1st / K - Placement, MFW approach (author response)

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1st / K - Placement, MFW approach (author response)

Unread post by Marie »

MFW-K - Marie Hazell describes the general philosophy
Kelley wrote:I was curious about the general philosophy behind the program.
I think you will find the following link helpful.

My Father's World From A to Z (Kindergarten) and Exploring Countries and Cultures (2-6) were reviewed by the Old Schoolhouse magazine:
http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/Ho ... hp?rid=282
Last edited by Marie on Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by Kelley »

The review was a great description of your Kindergarten program. Could you please describe your approach to teaching reading? Does one need to add readers? Which approach do you take in teaching phonics? I have had experience teaching the word family approach (ends of words...like all of the at words, ap words, etc....)

Thanks again!
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Re: Thanks...

Unread post by Marie »

It is so exciting when your child begins reading and you are right there as the teacher. Our K program has a really strong, sequential phonics program that makes it easy to teach your child to read. (Our first grade program completes the learning-to-read component.) We use our own unique approach. We use a modified blend ladder approach that works really well, but we don't use it to "drill" skills. Rather than word famlies, we teach kids to sound out the word in order, so they begin with the first letter, add the second letter, and when they are successful at that, add a final letter to the syllable. We use a wide variety of activities in our multi-sensory approach.

You do not need to add additional readers. There are a number of short stories right in the worksheets that you can cut up. These can be made into little books that your child can take to Grandma's to read.
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Phonics - MFW approach for K/1st?

Unread post by Rebecca »

Nancy wrote:I am currently using ABeka's phonics with ds very successfully. He especially likes their phonics charts and flash cards. He needs lots of review.

Does MFW use same approach with the blend ladders, or do they use a word family approach? I'm interested in MFW for my other kiddos moving up in the ranks. Also, would you say that MFW K-1 also sticks to a Charlotte Mason approach like the 2-6?
Posted 2/3/2004 by Rebecca
One of my dearest friends started out with the entire Abeka program for 1st with her dd. It was her first year homeschooling. This year she is using MFWk with her son and enjoying it much more. I gave her a call concerning your question and this is what she said: "The ladder chart and the alphabet cards are similar, but there is much less seat work. We find that MFWK is much more kinesthetic. Much more hands-on. We are learning just as much without all the busy work. This is much more family oriented."

MFW K and 1 are both rich in the Charlotte Mason approach. Short gentle lessons, no busy work, encouraging a childs curiosity to assist in learning, and instilling a love of good literature early on. MFW1 also adds some copywork and summarizing. Both have hands-on math programs.

MFW is strong Biblically, easy to teach, and extremely effective.
We hope the Lord leads you in this direction.
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Re: Phonics - MFW approach for K/1st?

Unread post by Marie »

Posted 2/3/2004 by Marie
MFW has a wonderful multi-sensory approach to teaching phonics. We have our own version of a blend ladder, but we use crepe rubber letters on it that children can actually pick up and touch. You can choose from such fun activities as making pancakes in the shape of letters or drawing letters in the mud with a stick. We incorporate a lot of review into our lessons and children are so excited as they learn to read the short stories in the program.

Even more important, we see God's truth as central to all learning. We present this truth on a child's level -- and each year of MFW builds on this foundation. In kindergarten, we focus on God's creation. The 26 hands-on units are such fun but they also teach important truths. When we learn letter "z" -- zebra -- we learn that zebras can hide because of their stripes, but "I can't hide anything from God."

We use many of the ideas of Charlotte Mason in all levels of our program. We highly recommend reading the book, "For the Children's Sake."

Does MFW 1st grade include phonics rules?

Unread post by cbollin »

babybryte wrote:Does MFW 1st grade curriculum include phonics rules in its instruction? I have printed off the samples, but do not see any phonics rules.

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:00 pm
Welcome to the board.

