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    Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

    Hello,

    We are in week 3 of first grade with my oldest daughter, who turned 6 at the beginning of August. Last year, we completed All About Reading level 1, but I felt that she wasn't retaining it all even though she could read the words during the lessons. We got MP K around November of last year, and she also did the majority of First Start Reading but not exactly as written and not in its entirety. I tried to keep her K year relaxed as she was a young 5, but now I'm wondering if she is ready for all of MP 1st.

    She gets very stressed when she comes to a word she doesn't know in the Primary Phonics readers. Some days, it seems she will do great with them, and others, I realize that I'm helping her start multiple words and maybe she just guesses what they are through context clues. We started At the Fair With Cecil and Alice yesterday, and she was in tears before the end of the book. My husband has observed and feels that she has a lot of heart issues right now, with just learning that homeschooling is structured, is not "do whatever you want because Mommy is my teacher," and requires concentrated focus more now that she's a big girl. She seems to do okay with Rod and Staff math, but will balk at a page of facts, even if she knows them. She usually doesn't mind the phonics workbooks as much, and I feel I do have to help her a lot with Spelling Workout because it's a new subject to her.

    I guess I'm asking if I need to stop where we are, and do nothing but phonics review? Spend more time with the lists in Classical Phonics? We do read those lists before each reader, and she gets it. After a few words, she sees the pattern and can read face, place, space, etc. But when all those words end up in a story together, she forgets that a few days ago we learned two sounds for -ow, or that -ay makes a sound, or that y can be an e. I have never taught phonics before and taught myself how to read at a very young age, so this is all new to me! I don't want to give her a negative view of reading when it is the key to everything she'll do in school.

    Thank you for any advice you might have, and confirmation that mine isn't the only six-year-old girl who already says she doesn't like school.

    In Christ,

    Jessica

    #2
    Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

    I know Michelle will chime in later with an exact recommendation but it sounds like to me that you need to go back and finish FSR, probably starting with book C or D, and make surer she really has it. There is a huge jump between the "end" of FSR and the "beginning" of first which is why the summer readers are scheduled. I also have a youngish first grader this year and I was amazed how much distance we traveled between the end of book D and the beginning of first grade via the readers. The summer is not just for maintenance but for advancement. We followed the summer plan and she started Little Bear this week. She's not blazing fast but she can read all the words and delight in it. Reading is individual and developmental, and it requires time, structure, and practice.
    I'm guessing you just need to back track a little bit. And that's ok. Many, many families find they need to back track and solidify something. The young years are the absolute best time for it.

    Hugs to my fellow "Jessica!"
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
    DS Hillsdale College freshman
    DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
    DD 8th • HLN & Home
    DS 5th • HLN & Home
    Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

    Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

      Thank you for the much needed hug, "other Jessica!" It is so easy to overthink these things, or worry that we are "behind," but behind whom? I think going back makes the most sense, especially if we are committed to moving forward with MP.

      This does, however, mean I will be working out of two lesson plan books, which stresses me, but I know I can do it as a fully-functioning adult. I really think she is fine with math, does beautiful Copybook work, and seems fine with learning to dictate spelling words. I just want to make sure her reading is very solid before it ramps up. I don't want her to sob over Little Bear. She's reaching that point where her desire to just sit down and read is so strong, and she becomes frustrated when it doesn't happen. I want to keep the enthusiasm and passion to read anything she wants, but give her the proper tools to get there and minimize frustration.

      At first, I panicked and thought we just needed to do all of MP K again, completely and perfectly. But I'm not sure that would be meeting her where she is, either. The reality is she's a pretty solid MP first grader who needs confidence and fluency in her reading. You can guarantee her little sister will do MP K next year exactly as written! I get it now!

