Review: Further Up and Further In

For the past month my children and I have been listening to Focus on the Family's Radio Theater Program of the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. We have a 40 minute drive into town everyday, and this program has made that drive so much more pleasant. Not only do the kids enjoy it, but since Narnia is my all time favorite children's series, I have been having a great time too. Once we have finished listening to the entire series (we are on the Last Battle), my plan is to pull out my battered copies of the books and begin reading them to the children. Cassie is looking forward to comparing the books to the CD's to see how similar they are.

To compliment this, I also plan on using a curriculum I bought several years ago: Further Up and Further In, or FUFI as many call it. Written by Diane Pendergraft, FUFI is a literature based unit study utilizing C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia.

The study begins with the Magician's Nephew. Though C.S. Lewis did not write this book until he was well into the Narnia series, since it deals with the beginnings of the comings and goings between our world and Narnia, it is usually considered the first in the series. Planning guides are provided covering about 4 chapters per book, giving you an overview of what you need to gather to do this unit study. Thus, each book will have about 4-5 planning guides, depending on the chapters in each book. After the planning guides, you are given worksheets that can be copied for your children, and then the study guide for the chapters.

For each chapter, you are given a vocabulary list, followed by the assignments. As this is a unit study, an attempt is made to cover all areas of instruction. You are given activities that cover history, art, science, bible, English, reading comprehension, critical thinking and field trips. Not every chapter will cover all subjects. Math is the only subject you would need to supplement if you chose to use FUFI as your entire curriculum for the year.

What I like about FUFI is that you can pick and chose what assignments you do based on your child's learning level. Older children can be challenged, whereas younger children can just enjoy the wonders of this marvelous tale. It is easily adaptable for teaching multiple ages.

There is a wonderful appendix that includes a list of subjects covered, alphabetized for easy reference; recipes for each book (including oatcakes, which look very similar to something my Granny used to make); activities; further resources and recommended books to read; and an answer key to the various assignments.

As unschoolers I do not plan on following the curriculum as strictly as other homeschoolers may. I will pick and chose the assignments that I know will interest my children and allow them to follow the rabbit trails that may occur.

Further information on FUFI can be found at Cadron Creek's website.