Academics - Do I add more if K is easy or child doesn't want to stop?!

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum

Re: Just not sure. . .

Unread post by cbollin »

another vote for move to 1st when he's finished kindy year. Or maybe a few weeks off of school will be nice too.

remember the 5 year cycle programs are not grade related and can be repeated in grades 7-8. so don't worry on the graduation part of it. too far off to be a concern.
You never know how 1st will go. It might all level out soon.

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Re: Just not sure. . .

Unread post by samandsawyersmom »

Thank You Ladies!!

I think I will just continue on into !st and just will have to remember. . . .Slow and Steady wins the race! LOL! Thanks Again! :-)
Wife to my wonderful husband 8yrs
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2011 K
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Re: Just not sure. . .

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

I'm just now reading this thread, but I would second everyone else's advice!

Honestly, count your blessings that your child is discovering so many of these great things on his own! I have a friend whose son is 10, and he's reading on about a 1st grade level.

Our situation was similar to yours. DD was reading ahead of what was covered in the 1st grade reading plan, but we went ahead and did it anyway. The results I saw were that dd was able to further increase her confidence as a learner by getting another successful year under her belt, she was able to reinforce those phonics rules so they are really ingrained, and she was able to spend more time on other things like learning to cook and crochet. Also, by going through the phonics lessons the way Marie teaches them, her spelling was helped tremendously. We now use AAS, and many of the rules we learned in Level 1 were rules she had already learned through MFW 1st grade.

If you find that the reading lessons take all of 5 minutes, then that just gives you that much more time to play the math games scheduled into 1st and do the science experiments and just enjoy your children while they're young! They grow up way too fast!
Jennifer, mom to:
Hannah, 8. Finished and loved K, 1st, & Adventures. Currently loving ECC.
Millie, 5. Finished Pre-K and K "lite." Currently playing her way through K "for real."
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Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by lea_lpz »

bethinga wrote:Not trying to sound braggy here, but both of my kids are very bright and advanced for their ages verbally, and ask all kinds of questions that are more than most kids their age can handle. That being said, I have a desire and belief that it's best to still keep things very simple, even while catering to their interests, so as not to disrupt that sweet, carefree phase of early childhood. Yet, even though I feel this way, I keep finding myself "adding on" to the K curriculum and making things more "in depth". Such as in the Apple Unit, I'm going a little more in depth about the Fruits of the Spirit, and Jesus' role as the Vine, than the curriculum proposes. Not grown-uppy kind of in depth, but I made pictures to illustrate the more abstract concepts, in a more literal way, so their age can understand.

Can you tell me, from your experience, some of the benefits to sticking with the simple presentation that's suggested, and maybe sway me from getting too "in depth", if you have done so and wished you hadn't? Especially with the Biblical concepts, I find it hard to simply read it as is, and not add on to make the abstract more literal. But, it ends up being more in depth and more involved on the spiritual end than I think the curriculum aims to be. Am I making much sense?'s late! ;)
Oh, you make sense to me because I did the same thing my first unit. There was a suggestion in extra activities for the unit 1 Ss Sun to have the children measure their shadow, and since it sounded fun, especially because my dd love the movie Peter Pan, we did. Ok. Not a big deal right? Fast forward, instead of saying, which shadow was bigger, which was smaller, when does the sun make small shadows, when does it make big ones, etc., I had to use it as an opportunity to introduce fractions by comparing the shadow's size to my dd's size. Sheessh! &) Spent 3 hours on school, my dd was burnt out, turned something fun into something tiring. I posted about it. I got some feed back. One of the things that resonated with me was that, a lot of this gets repeated later. So shadows are studied for instance later on in science at a more in depth level, fractions are covered introduced in Unit 4 Aa Apple, and are covered further through out the year in math worksheets, MFW 1st still does a number chart and calendar, etc.