Yes. The MFW first grade program does include phonics instruction. It starts with a review of letter names, and sounds. A quick review of short vowels. And then on with the rest of the phonics rules to develop an independent reader. The teacher's manual provides easy to follow daily lesson plans that teach both new skills and allow for continuous review.

I'm not sure which sample page you looked at. On sample page 76,
the rule being learned is the aw au rule. The Instructions are in the teacher's manual early on for teaching the rules. Also, at the top of this workbook page, is a review time. Some days the review time is used for spelling or dictation. Other days, it is for sentence making.

If you take a look at the sample page from the teacher's manual for the related workbook page, it refers to "teaching the rules" as usual. As usual is explained earlier in the manual and is just not repeated every day. (sample day 79)

I hope that makes sense a little bit. If not, please ask more questions. We like to help around here.

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Re: Does MFW 1st grade include phonics rules?

Unread post by Ariasarias »

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:01 pm
Phonics rules: Yes.

We are on day #18. Every day we have gone over a phonics rule. There is also a reading chart that is helpful for reviewing the rules. Looking at the table of contents, I can see how phonics rules will continually be introduced throughout the year.
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

How have you all found the Phonics/Reading to be?

Unread post by Guest »

Winni wrote:How have you all found the Phonics/Reading to be?
Posted Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:09 pm by cbollin
Hi "Winni". Here's my "commercial" for MFW K and 1st.

I found it to be fun. Not tons of busy work for student or mom. I loved how the lessons are integrated together.

These programs are about teaching our faith and morality to our children, while teaching them how to read, and letting them "learn how to learn". It is done in a gentle manner that is very effective and efficient.

The programs are deceptively simple. They are, in my opinion, a very rich in language arts program without all the worksheets. Mrs. Hazell, the author of MFW, is by training a speech and language pathologist. She has put together a great program in K and 1st for developing language arts skills. I probably would not have appreciated the complexity of that if it hadn't been for trying to teach my language delayed children.

Since you're new to MFW and live in a state where they weren't able to attend a convention, you might be interested in hearing some of their homeschool convention workshops. Maybe when your budget allows, you might be able to get a recording of a popular MFW homeschool workshop called

• Hands-on Kindergarten and First Grade

that's my commerical for the program.
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Re: How have you all found the Phonics/Reading to be?

Unread post by kellybell »

Posted Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:56 pm by kellybell
I like Crystal's description of "deceptively simple."

When we started homeschooling (we pulled our two oldest out of a Christian school), we had two readers and two non-readers, now we have three readers and an "emerging" reader.

Also, when we started, some of my other friends started (the idiom that pops into my head is "blind leading the blind.") A lot of my new homeschooling buddies were using programs that were big, expensive, and colorful to teach phonics. Without mentioning program names, these families were hooked on their choice of phonics program.

And, we had decided on MFW.

And, I got those new-to-hsing jitters and wondered, "Oh, perhaps I need these videos, manipulatives, wall charts, bright colors, lots of books to teach reading."

However, we stuck with MFW and found it easy and quick to use, not expensive at all (MFW K cost less than some phonics-only programs!) and not time consuming. And, my son was reading. He just exploded from "Rat and Cat" (or whatever) to reading easy chapter books.

My youngest is now in the Rat and Cat phase and the neat thing is, she's really liking it, and really enjoying sounding out things. The other day, we were driving and there was a street sign with letters (no pictures on it) and she read it: "Hill." Yup.

