Five in a Row: A Week in Our Homeschool

by | Jul 12, 2020 | Homeschool, Our Homeschool | 2 comments

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We decided to incorporate a literature-based, unit studies homeschool curriculum called, Five in a Row, to our homeschool this year.

I am so excited to start this curriculum.

What I really appreciate about Five in a Row after reviewing the manual and going through a few lessons with my kids:

  • It is not boring.
  • Works for those who have multiple kids with different age range. My kids are 5 and 7 and this works wonderfully.
  • The kids look forward to it everyday because it’s not the same subject day after day.
  • Prep for me was very minimal. It took maybe 15 minutes each day before the kids woke up and my prep was done.

BOTH my kids enjoyed homeschool this week, they did not complain that they have to do some mundane homeschool work.

My goal is that they cultivate the joy of learning, so Five in a Row is already looking very promising! 😀

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo Homeschool


First, the kids packed their suitcases and we pretended to “fly” to Venice, Italy. 😉

They got their “airplane” snacks.

Then, we got comfy on our big Yogibo and read Papa Piccolo together.

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo

We talked about the canals in Venice and how people travel by foot or the gondola.

We watched these two short videos.

1. Gondola Ride in Venice

2. Gondola Ride and Serenade

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo
Five in a Row Papa Piccolo

I mentioned about the architecture and certain landmarks in Venice like St. Mark’s Square, but not much interest was shown so we moved on.

We looked for Italy on the map and colored the flag of Italy.

I played some Italian music in the background while they colored.

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo Italy
Five in a Row Papa Piccolo Italy Flag

We learned about Marco Polo and I used this audio online on Marco Polo since I forgot to check out a book from the library on it.

Here they learned about his travels to China, the silk road, trade, and Kublai Khan.

Then, we played Marco Polo, except not in a pool, but our living room!

They noticed that some of the words were a different language.

Ellie said she remembers how to say grazie, which means thank you in Italian, from something she had watched previously.

Micah wanted to practice some Italian on Drops (a language learning app) and so they did for about 10 minutes or so.

Drops Language Learning App
Drops Language Learning App

Micah requested spaghetti for dinner, so that’s what we had.

Later in the evening, they asked to read Papa Piccolo again and so we did.

This time, Micah noticed some italicized words and asked why is it like that.

So, we talked about word fonts and I explained that tomorrow we will learn more (since it’ll be language arts).

We also talked more about fatherhood and adoption. How it was not a mama cat that adopted the kittens, but rather a papa cat.

They commented how sad that the kittens have no mama, but were glad that Piccolo decided to care for the kittens.

Easy and gentle homeschool curriculum


We read Papa Piccolo again.

We read Aesop’s fable, The Fox and the Sour Grapes. We talked about the meaning of this fable and I asked if they can recall the part where Piccolo did the same thing as the fox in Aesop’s fable.

I wrote the vocabulary words in Micah’s notebook and make sure we talk about those specific words when we are reading.

I don’t make him memorize or spell the words. He is not there yet, but I just want him to understand the meaning (or definition) of those words.

We played charades game where they acted out some of the action words like worried, perched, awoke.

Five in a Row Notebook
Five in a Row Notebook

Ellie worked on a couple pages in her Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer Course Book.

The Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer
The Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer
The Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer Sample

Micah also worked on The Good and the Beautiful for additional language arts. Less tears for spelling now, yay!

You can get the entire Level One Language Arts Course Book FOR FREE here.

We ended up purchasing it because I didn’t want to print and bind the whole book.

The Good and the Beautiful Level 1 Sample

We had some “Italian” snacks and sodas for our afternoon snack thanks to Trader Joe’s!

We watched a short video of last year’s Regatta in Venice that someone recorded and posted on YouTube while eating our snacks.

In the evening, we read Fancy Nancy and Nate the Great.

Fancy Nancy is a VERY good book for learning vocabularies. Great for introducing new words to little ones, like Ellie. 😊

Nate the Great is a nice, short detective chapter book that Micah enjoys.


Today, we read Papa Piccolo again.

We focused on the illustration of the book.

We talked about live eyes, illusion of speed, and how the artist used yellow for light.

We watched the Primary Colors Song. They absolutely LOVED this song.

Then, we learned about Complementary Colors.

For Micah, since he is a little more advanced than Ellie, he watched another video of Color Theory Basics, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

After that, we painted!

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo
Five in a Row Papa Piccolo


We read Papa Piccolo. Again. Yes, again.

We used some math cube links and pretended they were shoes.

We counted the pairs of shoes in the store where Piccolo asked Sophia to take care of the kittens.

We talked about groups of two’s and pairs of things like scissors, pants, and shoes.

Math Cube Links

Micah also worked on a lesson in his Math Mammoth curriculum.

Math Mammoth level 2
Math Mammoth Grade 2A Sample

Ellie and I read this fun Eric Carle One, Two, Three math booklet that I bought a long time ago from Costco. 

Eric Carle quiz it pen one, two, three book

She also asked to do some Mind Benders.

I really like the Mind Benders series from The Critical Thinking Company, check it out!

Mind Benders PreK-K
Critical thinking for kindergartners

If you are interested, here is a post I wrote on my top fav. 8 math curriculum.


We read Papa Piccolo.

For science today, we looked up the different types and breeds of cats.

We identified what kind of cat Papa Piccolo was, and the other cats in the book as well. This was really fun.

We discussed the difference between purebred and mixed cats.

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo Cats
Five in a Row Papa Piccolo Cats

We also touched a little bit on peripheral vision, which was mentioned in the book part of the story when Papa Piccolo “saw something out of the corner of his eye.”

We did some demonstration of what peripheral vision means by having them look straight ahead and then used a stuffed animal and move it from behind their heads toward the front.

Five in a Row science


We ended our exciting journey to Italy by making lasagna and enjoyed it by eating with our neighbors.

Five in a Row Papa Piccolo

The kids also have piano lessons once a week and practice 6x/week.

We like My Bible First for devotion. In fact, it was these lessons that helped Micah take off with reading last year. 

They also stay pretty active by building obstacle courses, playing made-up games, chess and other board games.

We usually go for a walk or the playground in the evenings since it’s been pretty hot here in Illinois during the day right now.

Unfortunately, no sports this summer due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into what we do in our homeschool!

Let me know in the comment section below if you’d like to see more posts or even videos (if I can figure out how to edit and upload!) on how we homeschool.

Also, for those of you who are homeschooling, which curricula are you using for your homeschool this year?

Please let me know in the comment section below! I’m curious!

Shirley Nozawa

Shirley Nozawa

Homeschooling mom of 2

Hi! Welcome to my blog! I am so glad you are here. I share our homeschooling journey, family routines and finances, and random motherhood ramblings.

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  1. Zobeyda Noles

    I’ve never heard of 5 in a row. It sounds like a great curriculum. Love the way you integrated all subjects as they continued learning about Italy. Amazing that it only takes you 15 mins to prepare (I’m sure it’s uninterrupted time😊) Finally, I love that you took the time to play Italian music in the background and cook Italian food. Best way to learn is using all your senses. You have inspired me, Shirley!

    • Shirley

      Thank you for reading, Zobe! Yes, it is uninterrupted prep time, 15 minutes each morning! I agree that uses all our senses to learn is one of the best ways to learn. Hope you check them out!



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