      In Christ,

      Jessica

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

        Jessica,
        Two manuals are annoying, but you can completely do it! I suggest using binder clips and removable sticky flags to maintain sanity. I use binder clips in all my kids' manuals to clip off all the weeks we've already completed. Since you've likely already checked, etc. in the old plan, you can let your daughter color in the box when she's done with that day's work. One of my friends has her kids color in the entire box of the lesson plan to show that activity is done. At week's end it's a beautiful rainbow and looks like you've done SO much work! It's also super-helpful to mom who can see exactly what work is done and what work remains.
        Festina lentē,
        Jessica P

        '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
        DS Hillsdale College freshman
        DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
        DD 8th • HLN & Home
        DS 5th • HLN & Home
        Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

        Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

          I'm still so torn between just putting her back in K and letting her breeze through FSR A and B (which would build confidence) and maybe continue with Rod & Staff Math at the first grade level. I'm concerned that because we weren't certain about our direction last year, that she feels overwhelmed with the amount of work in 1st because we didn't have months and months of solid, disciplined work in K, which MP starts off with just the right amount.

          It's just hard for me to wrap my brain around doing remediation in reading back to K Week 19 but moving forward with first grade plans...I can't tell if she needs time to just learn how to be a student with a more simple, less busy schedule like the K ones.

          We will pray about it and I'm sure it will all work out. At least I have no doubts in this beautiful curriculum! Thank you so much for your replies.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

            What about this idea?
            You could take her back to the beginning of K, breeze through other subjects while focusing on nailing reading. If you get done early for the year, you already have first grade and can simply move on. As you move through K-2 you might be a tiny bit "behind" where you'd be otherwise (behind whom though, right? ). However, this will position you perfectly for moving into accelerated third when it comes time for that.
            Festina lentē,
            Jessica P

            '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
            DS Hillsdale College freshman
            DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
            DD 8th • HLN & Home
            DS 5th • HLN & Home
            Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

            Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

              Jessica,
              I like Jessuca's suggestion to revert to K, as I completely agree that now is the fundamental time to master skills. The remidiation in reading is definitely necessary.

              But I would also like to encourage you to continue with the rest of First, as a viable alternative too. I think of it like this - some of the main problems you described (aside from reading) were the struggle she is experiencing for adjusting to a more rigorous method than she has ever had. Handled with delicacy, compassion, and gentle but firm authority, this could be a good learning experience for her, and for you.

              It sounds like you are trying to set forth new expectations, it has gotten hard, and she (in a way) will see how strong your resolve is. I am in no way encouraging you to plow through if there are real problems, but from what you described, that does not sound like the case.

              Your last comment from one of your posts struck me...I frequently deal with attitudes of "I don't like this" or "I hate school" (less often now, but in the beginning it was so!). I gently but firmly answer them that they are not allowed to speak negatively about school like that. "It is a blessing to study X because of 'this'.....and we should be grateful to God for this blessing." Short, to the point, and we move on. If the bad attitude persists, they run some stairs until they are ready to work nicely again.

              Just some more thoughts for you. Hope it might be helpful!
              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


                #8
                Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                This may or may not be helpful, but this is what we have been doing.

                First I go over the phonics rule in Classical Phonics (example: soft c=/s/before e,i,y), and we read the word list for that rule. On the inside front cover of the phonics readers are 2 boxes of words: the focus concept and sight words, and we read these before starting the book. I help them if they are having a hard time sounding them out since these are new rules. Then we read the book. If they struggle I remind them of the rule and sound if necessary.

                Since I have twins I usually have them to read to each other, and they help each other out. Then the other one is familiar with the story, and it is easier for them. I have them take turns in which one goes first.

                The purple set seem to be a bit harder than the others. I think it is because these are new rules that have not been introduced yet. So we practiced the word list in Classical Phonics twice. Also they read At the Fair with Cecil and Alice and listened to each other. Then I had them read to Daddy before bedtime.

                I hope this helps and offers some encouragement. We practice and reinforce the rule.

