Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fun Freebies for Five in a Row {or any homeschool curriculum}

Straight to the point.  I wanted to have a place to collect the list of free resources and items I've been accumulating to compliment Five in a Row lessons.  Most of these resources are not curriculum-specific and can be used with any program, so don't run away just because you don't use FIAR.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure for more information.

The thing is, I love incorporating unique lessons into our studies.  I love Five in a Row, but many of the lessons are conversational.  Sometimes the conversational lessons are the most insightful parts of the week, and that cannot be replaced, but discussions are also hard to document.  So yes, much to the dismay of many hardcore no-nonsense rowers, I look for interesting activity pages for our portfolios, hands-on activities, and interactive lessons to really bring the lessons to life.  There are a lot of great FREE ideas out there, and even free "things" you can get in the mail to enhance your lessons.

So . . . this is my attempt to keep everything in one place.  I'll have this post linked through my Five in a Row page, for easy reference for myself.  I'll continue to update as I find new things, so feel free to let me know if I've missed something that should be on this list!  {At this time, everything is free.  If something changes, please let me know.}

Receive Freebies in the Mail

If you and the kiddos like getting goodies in the mail, here are some fun ones!

Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Living books are the heart of our homeschool, and the heart of Five in a Row.  Dolly Parton's Imagination Library brings quality books to young children.  It is only available in certain regions, but they send one free book each month to children until their fifth birthday.  We have received a few FIAR titles (Corduroy, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Snowy Day), but some of the other books that have come through have become household favorites too.

Coal Samples
This real coal kit is very useful when learning about energy sources or coal mining.  We used it alongside When I Was Young in the Mountains, though it would work with The Rag Coat as well. There are some interesting lessons online to go with the samples, though I recommend previewing first.

You Can Be a Nurse
This would go well with any book that discusses occupations, or perhaps Madeline and the discussion of hospitals/surgery and taking care of your body.

Write to Patricia Polacco
According to her website, you can write to her, send a Flat Stanley, or even send in one of your books for a signature request.  You should not expect an immediate response, but it is worth a try, and still a good experience.  |We have not tried this yet.|
With a basic account, you can receive 1 free DVD by mail each year, as long as you give feedback on your recent DVD.  If you have a paid account (I do not, but it's fairly inexpensive) you can receive 1 DVD every 30 days, provided you give the feedback.  They also have a streaming service where you can watch the videos online.  Pups of Liberty would be cute for young students to go along with Paul Revere's Ride.  Most of the other videos are for a slightly older audience, but if you have older students it might be worth looking into.

Stamps Teach Plus offers an assortment of lesson plans and worksheets!  If you register for the Stamps Teach Plus Kit, you'll get a huge box full of stamps, booklets, and so much more.  The lessons and kit would be fun to utilize with Mailing May, or even the lesson on stamps from Truman's Aunt Farm.  It's such a thorough kit though, that you couldn't possibly get through everything during a row.  It's that nice.  {These aren't mailed immediately on request, but it is very much worth the wait.  I received an email a few months after signing up, responded that I was still interested, and it came a couple weeks later.}

Online Resources

Kiddie Records Weekly
This website brings back old children's records, which were often full of celebrities and famous composers.  You can stream them for free.  There are several FIAR books, and a few Before titles, mostly on a long-playing albums page, and a couple on the 2005 page.  It's a fun alternative to reading the book one day when you're not needing the illustrations for a lesson.  You'll also find Dr. Seuss, Aesop's Fables, and many other well-known stories throughout the website.  I recommend this website for ANYONE with young children, no matter what curriculum you use.

Maestro Classics Curriculum Guides
If you use Maestro Classics for music appreciation, they have fabulously free curriculum guides online that include many hands-on activities, particularly for art.  They produce a beautiful Mike Mulligan story which I bought when we rowed the book, and they have the free curriculum guide online.  Check out their Nutcracker Art Projects for this Christmas season, or any of the titles as a "go-along" with a book or composer study.  

Art for Kids Hub
They have so many awesome drawing tutorials that my kids use this in their free time all the time, but we use their videos for school frequently, particularly for drawing animals.

Ezra Jack Keats Lesson Plans
These would be fun for rowing The Snowy Day, especially since the art is geared for K-3 and would help include older siblings.

Epic!  Books for Kids
You can utilize the website or the app.  The educator version is free, but I don't think it includes as many books as the parent version, which has a small monthly fee.  There are still a lot of great supplemental science, geography and history books, as well as audio books.  

Printable Activities
Five in a Row Fold n' Learns
When you subscribe to the Five in a Row blog, your welcome email (and every great article that comes to your inbox) will have a link to the Fold 'n' Learns, which you can use similar to lapbook style.  They have some holiday units on there as well.

Homeschool Share
These are not specifically FIAR, but they offer many book-based lapbooks and unit studies, including several Before and Five in a Row titles.  They also have lapbooks for various countries, animals or historical figures that would go along with various rows.  I tend to use bits and pieces of their units as they fit our needs.

If I Were . . . Writing Printables
These are fun writing prompts that we've used on occasion with our rows.  Many are career oriented (like pilot), many are more for fun (rockstar) and some are silly (alien) but they all have the split page for drawing and writing.
They have a plethora of worksheets on different topics, but I usually look for geography/culture based activities here like Color the WorldPaper Dolls, or Traditional Clothing.

Purple House Press Coloring Pages
PHP is bringing back many out of print FIAR books, and they have a fun coloring page for The Duchess Bakes a Cake, if your kiddos like that kind of thing.

Paper City Paris
This would go well with any of the books that take place in France!

Mike Mulligan Activities
To go with our beloved steam shovel.

Crayola Coloring Pages
We primarily use the state/country sheets, but there are animals, holidays and other topics that can be used, if your child particularly enjoys coloring.

What are some of your favorite homeschooling freebies?

F is for Fun Freebies for Five in a Row
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