4 year olds & early 5's - Ready but reluctant students

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:08 pm

4 year olds & early 5's - Ready but reluctant students

Unread post by sarajoy »

need ideas for a reluctant student
ztagrl wrote:I have a 5-year old who is academically ready for the 1st grade program, but he’s giving me a lot of resistance to doing any sort of “school” that isn’t an art project. I purchased both the K and 1st grade packages, and the K is WAY too easy for him, and he’s definitely capable of doing the 1st grade material. If I make things into a game for him, he’s much more cooperative. But the whole reason I bought MFW was that everything was prepared and laid out for me.

I have 3 children, 5, 3 and 1, and I really don’t have time to look over each lesson and try to find a way to disguise everything so he doesn’t realize we’re doing school. Has anyone else run into this problem?
I have a similar problem with my 6yo dd. She is really resisting the phonics, especially. Everything else I've finally gotten her to "play nice" with.

My only advice is to be gentle, he is still young. Cover your school time with prayer, and lots of it. Find what motivates him and use that as a "carrot." I have gotten both my dds to do math drills eagerly by providing a snack for them as they work on their sheets. Who knew food could be so powerful ;) ? We also use a ticket system to reward good work, positive behavior, etc.

Hugs and blessings to you as you work through this....

Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by cbollin »

Welcome to the board!

I used MFW K with my children even though they were already reading short vowel readers. My youngest is in first grade. So, I'm in a mood of looking back and just sharing about my life........

I chose a different route instead of going with 1st when they were 5. I beefed up the phonics to be fun games for a 5 year old so that we could not miss the fun of learning all that is in the program with Character, Bible and science and all of those wonderful things that you just don't get to do again.

When my kids were that age and ahead in reading one of the wisest things I heard was "You have an "ahead of the curve Kindergarten student" not a first grader." Wow! It really shaped my thinking when some many veteran homeschoolers and classroom teachers said that to me.

So, in my opinion, with a child who is not begging to do 2 hours of first grade each day and is only 5 years old anyway, how about using MFW K in beefed up ways that isn't just focused on learning to read. Maybe he'd be a little less reluctant if he could do fun stuff with all of that arts and crafts in Kindy? If it is not wanting to sit for that long to do school, he isn't fully ready physically. And that is to be very normal. A child who learns to read early will not lose that skill. So it's ok. (((hugs)))

I'd like to encourage you to read through a post I have on the Kindy ideas forum to "beef up" the K phonics for a 5 year old who is already reading some. Boys especially tend to need that extra year to develop even more in fine motor skills so that they are not just "academically ready" for more school work, but also physically.

Here's a link to that thread. It makes the most sense when you read it alongside the yellow pages in the K manual.
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 179#p47744

also, maybe he'd be interested in doing more math if it were to help other children? You could encourage him to participate in a mathathon, such as the ones sponsored by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Or maybe he'd like to do a bit more reading in the K program and have sponsors with that and donate it to Bible translation with God's Word for the nations. My oldest daughter did a read a thon and raised over $600 for Bible translation. And this month all 3 of my girls will do that mathathon thing. (google it if you aren't familiar with it...... my dh works at that hospital)

First grade can wait for a 5 year old. Advance them in ways that advance the Kingdom.

and welcome to the board

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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by Lucy »

Crystal and I were typing at the same time so some of this is a repeat.:)


Welcome to the MFW Board!

I am thinking that he may be reading beyond the K program, but he is still emotionally 5. He still learns best by exploring the world around him and through lots of indoor and outdoor play. You may consider using the Lesson Activity portion of the K program that combines Bible, science, art, math(concepts such as time and fractions are introduced), and literature. These are all studied together in a weekly theme. These lessons include lots of age appropriate hands-on activities.You really want to give your son a love for learning and these lessons are perfect for drawing kids in to learning without them even knowing it.

If he needs the handwriting practice or math you can use those portions of the program too.

I understand the problem with the T.V. This is something we are still working on with one of our kids . We have found if we lock it or take it away for most of the day that our kids find creative things to do. At the age your son is we use to allow certain time for some T.V. usually from PBS and usually no more than 1/2 hour at a time. As our kids grew older we looked for areas to help them develop skills in such as art or a musical instrument.

Here are some ideas of what I can remember we did at that age to try and fill our days.We would have daily outside time, room time or play time (playing with Legos, blocks etc.), rest time each day (my kids did not have to sleep but they did have to be quiet and they could have books on the bed),and read-aloud time. We also had a daily clean-up time. I tried to have a park day each week. When the weather was nice we would often go to the park and read together, have lunch and play. We would meet other families at the park too. I just wanted you to know that I understand this struggle and there have been many days I would like to throw the T.V. out the door. Filling the days for some kids is hard. Its a balancing act between spending time with them and helping them to develop finding healthy activities to do by themselves.