I guess if I had to describe MFWK and MFW1 phonics:
1. Not time consuming.
2. Free of "busy work."
3. Inexpensive.
4. No cluttered pages.
5. Doesn't require mom to learn how to teach it, you simply read the TM and teach it. (I know moms doing Spaulding and they have to go to expensive weekly seminars to learn to teach it -- yikes).
6. It works.
7. Not colorful (the flash cards are colorful and beautiful, but the few worksheets and such are just uncluttered cards/sheets).
8. Sticks to a pattern. As you do K, different activities are introduced (such as circling pictures with a certain beginning sound or cutting out labels to put under pictures) but then you repeat the activities throughout the year (some activities are early in the year, some are later in the year, some are throughout the year), so mom doesn't have to learn how a certain activity is done.
9. Slowly introduces handwriting and creative writing skills.
10. Phonics is a two-year program. Some programs (more intensive) have the kids reading more sooner, but they can be overwhelming. MFW has a more sane pace -- by the end of K the child is reading many short vowel words (Ann, hat, Dad, fun) and by first grade, the child has the tools needed to read most anything.
11. It uses a minimal amount of worksheets. The worksheets are quickly completed so the child isn't stuck at a desk for a long time.

Hope this helps.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Re: How have you all found the Phonics/Reading to be?

Unread post by MJP »

Posted Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:15 pm by MJP
I have several children that would match up age-wise with yours, but I have an older one and one due in 6 weeks also. MFW is everything I wanted. I have been so pleased with the progress we have made with MFW K and 1st, and it has seemed easier and more fun than what we were using before.

I like dictation, but often felt less would be more in that area. Sometimes, if my boy in MFW 1 seems to be mastering a phonics concept well, I will give him the copy work as dictation, but if there is a word that would be beyond his comfort zone, I let him copy that one. There is a lot of room for movement within the MFW program. We have also spent more than one day on a new sound that was difficult for him. There is not so much material that you feel stressed when you need to slow down for a while. He loves the Bible reader and notebook, and he loves his K notebook from last year. The K notebook allowed for a lot of latitude in how much you desired to require. I love a flexible curriculum that is still planned out for me, but easy to add to or tweak if I am feeling creative. I can't say enough good things about MFW. We have been very pleased with our switch.
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850

Does MFW 1st include phonics rules?

Unread post by cbollin »

my3boys wrote:How does MFW teach phonics/spelling? My oldest will be doing ECC and I was going to include my 6yo in it and just read stories and do the phonics with my 4yo. I've read the there are phonograms taught in MFW first, but I can't find very much info. on it.
Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:28 pm
Let me just describe the MFW 1st grade phonics as best as I can. MFW 1st grade phonics starts with the assumption the child has already been taught and can read “short vowel words” (by blending the sounds) and is really ready to pick up the pace and also learn composition along the way.

After a quick review of short vowel words and an easing back into school lessons, the order of teaching goes like this:
Over the next approximate 100 teaching lesson days the student covers
Long vowels with silent E. Silent E is not broken down into a whole bunch of different kinds of silent E (helper, no job, etc. --- one of those programs you mentioned does that if my memory serves me)
You get your /oo/ sounds,
Then all of those sounds with r’s in them such as /ar/ /or/ /ir/ etc. etc.
And then it continues on until you’ve covered all of the phonics needed to produce an independent reader. No need to list them all.

You also get some early spelling rules in there such as simple past tense (ed) and I’m leaving stuff out. Spelling lessons are not really the focus in MFW 1st grade. Some of us begin to use the Phonics in 1st grade to introduce spelling for students who are already reading when in 1st grade. So you learn to read then you learn to spell. Formal spelling programs are started around 2nd grade.

I guess the real question is How is this done. My 2nd dd was already reading when she used MFW 1st grade. I know it says to mark the vowel sounds and all of that. There is a reading chart with all of the sounds. There are easy to do games. Not a lot of bells and whistles. Not tons of worksheets. Review is systemically built in. The Bible Reader that is part of the program is a specially designed Bible reader that increases in difficulty as the phonics lessons progress and is “phonics controlled” for many lessons. Composition of sentences is also a part of the Bible reader and notebook. There are sight words in the 1st grade program.

MFW 1st is an easy to use program, very straight forward in presentation. No long lessons for mom to learn.

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Re: Does MFW 1st include phonics rules?

Unread post by Joy1139 »

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:09 pm
MFW-1st does teach phonograms. When I was teaching First, I was very stressed out and worried. I had never taught a child to read before, so I wasn't even sure what I was supposed to be teaching... I just knew we had to cover those phonograms!

