Schedule - Required hours, subjects

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

Schedule - Required hours, subjects

Unread post by Julie in MN »

momma2kact wrote:Right now we are finishing up the MFW K curriculum, and we'll soon be starting the first grade. I am trying to figure out how I am going to record/keep track of my 1st grade son's work. Maybe it isn't as hard as I'm making it out to be (I may be able to answer my own question once I see it).

We live in Missouri, and the laws are not difficult for this kind of thing, but what I need is a list of subjects such as Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social studies and to know what things from MFW curriculum go in each slot/section. If I have a notebook that lists the five core subjects (Reading, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science) -- what is it that we have just done to earn a check mark in that subject? I am wanting someone to walk me through it like they're holding my hand and saying, "Debbie, see when Kanen finishes his number cup/drawing activity he just did math--one check for the math column!"

Thanks for listening,
Hi Debbie,
I think that, since it's "your" private school, you get to decide what you give credit for?!

Are you saying that you "can't decide"? Or that you're not familiar with such things?

I haven't done K but I would say that anything involving numbers, sorting, sequencing, or measuring could count towards math -- even if it is baking or blocks.

I would say that anything involving written letters would be reading -- whether it's you reading, the child reading, or writing of any kind -- even just tracing a letter.

I would say that anything teaching her about the world around her would be social studies -- safety rules, her address, or visiting an elderly neighbor.

Many times things overlap. This happens in public school classrooms as well. If you already described an activity under math but it also involved reading directions, then you can just put "see math" under your reading category. As long as you can show that your daughter is active & learning, I doubt you will have any trouble. Make the chart useful for *you* and then you will get the most mileage out of it.

Best wishes as you figure this out!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Unread post by wisdomschool »

Thank you Julie! Because some subjects overlap--I was wanting to know the "right" answer (I am a bit of a perfectionist, and yet I am also a bit of an unschooler, and I lack organization!)

You said that since it is my private school I can choose--that was helpful (and freeing).

The only other thing I am wondering is while we have to "keep track" of the hours (in Mo you have to have 600 "core" hours and 400 "non-core" hours between July 1st and June 30th) and we also have to cite the material used (and the perfectionist in me is thinking I need page numbers etc...), while the part of me that is terribly unorganized is fearing that much "work" and that is stressing me out!!!!!

And, I don't want to miss opportunities because "we have to get these pages filled out or read"--hence the reason we are still not "done" with the K curriculum--these children God gave me love to learn--and I love that they love learning!!!!!!!!!)

Thanks so much for your post--it really helped! It is also helpful for me to be able to write this all out--sometimes I answer my own question when I ask it out loud to someone (or type it for people that I don't know to read and respond to:)

Blessings everyone,
Debbie Carlson
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Unread post by JenniferF »

Hi Debbie, I am in Missouri also. This is my 2nd year of having to log hours. I have a few ideas for you on what to do to make it easier on yourself and a few clarifications on the MO law.

Take a deep breath! I was scared about logging when I started also.

I would be happy to help walk you through this over the phone. I generally do better talking things out than typing them out. That way if you have questions along the way I can help you through it too. I will contact you.

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Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Debbie! I am in a different state with different guidelines, but I want you to know that I think as you head toward 1st grade, subjects are more clearly defined than in the K curriculum. I hope that is encouraging!

For K, I think a lot of things overlap, but I think anything in the yellow pages is language arts (reading, writing, phonics) and any of the number of the day/100 chart/coin cup activities are math, and the white pages of the unit study activities are more overlapping with some Bible, science, and sometimes art or language arts activities.

Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
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Unread post by Lucy »


For history in the first grade, the Bible is the history for that year. You are learning about ancient times but without the Egyptian or Greek Gods. So when you read bible stories, make a scroll or clay pot, make a bible times map, measure Noah's ark -- all of this will fall under your history/social studies. This is overlapping since when we read the Bible we know it is also for God to teach us and for our growth in character. But the state does not care about Bible as a subject, so for this year use it all for social science as a study of ancient times.

As Rachel said the other things are very laid out for you and you will know when it is reading, writing (language arts), science, and math. The only thing you may not know what to do with is copy work and that would go under language arts.

I hope this helps you a little bit. I think you will find it easy to mark.

I would call and speak with David Hazell regarding this issue if you still feel confused about it. They live in MO and so they can also be of help in this area.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 6:14 pm

Social Studies is the broad group that contains History, Geography, Economics, Government, Psychology, Sociology, Current Events, etc. So if you are doing History and Geography then, yes, you have covered Social Studies. You don't have to cover every area of Social Studies at a young level.
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School Year

Unread post by baileymom »

karlafoisy wrote:I noticed the 1st grade curriculum is not the recommended 180 days, and I wondered if the rest of you add to your school year with additional field trips, etc, or do you just thank God you have less days to teach!? :)
We are just moving right on to 2nd grade-ish work.