I hope some of this helps you as you figure out the best for your family this year.
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Julie in MN
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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by Julie in MN »

ztagrl wrote:Honestly, he wants to watch TV ALL DAY LONG. I want to throw the darn thing out the window. I guess I need to be more strict about keeping it as an incentive.
I just wanted to respond to this part of your post.

I have found that "school hours" are absolutely necessary in our home. I know you probably feel the need to be flexible, considering you have little ones at home. But setting school hours might be worth the sacrifice in flexibility.

I think of it as if my children just have to "get over it" once. We don't have to argue about it daily, because the school hours were set on the first day and everyone knows what they are.

Another benefit is that my kids don't feel that their school day might be "endless." They know when it ends. And even if things aren't finished, school will end (barring outright disobedience, which means that the task will indeed be completed after school hours, but happens only rarely).

During school hours, learning can be very fun -- games, videos, phy ed outside, field trips, and so on. But there are certain things that are clearly not going to be done during school hours -- video games, television programs, long phone conversations, and so on.

I wonder if you might try setting school hours to help your son see the pattern of his day?
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by my3boys »

My middle ds was very resistent in the first few weeks of First.

I decided to go with starfall.com for a couple of weeks and then ease into First. This worked beautifully with him. My 5yo is still resistant sometimes (because he just wants to play), and now I give him a time-out right away if he is uncooperative - he is beginning to see that it will take a lot longer if he complains about everything. I agree with what someone else said about having school hours and school routine for the academic stuff - then they don't expect to be doing anything else at that time, it's just not an option. I find what works best is school and chores first thing and then playtime after those are done - if they start playing or watching TV early I have a really hard time getting them on to school. Also my boys get frustrated with too much writing some days - if I see they are feeling overwhelmed I don't make them do all the writing - my boys aren't doing the memory verse copywork either.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by Ariasarias »

I was so in your shoes about 4 years ago, with children about the same ages too.
I just want to chime in on what Lucy and Crystal said. I too had a very advanced reader, yet I was blessed to take the advice from this board about K.
The phonics was really not needed, although I wish I would have done the writing anyway and used it for review. It definitely would not have hurt. K is so much more than learning to read. It's really learning to learn. Reading is just a small part of it. It really is written for your typical 5 year old, not matter where he is academically. I had actually started another program for my dd at the time because it was on her "academic" level, yet it was above her maturity level (and I actually thought she was mature for her age at the time -- that's a whole other topic :)).
What we ended up doing was check out every book we could from the library on the topic of the week. We read some together and my dd read some on her own.
We learned so much. We also did as many as the activities that we could, even some more that we found here on the board. My 3 yo dd was able to participate in those activities too.
It was a fun year. My dd enjoyed learning and so did the rest of us. We also made a notebook with all of her projects. She could have done first, or so I thought. Now that I am four years down the road, having gone through K again and having started 1st again, my gut says enjoy this year. You will never get this sweet year back with your little ones. The rest of school comes much too quickly and those days where you (and I really mean you) can play most of the day with your little ones will be gone. Yes, I still get to play, but it is not the same.
I'll pray for you on this end.
Nicole :)
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).
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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi! You have already received some great ideas from some very wise homeschooling parents. :) I want to encourage you, too, in keeping this year fun. Kindergarten has so many great character lessons and activities and I am sure your 3 yr old can even participate in parts of it! One thing I like about MFW is that you can do what works and add in more if you need it. If you were to use Kindergarten lessons as "review" this year, some things you could add in for extra phonics/reading would be Starfall.com, Bob Books, Leap Frog videos, games with magnetic alphabet letters or other letters you can manipulate. At times, we have even added in Explode the Code workbooks or Spectrum phonics books with the Little Monster character in them (and I found those at an office supply store).

My 2nd child has been "ahead" in reading, but I still held off on doing the MFW 1st gr. material until this year when she is 6 and turning 7 in Dec. Now, she is excited and proud of being in 1st gr. and she loves her reading lessons, but they are pretty easy for her. She has confidence and although she can read almost any book she picks up in the children's section of the library, she is still learning some rules about why sounds are spelled the way they are as we go through the MFW 1st gr. phonics.

Have a great day!
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: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by mfwteacher »

I can appreciate this thread. My 5-year old ds has the attitude "I don't want to do school" and I felt worried that mine was the only one until I see the struggle expressed here that other parents are having.

My husband assures me that all students, educated within the home or in the public or private settings, don't want to do school and that it is a normal reaction. With that in mind, I've been explaining the importance of education to my ds; that all students attend school to gain their education that myself and his father have done the same.

My question is how to motivate him so he so looks forward to course work. Further, how do I assess that this curriculum is indeed the right selection?

