Thank you ALL for the input so far; don't hesitate to keep it coming! I so much appreciate hearing different points to ponder. You all are so encouraging and direct; I really appreciate it.
Dd has always been interested in letters and words. She had been given an electronic phonics toy and she knew some letters and sounds when she was 2 ("m" and "k", specifically). We read a LOT, as many do. Since she was around 2, she also likes to "rhyme" things. She'll say "let's rhyme 'cat'" and we'll take turns naming rhyming things, whether they're real or not (i.e. "bat" "sat" "blat" "quat" "rat" "yat"). She also has had since her 3rd birthday a different electronic phonics toy that says letters and sounds and encourages the child to make 3 letter words (she plays with this occasionally).
It's so funny, too, since I taught kindergarten in Christian school for a couple of years. My "soapbox" there was not having kindergarten graduation since so many children aren't quite ready for school, etc. (we discontinued kindergarten graduation while I taught there; we had a kindergarten program instead). I stressed the importance of waiting on the child for formal education. Now, I need to remember that part of my "teacher" platform. :-)
Here's what I've gleaned so far from your posts:
Crystal: **Keep reading at age level. Age appropriate books. *I never told her that she was too old for any book. Too young, yes. Too old --- no.
**Keep in group classes with her age.
I love the age level thing. I will remember that! Age level, not ability. Age appropriate! Dd does the age-level thing with Sunday School and AWANA, as well. She was slow to potty train, though; she didn't want to leave her 2-yr-old Sunday School class to move up to the 3-year-olds. 3's and 4's are combined and most of her friends are 6 mo-1 yr older than she.
MJ in IL:**Don't let learning to read be the focus of her "school-time."**
As you guessed, dd definitely does NOT have the fine motor skills necessary for much writing at this point. She'll try a bit on her own, but we're pretty much still at "KIM" and "MOM" :-)
Connie:**...I would consider getting reading material about the developmental process of children. ... We would do ourselves and our children a great service to understand how young children think and conceptualize. We make assumptions about what they can do and because we want superior children we miss out on who they really are because of our preset ideas.**
I don't want to push, and I don't want to hold her back where I shouldn't. I really want her to be the girl God wants her to be.
Mom2MnS**I want to offer you another suggestion, too. Maybe consider waiting on MFWK until January when she is 4.5 and just continuing over the summer and fall with reading as she is interested. You could do school through play and focus on coloring and motor skills. That way, she will be a little more ready for the writing part of K, and you still will have 1.5 yrs to do K. ... my dd has older cousins who school, so she was really asking to begin and ready at 3.5! Needless to say this thrilled me, but we waited until 4.5 to begin. It was a good choice for us. **
We really will play it by ear. If the K materials are too much, we'll adapt. I won't feel bound by any schedule at her young stage of development. She's definitely asking to "do school," but I am so looking forward to art and music and logic; the tiny amount of paperwork, I think she'll enjoy (except maybe not the handwriting). I'm not going to push it; I don't want her to dislike "school."
Ariasarias:**Don't let her miss out on age-appropriate things... [do] more puzzles, played with playdough more, made arts and crafts, cut, glued, etc.
**My main tip is to pray and ask God. He will show you what is needed for your dd.
***..."keep them young for as long as you can."
Ours is sort of a different situation. She's our only baby (we got our son, now 22, as a foster child at age 5 and adopted him at age 9, homeschooled him for 5 years); dd was born after 22 years of marriage, the week before ds graduated from high school. So I'm a 47 year old Mom learning this baby to toddler to preschooler thing for the first time. :-) After waiting so long for a baby, I REALLY don't want her to grow up too fast!
Lucy:**I think just keeping it age appropriate and remembering that just because children are bright does not mean they need more structured schooling.**
Excellent. I'm so glad I came across Charlotte Mason and MFW again, in time for dd!
Kellybell:Re: Other's expectations **I am homeschooling my four. And, I want them to do as well as they can without wearing them out. I want to challenge them but not so hard that they fail often.**
Balance -- such a simple idea, but sometimes so hard to achieve!
**Actually, I think MFW has helped me from overeducating my four dc. The TMs give me a decent amount of work for a day. I look at the grid or the list and see what a day's worth of work is...But, I know that's a decent day's work listed in the TMs. **
Great point. I will consciously resist the temptation to "do more" just because we can...
HSmommi2mine:**I think it is very easy to push our oldest child too much. I also think it is terrible to keep a child back simply due to age... With one so young I would never do school unless they wanted to but I also would be careful not to hold on to my ideas of where she "should" be in her education. **While there is every possibility she may even out with her age mates in the next few years it wouldn't hurt to educate yourself about teaching gifted children. ...even if she isn't technically gifted you will want to keep her stimulated and interested. I would encourage you to follow her lead. ... You don't want her to get frustrated by school being either to easy or to hard.
Excellent points. This mom stuff can be pretty tough! :-) I need to do more reading!
**My question for you is why/ how did she learn to read? Did you initiate teaching her to read, or did she?
As I stated earlier, we just had things available, but we've never sat down to "learn to read" or anything. The way I discovered that she could read was that I was packing up things to move (we're moving across town in 1-2 weeks) and I came across the "Bob Books". She saw them and took book 1 and read it, then book 2. She read 12 of them in 2 days. She reads bits here and there; I don't press her. She likes sounding out words maybe 20% of the time, but prefers to make up the story most of the time. It's very funny to listen to her...
Well, I've gone so long here, I need to sign off. Looks like I should have entered chapter headings or something! Thanks again for all this "meat" -- there's much to digest!
I am confident that we are in the place God has for us with MFW and with you all here.
MFW 1st (dd)