1st / K - MFW approach (author response)

kimber79
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 2:01 pm

Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by kimber79 » Tue May 24, 2011 1:12 pm

I appreciate hearing all sides and angles :) thank you again! And thanks for posting the questions from MFW re: kinder readiness. In our state, Texas, there is an option to send a kindergartner to school at 6 rather than 5 due to maturity. This happens often in our district, I've been told, especially for boys. So my thoughts were to take things easy starting in Sept., spend the summer doing pre-writing activities (in increments of 5 min. and then gradually increase) and planning for a Sept. start date with MFW-K. We may even spend the entire month of Sept. on creation since my son loves space, planets, stars and constellations (and here in Texas we won't see any leaf color changing till November!) That would give us an extra month of no necessary handwriting :) However, I do believe that it is best for my son to begin understanding the concept of pencil/paper even if it is to just spend 2 min. a day tracing lines because there are no guarantees in life that I will always be able to homeschool him and if for any reason he must be in the school system, my husband and I do want him to have basic school knowledge for his age. Anyways...just some of my thoughts out loud in typing! :) I have been praying about God's will for my son in terms of academics and learning and know that I need to challenge him a little here and there to "test the waters" and see how things go. I will definitely consider calling the office to see what they think but am hoping that my son will be more interested/skilled in handwriting after he reaches small successes with our pre-writing activities.

Thanks so much for the idea to hold off on the handwriting pages. I have found some fun writing pages online that are only lines and circles that we'll start with finger tracing twice a week for a month this summer, then get into tracing the lines with a pencil or marker. God is reminding me to take a break from trying to trace letters (which we are!) and start again from the foundations of just practicing lines and circles. He actually just began cutting well with his scissors about three or four months ago! Another task that he hated trying because he couldn't do it right so again we took a break for several months and I thought he would never cut but we did try again when he showed interest and voila - he was cutting nearly perfect straight lines!! How development just makes things easier :)

Thank you again!

Julie in MN
Posts: 2928
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue May 24, 2011 3:09 pm

kimber79 wrote: I have been praying about God's will for my son in terms of academics and learning and know that I need to challenge him a little here and there to "test the waters" and see how things go. I will definitely consider calling the office to see what they think but am hoping that my son will be more interested/skilled in handwriting after he reaches small successes with our pre-writing activities. Thank you again!
I am glad you've received some good advice. I'm just chiming in because this kind of a thought is a code word for me to give my usual schpeel about waiting for academics. I mean, there are a few kids who are extremely academically-inclined, with a preschool vocabulary that even I don't know. But for the most part, being "challenged" and "ahead of the game" between ages 0 and 6 really, to me, have nothing to do with abstract symbols written on pieces of paper. Here are some previous threads you might peek at:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 946#p61946
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 520#p71520
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by gratitude » Wed May 25, 2011 10:05 am

I still think calling the office is a good idea, like you are planning to do. I also encourage continued prayer, and allow God's will to take over.

I hope this scripture that is coming to mind will be helpful, and not hurtful. As Jesus said in Matthew: Do not worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough worries of its own.

I read a devotional this morning that happened to do with home schooling. It was talking about the fact that the important parts of our home schooling efforts are giving our children an example of living with a fear of the Lord, living in the will of God, and a marriage that speaks of relationship to them.

I remember being in your shoes. My 5 year old summer Birthday boy was maturity wise a long ways from school readiness the summer he turned 5. I talked to an older K teacher at the private school, who had taught some of my friends children. She helped so much! She said that school readiness is not about age, or academic brilliance, or knowing all the letters & letter sounds & numbers (my child did, and was reading some on his own). She said that school readiness is about emotional maturity, and as I described my ds she encouraged me to wait a year. She had a student in her K class that had already turned 7 in K. He was a bright child, but his parents recognized that his active style would not work for K at age 5 1/2 so they waited a year until 6 1/2. Based on her advise I waited until my ds turned 6, and started K. Looking back we could have waited until 7. He learns so much without paper and pencil that he would have been 'behind' in writing, but not in knowledge.

