Narration & Comprehension, plus general K encouragement

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Debbie P.
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Narration & Comprehension, plus general K encouragement

Unread post by Debbie P. » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:54 pm

My K struggles to verbalize answers
Brenda wrote:We just started MFWK. My ds is just five last month. We slowly started school only every other day and skipping some of the learning your letters stuff as he knows that already. We did some review but just quick and easy review.

Ok, we started with the letter S today. I did everything as instructed so I could have a good idea of the program, how it runs, etc. Even though ds flew through some things that was fine as he struggled with others.

DS struggles a lot with verbalizing his thoughts or answers. Am I expecting too much from him? As I ask the questions from the TM I expect him to have listened to some of the things I have said and be able to answer. He can't. If I tell him the answer several times and ask him to repeat what I have said, he will come close.

He can talk all day long in complete thoughts and sentences about absolutely anything until my ears ring from his nonstop chatter. However when it comes to answering my questions it comes to a screeching halt. His speech is closer to a 3 y.o. He answers in simple one word statements in a 3 y.o. voice.

For example, tomorrow we are to emphasize that the sun helps us see where we are going so we don't get hurt. Then ask, "How is the sun like Jesus?" which we discussed today and will discuss again tomorrow. I know he will not be able to answer. He will look at me and say a one word answer that makes no sense.

How can I work around this? through this? with this?

mother to ds 5 and dd 2
Date: 5/6/2004
Your situation sounds too familiar - and I can imagine the same scenario around thousands of hsing tables around the world :)
I wouldn't give up - but I would be sensitive to the fact that analogies (like how Jesus is similar to the sun) and critical thinking skills come very slowly...especially at age 5. In fact, the steps to success are sometimes so slow they seem invisible :) The key is patience and perseverance.

One thing that helps me is to try to remember how hard it sometimes is to communicate things "I" know to other people. Take electricity for example - or even certain doctrines that I completely believe and understand....until my neighbor asks me to explain them!

There is a small possibility that your son has some learning problems - many times these don't show up until school age - but I would give him a little more time. Your job is to make learning a pleasurable (fairly non-stressful) experience and I know MFW is a great tool for that.

Debbie Pittman, mom to 11 (7 boys who've kept me on my knees <g> and 4 girls), homeschooling for 19 yrs and still trying to figure it out!

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Unread post by Lucy » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:55 pm

Date: 5/7/2004

I agree with Debbie. My first thought was that comparing Jesus to the Sun is abstract and so you may need to give lots of lead in questions. My daughter is bright but she learns by repetition and may not get it the first time. Just keep sharing with him and do not worry if he is not giving lots of answers. It is a new format for him and although he is used to talking, processing and answering questions is using different thinking skills for him.

Like Debbie said just have fun and do not worry too much if he is remembering everything from the science and character lessons.


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Unread post by Rebecca » Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:57 pm

Date: 5/10/2004
Do you find that your son can discuss the Bible concept better after the day 1 activity? Being such concrete thinkers, young children are often better able to dialogue with you after a real experience. For example, after a trip to the zoo we discuss animals for days because my son has had an experience that includes them. Don't worry if your child is not comprehending right away. The questions in the activity are really more to lead your child's thinking in the direction of the concept, so that by the end of the activity he feels as if he has truly figured it out on his own! It is so great to see the light bulb come on and some concepts will come more easily than others. Remember, no stress, MFWK is really fun and happy :-)

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Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by dhudson » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:32 pm

nagada wrote:OK. I know it's just day 1 of K but.....
I read the Bible verses for today 3 times and DS still basically needed me to answer for him on what I had just read. He "can't remember" (his words) that it was light and darkness.
Any help on how to handle this, help him? I don't want him to do this every day. It almost hurt to see him sitting there trying to give me the right answer but not accomplishing it.
I asked what God created - "the earth" - OK but what else. No answer
Then I read it again and asked what I had just read about - "Jesus".

I know I shouldn't but he seems so far behind when compared to other kids his age who have been in school already (K or pre-K). At his church class the other night, he was the only one who, when given a shape of a person and asked to draw themselves, only colored scribbles. I am feeling very much that I have failed him in some ways. He doesn't know his birthday, address, phone, etc. I just want to cry. I know he just turned 5 and I don't want to "rush" him through learning but I still feel horrible right now. Any advice?
If you need to wait to start then do so. Some kids (particularly boys) need some time to mature and then they will grasp the concepts easily. You might just need to wait until Aug or Sept to start and then he might be totally ready. If you think you want to start now, you just might need to be really patient and go very slowly. I think in those early years you want to make sure that learning is fun and inviting. I know one of our goals in the early years was to make learning fun so that they looked forward to school and noe they do ( for the most part ;) )

I've found that the more hands on I've made school the quicker my grasp it. So for example: Read the passage about the light and dark in the bathroom and turn the light on and off repeating the concept, "On day one God made the light and dark" Say it quietly, loudly, with a funny accent while flipping the switch appropriately. Talk about heaven and earth while lying on the ground (earth) and look at the sky (heaven) and tell him God created all this on day one. Make each conversation last no more than 5 or 10 min or so and then move on. You might need to talk about it through out the day, I like to ask them questions when they are least expecting it. "Collin, please pick up your legos and then quickly tell me what God did on day one."

