3-year olds - When to start homeschooling

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching

3-year olds - When to start homeschooling

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:15 pm

Padavali wrote:I must start by saying that I am new here and I am really feeling pulled towards MFW as a curric. My daughter is 3 1/4 years old, she knows all of her alphabet, all of the sounds and we have started reading with Hooked On Phonics. She is keeping me on my toes with learning (we have been working with workbooks for months) and I was starting to think that starting in the New Year, I would start unit studies. Would doing MFW K be too much for a 3 year old? I am new to HomeSchooling, thinking of prolonging some lessons if Hannah needs more time to get a grasp. Also, what would her being further ahead in the L/A aspect of the K level mean for the work?

I should add, the only reason why I am wondering this is because I was looking at a Curric. Review site online and many mom's posted that MFWK would be fine as a PreK level curric. I would want to drag it out because, knowing my 3 year old, she won't sit for 1 hr to 1.5 hrs a day to do the lessons as well. Am I jumping the gun???

Thanks in advance for any help!
Hi Dianna,
Welcome to the board! I'd like to encourage you that in addition to all ideas that we share on here, you should consider calling the MFW office and seeking their ideas too. They enjoy helping on the phone with getting started.

to better understand my suggestions, here is a little bit about me. I have 3 children, 8th, 5th and 1st graders. We've homeschooled all along. I had early reading kids.

Based on my experiences, I would not use any company's Kindergarten program for a 3 year young child. I would find materials that are designed for 3 year olds to use even if they are early reading kids. I had children who were early readers too. But their main "school" was designed for developing more than just reading. What I found is that even though my children could read early, they still were the age that they were and there was lots to do with them. You never get these years back and the academics of reading/writing/math -- really can wait a while and not lose ground. Lots of us over here had children reading early, but still weren't ready for Kindy at age 3. And then they aren't going to be ready for first grade at age 4 either. So that's really where it comes from -- not burning out in a year from now.

I still used MFW K with 2 of my children who were already reading (but were still traditional Kindy age). We even "beefed up" the phonics to let it become handwriting and spelling. So even though they were ahead of the phonics in K, the program worked well. I personally do not agree that MFW K is designed as a preK program. Many of those reviews only take into account the first few weeks of MFW K. Most preK programs do not work on having children reading short vowel stories in PreK, nor writing sentences. The earliest part of MFW K starts gently into the year at the pace of the end of preK. But it does not stay preK all year.

The youngest child of the author of MFW was a very advanced reader by her 5th birthday (reading novels such as Chronicles of Narnia). But, they found that she still needed to be in a Kindergarten level program due to the length of day that is required. So, there is a balance to educating our preschoolers and not yet doing formal school. So you might ask to speak with David Hazell if you call the MFW office and get his experience on that. He is a wealth of information and experience. That youngest child is now in high school.

I would *not* encourage you to use MFW K right now with a 3 year old. How about working on crafts, cooking (and even meal planning), just reading to her, music learning, art appreciation, nature walks, pretend play and waiting a year or so to start MFW K at a pace for her age? Tell her Bible stories and learn Bible songs together. I know some of us on this forum have done MFW K with 4 year olds and taken 1.5 years to do it. But at 3? oohhh... I just have one of those tones in my voice that wants to gently and lovingly encourage you to wait.

MFW has a PreK set of developmental "toys" that helps us to not overlook all aspects of development for preschool aged children. 3 year old children still need to work on fine motor skills, thinking skills, listening skills, experimenting with art supplies. Enjoying good stories and doing unit studies around the stories to create crafts, etc.

anyway, you might consider ordering the book in the Kindy deluxe items -- For the Children's Sake, and begin to research into early years of educating.

So how about this idea since you're leaning toward wanting to use MFW?

*get the PreK developmental skills "toys" and the activity booklet with it -- your child will have lots of opportunity to work on fine motor skills and logical thinking skills and other skills with letters that she already knows.
*that includes getting the Bible songs CD too.
*get For The Children's Sake as a resource for you. (Kindy deluxe)
*consider to get from the 1st grade program, Honey for a Child's Heart -- to use as a reading list for you to read to your child. Go with younger books since she is only 3. Content will get to the point with older books that you just may not be ready to do with her age. (ask for more info on that if that wasn't clear)
*after reading a story -- do a craft based on the book, or let your child do something from the story (act it out, or retell the story....). If you aren't sure of any ideas, ask on this forum for some ideas to do with a specific story. For example, if you read your child the story Madeline -- you can play with toys and count them off in groups of 2's, or you can make get well cards for people at your church who are ill, or you can sit in bed and tell what designs you see on the ceiling. All of those things were from parts of the story.