Julie in MN
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Re: need ideas for a reluctant student

Unread post by Julie in MN »

mfwteacher wrote:I can appreciate this thread. My 5-year old ds has the attitude "I don't want to do school" and I felt worried that mine was the only one until I see the struggle expressed here that other parents are having.

My husband assures me that all students, educated within the home or in the public or private settings, don't want to do school and that it is a normal reaction. With that in mind, I've been explaining the importance of education to my ds; that all students attend school to gain their education that myself and his father have done the same.

My question is how to motivate him so he so looks forward to course work. Further, how do I assess that this curriculum is indeed the right selection?

Hi Sandra,
My experience is that your dh is exactly right. You'd be surprised at the mickey mouse that goes on in any classroom -- it's not the nicely attentive little students that you picture in your mind!

However, I do want to share what has already been said on this earlier thread -- not all 5 year olds are emotionally ready for sit-down, paper-and-pencil school. Some are, and you'll find moms on this board who successfully teach even younger kids. But for my kids, waiting until they were 6 or almost 6 worked out well. My oldest is an engineer, and he was 6 years 2 months old when he started K. He was bright but very active and very tender-hearted. When he finally started school, he made such a complete transformation that everyone was amazed. He learned to read within months and basically just sat down and became a student, switching from an active body to an active mind. He was ready. And it didn't hold him back in life.

Here are some more threads for you to read as you think through your plans:

You might also want to start a new thread to give your questions better visibility.
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
Julie in MN
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What do I do now?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

samandsawyersmom wrote:OK so this is really a mommy problem not a ds problem. . . . I let my son dictate when we were going to start school so. . . Last may we started in on MFW K and he loved it but did not love the writing! So we stopped the MFW K and just took some time off. Then I thought he would like to learn to read so we started 100 Easy Lessons but at lesson 34 he just does not want to do it anymore! :| He wants to go to school? Thinks it will be too hard but did say that he would do MFW again now that he is ok with writing.

OK so with all that, I know that when times get tough he likes to quit and throws the biggest fits if I try to push him! UGH!! 8O Independent like his MOM!! This is what frustrates me. How do all you other wise mothers get thru the I can'ts and the it's to hard? I don't want to be a drill sergeant. :( I want him to love school!!! :~ Any advise will be good. I think I am having one of those "just not sure i can do this days!"

Hi Stacey,
Well, I'll start the conversation. Just so you know, I'm a better-late-than-early gal. I've popped in on most of the threads in the kindergarten archives about waiting on K. So my first thought is that he's only 4.5. My oldest son was a bright little guy (he's an engineer now), but I waited until he was 6 to send him to K (public schooled). So waiting until he's older is an option and it doesn't really have to do with academic readiness, it has to do with physical and emotional readiness.

My second thought is that you're the mom and if you've decided that school has begun, then the little guy needs to be trained to follow you. Another thing I post about a lot is school hours. Setting certain hours each day has made my life so much easier. My children just have to accept the rule once, and not deal with changing rules each day. And all both not only know when school "starts" but when it "ends" -- which is also good on some days :-) I think it's good training to follow a schedule, too.

During school hours, though, we can play games and have fun. Especially when they are young. You might decide not to do a K program now but still stick to your decision that you will "do school" by playing math games and reading stories. Teach them that school can be fun and homeschool can be flexible. But it's still school. (i.e. not cartoons or video games!)

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 do I do now?

Unread post by cbollin »

Agreeing with Julie.

Your baby is 4 years young. It may not be his time for worksheets and "formal school" due to lots of reasons. Age is very young for boys and seatwork and pencil work.
However, I also agree with Julie that you might have to set school hours and teach/train him now that school time is school time. At his age, for homeschool preschool, it can be 30-60 minutes tops. It doesn't have to be long each day.

So if you don't do "formal academics", what do you do in school time at this age? You do age appropriate "school". Don't worry about worksheet. You don't want to be the worksheet gestapo. Do your Worksheet, do your worksheet, you don't get to eat/sleep until you do your worksheet." So, don't go there.. :) smile smile

instead, these are preschool years and the fun of them goes away too quickly as they get older. So, enjoy the fun of it.

*Sing together. What about the Wee Sing Bible songs from MFW Preschool, and/or the music CD in the Kindy program? For some children, starting the "school structure" portion of the day is a lot of fun at this age to start with song and circle time.
*read to him. find a fun book list of books for 4-8 year olds and read them to him. Read a Bible story to him.
*enjoy a craft together (let him cut with scissors and use glue and finger paints and things like that). It can be related to the story, but it doesn't have to.
*play in the sand box at the playground with a stick to practice pre writing
*learn to cook (yes, even my autistic child could do simple cooking in preschool. So your child can cook too)
*learn to follow instructions (especially yours). This can be done with fun things like Simon Says, singing time with actions that are said in the music.
enjoy paints together
get messy
laugh together
tell stories to each other.

