Readiness - What to look for in a 6 year old?

Post Reply
kellybell
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Readiness - What to look for in a 6 year old?

Unread post by kellybell »

Vic529 wrote:For next year, I'm thinking of Adventures for my 6 year old. Is this too early? He's going through the first grade program well right now. What language arts do I use with Adventures? I dont want to overwhelm my son at such a fun age, yet he is very advanced academically for his age. Any thoughts on what to do? Thanks.
I don't know your son, but I am going to give my standard answer...

Regardless of whether a child is advanced academically or not, I think it's best with MFW to have a child do the program (or one of the programs) designed for that age. This means K for a 5 or 6 year old, 1st for a 6 or 7 year old, and Adventures for a 7 or 8 year old.

There are a couple of reasons I say this:

1. MFW appears to me to be very developmentally appropriate. Whether or not your 5 year old is reading, he is probably enjoying the things in MFW-kindergarten such as singing little jingles, memorizing short statements, playing games, reading picture books, etc. MFWK (and first grade, and Adventures) seems to be the right amount or work, geared to the interests and abilities of kids that are 5 and 6.

2. While many children CAN do the K and 1st grade work at an age 1 or even 2 years younger than what they're designed for, they will "hit a wall" in a few years. For example, Adventures is designed for a second grader, a kid who is 7 or 8. The amount of work increases and the expectations are higher. The child needs to not struggle in writing down thoughts and needs to be able to do a little more abstract thinking. MFW is pretty easy stuff for little kids but it gets deep quickly. Kids can handle it when they are average (or better) kids of the recommended age for the programs.

3. I think many of us have seen homeschooling families (and others too) where a child has been moved ahead a year or two. The child often has a "big head" due to his precociousness. Most kids aren't mature enough to handle being "advanced." Honestly, I have one kid that is advanced, one that is lagging a bit, and two that are happily average. My advanced kid sort of knows she is advanced, but we try hard to make sure that she thinks she's pretty normal and that if something comes easily to her, then she is to give God the credit for gifting her in that way.

4. Do you really want a high school senior that is only 15 years old? It's just fine to graduate at 18 with your peers.

5. It's perfectly fine for a child to be advanced academically and not to be pushed to the limit in every school subject. So, if your child is ahead in math, well, just continue at a comfortable pace but don't push. Instead, thank God that math is easy for that child. Same for other subjects.

Just my ideas.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I honestly respect Kelly's wise answer, but just wanted to toss in another viewpoint. My 5.5yo dd is doing very well with MFW1 this year and I plan to teach Adventures next fall when she is 6.5yo. I have no qualms about it. I'm actually looking forward to her "hitting a wall" and having to slow down, because if I held her back now when the work is so easy, she would be very frustrated and bored and drive me crazy with all of her self-invented projects. I was a 15yo senior myself, and while I don't wish that for my dd, I won't begrudge her of it, either. It's up to her on how she far she wants to push herself. She's so young now, I'm not going to focus on when she finishes school, I'm focussing on how to fill school. If we find enough material to keep her busy with homeschool until she's 20, then I'm all for it! (slight exaggeration :-) She is in dance with girls her age, and three different church groups with children her age, so she is aware that she is learning "different" things than the other kids are, but not that she is "advanced." (I hate all these labels.) I don't know if that helps, but there's my two cents.
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
cbollin

Unread post by cbollin »

ADV can be used by a child who is "first grade age" AND advanced in both reading and writing skills AND is ready for a school day that is about 3 hours to cover about 7-10 different subjects. You might have to slow down the pace as Kelly and Cyndi are saying. Or even shelf it for a few months and come back to it. But that can be helpful to know ahead of time, so that if your child begins to struggle with the new workload, you might have to shift gears. It isn't that they have suddenly become stupid or unwilling. <g>

The big question then becomes, what would you do the year after that? I'd be less quick to put a 7 y.o (who is the oldest in the family) into ECC. You might have to have a gap year or semester or something in that mix.

How's the writing portion going for this child in MFW 1st grade? The language arts portion changes a lot starting around day 126. It might be easier to think about options at that point in the year. just a thought.

-crystal
kellybell
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

Cyndi,

Thanks for the other viewpoint! I'm sincerely glad we can all approach this from different angles.

