Choosing K vs 1st - So glad we did K with an early reader!

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Re: Choosing Advice Please - K or 1st Grade?

Unread post by gratitude » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:21 pm


I see that you have already decided to use K. I thought I would still add our experience to give you more positive input for your decision.

My second ds turned 5 in April. He already knows his letters, letter sounds, is able to write all of his letters from memory, and as I have found finds blending and reading basic three letter words very easy. We started MFW K with him this spring, first a few days a week and now 5 days a week this past month (we are starting summer break next week). It is a great fit for where he is at. I am doing MFW Grade 1 with my 6 year old and I wouldn't even consider doing it with my ds 5. It would be too much work for him. Like most 5 year olds his attention span is fairly short. MFW K though is delightful. It has plenty of cutting,handwriting, and reading for him and the activities are adding some great fun for all of us during home school time (my 6 & 3 like them too!). I will add though that I don't do all of the reading activities on the yellow TM pages for him. We skip any that have to do with learning individual letters or individual letter sounds since he knows them so well. MFW 1 though would push him way too much. As I have learned with my first ds it is better to work slightly below maximum potential than be in a position of pushing. We are all happier, and he learns more too when we do. :)
sibbis wrote:It's hard sometimes because there is so much pressure to always be moving faster and working ahead of age and "grade." I find this sentiment among many homeschool parents as well. I will have to keep reminding myself of my purpose for choosing this path!
I have found this too. The pressure of working faster. I only finally let it go through prayer this past January; what a relief! Ironically since I let it go we have made many more strides in our home school curriculum and made so much more progress. My ds 6 has taught me slow and steady wins the race (He likes to act out the hare / tortoise story regularly; I am always the hare ;) ).

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Re: Choosing Advice Please - K or 1st Grade?

Unread post by jasntas » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:35 pm

gratitude wrote:
sibbis wrote:It's hard sometimes because there is so much pressure to always be moving faster and working ahead of age and "grade." I find this sentiment among many homeschool parents as well. I will have to keep reminding myself of my purpose for choosing this path!
I have found this too. The pressure of working faster.
This is so true. With most hs'ers I know, this is the attitude. The amazing thing is that here on this board I don't feel that pressure. :)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
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ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
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Re: Choosing Advice Please - K or 1st Grade?

Unread post by gratitude » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:04 pm

jasntas wrote:This is so true. With most hs'ers I know, this is the attitude. The amazing thing is that here on this board I don't feel that pressure.
I agree. I don't feel the pressure on this board either. It is really nice to not feel it. :)


Re: Choosing Advice Please - K or 1st Grade?

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:54 am

gratitude wrote:
jasntas wrote:This is so true. With most hs'ers I know, this is the attitude. The amazing thing is that here on this board I don't feel that pressure.
I agree. I don't feel the pressure on this board either. It is really nice to not feel it. :)
it's that Charlotte Mason philosophy influence :)

I just feel like babbling a bit. only parts of this will make sense as it is more bullet point than long essay.

There's a balance in it in any approach. One of the common things to hear from homeschoolers is this idea of "my 6 year old is working at grade level such and such in math, but grade level blah blah in language arts". I was told as a newbie homeschooling teacher that it was ok to have it out balance like that because we homeschool and can individualize instruction. It didn't really make sense then and it still doesn't. So I don't like to suggest that route.

If they have learned one skill a little early (such as reading), then make sure the other skills (handwriting, composition, etc) are being worked on. But individual instruction doesn't mean "work them above age and stage of learning". it means see the child, not the grade level. See the child, not the clock. See the child, not the calendar. See the long term picture - not the reading level.

I like to speak in analogies and comparisons to help. If you had an infant who learned to walk at 10 months (early side of that skill), it didn't mean all of their skills were advanced. They were still 10 months old. No need to push them. Keep teaching and keep going.

When they outgrow sitting in a booster seat, it doesn't mean they are ready to drive. Too often, when we, as well intentioned homeschoolers, try to place a child based on reading level as the primary placement tool, we are taking them from the booster seat to the driver seat before their time. So, lots of us chatter boxes over here like to say it's ok to not push too soon as it doesn't get you where you need to be.

