Charlotte Mason in MFW 1st?

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rebeccal2002
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:00 pm

Charlotte Mason in MFW 1st?

Unread post by rebeccal2002 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:28 pm

MFW1...to use or not to to use.....
hsmomof2 wrote:We are planning to start hs next Aug. with a ds in 1st (now in ps K) and a dd pre-K. A couple of weeks ago I asked for members' insight on whether or not MFW curriculum would be a good fit for our family. Thanks so much for the replies, I was especially impressed with the support on this forum and to learn that I can tweak MFW to make it more CM if I feel the need to do so. We are liking the idea of MFW for the long run. Mainly, the Bible integration with other subjects, chronological history, missionary focus with the ECC year, literature selections throughout teaching young ones about great moral characters (fiction and non-fiction), being able to teach 2 dc together for the 5 year rotation cycle through jr. high, and I love all the high school reviews/feedback I've read on other homeschool boards.

Before discovering and researching the MFW curriculum a couple of weeks ago, I had come up with a curriculum that is a mesh b/n some CM based online curriculum suggestions. I love the curriculum I set up pre-MFW-discovery.

It's not that I don't want to use MFW1, but with my ds not starting with the K program (specifically the phonics program that is continued from K till 1st), and with the above curriculum (which is almost free except the tutorial classes IF we do those), would my ds "miss out" on something big if I wait to start MFW with ADV when he is in 2nd grade? If I wait, my dd (then in K) could tag along on her level while I work with her on the 3 R's independently.

So what to do? Again, as I stated in my previous post, I know God will give dh and I the answer, but its still good to get insight from those that have walked the road before me ;) . Blessings.
I would encourage you to keep praying about it.

If I had to do it all over again, I wish we had started with MFW with our first. But to be fair, we didn't know about MFW back then and we made the best decision we could have made at the time.

We're almost done with MFW 1st with our 3rd child and almost 8 year old. I had started out his 1st grade year with another curriculum, but after we found MFW I switched him over. It has been a blessing to us. My DS struggles with reading, and the phonics part of the program has helped him. Mainly, I appreciate the balance in the curriculum of all courses of study over the 160 day lesson plan. I don't have to worry that I'm missing some important point. There are many hands on activities scheduled that I would have never thought of. Making scrolls, baking Haman Hat cookies for Purim, there are too many to name them all. I have seen my son really grow since we started.

Hope this helps. I would say, based on your well thought out post, you obviously are very concerned that your child get the best home school education. I'm sure that you and your child will do fine whatever you decide. Again, the beauty of home schooling is that you can make adjustments as needed as you go along your journey.

Rebecca
HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!

erin.kate
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 am

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by erin.kate » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:56 pm

We started with MFWK and then moved onto MFW First and we are currently using Adv with our 2nd grader and one of my K'ers. I knew all along that *I* wanted a very pure CM education for our children. When this year began I blended several online CM curricula and bought/sold Adv too many times to say here without crying. ;) Ten weeks into this school year I realized that what I was missing the whole time is the deep beauty of the Biblical worldview roots of MFW. That is something that I was unable to successfully recreate and I was feeling so lost. Yes, we were doing much of what you mention ... Holling, Herriott, Aesop, Kipling, Gatty ... but even with my 8 year old so much was well beyond her years and it seemed prudent to save those gems for when she could truly appreciate them (you could keep a sweet illustration notebook of Herriott, I would think, since that one is the most accessible at this age I think).

What I would never change, ever ever ever, is the amazing Biblical foundation that MFW K and First provided for my daughter. She humbles me in her knowledge of not only Bible stories but of the why's of the stories and the deeper truths AND she remembers them, and the daily application of Proverbs. The intermingling of phonics in MFW First with the Bible was for us fantastic (and in my former life I was a K-12 reading and literacy specialist so I'm particular) and I will always teach my up-and-comings with MFW First.