...I don't even know if our state requires a certain amount of days or not...see what a slacker homeschool mom I am!?!
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1
Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: School Year

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I was in the thanking God club. :-) Compulsory age in our (then) state was 8yo, so it didn't matter how many days we did in 1st grade. We did finish all of MFW1, though - I've heard of some people who chose to move on after Day 125, but we had plenty of time and desire to finish it.

If you are counting hours, it's my understanding that any "teaching moment" counts: Sunday School, VBS, Awana, Co-op, Music lesson, soccer practice, etc. I would also include doctor and dentist appts as health. We need to teach our children how to be their own health care advocates.
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Re: School Year

Unread post by TriciaMR »

That's a tricky one for us. And it may depend on your state's requirements (ours is very specific: average 4 hours a day, 172 days a year). We will be doing 1st grade and RTR this fall. If I pad my 1st graders with 6 field trips to get them to 172 days, that's 6 days of RTR dd is going to miss (no way the 1st graders are going on a field trip without dd or me), or that we'll do after we've finished "officially" for the year.

We do usually take a 1 week break from MFW curriculum (keeping on with math, reading, spelling and foreign language) and focus on getting ready for our geography fair, so that adds in 5 days for us. Then our support group usually has a couple of field trips. But, my guess is I'll have to have them join in RTR with the oldest for a few days at the end of the year to get them to a total of 172 days of school.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Re: School Year

Unread post by Bandy »

I plan to do like Baileymom and move into our 2nd grade (Adventures) program as soon as I feel like we are ready for the transition.
If I see that my daughter needs some additional time to cement some grade 1 skills, I'll use that "additional time" in grade 1 to work on those. I'm thinking things like focused attention on math and reading might need some additional time but, we will see.
The main plan is to keep the ball rolling from grade to grade, while paying special attention to my daughter's specific needs along the way.
Julie in MN
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Re: School Year

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I know it can look like not enough days at the beginning of the year, but at the end of the year it might look a lot different! I don't usually see posts on the boards saying folks are done with their lessons early.

Don't forget that school days in the public schools include days when the teacher is really finishing up the lessons that didn't get done the day before, plus they take time for field trips, holiday parties, school assemblies, school concerts, special days like maybe election day or MLK day, testing & test prep days, get-ready-for-parent-conferences days, clean-out-your-locker-and-sign-the-yearbook days (even in elementary), and there are sick days for teachers and for kids. It's not all curriculum, every day. Those things were probably taken into consideration when the 180 day rule was decided.

But if you do finish early, what a wonderful time to do that extra unit you've been wanting to squeeze in or do that extra review of Bible notebooks or math facts etc.

Just to say that I wouldn't spend too much time planning until you're really close and really sure you have some extra days!
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+)
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Re: School Year

Unread post by Kelly1730 »

We have to do 180 days here in PA (or count hours but I've never considered going that direction). I usually take a break from MFW and do some type of Christmas unit as well as field trip days, etc. We do Child Evangelism's Day Camp at our church, 5 days from 9-3, I never thought about counting that as school day but now I will! Thanks for the great idea! ;)
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Re: School Year

Unread post by 4Truth »

You know about counting hours..... we have to do that here (I'd rather count days, LOL), but one thing you might consider is the fact that MFW office and the Hazell's reside in a state where they, too, have to count hours instead of days. If you ever feel like that might be a better way to go, I bet you could call the MFW office for advice on how to count the "hours" in this particular boxed curriculum. Not to suggest they could give you legal advice... each state is different, and I don't think the MFW folks are equipped for that. I just mean as far as how to count the work done in THIS curriculum toward hours... the folks in MFW office can tell you how they do it.

For me, the simplest way is to just write down our start and ending times at the top of that day's column, and then do a total for the week. Of course, we also have to break up the subjects a certain way within those hours... not sure if that would apply to you. We have to separate Core and Non-Core subjects (so many hours of each). But since, if going right down the grid in the TM, we have all the Core subjects scheduled "together" and the Non-Core subjects farther down, it's easy to identify how much time we spend on each one. We can then use Book Basket or extra notebooking or an extra activity from the manual to fill any time gaps as needed.

Gee, this makes me wonder why I sometimes complain about having to count hours. LOL
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
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Re: School Year

Unread post by blazingacres »

I haven't even thought about the number of days yet.......guess that's a newbie for you! We will do field trips, etc... to fill in days if we need to. We take our kids to the senior center once a week to have lunch with the elderly. The girls love it & the seniors have 'adopted' them as grandchildren. I guess that would count as a field trip!
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Re: School Year

Unread post by karlafoisy »

Thanks everyone! I love how quickly everyone chips in with advice! Can we count going to grandma's as field trips!? :)

Re: School Year

Unread post by cbollin »

K has 166 lesson days scheduled.
1st has 160
ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, eX1850, 1850MOD - have 170.