I don't know if any of you remember how the pediatrician's office staff can tell a child's birth order based on mom's interview? Have y'all heard that one? Doctor interviews mom of first child "Tell me about your child" Mom answers "well, she's here and here on this skill chart, and I'm worried about this because she mastered crawling at 6 months, but didn't feed herself a cheerio with a tripod style grasp". The doctor just smiles and says "it's ok. That's normal. She's 6 months old."

By 3 or later child the same doctor and same mom "tell me about this child"
Well, doctor, it was really cute, she crawled over to her sisters and grabbed the cheerios off the plate and mushed it in her face. I wasn't quick enough to get the camera, but it was fun watching them laugh and play. I'm a little worried that she is still not tolerating being in the car while we drive. She just sounds miserable. I don't think it is colic and it's not going away."

(uh, yes, that was me and my kids and doctor)

and so, we learn not to pressure our children while beefing up age appropriate academics. No pressure to perform can really change when they learn to crawl, walk, read, write, go to college. Young children need to learn skill sets and when we try to keep things in balance, it is easier on everyone involved, and has excellent long term results. And since it is excellent long term results that are the end point, well, why pressure them to be "grade levels" ahead when they are only single digit age?

well, I need another banana today to keep my body in balance and focused and have some longer term results.

but that's some of the reason behind many of us not wanting to pressure for pushing - we don't want skills out of balance, or moms stressed, or skills missed. Homeschooling works. reading level shouldn't be the first thing to look at when deciding levels of programs. young children can learn new skills (cooking, cleaning, serving others) as "educational time" even if they are ahead in abstract symbols of reading and math. And chatter boxes like me don't want moms to miss that part of this stage of learning. We're rather you enjoy the fun and laughter of watching them play and grow, instead of stressing that the cheerio wasn't picked up in the "right" grasp.


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Re: Choosing Advice Please - K or 1st Grade?

Unread post by sibbis » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:25 pm

I am making a conscious effort to savor this time with my kids. I don't want to rush through anything - I already miss the time when they were babies. I'll blink again and they will be teenagers!

Thanks again for the wise advice. I'm so grateful for your support!
DD (almost) 8
DS 5 1/2
Looking forward to our first year with MFW - ADV & K!

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother."
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MFWK with an advanced reader?

Unread post by DS4home » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:35 pm

erin.kate wrote:I'm planning on ADV and K with my three older kids in August. I'm realizing that my DD5 (turned 5 in mid-Feb) is an advanced, natural reader. I've never "taught" her how to read, aside from lots of reading aloud together, and I'm sure she absorbs some from watching her older sis in MFW1. This year she has participated in all of MFW1 in terms of Bible. I'm afraid if I move her to MFW1 next year she'll tire of sort of redoing the year, even though she'd be learning it more fully.

So, she's reading at a late 1st grade level for sure, and I'm guessing that come late summer she'll be even further along. I have been planning MFWK for her and our adopted son, who will speak no English when he comes home in July. What would you suggest? Do K with Ellie and let her participate more fully in ADV, but keep Sinclair (other K'er, adopted) with MFWK more exclusively? Or, find something else for Ellie more on her level?

She would do well with the MFW1 phonics, but she is severely dysgraphic so her fine motor skills are slow to develop properly. If I did MFW1 with Ellie, then what would I do for first grade? And I was hoping to keep them more together since they're the same age. I'm not sure how to meet her needs best with MFW.
I would encourage you to stick with your original plan. Don't let her reading level determine her grade level. She will enjoy all the K units and it will give her the time she needs to work on the other areas of development. You will have plenty of learning happening this fall without pushing a grade ahead in academics ;)

one opinion anyway :~

Celebrating our 29th Anniversary <3
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Re: MFWK with an advanced reader?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:16 am

There are a lot of experiences in the archives about doing K with a K-aged child. I'm on that team :) My oldest was *able* to learn academics early, but I'm so glad I waited (until he was 6, actually), and he's an engineer now ;)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Re: MFWK with an advanced reader?