Do I still add to? Yeah, sometimes. Getting better. Some other tips from other moms included, setting a timer and being done when your done, and not going over the 1 1/2 hour limit if you haven't gotten to a certain activity, just save it for later, maybe afternoon, or maybe a day with a lazy do with no school, or just, throw your hands up and say, oh well! As for going more in depth in the character traits, well, it depends I think on how your children are responding. When you get more detailed about the character traits, are they interested in it and think it is fun? If they do, then I would keep doing it and not worry. Are they starting to zone out, eyes glossing over? Then well, keep it simple. I could see some kids being able to go deeper at 5, learning the actual verse even instead of the simplified version, but, well, probably depends on the kids.
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)

Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by cbollin »

I think there is a difference between doing a little more or extra to concretely teach a concept vs. adding more to the program.

adding a little bit more or a picture or a teaching lesson to help understand what is presented is part of being a teacher. that's a good thing to do in my opinion. nothing to resist if it helps them get the idea.

adding like the previous poster mentioned so that a 5 minute concept ends up with a 3 hour rabbit trail with abstract ideas that haven't been presented.... well.. that's the kind of stuff to try to resist.

I think in analogies. If you're at the buffet line.... you can go back for more.. but need to resist going back for too much. that's what it's like when tutoring your own children.... knowing when to say "this was enough" for this meal...

the Kindy manual for Kangaroo unit had some activities about measuring the distance the roo jumps. Well.. we added on to that by having a big jumping contest. I had my daughter jump as I lifted her and ran with her in the air for the distance, then set her down.

technically that was "adding to the curriculum"... but it wasn't... it was teaching the material to her.

I made a kangaroo coin cup instead of pencil holder.... in kindy the coin cup idea was started the same time as the kangaroo unit..

it's ok to go a little more with your children as the Lord leads. but like was said.... if it's taking the fun out and not really helping to learn more.... set it aside. :)

and I think I made one of those fruit of spirit trees..... it tied in with Leaf.. fruit... nest... and went along with the day 1 activities..
but then again, my little gal got silly.... "If I stay in Jesus.. I will have more Monkeys" and then she'd just start laughing... we never figured it out. but that was 3 years ago. I was sure she had forgotten that.. but no.... I opened the kindy manual and she was reading and of course it was "if I stay in Jesus.... monkeys" and the laughing began all over again...

I think you ok and fine. :)

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Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by lea_lpz »

We did the fruits of the spirit tree as a group with my 8 year old step son, 5 year old and 3 year old. It was a lot of fun. The tree came out really nice! They learned the fruits of the spirit too. My oldest boy would read out loud to the little ones when we did school time. I also talked about Heaven in the nest unit, but we'd been doing that already a lot as my father in law passed away about a month ago and a very good friend of mine and her son died in a car accident 2 months ago. So, more as review! My dd did Cubbies last year, so memorizing the weekly verse is pretty easy for her because she's used to memorizing scripture with the verse, but then, with the MFW verses, she actually knows what the words all mean :) .

And yesterday we finished book day for Unit 5 (we got a little behind). I only did not do all the suggested activities, but the activity where you talk about God giving parents was sweet, and turned out fun. I said, "God takes good care of us by giving us the best parent for you. So God knew you that Mama would be the best Mama for you, and Dada would be the best Mama for you.". After that she would not stop laughing! Mama called Dada a girl. He's gonna change into a Mama!

Going deeper in the Bible, if it's kept simple and fun, seems like the best place to do it!
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)
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Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by bethinga »

Thank you, Ladies. I feel like they're having fun with the extras. I haven't added more to the academics, only to the Bible. It was weighing on me especially between Leaf and Apple to make sure that I'm sure they grasp the concept. Apple seemed to build upon the idea introduced in Leaf. So, it seemed really important to make it as understandable as possible.

I made a poster of a construction paper vine, with leaves, and grapes. I have a fruit jar on the poster where I pull out 3 fruits each day to talk about. It's been fun! They always giggle when I find another fruit in my jar. :)
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
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Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by MelissaB »

bethinga wrote: I made a poster of a construction paper vine, with leaves, and grapes. I have a fruit jar on the poster where I pull out 3 fruits each day to talk about. It's been fun! They always giggle when I find another fruit in my jar. :)
I love that idea! :-)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by gratitude »

bethinga wrote:Can you tell me, from your experience, some of the benefits to sticking with the simple presentation that's suggested, and maybe sway me from getting too "in depth", if you have done so and wished you hadn't? Especially with the Biblical concepts, I find it hard to simply read it as is, and not add on to make the abstract more literal. But, it ends up being more in depth and more involved on the spiritual end than I think the curriculum aims to be. Am I making much sense?'s late! ;)
I think it is important to use the curriculum as a tool to help you as mom teach the children God has entrusted to you.