It will be interesting as we all "watch" our kids grow up...
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
jasntas
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by jasntas »

gratitude wrote:My thread last week was beyond helpful. The Lord used it to keep me home schooling, which in fact is exactly what I want to be doing and what I feel called to be doing. Thank you for helping me not be pulled in the wrong direction. It was also helpful in making me look at myself and the ways I am not effectively running our home school.

A white board with a schedule has helped A lot! So has pulling the curriculum back to the bare bone basics of Bible, Readers, Handwriting, & math. We have now had 4 successful home school days, even with doctor's appointments. May we have many more. So now I am wondering for input on the 'what is next' for our family as far as the work we will be doing.

I am wondering if I should wait and do ADV with a 2nd/3rd graders 1 1/2 years from now and then ECC with my sensitive oldest in 4th and his brother in 3rd? I am mostly wondering if I should try ADV again in the fall for 2nd grade for my oldest?

The past 4 days we have done pre-school Bible from R&S, handwriting for the boys, readers for the boys, and math for my oldest. What a relief! Over ambitious mom has put Jesus in the drivers seat, and I know my home school will go a billion times better. The weeks our home school has worked are the weeks when I followed MFW exactly and this past week. Both had one thing in common: me not trying to do too much, and keeping it at a level my young children can handle.

For the record MFW 1 worked great for us when I followed it exactly, and became difficult when over ambitious mom trying to prove I could home school added too much to it. I hope & pray that I have finally learned my lesson. We need our hearts for Jesus first and foremost at the front of our home school; or I really don't think we will make it. I also think we learn more when we do less (was this Charlotte Mason's philosophy?), and the heart of our home school really only stays if my ambition (fear of failure at home schooling) stays out of the way. Thank you for listening. I am learning that public confession of my mistakes does wonders for bringing Christ's love for solutions.

Blessings.
Hi Carin,

I don't really have any advice for you right now. I might later but for now I just wanted to say been there, done that. Our first year hs'ing was a disaster. So much so that I sent my little guy away to ps for two years after that. That first year I tried to 'prove' to the world (and extended family) that kids who hs are much 'smarter' than ps'ed kids. I put A LOT of added pressure on me and my poor little guy of whom we later found out has dyslexia. I finally decided to bring him back home last year for 3rd which is also when I discovered his dyslexia. I took some major steps back and we all learned to enjoy school for the first time.

I didn't use MFW K that first year because I didn't think it would be rigorous enough. Three years later when I used it with my dd we all enjoyed it immensely. I haven't nor do I ever plan on looking back.

Hang in there and just remember to enjoy your dc while their young. :)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
http://tammiestime.blogspot.com/
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Carin,

My only thought is to take a break and start up in the fall. Continue doing the light and fun stuff, 3 days a week. Keep it low key. Your kiddos are a lot closer in age than mine. Look for some cool fun art project on the web and do it together.

Have you asked your son if he would like to try Adventures again? Just a thought...

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thank you Tammie! I almost enrolled my children into school last week. I am so glad that God used this board and my DH to stop me!
We too are taking major steps back, but my ds hasn't complained once about school in these 4 days and has enjoyed it. I think we are on the right track. I thought MFW K wasn't rigorous enough either; now I can see it is More than Enough. I am really looking forward to doing it again. I think this time we too could enjoy it immensely at the pace it is written for. Slow and Steady, just the right pace for a 5 year old. :)


Trish, With everything on our plate this could be a very good plan. Did I mention that our house is on the market? (It really has been quite the two years) As soon as it sells school will probably be entirely on the back burner until the move is done.

Are you thinking ADV would be a good idea for fall for his second grade year?
I just asked him if he would like to do some more American History in the fall, and he did say yes!

I could do ADV in the fall for my 2nd grader, and MFW 1 in the fall for my first grader, and then put off MFW K for the following year since next year will be dd Pre-K year. Does this look like a good plan?

In the meantime I would really like to keep focusing on simple Bible & handwriting. Handwriting was our main problem area in completing work in MFW 1 & ADV. Currently working on Bible & that one area seems to be bringing a lot of peace.
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Carin,

I would just ask him... You know, "Honey, I know you liked the stories from Adventures last year. What do you think about doing it again?" Talk to him and see what he liked/disliked. How could we make it better? I don't advocate always letting the kids have their way, but sometimes they do better if they have some ownership in the decision process. Maybe that's something you talk out with dh? Husbands are good at problem solving.