I wish I had sloooooooooooowed down this year and I might encourage you to think about that, too, for your daughter rising into 1st grade. There is just so much time to fill their days with CM studies, but without an unshakable foundation in Christ and our beginnings--which is what you'll find with MFWK and MFW First, all of those other lovely things are just that, things. We still used Come Look With Me for picture study and loved the music study in MFW First. It was full and rich *and age-appropriate* and I am so thankful that I taught it as it was meant to be taught, and I wish that this year I had followed what God was pressing on my heart to stay on course with Adv, as is, and revel in the joy it brings to my girls. This year we are still thoroughly enjoying Come Look With Me and I'm adding hymns along the way, along with intentional nature study, but I have found that the core of CM's principles are easy to implement with MFW or take even further since much is already encouraged ... short deliberate lessons, living books, narration, dictation, an atmosphere and discipline of learning ... but with balance and I have seen a crazy transformation in my girls once we went back to Adv after 10 weeks of a very pure CM approach.

God will bless your path, of course, and trust your instinct to do what is best for your children, not only what seems most lovely (which is how I got a little lost) since lovely comes with everything for little ones once they have an adoration for their Creator and His story.

Will be thinking of you. Such an exciting time to start this journey!
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
2011: Adventures
2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

cbollin

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:49 pm

Several things come to my mind. again, I"m bias toward using MFW. filter as needed.
Many of those literature books you mentioned can be used in the context of MFW in several years.
In MFW 1st grade, Marie (author) reminds us of the value and importance of reading out loud about 15 minutes a day to our children. You could decide what to read during that time as nothing is specifically scheduled for that. It is designed to be flexible and individual for each family. MFW suggests Honey for a Child’s Heart as a resource to use to select quality literature. You can skip that and use the book lists that you already want to do. MFW lists a poetry book suggestion, but again, use the ones you have found. Some books you’ll get to in later years.

Before getting into music composers, MFW introduces the orchestra in 1st grade. I like that. Then in history cycle you get the composer study done in chronological styles with Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. In retrospect all these years later, I’m thankful for the early stages being just appreciation and enjoyment of music without it being a composer study.

Nature Study with 1st grade – is done on exploration day, every 5th day.

With lots of the “free online” things, do take into account printing costs and such. I guess you can have them at the computer screen and not actually color stuff and all of that. Ask about how teacher intensive something that is. example: I’m kicking myself right now. I recently purchased a very low cost Christmas Unit Study ($6) from a well known Unit Study Expert. Eek! How am I suppose to trim all of that and actually get it done? Make sure that whatever ‘free” source you use isn’t going to cost more than free in your time and printing and anything else with it.
Some people are ok with reading all from computer screen.
Also, make sure the teacher instructions are easy for you to use. Will you also have to get phonics based readers? Student work to practice? If the phonics program you mentioned is Word Mastery based on a book by F. Akin, look through it online. Can you teach from it? I would have not know what to do with the book as a new teacher. Hopefully, I’m missing something. I might be able to use it now. Even the non mfw program that my oldest used had more teacher notes and instructions. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong thing. I see a word list in phonics order. Of course, other teachers might be able to pick it up and go. I would struggle.

I do think MFW provides more hand holding in phonics. MFW provides Bible reader so you don’t have to get a bunch of readers. Word list amounts are reasonable. Easy games are included (no bells and whistles needed).

Think also about how easy it will or will not be for you to schedule all of the things you want to do.

If you wait until 2nd grade, it is ok. But those are the kinds of things I would think about and keep praying. What kind of prep time do you have available each week for lesson planning? How much “hand holding” in phonics/math instruction will you need this first year? (you might need less than I did).
You can always try it one way, switch at the semester. try other way. See what works best for you.

-crystal

HeyChelle
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:51 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by HeyChelle » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:34 pm

Find a spring convention and go get your hands on it.
There is something really fantastic about thumbing through a MFW curriculum.
Bring some money because you don't pay shipping when you buy from the convention (at least the ones I've been at!). But just in case you choose MFW that could save you a few dollars.