By the end of the year, I stopped sweating it and realized that MFW was covering everything that all the other programs covered. The lessons in MFW are just so simple, that I thought surely something was missing. It's been awhile, so I can't even recall if any of the various phonograms were not covered. But, I can say that the lessons were simple, easy to teach, thorough, and very effective. By the end of first grade (well, that spring really) my son could read anything. I tested his reading level in the middle of second grade (he had no additional phonics lessons in second grade but we were doing the recommended spelling program) and he tested, on three different tests, at a mid-7th grade level.

I will teach MFW First again next year.

I really don't know what label you would put on MFW's approach to phonics. You could call them and ask. Basically, you teach a sound, read words that contain that sound and reinforce it more through the reading of the Bible Story in the reader.
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1st grade phonics

Unread post by mgardenh »

mommyofgirls wrote:i am considering using mfw 1st grade but i am concerned about the phonics. i am contemplating using abeka phonics because i know it is a solid phonics program ( i know it is intense and i would have to adapt). mfw - 1st grade users - have you found the phonics portion to be solid enough to produce a good reader? would other supplementation be necessary? (i.e. are all of the sounds taught, etc.)
The short answer is Yes it is enough you do not need anything else. Phonics in MFW does a quick review of letters and then moves fairly quickly. Your child needs to be able to read CVC words before starting first. Check out the website http://www.mfwbooks.com and they will tell you what your child needs to do to be able to do before MFW First. My dd used 1st and it was great!
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
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by dhudson »

I have used both and I prefer MFW1 phonics. I used MFW1 with my twins and I have to say that the twins learned just as much without as much pain involved and because of that were more fluent readers faster than my oldest, who loves to read but it took awhile to get rid of the overload.

I think MFW1 is as rigorous but it is more Charlotte Mason so it seemed less intense. I think many of us ( myself included) don't understand that simple lessons don't necessarily mean less depth. I hear this complaint a lot and having used more intense programs (with MFW) with my oldest I had to learn this the hard way. The CM method is not less rigorous just less intense and more easily grasped by the student. I am more classical minded than I am CM minded but with my younger children the proof has been in the pudding - they have learned as much or more and have enjoyed school much, much more - much to the chagrin of my oldest!

Just my two cents worth so take it for what it's worth! :)
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by Mommyto2 »

My dd learned to read fluently for a 1st grader using only MFW phonics. We are on day 107 in 1st and she wants to read more than what is offered so I let her pick out as many library books as she wants. She picks out some she can read on her own which are most of the picture books and now is starting to read the "My first chapter book" level books.

I like that there isn't a lot of busy paperwork because I have a very antsy dd who doesn't like paperwork. I think she cements what she is learning by reading other easy books from the library and us reading together. She likes to run her finger under the words of harder books that I am reading to her.

The more reading we do together, the better she can read on her own. I wish I would have understood this better for my older ds...

mom to ds 10 and dd 6
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by Ella »

I used only MFW phonics with my daughter. I thought it was a very solid phonics program and she really enjoyed it. She has turned into a great little reader and writer. So far this year she has read the entire Box Car Children series as well as numerous other books. I didn't have a clue what I was doing and am so thankful to have found MFW!
dd 6.5 MFW1, ADV
ds 5 MFWpreschool
dd 2.5
dd 11 months
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by TriciaMR »

mommyofgirls wrote:from what i can tell, the first grade abeka phonics is only one workbook page per day. that doesn't seem rigorous to me...i can't figure out why all the reviews say it is so challenging and so incredibly rigorous? am i missing something?

i love the history/bible of mfw, btw...just thinking through the phonics... thanks so much for all of our thoughts! :)
I've done Abeka's 1st grade phonics - it's not just the worksheet page, it's all the teaching stuff and games and more that go along with it. And, if you do their writing and other "seatwork," it is very time consuming and "rigorous." Been there, done that, got the t-shirt... etc. I'll be doing Abeka's K program with my boys because I have everything (and DH doesn't want me to spend the $$ on new stuff this year), but I'll be switching to MFW's 1st when they hit 1st.

