Reading - Can you stall phonics but continue science & histo

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Reading - Can you stall phonics but continue science & histo

Unread post by henryteachers »

Malenki wrote:I thought I'd ask... what happens if your child is on lesson 23 or 48 or whatever and just cannot make it click? Can you reasonably hold off on the phonics while continuing with the science and history? Or is it so integrated that you are stuck until they are ready to continue?

DS will be 6.5 when we start and, while he's doing great with MFW K and the reading, he's also not taking off and reading anything in sight. He's very auditory and I'm concerned that as the pace picks up in 1st we'll need to hold off on the phonics for a while.
We're using 1st now and the phonics has nothing to do with science so you could continue on with science if you had to. Then as you get into using the Bible reader, Bible history and phonics are alternated every other day. So, you could just continue with the Bible history lessons and then go at a slower pace with the phonics if needed. The phonics lessons don't seem to have to do with the Bible history, though you do teach new words to go with each Bible reader story.
Hope that made sense.

Use the curriculum as a guide but I don't think you have to follow it to the letter to make it work for your child. If you finish the year without finishing up the phonics pages, you could just continue with that in the summer until you do finish. Just some ideas.

Unread post by cbollin »

Grab some coffee or tea.... this is one of my longer style posts.... (looking forward to many hints and tips from others)

When your child hits a wall, take some time to slow down and adjust on the spot. Every curriculum out there has these points in their journey.

I’m all philosophical this morning….
Remember in the MFW K program when we all were frustrated that the first letter taught was the letter “S”? Remember how hard that letter was to write for your students? You may have thought --- I’m switching to Handwriting without Tears because you know what --- we have tears using MFW. But, then you realized, that although the letter S is the easiest to say for phonics it is the hardest letter to form in penmanship. But with MFW K you are going to get a lot (and I mean a lot) of practice writing that letter S.

We didn’t stop learning new letters while learning the letter S. We kept going on and practicing it.

Same thing applies with learning phonics in the first grade. We don’t always come to a grinding halt when it is hard. As teachers we help our students with the hard parts while they are learning it. And we practice it over and over. Some days we practice the same lesson 2-4 times in a day. And we add in lots of games on the way. (the MFW 1st TM has easy to do games in the back of the manual). Some of us – look to adding in something from

It is ok to move along for a while in first grade. Sometimes we need to stop altogether and put it aside for a few weeks and take a break. That’s a subjective call on the teacher’s part and is based on too many individual factors to generalize. It’s also ok to introduce a few new things while waiting for that hard part to settle in.

From watching my own children struggle with learning how to talk (my learning delayed children), I have seen how the professional speech therapist and occupational therapist will do this same kind of thing. Yes – there is a point where you have to master a skill before moving on to too many things. But there is a balancing point in it as well. We sometimes jump ahead of our girls’ developmental goals when we see a “splinter skill developing.” That simply means that they have a skill that is otherwise ahead of where the rest of their goals are. and then some times, their therapist just says "take next week off and let it sink it".

We use that skill that is ahead of the curve to help re-inforce and teach the lagging skill. I could give several examples, but this is getting long and I haven’t given any practical help….

Ok: How to help move from MFW K to 1st so that in the early parts of the year, you aren’t pulling your hair out too much.
Realize that there will be bumps in the road and that’s ok.

Between MFW K and MFW 1st, let your child continue to practice reading CVC words. Your library probably has some phonics readers. Or if you are like me, you have some sitting around the house from used curriculum sales.

My library has various CD rom games to use (reader rabbit, jumpstart, etc. etc.). check out StarFall dot com.

Some people say their children struggle with consonant blends and wonder why MFW doesn’t spend a lot of time on it. My girls did not struggle that way. I have wondered if perhaps they just caught on to consonant blends because the consonants do not change the same way that vowels do. Once they knew blending c-v-c, cc-v-c didn’t seem like a stretch. But, perhaps that is something to just be aware of .

Does PBS still show Between the Lions? Fun show for early phonics.

David Hazell listed some ideas on this board recently with teaching phonics. Keep in mind, Marie and David’s 3rd child was a late reader.

Quoting david:
So what do I do if your child struggles?

Repeat the phonic portion of a lesson 2-4 times daily

Consider returning to the K curriculum for a better foundation.

Teach 3 times a week with a review day in between.

Have Dad entertain all the kids when he gets home so you can isolate the slow learner with a one-on-one uninterrupted time in the evening for a final review or possibly teaching phonics entirely at that time. (That is what we had to do with our 3rd child who seemed like he would never learn to read at age 7. He not only learned to read but is among our best with academic scholarships to a major university. He also doubled his curriculum in High School and had enough credits to graduate by age 16. He is dually enrolled in College and will enter next year with 28 or more college credits toward his major.)

You see sometimes it is patience not frustration that wins the battle.

Please exercise caution from easily being discouraged when a child is not succeeding. Don't give up but press on in a gentle way.
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Unread post by melinda »

Any curriculums you use will all have the same element with phonics: you must provide plenty of practice! Whether with beginning readers, games, reading aloud to each other, etc, you have to have multiple ways to practice. Just because you do a worksheet on a phonetical sound, doesn't mean that your child will remember it when a word shows up in a book. So, if you may hit a wall with MFW1st, chances are, you'll it a wall in another curriculum too--unless you provide extra practice.

That said, my oldest has finished MFW1 and is in no way an avid reader. She really doesn't care to read. Can she? Yeah. But will she? Not really. I have to remind her constantly of sounds, but slowly it's sinking in. Because there are no official phonics lessons in ADV, we'll be reviewing some sounds next year.

Basically I think if you hit a wall, you'll be fine. If God has led you to choose MFW, He will get you through it. And of course, we'll help too! :)
Melinda & Co.
Girls (ages 8 and 7, 7 (ID twins))
Baby boy (1)
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Unread post by LSH in MS »

My 7 yr old has needed a lot more practice and time in learning to read. We are on day 30 in 1st and I have stopped it for a while. That doesn't bother me. He is participating a lot in RTR so I just used it for phonics and Bible anyway. My plan is to do easy workbooks, math and easy readers.

I would recommend to anyone who has a struggling reader after K to read easy readers a lot, don't stop in the summer. Do some read alouds or get libray books on a topic for history\science if you want. It will be review for a while but that will just build confidence. I am very pleased with how my plan is going.

I plan to resume first with my son. I love the integrated Bible and Bible notebook.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
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Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:57 am

Unread post by southernshae »


Here is some practical advice to add to the wonderful advice you've already been given.....just some things we did in MFW1 that really seemed to help.

We made constant use of the Reading Chart. This chart was one of my favorites in 1st. We kept it on the fridge all the time and brought it down for the phonics lessons.
We referred to it and reviewed with it many other times during the day. For example, while eating lunch I might ask ds to tell me the ways he knows to spell words having a long A sound (once we'd finished learning them). He'd tell me "a--consonant--silent e", "ay", and "ai". I'd then ask him to tell me which spelling he'd use at the end of a word, in the middle of a word, etc. I could literally see him visualizing the chart in his mind.

We also did some of the games listed in the TM (there are lots), but after he was really rolling, he just didn't need them anymore.

Use the white board and write the new sounds in red and all other sounds in black.

Do "spelling chains" with a white board. You start out with the word such as "tape" and ask the child to change it to tame, then to game, then to gate, then to rate, then to rat, then to cat..........and on and on you could go. My ds thought that was fun.

I suppose this really doesn't answer your original question of what to do if you get bogged down and not wanting to stop altogether. I will say, though, that I would spend time between K and 1st making sure we were fluent on CVC before beginning 1st and maybe even lots of practice with CCVC and CVCC words like "milk, flag", etc. so that the possibility of hitting a snag early on is reduced somewhat.

Hope at least something here helps!
4 dc (3 in ps, 1 dc at home)
MFW1 ...slowly.. with ds
Past user of MFW1, ADV, and ECC
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Thanks so much!