That way the structured 30-60 minutes with you each day is not "school". It's structured play time with you together. Then, as he gets older, you'll transition it to add in the stuff from MFW K.

Some children enjoy having a visual schedule (with pictures) to see what else is left to do before "free time".

Wendy B.
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Re: What do I do now?

Unread post by Wendy B. »

Crystal and Julie already stated that the biggest problem may be that you are starting formal schooling too soon. My advice for now would be to put away MFW K or 100 easy lessons and wait until age 5.....or 5 1/2 or even 6.

Until then I would develop the habits that will make your life easier once you pull MFWK or 100 Easy lesson back out. Some habits I wanted my kids to have before we started formal schooling were 1st time obedience, perserverence,etc. If you search the web regarding Charlotte Mason and Habits you will find a wealth of information.

I also had them in the habit of doing some sort of work with me right after breakfast. Once I decided it was time to start doing K, it was just a matter of changing the activities that we did together after breakfast. My biggest focus for K was for them to develop good school habits. If they learn a little reading or math that year then I really do consider it a bonus! I keep lessons short and stop them before they get frustrated and say " I can't" or it's too hard. It may mean that they stick with a lesson and do it multiple different ways before we move on. It may mean that we have to do half a page of one thing, do 1/2 a page of another , then come back and finish the first page. K age is not the time to push academics.

So with your son who has done some MFW K without the writing and 100 easy lesson to lesson 34 and you really felt you must continue doing something....I would review what he learned in the phonics/math portions of MFW K or re-read the lessons of 100 Easy lessons. Every day. Develop good school habits with something that he already knows that he can do. Supplement this with library books about topics that interest him. Then each day do something that will help him develop the fine motor skills needed for the handwriting. I had one of my kids do a maze everyday. Once they had the fine motor control where they could do a maze and almost stay inside the line the whole way then we went back to forming letters. You could also let him form letters with blocks, playdoh, clay or beeswax. Once his fine motor skills are improved and the handwriting isn't as difficult with him them you can proceed with the lessons.

The one thing I would not allow him to do is .....dictate when we started school or decide what he would or would not do. My current K'r is possibly the strongest willed 5 yo on the planet and if I don't get in control of the situation now she will run not only our school but our whole day! I want her to love school but a better goal for me to have is for her to DO school and do it cheerfully. :-)

Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.
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Re: What do I do now?

Unread post by samandsawyersmom »

OK I get it. I was going to wait for the MFW K until after he turns 5 at the end of September and maybe now till after the first of the yr. He really loves to do workbook pages for things he can do easily like thinking skills. I do know he really needs to work on large motor skills to get the fine ones so he is in upwards football and we will be going to a PE class 2x a week so I think these things will help. I guess I just need to be more consistent so he knows what to expect. I just had to talk it out here and get a little kick in the pants to do what I already know I should. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Follow-up: Posted Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:47 pm by samandsawyersmom
I tell everyone who will remotely listen to me about MFW! I am even tryin to get some of the Amish schools in our area to at least look at the program! I think it would really work for their one room school house schools! Anyway I digress. . .

I LOVE THE K PROGRAM!!! It is really easy and it only takes us about 1hr a day to get it done. That is at most! Well unless I mess around on computer while we are doing school and/or we are doing a project that the boys are really into. I think your kiddo will love it too!! My ds is not all that jazzed about doing school, he would rather be playing ALL THE TIME, but once we start each day he is fine. He just doesn't ask to do school like some dc on here. ;) I think he will in time tho! :-)

I feel VERY glad that God pointed me in this direction! What a tremendous blessing MFW is!!!

God Bless you and yours!
Wife to my wonderful husband 8yrs
Mom to 2 wonderful sons 6yrs and 4yrs
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2011 K
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Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by gratitude »

Metairie wrote:Jordan is "ready," and I didn't want her to get to 1st too early. We already only school about 3 days a week, so Adventures is going to take us more than the 34 weeks it is scheduled for. Should I attempt K now? Should I wait?

She's 4, will turn 5 in July. As far as readiness, the biggest thing is she draws constantly, loves to color, cut, paste, paint, askes how to spell things, knows how to spell her name, counts to 20.

Any suggestions?
The biggest lesson I have learned in home school is to not 'push' my children. If she really is ready, and it isn't a push but a joy, then it will be a positive experience for both of you.

