Academics - Do we skip forward if child is doing well/easy?

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Academics - Do we skip forward if child is doing well/easy?

Unread post by LSH in MS »

If child is doing well in K, do we move to 1st???
NHMom wrote:My daughter has been doing MFWK (week 14) and loving it. We are also doing Adventures, so she does mostly the Adventures activities and the K reading and math activities.

She is already fluent in short vowel words and can read pretty well for her age. I've been doing all the phonics things in K, but she's kind of past learning letter sounds. Lately she's been reading from her story Bible and misses only a few of the words. Her writing skills are good, too.

I am planning on using MFW 1st with her, but am wondering if I should start it now rather than wait until the fall. I've been casually teaching her additional sounds (like th, ch, etc), but she figures a lot out on her own. I don't want to rush her, but she's the third-born and thinks she can do anything!

Any body been there, done that? Any advice?
In the learning to read stage I usually teach reading year round until they are fluent even if it is just 3 days a week. I think they lose too much to have a break during that time.

If you want to wait until fall for 1st, at least have her practice reading the easy readers during the summer.

How is her writing? I think that will influence your decision a lot. 1st has a lot more writing than K.

1st phonics moved too quickly for my ds so I have been doing a few days, then having him practice a lot before moving on.

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Unread post by Lucy »

I would finish K, skipping the activities that she does not need such as learning the new sounds. Many have moved into 1 thinking their child was ready and realized it was just too fast.

Another factor may also be how old she is now as well as her writing but if she is of normal age I would just wait. You only have K once. Also adding a more structured program sometimes shuts down the natural process of learning to read I think. My son learned to read much like your daughter. He learned new sounds because he would ask what does that say and I would tell him and he remembered it. This did not mean he was ready for more formal schooling. Every child is different so your daughter may need to move on, but usually it is best to wait.

If you feel that she is ready I would also call the office and give them all the details. They are ready to help you make these decisions.

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Unread post by Homeschooling6 »

I think finishing up K would give a good foundation for 1st. MFW1 has a lot of writing and introduces a new phonics rule ever day. My 6yr. has a hard time with the new rules coming at him so quickly.
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Am I going too fast?

Unread post by cbollin »

kidswife wrote:I just started the K program in January and LOVE it! We're heading towards the end of Lesson 6-Turtle. Today, I flippantly tested her reading on some reading test I found online, and she had a little trouble at the 3rd grade level.

I skip almost all of the phonics reading in the K curriculum, and augment with just her & I reading together. Because of this, we're breezing through K. I love all the projects we do, and so does she, but I purposely slow down just to give it more time. Some days, we do MFW for less that 10 min, because I cut out all the reading games. We still do games, but just not MFW-K games. At this rate, I figure we can be done by the end of the summer. (We'll school year round... we take plenty of breaks during the year).

Is it wise for me to have her do the 1st grade program when she turns 5? I'm not in any rush... although, I heard it's good to keep your children 1 grade level ahead in homeschool, so that if they transfer to public school, academics will be the least of their problems. Thanks for any advice!!
A different perspective here:
Don't homeschool with the purpose of keeping them 1 grade level ahead in case you transfer to a group school. I'm not convinced that is a good reason. You want strength and balance. Popping them up in reading level only is not balance. Grade level ahead --- well, that gets harder and harder to do each grade level. (((hugs)))

You've mentioned a LOT about reading level. But what is your child's writing level like? are you doing the worksheets and all of the fine motor development in K? I've done K twice with kids who could already read.

I have a bunch of ideas to beef up Kindy in that situation to enjoy the time you have. May I kindly suggest that you don't skip the phonics, but instead turn it into pre spelling activities and handwriting focus so there will balance. Here's a link to read those ideas.

Looking forward to hearing other ideas too.

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Re: Am I going too fast?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I love Crystal's ideas for getting more out of K for a reader.

My youngest son taught himself to read before K and his public school teacher had him skip all reading lessons. I didn't realize until I brought him home to school that he was missing some important skills such as knowing the alphabet and the vowels and such. So your dd may pick up skills you don't even realize!