*Get from the 1st grade deluxe -- the books, Come Look with Me --- those art appreciation books can be used with children younger than 1st grade and then used again and again and again.

and if I think of a good schedule to help pull it together on a daily basis.... I'll chime back in. But right now I need to log off the computer.


Julie in MN
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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:10 pm

Some more ideas from experienced moms like Crystal:

http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4959 (with more links)

Just as an outside observer, it seems like early K-ers do eventually hit a snag either in 1st or some other year, when they just aren't ready for the usual leap in skills.

And as for my own experience, my kids all started (public school) K between ages 5 years 8 months to 6 years 2 months. They all learned how to read easily. I did no academic preschool with them, but simply developed a firm foundation in exploring, doing, thinking, and communicating. Kids are learning constantly, in some form or another. It worked well in our family to wait on the abstract symbols (i.e. letters & numbers).

Enjoy your little one, whatever you decide,
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

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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by Padavali » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:22 pm

Thank you to both posters!

I had a feeling that I was jumping the gun with this...

Many of the posts I looked prior to reading the reply and agree, that we will hold off:)

Thanks Crystal for the suggestions on books and 'toys', I will be sure to look into them further!


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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by Alison » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:24 pm

My 3 year old sits in with my 5 year old for K, but would definitely not be able to do it as a curriculum. Although she knows her letters, colors, counting, etc, there is too much fine motor skills and I don't think she comprehends the weekly Biblical theme. It's much better designed for a 4.5-6 year old.

I highly encourage you to get the PreK MFW package. My 3 year old enjoys those activities while my son does his kindy. She sits in on our reading times, loves to help cook, take nature walks, go to the playground, story hour & crafts at the library, etc.
Have fun!

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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by kanderson » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:31 pm

My 3 yo dd sits in on kindy with her brother and really enjoys doing "schoolwork", mostly tactile letter drawing(i.e. in sand in pudding etc.) She is picking up some reading here and there. However, we bought both of the preschool sets and they are a tremendous hit. She is learning patterns and reasoning, counting amongst other things. But, in our limited experience there is no way she would be ready for MFWK. The program starts off pretty easy but definitely beefs up over time. We also like to stick with arts and crafts and cooking (our favorite).

For what it's worth I would hold off and look into the preschool sets - they come with a booklet FULL of ideas of how to "play" with these toys. Just enjoy reading together, before you know it she will be kindy age lol. Hope this helps you make your decision! :)
married to dh since 2001
ds-9 ECC
dd-6 1st,
ds-4 MFW Pre-School/ Rod and Staff,
dd-2, into everything!
one in the arms of Jesus


Wendy B.
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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by Wendy B. » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:28 pm

I have a few extra kids here today who are all happily playing school with the MFW PreK package as I type!

Sounds like you already have lots of good advice so I won't repeat it.

If you do an internet search for Charlotte Mason Preschool, Charlotte Mason's HOme Education (her book for under 9s which is online), and her Parent's Review article called "Object Study" (it is easier to search for Parents review articles, then look for any particular one) you will find plenty of ideas how to keep an advance 3yo happily learning without the need to push academics or reading.

I know with an advance young child it is tempting to want to make sure they are challenged and this frequently means focusing on reading. Resist the temptation! :-) Focus on habits, behavior and developing the whole child ....fine motor, gross motor, etc and not just the mental......and it will payoff long term. If she learns to read before she reaches MFW K that will be awesome and there is plenty of info on this board on how to use MFW K with a reader. If she doesn't learn to read before she is MFW K age then she will have the habits and fine motor skills in place so she can get busy with the work of learning to read and write.

CM has a great quote that a "habit is worth ten natures." 3 is the perfect age to start working on all those habits you want her to have before you tackle MFW K. I make a list of the habits I want my kids to have by the time we start formally doing school and I work on them 1 at a time.

