Some thoughts we’d love to share with those just starting out on their homeschooling or Five in a Row journey. Less is more in your homeschool.
We’re so glad you’ve found Five in a Row and are considering it, getting started on the adventure, or continuing to use it to make amazing memories with your kids and inspire learning through great books!
First and foremost … remember less is more in your homeschool. Let me say that again, less = more! Did you know that it takes almost 400 repetitions of something for a child to create a new synapse or “learn” it? Unless (here’s the easy button), unless it is done through play. Guess how many repetitions it takes through play? 10 to 12!!!
One of the reasons that Five in a Row (and Before, More Before and Beyond) are so effective when it comes to retention in children is because less is more in your homeschool and it utilizes discussion and play-based learning.
There’s a huge difference between a 2nd-grade social studies worksheet that shows a line art illustration of the Eiffel Tower and mentions that it is located in Paris, France versus reading a story about twelve little girls in two straight lines and pointing out the illustration of the Eiffel Tower. Then discussing that the Eiffel tower is in a city named Paris, in the country of France. Running to a world map to find Paris, France … looking at how it’s all the way across the Atlantic ocean (if you’re in North America) placing a Story Disk of the Eiffel Tower on Paris, France on the map, and then coloring in the flag of France together while eating a croissant. Honestly, it takes the same 5-10 minutes to do these things that it would take to fill out that social studies worksheet.
Tomorrow when you read the story, wait for them to jump at the chance to point out the Eiffel Tower illustration and run show you where Paris, France is on the map again. Or, check it out on the globe together on this reading. Have your child create their own Eiffel Tower from LEGO bricks or craft sticks, blocks, cookies, or on Minecraft, playdough, paint a picture … anything works for this!
The lesson about Paris, France, and placing the story disk on the world map is all spelled out for you to follow in the manual … the other ideas are simple play-based ideas that you can implement with any lesson using things you have in your home. That is simply one example of less is more in your homeschool.
The point is, use the manual and then if you plan to add anything (besides the recommended math and phonics program) … add play! That’s it. Less is more.
Give their brains space to learn what they’ve been presented with through play. The learning will happen so much faster … 10-12 times versus 400. They’ll come back excited to learn each day if we don’t overload them and kill the curiosity. Always leave them interested and wanting a little more!
Are you starting to see why I say less is more in your homeschool?
Kids today are literally getting prescriptions from doctors for “play.” Hopefully, as homeschoolers, your children have a bit more free time and playtime than kids that are in the classroom 8 hours a day and then in extracurricular on evenings and weekends. Even then, how often do we feel the pressure to “teach” more and play less? And, if you are counting hours … that playtime that your kids are re-enacting the story you’ve read or pretending they’re on an adventure to Paris, France to see the Eiffel Tower – those hours can absolutely count towards geography and language arts (acting out stories is practicing narration and storytelling which are both early literacy skills that will form a foundation for their essays and fiction writing later on)!
Hopefully, if you’re feeling the pressure this will ease your mind and help you have faith in Five in a Row. It’s been tested and proved to provide a wonderful discussion, interest and play-based learning opportunity that will not only be “enough” (more than enough) for now, but will instill a love of learning that will be with your child throughout their lives and benefit them in their future studies, careers, and lives.
For your veteran homeschoolers, share with us. Do you have an example of less is more in your homeschooling?
We started Paul Revere’s Ride on the Monday after 4th of July. So the idea of independence was fresh on my oldest kid’s mind. What is independence? It is being able to do something on your own, without help or support. So we finished reading our story had some discussion and then we made Johnny cakes (out of a presidential/white house cookbook I picked up at an antique store years ago) and talked about what kind of food you might pack in saddle bags. We added summer sausage to our Johnny cakes. (Don’t judge. It was for learning purposes! Lol!) On Friday, when I asked about breakfast they ran to their folders and got out the Johnny cake recipe. Kylee read the recipe and Jake followed her instructions. They poured it into the pan and I put it in the oven. “Mom, did we do that independently?” Yes!!!!! Knowledge acquired AND breakfast made!!
We love hearing stories like this! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like they applied the lesson to themselves…what more could you ask for? Well, breakfast is an awesome added benefit.
My son used a bug book we had checked out from the library to figure out what kind of bug was on a movie box cover. My only part in this was to see a cool book on the library website and check it out.
Great job following his lead And helping him access information to investigate an interest!
This is a wonderful post that I have read more than once and shared with a friend. As a new homeschool parent I was falling into the trap of thinking our first year had to be very formal and that I had to get all the subjects covered on their own. Well after reading your blog and listening to Steve speak (thanks to your audio files for sale) I have had a huge change in my mindset. I feel blessed to have found your products and look forward to the many years of using your manuals to enjoy learning right along with my son.
Andrea, we’re so glad you found Five in a Row and are enjoying the inspired learning opportunities through great stories that it provides. Starting with a foundation of loving learning is a wonderful place to be.
I graduated my last kid in 2016, but we started using FIAR back in 2000. Madeline was a very early memory of this style of learning.
I still recommend FIAR when I hear someone is considering homeschooling. It is such a teacher-friendly curriculum.
Lois, we love hearing these stories! Thanks for recommending FIAR to future rowers. 🙂