Readiness for 1st - Evaluating whether child is ready?

Learning God's Story
Post Reply
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Readiness for 1st - Evaluating whether child is ready?

Unread post by Lucy »

Readiness Skills for MFW 1
NancyB wrote:What are the readiness skills for using MFW 1? Would reading simple 3 letter words be enough or????
Posted: 4/16/2004
Hi Nancy,
The MFWK introduces and blends words with consonants and short vowel sounds. Some are four letter words like sled. They are able to read very simple books like Bob books by the end of the year, which is 3 letter words. The first part of MFW1 is a review of all the letter sounds from K. So I think if he is reading three letter words he should be fine. You may want to go to the library and find Bob books with short vowel sounds and help him learn to read through books if he has not already done so. He will need to know some sight words such as and, an ,a, and the. By the Fall he should definitely be ready.

Blessings and peace to you,
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:00 am

How do I know she is ready for !st?

Unread post by Frazzledbynature »

jennifermcoh wrote:My five year old ( 6 in sept.) has 8 weeks left in MFWK. How do I know she is ready for !st? She knows all letter names and sounds. She reads some short words but still needs help quite a bit. She is very strong willed and I think she knows more then she lets on. I'm not sure. When we look at a word like "and" for instance, she knows all the individual sounds but she doesn't put them together to say "and". So her and I put the a and n together for "an" then we add the d. And I say "and". the next few times she remembers and will say it on her own. Like I said I think she knows more than she lets on, but I may be wrong and I don't want to push her. Any advice is appreciated.
I have a daughter about the same age, with the same issues. She is 5-1/2, but knows all letters and sounds, knows the difference between vowels and consonants, and can sound out words fairly well, including several multi-syllable words. She hasn't quite gotten the connection that you have to have a vowel to make "bur", instead of "br", but, like yours, she knows more than she lets on, and never has liked "performing" in terms of answering questions, etc.

After reviewing the materials in the catalog and reading some of the leveling suggestions regarding 1 (and emailing a direct inquiry to the Hazells!), I decided to go ahead and start her in 1. The MFW1 has a complete phonics review of letter sounds and blends at the beginning, and give suggestions for stretching it out over a longer period of time if you need to give extra practice.

I just got my materials and have had a chance to look over the teacher's guide and the materials. I think it is definitely within her grasp. Not too hard, but definitely more advanced than S-Sun, or A-Apple. I also added the ant farm and the Math Sense blocks and Cuisenaire alphabet book from the K program. My dd is very hands on, and I thought those things would engage her attention, making science and math fun and less "work-booky". Might even buy me some time to work one-on-one with ds (age 7.5)!!

Hope this helps!
Mom of ds (3/98), dd (2/00), ds (5/04 and dc#4 (due 10/05)

Unread post by cbollin »

Here's my suggestion, finish up the K (you still have 2 months worth of material to go). Then take a little break (1 or 2 weeks) to let her mind absorb and sink in. She most likely will be ready for the 1st grade by then (2-1/2 months away).

The first part of the 1st grade is review (by day 20 or earlier, it starts to be new material).

One thing that occurred to me is that you noticed she struggles on the word "and." My dd, who has language processing problems, finally got to the point where she could ask me "What is that word," "What is AND?" It turns out she was trying to figure out the meaning of the reading material. (What rejoicing her speech/language therapist had.) I would then read the sentence back to her, pointing to every word. then she remembered that she knows that word. I also followed some "special needs" advice and would say the words that she didn't know and then the next time it showed up I would stop talking and just point and asked her to help me. Don't know if this would help with your child.

Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Nevada

Unread post by InfertilityMom »

I found 1st to build so beautifully with K. Marie amazes me in her gift for weaving this cirriculum. As already stated by another posted, the first few weeks of 1st are review and then a gradual build with new material. I think you will find the transition a gentle one. Finish up K then I don't think there will be a hard jump to 1st.
Jenni Saake, Nevada
after 10 years and 10 losses:
ds J. born 12/99 and dd R. 1/03, 1850s to Modern Times
ds J-Bear 1/06 finishing up K, looking toward 1st in early 2012

Readiness for 1st - A young 6 year old

Unread post by cbollin »

YacoltMommy wrote:My daughter finished MFWK the beginning of January and we will be starting MFW1 today. We are very excited to get going on the new stuff. I am wondering if I should do a modified schedule (3 days a week?) with her since she just turned 6 and is actually at Kindergarten age. What have others done with younger children doing 1st grade? Thanks for the advice.

