5 yrs old or younger - Help, should I have chosen K?

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Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

5 yrs old or younger - Help, should I have chosen K?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I would not call the first grade phonics GENTLE!
TammyB wrote:My son who took a look at day 19's work and said it was too hard, and that was AFTER taking at least a month off between lesson 18 and 19 to work exclusively on fluency of cvc words.

My son was beyond K phonics but not ready for first. I called the MFW office and was advised to stick with the lesson plans as written.
Tammy, I am definitely not a K/1 expert, but I worried about you :o)

And I noticed those two statements above don't seem to mesh in my mind. The K level is supposed to bring your son to reading CVC words, so are you really sure he is beyond the K level? Boys especially can be late starters (& still end up ahead in the end, by the way!).

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Unread post by cbollin »

TammyB wrote:Hey, Julie!
Chandler was sounding out cvc words so he definitely didn't need to start at the "beginning" with learning the letters and their sounds. My understanding is that is the purpose of the K phonics. What I would love to see MFW offer is a guided plan for children who need more practice with cvc and cc blends before they move into first (certainly not a complete year's curriculum....maybe something like a mini unit of "reading practice" to work on after K but before 1st). I think Marie would do an excellent job putting something like this together. What do you think?
I think Marie would do an awesome job with something like that. But she is currently working on getting 2 programs out this year; so alas, we must wait. sigh.

There is a big difference between SOUNDING out CVC to actually READING them. (Not to imply that your child has to be fluent in CVC before moving on, just not "struggling" with sounding them out.) And that can make a big difference in readiness between lessons 15/18 and 19. It is an issue in fluency and practice.

My library carried various early phonics readers. maybe someone else who has finished K and is beyond it could benefit from just lots of using CVC readers as a bridge after K and before 1st grade. Another possible resource is using downloanable books from starfall.com

It's kinda like math drills. You just have to keep practicing for speed and accuracy.

My kids get nervous all the time if things seem too hard when they look ahead. Yesterday my oldest was crying over her spelling because she didn't somehow magically already know how to spell the whole list. I made the mistake of leaving the list open before we started teaching. It all worked out in the end (after a long time of crying followed by a staring contest.)

And keep hanging in there. Sometimes our kids surprise us and just all of a sudden get it! (even my special needs girls surprise me that way) Be sure to ask over here for more ideas when it gets rough. Someone will have an answer that might be the right thing at the right time and save you some frustrations. {hug} Your son will get there. He has a good mommy who is doing a good job. :)
Last edited by cbollin on Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »


I am glad you have shared your experience but I will share that although some additions or modifications could be made to the first grade program it may just be a maturation issue. I can remember my daughter breakiing down in tears at lesson 50 of another phonics program years ago. I had no idea that she was really even that stressed. We took a step back and began again after a few months and she was ready. Partly it may have been the program but I really think that it was just her readiness. You are right that it is a big step from no blending to blending even with just short vowel sounds. Some need practice in this step before adding the long vowel sound. I think this could be a good idea for change.

Anyway, I think you did the right thing by giving him more time and not completely giving up on the program.

Thanks again for sharing with us.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:25 pm

Unread post by Omma »

My ds labored over sounding out CVC words for what seemed like an endless time, until something 'clicked' in his head (as has been mentioned before). It might even have been close to a year before he was reading without sounding out every word. He is now 6.5 which I know doesn't seem so old, but I was really glad that I hadn't pushed him too fast at the time. I love homeschooling and seeing the light of understanding come into their heads!

I am still planning on using MFW 1st grade, but am waiting until about January to start. I am planning to do MFW 1 with both dc, adapting as I need. I appreciate your comments as I look to the best time to begin MFW 1. I'll pay particular attention to lessons 18 and 19!!

Hang in there and the blending will come. The light bulb will go off in his brain, and it will be so fun to behold! But you are right to take all the time you need!

Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:25 pm

MFW 1st grade is working its charm on my dd.... now that she

Unread post by Omma »

It's been a long time since I've posted here, but I wanted to let you all know that my dd is really enjoying and benefiting from the MFW 1st grade program.... finally!! Isn't that amazing, since she is now a 1st grader?!! (I have my tongue-in-cheek big time here because I've complained before that this program just didn't work for my dc!)

Jenny will be 6 in November and we started and abandoned the program last January (she had only just turned 5, and she would cry great tears when I would bring it out). Fast forward 8 months and she is now on Day 29 and has loved making her little folder with the word cards to match with either 'spoon' or 'book'.

Of course, I do have to admit that she is now a better reader than she was before, as well as being better at fine motor skills. I like using this program for someone who is already reading but who could benefit from learning all their phonics rules while having fun doing it!

Also, we made a notebook for all our Proverbs verses that my dd (and my 7 ds) are writing out and memorizing. Our verse for today was SO timely and is worth the whole price of this program just to hide this one verse into our hearts.... it is Proverbs 29:11, which says, "The fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control". What a great verse! I want to thank MFW for giving us such inspiring, godly curriculum that helps all of us grow spiritually as we are studying it.

Anyway, I have found MFW 1st grade has made my life much simpler as it is so easy to teach, since all supplies are in one place; with clear, simple directions to follow! This has been great for me as I am just getting back on my feet post-surgery!

Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

What a difference a year makes!

Unread post by TammyB »

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:45 pm
We have picked back up with the second half of the first grade reading program. What a difference a year makes! He is now ready for the pace of the lessons and is experiencing great success with them. My children are thriving in school as never before, and I have My Father's World to thank for it.
Margaret Schrock
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:11 pm

I can't point to the exact time it all started coming togeth

Unread post by Margaret Schrock »

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:49 am
We reviewed and reviewed and I learned a lot about patience. A lot. This past August I was so discouraged and sure we would have to start all over with First Grade; he still couldn't remember long and short vowels. But we stayed at our slow pace and reviewed some more until we finished in November.

I can't point to the exact time it all started coming together but he is reading! Makes me cry to see it really happened. He reads to me every day for ten minutes, usually four pages from an Alice and Jerry reader and reads directions in Math and Spelling by Sound and Structure. His reading is still choppy and I need to stay next to him, but he's doing it! Review and Time. Oh yes, and patience!

Now he's my happiest, most eager learner in the house.
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Unread post by Poohbee »

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:01 am

I'm doing MFW 1st with my dd right now. She is a quick learner and remembers easily, but learning to read has certainly been a challenge for her. It is not her favorite thing.

I was overwhelmed by the pace at first, too. I thought it might be too much for her, especially when she started saying that she hates reading and she dreaded the reading/phonics lessons. However, we pressed on, following the curriculum as Marie has set it up.

Currently, we're on the story of Joseph in the Bible Reader. Previously I would have thought that she should master a sound before moving on to the next one. However, I have found that with the constant repetition and review in the workbook and Bible Reader, she is gradually getting it. When she has trouble with a sound we've learned, I gently remind her. "Remember, this is the sound a-r makes. Or, remember, if there is an e at the end, it is usually silent and makes the first vowel long." Etc. She still struggles, but her reading is getting more fluent each day.

Also, it helps her if she and I work together. If she is really struggling to read some days, then we will take turns reading pages out of the Bible Reader. She reads a page and I read a page, etc. That has helped her, too, because she hears me read the words in her story, and it helps her read them because she has already seen and heard them read.

Beginning readers need help. I have to remind myself not to expect her to do it all on her own. She is still learning, and with practice and perseverance on her part and patience on my part, she will become a strong reader.

With your ds, I would say go ahead and slow down if you need to, but keep pressing forward. As Margaret said in her post, at some point, it will "click", and everything will come together.

May God help you with this each day!

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:41 pm

When my son did MFW1, we started in January (we'd been practicing with other things for a few months). He zipped right through the rules each day - got them right away - STILL slowed down about midway through the curriculum & decided he didn't like reading (loved every minute of the blue workbook though - go figure!). He could do it, he just didn't like all the effort it required. For my little math maniac, it was frustrating to not be able to just look at it and know. He hated sounding things out or reading it out with both possible sounds & deciding which one made sense in context. Drove the boy nuts. The more we read though, the better he got. I'll never forget when everything started clicking and the frustration waned...

Fast forward to the present. My Halle-doodle is where some others are: overwhelmed by a new rule every other day and near tears if I'm not careful. Honestly though, in our situation, I think the mommy is the biggest hurdle! ;) If patience only grew on trees, KWIM?! When I'm patient, she does much better. When I allow her frustrations to frustrate me - YIKES!!! Nobody is handing me the Mother-of-the-Year award!! ;)
In all seriousness, I'm sooooo very thankful for the Holy Spirit. I am soooooo thankful that my children get to see me screw up & have to stop, pray & ask the Lord to help me. In my opinion, this is part of the beauty of homeschooling ~ them seeing us fall & get back up...

Back to the reading thing, they'll get it. Having seen it happen once before, I'm watching the pieces come together again. It's hard & it's painful at times, but they will get it. I don't think there's a program out there that makes learning the English language easy. Too many rules & too many exceptions to the rules. Still, the Hazells have put together a program that works. However, if something in particular isn't working for your child, don't be afraid to tweak it a bit. Slow down a bit. Review a bit. Don't worry about getting behind. In learning to read, there's no such thing. :)
Tami in IA
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 1:39 pm

wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by Tami in IA »

Aiming4Him wrote:This is our 2nd year with MFW and we love it! I do have a problem with what I chose for my 6 yo. This is his 1st year of "school" but he was turning 6 the end of October and could read 3 letter words. I chose MFW 1st because I was afraid he'd be board with K. I was wrong! I didn't take into consideration the writing and how fast the phonics moves. It doesn't help that he is my wiggliest child yet! We hardly get through a day's lesson without him falling off his chair. :)

So my question is, what now? I don't know if I should stop and review with lots of hands on games (and stretch 1st into 2 years), or buy K and start it now? Anyone have any advice?
This is what I did when the 1st grade stuff became too difficult for my 6yo.