                Blessings to you and your family.
                Dawn
                Son and Daughter (twins) 8, MP Second Grade 2016-2017
                Completed Jr. Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade
                Son 22, Corrections Officer, Marching Band Horn line Instructor
                Daughter 17, PS, 3rd year Marching Band, 1st Flute

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                  Jessica and Dawn,
                  So in the First Grade plans you are working from, do you do Pink readers for two weeks and then into Little Bear? My set has that order. Starting in week three we have a Purple reader at the rate of about one per week.
                  Or, I saw in another thread that someone didn't get to Little Bear until week 5...perhaps there has been an adjustment that might be helpful to you, Jessica.
                  Festina lentē,
                  Jessica P

                  '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                  DS Hillsdale College freshman
                  DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                  DD 8th • HLN & Home
                  DS 5th • HLN & Home
                  Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

                  Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                  Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                    Hi Jessica,
                    You have gotten some great advice, I just thought I would add my experiences. We began First Grade with MP this year after a K year that was not MP. I was privileged to attend the Homeschool Retreat this summer and learn firsthand from the fantastic people at HLS, specifically Michelle and Tanya. My son cannot read Little Bear yet, but he's coming along great with the wisdom they shared. After speaking about my sons ability, Michelle suggested we back up to only the summer reading program for K. Some of the sounds we have already covered, but covering them again allows him to have increased confidence. We are definitely filling in some gaps. The other new to me insight I learned is that Spelling is Phonics Mastery, so it was suggested to me that we wait on spelling until we finish the K reading program. We are however moving along in the other subjects of First Grade. Cursive, Copybook, Enrichment, etc. We will finish those earlier than Spelling or Reading, but that's ok. Like others who have posted before me I agree that now is the time to slow down and Master Phonics. You and your daughter are not behind. In fact, I'd like to think you are in good company. Also, I have two older children who just began MP this year as well. They too are not thrilled about the work load and have made clear that they "hate school". First, I correct their bad attitude. Then, I check my attitude. I have found that if I am getting grumpy about the workload or feeling pulled in too many directions, it shows. My kids pick up on it and reflect it back to me. Lastly, I offer a quick water break or give the child a chore to complete in less five mins. Just walking away from the work seems to help reset their minds and give them the "oooommph" they need to complete the task. One more golden nugget, this was possibly the most freeing thing I Learned this summer. School doesn't have to be fun. Learning is Hard. The JOY of learning comes in knowing the answer. Every time I relay that info I think I sigh a breath of relief. I have seen it firsthand now too. My older children are taking weekly quizzes and tests and getting every answer correct, they are thrilled and impressed with themselves! Even my first grader lights up when he recalls the phonics sounds and rules from a previous lesson. :0)
                    Blessings, Courtney
                    Joyfully, Courtney
                    DS14, DS12, DS11, DD9

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                      Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
                      Jessica and Dawn,
                      So in the First Grade plans you are working from, do you do Pink readers for two weeks and then into Little Bear? My set has that order. Starting in week three we have a Purple reader at the rate of about one per week.
                      Or, I saw in another thread that someone didn't get to Little Bear until week 5...perhaps there has been an adjustment that might be helpful to you, Jessica.
                      Jessica,

                      In my lesson plans, which I received in late February, weeks 1-2 cover the pink phonics readers,, and weeks 3-4 cover the purple phonics readers. Little Bear starts in week 5.

                      Since there are ten books in each set it takes two weeks to cover them all doing one a day.

                      We didn't have any problems with the pink set. The purple ones seem to be harder, but going through the rule and word list in Classical Phonics and the word boxes on the inside front cover really help.
                      Dawn
                      Son and Daughter (twins) 8, MP Second Grade 2016-2017
                      Completed Jr. Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade
                      Son 22, Corrections Officer, Marching Band Horn line Instructor
                      Daughter 17, PS, 3rd year Marching Band, 1st Flute

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Changes to First Grade Reading Sequence

                        Dawn,
                        That's definitely a different pattern than what I have now. I have Pink readers for two weeks, then into Little Bear. Purple readers are sprinkled through the remainder of the year as optional supplements.