Unread post by NJCheryl » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:44 am

I was in the same place a few years ago, my son was starting K and could already read very well without ever being taught to read and my daughter was in 3rd and we were starting Adventures. I was worried that K would be too easy, and contemplated doing 1st with him that year. After much thought I went ahead and kept him in K and tagging along with activities in Adventures. This worked out really well and he was not at all bored. Then we did 1st with him and ECC with my daughter - again with him tagging along. This year they both did CTG together and I have to say the progression has been great. As advanced as his academic skills are, I don't think he would have been mature enough to handle moving up a level. HTH.


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Re: MFWK with an advanced reader?

Unread post by erin.kate » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:50 am

Thank you so much everyone. I agree ... she is still so little, very young in terms of maturity ... so she'll reap a lot from K. She will also be able to help "teach" her new brother as he learns English and family routines.

Thank you!
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
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2014: CTG
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Will this plan work?

Unread post by gratitude » Thu May 19, 2011 8:27 pm

erin.kate wrote:I've gleaned so much from this board and while I thought I had it figured out for our upcoming year beginning in August, my middle daughter's (turned 5 in Feb) reading has exploded ... like a spontaneous reader ... and so I'm rethinking next year a bit.

Here's my thinking ...

Gracie: Adv (weeks 1-16) as written with MFW's music and art suggestions + enrich history and science with book basket, activities + cursive + readers (she is still an emerging reader)
Ellie: MFWK Bible, activities, & Lit + MFW1 phonics (wb, Bible rdr, & nb) + Adv science & ICDAT
Josiah: MFW K as written & Lit pack + ICDAT (he can sit in on Adv science for fun, too)

Since Ellie sat in on MFW1 this year and drools over Gracie's Bible reader and notebook I think that she'd thrive with the phonics and it will give her the right pace to learning the phonics rules since she is a proficient reader already.
Congratulations on your adoption! :-) I really like your plan.

As for MFW 1 for phonics. You know where she is at, and what she needs. I would only want to add one other idea, and that would be to go through the MFWK phonics at whatever speed you think would be beneficial. If you think not, then you know best. The reason is the fact that in Kindergarten my oldest was reading and came to MFW in March, having done a K program, so I started him in first. He reads beautifully. However, I wish he had as strong as phonics base as my second born who went through MFWK phonics. My oldest learned A LOT in MFW 1 phonics, and I will be doing MFW 1 phonics again with my second. The first 3 weeks he learned a ton with the review of MFWK phonics. If I had to do it over though I would have done the MFW K phonics first with my oldest, even though he was reading, and then moved him into MFW1. The foundation my second born has in phonics - starting the ground up with MFWK phonics - is fabulous! My first born has a good foundation from MFW 1 phonics as well, but it is shakier because he didn't know enough phonics going into the program to gain Everything out of the program that he could have. Does this make sense? My second born has such a strong phonics foundation from MFWK I know that he will pull 100%, instead of 70% - 80%, out of MFW1, and will have a great phonics foundation for years to come for sounding out difficult words when reading. Oh, my second born was reading some when he did MFWK - I am still so glad that I did those phonics with him.


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Re: Will this plan work?

Unread post by erin.kate » Thu May 19, 2011 10:07 pm

Thank you, too, for the warm wishes. :-)

After reading your comment I think I had an epiphany. lol. Hmm. What you said about the phonics makes COMPLETE sense. Why didn't I look at it that way? I mean, since Ellie is reading so well, but still needs phonics ... why not take the phonics in MFW K alongside Josiah and teach it to her as is and provide her with lots of really excellent books to read that are at her level and a wee bit challenging. She can still read voraciously as she loves to do, but will be building the phonics foundation in the background at a slower pace than with 1st, but really, that's all she needs right now. She's only 5. :-) What you said is so smart since the phonics in MFWK will not hold her back ... it will only strengthen her reading skills. Ah, you made my life so much easier. I suppose that if it seems to slow for her once we get started, I can always move to MFW1 since I have it on hand, too, but I suspect that MFWK will be just right as long as she has access to great books to devour, too.

I love this board.
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
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2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

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Not sure what to do...