One of the nice benefits of home schooling is to be able to adjust according to your needs.

The first several days of MFW 1 contain review. (I think the first 3 weeks worth is review in phonics.) My guess is that during that time you probably won't feel a need to go at 3 days per week if you are already used to doing 5 days a week.

After that you'll get a better feel for where your child is and be able to adjust. And if she needs a modified schedule -- you'll know.

In other words, watch the child not the calendar is my general guideline for you.


Unread post by Guest »

I ocmpletely agree with what Crystal said. My dd was also a young 6 when we began but we didn't need to modify the schedule. However, if we found the opposite to be true, we would have had the flexibility and advantage of modifying as needed.
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am

Unread post by LSH in MS »

My son (6 in Oct) will finish K in a few weeks. I plan to go ahead any buy MFW 1 but I will definately put it on hold if it looks too difficult for him. I don't think it will be, but should be able to tell after I look at it.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:03 pm

Unread post by kfrench »

I would use a lot of the games at the end of the K book to learn the words well. That will hopefully give your younger more time to learn the words. I agree that if they aren't ready hold off or go very slow because pushing to much to fast can lead to dislike of reading and frustration for both of you. Or if they aren't ready the bob books are good and learning about what ever they are interested and reading lots of good books. My dd was six in Nov and she will be finishing K in a few weeks. So we'll see how it goes. I;m just finishing up MFW1 with her 8 yo sister who is having a hard time learning to read. She loves MFW1 by the way and is doing very well with it.

Unread post by Guest »

If your dd is "panting" for more, then I say, "Go for it!". My ds is turning 6 next month and I know that he is now chomping at the bit for more phonics rules, since he has just started wanting to read everything in sight. He gets out our Bible and gets so excited at whatever he can read from it.

I can't speak from lots of experience, but it is good to know that 1 day a week is a lighter day, if that helps any!

Sarahs Daughter
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:27 pm

Unread post by Sarahs Daughter »

Our son started MFW K when he was 4 and MFW 1st Grade when he was 5. We are now halfway through 1st Grade with him and he's loving it. We find the curriculum so child friendly. The one thing we do a little differently is that we've added simple readers to the curriculum to reinforce what's being taught in the blue workbook.

We did the same with our 7 1/2 year old who is now on ECC 3rd Grade. Our 4 year old is MFW K.

Our school day is finished by 12 Noon (earlier for the younger 2).

Would 1st work for children that can't write well

Unread post by cbollin »

my3boys wrote:Would First work for children that can't write well - sounds like a lot of writing?
Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:17 am
If the student is at least "first grade age" and not younger, then it should be ok. It teaches both reading and writing. Before starting MFW 1st grader hopefully they can at least copy or trace a short sentence along the lines of "The hen is red." It is not expected that they are independent writers at the beginning of first grade. But it does assume they have basic penmanship taught. Penmanship is reviewed at the beginning of the year.

One of the sources of writing in MFW 1st grade involves the Proverbs memory verse. That verse will be studied for 5 school days in a row, and is also used for handwriting practice on one of those days. It's ok to spread out that copywork over a day or two if needed. I did that early in the year and gradually my child was able to do the whole thing in one session. But in the early weeks, we spread it out a bit.

The other main writing lessons comes from composition in the notebook. The Bible notebook starts slowly with "copywork" and slowly builds as the year progresses. There is no online sample showing of that. It starts off with copying the title or a sentence from the day's reading. The early sentences are along the lines of "God made the world."

And it is expected that you will help your child learn writing.

Let me try to guide and talk you through the online samples.
The online sample of the Bible notebook is taken from Day 111 out of 160 days of the 1st grade program, so don't let that get you overly concerned -- that's more than half way through 1st grade. And my kid's artwork would not have looked that good.
The other writing that day is from the day 111 workbook sample -- it is a Word Bank style of workbook page.
But there is no Proverbs copywork assigned on day 111 unless your child just needs to finish it from earlier in the week.

If you look at the day 79 sample
you'll see the student is learning to put a sentence in the proper order and then copy the sentence. That's the writing for the day's worksheet. The other writing for the day is in the form of handwriting practice with the Proverbs memory verse.

