Reading & Unit Studies - How do these balance?

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
Post Reply
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Reading & Unit Studies - How do these balance?

Unread post by kellybell »

MammaBear wrote:We have used ADV and I will be homeschooling my 5yo nephew in January. I want to use MFW K with him. His mom has never read to him much, and he is a very hands on little guy and I am worried that maybe the phonics portion of MFW will go too fast for him. What if he is not ready to read 3 letter words by lesson 11? What else can you tell me about k? I need to make a decision very quickly as we will need to order soon. Thank so much,
I actually think MFWK would be a great fit for your nephew. It's got a lot of hands-on projects and it recommends wonderful books (including neat activities). For each lesson (after the 10 day creation intro) there is a good children's book recommended and if you can't find that book, often there are one or two substitutes (again with activities) that you can do. For a book-starved kid, I would choose a book and do the activities and see if I could get my hands on the other substitute book(s) just simply to read.

Also, the phonics in MFWK move at a really reasonable pace. It takes a kid from "these are the letter sounds" to reading three-letter words in sentences and little stories. But it takes them gently... It's slower paced than many homeschool phonics programs that say that the kids are reading War and Peace before the year is up.

Just because a child hasn't had a lot of books or "prereading" activities, doesn't mean that he'll struggle or be slow. He might catch on with no troubles at all. If he does have issues, then you stop where you are at, and work (via games, etc.) on what is difficult.

I think the books, fun activities, and the reasonable pace of MFWK (and MFW1) would be a good fit. Oh, and the Bible focus can't hurt either!

No, I am not a paid rep! Ha ha.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

Re: MFW K question

Unread post by cbollin »

Kelly covered a lot, I just want to add a bit of encouragement for you (hopefully).

Take it one unit study lesson at a time. You never know what your nephew will be able to do. He just might surprise you. If you run into problems as you go along or if something doesn't seem to work, feel free to ask over here (or even call the MFW office for ideas too).

MFW K is a very hands on program. It will be a change for you and your nephew as you get used to new routines and all of that.

What other kind of questions or clarifications would be helpful for us to try to answer?

Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:12 pm

Unread post by MammaBear »

Crystal- I just don't want to hold him back in all other areas if the phonics does not click with him. Does that make sense? I have never used a curriculum where everything is inter related with the phonics. It is kinda scary. I am quite sure he will love everyting else about the program.

Unread post by cbollin »

I wouldn't get too worried about it then. the way it all connects is for things like this...

When you learn the letter /s/ you have a flashcard with a picture of the sun. So your science lessons that week are about the sun. The character/Bible lesson is Jesus is the Light of the World.

You are constantly reviewing letters and their sounds all through the unit and each week. I know of some people who have boys who are working faster than "scheduled" in the phonics, while staying on the suggested pace for the science/character activities. So -- it can be flexible in that direction. I've known people who had to go the other direction too and it worked out.

Look for fun picture books to enjoy together. It can be favorites.

I think MFW K will be a good fit for him. The pace is good. It is not a book only or a pencil and worksheet only approach. The program was originally written to be able to be used in not just homeschools, but in a classroom. In classroom Kindergartens, you have a wide range of backgrounds of students. I'm sure your nervous about such a big change (I sure would be). Stopping long enough to pray a minute for you.

Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:43 pm

Unread post by nehschooler2three »

Just wanted to add my .02 My daughter who is a middle child and turned 6 in the fall is doing mfw k this year. When we started kindergarten she only knew the letters 's' and 'm' and didn't know any other letters or there sounds (she's a bit of a late bloomer). We are now just finishing up lesson 10. Today she knew 21 letters and is sounding out her blend ladder words and cvc words for this week. I am AMAZED at how gentle and well this program teaches phonics.

I can't say 1 bad thing about this curriculum. She loves doing school and especially loves all the "spearements" (experiments). Like yesterday we melted ice cubes- one in a window and one in the fridge to show that water can be solid or liquid and try to quess which one turns to liquid faster. Today we boiled water to show it is also a gas. She understands so much of the world around her now. It's a great program. And I think most 5 year old can do it, I just have a bit of a late bloomer in my middle child. hth!


Really vague - Not sure what I need or how to ask for help.

Unread post by cbollin »

nagada wrote:What a title, huh? :~
I'm just going to put it all out here and hope it makes some sense to someone who can direct me.

