Prep - Getting children ready for MFW-K

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
Post Reply

Prep - Getting children ready for MFW-K

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:26 am

mtnmama wrote:We are probably going to do a year round school schedule and our soon to be Kindergartener is ready to start now. What should I do to prepare him for structured learning? I want to impress upon him that this is something that we need to do regularly (whether he feels like it or not) but I don't want to intimidate him or turn him off to the experience. Any ideas on how to prepare the child and the environment?
Great questions!

1. There's the how can mom be prepared to start school too!
Be ready to ignore the phone during school, or be incredibly selective on the caller id. I have found that on some days if the phone rings and I see it is someone that I might need to talk to (like the archery teacher calling back), then I'll answer quickly. Otherwise, it can go to voice mail. Here's a neat thing -- answer professionally "Good Afternoon! This is the "insert school name". How may I help you today?" I tell, you... even with the national do not call lists don't work, that line works to get my number off those telemarketing lists.

1a. realize that even with the best schedules. life happens. it's ok. hug the baby. rock the baby. put baby in high chair with ice cube on tray....

2. helping the kid.... get ready.
Set aside specific time of day that you will be in "school time now honey!" That is going to depend and you might have trial and error while you find the best time fit (8 or 830 start. 9, or some families have other real life schedules that mean other times). Help them to transition if needed. There are certain things we have to do before we do school. I am not a clock watcher except to get to appointments outside of the house. So, many ways to do it all. But they really benefit from knowing when to start and when they can be done.

plan for a fun "night before" -- almost like a here's our school event.


Postby cbollin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:18 am
there's lots of ways to get them ready.
During their prior to Kindy years, we're always preparing and working with our children to get them to listen and do what we say. They are always working with us to get us to play with them. so, when we homeschool, it all comes together. School in the early years can be time to spend with our children and enjoy fun learning together and playing too.

so in some ways, I'm transition from not having to do school, to having to do school, was a natural transition. That doesn't mean it was easy to establish new routines in the day. And when my oldest was Kindy age, I had 2 other younger children (both with various special needs).

So, I'd do things like say "bring me that book and sit with me, while I read to you"
and that was school.
I'd say "bring me the can of soup" and stir this pot..... and that was getting school done too. Why? It was getting her ready to follow my instruction and be part of a team.

I said earlier that I'm not a "rigid clock watcher". There are people who function much better with having a more fixed schedule to their days than I did. Mine was "ok... it's close to 8 am, let's get something started" and opened the books and went with it. That way, there was this expectation that certain things were done at certain points in the day.

With my oldest child's personality, I had to learn to not let her get started on long projects first. She gets very into them.

So, while I don't have a checklist of things to do, I have these memories of getting ready for structured activities:
*I got me ready with the materials on hand, so that I wasn't running around looking for stuff. No, I don't have a perfectly clean and organized house, but the stuff was nearby and I could find it fast
*I played with my kid
*I read books to her -- so that is part of the day
*I helped her to have other stuff to do when I needed to change a bottom, or other life things....

so... try to look around your daily life routines and see when you have a really good 45-60 minutes or so to be able to do some focused worked while still keeping an eye on the toddlers. I found it helpful for a while to do my 60 minutes in shorter blocks because I had special needs kids that really needed my attention all day. I couldn't give my oldest my completed undivided attention during school work those years. But all kids get older :)

I didn't make a visual schedule for my kids for a while. But sometimes that helps if they can see what they are expected to go along with.

but in my case, I'm looking back many years ago and it just seems like a blur. It didn't happen overnight. It was gradual and a natural progression. Other children will need more structure to help them focus. It's funny -- how to get a Kindy kid ready for school really isn't about letters and numbers....


Wendy B.
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Re: How do you prepare your Kindergartener to begin?

Unread post by Wendy B. » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:35 am

Yes to everything Crystal said!

If you haven't read Charlotte Mason thoughts on habits this is a good time to do it! It is all about good habits and if nothing else gets accomplished during their PreK and K years than developing good school habits you are off to a great start. The single most important issue in the environment is mama's attitude and how you want to approach your goals of the year. I'm working with my 4th K'r this year and my older kids have been all over the spectrum academically their K year. The single best predictor for long-term homeschooling success in my family was the kids who developed good habits their K year not the ones who progressed the most academically.

For my youngest we have developed the habit of doing something with Mommy right after breakfast. So that little habit is already in place. First time obedience is another very important habit to have in place before K.

I tend to view K as the readiness year for school work. We spend that year working on attention and developing good school habits. My goal is that by the end of their K year they are able to do a full day of school at one sitting, pay attention and do their best work. Then we build from there in the following years in the time spend on school and the quantity of work.