And yes pray about it. You have plenty of time to decide.
As for us, we are just now jumping into first and loving it. My favorite, favorite part so far is the first grade Bible and Bible Notebook projects. Love it so much!
Chelle - Christian, wife, and mommy of 4
My family/homeschooling blog

hsmomof2
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:25 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by hsmomof2 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:08 pm

Thanks again ladies, these are wonderful points to highly consider. I will look through the manual this spring (or sooner if I can). Although the idea of a Charlotte Mason PNEU education sounds fascinating to me, I am wondering if more of a lesson plan like MFW will be most practical for dc and myself. My dh seems to think so. A few questions:

1. Does the MFW1 phonics program exist within the lessons, so I wouldn't have to purchase a separate phonics program? And if so, is it adequate to start out with MFW1 phonics having not done the MFWK phonics?
2. Am I right to say that much of the literature I planned to read for 1st grade will at some point be assigned during the MFW elementary years, or if not that there would be time to supplement with such literature in addition to the assigned readings? Atleast that's what I think from some replies.
3. I was thinking of doing a 4 day/week academics schedule (5th day in the week might be tutorial). I was thinking of each day we do sit down school work to just take it day by day vs. week by week. I'd like to do school lessons on Saturday if the weather is terrible and go to parks during the week if the weather is wonderful. I'd like to school on summer days that are too hot or rainy to get outdoors and take a break on beautiful days in fall and spring. Is the MFW1 schedule laid out that I can look at one day and do the lesson plan, then look at day 2, and so on...possibly doing year round school with breaks scattered throughout the year?
4. Is the math in MFW1 more of a "living math" curriculum vs. using worksheets or a math program? If so, do most children do well waiting until 2nd grade to start a formal math program?

Thanks for explaining to me about the "Honey for a Child's Heart" book....I have "Books Children Love" that is very similiar I think and has wonderful suggestions of living books. If MFW is recommended the same literature as on the lists of those book lists...I'm sure I would be satisfied with the literature program MFW follows.

Thanks again and blessings,
Kim

HeyChelle
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:51 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by HeyChelle » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:35 pm

hsmomof2 wrote:1. Does the MFW1 phonics program exist within the lessons, so I wouldn't have to purchase a separate phonics program? And if so, is it adequate to start out with MFW1 phonics having not done the MFWK phonics?
2. Am I right to say that much of the literature I planned to read for 1st grade will at some point be assigned during the MFW elementary years, or if not that there would be time to supplement with such literature in addition to the assigned readings? Atleast that's what I think from some replies.
3. I was thinking of doing a 4 day/week academics schedule (5th day in the week might be tutorial). I was thinking of each day we do sit down school work to just take it day by day vs. week by week. I'd like to do school lessons on Saturday if the weather is terrible and go to parks during the week if the weather is wonderful. I'd like to school on summer days that are too hot or rainy to get outdoors and take a break on beautiful days in fall and spring. Is the MFW1 schedule laid out that I can look at one day and do the lesson plan, then look at day 2, and so on...possibly doing year round school with breaks scattered throughout the year?
4. Is the math in MFW1 more of a "living math" curriculum vs. using worksheets or a math program? If so, do most children do well waiting until 2nd grade to start a formal math program?
1) Phonics is built into MFW1. You will be fine stepping into MFW1 even though you did not use MFWK. No problem.
2) A lot of the literature you listed is also recommended by MFW throughout the elementary years. I would encourage you not to skip too far ahead with literature and miss out on so many of the great picture books out there.
3) MFW1 is pretty much a 4 day/week of scheduled curriculum. One day per week is reserved for guided exploration. You will find the best of Charlotte Mason woven in with MFW.
4) Math is also flexible. There is a recommended workbook, lots of 'living' activities for learning, and a fantastic list of recommended math literature. The second part of your question will really depend on your child, their interests and abilities. I have one math oriented child who is doing all things math very early, and one literature/reading oriented child who is doing all things written and read early.
Chelle - Christian, wife, and mommy of 4
My family/homeschooling blog

cbollin

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by cbollin » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:37 pm

I was typing while Chelle was typing.. so this is going to repeat. But I was hitting send at the same time :)

1. Yes, the phonics is written in the program. No separate phonics needed at all.
This is useful information from mfw’s website in terms of starting 1st grade when you didn’t use their K program for any reason. A child should have a strong foundation in these skills to move into 1st grade:

