Academics - Is MFW-K just teaching letters?

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Julie in MN
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Academics - Is MFW-K just teaching letters?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:55 pm

Ahead in Reading and Math-What subs. are possible in K5?
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...
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.

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!
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

tremains
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Re: Ahead in Reading and Math-What subs. are possible in K5?

Unread post by tremains » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:37 am

Julie,
Thank you for the reply and your advice. My son is reading, but it's not without any type of phonics instruction. When I say he hasn't received "formal phonics" instruction, I just mean I haven't bought a whole curriculum and gone through it before, but he has a good grasp of it from what I have taught him. As for math, he has learned to add and subtract with the use of manipulatives and workbooks, once again, just not with "formal" curriculum. So, it's not that I want to skip any of the math next year, but just go beyond what I have seen in most K math books. It is all just so confusing and time consuming to search and decide!

I do like how MFW takes every learning concept and combines it with the others, like you mentioned, so I understand why there can't be much substitution. It sounds like a great program.

Thanks for your advice! I can tell you have wisdom and experience in this area of what to do and what not to do! :) Thanks for sharing!

Julie in MN
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Re: Ahead in Reading and Math-What subs. are possible in K5?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:35 pm

Okay, I see, you have done phonics already, that is good to hear. I will say that I'm not 100% sure that a 4yo understands phonics the same way an older child does, but i suppose you don't want to spend *too* much time on the same ground. And yet, you look forward to having something all planned out and not having to pull in your own things too much...

I wonder if you've glanced through the MFW-K "ideas board"? I wonder if some of those ideas would help you fill out MFW-K when you are covering things you've just covered in the past year. You would be following the plan in the K manual, but expanding here and there. For instance, my grandson already knew the alphabet letters so we spent more time on matching upper and lower case using the MFW-K card game during the early weeks, especially those hard ones of b, d, p, and q. Here are threads for expanding phonics: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 179#p47744
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 179#p60641

This math thread mentions folks adding things like Singapore, Kumon, and Math-U-See (not that *I* would do that LOL!). http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7169

A little more writing can be added: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=9#p6363

More literature and activities (just the C-C-Cow Unit, but there are threads for each unit): http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=38

I do hope you get more feedback from others, or at least you have a chance to read through the archives from other moms, because I'm only using K with my grandson. But from my point of view, MFW-K is very age-appropriate in terms of length of day, amount of writing, and understanding of character lessons. Some of us here would hate to miss K :)

Best wishes,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

tremains
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:50 pm

Re: Ahead in Reading and Math-What subs. are possible in K5?

Unread post by tremains » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:48 am

OK, thanks. I'll check out the links you sent!

asheslawson
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question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by asheslawson » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:09 pm

Jconnell wrote:I am looking at using mfw kindergarten with my soon to be kindergarten son (5 yrs. old). He knows some letters/sounds, but not all of them. My question about this particular program: once the child learns the letter is there a way to move forward with the phonics portion of the guide. It appears that they could be held back in their reading progression if they remain on letter Ss for 6 days when they already knew the letter on Day 1. Just wondering if anyone has encountered this situation and any suggestions will be helpful. :) Thanks!

Also, I have a 2nd grader who could possibly be in Adventures. Could 5 yr. old tag along with the Adventures guide and just have age-appropriate 3Rs separately?

Jenny
My dd did tag along as her brother did ECC - but we did MFW K as well. She turned 6 in September so she began K as a 5 year old but was 6 soon. The phonics progresses nicely - although it seemed slow for me - it was perfect for her. I wanted her to read faster - she just wasn't ready.

While working on "s" for 6 days, MFW also covered math, art projects, bible, science. It was a really sweet program that I would love to do over again and I'm so glad I didn't skip it (I also considered just doing an age appropriate phonics program and having her tag along with her brother in ECC for the fun stuff). She loved doing the art & science projects in ECC & enjoyed the read-alouds - but she was not ready for most of the items (including the science book - she just loved to do the experiments with her brother).

You would know your child's level best - but I am so glad I did MFW K & 1st. It built a solid foundation - and now she is reading very well - despite her slow start (she seems to enjoy math more naturally & reading didn't come as easy for her as it did her brothers - though for them it was the opposite - reading was easier & math has always been their "sore" subject). They are really fun programs to do. (I've heard adventures is great as well, but I didn't get to do it - since my son began homeschooling in 4th grade doing ECC - she plunged right into RTR this year for her 2nd grade year - and tagged along a bit with ECC & CTG with him.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" Colossians 2:6
dd-28, ds-25, ds-24, ds-22, ds-14, dd-10, student 13, granddaughter 3
MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, EX1850, 1850-MOD
http://texashomeschooler.blogspot.com/

Jconnell
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Re: question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by Jconnell » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:26 pm

Thank you! That is very helpful. I am torn between wanting to give him his own curriculum and time alone with me vs. time together with big brother learning as a family. It is so hard! Once I think I have it figured out for my oldest son, it changes when the next child comes along. ;) Did you add a separate math curriculum? Because (correct me if I'm wrong) isn't only living/applied math included in the K program? How long did you find the lesson plans taking on a daily basis?

Julie in MN
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Re: question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:48 pm

Jconnell wrote:It appears that they could be held back in their reading progression if they remain on letter Ss for 6 days when they already knew the letter on Day 1.
Hi Jenny,
I'm "afterschooling" my grandson with K right now. I think what might not be clear is that each unit study in K is not just about the letter. Gradually the student is learning to read (and those already reading may be learning to spell), and learning various concepts in English (sequencing, rhyming), as well as all the other subjects of course - wonderful Bible/character lessons, math in various ways including numbers and concepts, science topics such as farm animals, weekly songs and poems, literature and music, etc.