Glad you're having fun in K!
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Re: Am I going too fast?

Unread post by courthart246 »

In my first year of homeschooling my son was already reading very well, so I skipped K entirely. He began 1st grade as a 5 year old. I was told by a MFW rep at Convention to begin him in K, but in my lovely novice year of homeschooling I thought I had a genius on my hands and that the K program would be too easy for him.

While he did fine in 1st, each year since I have seen reasons we should not have skipped K and the phonics. He may be a very good reader, but he is at age level in all other subjects, and because I ran ahead there have been some frustrations, especially with writing. Also, socially and physically he is at age level. He is academically in 4th grade this year, but would be a 3rd grader age-wise. This year my husband and I made the decision to call him a 3rd grader again, and I am taking my time on things that are a little too difficult for him.

I did not make the same mistake with my next son. We are currently doing the K program in its entirety and loving it. He is not reading as well as his brother was at this point, but he is well on his way. It has been a valuable year. I would encourage you to slow down. Like it was said earlier, reading is not the only subject, and a few years down the road you may regret your decision to push forward too soon as I have. I try to keep moving forward and not dwell on past mistakes. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility to slow down if needed or go ahead if they're ready. All that being said, you know your child and can best figure out what would benefit her in the long run.
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Re: Am I going too fast?

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

There is no reason to try and push your son ahead by a year. If you put him in ps then he would just be bored right? Just let him be who he is and don't worry about "what ifs".

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Re: Am I going too fast?

Unread post by Ariasarias »

You know I was just thinking about this the other day.
My oldest dd learned to read very early so we did K kind of like you are doing now.
I skipped all of the worksheets and only did the activities and we read on the side.

Now that I am going through with my second dd, who needed all of the reading activities, I have come to think it would have been good for my first to complete most of the worksheets for more of an emphasis on pre-spelling and for handwriting. There is one day that the child is supposed to write words and illustrate them. This would have been great for my oldest. She could have done it at her level. It would have stretched her. Although she was a great reader, spelling was a much different story at that time in her life. The spelling activities would have been good too. Although I taught her to read with phonics, translating that into spelling was much harder for her.

I also agree with the others that reading is only one aspect of education. I found that MFW K was so perfect for my dd in the rest of learning. We read lots of books on the topic of the week and I made her read many on her own too. I would encourage you to stretch K out a little more spending more time on each topic. Memorize verses from each lesson. Find more books at the library. Use the suggestions on this board to stretch out each topic. Enjoy these early years. You can never get them back!! :)
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MFW K accelerated pace... am I doing the right thing?

Unread post by SonShineJewel »

Millie wrote:Hi! I'm new to MFW and I have a dd who just turned 5, so this fall would be the start of her "official" kindergarten year. I also have a VERY active 3 yo ds and a baby due in August. After searching the boards and calling the office, I decided to start with MFW K a few weeks ago even though my daughter is reading and met all of the requirements to skip K and go right into first. We are LOVING the K program, starting Lesson 5 today, and have been doing two lessons each week. We were doing another curriculum before we started MFW, and I have been gradually phasing out that phonics program, but we are still doing a Math and Reading Lesson every day because my daughter loves them. I'm sure the two-lessons-per-week pace will slow down in the next month with doctor's appointments more frequently, which take up my whole day because of the travel. My plan is to finish K before the baby arrives, and then start First when we get settled into a new routine and school through the summer. I will also be having surgery, so it will be possibly after the New Year if my recovery takes longer than I expect.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan? I am an academically driven person, and I'm really trying to reign that in and not push it on my kiddos. I did a little pushing on the pace of K at first, but now my daughter is always asking for more, and taking the initiative to get ready for school each day, help with clean up, and quiz me on the schedule for tomorrow. She is doing most of the worksheets independently, and told me that if she needs my help she will ask. If things go as planned, will I regret later that we are basically a year ahead in the planned schedule? Does it sound like I'm pushing too hard to stay ahead? This is one of my biggest worries and I want to be very aware of it because I was pushed, pushed, pushed, and became an insanely driven person in school. Being driven wasn't all negative, but I did burn out badly in graduate school. I don't want to do that with my kids.