  • * Does your child know the 26 letter sounds (consonants and short vowels)? Letter names are not as important.
    * Is your child able to generally print the alphabet letters correctly? Is he generally able to place his letters accurately on kindergarten-sized lined paper?
    * Can he easily read short words such as "hat," "pig," and "men" without your help and without any accompanying pictures? (Was he taught how to blend sounds, not just memorize words?)
    * Is he developmentally able to sit long enough to copy 4-6 short words on kindergarten-sized lined paper without complaining or becoming tearful?
    * Is your child mature enough to sit cooperatively for 20-30 minute segments for structured school activities? (My Father's World First Grade will take about 2 hours each day to complete.)

    If you can answer, yes, to the above questions your child is ready for 1st grade. If they are not, we recommend that you begin with My Father's World from A to Z kindergarten curriculum.
If your child is easily reading short vowel readers, and will be "traditional first grade age", and isn't struggling with penmanship too much, you should be ok to start in first. The early part of the first grade program has review pace of short vowels. That way you can ease into the school year and get used to teaching. Around day 18 or so, long vowels are introduced. Then, the pace picks up. MFW 1st grade covers all needed phonics. Some programs go into 2nd grade for that. So, if your child need to slow down and repeat a lesson here and there or review through the day with phonics games (such as the ones in the 1st grade appendix), it's ok. Ask out loud for the classic thread that MFW's david hazell wrote about "when children reach a plateau in learning to read....."

2. I may have confused it a little bit on the reading list in my previous answer. My apologies if I made it sound like MFW has those books assigned in terms of "read this book now"..... I don’t think many of the books you listed originally are “scheduled” in the MFW program. However, there is a time in MFW for “reading’ and “read aloud” that you can use any book you want. MFW has suggestions in the backs of the manuals for ADV and 5 year cycle for classics in children’s literature. Some of the books you listed are on that list as suggestions for what is "free reading time". Since that part of the day is flexible, you get the say in which book to read. So, you will have time to read the classics.
side note: All books listed in basic or deluxe are scheduled in terms of read these pages today.... etc. But “free reading” is not “scheduled by book.” Instead “free reading” or “reading comprehension time” is part of your day. I’m confusing it. Sorry. hopefully someone else can say it better and less confusing.

3. You’ll be fine with that kind of scheduling in my opinion. MFW is usually 4 regularly scheduled days, and one “light and independent” day. In 1st it is called Exploration Day. You might even find days where you take your reading books with you and have a picnic at the park and somehow get more school done that day that you though you would. Do enjoy these days when they are young and you're homeschooling. Enjoy those park days and "who cares that it's Saturday,... we get to do this because we want to," it goes by fast....... well except on the hard days.

4. Math in MFW 1st is both “living math” and “supplementary work book”. I tend to think of the math in1st grade as the early formal route. There is a sequence of 12 topics. Those topics are scheduled in the math "grid" of the manual. After completing the topics you repeat the same topics at a slightly more complex level during second semester.
Daily math will have the student doing hands on activities in a daily routine (with Calendar and Number of the Day activities and the 100 Chart). Then, you have time to read library books from the appendix on the math topic, followed by “games” from the manual that reinforce the topics. Finally, you move to a range of workbook pages to do. Some of those pages are more hands on learning activities. Other pages are just your standard colorful workbook. There is no expectation to cover all of the workbook pages per topic each week Save some for the 2nd time in the year. Or if the student isn’t wanting to do them until second semester it is ok. That's the kind of check box order of getting the math done over the week.
Every 5th day (on that Exploration Day), you get a little break from that math rouine and use the Pattern Animals and blocks together for critical thinking skills.
Although it is not “textbook” driven, I think the math is more formal than it might appear. It is definitely structured. Informal in the sense that it is not textbook driven.


