Monday, January 28, 2013

Review of MFW Kindergarten

We have been an avid My Father's World Curriculum fan here. Used MFW Kindergarten for the 2nd time now. DS also completed MFW 1st grade and now going through Adventures.

This will be a good time to talk a little about what we liked/not liked about MFW. A review of the Kindergarten materials follows.

Content:

MFW Kindergarten is a year-long learning adventure for young children. This complete kindergarten curriculum contains all necessary subjects and is ideal for homeschool or classroom. The first two weeks focus on the creation story from Genesis, followed by 26 hands-on, easy to teach thematic units that focus on the wonders in God's creation. The sun, moon, rocks, vegetables, elephants, butterflies, and dinosaurs are just a few of the exciting topics you will explore. ~ MFW
Read complete introduction to the materials here

BIBLE
MFW integrates bible beautifully into much of the materials. I really enjoy that. With every unit, there is a short phrase to be taught. For eg, P-Penguin says "I will show love to everyone, especially my family" since the Emperor Penguin is an epitome of parenthood.

I get this wonderful copywork printable here. DD either traces it or writes on own.

READING
There is the alphabet song (watch it here) DD sang it when she was 2 years old.
 
and the vowel song
 
Bingo game
 
Blend ladder for phonics
 
Blend bladder writing
 
Word lists.
 
Cut and paste pages. When DD gets to a point of writing, she wants to write more than cut.
 
Near 2/3 of the program, she is able to read very short stories like these from the MFW.
 
And finally working toward reading actual books.
ARITHMETIC
My Father's World used to put arithmetic as learn-as-you-live (which is great). In the new edition there are nice easy but fun math pages too.
 
 
The Cuisenarie rods and book helps in math and logic.
SCIENCE
Of course, in every unit, science and social studies are taught, since this is an unit study. We explore some of the scientific materials through books or videos.

Review
We chose and love MFW K for these reasons:

1. Gentle, non-pressuring method of learning
Both my husband and I are products of the highly-competitive, test-oriented form of education. It is our intentional aim to steer away from that. MFW on first sight is slow and simple. Much too "easy" for us overachievers. We chose that PRECISELY for that. This curriculum will force US as parents to slow down and work through the process of learning instead of focusing on the product of information. I know there are many other curriculum that are more rigorous and we can measure their learning easier; however, as we began homeschooling as something entirely new, we think it is good for us to look at how our children learn than what.

The gentle Charlotte Mason style of learning is great. It reminded us to incorporate learning into our daily lives too. More information and learning about the CM style can be found here (they have great free books too).

It does not mean there is no result though. After a while in learning, things come together and we realize the children learn too! Often times in reading, daily interactions and the gentle materials.

It feels that you do not need to know the alphabet at all when beginning K. My children all know some when they started and it helps, so we focus on honing it in and also practicing manuscripts.

2. Emphasis in literature
I really like the fact that MFW emphasizes a lot on the literary. The book basket suggestions are wonderful and we are grateful for the library resources so we didn't spend much money on it.

3. Fun, engaging unit study
I LOVE unit study. I like the creativity of it. And I think it works very well for young learners. There are lots of activities that can be incorporated into the unit. MFW does a decent job not over-straining the parents on preparing the activities for the unit. Most of the materials can be easily obtained.

Since it's a unit study, kids of many ages can do this together. My 2nd grader likes a lot of the K materials and sometimes join in for the fun activities. The preschooler is a constant companion.

4. Systematic phonetic teaching
I think the phonetic teaching of MFW is quite excellent. The step by step (if you're patient enough to not jump them) acquisition of language is fun to watch. Then again, because of the emphasis on literature, with all the books we are reading, often the student picks up reading/language faster than the curriculum teaches.

5. Price
I put this last, but it was one of the first deciding factor when we got the curriculum. There are some curriculum that are many times more expensive than MFW. I think the price for the MFW materials is very reasonable. You can get the K package at $124 (as at Jan 2013) for the basic package (enough for me I think). Or you can always get them used at about less than $100.