Oh, and a big THANK YOU to all of you who have posted ideas for the K curriculum! I have used so many, and they have been great!
Hi Millie,

I think your plan sounds fine, with the exception that I would suggest setting aside the Reading Lesson Book until after you finish mfwK. Doing both at the same time may be a little much. But, The Reading Lesson is something you could sit & do on the sofa with your daughter. Still giving her That NEEDed attention once you have the new baby.
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Re: MFW K accelerated pace... am I doing the right thing?

Unread post by OtterMommy »

My experience...for what it is worth... My son (yes, a boy) taught himself to read at 4. He also has an incredible auditory memory (they've "run out" of verses to do with him at Awana). We started out speeding through K, but I decided midway through to slow down! Again, when we began 1st (he was still 5), we were going quickly, but then we slowed down. I found that supplementing with other things worked better. We homeschooling Moms get all gung-ho to have smart little children! He, while academically advanced, is normal socially and a bit slow in developing self-control... In some ways, it was easier to "do school" with him than to keep him busy with other things, but he needed development in other areas. We filled time with other workbooks (that were fun for him), lots of reading out loud, and playing! My daughter (just 5) has also found MFW K to be "easy" and could have "sped" through it, but we just did the daily work and found other things for her to do. Because of all her medical problems, she has been extensively tested, and all the doctors have been very impressed with her academic development even though I felt we were holding her back by doing K as written (slowly, in my mind).

You can do what you want, but most children who develop early in academic skills are at the same level of their peers in later years! Also, I grew up in a homeschooling family and know MANY different types of HSers, but I have yet to meet one who completed school early (graduated HS early) who has gone on to do well socially or professionally. Just my experience (my siblings and I all finished state requirements by 15 or 16, but my parents kept us from university until 17 or 18 although we did take some community college courses before then.)

For as "easy" as MFW K and 1st seemed, he is reading at a 5th-grade level and comprehending at a 4th-grade level (far more important because I don't really care if he can decode words but that he understands them!).

Oh! Take advantage of the nicer weather and spend more time outside! We tend to do a ton of school during the winter (about 6 months of the year here), so I make sure we are outside together every possible day in the the spring and summer. I am convinced that this develops the brain in ways we can't understand!

This is all just my opinion. I tend to want to push my kids, and so many have told me to RELAX! If it's any consolation, we ordered a different curriculum for 2nd that is rumored to be "more rigorous" but found that it was still easy for the kids and they weren't enjoying it as much! It's being shipped back today so I can order ADV (and 1st again...and K...)!
Millie wrote:Thank you all for the advice! We are doing a lot of the suggested ideas to "beef up" the phonics portion, and that's keeping her interested. I also make an extra handwriting page and some copywork each day. I feel a lot more relaxed about it now. If we get K done before new baby, that's great. If we don't, that's great too.

The reason I decided to do K, even at a hurried pace, was to teach my daughter the Biblical truths that I didn't learn as a child. I don't want to be such a schedule freak that I rush everything and take the fun out of it. That would be my tendency! We have added in a lot of activities related to the lessons, especially cooking, and I've got some field trips planned to the dinosaur park and aquarium. Hopefully, we will get some warm weather soon and can get outside. (We made the mud nests in the garage today because we got MORE snow last night, ugggh!)

I love having somewhere to come for support and advice, especially since there isn't much around here where I live!
You must be in the me! We are also alike with kids...although I have a 6-year-old in addition to my dd (5), along with the BUSY 3-year-old, and my baby is already here!

I tend to do the same thing: rush things along if the kids can comprehend them! I have purchased (and told grandparents to purchase) lots of learning-type toys (Animal Logic, Zoo Logic, Equilibrio, etc.) so we have things to do that occupy them and are "learning". I have tried to be better about getting outside (not easy with all the nasty weather plus a new baby). It really is amazing how much we have learned with MFW; I forget how much brain development happens with age! My sibling (1 in grad school, 1 in college) make me laugh because they think they are so grown-up and know everything, but it's easy for me to see how much they will still mature as they age!

