I have tried to walk away from FIAR several times but I keep coming back. The relational way lessons are taught and the good books are just too good to let go.
My youngest two are 9 and 11 and I know they are supposedly beyond the FIAR ages but I am going to give “bumping up FIAR” a go. My 9yo has some learning difficulties and his basic skills are at 6yo level (reading/writing) though his thinking skills are on target. My 11yo though a competent reader isn’t comprehending non-fiction independently yet and therefore not ready for independent study. So I want to do FIAR with them together.
Over the last 6 months we have dibbled and dabbled here and there and though they have been learning it hasn’t been a concentrated effort. I want that to change. This afternoon I made some decisions and planned our next unit.
- I am going to start at FIAR Vol. 1 and do each book, unless there is a good reason for not doing it. This will reduce my decision making. Just do the next book on the list!
- I want to make sure we do the activities that we didn’t do the last time (or two) around – ensuring that we do the “harder” lessons
- Nomi needs opportunity to learn independent study skills – key words, summarizing, reading non-fiction, using various resources etc
- Daniel needs a couple of independent activities that he can do at other times and yet enhance his FIAR studies
- We will give lapbooking another try. I am toying with the idea of making the lapbooks smaller – either ½ foolscap or A4 just so we aren’t faced with such a large area to fill. Still thinking on this one.
Here are my notes for our lessons on The Story of Ping. Some of these lessons come from the manual, some from online links and some from my head.
Introduction: Story Disks, maps, vocab, narrations,
Atlas work, non-fiction books
Make “About China” mini book
Maintain a Resource List (DM) / Bibliograph (NM)
Create a Lapbook cover (photocopy book cover)
Review: Map, vocab, sequence of story
Read Ms.Frizzle’s Adventure to Imperial China
Compare Chinese culture with Australian
Chinese meal (possibly cooking)
Review: Map, vocab, sequence of story
Choices Authors make – Fiction – stories using imaginations
List the things in this story that are true about China
Choices Authors make – Repetition
NM – Write a short story – possibly about an animal living on the Great Wall of China – and use repetition.
Review Map, Vocab
Unity of Theme (as per manual)
NM – use this technique to illustrate her short story
Create a picture about China, ducks, boats (??) using a line of composition
DM – use magazine pictures/collage
NM – drawing
Read a book on Ducks – non-fiction
Review Animal Classification
DM – dictate – make a “What I know about Ducks” mini book
NM – keyword outline from non-fiction text on Ducks, rewrite (IEW lesson)
Independent activities for Daniel
- build a mud brick – using a popsicle stick mould – take photos
- Buoyancy experiment, observation and recording
This will cover 5-7 days lessons. On the last day we will ensure our lapbooks are finished and head into the library to look for books for the next unit: Who Owns the Sun.
You might also take a look at Beyond Five in a Row, which is geared for ages 8-12.Edited by belindaletchford on Aug. 17, 2008 at 3:34 PM
Yes, I have Beyond FIAR and yet I don't have the same passion for it. The lessons are longer and deeper for sure but it makes me focus on content rather than on skills, which for my older child who has used it – it just became busy work.
I have had BeyondFIAR in my mind for my children once they are ready to learn, independently, from chapter books but in my experience by the time that happens they are looking for more in a book than these small chapter books. This of course maybe different for each child, but that has been my experience so far.
I try and make my teaching time more focused on teaching a skill rather than content – once they have the ability, skills, and heart to learn they will be able to do that for the rest of their lives without me having to give them content based curriculum. That is my goal.
Once our children are reading, they have a steady stream of good books, including Beyond FIAR titles, to read for their pleasure and learning. Ultimately I expect them to read a book and learn from it, independently, not by doing set assignments but by being curious and asking themselves some questions and digging to find the answers.
Edited by belindaletchford on Aug. 17, 2008 at 3:33 PM
I know exactly what you mean Belinda! We did this too- not with FIAR but with other curricula.
It's all about stretching the student in a horizontally not just vertically. Aside from the fact that you get more bang for your bucks with a curriculum 😉 it's a great way to teach new skills, while not overwhelming students with new or harder concepts as well.
I believe that it's good to introduce new concepts- sure! But it's good to do that with material that is at the student's level. KWIM? No point in trying to stretch their minds both horizontally AND vertically at the same time.
How is it going with bumping up FIAR? I have to tell you we FREQUENTLY take a week and have the older two row a book with the younger two. There is so much to be learned and I think they glean a lot when we spend a week learning in that manner.