Above all, take a deep breath, pray about it and talk to your husband. Sometimes we Mom can't see the forest through the trees and our husband can see the "big" picture. It'll be okay, he's only 5. I know it harder when it's your oldest but give both of you the room you need to grow.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002


Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:43 pm

dhudson wrote:. "Collin, please pick up your legos and then quickly tell me what God did on day one."
and if you find that your child can't do those two specific tasks at the same time, please don't panic. That's a very difficult task to do for some children to follow 2 completely unrelated items like that which use different processing parts of their brains.

But, I'll agree with Dawn, that some kids need to review lessons throughout the day and some kids need to have more than one way to input the info (multi sensory teaching and all of that )


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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by joy2BAMom » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:09 pm

<big hug> and take a deep breath!! It is going to be fine.
I don't know you or your son so remember that my advice is just based on my experience. (which isnt' much! 8| ) If I had a son who turned 5 in March I would start him in K in the fall. For now, I would do school activities with him daily, but fun, large-motor focused activities with a few fine motor things thrown in. Since you already have the K materials I would do something like a daily "circle time" with him that included songs, games, singing the K alphabet song (letter names and the letter sounds), make sure he can write his name, make up a song for his address, a silly way to remember his phone number (while he is looking at it printed on a card, and then he will recognize several numbers already), read a book together, etc. Make it all fun. And anytime he gets frustrated b/c he can't remember something or doesn't know something, just tell him the answer, have him repeat it and say "That's O.K. we will work on it some more tomorrow." If you act frustrated or disappointed it will make him feel that even more so. Him having the days of creation memorized is not worth him learning to dislike school. KWIM? For now just do it together. Have him repeat after you. You may be surprised how quickly he catches on especially after he has the visual reminders that he will make and he reviews them daily.

And also there is no reason to compare him to other kids his age, but I know that is hard to avoid. I think it is helpful to compare, though, b/c then you can see what he needs to work on. Just remember that your goal is not for him to be at a specific place by a specific time but to gently lead him to his potential. So when you notice that other kids his age are doing something just make a mental note, make sure it is a realistic goal and gently lead him there. If you panic you will make the process very unenjoyable for the both of you. I know b/c I definitely did that with my oldest son.

Anyway, don't know if any of this is helpful or not. Good luck!
Sherrie- wife to Jay for 10 years
Mom to 10 yo boy, 7 yo girl, 3 yo girl, and new baby on the way (due April Fool's Day 2011)

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by KellyinPA » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:58 pm

You have already received some excellent advice, so I'll just add something from my own experience. Most (certainly not all:) little boys need some extra time to grow and mature. If my 7yo twin sons were going to school, they would only be in first grade because I would not have sent them to K until they were fully 6yo. We started MFW K at home just after they turned five because they needed the structure and I knew that I could take my time and we could have fun with it. They will turn 8 in July and we are planning to start ECC in August but because they are at the lower end of the age spectrum I will keep it very much to their level. Also, for any outside activities (church, soccer etc) I list them as 1st grade.

I would encourage you not to rush, enjoy your son where he is now. They grow up far too fast :) I must be feeling a little meloncholy (sp?) today, it's my oldest son's birthday, he's 27 ;)
MFW K, 1st, ADV
ECC 2009/2010

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by hollybygolly » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:49 pm

Hi all~

I didn't read all the posts, but something that Crystal said took me back to my teaching days. I used to teach kinder/1st grade and one tip I used A LOT to teach and guide to comprehension/retention was asking the question prior to reading. Exactly what Crystal said. It makes the child really listen more to try to "find" the answer. So perhaps you can ask ahead of time, "God made something on Day 2...I wonder what it was. Let's read and find out!". And maybe read it slowly emphasizing the word of what He made. Then immediately stop and say "did you hear that? What did God make on Day 2?" Let him answer, or reread if he missed it and then read it again for clarity.