I often find myself reading extra books, or adding more information, or adding more depth to curriculum. It doesn't mean the curriculum isn't 'full' enough or 'enough', since the curriculum is. Mare has done a beautiful job putting together a wonderful curriculum. It is then up to us as teachers though to make it work in our homes, and this will be a little different in each home just as it would be a little differently done in each classroom with individual teachers.

You know best where your children's knowledge level is and in some areas they may be ready for a little more than is in a curriculum. In other areas they may be not quite ready, and then it is time to pull back a little. Does this make sense? For example, when I used Sonlight Core A for my oldest for Kindergarten I took out 4 read aloud books that I knew he wasn't ready to hear. Another example would be for ADV last year I added a lot of history to it because my son was interested in American History and wanted more depth than ADV was doing for the year. I also added quite a bit to the Bible in ADV in terms of discussion and explanation and even some additional scriptures here and there to further explain the names of Jesus that we were doing.

It sounds like you are doing a phenomenal job teaching your children. Keep going & enjoying it so much! :-)
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Re: Resisting the temptation to "add on" to the K curriculum

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I think it is fine to add elements to the Bible portion that you believe will either help the students grasp it more fully or go deeper if they're ready. The Leaf unit was a great one for that. My daughter (a very abstract thinker) immediately knew that the leaf would die when plucked, and got the analogy completely... even relating the leaf to an atheist uncle without my prompting. We went far beyond what was written in the K manual (1st edition) to talk about why her uncle and others reject God, how those who say there is no God are "fools," and more. It was a great discussion followed by a sincere time of prayer for the lost. But I had gone deeper than the manual suggested. Much deeper. ;) I'm glad I did, because it was an important lesson for her at that time.

But, if she had not been getting it, or had not understood or connected how her uncle was like the rebellious leaf, and I had pushed, and dragged it out, and made it an issue... that would have been the wrong thing to do.

I'm sure that wise parents who allow the Holy Spirit to guide them will be able to discern the difference! Since you are asking about it here, I suspect you are a wise parent following discernment, and there can be no harm in what you are doing. As long as you know when to stop if it is just going over their heads.

I have taught the 4 and 5 year old pre-K class at my church for a few years. It is amazing how different the children are in their ability to grasp abstract concepts! Here is an example of what we are discussing here:

Group Number 1, July 2011: A bright group of children, very talkative, quite mature. My daughter was in this group. The lesson was about Peter being freed from prison. I took the lesson much farther than was suggested in the curriculum, and that group of children soaked it up like eager little sponges. We talked about the persecuted church, why people would hate Christians, and what we could do to help those imprisoned. We looked at pictures of and prayed together for Asia Bibi, a woman who'd been imprisoned for her faith and who wouldn't denounce Christ in order to be set free. They asked great questions and uttered heartfelt prayers. It was an awesome time! The children really got it, and I was so glad I had gone in-depth. Some students remembered the lesson months later... one little boy even pointed at a Voice of the Martyrs magazine at his grandma's house and said that it told about people who were imprisoned for their faith, like Asia Bibi. She asked how he knew about that and he told her that his Sunday School class had talked about it and prayed for the persecuted church. The grandma was glad we had gone in-depth to discuss such things. So was I.

Group Number 2, July 2012: Same age of children, different children. Not so mature, but still pretty bright. The same lesson, Peter being freed from prison. I had the same lesson content that worked so beautifully last time. Swooooosh... that was the sound of it going straight over their heads. 8| I probed a little more to see if even one of them might be getting it... nope. So I stopped. I had really wanted to go deep with these children too, but alas... they weren't ready. Thankfully I knew when to stop.

I think that's the way it can be with our own children sometimes. They might get it one day, and be eager for more. Another day we might be pushing for something that's just not gonna happen. I have felt that way even with my own child, usually a mature girl with a great grasp of the abstract, but who sometimes just isn't getting it.