Unread post by kewkew34 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:18 am

cmatthies wrote:I have a 5 year old son (turns six in Aug) who has had 1 1/2 years of preschool, and done very well. I just assumed that our next step would be a kindergarten curriculum, but the more I read about the 1st grade curriculum he seems to fit there. I have done the assessment, but still am torn. He knows all the alphabet and their sounds, does not know the short vowel sounds, writes fine, copies words, is trying to sound out small words but still needs a bit of help, hasn't really had much work on blending, counts to 100+, can do addition and some small subtraction work, and is able to sit for a while before getting fidgety.

This will be my first year homeschooling, and the picking of the curriculum is proving to be very hard. There's so much out there, but I just keep ending back with being comfortable with MFW. Now once I figure out what grade to start him with...we'll be set! Thanks for any tips/advice!
Hi there and welcome,
I also am new to MFW, so just wanted to mention what I have heard.

My daughter is 5 and will be turning 6 in January. She has never been to preschool but we have been "home preschooling" for the last few years. She is able to blend pretty well. She is reading Abeka Readers at a grade 1 level. She can sound out words to write them (she just wrote part of my shopping list last week, yes she needed help with a few words but she understands what I mean when I say sound it out). She can also count to 100 (and beyond). She can add on, she knows patterns, can do some simple subtraction (most of this is hands on, daily living stuff), but she has the concepts too. (Have to share: the other day I was handing out watermelon cubes. I gave her 3 and then decided I was going to give everyone 10. I asked her how many more she needed to make 10 and she said "2 and 5")

Anyway, wanted to share where my daughter is and just say, from all the advice I have gleaned here and on a different group and in the catalog I am still starting her in Kindergarten. Mainly for the maturity level. Granted, your son is going to be turning 6, but I would be concerned that he hasn't had much practice blending and they say 1st grade moves fast.
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Mom to
Steven-21 grad of PS, Floyd-19 working on GED, Krystal-16 lives with her dad and in PS
Tabitha-6 started K Aug 2012
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Re: Not sure what to do...

Unread post by C4Car » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:13 am

I would enjoy Kindergarten. It will build his confidence in reading and writing and will give you time to focus on the character and bible that is so much fun.

From experience, we started early with my son. He flew through Kindergarten, first, and even ECC with no problems. But it caught up with us in CTG and he wasnt ready for the amount of time, writing, reading, information etc. required for that year. I wish we had slowed down a little.

The K year is truly precious and so neat. My boys still repeat "I obey, right away" when I ask them to do a chore! (from the horse unit)
Married to my wonderful husband for 19 years
Blessed with 2 great boys, ages 11 and 9
Have completed MFW K, MFW 1st, Adv, ECC,CTG
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K or 1st grade? late birthdays

Unread post by bluemountainmama » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:57 pm

HSMom03 wrote:I am currently using a different curriculum with my young K'er this year (will be 5 late November). I had a very hard time deciding between MFW and this other curriculum so I am thinking that I will most likely try MFW next year. I am wondering if I should start with MFW K or 1st grade since my child is on the young side. When we start MFW next year he will be about 3 months shy of turning 6. I am not sure if I want to do K or 1st with him and wondered what others thoughts were when it comes to late birthdays. The K program does look like a lot of fun that I wouldn't want to miss, but then again I don't want to hold things up either.

Thanks, I am looking forward to your responses!
I am using the K program for my older kindergarten child. She turned six in June, but I didn't start academics last year. She is really enjoying the program even though the letter work is a bit of a review. My son who turned 5 in August is tagging along and is enjoying parts, but I feel like my 6 year old is getting more out of it. If you aren't worried about a slower start to math and reading, I think the kindergarten program is a great place to begin even with a slightly older child.

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New and trying to decide between k or 1st...?

