Hi and welcome. Yes, the curriculum search can start out fun and end up sucking all your family time away. I think that's why folks are so happy when they find what's right.tremains wrote:I am researching curriculum for my son. He will be 5 1/2 in Aug. when we begin the school year. He is already reading independently and has even started small chapter books lately. He also is able to count, write his numbers and do simple addition and subtraction. I am debating at this time between MFW and [a program where] I can choose my own math and phonics (if I decide to use any) books, so I don't feel like he will be held back in those areas that he is already doing so well in. However, I'm still considering using MFW for the coming school year for other reasons.
My question is: How flexible is MFW in the area of substitution? Are the MfW lesson plans laid out so that they are meant for the specific Phonics and Math books that come with the package? Any advice would be helpful! I'm sooo tired of looking at curriculum...
MFW's K and 1st grade are different than the rest of the years, in that they include phonics and math. In fact, phonics and math are probably the most important lessons that a K and 1st grader are working on. Well, character and Bible might be first for some of us homeschoolers But the rest is just gravy, or sometimes a way to draw a child in to the important stuff, such as the science themes in K.
There aren't really separate books you can sub out in MFW-K and 1st, like the other years, because it's all there in the lessons. For example, my grandson is "afterschooling" with MFW-K and we're on the C-C-Cow lesson. He's learning the Bible lesson that God's Word helps me grow, we're talking about farm animals and dairy products, we're singing farm animal songs and learning the poem about the Purple Cow, he's learning to identify words that start with C and to spell and read short-vowel words that include letters we've already learned, there are stories that relate to these topics, and games, oh and there are math activities in there too, such as skip counting by 2s with raisins while you sing The Ants Go Marching 2 By 2 (I-I-Insect unit), or finding 10 objects around the house. He's getting "language arts and math" on many levels, but not just in a workbook. There are some worksheets, probably one a day English and one or so a week in math -- we've done a simple grid, some patterns, counting groups, writing numerals, making a calendar,etc. But there are far more active lessons like matching cards and finding letters and connecting letters to God's truths - which he loves.
I will admit that I am a die-hard better-late-than-early gal. And I am a grandmother. So take what you will from my thoughts.
My youngest taught himself to read before K and he was still placed in K by the public schools, because it's just more appropriate for age and maturity. So, his K-2 teachers said they had "nothing to teach him" in phonics so my son read chapter books on his own, up through Narnia. I didn't know any different. But now I realize -- he didn't need more advanced learning, he needed phonics. It's just like the kid who already knows how to drive, and you still take him through driver's ed even if he's kicking and screaming, because there are a lot of safety details and even laws of physics and such that a young driver probably didn't realize behind what he does. My youngest came home to school in 3rd grade and he couldn't alphabetize because he hadn't worked with the alphabet -- "Mom, is D toward the beginning of the alphabet or toward the end?" In fact, I still fight his desire to memorize in 11th grade, because it makes him feel so successful, but he's taking college courses, and the upper level courses want students who have absorbed the vocabulary and concepts from lower level courses and can discuss them, not just memorizers who passed tests. Oh, that was more than you asked for Back to the subject at hand... I'd make sure your little student isn't just memorizing. Because if he is, then I would still take him through a complete phonics program.
The same with math -- kids can "do numbers" but more importantly, can they understand what numbers are doing? My oldest son is an engineer and he didn't do any academics until age 6, and when I talked to his K teacher about him, she said she had a classroom of kids who could count to 100 and knew that 3 comes "after" 2, but only a few like my son really understood that the symbol 3 stood for "more" than the symbol 2. I think hands-on is the way a young child is designed to learn those things. The abstract symbols in a workbook are just a later shortcut - the symbols such as 2+2=4 are not the goal, but just the language that helps talk about the goal when it starts getting bulky and complex. And the MFW program gives me many ways to talk about numbers and things we do with them, as well as the beginnings of symbolic math.
I know there are moms around here who have decided to sub things out at their house, so hopefully you'll hear from them, as well!