Switching Back to Five in a Row

I guess you could say there have been some growing pains around here for the past 2-3 months.  I went back and forth all summer long, thinking and debating, purchasing all sorts of new curriculum for various subjects and then suffering very quickly from buyer’s remorse.  Back in May, I had grown weary from planning our “rows”, combined with a few other life changes that were happening and I thought maybe I needed a change.

I’ve been drooling over the curriculum at Build Your Library for about the past year, but was I ready for a switch from my beloved Five in a Row?  We’ve done so many great things over the last 2 1/2 years with Five in a Row, but it didn’t seem like the boys actually remembered many of the details of our rows, which was discouraging.  Finally, a few weeks ago I decided we’d just go for the switch to Build Your Library and jump right in.  I didn’t think they were ready to start learning history yet, but I figured a year’s worth of focused World Geography would be a good thing.  That’s when I published this post, detailing our curriculum plans for the upcoming year (Oh, was that only 7 days ago?!).  And we got started that week (last week).

It became apparent pretty quickly that the style of learning that involved a pre-printed daily schedule wasn’t going to work for us…at least not for now.  My type-A perfectionist personality became obsessed with focusing on checking off all of the bullet-points every day, and I was sucking the joy out of our learning.  We pressed through the week and did ok, but I felt that something was missing.  I missed Five in a Row!  I realize now that it is a great fit for me, because I am free to do as much as I want without the pressure of a schedule.  (Does anybody have whiplash yet?!)

And I can also see how much my boys have benefited from the style of learning that is multi-dimensional and thoughtful.  They may not remember the details, but they have had rich experiences and become passionate about things that they wouldn’t have otherwise thought twice about.  The fact that they don’t remember many of the details has more to do with the ages they were than with the curriculum itself.  Now that we are back to rowing again and they are older (6 and 8 now versus 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 when we started), they are retaining so much more than they did in the past.  In fact, I’m planning to hold off on officially starting Barrett and Dalton with Five in a Row until they are each 6 years old.

Anywho, that is my long-winded way of saying that we are going back to Five in a Row!  I’m going to try to stick with one week per row, though, rather than spreading them out for almost a month each…and keep it more simple than I’ve done it in the past.  No Pinterest.  Just the manual, the ideas in my head, and a few of the resources from Homeschoolshare.  I’ve got my planning down to a science now (I’ll share more about that soon).


In addition to rowing titles that coordinate with the seasons and/or activities we have going on, I’m planning to finish up Volume 1 this year, and maybe Volume 3 as well.

I’m not going to completely write off Build Your Library, though.  We’ll probably try again in a few years when the boys are older and are ready to study history more in-depth…around age 10 or so.  Then they can just follow their own schedules themselves.  Ha!  😉


  1. Amy says:

    Hello! I love your blog posts about Five in a Row! I was wondering if you could explain how you organize the units? I love the picture of your bookshelves with the folder of materials for each.

    • J@cque says:

      Yes, Amy, I’m planning on doing some posts and/or videos about how I organize Five in a Row and how I plan our rows. Thank you for stopping by and saying hi!

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