We are using MFWK now. Have been working on it slowly for a year. I think it's the whole unit thing that has me frustrated. Because all the subjects are grouped together in one unit. I feel like everything has to stay together. Does that make sense?

I'm thinking ahead to next year. If I think about how I would like things to go it would be to go at whatever pace we needed to in whatever subject needed. Does that mean the MFW will or won't work for our family? I don't want to seem as if I don't like MFW but who better to ask than the people who use it.
Kindy is different from the other years. 1st grade is different from Kindy and other years. very good questions in my opinion.

My kindy child last year didn't color anything in those picture cards or other stuff either.
day 6 stuff --- from the point of view of someone who used MFW K with youngest...... read a book, talk about the book..... go outside and play.
sound like you did that! good job!
There were times where we didn't do all of the activities in Kindy either. In my situation, I had older kids to teach too. I would spend very focused time with youngest and we did the minimum basics in Kindy.

I don't know how it will work for you if you do separate subjects. I only know how it worked for me with my oldest. I ended up not really liking that approach. Bible wasn't connected to what we were using for reading. Writing wasn't done to learn or process Bible.... history was random topics based on literature unit study.... Then in 2nd grade God put MFW in my path. Please take the parts of my answer that apply to you. Not all of it will. Pray and do what God tells you.

Once you get them reading, the concerns you have will be less of an issue in MFW. So like in ADV, ECC, etc.... you begin to teach language arts as a skill subject at their own pace and it'll be easier. It's just during these learning to read stages that it might have times of frustration. But there is a fairly easy solution to that without losing the Biblical worldview that MFW offers.

during K and 1st --- you are teaching more in a style of focus on language arts/ reading, and then history/science whatever is secondary to it. so you have the option of doing exactly what you are thinking ---- use K and 1st at the phonics paced needed for your child, and when you have to slow down --- just add in some other topics in history/social studies/science or play outside more. Then after a few days of some other topics, and your child is ready to absorb more phonics, set aside the library books on other topics and go back to MFW 1st. You have the option on the light/independent day to let your child keep studying the other fun things they are interested in. Concerned about not having Bible during those phonics review/slow down days? Well, in first grade, you can review all of the Proverbs verses you have learned and keep discussions on that; you can go back and keep reviewing the names of the books of the Bible and what they are about. You're going to have a Bible knowledgeable child who probably will know more about those books and what they are about than my old brain remembers. :)

One of the really nice things about how MFW 1st grade integrates all of this stuff has to do with helping our children to process the Bible stories and hear them in order. They get to learn how to read and how to write and learn about God, who really loves them.

So, if the pace of the phonics in 1st gets frustration, try this:
for a few days, review and review and play the reading games in 1st without fret or worry about the next day's lesson in 1st
during those days, add in library books that you want to read, and any kind of fun topic in science or social studies or building forts
return to the next day's lesson in a few days and move forward.
what to do about math? you can press on, or review and play more of the games listed in the manual. drill on number bonds/math facts......

The last part of 1st grade (from days 126-160) can be done in early part of 2nd grade year if really need to be. MFW 1st is program paced quickly for phonics and approaches to classical writing and composition.

Then, by ADV, ECC, etc........ you'll have language arts and math separate from the units in Bible/history/science/art/art history/music/ etc.

One thing that I have really liked about MFW is the charlotte mason idea of allowing afternoons for those delight directed learning things. and of course "light and independent fridays". I guess I just see it as the best of both of those options. follow a sequence and still have time for other stuff.
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: Really vague - Not sure what I need or how to ask for he

Unread post by RachelT »

Hello! I remember teaching K and 1st as our "core" program a few years ago and it did feel different. Everything went with the unit study and that could be frustrating if one part was not moving along at the same pace as everything else.

However, I think that it really changed in 2nd gr. and now 3rd gr. when the Reading/Spelling/Writing/English and the math are separate from the unit study. I really enjoy the Bible and Science and History lessons in MFW being connected. I believe in the Unit Study approach and it creates lots of connections. For me, MFW gives me structure and planning that is already done for me, but I still have freedom to change things to make it work for my family.

I would encourage you to "hang in there" until you have tried ADV or ECC to see what the bigger programs are like.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19
Post Reply