 9 year old boys
over the summer. Once you have one of the books describing
some of the activities that you can do with a specific book, you
be able to develop ideas on your own.

Maybe you can find interesting dates thru the year (Wright
brothers 1st flight; favorite author's b-day; statue of liberty dedi-
cation; etc.) based upon your children's ages and interests would
be a great way to start.

For the anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight, you could
read book(s) about them. Make various types of paper airplanes
or models out of balsa wood. Do some geography with where the
Wright brothers lived to Kitty Hawk, NC. Learn about aviation
since then. The Wright brothers owned a bike shop. Learn about
bikes in general, bike safety, bike repair, etc.

FIAR is a great way to keep kids actively learning during the
summer or to take as a one to two week break during the
school year. A week of FIAR during the midwinter blahs (or
instead of giving your kids the same school break as public
schools) may be just what they need to get back on track
their other school work.

I'm thinking that if you use it several times a year as breaks
(rather than ALL the time) from what ever curriculum you
normally use, would really get your kids interested in what
you are doing." -- Heidi in NY


"I love Five in a Row (FIAR). My 6 year old and I do a little at
breakfast while the baby plays at the table with us. I don't usually
take 5 days to do the activities in each unit study, and I pick and
choose the stuff I want to talk about. I don't do as the manual
recommends and focus on Language Arts one day and Social
Studies the next, etc. I jump around. Our lessons are extremely
short but I try to mix tidbits in during other times. For example
when we "rowed" [Andy] and the Lion, I showed her pictures of the
lions outside NY Public Library; the book is dedicated to those
lions. Also, we went to our own library and I pointed out "our"
statue there. Another time our homeschool group made wool felted
dolls (mostly the moms with some help from the kids age 2-6) so
we rowed Warm as Wool. I like to do what I can to connect us with
the books. Even before we found FIAR, we read Make Way for
Ducklings just before a trip to the duck pond in Boston. We found
the swan boats, foot bridge and duck statues. Oh, and of course
the ducks, but you aren't allowed to feed them anymore.

Don't worry about being too "academic" with your Five in a Row
adventures. Really, relax and enjoy yourself and your kid(s). If you
keep it short and simple your kid(s) will surprise you with what they
pick up. My daughter can name several states on our map because
of the books we have studied. She has a connection to them, in-
stead of just a name. She also really likes maps (maybe thanks to
Dora the Explorer.) On a walk a few weeks ago she said "onomato-
poeia," when she heard a car whine and squeak. It was straight
from our lessons on The Bee Tree. It told me she remembered,
especially when she quoted the book 'squeedle, squeedle,

I keep it really mellow. She enjoys the books and listens to the
things I bring up from the manual, for the most part anyway. She
prefers anything hands on, like when we experimented with leaven
while rowing The Duchess Bakes a Cake. The experiments were
mine not from the manual but I believe there is something similar
in a different volume FAIR. By the way, these examples happen
to all be from Volume 3, in case you wanted to know." -- VW


"I don't like to make negative comments about any particular
curriculum, because I realize that what works for one family
might not work for another. I must say, however, that our ex-
perience with "Five in a Row" was a big disappointment. For
one thing, we had difficulty finding some of the books, but also
we found that the activities were somewhat artificial, and seemed
to take the enjoyment out of reading the books. The books
included in the program are excellent books, but most of them
will become dry if you mechanically read them five days in a row.
We gave away our "Five in a Row" method and counted it as a
learning experience, hoping to make wiser choices in the future.
Remember that curriculum choices are not a marriage, and stick-
ing with one that isn't working for you will cost you far more in the
long run." -- Mary Beth


"Five in a Row is a wonderful curriculum using great quality books!
I have found that their website is very helpful. If you go to the
archives section, they have suggestions that moms have sent in.
They are arranged by book title. I have done whole books using
only suggestions from the website rather than the original book!
There are some very creative moms out there! Five in a Row also
lends itself very well to making lap books. Just do a search on
laps books and you should find some good web sites to get you
started." -- Lori in PA


"I used Five In A Row with my 3 girls when they were younger. In
answer to your question... check out their website for more ideas
than will fit in a newsletter. The message board is at this link:
There you'll find ideas about all of the different books." -- Johnna

Answer our NEW Question

"I have a 12 year old in 7th grade I have home schooled for the
last two years. I pulled her out of public school in 5th grade due
to the "teaching impaired" there. She is really struggling with
quite a few subjects including English, Math and understanding
concepts in Literature and retaining facts in Science and Social
Studies. She doesn't do to well on her tests and quizzes on
most of these subjects. I am positive she missed the mark on
some early learning skills in her earlier grades. My question is:
Should I promote her onto 8th grade and continue on or keep her
back in 7th grade and try a different curriculum next year? I don't
want her to feel any of this is her fault or that she has done some-
thing wrong. She still has some of her "public school" mindset
and I don't want her to think she has "flunked".My husband and I
would really appreciate some advice on this. Thank you." -- Tracy


Do you have some advice for Tracy and her husband?

Send your emails to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a burning question that you can't ask just anyone?
Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if our readers can help you out.


Okay -- this website is too much fun!!

First, go to this link:


Now click on the middle of the United States map.

Next, slowly begin to type a zip code. Start with your own
(if you live in the US). Go SLOWLY... that is the fun of it!
You will be narrowing down the area until you get the tiny
dot for your city.

Try using the zoom feature and then hit backspace. Type
a different last digit and see how close that city is to yours.
Refresh the page to start over from scratch.

Want to see where I live? Type this zip: 48451

And here is the zip I just visited this past week: 33022

It took me less than 3 hours to travel from one to the other!
Zip zip zip! :-)

Hope you enjoyed this edition of Homeschool Notebook.
See you next week!


Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Here is the link to sign-up!



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing@stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!

And more resources and links can be found at Lynn Hogan's site:


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