4-year-olds - K Slowly or Pre-K? (author reply)

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4-year-olds - K Slowly or Pre-K? (author reply)

Unread post by Marie »

Crysta wrote:I am interested in using MFW (K) for my four year old son. Since I will be teaching his older brother this year I thought it would be nice to have a good curriculum to use with him (rather than try to dream up something for him to do each day.) Are there specific skills he should have first, or could we simply adjust the pace? The catalog mentioned sample lessons, but I wasn't able to find any.
Author: Marie Hazell
Date: 7/23/2003

SAMPLE LESSON: If you go to the kindergarten section of our website, you will then see kindergarten sample lesson listed on the [top right] bar. Click on it and you will be able to view a sample lesson which also shows samples of the reading worksheets.

Some 4 year olds are ready for kindergarten, but most are not really ready until age 5. Unless he really seems to want to begin learning to read, we usually recommend waiting until age 5, especially for boys. If you think he is ready to learn letter names and sounds, and sit still for one worksheet a day, you could begin the K program now but do it slowly -- in other words, take two days to do one day's work. If he begins to struggle, put the program away for a few months and then try it again.

There are some posts on this board from moms who began with 4 year old boys and found that they just weren't ready for K yet.
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Unread post by Rebecca »

Author: Rebecca
Date: 7/24/2003

MFWK is a wonderfully rich program with many activities and skills that could work for a mature 4yo.
Have you taken a look at the MFW Pre school program? We started it with my son last year and it is a great precursor to MFWK. No worksheets, just several good learning toys and a handbook full of ideas to implement them. I took the handbook and added a few activities from it for each day to our weekly lesson plans. It helped Connor to have his own schooling to do while I worked with my dd. Also, it worked well for us because instead of having a curriculum to follow it allowed us to concentrate on building fine motor skills and foundational skills (such as patterning and higher-level thinking) that will benefit him when we do start MFWK.
Have a fun year!
Julie in MN
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Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

bringirl wrote:We recently purchased the K program. My son is 4. He turned 4 in April. We have really been enjoying the first few days of Creation. He really likes to do the Creation book and color/paint the Creation number and cut it out.

However, when I pull out the ABC cards he gets antsy. He knows a lot of his letters, upper and lowercase, but he does not like the idea of sitting and me "drilling" him with the ABC cards. I keep it short, 5-10 minutes. I don't overdue it. But I'm getting a gut feeling that maybe I should have went with the MFW PreK 3/4 program.

As I look in the MFW K teacher's manual, I see that we will be learning the blend ladder and other skills as the year unfolds. I'm just not sure if he's ready for this. I feel like I should have done more research on the MFW preK program. I thought he was ready for MFW K (even though I have spent countless hours already!). He is a sharp boy for only being 4.

Should I send the MFW K back and reorder the PreK program? I'm really unsure right now. I want him to love learning. And right now, when I pull out the little ABC Cards he is sort of shutting off. We made homemade clay and we formed letters with the ABC cards using the clay. He liked that much better. I love the Alphabet Cards that came with the K program. I'd enjoy keeping those and displaying them. So I'm not sure how to even go about returning what I've purchased with K.

Help! :-) Any advice of moms who have 4-year-old boys?
Just a few thoughts to help you thru the panic of tonight, and hopefully you'll hear from more experienced K moms in the morning.

First, it would be possible to just keep the K program and start it later, while ordering the preK now. Not sure if that would be a financial stress, but it's an option to think about. Another possibility with K is to do "kindergarten lite" the first time thru, without having him do any writing or anything, and then do it all again more seriously.

Second, I'm one of those better-late-than-early types. As I see it, your child can be very bright and very interested, and yet the very best way for him to learn right now may not involve abstract symbols on two-dimensional pieces of paper. I can't remember ever reading about a genius who started book-learning early. Usually they were noted for spending their early years doing hands-on learning, and lots of it.

So that is just to say that I like your decision to possibly back off on the abstract learning this year :)

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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by Poohbee »

I don't have a 4-year-old boy, but I do have a 4-year-old girl. Actually, my dd is 4 1/2 and will be 5 in February. Even though she seems as though she would be ready for it, I will not start her in the MFW K program until next fall. The way I look at it, when I start her in Kindergarten, she will be "required" to be there for our learning time. Right now, we just do light preschool with her. Sometimes she joins her older sister in the schoolroom and works on letters and numbers. She joins us for art and science projects. But, she can come and go. She can go and play when she wants to and join in when she wants to. I want to allow her to have as much time as possible to just play before she starts in on her required (by me), more structured learning, so I have not had her start a structured kindergarten program yet.

With your son, perhaps, as Julie said, just save the MFW K program and use it with him next year instead. MFW's preK program is very much about hands-on play and learning through play. When you and your son made the letters out of play-doh, that's what you were doing. Keep doing hands-on fun things like that with your son. Spread pudding on a plate and let him make his letters in it. Look around the room and find things that begin with the "m" (or another) sound. It's okay to let his learning be very informal, hands-on, and play-oriented at this time, especially if he doesn't seem quite ready for certain aspects of the K program.

My advice would be to wait on structured learning. Do hands-on things and read lots of books together. That will do much to prepare him for more structured learning. Just one opinion for you. May God guide you in your decision.
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

I don't post on this forum too often (certainly not to give advice, anyway!) but I felt like I had to respond to your post.

My dd (5) just finished MFW K in June. When she was your son's age (4), could she have handled the kindergarten curriculum? Sure, she could have; she was already reading CVC words, doing basic addition/subtraction, knew the correct way to form her letters, etc. That being said, I'm so glad we waited until she was 5 to embark on our official Kindergarten journey! I found that she was old enough by the time we started that school didn't take long at all because she already knew most of the skills anyway, and she definitely built confidence because I wasn't giving her more than she was capable of doing. But the biggest reason I'm glad we waited to start is because a big part of MFW K is the Bible lessons, and I just can't help but think that the older your child is, the deeper their understanding of these priceless lessons/truths will be. Because we waited for Hannah to start, our "focus" during school wasn't on handwriting, phonics, or counting but on exploring God's creation and understanding how His creation reveals eternal truths He wants to share with us.

So my advice for you would be to definitely DEFINITELY DEFINITELY keep the MFW K curriculum because it's an amazing curriculum, but put it on the shelf until next year. In the meantime, check out some great picture books from the library; play outside and see how many frogs, worms, snails, etc. you can find together; play some fun letter and number games together; and then next year pull your MFW box off the shelf when your son has had another year to mature and better embrace the timeless truths that are in MFW K!
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by SandKsmama »

I would recommend either holding off, OR just doing K more slowly - those units could easily last 2 weeks, IMO. I did use MFW K with a 4 year old boy, and it was fine for him, *but* (and this would be my main concern for your son as well), 1st grade was a BIG jump for him. It moves more quickly, it requires more as far as writing, etc. I wound up having to slow the MFW 1st grade wayyyy down, and tweak the writing part a LOT for him, b/c he just wasn't ready for it.

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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by bringirl »

Thank you, ladies!

I definitely want to keep MFW K. Julie, I like your idea of doing "K lite." We could still do the activities and learn each letter, a little fact about our topic, and the sound the letter makes. This morning I thought that instead of "drilling" with the ABC cards we could play the matching game the TM suggests. My son likes those types of things. I can see where I can still use a lot of aspects of the K program.

I think I'll hold off on most of the worksheets and Reading Program. I don't think he's ready for that. There is a website someone posted on here where you can print off one worksheet with a capital letter and the lowercase letter and trace it. My son loves to trace. He's already writing some letters and that's totally by his own accord. I like the idea of sticking to one letter per week as the K manual says and doing the hands on activities of making the dough into a letter, baking it and eating it, writing in pudding/corn meal, etc.

