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    Starting with K vs. 1st grade

    My daughter turns five at the end of March 2021. We haven't been doing anything this year aside from letter sounds, numbers, reading lots of books, and going on nature walks. I was planning to either do something really gentle next year like Garden of the Theotokos plus phonics and math and then do MP first grade, which is what my godmother does with her children. ​I never planned to do something super academic for K because I've always supported a more play-based K like I had growing up.

    I'm concerned that​ if we only do phonics and math plus GotT (which is basically an Eastern Orthodox catechism program), it will be a hard transition into 1st grade. But I'm also concerned that going into MP's K would be a hard transition after this year of not doing anything formal. On the kindergarten checklist, she meets all the readiness standards except for "writes some letters and numbers." Any suggestions/thoughts?

    ​​​​​​​Also if anyone has suggestions on homeschooling an only child, that would be wonderful. We've had two losses in the past few years and are losing hope that we'll be able to have any more living children. And even if we did, there would be a big age gap.

    #2
    The MPK program consists of phonics, math, copywork + enrichment. If you "only' do the phonics and math + your religion program, I think you will be just fine to start MP1. Just make sure you do the writing in the MPK phonics. It sounds like you are reading aloud plenty, so if you "skip" the enrichment, you will be just fine. I would call MP customer care though and customize a package. You can customize further than on the website.

    *edited to add that this year, I would try and get her to start writing her letters.* There are an insane amount of worksheets online for this practice! You can start "gently" by writing in a sand tray, etc and then by spring work up to writing the letters. Uppercase and Lowercase.
    Christine

    (2022/2023)
    DD1 8/23/09 -Mix of MP 6/7
    DS2 9/1/11 - Mix of SC 7/8 and SC 9/10 (R&S 5, FFL)
    DD3 2/9/13 -SC 5/6

    Previous Years
    DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, Mix of MP3/4, Mix MP5/6
    DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, AAR/Storytime Treasures), CLE Math, Mix of MP3/4, MP5 (literature mix of SC 7/8/MP5)
    DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1, MP2

    Comment


      #3
      My son (who had turned 5 in June) did most, but not all, of MP K last year and was not ready for MP 1st grade. If you want to skip K, then she has to somehow get reading really well next year, not just CVC words.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by howiecram View Post
        The MPK program consists of phonics, math, copywork + enrichment. If you "only' do the phonics and math + your religion program, I think you will be just fine to start MP1. Just make sure you do the writing in the MPK phonics. It sounds like you are reading aloud plenty, so if you "skip" the enrichment, you will be just fine. I would call MP customer care though and customize a package. You can customize further than on the website.

        *edited to add that this year, I would try and get her to start writing her letters.* There are an insane amount of worksheets online for this practice! You can start "gently" by writing in a sand tray, etc and then by spring work up to writing the letters. Uppercase and Lowercase.
        Do you think it would be worth it to order some of the Jr K materials and work through them? It's too late to do the whole curriculum, but maybe I could work in some of it.

        Another friend has said she didn't like Garden of the Theotokos so I'm going to see if I can look at her copy and decide for myself. From what I've heard, I think our parish's "church school at home" program is covering most of it, anyway. We use Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the teacher has sent instructions on how to do it at home since we can't have church school this year.

        I've just heard so much from people that doing too much too early is bad and will make your children burn out and hate school so I'm nervous about such a rigorous-looking K program. My parents put so much pressure on me that I developed an anxiety disorder so I'm worried about doing the same thing somehow.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by GingerG View Post
          My son (who had turned 5 in June) did most, but not all, of MP K last year and was not ready for MP 1st grade. If you want to skip K, then she has to somehow get reading really well next year, not just CVC words.
          Thanks for sharing your experience. I know my godmother is struggling with the reading right now so maybe that's why. My daughter can figure out a few CVC words but struggles.

          Comment


            #6
            For the remainder of this year I suggest working through the Alphabet Books from our Jr. K program as well as the Counting with Numbers and Number & Colors. This would prepare him for First Start Reading and the K phonics program in the fall. Unless you have a natural reader, I suggest going through the Kindergarten First Start Reading program following the Curriculum Manual and using the Teacher Guide as written. There are oral activities, teaching strategies as well as formation tips included in the scripted guide. For best success follow these very closely then transition into First Start Reading Book E and the literature and spelling of 1st grade should be seemless! The one tip I will give you is that once you begin reading in Fun in the Sun, read a couple of stories everyday. Work your way through each of those readers once they are introduced to provide the best practice those beginning readers need.