Problem is, I don't know what you would do until 3rd grade. Though, taking a year to focus on his handwriting, and having him join in the 1st grade and/or K "fun" stuff again could be good. Have him read the Bible lessons out of a real Bible rather than the Bible reader. Have him start writing one sentence, then two... Ease into PLL, doing a lot of it orally, and make it copy work instead of dictation. If you didn't do the art in 1st grade, that might be a really good fine motor thing to make sure you include this time.

For your ds6, I would go to the library and get some easy readers and let him try to read them with you. I know our library has a whole section of phonics-based books that might focus on the short /a/ sound, and then have him read all the short /a/ words while you read the rest. This keeps him interested, yet doesn't push.

For your dd4, that's a hard one. She has 2 older brothers she wants to keep up with. That's a big motivator. Try to let her join in on the fun stuff. Help her make notebook pages. Print out pages from Donna Young or some other worksheet generator website for her to practice her letters if she wants. Get a "The Complete Book of Preschool" from Sam's Club or the like and do a page out of there every now and then. Mazes are really good for fine motor control.

[Remember, you don't have to do 3 hours all at once when you do ADV. For my dd, it was especially good to get lots of little breaks, or make drills and such more active. (She would swing on the swings while we drilled phonics and math.) Even now, she'll do a page or two of seatwork, and then dance around the floor for a few minutes, much to the distraction of the rest of us. Or she'll go climb a tree and sit in it for doing some seatwork. But, she needs to get her wiggles out.]

But, I would wait for the fall to "start" a new core, whether you redo Adventures, or do the "Family First Grade Fun" route. Do like you've done this week. I know we like to keep math going through the summer, and my two dyslexics need the constant reinforcement, but I try to have summer be only 1 to 2 hours of math/reading/spelling. I try to have more fun stuff (maybe finishing the Art book from 1st, or going back and doing a couple of experiments we just didn't have time to try to the full extent) in the summer.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
MelissaM
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by MelissaM »

Well, I like the idea of making K and 1 a family affair, and then doing ADV with a 3rd and 2nd grader. My 4th grader this year has enjoyed doing many of the projects/experiments in K, so your 1st and 2nd graders should be fine with them. Require a little more in terms of writing/notebooking from the oldest. He can draw pictures and write a couple of sentences about your science experiments, he can be a little more elaborate with his art projects (or help with setting up/cleaning up, etc.).

I haven't used 1st grade yet, so I don't know what the projects/experiments are like, but I'm sure you could incorporate everyone into the mix.

I would probably not try to do all the science/art/music from both programs. I'd look at what's on the docket for each program each week and decide which you want to do from each program.

I'd supplement with TONS of library books, especially for the oldest, and more for the middle as he gains skills/fluency.

I'd go very slowly with K with 4 yo, but I'm kind of a 'better late than early' club member. :)

Do you normally school year-round, or take a longer break in the summer? If you usually have a summer break, and you have a ton of stuff already going on, I'd just take a break - read lots of library books, have some field trips, play some math games, but nothing scheduled or pressured. Sit and read with your middle one, and help him learn to sound things out, if he's really anxious*, but nothing formal. Start everything in the fall, when you've all had a nice mental rest.

Then, the next fall, Adv with your 2 oldest, and finish K with the youngest. Then, the NEXT year, ECC with the 2 oldest and 1st with the youngest. Give your sensitive oldest a couple of years to get ready for ECC. My 9yo sensitive dd hasn't had any problems with the missionary stories we've read so far, but I do give her warnings about what might be coming. Okay, one more time: then, the NEXT year, you have all 3 together in CTG - hooray! :)

Is that helpful?
Hugs,
Melissa

*ETA: I meant anxious as in eager, not as in worried. Just to clarify. ;)
:)
Melissa
DD13
DS10
DS5
DS2
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by gratitude »

Hi Melissa!

That is helpful! I had not thought about the fact that waiting would actually put all 3 together for the 4 year History cycle. That sounds like a lot of fun! And a ton of pressure off of me. I am still going back and forth. I think the thing I like about the idea about waiting, in addition to 3 children memorizing the book of James together and going from Creation to the present together, is that for the past two years my middle two have been tagging along. School has been focused on my oldest, too much so, and my younger ones have tagged on subjects beyond them. I think my older one needs reduced pressure and my younger two are chomping at the bit to do 'more' school! My only real concern about waiting on ADV is Bible. Maybe though I could have him read to me from the NIrV, and add PLL, and spelling. You had some good ideas too.

