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New here! Questions about writing/phonics and fitting Memoria into our family

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    New here! Questions about writing/phonics and fitting Memoria into our family

    Hi! I'm new to the homeschooling journey. Well... new to it with our family (oldest is 4), but not new to it personally (I was homeschooled). I love the look of Memoria Press and want to use it in our homeschool, but I'm trying to figure out fit it into our current needs. I keep putting off joining this forum because I feel like I need to do a perfect job writing down my questions. But that's never going to happen. Ha! So here I go with my 4 year old running around dressed like a fireman and putting "fires" out around me and the baby in my lap.

    Alphabet/Number Book Question:

    I had a baby in the spring, so right now I've decided to piece together things informally instead of doing Jr K whole program right now. I would like to be in Memoria K next year, though. My 4 year old son is finally interested in tracing and writing, so I've been having him trace things I write. But it's time to get a book(s) of numbers and letters. Preferably the letter book would have some words to copy, too, since he can already read.

    I love the "look" of the numbers and alphabet books Memoria offers, but I can't help but feel that $15 a book seems a bit steep, considering workbooks for First Start (for example) are so much less. Are these books really worth the price tag? I'm super inclined to buy another less expensive book(s), because I simply can't see spending $60 on books that teaching letters and numbers (with some other activities, of course). I guess my gut tells me that my child will be fine and survive just fine without them. Are there any books that have similar manuscript print that should be similar enough to Memoria before moving into copybooks/First Start Reading, etc? I'm leaning toward something like Writing Our Catholic Faith K (although I don't like the look as well, it seems like it could be sufficient.) Underlying my question is the fact that I'm working with a grad school budget since my husband is still finishing his PhD,.

    First Start Reading Question:

    My 4 year old son can already read really well. But the catch is, he learned without phonics. (LONG story, so here's the short version . I'm a proponent of phonics, but my DH's family had amazing success with teaching whole word, IF taught at a young age, i.e. 2 or 3. I agreed to try it, figuring that if not successful, my son wouldn't be behind since he is still young. It worked amazingly and he's well above all of the basic "I Can Read" books, think Frog and Toad, Dr. Seuss, etc.) I know this sounds weird, but he's definitely intuited some phonics and he obviously knows many, many more words than I formally taught.

    I definitely need and want to teach him phonics systematically and I plan to start soon, but probably not until the spring. Will First Start still be a good fit for us? I guess the writing aspect looks great, but the reading passages look so basic. Does anyone have experience using First Start for a child already reading? Should I expect that it will take less time/ that we will be moving quicker than written? Are there things I may be able to skip, or would you still do everything (every reader i.e. Scamp and Tramp, etc? They look so basic in comparison to the readers he's been reading with me). Like I said, I do want to systematically teach phonics, so I don't need anyone to argue for that-- I'm just trying to figure out how to incorporate First Start into where we already stand.

    Lastly, Copybook/Bible Verses Question:

    We are Catholic. I'm not thrilled with using the KJV for bible passages (especially ones that are to be committed to memory). How much of the copybook do you actually memorize? Anyone know what Catholics out there have done when it comes to copybooks/bible verse parts of the curriculum?

    I have to go now, but I appreciate any insight! Also, I don't spend a ton of time online, so I may not respond immediately! Thanks so much!

    For cheap workbooks that are perfect for that pre-k age check out rod and staff workbooks available from memoria Press endorses these books and actually uses them in their Simply Classical curriculum.

    My daughter was a strong reader when she started k. She taught herself to read by simply listening in as I taught her older brother. Did I skip things in the k curriculum? Nope. She could've easily started with Frog and Toad, which is a first grade reading, but we followed the plan for k.

    A good phonics base is more than just knowing letter sounds and phonograms. Knowing phonics helps with reading AND spelling. That's the benefit of following the k plan....teaching the spelling aspect of reading. It's also written at an age-appropriate level for other aspects of school like writing stamina, attention span, etc.

    I would stick with the k plan next year. It's age appropriate. And you'll have your hands full with a house full of little people. Don't add more pressure to your plate. Have a fun first year of homeschool
    Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

    DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
    DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
    DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

    We've completed:
    Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
    Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.