This will be our 3rd year with MFW! Everyone is so helpful and nice.
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Re: MFW K accelerated pace... am I doing the right thing?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hello and welcome! We like it here, too ;)

I think your plan sounds just right. You are doing what you can now and that way, you can take off for the new baby and the surgery. Life has a way of making you slow down sometimes, and that will likely happen for a while. The main thing is not to panic about that and know you are ahead of the game already. If you have any extra time, I'd spend it on finding things your little K child can do while you're bedridden. "Lessons" at that time can be as simple as narrating back her day or what she sees out the window, or following instructions to get you 2-3 things from around the house. If you have a list of ideas, you may be less inclined to stress yourself by jumping back into "schoolwork" too soon.

You will be blessed,
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Re: MFW K accelerated pace... am I doing the right thing?

Unread post by Millie »

OtterMommy -- I wouldn't really consider us "north," but the high elevation gets us! I grew up here, so I should be used to the weather. Speaking of where I grew up... My choice to homeschool is a personal offense to the district here. Hence, my tendency to want my Ker performing at a very high level. My 3 yo boy will cure me of that, I'm sure. I just watch him in awe and wonder how in the world he will mature enough in two years to be ready for K. (That boy managed to shut his ear in the door yesterday. Really. How do you do that???) Thanks for the suggestions on learning games. I have the toddler pack from MFW, but I would love to hear more suggestions and family favorites for educational games. How fun to cyber-know someone who has kiddos in the same age groups as mine! My few friends (in the neighboring state) that are homeschooling all have kids younger than mine, so I'm the try-it-out-with-the-oldest-and-see-if-it-works mommy!

Julie -- thanks for the lesson advice. I've been rolling that idea around in my head for a month or so, and I'm hoping to have some independent "unit-type" studies put together with everything she needs to do them in one envelope. That way, she can pick a subject and go for it without constant supervision while I'm otherwise occupied for a couple of months. I don't know how far I'll get on that because I still have to get my couple of months of dinners made and frozen, and for some reason my family thinks that eating is more important than school. ;)

Have a wonderful day everyone!
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Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by afelton »

momonthemove wrote:Okay, so I need advice. My 5 year old just started MFW K today! :) Last year I homeschooled her for preschool (she wanted school work like her brothers). We did Explode the Code Get Ready, Get Set and Go for the Code. She now knows all of her letters, can write them and knows the sounds the consonants make. I am not sure how to proceed. I Plan to still use MFW K but am wanting to move ahead with the phonics portion and keep her momentum going from the Explode the Code books.

Advice? Suggestions? Thanks.
If you go to the Kindergarten archive there is a post that is titled, 6 yr olds how to speed K to a faster pace or something like that. Look there and hopefully others will chime in as well.
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Re: Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by cbollin »

She's 5...

on lesson 6, they begin blending.. so.. you just need a few tweaks until then to keep the momentum from preschool going... here are some thread for that.

1. if using mfw k, 2nd edition, turn to the page 197-198. That's for children who are already reading, which you didn't say that was the case in your child...

2. during creation unit, you can tweak steps 3-6 for those who know letters.. here's ... =25#p51585

3. what to do until you get to lesson 6 with blending?
here..on this thread... and scroll down from cbollin's post to see others as well. jasntas has good stuff there. ... 179#p47744

sorry for brief answers and links... I pulled a muscle really bad on monday in my exercise class (that I teach) and it hurts to be at this computer. I enjoy helping, but oh............. ice, aleve, and been to some quick physical therapy this morning too...

if you want to do etc also.. you can.. but I don't think it is necessary for the situation you described.
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Re: Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by Yodergoat »

My daughter started MFW K knowing all the letter names and sounds (both consonants and short vowels) as well as how to write them. But we just tweaked the lessons slightly... instead of saying "This is the letter __ and this is how you make it" and staying so basic as in the manual, I would play phonics games until it came time to start the blending. This was to keep her fresh on all her letters and sounds but to be fun and for review until we got to new skills in K. So whenever there was very basic letter introduction activities in the manual, we'd play a phonics game.