So I guess I was a little panicked last night! Just because I have the K program doesn't mean we have to do everything this year. I can still use the scripture/Bible references in the lessons but just shorten them a bit. I do want to get the Wee Sing Bible Songs CD. Do any of you have that? It looks so cute.

I know he wouldn't be ready for 1st next year. Next year, I'll have everything I need (minus the Creation unit as we are doing that now and loving it!) we need and we can do K as it was intended to be used. Even though we are doing the Creation unit this year, next year we can review the Creation Story with the Creation book he is making this year. It'll be a fun review.

You all are so helpful and encouraging! I really needed the words of wisdom. God bless!
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by Teresa in TX »

I wanted to offer another pov that was one that led me to wait until ds was "good and 5". ;) Last Oct. ds turned 5. I almost started him on K last Aug., while he was still 4. Because of his early b-day I think he would have been ready. Up to that point, school had just been fun for us. He had learned through various very fun activities that worked well but had no real structure, which was good IMO. If I started K then, it would definitely be more structure, even though mfw K looks like a lot of fun!!

The question I asked was what my long-term goal was. Did I want ds to start K early and therefore finish school early...like at 17? Or was I planning on coming up with stuff to just "fill in" and have him do 14 years of school? I have a friend who was so anxious to get her dd "ahead of the game" and push her through higher grades while homeschooling that she just sent her should-be senior, newly-17yo girl, off to a college away from home. I think I would be regretting that decision, personally...I want my dc at home with us for the maturity, the discipleship. Even if they are educationally ready, I don't know that that would mean they would be mature enough to deal with college life. I realize that is really thinking ahead to take a 4yo and plan it out like that, but now that I have older dc I realize I want to let my younger ones be young as long as I can and I do want to think it through clearly. ;)

Sorry so long!! :) Also, we purchased the mfw preK set for Christmas for my 5yo and 3yo boys. They LOVE it!! We play with different aspects of it quite often and they have really learned a lot just from the fun. Ds 3 has a good handle on many of the letters and sounds and can count, recognize most #s, recognize colors, and shapes, etc., and I think it's mostly from those toys. I also had someone gift me some file folder games that I put together for them, and they like to do those too.
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by BHelf »

Just another plug for the file folder games...I can't remember the website but google free file folder games. I've made a few of these and my kids really like them.
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by meagabby »

I agree with SandKsmama, I started a 4yo daughter in K and found out she was not ready. She could read very well and that was the reason I thought she should be "in school." :~ Unfortunately she didn't have the patience for all of the program at that time. She became frustrated alot.

Moving into 1st grade was a bigger challenge with the handwriting and focus. In the end we took 2 years to do 1st grade and I am very glad we did. And also, we found out that when we did outside activities at church they groupe d them by grade and she was always in a group that wasn't meeting her social level. Now she is with kids her age and interest level in activities that group them by grade.

oh, and keeping in mind that each child is an individual, I have a 4yo son now that is no where near ready to be still and learn in a table setting with writing and cutting. :)

Praying for you as you find peace in your decision.

Last edited by meagabby on Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did I make a mistake?

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

Oh, one other thought for you. When my dd was 3, she was in Mother's Day Out 2 days a week. At this time, I had NO PLANS to homeschool, so I was all about getting her ready for Kindergarten . . . at 3! What was I thinking?! :~ Anyway, we did do something really fun that year that you might want to do with your ds.

Each week, we chose a letter of the alphabet and did fun activities with it on the three days she wasn't at Mother's Day Out. For example, when we did the letter "M," we made a paper mailbox one day, baked muffins one day, and drew a picture of the moon (white chalk/paint on black construction paper) one day. When we studied "B," we made a butterfly out of a toilet paper tube one day, made a paper baker's hat one day, and played ball one day. Most of these arts & crafts resources came from either http://www.dltk-kids.com/ or http://www.first-school.ws/. I also went to http://www.learningpage.com/free_pages/ ... asics.html and printed a simple page for her to practice writing her letters. Yeah, I know. She was only 3. Talk about overkill! :~

But your son is a year older and some of these ideas might work out for you. Just thought I'd pass them along in case they help you plan your year!
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Kindergarten "light"

Unread post by bringirl »

A week or so ago I posted about possibly making a mistake in ordering the MFW K program for my 4-year-old boy.

