Dexter and I are having so much fun trying out RightStart Math (our math curriculum for next year) ‘early’, that I decided to go ahead and take on Five in a Row this week, too. Who says schooling can’t be year round? Plus, I like the idea of trying everything out now to see if it works for us anyway.

Five in a Row basically has you do unit studies covering all subjects based on a single book for a week (five days in a row). People on the interwebs call these studies ‘rowing’ a book…so I’ll say it too to sound cool. The first book I decided to row is called Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz, selected for a few reasons. A) The library by my house had it. B) Dexter really likes weather and talking about clouds right now. I printed a planner sheet from Homegrown Learners to figure out what we would do.


I’d love a digital copy of this Amanda 😉

First, I went to the library to get the book, as well as some other books to accompany it.


I read through the FIAR suggested activities to get some ideas, and then searched some blogs to see what others have tried. I picked Philippians 4:13 for our memory verse since one of the big themes in the book is overcoming fears.


Monday: We read the book together. It’s just barely within Dexter’s limit for book length….two more pages and we might not have made it (though he can sit through a good solid hour of story time with the right books). He didn’t give me much feedback afterwards except to talk about his cat that he had wasn’t scared of storms (we don’t have a cat, so I’ll assume he was talking about the one in the book).

After reading the story, we talked about who he hears stories from and who he tells stories to. Then, we read about how clouds form from one of the supporting books we checked out. I paraphrased since the book was far beyond his reading level. When we filled in our calendar we talked about how today it is cloudy out and it might rain later.

Last, he did a cut and paste activity for hot and cold. Doesn’t tie in directly, but it’s to talk about weather in general and he loves cut and paste, so it was like a fun reward at the end. (we already did math and handwriting before we started with our book)


Nice pasting Dex!


I love how focused they get!

For story time later in the day we read about Noah’s Ark and sang Ark-y Ark-y.

Tuesday: We took the day off from school completely to go to a local bike trail 🙂 Dexter just learned to ride his bike (without training wheels!) so this was his first time on the trail! I think he biked like 5 miles. Crazy.

dexter first bike trail

Such a proud, big boy!

Wednesday: We read the book together again (this time Charlotte joined us….well for about half). We talked about what the Grandfather did when he was scared, and found the page of him hiding under the quilt. Dexter talked about the shapes on the quilt and made his own version with pattern blocks.


Those blocks are great for pattern recognition!

Next, we went into a dark room so we could listen and smell, like the boy describes in the book.

Finally, we talked about what a profile was, like on the cover of the story. I took pictures of Dexter and Charlotte’s profile to show him what it looked like. Then I gave him a magazine to cut out profiles he saw for a collage. We did the cutting outside since I had laundry to put out, plus it was a beautiful day.


Need to start saving some magazines.

IMG_0601 IMG_0603

Later on in the day we read some more supporting books for read aloud time.

Thursday: we read one of our supporting books about where thunder and lightning come from. I paraphrased and skipped around quite a bit since the book was a little too advanced for a four year old. I set him to work making a cloud collage out of cotton balls and glue (he used purple paper since he couldn’t find blue….he said purple was pretty close). We talked about the different types of clouds and what they look like.


I had him draw what his favorite weather looks like…


“smile next to your picture, Dex!” and this is what I get….the picture is of a sun, by the way.  He made a windmill, too.


Pin wheels are great for wind demonstrations too!


We read Little Cloud by Eric Carle for story time, and The Rains are Coming by Sanna Stanley. Then, we baked meringues (‘cloud cookies’). He liked testing to see if there were stiff peaks yet, and determining if it was shiny or not. I had him add the sugar, too.


Dexter ate one, Charlotte hated them….oh well. Apparently super sweet isn’t their favorite.


Mmm, yum.

On Friday we went to a water park for the day, so no school again. I still had a few activities left to do, but I’ll save those for another time.  After rowing books, you find that every book you read you are thinking about extension activities to do!

Anyone else familiar with Five in a Row?  What activities do you do with books you read with the kiddos?