If you can wait until 6 in Texas, does this mean that you could start him in K in Texas a year from this September at age 6 1/2? If so, does this not take the pressure off entirely? You will never regret the time you spend with him without pencil & paper while he is young.

Prayers for your decision & the MFW office help for you.

kimber79
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 2:01 pm

Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by kimber79 » Sun May 29, 2011 9:31 pm

Thank you Carin for your gracious and wise response! I truly appreciate it! After much prayer and consideration, God is leading me to wait for MFW-K until my son turns 6 in January. This feels a bit scary to me since most kids his age will be in kinder this August. But after doing online research about fine motor skills, I see the need for my son to practice more and more those skills before I start a curriculum that requires pencil-and-paper work. I don't want him to feel frustrated with writing but to enjoy it. And I do agree with you - I will not regret the extra time spent with him doing what we've been doing as part of his preschool - lots of reading, games, exploring, experiments, art, and learning to live together as a family for Christ!

And thank you Crystal for posting those websites/links in another forum question re: fine motor skills - I got some great ideas and plan to spend lots more time helping my son to strengthen his hands and wrists before expecting him to write letters. He has already traced some letters and numbers on our chalkboard so I know he can do that but I didn't realize just how important it is for him to practice other activities for fine motor skills to ensure a correct handwriting form and technique. Now I know and will not be pressuring myself or him to write! And now that it's near 95 degrees here in Texas, I'll have him spend lots of time outside spraying his water guns! :)

Thanks everyone!!

cbollin

MFW K

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:03 pm

sloan.sherri wrote:Hi, trying to find out a more thorough answer to phonics in MFW. Do they cover most of the phonics rules, blends, etc.? How strong is the program? Thanks!
I've used MFW K and 1st a couple of times. I can try to help a little bit...

All programs have a slight twist on scope and sequence on phonics. Some programs do phonics K-2nd.. but...MFW gets it all done in K and 1st.

In MFW K: it's focus on short vowels and fluency in cvc. blends such as "sl" (as in "sled") aren't taught separately, but instead are taught as /s/ + /l/ which seems to the popular way these days to segment it in spelling programs.

1st grade: after a quick review to restart the school year, all other phonics rules (phonograms) are taught by about 2/3's of the way through the program. last 1/3 is fluency practice, spelling/dictation practice.

Some people think the pace of 1st grade is too fast. Other people are fine with it. I used it with 2 children - my middle gal was ahead of the curve (she had kept it a secret that she knew how to read and it was fine to use Kindy and 1st anyway.) My youngest - with her special needs, she still enjoyed it. I liked the strength of the programs. I never felt rushed with them, but that could be my style of teaching too.

keep asking if that isn't as thorough as you need.
-crystal

Yodergoat
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:14 pm

Re: MFW K

Unread post by Yodergoat » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:38 pm

In my opinion as one who is doing it right now, K has a very gentle but steady approach to getting those short vowel words down thoroughly! Maybe to give a child confidence that he or she can read? Maybe just to get that portion well-rooted into their minds? I don't know, but it is very thorough in doing short vowel 3 letter CVC like "pot" and VCC like "Ann" (and some 4 letter CVCC "dogs" or CCVC "sled") words. No long vowel words at all that I have seen, and no memory words except maybe for the word "a" and "the" (and I'm not even sure if "a" is introduced). So if one is expecting long vowel words, lots of blends, etc... K will not go there unless it happens to do so at the very end, but I don't think so.

But I have the First grade materials and they pick up the pace and the difficulty very quickly, after a pretty thorough review. I haven't looked at the materials very closely, but just scanning through the phonics workbook and then looking at the corresponding Bible reader, it ends up being very thorough. Enough to, as I believe MFW says, "produce an independent reader."