And I am sure you can tell the difference with your own children, and will know when to stop.
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!
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what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Ceallaigh wrote:My son has been going through the kindergarten curriculum, He LOVES school! we also do a math program and I've pulled some science type stuff off of the internet, I also found a simple phonics workbook that he has blown through much on his own. we are in unit 5 and he is learning to read simple words.

is there a list of spelling words for advanced kids? and other supplemental materials for future units? It is rather time consuming to comb through the freebie stuff on the internet sites to find things that accompany the unit we are on. Thanks!
If you're new to the board, I think you'll be excited to look through the Ideas forum. There are tried-and-true ideas for each unit posted by past users of MFW-K:

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Re: what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by cbollin »

Welcome along!
aw........I was hoping that Julie would be one to share a bit more about the things she has done with her oldest son and now with her grandson that kept the balance for the long haul so that it wasn't just early academics because of a growth spurt. and if it helps any, her youngest son, 11th grader this year, is already taking some college classes. It didn't mean that any of them started academics that young. She has good stuff to share, but I can understand not sharing when it's the opposite of what a newbie asked to hear..

Rejoicing that school is still fun right now! yeah! more isn't always better. Pray for discernment that it is really that he is "advanced" compared to "eager to learn and so far, easy to teach". question? have your read the Charlotte Mason book in the Kindy deluxe package for educational ideas in general?

but when you do want a little more....
The first thing to comb through would be anything in the Kindy ideas units, sorting by unit number......and Julie linked to that. I'll do it again...

maybe this specific one has some ideas for a few extra things to do on phonics especially with learning important things like alphabetical order, etc.... ... 179#p47744

I wouldn't worry with the finding an advanced spelling list right now. work on penmanship. work on being able to copy a few things. There will be more words as you progress. Often they are listed on the back sides of blend ladder sheets as the year progresses.

Also, before you get to academic lists based on phonics rules, work on words he will need if you feel that school time is needed. his full name, address, city state, birthday, names of parents, siblings, etc... You really can wait on spelling lists for a while and it is not holding him back. There are skills groups in phonics lessons and brain skills to grow through. I caution you, don't get the skills out of balance at this age... There's reasons to wait on spelling until a few more phonics rules in short and long vowels, etc, are taught. It makes it more logically when "encoding" the words (spelling). I don't want to post too much on that... just friendly advice... ignore at will since you dont' know me from a hole in the ground. it's just my personal experiences on that with 3 very different children who were all reading simple books at age 4.5 or thereabouts.

looking for more to read to him?
Use the library list in the 2nd edition Kindy manual. Are you using those books, or maybe you have a 1st edition manual without them? hard to know without asking you. :)
How about getting from the 1st grade program (or at library) the book, Honey for a Child's Heart? that will help with books to read out loud to him. keep it in the age grouping for his age, not his "phonics level". maturity and topics of books will be part of that.

Science: let him dig in the dirt and explore things. (my husband holds a phd in chemistry and always encouraged me to let our children repeat experiments over and over and only make small variations on them while they were preschool age.) make gak and play with it (cornstarch and water..... oohhh.... non newtonian fluids. ooohhhh.. .even been able to make it dance to the beat while on a speaker?) or what was the one with borax and glue? hmmm... over and over again.... Let him cook with you. That is school and science at his age... (side note to Julie... are you up to sharing some memories of your husband in the kitchen with grandson? to me, that is the kind of thing all of these next generation homeschool moms need to hear. but, if it's too soon.... )

He doesn't need a long school day. Another approach to consider is to work on learning a foreign language, or music, or using his gifts and talents to serve others. That will be enough. What kind of service skills is he learning?

Rejoicing with you that school is easy for now. enjoy it!

It's kinda funny...... yesterday, my 11th grader was working on her web development course when one of her 9th grade friends remarked "well, yeah, but I learned that in 3rd grade." My daughter asked "do you still remember it and can help me?" Her friend said "well. uh. no...." keep that in mind with the science stuff..and phonics, and the rest of it...

on the other hand... if you do have older children in a 5 year cycle program... you can invite the K-er to join in fun stuff from there. But I have a feeling that's not the situation.

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Re: what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by gratitude »

I love what Crystal had to share with you. Julie has much wisdom too if she chooses to share... :)

I am going to try here. I am not as far down the road as the otehrs, but my oldest is now age 9 and has always been advanced for his age. I am slowly learning how to really keep that fact in balance with real needs.

Lets see...he read his first sign at the zoo at age 3 it had a 5 letter word in it; he asked a question about what the sign meant. He could read around the Bob book level shortly after. He wrote his first sign for his bedroom door at age 4 (asking for spelling help). At age 9 he is begging me to read the Lord of the Rings (which he could do), and I won't let him. He scored mostly 100s on his IOWA test this year. So yes he would fall in the advanced category. Now, lets see if I can share any insights...