I live in a 180 day required state. I have to teach for 180 days (true in my old state too).

for those years, I find it very easy to repeat a lesson, or do a small unit study on cooking/cleaning/chores. Field trips. Service Project days. Unit study on Christmas things. Dance classes, etc. I am comfortable counting VBS week as school time as well in early years. I guess from a "legal" standpoint I might do a math review lesson just to make sure I have the "right hours". (giggle.)
and most years we do school more than 180 days even if I don't count them all.

I think you'll find that it is really easy to meet 180 legal days even if the curriculum has fewer. Get a day done? Bible, math, science, reading, love God, love your neighbor.
blazingacres wrote:I haven't even thought about the number of days yet.......guess that's a newbie for you! We will do field trips, etc... to fill in days if we need to. We take our kids to the senior center once a week to have lunch with the elderly. The girls love it & the seniors have 'adopted' them as grandchildren. I guess that would count as a field trip!
I'd call it "community service". You're a great homeschooler already even if you are "newbie" because you understand the value of being able to do that.
karlafoisy wrote:Thanks everyone! I love how quickly everyone chips in with advice! Can we count going to grandma's as field trips!? :)
well, when Grandma lives 5 hours away and the kids end up taking field trips to museums and parks and science centers while there.. and even helping grandma to take care of the community garden in her neighborhood. and then we get the extended family get together and we help grandma cook the family recipes. And oldest children help entertain the youngest cousins and we all sing Christmas carols together.. Well, why wouldn't that count that multi generational family style education for one day? We don't see them but a few times a year.

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Re: School Year

Unread post by club190 »

I know that newbies really sweat the small stuff as far as this goes, but I gotta say that in all the years HSing, we've averaged 220 days and many more hours than the law requires by simply keeping track of the learning we do each and every day. I don't count each and every minute, and I do tend to slack off on this recordkeeping now and then, but I figure that since my oldest son received a huge scholarship to a very prestigious college, we must be doing something right, ya know. I doubt the local school district would call me on it, but I basically just stick to logging things in round numbers after the fact. I use Edu-Track to log the hours and days. In PA we have to count either, I choose to do both since it gives me a better picture of what we've been up to all year, but that's just me, most folks simply opt for days.

For example, I know that I usually plan for 10 minutes for spelling, 45 minutes for composition, 15 minutes for grammar, 15 minutes for narration or dictation, and another 30 minutes for instruction in some aspect of reading or writing or whatever English-y thing he needs work on that day. That's just under two hours for all the English Language Skills areas combined but be rarely use all that time. It still gets logged that way though because it's set up like that in the program. The other subject areas are the same way. I keep math to a half hour since I want to make sure that we spend more time on Bible and character than we do on math! Science and history are usually done on alternate days, often just for a half hour with this boy. Other subjects are plugged in as they fit. I intend to revamp the schedule thing in the Edu-track over the next week or so in preparation for ECC! (My oldest breathed history so he logged 3 hours a day in history, just because. But that's a different kettle of fish altogether!)

We rarely take as long as it looks like we will take when the schedule is mapped out on paper, but then again, there are days when things move at the speed of molasses in a snow storm, and then we may not get finished at all. Usually I scratch that up to a mental health emergency and call it quits before we all end up in time-out! We count some holidays as being school days. For example, we count Christmas Eve as a school day because we tell the account of Jesus' birth and gather for some nice family traditions. We count the first night of Passover too -- anyone who knows anything about the Passover Seder knows that it's a long affair -- and definitely worth a school day to retell the events surrounding the Exodus and how they were a shadow of what was to come when Messiah set us free from Sin with His Holy work on the cross. We count scout camp as a week of different subjects, depending on what the kids are doing for merit badges. We count regular camping trips as health, wellness, safety, and PE. When we do crazy baking around the holidays, we count that as Home Ec. When we have a lot of shopping to do, for whatever, we count those days as consumer math. There's so much more you can count for educational activities than just what you are doing from your teacher's manual. I think it's well-nigh impossible to NOT get in at least 180 days or however many hours you are required! Yes, as Christians we should be above reproach, but honestly, nitpicking all the minutes of your day onto a log sheet instead of enjoying learning with your children is a terrible twist on that precept. Loosen up and enjoy this special time --- it flies by all too quickly!

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Re: School Year

Unread post by RachelT »

I live in a state that requires 180 days of instruction. (Crystal used to live in my state, too - sob!) In four years I have always had more than the required days of teaching when I count educational field trips and special concerts or performances we attend. I've also counted homsechool group co-ops, our homeschool 4H club, and summer days when we are only doing a short Bible lesson, some reading time and musical instrument practice or swim lessons. I don't think you will have any trouble, especially at such a fun age! :-)

My dd completed her 1st gr. work a few days before we were done with ECC, but I played some games with her (Banangrams, sight word matching games, homonyms, etc.), we worked on spelling sight words, and we read library books. It was fun for her to "graduate" out of the Bible Reader and into being able to pick out any easy reader and even smaller chapter books from the library to read for herself now! Toward the end of the 1st gr. stuff we also wrote a funny story and she was able to take more time to work on her illustrations in the Bible Notebook.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19
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