Also, you've heard this before on this thread, but many MANY boys are simply not ready for kindergarten until later in their 5th year...maybe consider spreading it out more? Perhaps taking 2 full weeks to do the creation unit, and then two full weeks per unit, 3 days a week with 2 days to just be a boy and play. Or, hold off until the Fall if it's just too much stress on him (he'll change SOOO much in just 5 months!!). You'll have to really pray about this one! But, the most important thing right now is for him to be delighted with learning, absolutely joyful about the process. That's way more important than academics at this enjoy that little one immensely. Hope something in there helped and God bless you~
Have a blessed day loving our Savior-Holly
Mommy to: Annie and Lynne (11), Maely (8), Gracie (6) and one precious one waiting in Heaven
Completed: MFW K; 1st Grade; Adventures; ECC
Currently using~MFW 1st grade (again!); Rome to Reformation

Julie in MN
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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:13 pm

nagada wrote:At his church class the other night, he was the only one who, when given a shape of a person and asked to draw themselves, only colored scribbles. No face or anything.

I am feeling very much that I have failed him in some ways. He doesn't know his birthday, address, phone, etc.
I just want to cry. I know he just turned 5 and I don't want to "rush" him through learning but I still feel horrible right now.
Another vote for "it will be okay."

My oldest son started K at age 6. Before that, I don't think he had ever been given a coloring page where he had to stay within lines (his favorite art at home was painting big boxes). Now he's 24. He's an engineer. He's good :o)
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

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by kugoi » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:53 pm

nagada wrote:OK. I know it's just day 1 of K but.....
I am feeling very much that I have failed him in some ways. He doesn't know his birthday, address, phone, etc.
Oops, I just realized my 6yo doesn't know any of that stuff either. A few months ago I realized that he didn't know his middle name and had to think real hard about what his last name was, too. He had never heard of the tooth fairy until he lost his first tooth. And he doesn't know a lot of basic fairy tales and children's rhymes. Guess I'd better put some of that on the list of things to teach him, right under "teaching him that when writing someone a letter, you start at the top, not the bottom"...

If you've failed your son, I'm in really big trouble.
Mom of 7, ages 14, 10, 8, 6, 4, 1 and new baby.
Have used K, 1st, Adv, ECC, and CtoG

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by nagada » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:01 pm

Thank you all so much! I am so blessed to have found such a board - mamas (and dads) who lift you up and encourage you. Thank you!

We did start K this week with the full intention of taking things slow. Our goal is to be through K by next summer (2010). So I know I don't have to hurry. I guess I'm putting more pressure on myself than I need to.
Part of it is regrets of past choices I've made and wondering if those have hurt my child in some way. Those thoughts make me wonder if I'll ever be able to "do it right" by him.

Thank you again. I have tears of joy in my eyes knowing that you all care and some of you have been there. Your advice is priceless to me right now. And although I am nervous, I know God will see me through and I actually look forward to staying with MFW for a while (and it's only day 1! LOL! :-) )
SAHM to 2 boys
Working through K with DS1 while DS2 runs underfoot!

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by Ariasarias » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:51 pm

Just want to quickly add thst my dd is about to turn 6 at the end of this month. We started K when she was 5 1/2. She didn't know any of that stuff either. She is just starting to really grasp the calander. She has just learned her phoned number and I don't think she could tell you her address yet. Had I started her last year at this time she would have been so frustrated. I have watched her mature so much in the past year. She had a very hard time with comprehension and remembering things. Take for example in AWANA. In Cubbies last year she had a hard time listening and remembering. This year, she has already gone through her book twice with very little help from me. I blame it on maturity. She just wasn't very interested before. This year she listens and remembers and can communicate it back to me (still with helps though). It will be okay. I also remember teaching Sunday School for K'ers one year and none of the boys in my class could color. They didn't care about that. They wanted to go outside and run :). After being in school all year, they would take more time. Some of those boys were 6 at the beginning of the year. Learning is a process. Be your son's cheerleader and encourage any little progress you see along the way. In the mean time, help him out and make it fun. :)
God Bless!! :)
Nicole :)
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by RachelT » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:36 am

Hi Nicole! I also wanted to jump in here and say "It will be okay!" My ds was in a preschool for two years while he was 3-5 and I began homeschooling around the time he turned 5.5 in August of that year. He was still very resistant to certain activites (coloring) and he didn't know his phone number, address, etc. MFWK was a great was to ease into homeschooling. Like someone said above, I used the "circle" idea and worked with both of my children a lot that year learning letter sounds, the A-a-apple song, rhymes, reading stories, singing songs, etc.

One way to make the creation stories more concrete might be to act them out, make hand motions that remind him what happened each day, or to use puppets or make small visual aides out of paper (sun, moon, earth, birds, etc.). We have several Beginner's Bible felt board sets which I used a lot in K and 1st to "act out" the stories with and then my kids could re-tell the stories with them, too.

I also just want to say that I have felt like you before and something I keep learning during this journey of homeschooling is that although I have shaped my children, they really are who God made them. I didn't make them the way that they are, they are His creations. It has been hard for me to learn that sometimes, but I think I'm getting closer to just accepting their differences from each other or from me and understanding that He is also teaching ME in the process!