It was recommended by a few of you that I do Kindergarten "light." Well, that's just what we've been doing and it's going so well. Basically, I've omitted the Reading Plan in the K program as my son was definitely not ready for that portion yet. We started on lesson one (the sun) yesterday. We have learned a few facts about the sun, have done the activities in the TM and have been reading "The Sun Is My Favorite Star" along with other books related to our topic. Today, my son was writing the letter "s" in his ketchup with his chicken nuggets!

At first, I was a little bummed that we wouldn't be using the K package completely and thought that I might need to purchase a different program for this year, but once it was suggested to go light with the K program it made sense. And by repeating it next year (and adding the reading plan) I think it's only going to re-enforce the letters we are learning this year. So really we're building a foundation for next year. :)

I'm excited to see the year unfold using MFW K "light." :-)

Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by cbollin »

MOMS wrote:My dd is 4 & won't b turning 5 until April 30. I believe I read (somewhere on her but not sure where) that they don't recommend starting K @ age 4. She can count to 100 without any help, knows all shapes, colors, letters, sounds & has started working on blending. None of this is anything I formally taught her, just things she picked up from watching her big brother this past school year. She even picked up a short a phonics book the other day & read the 1st 4 pages by herself.... this is a book i got out for her but had not yet read to her or even gone over with her. Pre seems too easy for her but if K isn't recommended then is there something else I could do with her?
It's more of first grade at age 4 that they definitely do not recommend and in some cases 1st grade with 5 y.o.

If you believe that your child is ready for a more structure program you can use MFW K with 4 y.o You might go a little slower and only do 3 formal school days a week instead of 5.

The flip side is to do "learning" but not formal curriculum.

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Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by jasntas »

I like Crystal's idea of doing K 3 days a week or maybe even 2 days a week instead of 5 and see how it goes. Call this year pre school. If you find you are finished with K before the end of the 2nd year, which you most likely would be, I would suggest just doing something like Explode the code books, informal math and handwriting practice to see her through the rest of her 'official' K year. That way she would not loose anything and would still be ready for 1st academically and mentally. That's just my 2 cents. HTH :)
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Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by AudMama »

My 4yo won't be 5 until December but he is ready to start. My thought was to do 3 days a week since the lessons are set up for 6 days. Then it *should* take 2 years.
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Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by MuzzaBunny »

I am so sorry to everyone who has already read our story.... But to the OP:

My dd was in the same position as yours. Her 4th birthday was in mid-July but she just seemed so *ready* and I wanted to capture her eagerness. We broke our K year in half, doing units Intro-12 for her Pre-K year and units 13-26 for her K year. So, she was 4 for all of K/Pre-K, and will be 5 for all of her K year. We did Mon, Wed, Fri one week, then Tues Thurs the next; the same pattern will continue this year. It was ideal for us. It made for a super gentle introduction into homeschooling for both of us and dd thrived. I absolutely see the benefit of not pushing the whole year on her. For example: Last year, handwriting was her least favorite "subject", but just was we're about to begin this year, she suddenly loves it and is always asking me to help her write some letters in her tablet. We supplemented only slightly, using that handwriting tablet, using a Math Mastermind kit (simply because we had it given to us and she likes it, not because I felt it necessary) and adding in a bunch of subject related books (again, only because dd loves to be read to). Her writing is much better for this year than last, her comprehension is awesome, her math skills just keep growing... It worked out great for us. I hope you find a method that you feel comfortable with! :)

ETA: I should add that I had dd do a little review once a week throughout our summer break. We spent around an hour and it's really kept her from forgetting all her new knowledge.

Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by cbollin »

the flip side... :)

MFW's Pre K kit is a skills based program to work on all kind of "good stuff" for 4 y.o. One thing that I see a need for in my life, is how to use it to maximum benefit, especially for a a busy mom. I know when my oldest was preschool age, I had more time and ability to go to the library and research how to do "preschool" at home. Part of it is that I didn't have the intention to homeschool at that time, but I just needed something to do with this kid without going crazy. I didn't know much about all day child raising. But my point is that I didn't do a Kindy program with her because when she was 4 I wasn't planning to home school. She'd did Kindy when she got to school and if she were a little ahead of things, eh ,so what?

anyway, I've long forgotten what books I used. But this year at convention, I saw a nice new program out there that tries to do "classical, Charlotte Mason" approach with preschool unit studies. oh my! add in some Bible and we've got something, right? You might consider the idea of looking at floweringbaby.com at their 4-5 y.o program. That way you have lesson plans and stuff. It's age appropriate and developmental based to help make sure you're getting all of those 4 y.o skills in life that have nothing to do with knowing colors, shapes, etc. But to get the thinking skills.

oh, and a small plug for MFW preK Kit...... lots of the toys in there really are good for fine motor development, and the activity cards are sorted in categories like language arts, cognitive, math. So, you can say to your 4 y.o "time for math" and grab a toy and then a math activity.

then, add in some fun read alouds - even if the books will be read again and again.

I have mixed review with the Bible scripture CD in the preK kit from MFW. I love the concept - do a track a week and learn the song and the learn the verse. The music and cadence drive me bonkers, but that's ok. in very short bursts it can be handled by mom. One of the songs on there, Fruit of the Spirit, is a song that my middle gal did as a tap dance song one year. Most of her class was around 9 y.o and they thought the singing was uh, young for them. So, the cd is geared for younger children.

I guess I"m saying, they don't have to be treated like a Kindy child when they are 4 even if they have some 4 y.o learning activities. I hope you enjoy hearing different routes that have worked out for everyone.

oh well, I need to stop caring since I"m long past that stage of teaching.

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Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

Just sharing our experience --- My dd was already reading well and adding/subtracting at 4yo when we started using MFWK. The thing that was a big "Ah-ha!" moment to me was her writing. Almost immediately after her 5th birthday, she started writing correctly on the lines. She had done all the writing up to that point, but it was big and a little sloppy. Then it was like a magic switch had been flipped and she started making clearly legible letters perfectly on the lines. I thought, "Wow! She's totally getting this!" then I realized, "No, she just turned 5 and is physically old enough now." Just something else to think about. You didn't mention how well your dd could write. HTH
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Re: Kindergarden @ 4???

Unread post by MOMS »

Thank you to EVERYONE for responding. I feel like I have more direction & more options now after reading this! :-)
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PreK or K?

Unread post by kw4blessings »

HSMom03 wrote:I am pretty sure that my oldest squarely places into MFW 1st for this coming fall. He will be 6-3/4 yrs at the beginning of the school yr.

I am unsure about my middle child. He will be 4-3/4 yrs at the beginning of the school yr. I need help deciding between MFW PreK or K for him. If he does MFW PreK, I was planning on adding some enrichment items including the Never Bored Kid Book 2. Plus he could participate in MFW 1st Bible & Science as he wishes. This might be enough.

He is my go getter though, and if he is ready for K (and it seems like he might be) then I don't want to wait. He is always begging for school! However, he will only be 4-3/4 yrs at the beginning of the school yr. Maybe that is old enough, I don't know? :) I would greatly appreciate some insight! Thank you.
You could always start K if you feel he is ready, and go at a slower pace. We are kind of doing that this year with my 5yo. He has an August birthday and we started K on his 5th birthday. :-) But, knowing he was a little on the younger side, we've taken it easy throughout the year. There are weeks when he is all about "doing school" and we'll get 5 days done, but that's rare. On average, we've probably done 3 days a week. Right now, we are working through Unit 21, Butterfly, so we still have 5 units to go to finish. Technically, we could finish by the end of May (we consolidate the 6day unit into 5 days), but honestly, we'll probably take longer.

So, K is easy to stretch out as needed. If you get started and find out he's not ready for the writing, you can always back off and slow down....take 2 days to finish one day. K is so adaptable. And, if you find out he's not ready at all, you can always pack it up and pull it back out next year.

Then again, doing MFW 1st and K at the same time may be tough. Is this your first year homeschooling? Your idea of letting him participate in 1st and the preK games plus a workbook could be the perfect option, especially as you ease into homeschooling. Then he would for sure be ready to do K the next year. Adventures and K go great together! ;)

Maybe that wasn't helpful at all? :~ Best wishes!
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Re: PreK or K?

Unread post by HSMom03 »

Thanks for your reply! I think you are right that him participating in 1st + the preK games and a workbook will probably be the perfect option :D. Such a tough decision sometimes! However, I will probably stay in the "better late than early" camp. Oh and the fact that Adventures and K go great together!

I need to stop rushing myself. I'm not crazy about slowing K down. I'd rather wait until they are fully ready so we can keep up (for the most part anyway!). Even if it ends up being on the easy side. Really looking forward to placing an order and getting organized! Thanks again :).
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Re: PreK or K?

Unread post by Taita »

I honestly think your dc would do well with K. It's very easy to modify and go slower if need be. The only thing that may come with more difficulty would be the handwriting portions but you could also break that up. K is really easy to adapt to the child. :) Hope that helps!
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Re: PreK or K?

Unread post by gratitude »

I am sure your ds would be fine with MFWK.

My experience may be very different from the outcome you will have. Here though is a few things to think about:

- My oldest never did 'school' until MFW1 at 6 3/4. At 10 he loves to read and can read at a high school level. He is a highly self motivated learner who loves to read and comprehends what he reads; I do think starting formal lessons later helped encourage him in that direction. I also find it easier to teach & direct work with a motivated learner. The extra year or two of play is something I am thankful for, and feel very blessed by; I don't regret waiting with him at all.

- I Love MFW so both my second and third started MFWK right at their 5th Birthdays (technically in Pre-K). They too were teaching themselves many things and hearing many books read to them aloud. The teaching themselves to read stopped when I started formal lessons with MFWK; so did a lot of the self motivated learning as they came to depend on mom for their learning (for some reason this dependence switch didn't happen when I waited until 6 3/4, but happened both times at age 5.

As parents we train our children in the way they should go. As teachers it really does help greatly when the student is highly motivated to learn since that is when they learn best.) They did super with K, and the reading in it was very easy for both of them. However, neither of them were ready for MFW1 two months before their sixth Birthdays. They weren't ready for the length of lessons in MFW1, and they weren't truly ready for the speed of the reading lessons in a more structured setting at that age. They came to see reading as a chore with mom rather than fun; so we did go through a couple of years with them where they really disliked reading and did not want to read. They would read aloud to me, but they didn't like it. They both now are just starting to show some real interest in reading and self-motivated learning again at just turned 9 & 7. I have done a few things in the past 12 months to encourage them to go in that direction, and to re-install in them the love for learning they had in their pre-5 years. They are just now starting to seek learning & get excited about it again. For two kids who read their first signs out and about at age 4 I think waiting and letting them take it on their own until 6 3/4 or 7 would have been better.

MFW K is a beautiful program. My children both enjoyed the activities very much. The phonics were very easy for them so I don't know if they lost interest in reading out of it being too easy, or just it being too early and them not having the maturity for structured school. I also know that every child is different and their experience will not be that of others. I still thought though I would share my better late than early reasons. ;)

I will say I am a better late than early person from my experience. If I had to do it again I would have started my middle two at 6 3/4, like their brother, with MFW1. It would have made my job so much easier as well to have those years with only one program until my second born was a little older for school time.

I am not trying to deter you at all from MFWK, but I do think older is better for structured 'school learning'. The activities in it though are truly lovely for young children.
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:13 pm

Re: PreK or K?

Unread post by HSMom03 »

Thank you all so much for your replies!

gratitude - Your situation w/your oldest sounds similar to ours! I know exactly what you are saying :).
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