Unread post by Malenki »

This does help! At least I can see that we would be able to continue; DH would be quite upset if all school ceased for 2 or 3 weeks... or 2 or 3 months. Even if the phonics was "holding steady" while we practiced and practiced, if the other stuff could continue DH wouldn't panic!
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Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:40 pm

Unread post by holynickel »

My dh panics too when I tell him we need a break to work on review. But he does see the need for this. day I just let dh read the reader with my ds and see how he struggled. that really helped him to understand how it was getting difficult and we needed to review.

I was frustrated after christmas. We took about 3 weeks off for christmas and I just didn't feel like ds was where "I" thought he should be. The reader just seemed so difficult for him. So like pp's have said. I started forcing him to read really easy readers. Bob books, the nora gaydos readers. They were short. Worked on one skill per book and he felt like he could accomplish it. It mainly just built his confidence. Then we would review with the previous bible reader stories that we had already read to practice.

I can't say that he is the greatest reader today. but he has came a very long way since january, and I am soo proud of him. and I really think it is starting to click. It will be a while before he can just pick up any book and read. But he is getting there.

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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:48 pm
Location: New Mexico

Unread post by Renai »

My 7yo daughter also hit a wall in the phonics. We stopped at about day 30, but still continued with everything else. Yes, it's great everything is integrated, but, if you must slow down, do it.

Our situation is a bit different though in that she reads in Spanish fluently (we homeschool bilingually), so have done scripture memory and such in Spanish. We'll be finishing MFW1 phonics in 2nd grade (Adventures), reading the Bible reader, etc., which is just fine with me.

Wife to Enrique
Mom of two dd- 9/99 & 1/11

Bilingual homeschool
2004-05 SL
2005-2012 MFW
2012-2013 K12
2013-2014 dual-language charter
2014-2015 MFW Ancients/young'un- MFW preschool, reading books
Wendy B.
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Re: Doing MFW 1st over two years instead of one?

Unread post by Wendy B. »

shawnswife wrote:I'm considering taking two years to do the 1st grade program with my 6 and a half year old ds. We just did the K program and I do not feel he is yet ready for a more intense program. Especially writing. He has a short attention span and I'm also trying to figure out how to schedule in 1st along with ECC for my other two kids. I feel it's more important that they enjoy the learning than it is to rush things for the sake of "staying on schedule". But I also don't want to cause any problems that may have not entered into my thinking by doing it this way. So, I'm looking for feedback on this idea.
I'm currently using MFW1 with my recently turned 7yo almost as written. I do spread the Proverbs copywork over 2-3 days instead of 1 day and do Day 5 during the week so we can complete everything in 4 days instead of 5. If I had used MFW1 phonics when he was 6 I would've had to slow it down for many of your same reasons.

I think that it would be VERY easy to slow the pace down especially if he is tagging along with ECC with his older sibs. Math is a separate schedule so you could keep him at the "correct" scheduling so he could still be ready for whatever math program next year.

Depending on how you want to break up the phonics you could do a page and review the next day. You could simply do 1/2 of each section on each day and spread it out over 2 days that away. Splitting it in 1/2 would be a great option for a child who just needs a little less writing and a little less reading each day. For example Day 24 has 3 sections so Day 1 do 3 of section 1, 2 of section 2 and 2 of section 3 and on the next day complete the remaining sections. This way you are not doing all the handwriting on one day and all the reading on another.

It probably wouldn't take a full 2 years to complete. The first 17 days are review of cvc words and could probably be done at the written pace. Once the phonics "clicks" for your child then you could just adjust your pacing again to complete the rest of the program at the written pace. Even if it does take you 2 years to complete the program you will not have lost anything if at the end you have a happy child who loves to read and write!

The only potential downfall......which really isn't a downfall at that you could complete the program at the "wrong" time and have a child who is ready for PLL or whatever next grade level LA program you use in December instead of September. I know several mamas that this sort of thing would drive them absolutely NUTS so take that into consideration if you are a strict "start the new year in September" kinda mama. I'm in the "start the new when we finish the old" camp so having a child who will probably complete MFW1 in the winter does not bother me in the least.
Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.
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