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
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by wisdomschool »

My oldest learned to read using only MFW--no supplements. We are now almost done with MFW A-Z with child # 2 and she is doing very well also! Child # 3 will begin MFW K(the reading/writing/math--she did everything else with big sis this school year) around August!

I am impressed that this program has worked well for children with different strengths/weaknesses/learning styles etc.....reading/writing are my oldest's least favorite subjects and # 2's favorite! They have both done very well understanding and "getting" it with MFW and are moving along right on track!

Momma & Teacher to my super seven:

Elijah-3 y.o.
Micah-2 y.o.
Eden-3 mo.
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by tiffany »

We used Sing Spell Read and Write with my 3 oldest. It was a very thorough program, but we were using MFW for the olders. So, it seemed natural to give MFW 1st a try. I would say that he reached the same level as he would have using SSRW without nearly as much busywork, a lot more bible content, and a shorter teaching time per day.

I used MFWK with him as well, and I did use some Explode the Code books with him inbetween K & 1st, because I thought he needed more practice. I used ETC off and on through 1st grade, when he got to a bump in the road or just needed a break.

I like that we spent less time per day and included bible at the same time. I feel MFW 1st moves through the sounds more quickly and was less repetitive. We would often move on before he had totally mastered the material, but somehow his little brain managed to sort it all out. He's a pretty good speller too. Plus, the narration for the bible they make is above and beyond anything the other kids did.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
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Re: 1st grade phonics

Unread post by BostonMom »

I ditched MFW 1st for Abeka because of the same concerns you expressed here. We're finishing up now. Though he did fine and wasn't too overloaded (we just did the charts a couple times a week and a worksheet per day along with reading aloud), I regret not doing MFW 1st. It seems to have so much more in the program to make it worthwhile. I plan to do MFW 1st with my next kiddo. HTH.
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MFW 1st phonics

Unread post by TriciaMR »

mamato7 wrote:Just for the phonics portion of this, how long does it take? How much review is there? How much writing? Has anyone used this and used any other phonics currics and could you compare them?
I am currently using MFW 1st. For my speedy twin, MFW phonics takes about 10 to 15 minutes. For my "dyslexic" twin, it takes 15 to 25 minutes. To "review" you make your own flash cards of the words used that day, and practice them until they can say them quickly. Then, the next day (or day after), they practice writing several words that used that phonics sound. Also, the Bible reader follows along with the phonics, and they learn new sounds to be able to read new words in the Bible Reader.

For How Much Writing - it does vary somewhat. For example, Tuesdays they copy the proverb that you are memorizing for the week. That is several lines. On days where you read the reader, you start out just copying the title, then you write a one sentence summary (around lesson 80), and then I think by the end of the year, it's suppose to be more than one sentence. There is also a workbook to work in, and sometimes there are pages from the student sheets to fill out.

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

Unread post by cbollin »

kimber79 wrote:I'm looking for some information on the difference between learning phonics/to read with the blend ladder vs. word families. My son is 5 and we'll start kinder in Sept. He already knows the majority of his letter sounds and can read several two- and three-letter words once he learned the words at and cat (we mix the first letter around to make more words.) He's also started reading some of the words from the -it family and -ad family. Since we began this way, I noticed after reading through the kinder TM that ladder blending is taught (using sa- then adding t, m, n, on the end vs. learning -at and then adding c, h, f, etc. at the beginning of the word.)

I'm curious to know if anyone can share whether there's a major difference in how this is taught and if there will be confusion for my son when we begin our lessons in the fall. I could definitely see that using a blend ladder would help him review some of his letter sounds that he knows but the word families also have helped him to accurately sound out the letters. Should we continue with word families and use the blend ladder as review? Any thoughts or ideas??