So they try to balance it out for the day in the amount of writing you do.
And remember too, that you can call the MFW office for placement ideas. I know the Hazells had one child who was "a late reader".


Writing in first

Unread post by cbollin »

my3boys wrote:Did you find that they were all ready to handle the writing in first? That is really my concern.
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:54 am
It builds up in the 1st grade program so they can be ready for all of it. MFW 1st does have a lot of writing -- but it doesn't happen all at once.

MFW suggests that in the beginning part of 1st grade that your student should be developmentally able to sit long enough to copy 4-6 short words on kindergarten-sized lined paper without complaining or becoming tearful. They also suggest that your child is able to print alphabet (lower case too) correctly and put them on paper -- not *just* tracing them in tactile trays.

So, my suggestion would be to work on that. You could simply have them copy some of the sentences in the K readers from the student packet if they need more practice. Find a few extra short vowel readers to practice for fluency. Let them re-read the same readers for more fluency.

From my experience --- the "hardest" part was copying the Proverbs memory verse all at once. So, we broke that up into smaller segments for the first couple of weeks.

You don't start the Bible reader/notebooking until around 6 weeks into the program.

In the first weeks, you practice handwriting skills and review letter formation. They copy short vowel words (about 6 of them or so) within the first couple of weeks.

So -- MFW 1st grade does ease into the writing expectations in the early weeks in order to help provide some natural transition time between the end of MFW K and the beginning of MFW 1st. Even the longer copywork with the Proverbs memory verses don't start in week 1. As I said, we spread out the copy work with those in the early weeks.

And as Niki was saying -- in 1st grade, there will be times to naturally slow down. David Hazell gave some general advice about that. It's in the 1st grade archives in the Sticky thread at the top of that archive forum.

Hope that helps a bit as you determine if your child is "there" yet or will be in a few weeks with just some extra practice.
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:33 am

My dd who has aspergers and much trouble with writing and needs ot and pt does ok with the writing.

One key is make it short. Short amount of time. So I have her focus on the writing for 5 minutes sometimes 10 then I give her a break. It has worked beautifully for us. You could use less time if need be and take more breaks.
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

1st grade phonics

Unread post by mgardenh »

kymomof3 wrote:I have a k son this year. We are not currently using MFW K, however I would like to use the 1st grade. What do I need to do to have him ready by next year. Also, will MFW 1st be all that I need to produce a proficient reader. Thanks for your help in advance!
Welcome to the board.

MFW 1st will help teach your child to read and make a proficient reader but your child should already be ready to read cvc words. Look at the package on the website it tells you what your child should know to be ready for first. Also call the MFW office they are a great help.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Need help! K or 1st Grade

Unread post by jasntas »

mommyof2girls wrote:Hi there! I was hoping that someone could help me. My daughter will be 6 in October. We have been doing another program this year. We have liked it but I keep coming back to MFW. I am so excited about using MFW next year! My question is, which program should I use?

She is only on lesson 5 of her Reading Lesson right now. We have used Singapore Early Bird math. She memorizes a bible verse a week and loves bible stories. I looked at the K program but thought she may get a little bored. Then I looked at the 1st grade program but I am not sure if she will be ready for that reading level. She loves school and I would love to keep it that way. Help! :)
First I would suggest calling MFW directly for their advice in this matter.

In the meantime:

I don't know where she is but if you're not sure where to have her begin you could possibly start with K and just go through it more quickly to make sure your not missing anything. There is a suggestion in the K manual for doubling or tripling to finish K quicker with older children.

See the following for modifying K for older kids. ... 087#p54220

The first post was how our family started last summer. We then did a unit a week until the first of the year. Then I decided I didn't want her to finish early and we are stretching out the last few units to 1 unit every 2 weeks with a few extra math sheets (which she loves) and Explode the Code sheets (which she doesn't love quite as much). ;)

My dd could have easily finished early and is probably ready for 1st but I decided since she wasn't a full year older that for our situation I didn't want to rush her. But I believe you could easily complete K early and go right into 1st. I think I would personally want to start her a step back and move through quickly, slowing down if needed, rather than pushing her too far ahead and having to backtrack later.

BTW my dd never got bored. We did modify it a bit for her because she was a little advanced. You can also read about ways to modify the program for older or more advanced students.

The following is a post by cbolin with ideas on how to beef up the program if you wanted to: ... 179#p47744

You might also check the K message board archives for other ideas:

Postby jasntas » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:55 pm
I forgot to mention that my dd also did Singapore Early Bird math, in addition to ETC and letter practice. So even though she had all that before starting K I am still glad we started with K as it was such a wonderful introduction for her to MFW. She tells me almost daily that she LOVES school. She also reads to me daily by the way.

I feel it would have been a mistake if I had started her in 1st even with her age and prior experiences. But each situation is different and a call into the MFW office would probably be the best advice I could give you.
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Need help! K or 1st Grade

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Tammie may have already linked to this thread, but I like it because both Marie and David Hazell weigh in on the K vs. 1st subject, especially about looking at your child's age:

Also, the MFW website discusses the importance of solidly reading CVC words before starting 1st grade. Even though the beginning of 1st has a lot of review, it will move forward quickly after that:

Otherwise, Tammie has much more experience than I do, so I'm glad she posted first :)
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

Re: Need help! K or 1st Grade

Unread post by cbollin »

Hi Andrea,

I wanted to say welcome along! Agreeing that perhaps for placement between K and 1st, you might benefit from calling MFW's office on the phone.

I'm not familiar with the programs you are using (The Reading Lesson, lesson 5?) or how fluently your child is reading or where she is in learning penmanship and ability to at least copy words easily. I like the idea that Tammie shared of sometimes it's better to start with "easier" stuff and gain fluency for a bit while working more quickly. You might even consider starting K sooner than next fall. Tammie mentioned that you can "add in" math for a little while before first grade.
I wouldn't rush to start 1st grade with her in September most likely if she isn't reading much yet or writing much yet (you have time on your side). but..... a few check points on that. It's hard to advise on the internet when you can't see or hear the child's reading. but we like to try :)

so to help with that a bit....

Julie linked to the first grade part of the website... This is from the Introduction of the Teacher's Manual of 1st ..
It doesn't say anything different that was already said.
1st grade intro wrote:If your child has not successfully completed My Father’s World kindergarten God's Creation from A to Z, please take some time to determine if your child is really ready to begin first grade.

* Does your child know the 26 letter sounds (consonants and short vowels)? Letter names are not as important.
* Is your child generally able to print alphabet letters correctly? Is he generally able to place 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 up to 2 hours each day to complete.)
* Will your child be six by September 1? (Mature five-year-olds about whom you can answer yes to all of the above questions may be ready to begin first grade. However, we still encourage you to consider using God's Creation from A to Z kindergarten because yur child will learn so many wonderful truths about a relationship with Jesus through the integrated Bible and science. We do not recommend beginning first grade with a four-year-old, even if he appears to be ready.)

If you can answer “yes” to all of the above questions, your child is most likely ready for first grade. If not, we recommend that you begin with My Father’s World From A to Z kindergarten curriculum.

It is important that your child has a strong foundation in beginning reading skills before he starts first grade. My Father’s World From A to Z teaches 26 letter names and sounds, handwriting, sound blending, reading short vowel words, and reading simple stories with short vowel words. The skills taught in kindergarten—especially reading short vowel words fluently for many months—give a child the foundation needed for success in first grade. My Father’s World First Grade quickly reviews these skills in the first three weeks of school and then moves on to new skills at a rapid pace.

If you are teaching the kindergarten curriculum to an older child you may use a modified schedule to teach three days of work each day. This would allow you to finish the kindergarten material in about three months and then go directly into My Father’s World First Grade.
anyway... welcome along!
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:52 pm

Re: Need help! K or 1st Grade

Unread post by OtterMommy »

I won't add much since you've gotten so much good advice! My son turned 5 in October, and we did K with him. He is not your usual boy...well, he does like mud and bugs, but he taught himself to read at 3, and has a very good auditory and visual memory. Still, I am glad we did K first. He now wants to do lots of reading. I would've hated to burn him out reading the Bible! K is easy to supplement and mix up, and all our kiddos enjoyed it (they were 5, 3, and 2). He also has a better grasp on phonics and is more confident at sounding out new words.

We have loved MFW, esp. how tied-together everything is (instead of doing 6-9 different "boxes" of activities) because we enjoy doing most of our school day at once.
Wife to the best
Mom to ds (6), dd (5), dd (3), and ds (4 months)
MFW K and 1st
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:31 pm

Re: Need help! K or 1st Grade

Unread post by mommyof2girls »

Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. I plan on calling the office but I think all of you helped me think it all through. I don't want to push her too far ahead since she is only 5 and won't be 6 until October. She loves school! I know she is going to love the K program and maybe we can just add a little here and there as needed.

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and I just love the helpful nature everyone seems to have. Now I can't wait until I can order!!

Have a blessed day and thank you!
Wife to my best friend for 11 years
Mommy of 2 Blessing:
DD6 - MFW K, Horizons Math K, The Reading Lesson
DD4 - tagging along with MFW K and preschool
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

When to start 1st garde

Unread post by jasntas »

minbean wrote:My son will be 6 in early September. We have been working on the K curriculum and he likes it very much. He knows the alphabet, can sound out short words, knows all the letter sounds,etc.

I have received advice that it might be best to wait to start 1st grade, just continue to work on reading and maybe just add a few things from the 1st grade curriculum (just take things slowly). The reasoning was that boys take longer to reach reading readiness, they can take longer to mature,etc. Does anybody have any thoughts about this? Thanks for your help!! :)
Every child is different. Boy or girl. I do agree that, as a general rule, boys do tend to 'mature' a bit slower than girls but I think I would let your ds set the pace.

If he needs to slow down whether in K or 1st, then slow down. And if he is ready to move forward, move forward.

Just one opinion.

HTH :)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: When to start 1st garde

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Hmmm. Well, I have 5 yo twin boys who will turn 6 at the end of June. We did a K program this year (not MFW's). We will be starting MFW's 1st this fall. We are continuing practicing blending and reading short vowel words and two-vowel words this summer. How good is his writing? Can he sit still for 20 to 30 minutes at a time? If he's not writing very much, then you might want to focus on that more.

I think you know your son best. You can always slow down if you want.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: When to start 1st garde

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I agree with Trish -- 1) Can he sit still for 30 minutes? 2) Can he write his letters correctly on the lines? Those are biggies to me, and MFW1 will be challenging if those two criteria are not met.

Here's some more info from past discussions:

I read your question as "Should we start MFW1 this fall or wait until later?" as if you're finishing up MFWK now and taking the summer off and thinking about starting 1st grade in the fall after he turns 6yo. In that case, I say if he's able to sit still at the table and write on the lines, then you're good to go. I would focus on reading books for fun and practicing writing on lined paper some this summer.
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL

Re: When to start 1st garde

Unread post by cbollin »

He will be in 6 in September. When will you finish the K curriculum? Maybe in September or October will be fine to start because he is doing MFW K right now.

Is he also doing some of the writing that is in the K program such as tracing letters, and using a pencil on the "dictation" pages with the blend ladder, and handwriting pages?

Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:11 am

Waiting until a child is 7 to do first grade?

Unread post by Joyhomeschool »

Taita wrote:Hi all. My son is turning six this July and would be technically starting 1st grade right after that. I think "holding him back" a year would help him in the future. Right now I think he would do great with first but I'm thinking ahead. So has anyone started their child in 1st grade as a 7 year old? And pros or cons would be great!
I always just start on time. If he can do it I wouldn't worry abut the future. Its a long time from now and then and you might find something else gets in the way and one year may take two or she. He gets to his Sr year he may want that extra year and do some college at home... just keep moving forward is my advice.
Homeschooling my 7,
2018/2019 1st, EXP, AHL, US 2
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 11:20 pm

Re: Waiting until a child is 7 to do first grade?

Unread post by kaymom »

My son has a late summer birthday as well, and will be 12 this year. He did start 1st grade in PS at 7 years old.

I am SO glad I held him back for so many reasons. Now he will be entering 6th grade as a 12 year old and will be going to PS again (he's been home the last 2 years). I feel that gave him so much more time to mature and to grow as a person and as a believer. Also, although he was above grade level most of the time, he really struggled with handwriting in 1st grade, even as a 7 year old. I can't imagine the trouble we would have dealt with if he'd had the same trouble in 2nd. He has become a gifted writer and I don't think I can name one negative about holding him back. He sometimes gives me grief, but that's it!

It's hard to hold your child back because sometimes you feel like you are withholding something from them, but really you are giving them a gift. Plus, just think, you get to hold onto them longer :-)
Post Reply