I would say that you know your child best, and what she can handle. Even though I do think every child is so different on this issue, I will share what we have done:

My second ds5 was ready when he was four in many ways, but not in attention. I started MFWK, 2 days a week, a week after his 5th Birthday, which would have been the spring of Pre-school for him. For him age 5 was fine, and now at almost 6 he is ready for 1st grade work. I can see how my dd, who just turned four, might find herself starting MFWK sometime in her pre-school year. I would prefer to wait though until she is at least 5 next January. She asks for school every day, so she does some now; but not MFWK level.

On the other side of the coin my oldest ds, at just turned age 5, started another program. After a five week push, and realizing he wasn't ready, I waited until the following July when he turned 6. Then it turned out beautifully. At age 4 starting school for him, even though he was figuring out reading some words on his own and could count to 100, would have been a huge mistake.

The child truly being ready is everything, and every child is truly different. Being ready intellectually is only a small piece of starting school with a four year old. The emotional/maturity component is a much bigger piece of the puzzle for school readiness. My oldest was ready intellectually at age 3, but wasn't ready emotionally until age 6. Seven is even better for him. If you feel like you are pushing at all, or if your dd isn't able to pay attention to the lesson, it is far better to wait.
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Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

My dd has a June birthday (will be 5 in June), and we are doing MFWK 3X a week. I don't push the reading part of it, but she is enjoying it very much. I knew I would have a hard time doing it full time next year, so I decided to stretch it out over 2 years. It is working out well for us. I don't plan to start 1st until after she is 6.
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Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by SandKsmama »

I can tell you my experience with my 2 middle kids - my now 10 year old did MFW K at age 4.5, and it was *perfect*. Fit him like a glove - he was ready for every single part of it, it just worked. However, MFW 1st at age 5.5, not so perfect. What I wound up having to do was do MFW 1st at half speed for a semester, and wait on his readiness a bit. Even in the second semester, his motor skills weren't quite up to par with MFW 1st - he could not do the amount of writing in a day, I had to tweak that a bit. Otherwise, it was fine. What I wish I would have done, looking back, is slow down K, and held off on 1st until he turned 6 or even 6.5. K is MUCH easier (in my opinion) to stretch, b/c there are so many activities, you can add extra books, etc.

My daughter is my more "academically gifted" child, and she was *begging* for real school at age 4, so I started her with MFW K. It wasn't a great experience, honestly. She was ready for some math and phonics, but a lot of the Bible and science concepts went over her head, and she would get frustrated. Looking back, I think she would have been better served with something more like preschool books for one more year, *then* doing MFW K at age 5. I did hold her back a little bit when she was 5, and we did "K again" with a different program, and by the end of that, she was more on track developmentally.

It IS really hard when you have one that seems to be so ready for the academics - but emotionally and developmentally, they might NOT be so ready. Hope this helps a little!
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
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Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by MelissaM »

I will say that my dd was "ready" in many ways (asking me to teach her to read, etc.) when she was 4. She made the cut-off date that the public schools use here by just a few days, and since she did seem so ready, I went ahead and started her in K. I don't regret using the program with her at that time, because it was fun and she learned a lot, etc. But I do wish I had not made it "official" that year; in other words, when the time came for us to register with the state (age 7 here), I wish I had put her down as a 1st grader, instead of 2nd. (I actually don't even know that that information was required on the paperwork, but I wish I hadn't told HER she was officially in school until the next year. Or that I had stretched the program out over 2 years. Now she's in 4th, and I'm thinking about her graduating at 17, and I see some of the areas where she's not quite at "grade level" etc. Nothing that's a huge deal, but I just wish I'd given us a little more time.)

But, if you're doing it 3x/week, so it stretches over 2 years, and you're just comfy letting her attention span mature over that time, etc., then I'd say yes it would be fine to start at 4. You can probably call MFW office to get their official take on it as well.

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Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

MelissaM wrote:I'm thinking about her graduating at 17, and I see some of the areas where she's not quite at "grade level" etc. Nothing that's a huge deal, but I just wish I'd given us a little more time.
Don't forget that you can take an extra year in the 5-year cycle, or make high school 5 years, etc. There is SO much available to learn, you can definitely slow it down if that is what you wish to do. My ds7 is in 2nd grade, but is very young (an end of December birthday), and I am planning on just doing the next cycle with him again after he's 13. 2 other quick stories - my sister had her son moved up a grade in private school (now he's in public school). He's totally ready academically and is very smart; but he's so immature and does not get along well with his peers at all. There are some in his class almost 2 years older because of how their birthdays fall. That is a lot of difference when you're talking 13 versus 15. I wish my sister was homeschooling him. Then he could do the advanced work without the peer pressure. :( ) Anyway, I digress. The other story - a good friend has one of those prodigy children, academically as well as musically. And she is planning on doing 5-6 years of high school with him (I think he would graduate at 16 if kept on the same schedule he's on now) because she wants to make sure he's socially and spiritually mature when he graduates. She is not planning on "holding him back" intellectually - he's free to pursue all sorts of learning opportunities. She's just going to wait to "graduate" him until he's 18.