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

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Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by Padavali » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:07 pm

Thanks again moms!
I sure try to keep her busy, she prints parts of my grocery list, we write lists on her favorite animals at the zoo, or if we are going somewhere, she will print out what she wants to do or hopes to see (with me spelling it out verbally) She brings me paper and asks me to print bubble letters, zig zags, pictures and she cuts out what I drew with amazing talent. This is all me following her. We do crafts daily, from painting with leaves and twigs body parts and such instead of paint brushes, we paint on everything from rhubarb leaves (depending on season) to, lately, the latest addiction, big snow balls and watching them melt... Baking/cooking almost daily. Just trying to keep up! We turn crafts into math, I do 'treasure hunts' for math, I can go on and on... She loves me reading to her as well. I will look into the CM book mentioned above, thanks. I just feel that I am running out of ideas! I want to keep this fun, I need to keep it hands on for her as well. I have a lot to look into now!

Greatly appreciated!!!


Re: Not sure where or when to start...

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:19 pm

wow! after reading that... I'll affirm that you are doing lots of good stuff! Good work mom!

I think with the books mentioned and the links that Julie provided, you'll get a few new ideas to do with her. One other thing in my mind -- this is something my mother in law shared with me when my oldest was my only --- let them have "mom I'm bored time" and see what they come up with on their own within reason.

and if possible, find some ways to serve others together. Here are some more links to read

Sometimes we like to link to past conversations that were really fun for us to have.


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Whether or not to start MFW preK

Unread post by Poohbee » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:42 pm

vonfirmath wrote:I'm looking ahead a little here. My son is currently 3 years old. He will be 4 in August -- at the same time our second child is due.

I'm tempted to buy my son the MFW preK package and set aside dedicated time several times a week to work on it with him. We also have cuisenaire rods already. Just to give him something special that is for him and mom to do, sibling not invited. Does this make sense with an oldest child? Or are these packages more for younger siblings of children that are being homeschooled? (I definitely want that piece for my puzzle lover)

I do not want to push my son ahead but I am eager to get started! I know MFW K is not an option yet. among other things, he is not good at all at sitting still.

Also, with my kids 4 years apart, will I ever be able to homeschool them together? Or is MFW more designed for kids that are closer in age?

--Sarah in TX
DS 8/3/2007
baby due 8/5/2011
I think your idea to spend some special one-on-one time with your oldest son is a good one. It is especially helpful when a new baby arrives, because the oldest can tend to feel a little left out since the baby requires so much of your time. I wouldn't rush your son into formal or structured learning, but the MFW preK packages just provide educational toys that the two of you can use to spend quality one-on-one time together.

MFW works great for many different age levels and age spans of kids. My first two are 3 1/2 years apart, and my next two are 4 years apart. This year, we are doing ECC and K. My 5yo dd doesn't participate in everything with my older, but she does participate in some things, like music, art, and other things that are interesting to her. When she finishes her K work and some of the ECC, she goes off and plays. As my kids grow, they will learn together even more, as we progress through the years with MFW. Next year, my youngest will still have her own program with MFW 1st, but the following year, both kids will be together completely with RtR, but they will do math and language arts at their own levels. Even as a preschooler, my 2nd dd joined us for some of Adventures and learned quite a bit. MFW works very well for kids who are 3-4 years apart. You will surely be able to homeschool them together, and it works very well.
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

Julie in MN
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Re: Whether or not to start MFW preK

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:15 pm

I agree, it would be a nice time for you two.

I have had the preschool & preK materials for my grandson since he was about 2, and I have it in a separate box. Most folks here know I'm a better-late-than-early gal, but I am able to just go slowly (which was harder to do with my first!). My gs LOVED the stacking pegs right away. And, instead of pushing him into sorting by color or counting or anything, I just sat back and watched him explore for a long time. Then one month, I might demonstrate to him something new that could be done, and he would run with that for a couple of months. And gradually something else, or he discovered something new on his own with one of the toys. I truly think this kind of learning is *better* learning than letters or numbers :)

Have fun with your precious little guy,
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

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Re: Whether or not to start MFW preK

Unread post by Metairie » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:25 pm

Our preK is supposed to be here tomorrow. Thank you for mentioning just letting them explore. I think thats exactly what I will do!
Cindie, wife to Gary for 18 years, mom to girls,
Juliette MFW 1st grade Adv (01/04)
Jordan MFW K and Adv tag-a-long (07/06)


PreK activites? Choosing preK vs. MFW-K slowly

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:10 pm

maritime momma wrote:I just ordered the preK package today and am SO excited about getting started, I could barely sleep last night - I was reading up on MFW curriculum!

Our soon-to-be 3 yo daughter is SO inquisitive and pretends to read all the time that I am so anxious for her to near 5 years old to start the Kindergarten program! I don't want to rush or push her into the K program, but at the same time, I see how ready she is - which kinda sounds ridiculous since she is barely 3 years old!