I'd ask her to find me X number of objects that started with the letter ___.

We played "letter sound hokey pokey" using the flashcards. "Put your /d/ /d/ in, put your /d/ /d/ out, put your /d/ /d/ in and you wave it all about... "

We worked on alphabetical order using the flashcards. Scatter them in random order, she has to find them and put them in proper order. At first this meant singing the traditional alphabet song or the A-a-apple song lots of times, but it was great and she picked it up quickly.

We played the letter sound bingo game with the full set of letters long before it was scheduled. :~

I would scatter the flashcards randomly on the floor and she had to hop to the one I'd make the sound for.

I would scatter the flashcards randomly on the floor and she would have to hop to them in alphabetical order.

I would give her some mini post-it notes with various letters on them and ask her to label something in the house that started with that sound (this was a favorite). I'd just do a few letters at a time, and often worked on the ones she had trouble with. I loved some of her creative ideas for labeling... she noticed things in the house I would not have!

There are lots of ideas in the archives, too.

You said your daughter knows the sounds of the consonants... perhaps you could focus on her learning the short vowel sounds right now in addition to reviewing the consonants?

This situation of already knowing the sounds and letters is only really a problem if she gets bored with it, because otherwise it can be confidence-building review. But if she seems bored or says K is "too easy" when you go by the manual's suggestions for a child who doesn't yet know the letters, just review in a fun way that will make it feel different from what she had done in preschool. I'm not familiar with the ETC books, so I don't know how they did the letter introductions. But if she already knows what is in this early part of the K material and so doesn't feel like she is doing real kindergarten yet or "big kid" work, then change it up and do whatever you need to do to keep her engaged until the material gets more advanced. In my case, we played games, games, games! And they are some of my best K memories.

I understand that you didn't say she considers K too "easy," but instead just want to keep momentum. In either case, though, I think that fun review will keep a child from losing momentum until it is time to learn those new skills.
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Re: Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by momonthemove »

Thanks everyone for answering and the suggestions. I am still looking through archives and threads. :) I like the idea of games to review. I am going to plan a little tonight when she is in bed and have more ready for the rest of the Creation unit. I love the sticky note idea and know this will appeal to her! LOL
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Re: Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by Yodergoat »

Don't you just love all the helpful archived posts and all the great ideas posted in the Kindergarten section? I am so thankful that MFW gives us this place of support. Thank you MFW!

Glad you liked the sticky note idea. My girl is very VERY active, and that game was right up her proverbial alley. I enjoyed it too! One day as she was doing this she spontaneously exclaimed in delight, "Oh, I just love school!" :-) There are probably a few things around here that might still have a sticky note on them!

I think I had found that idea in the archives, actually!

Have fun doing K... it is great!
I'm Shawna...
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... happily wed to William since 1996
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Re: Phonics and MFW K

Unread post by kewkew34 »

I just love your ideas for reviewing the letters. And I also have enjoyed reading the archives. So much great information. When I am nursing my son, I tend to find reading the MFW boards on my phone, including the archives, is the best thing to do.

I am not sure if this suggestion is mentioned anywhere, but I wanted to share one of my ideas. After reading the TM through and knowing that my 5 yr old is going to need more because of her reading level, I have told her she is going to help teach her 2 yr old sister the letters and their sounds. I thought it would be fun to keep each new unit's letter a secret and put the foam letter in a pouch and have the two older girls feel the letter to see if they can name it. No clue if it will work as of yet of course. So I though, after reading this thread, that maybe putting 2 or 3 letters in a pouch and asking a child to reach in and find a certain letter could be a fun tactile experience. As they get better at it I thought we could increase the number of letters in the pouch. Could play asking for the letter or the sound.
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