-Stopped having her read the bible herself and read it to her.
-Had her dictate the summary and then draw the pictures in her bible notebook. (late in the year I had her copy her sentence into the notebook)
-Used something I had on the shelf for reading and writing

Married to Tom, and we have two blessings DS 8 & DD 7.
1st- 2007-08
Adv.- 2008-09
ECC - 2009-10

Re: wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by cbollin »

Aiming4Him wrote: So my question is, what now? I don't know if I should stop and review with lots of hands on games (and stretch 1st into 2 years), or buy K and start it now? Anyone have any advice?

I would stop first grade and work on writing and pre spelling in the K program even if you went a little faster in it than regular schedule. It's fun and you never get to be this age again. Why the rush?

I used MFW K with a child who was reading. We modified the phonics instructions slightly to turn them into more work on penmanship, spelling and copywork.

If you decide to go with K and need some specific ideas on beefing up each day of the phonics section, just ask. I found it took very little tweaking to use MFW K with a reading child who was kindy age. The benefits paid off. She was able to do more work in first grade the next year.

Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi! Last year in 1st grade we did all the things that Tami mentioned above:

Dictation and copying, HWT for handwriting, other phonics review, sharing the Bible Reader reading (taking turns: he reads, then I read, etc.). But, I made him continue through the entire phonics workbook and didn't budge on the 1st gr. material.

Of course, we had already completed MFW K. In your case, I would say take the time to go back to K and do whatever you need to work on with it, since you haven't already done "K" work. Take the freedom that you have as a homeschooler to do whatever is appropriate and don't worry about going back. It will be easier to jump ahead later, if needed.

I wish I had done that! My ds is bright, wiggly (still falls off his chair), and is still "behind" his grade level in reading - but I am not blaming that on the curricululm, it's just his rate of development. This year we are going back through all of the phonics that he doesn't know well, and by going at his pace, he is doing so much better and is happier!!

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

Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Re: wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by tiffany »

If you don't do K. I would recommend slowing down the pace and adding in some early phonics. My son did K, but still needed a little help, which we did on exploration days. You could also add in reading games. Marie has suggestions for those in the manual.

We did 1st grade over 1 1/2 years. You could call the office and see if they think he has the foundation to continue. Slowing down is not a problem. My son in in 2nd grade now and has just finished with the 1st grade blue workbook. He has developed excellent reading skills. We have started the recommended spelling and will start moving him into the older curriculum this year. So, I do not feel he is behind and that he is on par with other 2nd graders.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:24 am

Re: wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by *leah »

Hi, :)

My son was at the same place with reading in K. We still did the K program and he LOVED it. the phonics seemed a little slow but he felt sooooo successful. :) The Bible and science were sooo good and it is a shorter program so you could start now and not go too long into the summer. I would look at how many weeks it was but I have loaned it out for a friend to look at. We did skip the 1st part about creation because to him it really frustrated him because it was too "easy". He still talks about the fun we had in K. :) I started SL 1st this year and have just switched back to MFW. It is the perfect fit for my wiggly boy. He is missing some of the reading in SL! Go figure....the very thing he complained about but we are fitting his favorites into the MFW program. :) What it came down to for me was having him enjoy learning. :)
:) Leah
mom to Jake 9 CtoG, Lily 6 1st, Nathan 3
(K 2007-2008,1st 2008-2009,adventures 2009-2010, ecc 2010-2011, ctog 2011-2012),
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:24 am

Re: wrong placement, what now?

Unread post by Aiming4Him »

Thanks, everyone, for all your advice! I really do want to go back to K, but I'll have to see if I have the money to buy it right now. If not I'll just keep reviewing and work on math and handwriting until I can buy it. I just wish so much that I had bought K to start with! Oh well, we live and learn.
wife to Mike,
mom to seven boys (16,14,10,8,5 ,3 & 1 ),
and one dd (12)
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:43 pm

First grade over two years

Unread post by SandKsmama »

mommy3 wrote:Has anyone ever spread the first grade program over two years? If so, how exactly did you do it?
Not exactly, but I did slow 1st grade down for my son, b/c he was so young when he started it (5.5). The amount of writing and the phonics was a bit too much for him, so we wound up doing it at 1/2 speed for a pretty long while - I think 1st grade took us a year and a half or so? I am trying to remember exactly how I did that....it's been a while! I think that I just took each day and divided it into 2 parts, however it seemed the most natural to do so. I didn't do that with the "exploration day" though:-) It worked very well for him.
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
Used MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex1850, and currently using 1850-Modern!
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