Unread post by kw4blessings » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:54 pm

Taita wrote:I am new to homeschooling and will be homeschooling my oldest, who turns five in July, this fall. He is already reading cvc words and some easier four letter words. I am having a hard time deciding if he should do MFW k or 1st. I also have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. I really like the ideas behind the k curriculum but I am a bit concerned that it may not be challenging enough for him. I thought of possibly supplementing with a different curriculum, but I'm really not sure. Anytime I make a decision I second guess myself. Does anyone have any advice they could send my way?
Hi and welcome!
Marie Hazell has included a section in the K manual for how to use K with a child who is already reading, ways to "beef up" the reading. We will be doing K for the first time this year with my son who will turn 5 in August. He is also reading cvc words fairly well already. We just finished 1st this past year with my daughter and I would definitely hesitate to go into 1st with a "just 5". I think he would be overwhelmed with all the writing involved and the fast pace of the phonics in 1st. My daughter struggled a bit with the writing aspect at 6yo.

I've heard from many folks on this board over the past couple of years who have used K with children who were already reading and were so thankful they didn't skip it! The character studies are fantastic. Many have even used K with older 5's and even 6's and were so glad they did. My advice would be to enjoy the year with K and add on it you feel it is necessary!

I'm sure you'll get some other great responses on here. Best wishes for a fun year :-)
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!

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Re: New and trying to decide between k or 1st...?

Unread post by Yodergoat » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:46 pm

Welcome to the board!

I agree heartily with all the points of the previous answer.

There are great ideas on this board (in the "Ideas" section for K and the K archives) for beefing up the reading in K if needed. You can look at some of them before you decide if you haven't checked into those areas of the forum already. First Grade moves at a fast pace and does indeed have much writing. It also assumes that a child has been reading CVC words comfortably for a long time, because after an initial review it progresses to new phonics sounds very quickly.

One thing I like about homeschooling is that we can change things to meet the needs of the child. These can sometimes just be small and simple changes, like some of those mentioned in the archived K sections.

Here is an example of beefing up K for a different need: My daughter was already writing well before K. She did not need the suggested writing lessons, or the multi-sensory ideas, and was not at all challenged in writing as it was presented in the curriculum. Of course we still did the lessons (stressing neatness), and I also added in a bit of extra writing, using a journal. One small thing added kept her challenged. That journal, by the way, has become a treasured keepsake. :-)

But aside from what we may have to add in or emphasize in K, MFW K is about so much more than academics! It is truly fun and a great way to begin a child's school journey. If he needs more challenge, you can always add in extra readings on the topics for each unit or change up the reading lessons in K to be more about spelling. Not only will it be a gentle (but still rich) introduction for school for him, but also for you as a new homeschooler.

Another example (I like examples): I was a great reader at a young age 4 (reading lengthy chapter books before I turned 5 and entered public school Kindergarten), but I still would have very much enjoyed and benefited from the other lessons in MFW K, and it would have filled me with confidence at the start of school. :)

I'm sure others will give suggestions as well.

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Re: New and trying to decide between k or 1st...?

Unread post by gratitude » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:16 pm

He sounds like his reading is similar to what my oldest was reading when he turned 5 in July years ago. They are a dream to do book basket with later if it continues. :)

On topic:
I would recommend MFWK instead of MFW1. He will get more out of MFW1 at age 6 than at age 5. I am not talking about academic reading readiness, but emotional maturity that comes with time and age. I also know that despite my sons reading level he couldn't have done the writing in MFW1 at age 5; it was difficult enough at 6/7. There is a weekly copy of a Proverb Bible verse in MFW1 and Bible note booking that involves drawing and writing summary sentences.

My oldest who was reading short books at 3 and 4 didn't start any school until age 6. He never did do MFWK and I wish he had; it would have been wonderful at age 5. He had a different program for the first 6 months of K at age 6 and started MFW1 at 6 1/2 and did beautifully with it (yes, he could read).

I think MFWK would give you too as a teacher a more gentle introduction into home schooling and would stay very 'Kindergarten like' for those first home schooling days. What a blessing that could be for you.


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Re: New and trying to decide between k or 1st...?

Unread post by Taita » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:02 am

Thanks so much for all the advice. It sounds like K would be the best thing for him, so I think I will just move forward with that. I love this message board and learning from everyone else put there!

thanks again!!
Wife to dh, 6 years
Ds, 5 years
Ds, 3 years
Dd, 18 months
Ds-1 month

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