You sound like you're going to be a really good homeschooling mom!
-crystal

hsmomof2
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:25 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by hsmomof2 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:35 am

These answers are quite informative and I thank you ladies so much for explaining it. I've read all the reviews I could find online about MFW, but couldn't figure out if it was in depth enough to purchase while at the same time being a program in which "education is an atmosphere" (to quote Charlotte Mason) vs. being a program in which "education is a chore" (to quote myself, LOL). MFW does sound like a great fit for us.

Can't wait to get started. We are finishing our ds up with his ps K year, and he is loving it, but I'm going to so enjoy being his academic teacher soon (even though I love his K teacher, I miss him being at home with me and my 3yo during the day). This morning on the way to school we discussed homeschool because he was asking "how will we go to centers at home next year?" since he has reading, listening, and art centers in his class. I told him art center would be in the kitchen, listening center would be in his bedroom (where his cd player is), and reading center would be outside on pretty days/in the living room on yucky days. He said, "we're not allowed to have centers outside"....to which I explained that was a school rule to only do centers inside but we will get to have centers where ever we want! I also explained that we would have a longer recess each day, and recess didn't have to get skipped just because the playground is wet at the 30 minute time slot his class is scheduled to go outside. He's excited about these things.

erin.kate
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 am

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by erin.kate » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:47 am

hsmomof2 wrote:3. I was thinking of doing a 4 day/week academics schedule (5th day in the week might be tutorial). I was thinking of each day we do sit down school work to just take it day by day vs. week by week. I'd like to do school lessons on Saturday if the weather is terrible and go to parks during the week if the weather is wonderful. I'd like to school on summer days that are too hot or rainy to get outdoors and take a break on beautiful days in fall and spring. Is the MFW1 schedule laid out that I can look at one day and do the lesson plan, then look at day 2, and so on...possibly doing year round school with breaks scattered throughout the year?
4. Is the math in MFW1 more of a "living math" curriculum vs. using worksheets or a math program? If so, do most children do well waiting until 2nd grade to start a formal math program?
I just wanted to jump in once more on this ... We live in upper New England so I can relate to capitalizing on beautiful days since we get ridiculous amounts of snow and severe weather. So, once I stopped forcing myself to see Exploration day on [a certain day] and just moved that lite day around as needed, life was so much easier and sweeter. I hope that makes sense. lol. I have to constantly remind myself that I am teaching children, not a curriculum.

We used the math as written in MFW1, though we were using Miquon in Kindergarten and continued with that until we got as far as I felt appropriate for her "age". It was completely unnecessary. You will use math worksheets in First, but gosh do my kids love to have some worksheets in the mix, too. I have come to learn through MFW and my own that balance is more beautiful than all-or-nothing. There are living books and worksheets and hands-on lessons. All of this together makes a child well rounded, too, imho and prepared for whatever they see down the road in math. After Day 125 of MFW1, when the phonics workbook was complete, I added Singapore 1A, but it was more just because she loves math. It was not necessary and I will not do that with my next two. My daughter started Adv this year very well prepared for second grade in math, reading, thinking, and loving learning.
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
2011: Adventures
2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

toddzetta
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:17 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by toddzetta » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:38 am

I am a dad who gets the opportunity to homeschool my three children once a week. I am now more convinced that MFW is the curriculum of choice for our family. Here's a few reasons.

1. It is biblically based.
2. It is fun!!
3. My wife and I can teach both of our school age children all the subjects together with the exception of language arts and math.
4. School can be done in approx 4 hours.
5. Great resources from MFW for our three year to do while we homeschool the older ones.

A thankful dad of three kids. 11d, 9d, 3s
Todd- part time homeschool dad
Began MFW 2010
Currently in CTG with Dd 11 and Dd 9
Ds 3 using MFW toddler program

mtnmama
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: MFW1...to use or not to to use.....

Unread post by mtnmama » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:20 pm

What did you decide about schooling?

We have struggled with homeschooling a little bit with three small children (now 2, 5, 7 years). However, the benefits have been amazing. They are all learning so much and are active learners, they have more freedom in the afternoons to be creative in their play and no one is stressed, rushing from this activity to the other in the evenings like so many other families I know. We'll probably live longer just because our schedule is lighter and less stressful :-)

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