Totally hijacking this thread... sorry! Just wanted to encourage you that just because you started early doesn't mean you have to finish early.
Wife to Brody
Mother to DD 10, DS 7, DD 5, DS 3, DD 1
MFW User Since 2007: MFW 1st, Adv., ECC, CTG
2011-2012 - RTR & MFWK
Wendy B.
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by Wendy B. »

I am finding that it is easy to stretch out K. My current 5yo would not have met the cutoff guidelines for K this year but she was ready for a little school. I do not want to get to MFW 1 before her 6th birthday. If it takes us 3 years to work through MFW K and MFW1st then we be on target with her agemates.

I have taken off weeks to review previous skills. Blending in particular was a skill that we needed to review.

Currently we are doing 1 unit every 2 weeks ( 6 days stretch into 8). I add in a review day and spread out day 4's phonics into 2 days.

Addressing the hijack---I do not graduate my kids until they reach 18. Both of my older kids were able to fill their highschool years with extra pursuits (volunteer opportunities, job experiences, etc.) before they reached the age of graduation.

Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by Metairie »

Thank you so much for your replies. Here's why I'm thinking of doing K now as opposed to waiting until the fall. We started Adventures at the beginning of this month and are really loving it. We are using the book basket and complete about two to three days in a week. My daughter is in 1st grade, so we have plenty of time to have fun and flesh this out. It is really at her level, perfect fit. We are using all the materials as recommended by MFW and they, too, are a perfect fit for her age and ability.

What I didn't expect was my youngest to not be interested at all. I bought an extra set of student sheets. I thought she would sit in and listen or want to color with us, that kind of thing, but she doesn't. I am not expecting her to, but I thought she would take an interest. She likes her preschool activities from MFW, but she wants her own worksheets, not sister's. What I love about MFW is the open and go nature. I don't have to plan a thing. I work outside the home (I'm a flight attendant) so not having to plan is WONDERFUL! I would love to have lapbooks or activities for my youngest to do alongside us, but that won't happen. I don't have the time or gumption to come up with any extras. I guess I was hoping that there would be coloring sheets or activities she could do while her sister is doing something as well.

It doesn't need to be independent work, quite the contrary, I don't mind helping. I just cannot plan anything else. Is MFW K what I'm looking for, or do you think we should look around for something else?

Thanks for reading this far! :-)
Cindie, wife to Gary for 18 years, mom to girls,
Juliette MFW 1st grade Adv (01/04)
Jordan MFW K and Adv tag-a-long (07/06)
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by gratitude »

Hi Cindy!

We started ADV this month too. I am doing it with my oldest who is 7 / 1st grade.
My second son born in 2005 has very little interest in ADV, so I am not surprised that your four your old doesn't. Maybe she will enjoy some of the stories. My second son did enjoy the Pedro story of the 1st Pioneers from Spain. He is though working about 3/4 + through MFWK, and reading great and still ADV would be a bit much to ask of him.

So what to do with your four year old?
1. You could start MFWK, go slowly, and stretch it out 1 1/2 - 2 years. Let her be the guide on how much you do. By July she probably will be ready, and much more so by next January, it could be fun time until then.
2. You could use the Developing Early Learner Books. I started them with my dd when she was 3, and she has used the first two. The third seems a little difficult still, and she just turned 4. My second son did all four of them when he was 4, and they left him very prepared for MFWK. They helped develop fine motor skills, etc. My dd4 loves doing them during school time, and always wants to do 'school' to. If you go to their website, listed below, you don't need the kit. The kit part of the site shows the four books, but then you can go to price list and buy the 4 books for $39 (the kit is $50 more). We are just using the books, and it has been great for those siblings who want school too, and want to sit at the dining room table too with pencil and paper, and aren't ready for MFWK. Then when they want to get up and play they are free to go! :-)
3. You could use Rod & Staff or ABeka pre-school books.

Lastly, little ones love to be included in the science experiments and hands on activities. You will be amazed by what your four year old will remember from them.

I hope this helps a little.
Last edited by gratitude on Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by jasntas »

My dd was a full 5 1/2 in the fall of 2009 when she started MFW K. She so wanted to do her own school work before that so I gave her pre-k workbooks. The kind you can get at Walmart, etc. She became bored with those after a while so she started doing Explode the Code and the Singapore Earlybird. I also had her do a little handwriting practice as well.

Anyway, I gave her what she could handle at the level she was at and didn't 'require' any of it to be completed b/c as far as she knew, it was still Pre-K. At that time I didn't know for sure yet if we would be using MFW K. If we would have used it I would have made it last over 1 1/2 years or I would have had her do the opposite of what she did. (The other books in between MFW K & 1st).