My son's K year we had to start doing two short sessions and rotating through subjects because he needed to work on paying perfect attention. It did take him about a year to get to the point where he could do all of his work at one sitting, pay attention and do his best work. However, now that he is 7 and the workload has increased we do not have any issues with dawdling, not paying attention and attitude that can be common with this age.

I blog and although I didn't use MFW K ( didn't know about it!) we were still in the 2 sessions/rotating subjects stage in Feb. 2008 and it wasn't until late Jan 2009 that we reached the stage that we were doing 1 session without breaks.

We are just starting MFW K with my youngest this season. This will be my first time using MFW K and a couple of things have already impressed me. It starts off slower and the activities are varied enough that we have not had any issues with attention. So far we haven't had to break up the work or rotate activities to keep her engaged and paying perfect attention. It will be interesting to see how the year works out for her.

Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2927
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: How do you prepare your Kindergartener to begin?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:31 pm

Not sure if Crystal already mentioned this, but sometimes a special "first day of school" makes the transition more clear. There are some good ideas here:

In Minnesota, we have to have a yearly calendar, and I just use a local public school one, but having a calendar does take away any argument about whether it's a "school day." And we also have "school hours" so no argument there, either. Somehow having these things set in stone takes it out of the parent's hands and puts it in some sphere of "just the way it is." :)

All my kids did public school for Kindergarten (unfortunately for us all), and we did a little bit of practice before starting school. You might show the child where he will be learning and where his supplies will be stored and where the clock and the calendar are?

So exciting!
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


MFW-K Planning questions and handwriting help

Unread post by cbollin » Thu May 19, 2011 6:05 pm

kimber79 wrote:I'll be starting MFW-K with my oldest son who is 5. My son is still not writing yet. We practice different pre-writing activities (rolling clay, making clay letters, making letters out of other shapes, drawing/coloring) and he has practiced tracing his name a couple times a week but he is resistant to using paper/pencil for writing. I was thinking that when he turns 6 (in Jan.) maybe he would be more developmentally ready. Any suggestions? Should I hold off on kinder until January when he does turn 6? Any suggestions?? I also considered just using the teacher's manual and not the student materials now when I start in Sept. and including our pre-writing activities but would like to have the complete curriculum so he gets all of the information.

Thanks for everyone's help!!
Welcome along!

You might be surprised how much a child can change by September. Keep up the pre writing and fine motor skills like you are doing. Take a look at the manual on the yellow pages. Look for Day 1, step 5 activities, and you'll have a few more pre writing ideas too.

I'd probably get the student sheets now and start in Sept.

In MFW K, you have lots of tactile writing practice with tracing the Lauri letters and salt trays and shaving cream... and other things like that. So it's not all pencil and paper for the handwriting. No one expects mastery of the letter S on the first week. You start with it -- but you get all year to master that hard letter.

anyway.... looking forward to hearing from those who have more recent experiences to share on it. and glad to meet you


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

Re: MFW-K Planning questions and handwriting help

Unread post by gratitude » Fri May 20, 2011 8:10 am

Hi & Welcome!

It sounds like you are doing a great job with pre-writing activities, and as Crystal said those will continue into MFW K. Those pre-writing activities are really wonderful to have them develop fine motor skills for handwriting, and making the transfer from recognizing letters to writing them. As Crystal also mentioned MFWK is wonderful for tactile learning, and with the Lauri letters you will have a chance to work on this with him.

Boys are not as eager to learn handwriting as girls, but I did find with both my boys that they were ready to move forward with it around 5 1/2 - 6. I started MFWK with my second last September for his Kindergarten year, and he is an April Birthday, and he did great. One of the really nice things about MFWK is that it is such a hands on approach to learning that the handwriting seemed very secondary to the program. It almost slipped in unnoticed by both of us. :-) I really wish I had known about MFWK for my oldest.

I think you will be surprised how much further your son is in handwriting readiness by September (4 months can make a huge difference at age 5), and then the first two weeks won't have any handwriting, and then there are so MANY activities without it.

I will add though that it is better to scribe for them than push handwriting. Just a little FYI for the back of the head, if any struggles occur in September. I pushed my oldest some in this area.. big mistake.. it backfired. However, I wasn't using MFWK and the program was handwriting intensive (in my opinion) for a Kindergartener. I think you will have a much different experience, and it will be successful like my second son was for his K year at 5 1/2. You will be amazed how easily they learn with this program; including handwriting. It is exactly the active approach boys need.


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

Re: MFW-K Planning questions and handwriting help

Unread post by kimber79 » Fri May 20, 2011 2:18 pm

Thank you both for your great insight and help! I think we will spend the summer doing our fun pre-writing activities and then officially start in Sept. as planned. Thank you again!

Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:28 pm

Re: MFW-K Planning questions and handwriting help

Unread post by kerby » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:03 pm

Another thought would be to use markers for him. They are a little easier to use than a pencil. Or, get one of the thicker pencils to use at first. (These are also harder for the tips to break. LOL)

The writing of their letters wasn't too bad. It is generally just the upper and lower case, so not much. The only thing my ds balked at was the drawing for the letter or the number that was drawn. I would talk about that, use stickers or stamps, or just help him by scribing or jotting down what he tells you.

Enjoy your year!
In HIS hands,

4 Blessings - 2 graduated
K, 1rst, Adv, ECC, CtG, RtR, AHL

Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:47 pm

Re: MFW-K Planning questions and handwriting help

Unread post by Smoakhouse » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:24 pm

Another prewriting exercise is lacing. It helps develop a correct grasp. (per David Hazell's Occupying Preschooler's seminar)

And for the writing itself, if he is still struggling or on those harder letters, you can use a hand over hand method that physical therapist often recommend. That is just you putting your hand over his and helping his make the letter. This gives him a feeling of completion without the frustration. As mentioned, there are many different writing exercises that do not include a pencil. My son, the same age as yours, is already enjoying the salt tray and shaving cream letters. :)

Cheri in TN
Mom to girls 23 & 20 and boy 10
Homeschooling for 18 years and counting!!
MFW ECC (2016-17)
MFW Adventures (2013-14)
MFW 1st (2012-13)
MFW K (2011-12)
MFW Health (fall 2011)


Getting ready for K..

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:19 am

Joyhomeschool wrote:My 4yo who will be 5 soon is really ready for K except in the area of handwriting. Any suggestions on what I can do to help him in this area? We are sitting for at least 30 min a day reading, coloring, trying cutting and pasting... But he's not really writing letters well. Should I just have him learn to write his name?
I would look at this time as "pre writing" and fine motor development. He does not need to know how to write his letters in order to begin mfw K - that skill is taught in the program with multisensory methods.

Build some strength in his hands with cutting, using tongs, finger tracing in things like shaving cream on bathtub wall, or a salt tray. Don't worry about it being "letter symbols", but see if he can make a line going up and down, a line side to side (left to right), circles, boxes.

use an eye dropper to help with grasp development: play with it to drop water (colored with food color if you want) into a bowl, or to drop water onto an ice cube.

here is an idea from an occupational therapy site for modeling shapes into something ... -tank.aspx
and one with more ideas of copying shapes into something

and even their blurb on pre writing activities and grasp. lots of fun pre writing stuff near bottom of this link ... terns.aspx

my opinion, for what it's worth, is to work on having him copy shapes, lines, circles from a model you do and work on words such as "the line comes from top to the bottom", or "left to right" or "around".
work on developing the skills to hold writing instruments: markers, dry erase...

and if you want to work on his name, that's fine.


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

Re: Getting ready for K..

Unread post by Yodergoat » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:55 pm

I think that learning his name would be a great motivation! I teach Sunday School with children at church which are between 4 and starting kindergarten, which generally means I work with children between age 4 and 5 but up to 6. I am blessed to be the one who gets to watch their wonderment during the time that they learn to write their names... and it is so wonderful to see their joy and satisfaction at that feat. Of course they vary greatly in what they can write at that age, to be sure! But it is always fun to see them as they learn.

Then I get to work with these same children later in AWANA Sparks (Kindergarten to 2nd) and to see them go from how they worked laboriously at 4 or 5 to write their names to how they can write so many letters in K or first is great fun. Something about learning to write their names really seems to motivate them to learn to write in general.

The MFW K program very gently introduces handwriting with so many tactile activities... I think if he is ready in other areas that he can ease into writing slowly with K. But that name thing, that's really special. :)
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!

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

Re: Getting ready for K..

Unread post by gratitude » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:33 pm

My oldest was once 4 and reading early reader books on his own, knew all of his letter sounds, could count to 100 easily, and wasn't ready for the pencil. We waited until he was 6 to start Kindergarten work, and it went fast! The pencil though, at 8, is still not his favorite thing.

I wouldn't push writing on an active boy. I really wouldn't.

A couple options:
1. Wait
2. Do MFWK without the pencil, and let him dictate to you - you do all the writing, until he is really ready to sit down and write.

It didn't hurt my active boy to wait at all. Another year of maturing only helped him. My second boy loves the pencil, and started at 5; but every boy is different and I really do believe the timing is so important so a child doesn't end up hating school... just a few thoughts from one who tried with an advanced just turned 5 and ended up waiting due to unreadiness & a dislike of school that was rising quickly.


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests