B4FIAR – How I plan & organise

This post is to explain and show how I plan and organise our B4FIAR (and plan to do the same for our FIAR weeks).

Here are the items I use for planning each book we row:

  • Before Five in a Row manual 
Our Before Five in a Row manual which is an absolute must of course!
Planning sheet to get all ideas, books, crafts, activities out of my head and down on paper
Week at a Glance planning page this is just the back of the planning page above which you can write down what youre doing each day.
  • Pinterest – I have a board for every Five in a Row book there is! It took forever to organise but it truly is a time saver because when I want to plan a book to row I go to that board and just look at all the ideas I have pinned previously. Here is my ‘Katy No-Pocket’ Pinterest board to give you an idea. 

Here are the items I use to store my planned ‘rows’ ready to go:

  • Clear plastic wallet
Clear plastic wallet to store planning sheet and all other worksheets etc that are needed for the week. I also use this after we’ve rowed a book to keep any non-consumables and the completed planning sheet so I can reuse with the next child.
  • Suspension file box 
Suspension file plastic store box to store each plastic wallet and extra items that wont fit inside the wallet.
  • 6 Drawer Trolley
6 Drawer Trolley to organise each days worksheets and books ready to be used on the day they are needed

Here is how we keep our completed work:

  • 3-ring Lever Arch File
Large file to store all completed work. I also print out the photos I’ve taken and put them in this file to help us remember all the fun we had.
  • Plastic sleeves
Plastic sleeves to store the kids work. Its best to use a 3-ring file as the weight of the paperwork can get very heavy.

 How I plan:

First I gather everything I need


I gather the following items to organise each row: B4FIAR manual, Picture book we are rowing, iPad, Worksheets I’ve printed, Planning Sheet with clipboard & pen.

I’ll read the book to get an idea of the story and themes it covers. They are all such beautiful precious books that the kids and I love. 

Basically I open the manual and write down all the activities I’d like to do on my planning sheet. 


I use the iPad to search my Pinterest related board and write down ideas from here, printing anything I haven’t already done. It’s also great for reserving any books I want to get from the library so they’ll be ready for me to collect before we start. 


At the start of the school year I printed, cutout and laminated all worksheets/printables I wanted to use for all the books we were going to row which has saved me a heap of time each time I plan a row. 

Lots of Printables/Worksheets can be found on the following websites:


All the ideas I write in the planning sheet side are then transferred to the Week-at-Glance side according to what I’d like to cover each day eg. 

  • Monday – Bible 
  • Tuesday – Math 
  • Wednesday – Language Arts
  • Thursday – Science/Geography
  • Friday – Art/Cooking

It’s then a matter of just slipping each day’s printables into my 6-drawer trolley along with any additional library books or activities we will do and I’m set for the week. 

So that’s how I plan and organise our ‘rows’ hope it’s been helpful. 

Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like more information or I’ve missed something. 

Curriculum 2015 (Part 1 of 3) – Circle Time & Group Learning

This is the first post detailing the curriculum we have used this year in our schooling. The next two posts to follow will detail what we have used for Kindy and First Grade. 

Each morning we start of together as a group in some learning activities. This time is called “Circle Time”. For those of you not familiar with the concept you can find more information on the Preschoolers and Peace site. The ebook they sell is only $4.99 and is a great help to get your Circle time planned and provides lots of ideas for what to cover. 

Here is our normal Circle time structure:


We’ll normally read a few pages of our bible to start. 


We then move into a time of prayer praying for our own family, our sponsor children, some missionaries we support, any families we know who are sick, in need of prayer and/or who need salvation. 


This character curriculum has lots of wonderful ideas and activities to introduce the concepts of each character quality simply for young children to understand. It’s designed to be used each day for 5 days and covers the definition, a memory verse, the ‘I wills’, a simple prayer, and activities and lessons to reinforce the application in real life. 

Here are some sample pages:

 It really is an open and go structure making it easy to implement without any prep (besides gathering a few basic supplies when doing the lessons) as per below:

You can purchase the ebook here. I printed mine out and spiral bound it at Officeworks which makes it easier to use. 


Next we update our calendar and weather chart and the 2 oldest complete their calendar notebooks:

The calendar chart printable and calendar notebook are from Our Aussie Homeschool. 


On a Thursday the boys draw a picture in their scrapbook journal and then dictate a sentence on what they’ve drawn. Eventually they will copy the sentence and then we will progress to them writing it all by themselves. 


On Friday we will normally read a chapter from the Wonderland of Nature book, get outside to explore and complete a page from the notebooking journal that goes with it. It really is a beautiful book with each chapter detailing an aspect of nature to study but is written in a way that draws you into a story about Nuri and her son, Chris and daughter, Tess exploring and learning about nature together. It contains lots of facts and diagrams but introduces it in a gentle manner. Very easy to understand for young children. (Recommended by Charlotte Mason followers) 

Other times we might take a photo of an insect the kids have found print it out and put in their journal. 



Some weeks we will stray from this plan and just focussing on rowing a book from our Before Five in a Row manual but that is for another post. 😊


I neglected to mention I also read some of the books/poetry recommended by Ambleside Online Year 1 while the kids are completing their work.  I might also cover this in another post as this one is getting long. 😳

Next up we will talk about the curriculum we use for our Kindy boy.