She too, likes having her own work. But I also learned not to tell either one this is your brother's work or your sister's work. We just do certain activities as a family and for the most part, they just think it's both of theirs. HTH
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:50 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: Another Kindergarten question ~

Unread post by spaldingclan »

Hi there Cindie,
I thought I'd just put in my two cents since I recently went through this.

My youngest dd will be 5 in July too. My middle dd who is now 6 started k in Sept ( youngest had just turned 4). I purchased extra k student materials for youngest and she has loved doing school with us. she has her own set of materials, her own folder and she does what she can. It's amazed me all that she can do and how long she can sit and do school with us. I will have her do k again next year as far as phonics, writing and math, and she will join her older sister doing Adv activities.

I am so happy that I purchased her own set of K materials. It has made this year so much easier, and she has loved doing school along with her big sister.
**Stars of Grace Academy**
happily married to dh since 1995
mom to 3 outgoing daughters:
dd1 age 14: Freshman at PS
dd2 age 6 1/2: currently in MFW1, finished MFWK
dd3 age 5: currently in MFWK

Easily distracted Kindergartner...what should I do?

Unread post by cbollin »

Christy mom of 4 wrote:Hi! We just finished unit 14 Horse with our 5.5 year old Kindergartner. He's learning to read well with the K curriculum and starting to understand the numbers in the 100 chart a lot better, but he's very easily distracted and I question whether he has the emotional maturity to keep plugging away with the material or if we should just take a break for awhile.

We have 4 kids all 21 months apart and our K'er is our oldest, so there is a lot going on while we are trying to get school work done!! He gets the material and some of it we skip since he's known letter sounds for a long time, just so he doesn't have as much work to do. I break it up for him so it's about 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, but just getting him to write his name without getting distracted is a challenge!! We even do school work most days while our 2 year old is napping and the almost 3 months old isn't ever a distraction. Our 3.5 year old boy stays in with us and does his "schoolwork" (coloring, puzzles, etc.) and whatever he is doing our older one is very distracted by.

He has a bad attitude sometimes during school time or just gets silly. I called the office and talked to someone about this a few months ago, and she said to stay with it since he's learning to read. I'm hestitant to stop because we are so far into and he is learning, but when I read things about Charlotte Mason and starting at 6 and then talking to other HS moms and they say to not worry about academics and focus on character, that seems like a good idea too. I guess I just need some encouragement that things are going to be ok ;) Thank you for reading all of this and for any encouragement you can give!!!!! God put homeschooling on our hearts when our oldest was a newborn and we KNOW this is what we should do, but it's hard!!!

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
Welcome along! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Yes, homeschooling in hard in these early years and I think you are doing great to follow God’s lead. Wow! I’m enjoying your journey that homeschooling has been part of your child’s life from birth. Just exciting!

I have too much to share. (((hugs))

He may be needing a few weeks break with major holidays. It is common in early years in homeschooling to do Christmas studies and fun stuff instead of trying to keep up with all subjects. It may be the break everyone needs. You’re still in school and learning, but taking the stress off.

For discussion of ideas and strategies with wiggly young learners, I have some ideas and know others will share. I’d start off by encouraging you to listen to one of David Hazell’s workshops about Occupying Preschoolers while Teaching Olders. The CD can be ordered from MFW, or you can hear an online stream version here
Lots of good strategies in there for handling it all.

Oh, wait a minute. We had a reality check bonding thread on the forum a few days ago. You’ll find that we all struggle at some point with realities of one room school house in the midst of just being a family. All of your experiences on the normal side with normal solutions. Isn’t that nice to know? It’s normal stuff you are dealing with. Here is that recent bonding let’s keep it real thread

The good thing is: Not all days are always like that. Sometimes it’s keeping a sense of humor about you. Some days, it’s eating sandwiches on paper plates at supper that keeps it real. You’re normal. One of my favorite quotes from MFW’s David Hazell on this stage of homeschool parenting is centered around the idea of: when you look at families who have homeschooled for 10 years or more and they seem to have it so easy, just remember, it took them 10 years of working hard to make it happen that easy. They’ve long forgotten how they got it done back then.

So, we keep pressing on. You can do this.

a bit about me. I have 3 children (all girls). 10th grade, 7th grade and the 9 y.o we say 3rd grade. been homeschooling, well since oldest was either 4 or 5. I don't have a pretty decorated house. Unlike the image projected on MFW catalog or any of these catalogs from any company, I do not get dressed up in make up and jewelry to teach. On a good day, I'm dressed in my work clothes (I'm a part time fitness instructor) and have a cup of coffee in hand.