Thank you for the insights.

Blessings!
cbollin

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by cbollin »

gratitude wrote:, and became difficult when over ambitious mom trying to prove I could home school added too much to it. I hope & pray that I have finally learned my lesson.
I keep wanting to chime in on here.

that pull quote sounds so much like me in those early years. ok... it still sounds like me...

glad you didn't actually put them in school when homeschooling is what you really want to do. (((hugs)))

Is there any chance you have called the MFW office and maybe speak one on one with one of the staff consultants? Maybe they have some good ideas too or thoughts.

and I keep thinking.. I'll sit down and type later. but then I need food.

(((hugs)))
gratitude wrote:Thank you Crystal. I hope you will take this will; your post gave me a good 8[] .

I haven't called the office yet, it has crossed my mind though.

I am looking forward to your insights.

Blessings.
Yep. I laughed out loud on that. And yes, if I had seen MFW K when my oldest was K age, I would have rolled my eyes at it…. That’s why God didn’t let me know about MFW until my oldest was going into 2nd grade.

Getting all philosophical and story time here.

There are times where we have to let oldest be the one in the holding pattern so the others get some time from us too. I like how David Hazell used to say it. It’s like each child needs their turn to be the first born. With our first borns we did all of the stuff in early years and it was kinda fun. So, sometimes, we need to find ways to let younger crowd have their turn at being the oldest, so to speak.

In my case, there was enough age difference that we had to do 2 programs at once (ECC and K together.) But that way, little youngest got her turn to do all of those fun things.
Well, ok in her case, it was unique because she attends pre schools (for her special needs) 2 hours a day. But then she was home, right?

And truth be told? My oldest helped her youngest sister that year we did ECC and K. I can remember this one time in the old house in Indiana when we did the K K Kangaroo unit in MFW K. My oldest was “supposed” to be doing her country summary sheet in ECC. I was talking about laundry. But then she came up with a cool idea to help teach about joeys in the pouch (baby ‘roos). Instead of the laundry in the basket, I (momma kangaroo) put little gal in the laundry basket and pushed her around while she and I were draped in a big blanket to show we were together.

Then, to help demonstrate how far the kangaroo can jump… all three of the girls had a jumping contest. Then, I played ‘roo again (and so did oldest) and we picked up youngest in the air and then set her down on the long side of the hall, all as one big jump.

Little did I know a few months later, we’d have that house on the market after my dh lost his job and we moved here to Memphis with new job. Did I mention how stressful life can be when you are selling a house and moving to a new state? Especially when your husband had to move 2 months before you?!?!? I don’t think I could have gotten through that summer and fall without people over here asking me about it all. (((hugs))) as you go through that.

Oh yeah, I was going to say something about ideas on what to teach.

Then there was the move to Memphis and the library incident when I got a new library card. I cried uncontrollably in the library as I realized I was saying goodbye to the old library in the old city. Yet, the one person I knew in Memphis (whom I had “met” through this forum before moving and met only 1 week before in real life) walks into the library. Is that a God is in control here moment or what?

Oh yeah… what to do for school. Just an opinion. Blend them for a while. Your child is interested in going ahead to MFW 1st. Go with it now if you want. Feel free to slow day at day 18 if needed. It starts to pick up the pace there. Yes, the oldest can join in and even practice handwriting from Proverbs. Then, once fall comes around, then evaluate where everyone is. Take it from there and ask again.

The 4 y.o? Have fun with it, let her draw with the others, get her a dry erase board, and a real notebook. Let her play school with others. She might learn along.


You might review the post Marie made a long time ago with framework ideas for combining K and 1st. Maybe something is in there for doing ADV and 1st together too. It’s a long term plan that is in her post.
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5510
gratitude wrote:I could do ADV in the fall for my 2nd grader, and MFW 1 in the fall for my first grader, and then put off MFW K for the following year since next year will be dd Pre-K year. Does this look like a good plan
Yes. I think so.