            Comment


              #7
              Kindergarten is a lot of play around here. We did similar to what you're thinking with #2 with a little phonics and math (not memoria just my own thing) in kindergarten and lots of read aloud a with his older brother. We spent about the first third of first grade doing kindergarten actual "work" which he flew through with a bit more maturity than he had the previous year- mostly just getting through FSR D. Then we picked up with first grade for the rest of the year. Worked great, and Second grade is off to a great start. For #3 I bought the manual for K and the rest of the FSR books as I felt like he and younger brother were getting neglect during the school day but we're mostly just doing the read alouds- I think we'll end up doing a similar path with him.
              2021/2022
              5A
              3M
              ​​​​​​1 (with some K work still to finish)
              ​With a 4 and 1 year old tag along

              Comment


                #8
                Time spent doing Kindergarten curriculum should definitely be limited and periods of sitting and writing broken up with movement. The lesson plans are written for 5 days though many schools condense these plans into two longer days (with plenty of breaks) but giving you 3 off days for short review and reading sessions.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Big hugs on your losses. We have walked down that road numerous times, and the Lord was faithful to heal the heartache.

                  We are 2/3 of the way through MPK and loving it. It is not too much at all, and most kids enjoy the one-on-one time with mom or dad that the material provides. The books from Enrichment are excellent, but if you want to keep it even more low-key, look to the FSR Books A-D. You could even skip the Core Skills reinforcing sheets to keep it super easy. I don't think that would be 20 minutes per day, and it would set her up for incredible success as you roll into MP1. If you add in the math, which is also super fun for my little guy, it would add another 15 minutes per day (and as Michelle said, you can condense the goals to 2 days in larger chunks, which is what the flagship school does). I find that the bare bones day for us is Recitation with counting (separate download if you don't want the manual), Phonics with flashcards and some blending practice, and writing something, be it letters or numbers, each day. The whole philosophy is do a great job on fewer letters/numbers than lots and lots of poorly-formed attempts.
                  Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                  Summer: First Start French I
                  SY 22/23
                  6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim in group, and Koine Greek
                  MP2 w/ R&S Arithmetic 3


                  Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                  SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would also agree that the quality of the materials and the value of the work assigned in the Kindergarten program makes it so delightful that it does not even seem as though you are being heavy-handed with school at all. And I would even try to do the full package with your daughter because of the fact you have that time with her. It is woven so nicely around the content of the reading and math that it truly does what it says - enriches the entire school day. It would be much like what you are already doing, but planned out for you to make it easier on you. When I was a new homeschooler, I had a hard time knowing what was an appropriate amount to do on a daily basis, so having it planned for me not only walked me through what we *should* be doing, but also what we *could* be doing, and then where to stop and say, “this is enough.” There is still a lot of growth your daughter will have between now and a new school year; you may be really surprised how well she (and you) takes to it.

                    I also want to say how sorry I am for the losses you have suffered, and for the hard path you are walking right now with plans for your family. Despite the blessings we have been given, loss has been a big presence in our lives, as well as ongoing crosses we never expected
                    to have to bear. I am glad that you shared that you are people of faith - for that is how we have gotten through each and every day, no matter what. God bless you, and I will be praying for you.

                    AMDG,
                    Sarah
                    2020-2021
                    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                    DS, 17
                    DD, 15
                    DD, 13
                    DD, 11
                    DD, 9
                    DD, 7
                    +DS+
                    DS, 2

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by enbateau View Post
                      Big hugs on your losses. We have walked down that road numerous times, and the Lord was faithful to heal the heartache.