When oldest was 6-7, I had a preschooler and an infant/toddler. My youngest is autistic and was a handful and miserable for the first 3 years of her life. Poor kid. She’s happy camper these days. But, the only way I could get stuff done was if she was in a high chair with either ice cubes on the tray, or her face covered with mashed potatoes. Other times, I had her in a sling style carrier, upside down, right side up, upside down, right side up. You get the idea. :) That way I could read out loud to my oldest for about 2 minutes at a time. So, in spite of all of that, my oldest managed to learn something. But she was willing to sit for a little while. and she went to 2 group schools in preschool (one was private speech therapy preschool, the other was a church based program). it's ok to do what your family needs. God provides.

that's enough about me.

Wiggly kids who are easily distracted. My youngest is on the autism spectrum. We had to work slowly to build her ability to do seat work in the midst of distractions of her own mind.
From that experience, something popped out at me with your seat work to break schedule that you mentioned. I think 15 minutes of break is too long to jump back into seat work for some children. Their brains are just getting into the new activity and probably not ready to sit back down.
with that said..... In my daughter’s case, we worked hard for 15 minutes. She had a much longer break to go play. Then again, she was youngest child and I was teaching older students so longer break work in our family. That way she was ready to sit again. But, I know if I gave her 15 minutes break, then it would have been too long to go back to sitting down right away. The various therapists who worked with her got her for 45 minutes once a week. In those 45 minutes, she had maybe 2 or 3 breaks to do active tasks for about 2 minutes or so. Then she was expected to get back in her chair or table. It was more like shaking the cobwebs out of your brain kind of breaks and then right back. They had a picture schedule for her to follow. First we do writing, then we do game, Take a break to swing. Work on story time.

She was 6 when we did K with her. At home her typical day in MFW K was that the “math” routines were part of her wake up and breakfast routines. I splurged and bought pre made fancy classroom calendars. She’d wake up and help change the calendar every day. It had a spot for “yesterday was” today is, tomorrow will be. She changed the numbers and words, and even weather report. We’d then go from that calendar over to the kitchen and do the popsicle stick in container and I’d write on the 100 chart. Now time for breakfast where I’d incorporate lots of math. (set the table, I have 2 forks. I need 2 more forks.). How many cups?

So math got done. Check it off. Eat something. (the eating was her break time without her realizing it)
Then, she’d sit down for 10-15 minutes on handwriting, language arts homework from therapy, do the Lauri letters. She went to each station. After the set time, she was done.

Now, I have math and language arts done. And it’s not that late in the morning either. Later in the day, we’d do some of the science activities. 15 minutes of work and never to the extent of what I see on blogs. More power to them.

Our badges were back in the old days when we made them. But she loved to tape them on a door going to the basement. That door was near the kitchen table. So, there was constant reinforcement at meal times.

Another idea is to have it so certain fixed hours of the day are “school time” and that you let your oldest know what kinds of play is considered school. Even if it is active play it can be educational based or something that holds his attention. With my autistic child, it was computer games, and specific preschool shows. Learning was happening. Handwriting practice was on the shower wall with shaving cream. Cleans easy.

But I would look at how often he is switching between tasks of seat work, break, seat work.

Of course there will be times when you have to stop in mid thought and care for a baby. During those times, it is helpful to have a quick list of things that your oldest can do for “independently” learning. It could be as simple as
Johnny, I have to change Mary’s diaper again! You can work in the Cuisenaire Rod book with the blocks for 10 minutes. See if you can find the Letter X (or whatever letter you are on) and work hard on designing the pattern with different colors. Give it a try for a bit, and remember to clean up.

That way he has a specific task to try to do.

Just a few things that have worked for me over time. And yes, I’ve been doing this so long that like David said, it becomes part of who we are.

I am not made for reality TV homeschooling mom. I don’t even think the teenager is awake yet.

Christy mom of 4
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:22 pm

Re: Easily distracted Kindergartner...what should I do?

Unread post by Christy mom of 4 »


Thank you so much for all of your wisdom and encouragement!! It's so nice to know that I'm not alone and there are many others who have been there and experienced the same things. I like the 45 minutes of work with 2 to 3 short breaks to "shake the cobwebs out." When we get back into school work after the break we'll be putting into place your tips!

Question about the holidays...are you saying to take a break from now until Christmas/New Year's is over and do other activities then pick back up right where we were in the curriculum and finish later? That would definitely work for us since we started in June in order to take a break when the baby was born in late August. We're thinking we might try a year round school schedule with breaks throughout the year instead of such long summer break. Have you or anyone else tried that? We're newbies here, so feedback is great! For people who follow a traditional school year schedule, how do you take a long break during the holidays and fit in your curriculum, or do you just start the next grade whenever you finish the current grade? Ah, the flexibility of homeschooling!

Again, thank you for your time and help. I loved the long reply. Made me feel loved!

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