Weaver vs. Five in a Row

Ah, our last few days off school. We are finishing up the 2 week Christmas break. And as I plan our next few weeks in the kid’s planbook I am back and forth between doing a unit out of Beyond Five in a Row and doing a Weaver unit. Last night I filled in the basics… grammar, math, phonics, and spelling. I also filled in our history and some art at we are doing chapter 15 in Story of the World. Our parenting style has loosened up quite a bit and so I would like our first week “back” in school to reflect the changes made in our home. Here’s what each book holds and the strengths and weaknesses I’ve notived from both…

Last night I spent about 2 hours planning Weaver, volume 1, chapter 5. Transportation. The Bible verses/stories that begin the lessons are (I am going to copy what the author lists in the book word-for-word)… 1)Gen 11, when Abram moves; 2)when Jonah refused to go; 3)Acts 18:1 when the early church scattered; 4)Acts 8:26 Philip gives a mandate to go; and 5)Matt 28:18, we have been given a mandate to go (this is strictly the authors interpretation, the Dukes’ don’t believe that when Christ told the 12 to go out into the nations he was specifically also talking to all of us). So one of the Bible lessons, which would take 2 days to complete, are out. We don’t believe what the author believes to be for every single person from 4 years old to 94 years old, so to create 2 days worth of school around that, would be wrong for us. Weaver is pretty much a serious Bible curriculum with some of everything used to back up the Bible lesson. Conversations and some activities are given to validate the Bible lesson. We already incorporate Bible (Christ) into everything we do every single day. He is a piece of who I am. He could never be left out. So I don’t include Bible stories as a subject we study in school. I have used it for reading and handwriting practice, but only when the mood strikes. The children hide the Word in their hearts when we speak of Christ and lay a foundation of Christ in their lives. So Weaver did not work as a complete curriculum in our home, but I like to reference the big book when we are focusing on a specific topic. So last night I pulled out chapter 5 and read through. I found some cool bits, one of them being directions on building a miniature hot air ballon and the other gem I discovered was the conversation starters about travel, the different types of travel, and why people travel. We live right next to the Missouri River and the majority of river transportation takes place on that river, according to Weaver. We have all sorts of field trip opportunities, should we spend the time and money exploring the rich resources close by. A creative writing assignment given is to paint a literary description of what he would see if Big Bird(my oldest) were in a hot air balloon, looking below.

Today I’ll be looking over Beyond Five in a Row, volume 3; Neil Armstrong: Young Flier by Dunham. This is a unit study that will take several weeks to 2 months, depending on how fast we move through the book and how many activities we explore. I really like the activities that are written out and explained. Moral and character lessons are included, but leave room for conversation instead of hammering in Bible stories that convict instead of inspire my little ones. When we read through a FIAR book, we do an accompanying lapbook. It’s a good way to artistically show what we’ve learned. FIAR goes a little more into depth with the subjects. The science is impressive. In learning about the Tri-Ford motor plane, we talk about aluminum and what Stephen Armstrong says about it in the book. We would then use aluminum, like an empty soda can, to bend, shape, and crush to demonstrate the elements which make it ideal for building planes. A creative writing assignment would be one that lists all the ways we use aluminum today. In the book Neil Armstrong, Neil and his father chew gum as they take flight. We would then go into the logistics of why people still do that today. How does the eustachian tube work? Which might turn into, “Hey, let’s build a model ear under the dining room table that we can crawl through!”

Both books are great, although I favor FIAR ever since we began using it 2 months ago. I like switching it up a bit and I like that Weaver is a little more grammar and writing intensive as we combine it with Wisdom Words. I will decide tonight as I plan the month with my FIAR materials and we’ll see what direction we go in this month. It’s an important decision because we are moving through the winter months and trying to avoid the winter blues. And we are also trying relaxed parenting and want our homeschool to reflect those changes as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the comparison between 2 great unit studies. I’ll be sure to chronicle the path we take as we move through either Weaver or Five in a Row. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading!




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