If you look at the sample and scroll down to the Zebra grid page,
http://www.mfwbooks.com/products/5/Kind ... n/#Samples
you can click on some of the links to see things the student will be doing. For instance, if you click on "word list page" (or scroll way down to that page), you'll see that after some of that week's lessons, the student is asked to sound out some 15 words, using all 5 vowels, without picture cues - so he is reading words. The facing page shows how this week's words are first sounded out & written -- my grandson traces my dotted lines still, but he could very well use this for dictation/spelling if he was ready for that after spending all day in ps :) By the last page of the sample, he is working on reading sentences (with some picture cues). Or, if you look at the picture card page on Day 1, this might include a vocabulary lesson, if your child isn't familiar with the word "zigzag." On Day 5, the advanced student might even write a story on the drawing page.

I also have experience with a very early reader and I truly wish I'd have known that he needed the early K lessons. His teachers (and I) skipped things like working with the alphabet and the sounds, at least as much as a K student would normally do, so those things aren't "in him" - they don't come as automatically to him as I would hope, even now as a big 17yo.

But even without those early learning lessons, I think there is a lot for a K student to glean from doing K. And the great thing is that if there isn't enough, then your K student will also be able to join in with your Adventures student!
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

momofsix
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Re: question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by momofsix » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:51 pm

after the first week they are practicing more than just the 1 letter each week, they will soon be sounding consonant & vowel syllables, and practicing all learned sounds. Plus like other posters said, there's more to it than just learning a letter sound. Lots of fun activities beside the worksheets too.
HtH
Elissa in MN (really mom of 8 ) 3 boys: 16, 10, 7 & 5 girls: 13, 11, 5, 4, 1
Using: God's Creation from A to Z, Exploring Countries & Cultures, World History & Lit, Math-U-See, Sequential Spelling, Rod & Staff English...and more

dschurma
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Re: question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by dschurma » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:11 pm

The phonics moves at a very gentle pace, but you will have a child who is confident and fluent in CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words by the end of the year. My son came into the program knowing all his letters and sounds, and he could slowly sound out CVC words. He is becoming more fluent with practice, and he is gaining confidence. He is not bored at all...he LOVES most of the phonics. (The only part he doesn't like is the drawing page because he doesn't care for drawing!) We are on Unit 14, and he is so proud to read sentences for the cut & paste pages. It suddenly clicked with him that he can READ, and that has done wonders for his confidence!

As for the math, there is one math page per unit. You won't be doing a workbook each day. I started off thinking we would add Singapore Essentials K after a few weeks, but we are content without it. It wouldn't be difficult to add a K math program is you felt the need for more thorough math, but I would encourage you to start without and give it a try "as is" for a month.

The hands on activities and quality literature are what makes K so very appealing to me. My son and I just LOVE this special time spent together each day! (By the way, we condense to 5 days per unit. We don't have to meet any state requirements for K, so that works well for us.)
Dawn
wife to Keith
Mama to Alex (12/2007) Max (8/2009) and Jensyn (4/2011)
Visit our family's blog: http://mamasmonkeys.blogspot.com

MFW-Lucy

Re: question about mfw kindergarten

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:04 pm

Jconnell wrote: ;) Did you add a separate math curriculum? Because (correct me if I'm wrong) isn't only living/applied math included in the K program? How long did you find the lesson plans taking on a daily basis?
Hi Jconnell,

Thanks for asking your questions here about the K program. I wanted to address your concerns above and say that if you follow the curriculum as written you will have a complete K math program and do not need to add anything. There are daily activities included to lay a foundation for math such as place value, learning numbers to 30, writing numbers to 100, sequences and patterns, and calendar. The calendar and 100's chart are written on each day. Later in the year students daily work with added with money and simple addition and subtraction. Many concepts will also be introduced through hands-on activities within each unit as you mentioned above, but there are daily activities included and one worksheet included in the Student Sheets. We highly recommend the the Cuisenaire Rods along with the Alphabet Book that are apart of the Deluxe package to also work on math each week (this includes 2 worksheets a week). All in all there are daily hands-on activities, 3 worksheets a week if you choose to use the Cuisenaire book and math woven into the thematic activities.

I hope that helps you see the bigger picture! If you have additional questions, let us know.

MelissaB
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New with Questions

Unread post by MelissaB » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:19 am

GLPerky wrote:I am looking into using MFW with my 5 yo DS, who will be 6 this Nov. I am not sure if I should start him in K or 1st.
I think I would do Kindergarten first. There's soooo much in Kindergarten, other than just letters and sounds. He'll be playing games that reinforce his ability to "build" words in his mind, he'll be playing science games that go with the letter of the week. And, if he's advanced and you feel he's getting bored (I don't think there's any chance of that - You'll love the K curriculum! :) ), you can always do one letter every two / three days and choose his favorite games/activities to go with that letter.

And pray about it. The Lord knows far better than we Moms what His plans are for your sweet man's life! :-)

Either way you go, enjoy!
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

Julie in MN
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Re: New with Questions

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:17 pm

There was a thread recently where I typed out some of the other things in K, specifically in reading. Maybe that would help?
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... cow#p93181

In other words, even though the "unit" centers around the letter C, it doesn't mean you are just learning C in reading. Your student will be reading words and sentences, as well as memory work with the Bible lesson and usually a weekly poem, and there is a weekly drawing page where a child can reinforce topics or write a little story (near the end of the sample pages here http://www.mfwbooks.com/downloads/pdfs/ ... s/k_TM.pdf )

LOL my grandson saw me open up that link and said, "Oh, they are past us," because he knows we haven't done the z-z-zebra unit yet. He just "afterschools" with MFW-K and I feel the reading instruction in K is more in depth than what I see of his public school work -- although I could be biased ?? !!

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
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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