It is wonderful your ds is loving school. You want that to continue. I have found that if I get too caught up in my ds9 abilities and focus on them too much that I can pile on academic work and take away the love of learning, the joy of school, and the love of school. He loves to learn, but he doesn't necessarily want or even need endless directed learning ~ even at age 9. I know this because I have tried it. ;) He does need directed learning. He needs to learn more about the Bible, math, reading, writing, and science. But not necessarily at super advanced levels. What he needs even more is a balanced life that gives him enough school and then time in the afternoon outdoors playing with siblings and a friend like he had yesterday. There is a ton of great things that can be added to MFWK, or MFW1, or ADV; but it also can take away time from some of the reasons perhaps we all started to home school in the first place.

So at age 4, with my advanced ds, this is what I did:
*Weekly trips to the library with a huge stack of books I read out-loud to him. Lots and lots of picture books, with a little literature added in from Winnie the Pooh. Read a children's Bible every evening.
*Finger painting, play-doh, building structures, forts, acting out books and stories, imagination games, daily trips to the park, errands, zoo trips, aquarium trips, Children Museum trips, etc...etc...

Well that was about it. I didn't start curriculum until he was just turned 6. I didn't start spelling until 2nd grade. He is way beyond grade level so those early years of play were a gift, and I loved every minute of it. I would love to do it all over again. I wish I could shrink school time some days to 1 hour a day. Enjoy it. They are only 4 once and it is truly a precious age.

A quote from a David Hazel CD, "They didn't used to start school until age 9..." In my state we are not required to begin until age 8.

I really wouldn't worry about spelling yet; it will come soon enough.

In Christ,
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Re: what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by Erna »

I was one who started my oldest out at age 4. She did well keeping up the pace until ECC where the work load finally caught up to her. We did that year over two, which worked out for our life's circumstances at the time. I have no regrets with the way we did things but haven't repeated it with her siblings because they weren't ready for K at age 4.

My oldest wanted "more school.". I added in some simple worksheets for math and the like. However, a highlight for us was lapbooks on the topics of each unit we studied. She'll still look at them from time to time. She would answer the questions to the lapbook pieces and I would write them out for her. I used to have a blog with all our links but it's no longer out there. You might find some good lapbooks at Homeschool Share to do on various topics. You could just do random topics for lapbooks based on your son's interest if he is keen on learning things like she was. We still kept it light and fun while adding in extras that suited my daughter.


Re: what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by cbollin »

oh oh oh I have another experience that helped with us...

we did a lot of picture books together on the sofa. sometimes when I was tired of reading out loud, I'd get the audio version at library with the book and let them listen. It was a great way for advanced and regular students to hear fluency in reading. that's another skill to work on before they read on their own very much.

sweet story on that? in "book basket" this week in 1850MOD, there was a book aimed for younger siblings. My library had the version with book and audio cd reading. one cd with page signals and one without. My 8th grader asked "can I listen to it on cd even though I don't have to ?" next thing I know.. she's got the warm fuzzy smiles of settling down with kitty, and the ding of the turn signals with a picture book. yes.. my 13 y.o.... and guess what happened? my 17 y.o heard little ding turn page.. and came in from whatever she was doing on facebook.... "can I listen too?" Now granted, she didn't stay for the whole book, but there was just something in her that was comforted with the ding, turn the page.. LOL (and she has really good ACT scores)

keep using picture books... read together. let them follow along as you point to words.... and then, ding! turn the page...

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Re: what to do with my advanced student

Unread post by Ceallaigh »

Thanks all for your input, it really helps. I am kind of letting him lead if that makes sense. I do keep a somewhat structured school time but he often asks to do more. He said his first word at three months and has loved numbers ever since he could say them. I do try to simply go at the pace he wants to go and help him work through frustrations. As for the spelling, I'm thinking I'll just "test" him to see how much he really knows as opposed to just knowing the word because of context. He does enjoy writing new words he figures out in his "Word Book" I will look into the resources you all have posted. I do have a 19yo and 16yo but they have always gone to public school, so this IS my first experience at homeschooling; I figure since he is so young as long as he doesn't feel pushed or forced anything goes. Thanks again!
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