Hugs! :)
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

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by Renai » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:34 pm


Just wanted to add another word of encouragement. My daughter was the same way, couldn't remember birthday, address, or phone number, and - my goodness, how embarrassing, since I've worked preschool for so long :-) , lol! Not really, I wasn't embarrassed, I just chalked it up to, golly gee, I guess I'd better teach her that one day.

Now, my dd couldn't answer many questions of that nature right after hearing it either. It was weird. She could be in VBS half the day and not be able to tell me anything about it ---- until the next day ?? . What was that all about? Needed a little time to process the information first, I guess, before she could relate it back to me. She got better as she matured. I could teach her something in the morning, and be ready to discuss it with her by that afternoon :~ . She's now in 3rd grade and doing fine. Kinda. I just gave her the space and time she needed to grow, and, well, she did.

So, yeah, it will be alright. He's such a young 5 too. I'd do circle time and preschool with him the rest of the year and start K in the fall. But, you're plan is fine, being mindful that he is where he is, and there's no rush to be anywhere else :) .

Wife to Enrique
Mom of two dd- 9/99 & 1/11

Bilingual homeschool
2004-05 SL
2005-2012 MFW
2012-2013 K12
2013-2014 dual-language charter
2014-2015 MFW Ancients/young'un- MFW preschool, reading books

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Re: Reading comprehension for K

Unread post by FreshKid » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:40 pm

We are right there with you. We started MFWK the week after DS turned 5 in August. I read A LOT of the ideas on these boards -- don't foget the archives. I think as you go along, he'll start to get it more. The creation unit is meant to get the child going in the "idea" of school. It may be that your son is not an auditory learner. He may need to experience the lesson or see it. Check out the archives and find other ideas. I think someone earlier said to turn the light on and off. Be silly with it. Sometimes the silliness is just what they need to remember. (In seventh grade, we had and English and Social Studies class that the same kids took back-to-back. I remember the English teacher coming into the social studies class and writing "a" on one chalkboard and "lot" on the other board. She announced that " 'a lot' is two words" and left. I guess she was reviewing our journals and got fed up. I remember that 22 years later!)

Some things we did:
1. For step 7, instead of making the creation books, we used a 1/2 sheet of poster board and made posters for the wall. That was a visual reminder of the answer for each day.
2. When teaching "This is My Father's World" song, we took a walk at the park. (there is a paved trail through the woods) With DS on his bike and DD in the stroller, off we went. DD said, "I see trees" and you could hear the birds. Then, we started singing the song. Visual and auditory influences. Sing the song throughout the day ... while doing puzzles, sweeping, cooking, doing dishes, etc.
3. When we get to remembering the "words to remember," say them in a fun way. "I am the light of the world" comes out of DS like a Titanic replay. "I don't quit; I persevere" sounds kind of victorious too.

I hope this is helpful. Sometimes you just have to play with it and be patient. He'll catch on. I was really having my doubts about being cut-out for homeschooling at the beginning, but things are working better now.
If you haven't read "Better Late Than Early" try getting a copy from your library. Very insightful. I think James Dobson talks about boys not being ready for school at the earlier ages too ... I think it is "Bringing Up Boys."

Postby FreshKid » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:58 pm
ME again ... to add to my previous novel on this. (which I didn't mean to be that long!)

I read this idea in a magazine (Family Fun???) recently. I want to implement it for my DS because he doesn't know phone number, address, etc. Tape a card to the back of the seat in front of his car seat. On the card, put whatever it is that you want him to know. For example: one card with his phone number on it. As he is strapped in and riding along, he can see it constantly. Do this with the address, his full name, birthdate, or any thing else. The picture showed a card with a penny, nickle, dime, and quarter. Next to each coin was its name and cash value.

I thought this was a good idea because it is the only time he sits still ... mostly. :-)


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Starting MFW K

Unread post by karlafoisy » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:52 pm

Ella wrote:Has anyone ever started k with a child that doesn't know any of their letters? My son will be 5 in April and I plan to start him doing K in the fall. We work on the MFW preschool package several days a week. He also enjoys getting on Starfall and he has a preschool workbook he enjoys doing.

However he still doesn't remember a single letter. Not the name sound or anything! He doesn't recognize his numbers either. If I give him two cookies and ask him how many he would have if I gave him two more he can figure out he would have four cookies but he wouldn't recognize the number four. It just seems weird to me that we can do school everyday and he loves it but doesn't remember a thing :~
Developmentally, a child can usually recognize a symbol (letter, number, etc) before they can verbalize it. So, if you place two apples on a table and ask him to pick up the red one, he may be able to do it. Yet, if you ask him what color apples are on the table, he might not be ready for that. If I lay a bunch of letter flash cards on a table, and ask my daughter to give me the A, B, and so on, she can do it. If I point to one and ask her what it is, she wouldn't be able to. It is so developmental. The next step, after recognizing and being able to point out symbols, is to verbalize them. He will get there. :)

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