I learned about BFIAR or Before Five In A Row from other fellow moms who were already homeschooling their children. It was one of the first homeschooling curriculum that I was introduced to when I became interested in the idea of homeschooling. At that time with my eldest, Light, I found myself teaching her through our play and it came so naturally that I thought it could really be something that we do and take on as a family.
With my daughter Light, we were just going through the units in BFIAR. I wasn’t as organized as I am now with Siris. Since I just gave birth to Siris at that time, I didn’t have much time (and energy) to prepare. But I’d like to believe that Light learned a few things in our BFIAR “sessions”. Especially her love for reading. BFIAR is based on books and children’s literature after all, so we read a lot of really good books. 🙂
Now with Siris I was more intentional and focused. My process has been like this:
- Read the manual/guide for each unit to have ideas on topics to discuss.
- Read the book.
- Discuss important “lessons” from the book.
- Get free resources/printables online (like Homeschoolshare and Homeschoolcreations) to work on.
- Do arts and crafts or activities based on the unit/book (there are a lot of ideas online as well).
- Read the book AGAIN.
And this was how, I believe, Light and Siris developed their love for reading. I clearly saw it with Siris — how he asked me to read to him again and again, and how attentive he was while I was reading.
When Siris first started with our BFIAR journey, he was a bit hesitant and distracted. He had a hard time with sit down works and couldn’t really stay seated. He was about two and a half years old then. But as we moved along, he became more interested, especially with reading time. We would even ask me where his work was when he saw me preparing worksheets or activities for his sister.
I felt pressured before that Siris still hasn’t fully recognized the letters and numbers. But thinking about it now, I think that our BFIAR journey was the perfect curriculum to start with given his age and perhaps, personality. It was to prepare him for a more formal schooling. It made him like reading, which I honestly believe would help a lot when we officially start his schooling. 🙂
Tips On Doing BFIAR
- Be prepared to read the books A LOT of times. Young kids are not good readers yet and prefer that you read to them. And they will want you to read the same book over and over again. Maybe it helps them imagine the story. 🙂
- Get ready for TONS of arts and crafts. If you’re like me who actually enjoy doing arts and crafts, then this should be easy peasy. But if you are also like me who doesn’t have a lot of time to spare for the preparation and creation of these crafts, then BFIAR could be a bit tedious. Nevertheless, doing arts and crafts is one of the important things a young learner should be doing. It’s fun and involves a lot of fine motor skills.
- Consult your good pal Google for ideas. A lot of moms all over the world have already done the BFIAR curriculum and have several ideas for us to do for each unit. I literally just search the internet for things to do in every unit/story. The activities don’t have to be complicated. Remember that BFIAR is recommended for kids ages 2-4. Something fun is more important.
- Take your time. You can study each book or unit for a month or several weeks. You can be learning about the same letter for a whole week, and that’s okay. Young kids will learn from repetitions so take your time and do it slowly.
Below is an example of our BFIAR “session”. 🙂