True Leadership



Who surrounds you?  Who are your friends, advisers and counselors?  Who have you brought in to your camp?

The head of a company, the Head of State, the head of the family, the head of the church; those in leadership were not born knowing everything.  They learned as they were growing.  One of the most important things I think they learned is that they don’t have to know everything, they just need to know what resources to have at their fingertips and how to use them.  They assemble any combination of books, DVD’s, CD-Rom’s, the brains (with bodies attached, of course) of those that do know, and more, to tap into and draw from as needed.

Parenting young children can be daunting, but honestly, there are a few people that have done it before and done it well.  If we are wise, we are willing to learn from them.

Five in a Row, for ages 4 – 8, by Jane Claire Lambert and her treasury for 2 – 4 years old, Before Five in a Row, is an exceptional guide and resource to have on hand, as you lead your child on the path before academics.



The basic, original plan of Five in a Row, is to have the parent and child read the same book for five days, in a row.  Lessons are centered around the book that is chosen for the week.

Before Five in a Row is similar in layout, but different.  There are 24 childrens stories listed in the Table of Contents and activities are centered around each of these.  The difference is that B4FIAR is not encouraging you to mold scholars between the ages of 2 and 4.   It is their goal to teach parents, building their confidence to notice and take advantage of teachable moments with their children.  They want you to know that “the most important thing to remember with Before Five in a Row is that learning in the years 2 – 4 takes place in PLAY!  So, all the activities in B4FIAR are play-based.”  They want you to recognize that you can create an atmosphere that prompts the desire to learn, in a young child; then, they give you the tools to lay the foundation that will serve your child throughout his life.

Classics and family favorites, many that you may already have in your home, or that are readily available at your local library, are used to introduce your child to the wonderful world of books.


  • Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?
  • Yellow Ball
  • My Blue Boat
  • The Little Rabbit
  • Ask Mr. Bear
  • Blueberries For Sal
  • Goodnight Moon
  • The Big Green Pocketbook
  • The Runaway Bunny
  • The ABC Bunny
  • If Jesus Came to My House
  • Caps for Sale
  • The Carrot Seed
  • The Snowy Day
  • The Quiet Way Home
  • Play With Me
  • Prayer for a Child
  • I Am an Artist
  • Angus Lost
  • Katy No-Pocket
  • We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
  • The Red Carpet
  • Corduroy
  • Jenny’s Surprise Summer


We were able to get seven of the books, right off the shelves of our library, the first day we looked for them.  Six more were checked out and we could have requested most of the others from surrounding counties.  So, besides the initial investment of $35 when purchased through Rainbow Resource, there is no additional cost to using B4FIAR.


One of the books that we picked up was If Jesus Came to My House, by Joan Gale Thomas.  This book was written in 1951.  remember this book as a child, my older children remember me reading it to them and my younger ones were excited to read it together.  We were talking about it on the way home from the library.  Questions:  Did anyone remember the book, the story, the illustrations?  Comments:  Isn’t it amazing how God can weave a thread of continuity through siblings that range in age as far as 25 years apart.  I look for these opportunities to keep them all connected to each other, and this one never crossed my mind!  Our discussion, centered around this children’s book is exactly what Before Five in a Row is about.  Using a story and then creating activities and discussions to shed light on the bigger world around them, kindling their interest and building an intimate connection between you, the reader, and your child.  With B4FIAR, the creating has already been done for you.

Each lesson gives you a brief summary of your chosen book.  If Jesus Came to My House is summarized as “an imaginary visit from a most special visitor brings out the best in the host and teaches him how to care for the people around him.”

The author of B4FAIR, Jane Claire Lambert, then guides you in time spent with your child. 

There is a Bible heading, with verses and their references that you can tie into the story. 

Sciencenot teaching how shadows occur, but having fun learning to make hand shadows.  Discussing how “over-size shadows can sometimes be quite frightening.”  (The little boy in the story was afraid of the shadows in the hall.) 

Imagining and Poetry – “Find the picture where the boy points out his favorite places in the house.”  Where are your child’s favorite places to pretend.  Convert cardboard boxes into special places of adventure and fun. 

Hospitality – reinforcing manners, etiquette, acceptable social behavior.  We had a tea party and practiced table manners.

Art – browse through each illustration.  In this book, the illustrations are done in pen and ink.  Who or what might you find on every page or not?  How do the pictures make you feel?  We drew a picture of a tea cup and saucer, a bouquet of flowers and a stack of toy blocks.  Then, we colored them while we discussed the boy in the story.  Among other things he imagined, he wanted to share a cup of tea with Jesus “and we would be as happy and as friendly as can be.”  He wanted Jesus’ blessing on his flower garden and wanted to “pick a bunch of all the best for him to take away,” and he wanted him to play with his nicest toys.  He knew he couldn’t do these things with Jesus, but he could share a cup of friendship with another, cheer someone “who’s old or ill or sad,”  with a hand-picked bouquet of flowers and “share with Jesus the nicest of my toys by lending them or giving them to poorer girls and boys.”  The time we spent together reinforced the lessons I wanted them to retain.

Fears – Mrs. Lambert says, “Just letting a child know that fear is a feeling that everyone experiences takes away some of its sting.”

Music – we often remember things better when they are tied to a song.  What song do you think of after you read this book, together?  Sing with your child often.

You can read every story and use every suggested activity or not.  Topics cover:  Language Arts  ~  Literature ~  Sayings  ~  Health  ~  Math  ~  Vocabulary  ~  Loving Relationships  ~  Shapes  ~  Games to Play  ~  Bible  ~  Science  ~  Recognizing patterns  ~  Details  ~  Order  ~  Art  ~  Maturity  ~  Memories  ~  Emotions  ~  Details  ~  Animals  ~  Silhouette  ~  Numbers  ~  Mothers  ~  Social Studies  ~  Kindness and Gratitude  ~  Comprehension ~  Observation  ~  Making Decisions and More.  These are opportunities for you to discover what can and should come before academics to make your child a life-long learner.

There are more than 140 pages in Before Five in a Row, and the last 40 or so are devoted to an additional “Parent’s Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.”  This is your place to find further inspiration and encouragement, to spark your child’s curiosity and imagination and confidently lay that early foundation in their education and relationships.

  • Activities for Reading Readiness [Being Together Talking and Listening]  More than 20 activities.
  • Coordination [Large Motor (Muscle) Control]   Over a dozen activities.
  • Development of Small Motor (Muscle) Control   Half a dozen suggested activities.
  • Bath Time, In the Kitchen, At the Store, and Toys   40  fun ideas.
  • Visual Arts, The Literary Arts, and The Performing Arts
  • and Learning to See Through Children’s Eyes  –  Books & music selections “that will help you, as a parent to see life from the vulnerable vantage point of a child.”


“The stories and activities included in Before Five in a Row are carefully chosen so that your child will have plenty of time to spend with you.  Time to grow, and laugh, and love.  Time for you to listen to him and be understanding.  Plenty of time for you to help color his childhood years golden!”  ~Jane Claire Lambert


 Visit the website for Five in a Row, and see how they’ve grown to include Beyond Five in a Row, for ages 8 – 12, Above & Beyond Five in a Row, aimed at students ages 12 – 14 years of age, and other outstanding resources.

Bring your questions to The FIAR Forums


Read additional reviews of Before Five in a Row by my TOS crew mates at –


I think this book is a treasure for generations.



This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


*Contents and photographs of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.

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Categories : homeschool, Reading, reviews, TOS


  1. LaRee says:

    Learning, as parents, to spend time with our children and embrace learning moments as they come is such an important skill! What a blessing to teach it to parents when children are so young!

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