happy2bmommyof3 wrote:Hi, I am considering switching to MFW. I have been considering going to my own Charlotte Mason program for the reasons of combining and affordability with using library resources (we have a great library system where I am), but in my research MFW keeps coming up and I like the affordability of the program as well...still trying to figure out how it works...
I will be wanting to combine a 4th grader and a 1st grader. Is that easily done? I will also have one in K...not sure if she could be added in as well.
MFW has books, activities, and educational videos for a wide range of ages from ECC and up, so that makes it very easy to combine multiple ages. (Flexibility is a key word in MFW!) Your K and 1st graders would just do the phonics/reading and maybe math portions of their age-appropriate programs, and then do the parts of ECC (or whichever year you start with) that apply to them as part of your "group work" with everyone together. So they would listen to many of the read-alouds, the Bible readings, books and videos from Book Basket, participate in the cooking activities, many of the crafts/hands-on activities that come up, and some of the science (especially nature walks which are scheduled every week). And yes, your K and 1st graders can have their own 3-ring binders for notebooking in the history program, too. The student pages in MFW are wonderful for really personalizing their learning, since each child will have their own ability and style preferences to put their own special touches in it.
Sometimes you'll have a younger child who just isn't interested in, or doesn't have the attention span for, listening to everything you're doing with the older child. That's okay. It's age-appropriate. You know best when it's a character training issue that needs dealt with vs. a normal age issue.
When this happens, younger child can play with some manipulatives like what MFW sells for that age group, play dough, do a coloring page, etc. or just play. There will be times when your K and 1st grader play together while you work 1-on-1 with the 4th grader, but I would still try to include them as much as you can because there's a good bit they can do along with older siblings in MFW.
One thing I've had my younger gal do at times during "group work" that might be too much for her is to watch an age-appropriate educational video. It might be one we already own (Signing Time or LeapFrog, or this week it might be A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving). Or it might a video that we got from the Book Basket list that's related to the topic we're studying in history or science, but it's animated so younger child doesn't realize she's still doing "school" even though she's not at the table with older sisters.
One example I'm thinking of is the Nest videos... they have a lot that pop up on Book Basket from time to time. Magic School Bus or Reading Rainbow are good, as well.
We've scheduled our days a couple different ways over the years, depending on the season. *My* preference has usually been to have us all do our "together" stuff first thing in the morning, then the older ones who can do more independent work go off to do their stuff while I do 1-on-1 work with the younger one. At other times they've done their individual work first while I work with the younger, and then we come back together later for our "together" stuff. You'll just have to figure out which way works best for you. If you have an early riser who needs their love bank filled early in the morning, that might be a good time to do that child's 1-on-1 stuff before bringing everyone together for group work. Or, you might have one who naps in the afternoon and find that to be the best time to do group work. It'll look different from one family to the next, but either way, I find it easier than having to go back and check/followup on every
subject for every
child individually because everyone's working separately. (By necessity, each child will always have their own level of math and LA, of course.)
Not sure if any of that is what you're looking for, but that's how MFW multi-age learning works at our house.
I think David actually has a conference CD where he talks about this topic, too. Let's see... Hhmm, the one I'm looking for isn't on the Workshop CDs page of this site (which is here, btw: http://www.mfwbooks.com/workshops.htm
) The one I'm looking for is called "Multilevel Teaching at the Elementary Level" and is listed in the Archives on this page: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3234
But I see that when you link to Rhino Technologies, it says that title isn't found.
MFW staff know anything about this?