You never know how your oldest will be ready for ECC until you are there. I was so nervous about my middle gal doing ECC that year with the stories. But she was fine. In spite of her learning issues. I think she ‘s the most sane kid I have. Definitely the easy going gal.

-crystal
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thank you Crystal! What a great post. It made me 8[] and :-) I Loved your story with your girls. What a great home school moment.

You are correct that selling a home & moving is a lot of work! I haven't even started the packing part. Keeping the house clean is keeping me too busy. Oh if anyone wants to pray for a home sale & God's will in this move please do.

The thread from Marie was very insightful. It basically said that MFW K is for K, MFW 1 is for 1st, and if going in this order - which we have been doing - ADV is for the oldest child's 2nd grade year. Then the multi-age cycle is for when the children are finished with phonics instruction, and in this case with them one grade a part, the two would be ready to go together into the multi-age cycle. I guess our hitch came in my ds being ready for MFW 1 1/2 way through K and starting ADV in January of his 1st grade year. Since handwriting was an issue in 1st, it only magnified in the 2nd grade program (tears). So according to her outline with a 1st & 2nd grader next year Marie's thread is recommending doing 1st grade & ADV together and even tells me how to do it! Then the following year they would go into ECC together for 2nd & 3rd grade while Elizabeth started K. Ahh.. makes sense.

I don't know how ready they will be for ECC in a year. I seem to read different things on here about ages for ECC. I could always save some of the books from the deluxe package for later. We have been reading some of the heros for young readers. My oldest ds thinks Nate Saint & David Livingston are for much much later. I was planning on pre-reading those two, and he found them and read them. He did O.K., but far better with the other missionary stories in that series. He choose Gladys (spelling?) & Eric Little for his Awana missionaries.

So it is all starting to come together in my mind. Now that I don't feel a need to rush, push, etc. I think we will be fine. At this point I just want to relax and enjoy our time together. If we keep doing handwriting all summer, at the rate it is coming for him, I think he will be fine. Especially with mom on board!

Blessings.
MelissaM
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by MelissaM »

Just chiming in on the "over-ambitious" bit...ask me how I came to be a member of the "better late than early" club, LOL.

I started my oldest dd in K at 4. I still struggle with balancing expectations for her - she's always the guinea pig, poor thing.

I recently read this quote that said, "You know you're a homeschooler when...you start your 1st child in K at age 4, your 2nd at age 5, and your 3rd at age 6." I laughed, because that's totally going to be me.

HUGS to all,
Melissa
:)
Melissa
DD13
DS10
DS5
DS2
RachelT
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Carin! I just wanted to chime in here and say that I have tried to combine curriculum for my two children whenever it is possible and that has simplified things for me. When my oldest was in 2nd grade we did ADV. and he was 7.5 when we began. My dd was 5.5 and I had already had her do MFW K a year early, so I used a K phonics program and included her in everything in ADV. It went really well! She was kind of a K/1st gr. and then the next year I just called her a 1st grader and had her use the MFW 1st gr. phonics book, Bible reader, and Bible notebook, but everything else she did was ECC with her older brother. They are both sensitive, but they did pretty well with ECC at 8.5 and 6.5 starting out the year. She couldn't listen to the missionary read-alouds as long as he could and we ended up not doing them all. I also focused more on the Book of Animals and less on the POE book and learned how to just summarize the reading from it.

Have you looked at this link about teaching two children who are only a grade level apart? It is very helpful.
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5510

Rachel
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

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Decisions: What would you do in this situation?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thank you for all of your help ladies!

I decided to go ahead and start MFW Grade 1 today with my ds6. What a joy! He finished MFW K at some point in the past 2 months, so he is very ready to move on. It was fun to do the drawing lessons again. It was also a really neat moment to bring out the scroll my oldest did last spring, and see him remember it and like seeing it again so much; he also had a fond memory of buying the dowels with dad at the hardware store (so sweet).

So I thought I would say thank you and take a moment to share. I am definitely waiting until next fall for my oldest 2nd grade year to start ADV again, at the beginning. I am also undecided yet when to try K with my dd4. Sometime, but not right now. We haven't had an official MFW program since March or so. It was wonderful to start up again with it. MFW definitely adds a different element of variety to our days that I like, and I wasn't quite ready to start summer (especially in 65 degree weather. ;) ).

Take Care & Have a Great Week! :-)
Post Reply