                        Week 3 At the Fair with Cecil
                        Week 4 Garbage Day
                        Week 6 Mighty Mustangs
                        Week 8 Sollie
                        Week 13 A Lucky Day
                        Week 14 A Class Trip
                        Week 17 Paulette
                        Week 19 Hedgehog
                        Week 29 A Birthday Surprise
                        Week 32 Phil and Stephanie

                        This is a huge difference. Those of you having trouble might want to ask for the updated plans. I know my first grader (who is thriving in Little Bear) would have trouble with this entire Purple set on the front end.
                        Hope this helps!
                        Festina lentē,
                        Jessica P

                        '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                        DS Hillsdale College freshman
                        DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                        DD 8th • HLN & Home
                        DS 5th • HLN & Home
                        Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

                        Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Changes to First Grade Reading Sequence

                          Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
                          Dawn,
                          That's definitely a different pattern than what I have now. I have Pink readers for two weeks, then into Little Bear. Purple readers are sprinkled through the remainder of the year as optional supplements.

                          Week 3 At the Fair with Cecil
                          Week 4 Garbage Day
                          Week 6 Mighty Mustangs
                          Week 8 Sollie
                          Week 13 A Lucky Day
                          Week 14 A Class Trip
                          Week 17 Paulette
                          Week 19 Hedgehog
                          Week 29 A Birthday Surprise
                          Week 32 Phil and Stephanie

                          This is a huge difference. Those of you having trouble might want to ask for the updated plans. I know my first grader (who is thriving in Little Bear) would have trouble with this entire Purple set on the front end.
                          Hope this helps!

                          Wow! Yes I agree that is a huge difference. I had thought Little Bear would be easier for them than the purple set. So this is good to know. I sent an email for the updated plans yesterday, and I hope the OP does too. Thanks, Jessica
                          Dawn
                          Son and Daughter (twins) 8, MP Second Grade 2016-2017
                          Completed Jr. Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade
                          Son 22, Corrections Officer, Marching Band Horn line Instructor
                          Daughter 17, PS, 3rd year Marching Band, 1st Flute

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                            Thank you all so very much. This forum is incredible for support, encouragement, and wisdom. I've talked about it enough that even my husband knew to say, "Reach out to the MP ladies," when I started fretting about my daughter's reading/attitude this week. So thank you for the gentle reminders and solutions!

                            I think I will definitely email MP for the new 1st grade plans, for when we do pick up again after going through the summer readers and as much of FSR C and D as I feel like she needs. After much consideration, my husband and I agreed that it might be too much of a setback to put her through all of K again, so we will continue to rebuild her confidence with additional reading practice while encouraging her movement forward in the other 1st grade subjects.

                            This is a rich, challenging (but still just right!) curriculum. Mommy and daughter are learning discipline and structure this year, and I'm so grateful we are doing it with MP.

                            I am also 12 weeks pregnant with my third child, so I'm grateful for MP's organization and clarity! Praise God.

                            In Christ,

                            Jessica

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Worried About Proper Placement 1st Grade

                              My suggestion is, rather than complete the entire kindergarten level, begin with FSR Book D. Follow the K phonics/reading plans that begin there. When you reach the end of Book D, go through the Summer Reading Plan as lined out in the appendix of the K Curriculum Manual. The way to expand the lessons with those little books is to use the words in the front cover (each little book has a word list in the front cover), go over those as a mini phonics lesson focusing upon the main phonograms the book is covering and any unknown or common words. When reading if your child gets stuck on a word, walk them through the decoding process. For example point out any phonetic chunks previously learned.

                              I would suspend Spelling lessons until you begin Little Bear. Instead give dictations covering the sounds you are studying using short vowels or long vowels with silent e only. Each FSR lesson in Book D will have plenty of words from which to choose.

                              After you complete both FSR Book D and the summer plan, it will be up to you whether or not you go through the pink PPR books or move straight into Little Bear. You do have an older manual in which the purple PPR books are done immediately following the pink ones. We have changed that schedule up a bit when we realized those readers were too difficult right at the beginning of the year. They are better supplements if used throughout the remainder of first grade.

                              Blessings,
                              Michelle T

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