Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trying to figure out when to start MFWK

This post is a bit of a brain dump. I'm trying to sort some things out, so I'm hoping that by putting my thoughts to the keyboard (and asking for feedback!) I can make some sense out of when to start my son on My Father's World Kindergarten.

Some background:

- Johnny is turning 4.5 this week (December birthday).
- He is interested in learning to read. He knows all basic letter sounds, can sound out many CVC words and some extras if it follows the phonics rules he knows.
- He likes to write. He'll grab paper and a pen and compose a message of sorts, and he thinks that's pretty fun.

I already own the MFWK set, so I've been able to look through the materials. I think he's academically ready for the curriculum, but I know that some moms think the Bible lessons in some units are better grasped as a 5 or even 6yo.

I'm not sure if he's ready for formal daily schoolwork. We've never tried anything formal. I know I could start really slowly and just do a few days a week. I also know that MFWK starts off really slow and gentle, and gradually builds up.

I'm also not sure if his scissor skills are up to the cutting needed.

If it were just Johnny and his sister on the scene, I would most likely start MFWK this fall and just go at the pace needed.


Baby #3 is coming! She's due in late September or early October. With Johnny as a newborn, I was barely functional for a long time following his birth. It probably took me until spring before I felt reasonably human, but even so his entire first year is a hazy memory. Something about massive sleep deprivation and PPD causing problems...

Vivie was easier on me as a newborn. I had more confidence and experience, and she was less demanding (only as a newborn!! heh.). I bounced back much faster with her.

With baby #3, I'm hopeful that the due date will help with my recovery. Should still be decent outside, and it won't be around the horrible winter solstice. No daylight makes for a crabby mama!

So in theory, I might only want a month off after the baby comes before I think about adding school stuff back.

But in practice, I don't want to set myself up for failure. I don't want to have high expectations for the semester or even school year. He's 4 turning 5 mid-year. I don't have to report to my state. The only requirements are the ones I make for myself, ya know?

At the same time, if he's ready and I'm ready, I don't want to miss out on a fun learning time together. I'd hate to delay MFWK for too long, in case I miss the prime window of opportunity for him to get the most out of it.

I could:

1.  Start MFWK in the beginning of August and do a few weeks until the baby comes. Doing this would help me get in the swing of a more structured program, and by the baby's birth, I should have a good feel for how MFWK flows. It might help me get back into it later, knowing more of what to expect with each day/week.

If he's not ready, we could easily stop. No problem. A downside -- he's still so young. Do I really want to start as a 4yo?

2.  Start MFWK in January. From Aug-Jan. I could do some of the preschool activities we have, and keep it pretty low-key, but building up the structure (for both of our sakes). If we start in January, it might be difficult to finish by June or so unless we pick up the pace near the end. Not sure if I'd want to keep going, or combine some units/go double speed, or just shelve some of it for the following fall or skip it altogether.

Not sure if I even care when we finish. I did summer school in some form in each of my high school years and several for college, though as a youngster I think having summers off is fun (though of course, knowledge melts out of your brain during the summer if you don't practice your math. Reading? No problem to keep on reading through the summer).

3.  Start MFWK the fall of '14. His true kindergarten year. By that point, I bet he'd be reading much more and the phonics within the program would be all review. But, I like MFWK because it's much more than a phonics program, and I still think he'd get a lot out of it. I think it's ok if the kindergarten year is easy, because it's kindergarten! And it's a huge confidence boost for everyone.

After MFWK (whenever that may be), I'm open to using Heart of Dakota LHFHG (their k or 1st grade) guide. I also now own that, and I'm reading through it and some of the books to see if it might be a good fit. Or, if we do MFWK when he's a true kindergartener, we may go to MFW1st the following year.

I just don't know which start point would work best for me, for Johnny, and for my other kids.

Vivie is 2.5 (tomorrow!) also with a December birthday. She will probably want her own version of activities to do alongside her brother.

Who will be the better tag-alongs? A late 2yo/newly turned 3yo and a newborn/3mo? The baby will hopefully sleep plenty, and I think Vivie at 3 could be a decent tag-along.

Or, Vivie at 3.5 turning 4 (and definitely more preschool-aged in her own right) and a 1yo. Yipe, the 1yo. I wonder if that year might be a challenging one. So would it be better to have one year of a more formal structure under my belt ahead of that, or would it be just as well to start MFWK at that time, knowing it's gentle and doable, toddler tornado and all?

K, ye who have walked the path before me or have Googled until your eyeballs glazed over: lend me your brain cells and tell me what you think?

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