Critic
I would say one criticism is the math. I believe it could be at a tad higher level. I supplement with Singapore Earlybird Math (which I am not super fond of) and many other printables online. I am fine with that.

I also supplement the materials with activities/crafts/printables I found online simply because I get bored. Look at our work from here

The materials can be done easily within 30 mins, but if you add on the supplements it can stretch to 45 to an hour. Well, it also depends on how many kids you have at the table. This year we have 3 at the table, and between the 2nd-grader, k'ner and preschooler school can be done within 2 hours, including the activities everyone does together and waiting for each other.

This does not describe the K materials, but I thought it worthy to add that another big reason we chose MFW is the multi-age usability when it comes to 3rd grade on. We haven't the hands-on idea how that look like yet but it sounds very exciting.

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MFW Adventures Week 19: Ohio

This week we learnt about Johnny Appleseed (he did that in K) And also the journey west via Ohio River

 Continued the PLL. We attempt to do everyday. Short lessons, totally doable.
 
I still cannot believe my child can read this entire thing. This is a well-written book for young readers.
 
We did a research while doing the state study for Ohio.
 
Talking about Neil Armstrong and how old gramp was when Armstrong stepped on the moon
 
Spelling by Sound and Structure. Review test. The kid LOVES the test.

And we started reading "On the banks of plum creek". We totally skipped Farmer's Boy because they just can't stay listening to it. I'm trying harder for Plum Creek, because they love Laura.
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MFK K P-Penguin 2013


PRESCHOOL

We found lots of fun stuff for the preschooler! And the first day of P-Penguin, there was a freebie preschool pack out, so I grabbed the chance and downloaded it. It was great fun for her!

Color by numbers 
 
This is the preschool pack (lots more than these of course)
 
 
 
oops, not this, this one is from another site
 
match shapes
 
cutting practice
 
finding "p"s
 
puzzle
 
size sort

KINDERGARTEN
 
The learning page has this cool printable.
 
I did a P words wordsearch on puzzlemaker
 
The preschool pack has some fun stuff for the K'ner too.
 
Learning how Penguins stay warm
 
They have an insulation of air in between their feathers.

We also watched quite a number of Emperor's Penguins videos on youtube. GREAT fun! And we read The Emperor's Egg and also Tacky (I don't like Tacky, but the kids do)
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Friday, January 18, 2013

MFW Adventures Week 18: Tennessee, Eli Whitney

ELI WHITNEY and the cotton gin

We watched a video on youtube about cotton farming. Interesting!

And we did the removal of seeds exercise to let him appreciate the cotton gin.

MATH
we focused on time. And it was hilarious to see this page for Singapore Math. Ian said "This person has a very different time schedule than us! He eats at SEVEN??!?! And watches TV??? Then sleep at TEN??? That's very late!!"

Fun iPad app game

SCIENCE
Living and Non Living things

We did the animal cell model


and then enjoyed the jell-O

Oh, he got the nucleus

I used the blank memory verse pictures as revision for him.



Week 17: Kentucky, Journey West

This week we read on the journey westward and I think Ian had a appreciation of the hardship.

We continued to memorize the Emmanuel's verse.

MFW K E-Elephant

For E-Elephant, we printed many worksheets from Learning page and the girls did quite some.


This activity I thought of. Very proud. Using the playdoh cutter

Writing down things to that we remember God has done for us.

And we enjoyed the Elephant and Piggie books as usual. They were GREAT.

MFW K H-Horse 2012

We were fighting the flu too. SOOO glad it's over. We did do school, but I didn't have much photos



This was a home-made stickers thing I got from homeschool share. Basically you apply a mixture of gelatin (and water) to the sheet of paper, let dry, cut out, and it is like a stamp that you can lick and paste. I realize when the mixture is not thick enough there isn't much effect. Gotta to let it thicken THEN apply. The girls weren't THAT excited.