I teach Early Childhood Ed at the local College and DD has always been very active with many play-based activities and can never get enough.

Although it is still early, I am "planning" to continue the preK activities til Sept 2012 when she will be 4y6m to start the K program. Has anyone ever stretched the K program over 2 years or repeated it? Any and all suggestions or thoughts would be very much appreciated! We will also be blessed with baby #2 in 9 weeks. Hope to get to know you around this board!
Welcome along!

Although I didn't do it this way, I've heard one of the easier ways to do MFW K over 2 years with a 4 year old is to just do school 3 days a week from MFW K instead of 5.

When I did MFW's Pre K (I also did it even though one of my children attended outside preschool for special needs), MFW used the 20th Century Children's Treasury book.
I'd try to have opening music time with music cd in the package
active time with the lauri toys
story time
activity time from the story that I'd make up. simple stuff: like read Madeline and play with toys/dolls in 2 straight lines. Or, read The Snowy Day, and then make paper snow men using the Lauri Toys to trace circles onto paper and let child cut them out.

Sounds like a fun time is ahead with child #2 on the way soon.

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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by gratitude » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:55 pm

Hi Audrey!

My dd4, was 3 until a few weeks ago, has really enjoyed doing both the Laurie toys and the Pre-school books from Rod & Staff. She has been advanced for her age along the road too, and has really liked having some 'school' to do with big brothers.

I plan on starting her for MFW K sometime around her 5th Birthday next year. It really is a personal preference though. Some home school moms take MFW K slow and stretch it out for 2 years, and start earlier. I tend to like to start when they recognize all the letters/know the sounds/ can count easily/etc. so then I can focus on the reading. MFW K though teaches from the ground up - no letter recognition required - so it really could be done at 4; maybe someone will chime in who has done it sooner.

Blessings!e - my dd4 just wanted to push her letter on the computer, how cute - e for Elizabeth.
Last edited by gratitude on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by spaldingclan » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:09 pm

I just thought I would officially say "hi." What a fun year this will be for you:-)

Like Crystal, I have read of families taking 2 years to complete the K program doing it 3 days a week, and it seems to work out quite well. You can fill in with other activities and just let the kiddos play.

With my 4 year old who wanted to do school with her 5 year old big sister, there was no slowing her down. If we were doing school, she was doing school too. My now 6 year old dd loves school and hates when we skip a day for any reason, so I just couldn't spread it out over 2 years for my youngest. That is why we are going to go ahead and repeat K for my 4 1/2 year old why the 6 year old moves on to 1st grade. Although my youngest has learned the concepts in K, she is not yet ready for the 1st grade program and needs more time for mastery of the K principles.

Have fun and welcome to My Father's World!
**Stars of Grace Academy**
happily married to dh since 1995
mom to 3 outgoing daughters:
dd1 age 14: Freshman at PS
dd2 age 6 1/2: currently in MFW1, finished MFWK
dd3 age 5: currently in MFWK

maritime momma
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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by maritime momma » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:49 am

Thanks Jen - not only am I new to MFW, I am obviously new to homeschooling all together, since Clara is our eldest at 3 years old - so, I am learning lots these days!

I am not familiar with the Rod & Staff books and will definitely look into them. Has anyone had any experience combing the MFW Lauri learning materials with Sonlight P3/4 pack?

I don't know if I am being over-zealous but I am really contemplating doing preschool with:

MFWPreK (Lauri play-based activities);
Sonlight (reading activities) and
Handwriting Without Tears (Get Set for School and most hands-on products)

Does this seem too much? What do you think about these products?

It seems like a lot of products to order at once, but I love all of them, and they are so veried that I don't think that it would be redundant. Also, since Clara is just turning 3 this month, we have lots of time before she is ready for MFWK (she will be 5 years old March 14, 2013), so I figured if I have all these materials, we can spread them out and really use them at different levels along the way. Plus, as baby (due April 30) grows up, we will already have all these materials for him/her. Seems like a great investment in quality products, right? Or am I simply justifying my shopping spree. We certainly work on a budget, but how can you put a figure on homeschooling, right? (Plus, they will make perfect birthday gifts and I won't get her anything else!) hee hee Help me out with your perspective, please! I think I really need it before I push all these "buy now" icons!