                      We are 2/3 of the way through MPK and loving it. It is not too much at all, and most kids enjoy the one-on-one time with mom or dad that the material provides. The books from Enrichment are excellent, but if you want to keep it even more low-key, look to the FSR Books A-D. You could even skip the Core Skills reinforcing sheets to keep it super easy. I don't think that would be 20 minutes per day, and it would set her up for incredible success as you roll into MP1. If you add in the math, which is also super fun for my little guy, it would add another 15 minutes per day (and as Michelle said, you can condense the goals to 2 days in larger chunks, which is what the flagship school does). I find that the bare bones day for us is Recitation with counting (separate download if you don't want the manual), Phonics with flashcards and some blending practice, and writing something, be it letters or numbers, each day. The whole philosophy is do a great job on fewer letters/numbers than lots and lots of poorly-formed attempts.
                      Thank you! The phonics program for K is so much more expensive than I anticipated. It looks like we'd be spending about $360, not counting supplies and assuming we can find every book in the library. I guess I need to stop comparing it to public school and start comparing it to the classical parochial schools here that are $12k. But it's still a lot for us, especially since we're trying to save up for a house.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
                        I would also agree that the quality of the materials and the value of the work assigned in the Kindergarten program makes it so delightful that it does not even seem as though you are being heavy-handed with school at all. And I would even try to do the full package with your daughter because of the fact you have that time with her. It is woven so nicely around the content of the reading and math that it truly does what it says - enriches the entire school day. It would be much like what you are already doing, but planned out for you to make it easier on you. When I was a new homeschooler, I had a hard time knowing what was an appropriate amount to do on a daily basis, so having it planned for me not only walked me through what we *should* be doing, but also what we *could* be doing, and then where to stop and say, “this is enough.” There is still a lot of growth your daughter will have between now and a new school year; you may be really surprised how well she (and you) takes to it.

                        I also want to say how sorry I am for the losses you have suffered, and for the hard path you are walking right now with plans for your family. Despite the blessings we have been given, loss has been a big presence in our lives, as well as ongoing crosses we never expected
                        to have to bear. I am glad that you shared that you are people of faith - for that is how we have gotten through each and every day, no matter what. God bless you, and I will be praying for you.

                        AMDG,
                        Sarah
                        Thank you!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My current kindergartener also has a March birthday. We did nothing formal before her kindergarten year, but i got her the Rod and Staff pre-K ABC series, and she worked in those whenever she wanted during the year before kindergarten. We also played with letters and numbers to help build recognition, and by this past summer she was eagerly asking me to teach her to read. If it were me, I would not do any formal schooling before 5 but have fun exploring letters/sounds and numbers in a play-based format and/or with those Rod and Staff books. My 5 year old (who is NOT a self-taught reader already as my older daughter was at this age) is now doing great with MP's K program. The transition has not been hard at all. She only spends around 1 hour on school work each day, although if I had more time to devote to the enrichment activities, I'm sure it could be more. The enrichment stuff is really fun and not necessary to do in a formal way at all. For example, my daughter likes to sit on my lap as we flip through the big poetry book and she tries to say from memory each poem that has been introduced so far, using the illustrations as prompts. I love the read-aloud book selections and read them all to her and her little brother, but I don't necessarily ask every question in the enrichment guide or do every bit of the related language lesson if it seems too far over her head still. We are doing almost everything as written in the curriculum guide, but if you only do phonics and math thoroughly, that is the real meat and will prepare her fine for 1st grade. I will say, I was going to skip Copybook, as she can't yet read the passages that are assigned to copy, but I decided to throw it in, and it has been an unexpected plus. It only takes a few minutes each day, and it is helping her to learn proper letter formation, while memorizing small passages of Scripture. I know that soon she will be truly reading the words, but for now the copying is laying a foundation for neat handwriting and writing stamina...and how much better material to repeat as you write than mindless rows of letters to copy over and over!

                          Sorry, no tips on teaching an only child, but I am sorry for your losses. We have lost two little ones as well, and the grief has been very heavy to bear at those times.
                          Amy

                          Fall 2022:
                          DS 14 9th
                          DD 12 7th
                          DS 10 5th
                          DD 7 2nd
                          DS 5 K
                          DS 2

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I feel like Kindergarten doesn’t really feel very busy until the last 1/3 or so and even then, it can be done in a decently short amount of time with plenty of time left for other things throughout the day. We adjust to a 4 day school week and still feel it is very manageable for a Kindergartener. 1st grade ramps up quite a bit but the Kindergarten feels like a great balance.
                            Rebecca

                            Boy-2nd
                            Boy-1st
                            Boy-4yo
                            Girl-2yo

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