Thanks in advance!
I'm sure the experts will disagree and have their debates and rebuttals and all of that.

When I was getting ready to teach my oldest how to read, I went to the library and got some books on how to teach your child to read. They were different. oh dear. I didn't have a clue what to do.

So I bought a program that seemed to do both blend approach with syllables and then do it as word families for new words.
Looking back, I still don't know the theories out there about how to teach reading. I just know that working with syllables and blending sounds works for a lot of children and gives them the tools to approach new words, and eventually with more syllables. Yes, there will be patterns along the way with some of it.

I'd go with MFW K as main approach and if you want to use some word families on the side for some things, that's ok. You asked will this mess him up if you started with word families and then moved to a phonics blend approach? It shouldn't for most children unless they really aren't learning how to put it all together on their own. We read from left to right, dont' we?

anyway, I'm no expert, but just wanting to share that my worries never panned out to reality. I know that my children were taught with blend methods and had some word families things thrown at them from TV shows, and speech therapy (to distinguish beginning sounds). and doing both wasn't an issue. But from the teacher side of it, I'd use the one that I have an actual step by step instruction.

One advantage of word families is that some kiddos might transition easier from short to long vowels.

Honestly, though, there are tons of ways to teach how to read. I'm not going to say no child will have problems..... but in most cases it will not be an issue. will it bother autistics, dyslexia, etc.. maybe. (remember, I have an autie).

all children and teachers will hit road blocks when learning to read. So, there might be times a teacher will hit a natural road blocks or a slow down point. It doesn't always mean to toss a curriculum/program/method. Sometimes it means, slow down, review, add games, relax. Some parts will be very easy for a child, then something seems horrible. don't stress. review, games, fun, help. smile. keep going.

P.S. I meant to also suggest some thinking points.... If he has already shown this much interest in learning to read, why wait until September to start MFW K? He's already 5. He doesn't have to be reading in order to start MFW K. Going faster doesn't matter. Work more on hand writing and letter formation with him. Ask him to put together and spell the words that he can read. Try to dictate short 4 word sentences that go with the words he can read. Don't rush too far ahead in reading skills between now and start of a program. Work on fine motor and pencil holding and tracing letters and putting words together. Have him tell you stories, you write them down and let him draw a picture or two for the story.

I'd worry more about leaving those things out, rather than learning differences between theories of word family vs. blend ladders.

the best source of info in this is to call MFW's office. it gets confusing unless we're all around a kitchen table in person...
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Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by gratitude »

Crystal has some great ideas for you to keep moving forward, and the reassuring 'not to worry' he will learn to read!

I will only add that I have not used word families (as far as I know), but I really do like the blend ladders in MFW K. It sounds like you have given him great pre-reading preparation and that now you could move forward (as Crystal mentioned) in a variety of different ways, and he will learn to read.

I didn't have MFW K with my oldest, and I did use MFW K with my second son. I will say that hands down my second son has a much stronger phonics foundation, and is very prepared for 1st grade reading in a way that my first son did not have when he started 1st grade work. My second son is also a great speller. Is this natural? MFW K phonics? Blend ladders? I do not know, but spelling is incredibly easy for him. My oldest is a great reader, but it will take time & work to teach him spelling. Is this because he is not a natural speller or due to missing blend ladders? I do not know. I do know though that I would have loved using MFW K to teach my oldest to read; it would have been a fabulous first home school program to use, and a gentle introduction to home schooling.

As Crystal said you could do MFW K [and add] blend families, or you could do MFW K without them. Either way I don't think he will be confused. My oldest had to go through all my fumbles of learning how to teach reading, and he is reading chapter books at age 7. At some point reading just seems to come together.

I do though highly recommend MFW K phonics. I really liked the foundation they helped me give my second son in a nice step-by-step approach that worked.
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Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by kimber79 »

Thank you all so much! That really does help to clear it up and give me a good starting point. We haven't been following any kind of curriculum for reading since I wanted to just see how he would do putting letters together to make words and he's done pretty well with the letter sounds that he's the strongest in (a, i, t, s, g, etc.) I did look at Phonics Pathways for a little while from the library and did notice that book uses the blend ladder format.