My daughter excels at science-y type stuff and writing but lacks confidence in reading. If MFW K had used an approach that was too "fast," she would surely have lost what confidence she does have. I struggled with it at first when she wasn't a natural reader her K year, because I was reading at a young age 4 well before I began public school K, but if she is bent in this direction of lacking confidence, I am thankful that K wasn't too hard or too fast. As it is, she is reading those short vowel words with growing capability and is reassured that yes, she can indeed "really" read!

One thing that I feel the K program lacks is readers... we are on lesson 16 now and so far there have been two little books to cut out and assemble, and she has enjoyed them, but when she was first learning to read she wanted to read "real books" so she would know it was really happening, and not just words on the blend ladder or word list pages. I had to scrounge around for some readers that fit what she was learning, and ended up using some Hooked On Phonics readers and some of the BOB Books readers (what strange little books those are :~ ). Also, I ended up writing many stories made up of words that she could sound out.... so she read lots about "The Big Red Bug" and "The Fat Pig Naps." ;) So that is the only disappointment I have found with K.

Other opinions may differ widely and greatly!
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!

MelissaB
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

My first time homeschooling

Unread post by MelissaB » Wed May 29, 2013 5:34 pm

Apolonia85 wrote:I need help kindergarten,and 1st grade.
Try these links:

Kindergarten:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewforum.php?f=10

First Grade:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=72

We've used both MFW K and 1st. I'm amazed at the math concepts actually understood and retained - excellent math program, esp. the 1st grade. Our dd was reading by the end of K, and she loved 1st. Learning phonics can be fun, too, for this age. ;)

HTH!
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

Julie in MN
Posts: 2928
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Q about MFW 1st grade

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:18 pm

back40life wrote:I used the MFW Kindergarten program last year and overall was very pleased with it. We came across the Logic of English phonics/spelling/language arts curriculum at a fair back in the summer and I LOVE that it gets rid of so many "exceptions" we were taught as children and instead gives a concrete reasoning behind why we spell/treat a word a specific way. I found during kindergarten at times telling my son..."that's just the way it is" and not liking that answer very much. Is it possible to use MFW 1st grade and use it mostly for everything but the phonics/language program, or would that be clunky, cumbersome and difficult? thanks so much for your help!!
It sounds like you've received a couple of good options that will be helpful to you. Just remember to pick and choose because "language arts" includes a lot of things blended in there -- handwriting, copywork, reading, writing, etc. -- and maybe you'll still need one or two of those. A call to the office might also be helpful.

I mostly wanted to answer for those who may be reading your thread and scratching their heads about what exactly isn't explained in MFW-K and 1st.

Typically there are two general types of reading instruction. One has a lot of sight words that are memorized, and the other has phonics where sounds are taught. MFW is a phonics program. MFW rarely teaches a sight word (I think "the" was the only one in K). So it isn't a matter of needing to say "just because" every time a new sound comes up, as a sight word program might do.

I think the confusion arises because MFW has a strictly short vowel stage in kindergarten (and one-sound-per-letter). Students reading from strictly MFW-K materials (or similar materials that only use short vowel sounds and few or no sight words) will not be asking questions about anything not taught yet, because all sounds in the K materials are taught except the one sight word I mentioned (the).

My grandson has been "afterschooling" with MFW-K and he does occasionally ask about other sounds that aren't in the MFW-K materials. I don't tell him "just because," but I tell him "that's a harder sound that you'll be learning in 1st grade." And in 1st grade, the different sounds will be taught, and carefully marked so students "see" them in a hands-on way as well.

So I imagine that these students asking "why" are asking about words not taught yet in MFW. Some programs do teach every spelling of every sound right from the beginning, but it is a lot of information. The MFW method of just focusing on the importance of the vowels (and just the short vowels, which are very hard to distinguish for most kids) and one sound for each letter is a good method for getting the basic ideas down as a very solid foundation. There are other methods, of course.

Hope that helps anyone wondering/worrying.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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