      We're not KJV fans for our daily BIble reading time either, as we don't speak Elizabethan English, but it makes SO much sense to let it be the one thing that attunes the ear to understanding Shakespeare later down the line. For that reason alone, I appreciate that my kids are getting a working knowledge "abideth," and "beloved," and "thee, thy, thine and thou."

      My little guy is going through the Alphabet Books 1 & 2 right now, and the tracing is great practice. Even better are the fun games, mazes, picture puzzles, and teaching of concepts such as identifying beginning sounds, middle sounds and ending sounds, coordinating with and distinguishing uppercase & lowercase letters. I think they are well worth it, as it's systematic and good at revealing gaps in knowledge. My little guy is blending almost all CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words like CAT, DOG, HOT, BIN, RUG, FIX, etc. But he still enjoys the practice parsing out the difference between words that start with g and end with g. Usually that's why they call this stage ear-training. If your Jr. K-er can identify and isolate almost all words' beginning, middle, and end sounds and write those sounds, then he'll be a great candidate for FSR A-D in MPK.

      I'll defer to others who can say more about the Jr. K components.
      Mama to 2, Married 17 years

      SY 19/20
      DD 9-3A
      DS 6-SC C


        Hello new Forum friend!

        Oh, goodness, your post is so fun. Starting out with a four year old - welcome! I am a long-time MP'er, who is also Catholic, and who has been so happy with our homeschooling journey - mostly thanks to MP! You have already received great advice to your specific questions, so normally this is the point where I would give a nice, long-ish post about being patient, taking your time, and enjoying your children while they are young. You can definitely have a committed approach to school and yet remain relaxed in how you follow's a balancing act, but there are so many of us who manage it around here. I don't have a lot of time as we are heading out the door for the weekend, but I encourage you to take some time to read through the archives of this Forum - especially ones with "new family," "multiple cores," "kindergarten," and such tags. There are so many wonderful women who have shared their experiences here and that are valuable to read.

        I will say that as a Catholic family, we have still really enjoyed the Copybook program and the Golden Bible that is used in the Christian Studies program. My kids have a knowledge and familiarity with the Bible that I never received even through 12 years of Catholic education. We supplement with the Faith and Life series, as well as having them memorize the Baltimore Catechism. That is what we use for memory work instead of the Bible verses.

        Lastly, I want to echo that it is important to move at your child's pace of readiness without skipping material. I wholeheartedly agree that staring at the beginning of K and moving forward is the right move so that there are no gaps in any of the primary skills. The FSR program is not just about reading and phonics - it's also about writing. And for young little boys, that can be a particular area of struggle. You may need to go slower than you expect just to let him be who he is - a wiggly, young, curious, active boy with a short-attention span and perhaps a very strong will (if he's anything like my kids, anyway!)

        Again, welcome! I hope you continue to jump in here and ask any questions you have. Never worry about how they sound or whether you "should" or not. We are all on the same journey! I remember well the questions I had with my first's been a while, but those memories are still fresh! And we all love to help. <3

        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 8
        DD, 6
        DS, 2


          Hi there! Speaking just about the phonics-after-reading bit here: my older son taught himself to read at age 4 too (I kid you not, it happened because he learned to decipher those ubiquitous street work signs, like Road Work Ahead!) He was a perfect reader, but I still did phonics, though I used All About Spelling starting in 1st grade: at that point he was ready to learn all the sounds of the letters all at once. His sister needed a more traditional approach in her K year, with only one sound per letter learned first. We did breeze through all of this: they just happened to be great spellers, and even with writing added, it wasn't a problem for them. I used AAS because I didn't know MP at that point yet, so it was not a rejection of FSR at all: we all loved it, and saw no reason to change even later on when we started using MP books.

          As Sarah said, plan on skipping nothing, and just adapt the pace to what you see when you work with him: likely, the pace will be uneven, with some lessons taking no time, and others when you'll have to slow down a bit, or even repeat. This approach will give you a lot of peace: you'll never have to deal with gnawing worries about the things you decided to skip!