4-year-olds - Ready academically but waiting to start K

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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4-year-olds - Ready academically but waiting to start K

Unread post by Ariasarias »

You have my permission to wait :). I think you and your ds will appreciate the program even more if you do. My dd was actually reading at 4, but we waited and I am glad we did. She could have done the work at 4, but she was able to mature that year instead and I think she gained more from the K program at 5 than if she had done it at 4. It just seems so age-appropriate.

I also have your dilemma this next year. My second dd will be 4.5 in the fall. She is so ready to read and learn to write her letters. She does a little now, but she has mainly learned as she asks questions and I read to her.

Now that I watch my oldest, I wish I would not have done much with her before K -- I'm not saying anything against what you have done with yours :). I think we still would have had learning opportunities. I guess I wish it would have all been just through play and enjoying good books -- which we also did a lot of. She's going to be in school for a while; delaying that "school" feeling would have been okay.

So for next year I want to take it easy for my 4.5 and let her enjoy her little life and take her lead in her learning and trust that when she is more mature it will be easier anyway.

The plan you have sounds like a very good one. The great part of homeschooling is that you can start any time of year.
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

Unread post by cbollin »

Some ideas for using the PreK Deluxe in MFW to consider. Maybe there are ways to use the things in MFW preK as part of the overall school day for your child who may not need much more than 30 minutes or so. (every one is different)

Music CD
Use the Music CD to help begin the day to set the stage for having a structured beginning time for school. Enjoy the music. Do any finger plays or march around the room and make a joyful noise.

Storybook and art book
Then move to using a story, such as from the 20th Century Treasury Book. Sometimes it is just reading a story -- and other times you'll get an idea in your head and just go with the flow. When we read Madeline, one page jumped out at us about looking at the ceiling cracks and seeing shapes. So, did that in our house and then played outside and looked at cloud shapes. another story inspired us to save coins in a jar and count them. It was some of the same kind of things that FIAR does, but without me trying to over do it with social studies. Hard to explain that.

I felt like using the 20th Century treasury book helped me to let my child enjoy literature and learn from it, without mom taking the fun out of it. That was something that my oldest used to tell me about FIAR --- mom, the story stopped being fun. oh well.... that's the teacher's fault, not the fault of FIAR. :)

Have the child begin to retell the story to you. Never too early to begin those language arts lessons in narration. :)

Enjoy the same story about 3 times per week and only use the book during "school time". Alternate with the Art appreciation bok. Just look for details in the pictures and talk about why you like and don't like it. Talk about what you think it going on in the picture.

Manipulatives Don't just think of these as toys.
My Father’s World PreK is designed for teaching skills such as following directions, completing an assigned task, fine motor development, reading readiness, early math, and thinking skills in a relaxed, informal manner. Each "toy" in the package is actually developing important skills. MFW has designed their ideas to make the “toy” as useful and productive as possible. They use a combination of toys with a similar theme to strengthen the important skill while keeping the activity varied for the child.

Number Puzzle Boards and Pegs (math)
Kids Puzzle (visual discrimination)
Lace & Link Lowercase Letters (reading readiness)
Lacing Shapes (pencil grip--you hold the lace similar to a pencil; fine motor)
Fit-A-Space (thinking skills--categories and sequence)
8" Pegboard (math)

The PreK Activity booklet [now Activity Cards], written by My Father’s World is about 8 pages long and jammed packed with ideas to use as a springboard for the toys. The ideas are arranged by toy, then by developmental area, and finally by difficulty.


I found the shape toys really great for making my own worksheets. I'd have my child trace them and then cut out the shape and make something with the shape. Great for building up fine motor skills when they are not quite ready for writing letters. And the lacing ones are great for helping to learn how to hold a pencil.

you know your child, but I thought maybe some of those ideas might help you a bit for a child who is "past parts of one stage" but you're wanting to wait a bit.

I liked that the MFW pre K wasn't a check list of things to do each day, that way I focused on my child and developing skills rather than completeing a curriculum. But, that's just me.

My 2nd child was 5 when she started MFW K and she was already reading short vowel words.
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Unread post by 4Truth »

This is exactly what I'm doing... waiting. My Leanna is also 4-1/2. She's not ready for K yet, and may not be by the time she turns 5, either. Though we've used some parts of the K program along with her learning letter sounds (for reinforcement), so I'll have to buy a new student book when we get ready to really *do* K. But I've been doing lots of preschoolish stuff with her, and I'm thinking strongly about going ahead and getting the MFW preK package to just "enjoy" with her.... while we have time. ;o)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
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Unread post by kfrench »

On the subject of waiting. I thought of doing k when my daughter was almost five. She has a Nov birthday. So she did a little bit of workbooks but didn't really get into it.