Thanks for the suggestion for MFW K over 2 years - I hadn't thought of that option, although it sounds quite interesting.
Laundry and dishes just aren't as much fun as chatting on this board! haha You are all so helpful and knowledgeable. God is so good to have led me here. Thanks to all!
"While we teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life's all about." ~unknown
Audrey: Happy wife to Jason of 9 yrs, DD Clara - 3 (MFW PreK) & sweet newborn DD Renée, born April 1


Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:57 am

I'd probably hold off on Handwriting without Tears for a while and see how it goes with the fine motor skills in the MFW Pre K package. Also, the in the activity book, there will be language and following directions skills.

then, you can add HWT in later if you see a need. Other than that? grab some playdough and let your child make shapes from playdough.

but if you want to add some book collections to read, you can do that. Don't feel like you have to read each book or do all activities.


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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:59 am

My thoughts (I have 3 children, an oldest who is 10, and twin boys who are 6), are 3 is too young to get too serious about "curriculum" purchases, except the Lauri toys from MFW (I did those with my twins, and my dd even has played with them, even though she was "older").

Instead of buying a package of books, get "Honey for a Child's Heart" or a book by Jan Bloom (Who Should We Then Read) that makes recommendations for books to read at different ages and just use the library. Or even maybe find a copy of Before Five in a Row and use the book recommendations from that, again using the library. And mostly, just read and make up games based on the stories.

HWT stuff - I think you could wait. It's pretty easy to just buy play-dough (or Wiki-Sticks are fun, too), write letters on 4 x 6 cards, and then have her lay out the play-dough or wiki-sticks on the cards and then trace over them with her finger. But this is something I would wait until 4 to do, anyway. Get coloring books from the dollar store and big chunky crayons and just work on proper holding of a crayon (*if* your dd has decided which hand she is going to use. Two of my 3 didn't make up their minds until they were 4 or 4.5, and one is a lefty and the other is a righty).

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
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2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
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maritime momma
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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by maritime momma » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:43 am

I appreciate your comments. Clara's fine motor skills are already quite refined - she is always wanting to colour, draw; she manipulates scissors well, holds writing utensils and paintbrushes well, etc. Without our suggestions, she consistently uses her right hand.

I ordered the MFWPreK a couple of days ago, because I knew that the Lauri materials would be a hit.
I'll definitely consider using the library before ordering the SL book packs. I'll search our rural library to see how many of the books in the SL P3/4 are available to borrow.
As for HWT, I really like the look of Get Set for School workbook - perhaps I can make do without all the extra products?

The last thing I want to do is push DD into any academic activities, but she is always drawing and saying that it looks like certain letters or asking me to spell words so she can type them on the computer. She picks up books and tells us stories out-loud, asks what written words say, she wants to learn sign language for certain words (I signed a few simple words to her as an infant/toddler), etc.

I know we are all biased to our own children, but at barely 3 years old, she certainly seems advanced and ready for some "more". I just fear for her to not be challenged enough and become bored with the basic play-based activities we already do.... ok ok, yes, AND I can't wait to get my hands on some great homeschooling products too! heehee - but I DO want to be reasonable and realistic.
"While we teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life's all about." ~unknown
Audrey: Happy wife to Jason of 9 yrs, DD Clara - 3 (MFW PreK) & sweet newborn DD Renée, born April 1

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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by sojen » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:08 pm

Breath in, breath out...

Hey- that was our CTG science experiment this week. :-)

I think sometimes the idea of homeschooling products seems wonderful because it's mom who desperately needs some structure. ;) Just simply making a schedule (like Crystal's) really helps.

As a veteran homeschool mom (can I say that after 6 years? Wow!)I would wait on pushing too much at this age. If she seems bright -find things like legos, cardboard boxes and cooking projects that she can do. These will really help imagination and creativity, and it's a MUCH better way to learn than sitting at a desk with "schoolwork".

I second the holding off on HWOT. I use their products and LOVE them- but not with my three year old. I would wait till Kindergarten on those.
cbollin wrote: 20th Century Children's Treasury book.
Great book. I have no experience with Sonlight, but that is a great book.
TriciaMR wrote:Instead of buying a package of books, get "Honey for a Child's Heart" or a book by Jan Bloom (Who Should We Then Read) that makes recommendations for books to read at different ages and just use the library. Or even maybe find a copy of Before Five in a Row and use the book recommendations from that, again using the library. And mostly, just read and make up games based on the stories.
Yes to this too! Reading books and making up games and stories is fun, fun, fun!! :-)

Enjoy her. I would give anything for my girls to be three again, you know, just for a day. We are in "tween emotional" stage and boy do I wish we could just sit down and have a tea party! You know what, why not? Tea party, tomorrow- my house, LOL!!
Jen in GA
mom to dd 11, dd 8, and ds 5
traveling through the medieval world with RTR.
Slowly starting kindergarten with my little guy.

Julie in MN
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Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:34 am

maritime momma wrote:OK, ok - I hear the message loud and clear! haha
I will enjoy the Lauri materials and MFWPreK activities as soon as they arrive, I am sure....and hold off on the HWOT. I will then go through the booklist of SL and others and just keep adding to our home library. (I may opt to purchase the HWOT in advance just to satisfy my urge to read about it and save it to accompany the MFWK - I promise not to use it right away! heehee. It'll just be good bedtime reading material for myself!)

Thanks for keeping me in line, folks. I appreciate it more than you know!
I"m so glad you're hearing what the other folks have shared. I really don't have to give my usual speech about my oldest son, who didn't start K until he was 6 and is now an engineer.

But I do want to say that if you are ready and dd is ready, you really can start having a "school time" together each day. You can make a chore chart or a weather chart. You can have a practice time each day, and work on answering the phone or greeting new people at church. You can let her into the "grown up" world by making a grocery list together and choosing items to put in the basket. Do some measuring each day with measuring spoons or measuring tape or scale -- not worrying about the numbers but gaining a physical understanding of which is "more" and "bigger" and "heavier." I know you probably do all these things and more, but you can do more planning about what things you want to teach your dd, which you won't have as much time for later, and you can make her feel more like she is doing things she couldn't do when she was younger.

My 4yo grandson loves to learn, he's a learning machine, but he's just as interested in how I open different things and how to fit a broken toy back together or clean up a mess as he is in learning more about what letters do, and honestly I think he absorbs more. He's even capable of some very complex things, like the order of feeding our diabetic cat or how to empty out an IV bag for grandpa :) And when he wants to read to me, I'm having him do more observing of the pictures and discussing and imagining, plus paying attention to the cues and the patterns in the story itself, rather than reading the words. He loves the stories and the time spent, either way :)

I think making it academic would be fun for a while but it would take away from the excitement of something "new" when she gets to kindergarten age. My oldest was so fascinated when he was 6 and was first exposed to academics that he went from almost being ADD to just sitting in his desk and learning :) If he had already been doing all of the stuff they did, he surely would have been bored and fooling around in class.

Just some more encouragement that you can "do school" but it can be 3yo school.
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

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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 am

Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by erin.kate » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:20 am

I just wanted to chime in, too. Crystal has awesome suggestions for a "schedule" ... we follow the same thing at our house. My youngest is 2 but I have two daughters through (well, one of those two is finishing up) preschool.

The MFWPre 4/5 package is amazing ... now there is music, too, with awesome cards full of activities. I hightly recommend, as someone else mentioned, Before Five in a Row. This includes many endearing and rich children's lit books ... at the preschool level ... and appropriate activities to go along. Music, storytime, activities, a Bible story book ... this will segway into a tremendous MFWK year in time. Once my daughters were the year before MFWK I added some Rod & Staff preschool workbooks, too, which refine fine and thinking motor skills and they're just plain sweet.

Best to you!
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
2011: Adventures
2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

maritime momma
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:23 am
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by maritime momma » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:01 pm

Thank you, Julie, for your insight and perspective. I love your suggestions and ideas for incorporating life learning throughout each day. We certainly already do that to some extent, but you are really making me think. What a blessing. I am so grateful that God led me to this forum and this community of people. I can't wait to learn and share amongst you in the years to come.

Thanks Erin.kate! At this very moment, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my MFWPreK package that I ordered last week - Once it arrives, I'll see if I want to order the new activity cards too, along with the new music CDs (that I definitely want). Just curious, at what age exactly were your DDs when they started K and how did you their transition into it?
"While we teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life's all about." ~unknown
Audrey: Happy wife to Jason of 9 yrs, DD Clara - 3 (MFW PreK) & sweet newborn DD Renée, born April 1

Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 am

Re: PreK activites?

Unread post by erin.kate » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:57 am

maritime momma wrote:Just curious, at what age exactly were your DDs when they started K and how did you their transition into it?
Hi there!

For MFWK I wait until my kids are 5 and will turn 6 in K. So, my middle DD just turned 5 on Feb 16 and we've been dabbling in preschool for a couple of years ... B4FIAR and now this year a bit more structured with R&S in addition to literature. My middle DS will be 6 in July, but he is adopted from Ethiopia and will be quite behind at first (in fact, his birthdate is likely a year off and he'll be 5 in July). I really like my kids to be 6 minimum for starting 1st grade, and turning 7 in the year. My current first grader turned 7 at Thanksgiving.

We had no problems transitioning to K (MFW) ... I think that it is so perfectly designed for little ones who show Kinder readiness. I'm a huge advocate of giving kid's time before formal instruction, and MFWK is a good balance for me. The gentle, yet systematic reading instruction is there, but so is the precious weekly discoveries and arts/crafts and literature. If you organize a binder for MFWK http://mybluedaisy.blogspot.com/2010/08 ... nized.html you will find your year so fun and memorable and your child will be super ready for first with MFW.

Hope that is helpful!
maritime momma wrote:Thanks SO much Erin Kate. Your binders look so nice and tidy and appealing. I definitely see the value in organizing all the material in advance and then having an organized system to follow - seems like you get to really get a great overview of the curriculum in doing so too. I can't wait (well, I CAN wait - dd is already growing up so quickly, I don't want it to go by any faster, but I am so excited to hs too!).

I plan to play and read with dd for the next year, with MFWPreK and SL lit pack - then gradually add some HWOT preschool activities and R&S before possibly starting K in Sept 2013 when dd is 5y6m. We'll see how she is doing at that time - I'm open to the idea of waiting til she's 6y6m in Sept 2014 for K if she doesn't seem ready - you never know. THANKS!
You're welcome, though I only borrowed the binder idea from My Blue Daisy ... I am not clever enough to create that on my own. :-) However, my binder looks just as lovely and yes, it is an awesome way to stay organized and to get a good feel for what is ahead. Enjoy the little years. Love them so much!
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
2011: Adventures
2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

far above rubies
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:31 pm

3 y.o. boy -- need advice about what to purchase

Unread post by far above rubies » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:17 pm

bookwrm06 wrote:This is my first post. I have two boys age 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I have been looking at homeschool curriculum/approaches since my oldest was an infant hoping to be up to speed by the time he was ready. I am attracted to the MFW curriculum and Charlotte Mason approach in general. My question is what materials would be best at this point. We have been doing "school" sporadically in the mornings using some ideas from a Before Five in a Row book I have, some patterning and playing with math manipulatives, and a variety of other crafts and projects I run across in books or on the internet (making playdoh, making "art", reading books and doing activities related to them, cooking, taking nature walks, etc).

My goals are:
(1) To obtain some additional materials that will help me to do more enriching activities with him on a daily basis. I find that if I don't have activities written out somewhere for me to do that I can't come up with them on my own and days will go by when we don't do anything "enriching". My son does the best when I have a craft or activity lined up and waiting when he wakes up in the morning.
(2) To include more "character" and Bible education in my daily plans. We already do Scripture memory verses set to music on our own and he knows all the songs from the Steve Green cds which we bought when he was a baby, as well as reading from his Story Bibles, but I would love to have a daily "lesson plan" for this. We had an advent reading book that I used this Christmas season with a reading, brief comments, and Christmas carol for each day and he loved that.

The K curriculum sounds good to me because the lesson plans are already completed for each day and it would be easy for me to look at the next activity and get things ready for it daily or 2-3 days per week. I'm sure we would only do part of a day's plans each day and just stretch the material out or skip things that he's not ready for. The preK toys look good too, but I worry that I will quickly run out of things to do with them, since there are no written "plans" beyond the activity cards.

My son seems very advanced for his age, but I don't want to push him into material he's not ready for. To give you an idea of where he is -- he converses fluently with adults (his "adult" way of speaking makes people laugh, as he says things like "You know, I don't think I've ever seen cereal that color before" or "excuse me, could you please put this in the trash for me?"). He knows the sounds of all his letters and some blends and can read some words though I have not been doing any sort of phonics program with him (he surprised me this morning by informing me that the DVD player scrolled "hello" and then "read" and told the librarian that her keys said "family" and "boys & girls" just as examples). He knows his colors, shapes, can count to 100, understands how to divide objects or groups of objects in half (sharing food with his brother), plays board games, works jigsaw puzzles on his own, and can write his letters and some numbers (although not very legibly). He memorizes things almost immediately. That said, he is a very sweet and tender-hearted child who I think could get his feelings hurt if he was presented with material he couldn't master right away. I do want to challenge him somewhat to help him grow and learn to work diligently to complete tasks, but I definitely don't want to discourage him or make him think he should be able to do work that is too hard for his maturity level. I think I would like to use this time more to help him grow as a person, exposing him to lots of experiences and information, training him in how to think Biblically about himself, others, and the world, etc.

I know he is only 3, but I also realize that my time with him is short and want to make the best decisions for him all along. I appreciate any guidance you might have time to provide!
I've used both the preschool and preK packages with 3 of my now school aged children and they're great.

The last one I used was the preK package with my K4 child and we just worked through the activities in the booklet. It was great and perfect for her needs. We're now in K and after some tweaking (each child is different), she is thriving. :)

If you're going to attempt K with a child who isn't yet "school-aged," I would take it very, very slowly. As in, perhaps do it over 2 years--perhaps do the unit themes the first year and then go back through and do the full program the next?

But, otherwise, those preschool/preK kits are super great! They learned some great skills with them and then we also did the "About 3" series from Christian Light Education just to add on.

But, really, the little kits are great for your age group and they're reasonably priced, too. :)
K (2007-2008, 2011-2012), ADV (2010-2011), ECC (2011-2012)
2012-2013: CtG [dd (5th), ds (3rd), dd (1st), ds (3), and ds (1) ]


Re: 3 y.o. boy -- need advice about what to purchase

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:17 am

Welcome along,

Based on everything you've said, I don't think MFW K is what he should use this year. You are doing good things with him to get this prepared for life long learning.

I think I hear what you are saying. Let me think out loud
You know deep down that he isn't ready for Kindy work and thinking and all of that due to his age, even though he speaks fluently.
You want to stay with "this age is play school"
but you want more structure for lesson planning than pick an activity card and toy for a week...

before any ideas, I want to laugh at myself a bit. My oldest spoke a lot in the fashion like your oldest. I think you sound like you would have fit right in with a group of mamas that we hung out with in those days when my oldest was that age.... all of our kids were "little professors" and with good reasons. They had parents who worked at the local university. so.... welcome along.
And, like you, we knew that even if they had those kinds of check list things that they knew, they just weren't ready for "school". They were ready for learning. and We moms were needing more structure to help it get done each day.

anyway, where was I? oh yeah... how to use MFW Pre K in a more structured "school day". I did that kind of thing with middle gal. even less structure with youngest. You see, my youngest has autism, and she ended up in 2 group setting pre schools. Based on those group preschool experiences, I have a few ideas to share for "preschool learning at home".

Try to pick a set time of day to "do school stuff". Make it fit your family. In my family "school" could start around breakfast time with Bible/songs, etc. (Well, ok, when my youngest came home to homeschool, her school routines in MFW K started with her wake up routines with calendar and math stuff.)

*set a general time of day where you'll be in "structured" school time. For 3 year old, it might be 30 minutes of "teacher directed", and then plenty of "student directed with teacher provided structure". what? that's it? Yes. And not all of those 30 minutes of teacher directed was at one time either. Both of the preschools my youngest attended were only 2.5 hours total. And that included getting in line, washing hands, playing outside, circle time, snack, etc. Of that time, it wasn't a lot of teacher tell me what to do.

You can start with a song time . Enjoy 1 or 2 songs a week. Next week, keep a favorite and add a new one.
Spend a moment praying together.
Read a story together
Provide activities based on that story - example if you read Ezra and the Snowy Day - have a "rice table" to play in "snow".
Free style play with art, craft, dress up or just good picture books to snuggle with

After some free time - select one of those Activity Cards and Toys and "assign" a job from it. You have lots of options on it. You could do a different toy every day of the "school week". You could do the same toy all week and change toys. Don't worry about getting to all of the activities in a year. They'll keep on keeping on.

Now, I realize that isn't day this and day that each day. I haven't written full plans for you.

Although it is not MFW product, I'd recommend you consider taking a look at something like FloweringBaby dot com for Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies Preschool plans. You will have to add in some Bible verses or songs.

for Bible... Use whatever your church is using and review on it during the week as a family. If you have them in children's classes, ask the children's minister for "take home ideas" or something like that. If you don't do children's classes, then, find ways to just talk each day about what you were learning in the sermon time.

and look for ways to be serving and helping others. Yes, we can teach all about character and there are unit studies and tons of books out there with their view on how to teach it... sometimes it comes in the everything things of life. Are you loving God and loving others with kindness, gentleness, etc. Do you show honor and respect.?

You're doing a good job so far. and you're right - it's not his time to start longer, seat work kind of school. It's not based on knowing letters and sounds....


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