When we've done a few of the word families, I'll just write a list of words on the chalkboard and see if he can read them. Then we just find other words that rhyme to see if he can read those. So maybe it's not really word families we're doing so much as rhyming words??

Thank you also for the tips about fine motor skills...I had another post on here about my son not writing yet using pencil/paper so we've been doing as much as we can with writing and playing with clay, rice, chalk, etc. I wanted to try to do more of that for the next couple of months and then start MFW-K, which is one reason I was waiting until Sept. to start. I also need to plan some pre-school activities for my 2-year-old while doing kinder with my son but I suppose we could try starting in August if I see him improving more with fine motor skills in the next month or so.

Thanks again! I'm sure I'll have more posts on here as I begin planning things out! :)
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Re: MFW-K phonics: need help with blend ladder vs. word fami

Unread post by gratitude »

Hi Kim!
I wanted to share what Marie Hazell has to say.

So I looked up what Marie Hazell had to say in the catalogue, and here it is:
  • Is my child ready for Kindergarten:
    *Is he ready to sit down and do 20 - 30 minutes of written work daily?
    *Does she have the manual dexterity to begin writing letters and words and is she interested in doing so?
    *Is your child already taking time to sit down and draw and color?
    *Is he excited about starting school?
Based on what you have said and what Marie Hazell has written I would say that MFW would advise you to wait.
David Hazell mentions on one of his CDs that children's reading can be at a 3rd grade level, but they are still not old enough - mature enough - nor is their handwriting keeping up with their reading, so they don't need a 3rd grade curriculum when they are 4 or 5; I think this could be applied to many different ages and situations.

One of the beauties of home schooling is that we can go with what our children are ready for, rather than what a 'school building' tells us that they should be doing at a particular age. In our state school isn't required until age 8 (the books were never changed). So the idea of a child being ready at 5 is a very new concept.

Based on the above criteria my oldest was ready somewhere around age 7. I started him at age 6, but he ended up hating handwriting. I scribed for him through MFW 1, and he didn't learn as much as he would have if I hadn't been his scribe. At age 7 3/4, for the first time, he is Loving handwriting. It took a long time. It doesn't mean he never wrote before age 6, he did. He wrote as young as 3 or 4. School readiness though is very different than spending 10 minutes on a written activity. Readiness is being able to do it daily.

So in summary I would say that I would wait until he is ready for handwriting, and at a point in time when he will enjoy it. The K activities are written for 3 - 8 year olds. The phonics would help any child who hasn't had solid phonics yet. If he is ready in January, at age 6, then it would be a fine time to start.

I know the difference between teaching a child who is ready, my second son was ready at 5, and a child who isn't ready and being the scribe. The first way is so much easier! I know it is really difficult to wait, especially with a first born. It would have been the best thing though, if I had known the criteria, to hold off and wait until my oldest had his handwriting catch up for being ready for school. He would have learned so much more if I hadn't been the scribe, and he had been doing the written work. Why is handwriting such a sign for school readiness? My best guess is because when they are ready to draw and write, they are ready to sit down and do the work!

I hope this helps, and most of all keeps you from going through the struggles with hand writing that I have had with my oldest. It doesn't have to be a struggle. Once they are ready they enjoy it, and that is very different for every child at what age that readiness will be. It is so much more fun when they are ready!!


P.S. I agree with Crystal that calling the MFW office in this situation would be best. They will have the insights I am struggling to give. I just give you my empathy and hope you find a better solution to it then I did. since I never really did find the solutions to that problem when he was 5 & 6 & early 7, I can only tell you what didn't work: doing school work & handwriting with a highly intelligent child who wanted to play and wasn't ready.
Last edited by gratitude on Tue May 24, 2011 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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