SO we ended up doing K when she was almost 6. I am glad I waited because she is first grade and reading is still sounding out each word.

ALso I have 2 friends that started their kids early -- one had a AUg birthday and the other a Jan. Well they started k when they were barely 5 and 4 1/2 and now both girls are 2nd graders and both parents have decided to hold them back in second grade next year. It doesn't always happen but they found their kids were able to do the work but did not understand it yet. I think it is a lot easier to wait then to have to demote your kids later. Or have them struggling with some subjects because they aren't ready.

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Unread post by sarajoy »

I'm in a similar situation with my 4.5 dd. I have a 6.5 finishing MFWK now and she is slowly putting together the CVC words. Early on my 4.5 yo would join in with us more but lately she would prefer to do other things as the reading lessons are more complex and focused. She still enjoys all our science stuff.

I've decided to not start her on MFWK until her birthday (Dec.) at the earliest. I think our house can only stand the drama of mom working on teaching one child to read at a time. Even if I do start her in Dec., I would plan on taking a year and a half to finish K.

I know of parents who homeschooled their kids early and the kids thrived and have done well, but the parents are now looking at their 16 year olds going off to college. I know I'm not ready for that. I say let kids be kids for as long as possible. With love and learning play and experiences presented, they will learn what they need to. But why ship them off to college and into the work force or whatever sooner than needed. They'll be working and busy with that stuff soon enough.

Blessings to all of you!!

Unread post by cbollin »

If she is wanting to do school and is getting that close to age 5, why not?? She doesn't have to wait until next fall. She can start sooner.

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Starting kindergarten early or adjusting preK

Unread post by RachelT »

hollybygolly wrote:Just a question about possibly starting kindergarten a few months early. My 4 year old will be 5 in April, and she's starting to become bored and disruptive while I teach my 2 first graders. We think she feels left out, although she's invited to sit with us during school, she has a computer to play computer games, she can play with her little sister, etc. We do a little preschool time before I teach the older 2: read aloud, math page, Bible story. I think something more structured would help.

My plan would be to go at a slower pace, taking 2 weeks per lesson, teaching her on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She is showing signs of wanting to learn to read and knows all of her letter sounds, and can almost count to 100. Is this a bad idea? Feel free to be candid...I want to do the best thing for her... Thanks in advance...you all are wonderful and such a blessing!
One thing I thought of when reading your post is that it sounds like you do "all" of the PreK school with your youngest and then she is "done" with school and has to find other things to do. Could you try to break it up into parts and alternate between her and the older children? Maybe you could still work with her first, then let her choose an activitiy for 30 min and then come back to her to do something else with her while the other children are working on something or taking their short break? This works well with my children. If you begin K with her, you could start with the yellow page activities and then later do the white page activities or something like that.

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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Unread post by hollybygolly »

Wow...what great responses! Rachel, that's exactly what I do! I do about 20-30 minutes with my 4 year old, and then I turn my attention to the twins for their whole schoolwork time. I think I will start breaking it up and doing a few things with her, teach and get the twins started on something, go back to her, etc. Whew...homeschooling is so rewarding, but so much to figure out! I appreciate the help...
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

PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by cbollin »

chewymama wrote:Hello again! :waves:

Advice on starting a 4 year old in kindergarten, as opposed to waiting a year? According to the MFW guidelines, she is "ready," but should I hold off another year just because of her age? She won't be turning 4 until July, but she wants to "do school work" like her big sister so badly. Will it be too overwhelming for her? Anyone else with experience starting with a young 4 year old?

If I hold off, any suggestions on what I can do to fill her time and keep her engaged? The preK package is a bit too young for her.

Thanks for the help!
sometimes it's a little hard to know if a package is "too young" for a 4 y.o. Although from the pictures you might think (but wouldn't say out loud of course) "really? ah c'mon mfw?", the skills learned in the usage of those "toys" will be helpful to set the foundation for learning.
When you see how they use the "toys" with the activities cards to work on a full range of development in fine motor, language, cognitive skills..... you'll find that it's not just playing with toys.

Your currently 3 y.o wants to be involved with big sister... then, let her be involved in big sister's stuff in ways that are age appropriate. What program will big sister be using in the fall? You've said the younger sib is "ready" according to MFW guidelines, but I want to make sure on that.... I don't think they do a good job on the FAQ describing in enough detail what some of it means.... (just my opinion)

*what is her pencil grip like? it's not just "Is your child taking time to sit down to draw and color on his own initiative?" it's... more of "is the grip correct and child is drawing in a way that you think.. hmm... do other 3 year young children draw this well? (I know.. she'll be 4 in 2 months.. but compare her work to 3 y.o.... are you thinking.. wow.. I have this pencil advanced child)

*is she ready for her own program.. or does she just want to do what you and big sis are doing?

personally.... I'd lean in favor of "late over early", and just include younger siblings in hands on projects, some coloring sheets from student pages, picture books from book basket... any and all cooking projects... music, art..

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Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by gratitude »

My dd, now 5, also met all of the criteria of MFW for MFWK when she was 4. She also 'begged' to do school like big brothers. So last fall I pulled out MFWK and started it with her for about 6 weeks. Then we hit a wall. She was ready, but she didn't REALLY want to 'work' that much!! So I put it away.

I went ahead and bought the cards for P4/5 for preK. It was a great decision. The cards had real learning skills on them for the activity ideas, and many of them were far from easy for 4 since they involved thinking. She loved it. She loved sitting at the table doing her hands on learning while the boys did school. She already had great fine motor skills, now they are even better. She turned 5 in January, and around April the Lauri toys were becoming less interesting and less involved for her. So I started MFWK with the new guide, which has been fun. So far, so good. By the time she reaches the more difficult parts (we break for summer) it will be September and she will be officially in K. LOL. I am glad I held off this year. It has been fun to do the creation unit the past couple of weeks. It has been fun to start the sun unit. She is more than prepared and ready for K.

Does this help?
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Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by chewymama »

This is very helpful, thank you!

2012/13 will be our first year with MFW. This year was our first year schooling at home, and we started with k12 -- NOT a good fit for us. My oldest daughter is 11, so she will be starting 6th grade with ECC.

I have never seen the curriculum in person, so forgive me if this question seems silly: if I forego the kindergarten program in lieu of the preK package, should I order a set of Student Sheets, Flags of the World and a Passport for my younger to participate in some of the ECC activities with us, or will they be too advanced for her?

I am so excited to have found this message board. Thank you so much for the advice!

Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by cbollin »

ECC has so many things that youngers can join in on. cooking, crafts, being there for science experiments (not the readings, just the experiments to watch and hang out) dig in the back yard together.....

yes.. get another set of the student sheets and consumables in ECC for the younger sibling who wants to do school with older sis. That student will not use "all" of the sheets, or might just draw pictures or stickers on somethings like the science pages.. that's ok.

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Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by gratitude »

chewymama wrote: if I forego the kindergarten program in lieu of the preK package, should I order a set of Student Sheets, Flags of the World and a Passport for my younger to participate in some of the ECC activities with us, or will they be too advanced for her?
Yes, I would order the student sheets like Crystal mentioned. I have not seen the ECC student sheets, but my dd (now 5/Pre-K year) has enjoyed coloring the ADV student sheets.

It is completely a personal choice, you know your dd best, whether you do the Pre-K and student sheets or the student sheets in lieu of the pre-K.

My dd5, that I talked about in the above posts, did use the Pre-K cards this year and loved all the hands on learning. She also enjoyed coloring all of the ADV student sheets. She didn't do any of the writing for the ADV student sheets, but she would color the picture above the lines that were on the sheet for note booking. She also liked putting the flag stickers on the state sheets, and doing her own names of Jesus poster. So she didn't use every sheet, but she used most of them. The pre-K package prepared her more for K, and the ADV sheets let her be a part of big brothers school and learn some more about Jesus and a little history here and there. I think my favorite 'history sheet' that she did was she put alphabet letters on the telegraph machine that she colored, since the Morse code stood for alphabet letters. I am always amazed at what she picks up from the older kids work at 4/5.
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Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by chewymama »

Wonderful! Thanks for the tips! I'm very excited to start working with this curriculum! Maybe that's one of the reasons why I was eager to go ahead and start her in kindergarten :blushes: -- it looks like so much fun!

I think I'll go ahead and order the Pre-K cards and maybe even the Toddler toys (I also have a 9 month old), and then just order the extra consumables for her to work along with us.

Eeek! This is almost as exciting as waiting for new cloth diapers and baby wraps to come in the mail, lol! ;)
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Re: PreK vs. Kindergarten

Unread post by lea_lpz »

I agree with crystal about the pre-school package. When I first saw it I wasn't going to order it but ended tossing it in with my order on a whim with my order for my daughter's kinder deluxe package. I'm glad I did! The index card activities are actually very challenging and even to my kindergartner! We just started to use them this week as I felt I should really begin to purposefully schedule "preschool" mon -thur. We have been doing one index card a day this week and it only takes us about 15 minutes. Right now because he's 3 I generally chose the beginner level but can easily see the activities carried on until K with just doing the more advanced suggestions!

I combined the MFW index card activity with Before Five In A Row which also takes about 15 minutes for me to do and my k'er joins us, too, but both MFW PreK and BFIAR could easily be expanded on to take more time - probably an hour combined, maybe an hour an a half but since my son sits in on the whole MFW K I don't fill it necessary! He participates in everything except writing and math, but will sit and watch while scribbling or playing with his "preschool" toys (lauri toys from MFW). It's really your call but I think the preK package is challenging for a four year old and you could always combine it with a lit based program. Message me if you want more info on BFIAR.

You know just remembered that the reason I ordered MFW preK too was because I wasn't sure whether to wait until fall to do K or start when she turned 5 in April! We opted for starting shortly after she turned 5 and just finished day 4 of unit 1 (Ss Sun) today. We thought this would give us the flexibility to do school only 4 days a week and still leave lots of wiggle room to finish by the end of May 2013. Some people do MFW K only 3 days a week and spread it I over 2 years which would be another way you could go! I'd probably do that with my son actually but that would mean 3 years straight of MFW K so I plan to wait until he is 5 to do MFW K with him and will probably make Adventures our core curriculum since my dd will be a 2nd grader then.

dd: 5, MFW K
ds: 3, MFW pre-k3, BFIAR, Rod & Staff About Three's (eclectic mix ;))
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)
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What Are Your Hopes and Plans for This Year?

Unread post by manyblessings »

Christy - Staff wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:58 am Is God saying anything special to your heart that you would like to share? You may have the encouragement that someone else needs. Or if you are in a difficult place, someone may have the encouraging words you need.
I started homeschooling in 1996, when my oldest was 4. I did it because he was very bright, and was even teaching himself to read at age 3. My first bit of advice is that as far as academics go, later is better. I feel I did my son a disservice by pushing him into heavy academics at age 4, rather than giving him lots of time to play and explore and be creative.

At the time, I felt a great deal of pressure to make sure no one could question my homeschooling abilities or his intelligence. They did anyway ;)

Which brings me to my second bit of advice-follow God's leading, and your mama instincts, when it comes to your children. God has entrusted them to YOU, so don't worry what other people think. Over the years, and with much trial and error, I learned to take a more relaxed approach with the rest of my children.

I am blessed to have a sweet. almost 4-year-old to raise and teach again after all these years, when most of my other children are grown. We are finishing AAAT this week and hope to start VOD in the beginning of September. My goals for this coming year are to continue instilling in my youngest the values her siblings have grown up with, to encourage her creativity, and to fully savor this time with her, because it never comes again :)

I am so thankful to MFW for creating the Preschool and Pre K programs just in time for me to use with her-it was one of several confirmations to come back to MFW after having tried so many other curricula or piecing together my own. Another important confirmation was my husband choosing MFW before I told him I wanted to choose it! Have a blessed year everyone!
4 adults, 1 in 3rd
3 in heaven
Married 6/20/09
2020-2021 ECC
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Re: What Are Your Hopes and Plans for This Year?

Unread post by allgrace »

Thanks for sharing this. My oldest is almost 8 and I started him in school young when he wasn't ready. I have switched curriculum because he was struggling, but am now back at mfw and realize mfw is great , he was struggling because he was too young.

I have three younger children and don't want to start them early. My three year old wants to write and read too and has good fine motor skills. We just finished AAAT.

My hope for this year is to see how mfw is a good fit for us and to stick with my schedule.

"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Dd6: MFW 1st
Ds 4: preschool workbooks
Ds. 2: preschool
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