Preparing and Using MFW 1st Grade

MFW 1st Grade (First Edition)
My Father’s World First Grade (MFW1st) is a complete Bible-based curriculum with a phonics-based reading program. To develop reading and writing skills utilizes stories from the Bible. Three-quarters of the curriculum is from the Old Testament and covering all necessary phonics skills. The last 35 days of the program are from reading the New Testament with no more worksheets or phonics practice.

Preparing to Use

I prepared for MFW 1st Grade by reading the “teacher” sections of the lesson book. It was a little confusing to me so I had to read it a couple times to “get it.” I only planned a week or two in advance and found random arts and crafts for Princess Buttercup to do with the Bible stories or the science topics. For example: Crossing the Red Sea craft. But really MFW 1st Grade is pretty well covered. I didn't add a whole lot.

Second Edition
I have the first edition MFW 1st Grade without a grid. If you are planning on doing MFW 1st Grade, I do think it would beneficial to get the updated edition, which includes a grid. That would have been a lot less prep work for me because I had to make my own! (I moved “Exploration Day” to Fridays to match the easy Fridays in my big kid’s program: MFW Rome to the Reformation. Here is my grid for help with creating your own. Feel free to change it to your needs.)
I did start out organizing each week into a file folder just like MFW Kindergarten but I found that I wasn't using them because we used workboxes and all of her work could just stay together in the drawer. This is how I had it laid out:

MFW 1st in Workboxes

We are a “Workbox” family. (See my post about Workboxes and how they work for us.) For MFW 1st Grade, I separated out each subject in each workbox as follows:

On Top - On the top of the set of drawers I keep the Teacher's Manual for easy access and any books that the curriculum suggested, but I hadn't assigned yet. I displayed them in a cool folder stand for easy access.  

Box #1 – Calendar Time: In a 3-ring binder I put a calendar, the 100’s Chart, a weather chart and a chart to keep track of the teeth she’s lost. Each day she works through each page and only takes about 5 minutes to complete. We sometimes did the Pledge of Allegiance or sang the Days of the Week Song or the Months of the Year Song. (You can click the links to hear them on YouTube, don’t worry, they ARE super annoying. Hehehe!)

Box #2 – Bible: I kept a binder of all Bible verse pages and the timeline pieces. I’d also introduce the books of the Bible and sing the song together. I chose the Bigsby Show’s version. I read the Bible story from the teacher’s manual while she did her handwriting practice.
  • Mondays we read the verse and talked about it.
  • Tuesdays she traced the verses I had printed online with a Handwriting Worksheet Generator. (You have to input the verse yourself & print.) Later on in the year I printed freebies from MamaJenn to copy the verse after her handwriting improved.
  • For Wednesdays I created “Do-A-Dot” memory verses where she would use Dot Markers to highlight all the vowels on the page. (You may download them here for free.)
  • Then on Thursday I would dictate the verse to her as she wrote it. (She is not a memorizer unless there is a song involved, so I stopped asking her to tell it to me on Fridays.)
Box #3 – Reading (which includes Workbook pages, Bible Reader and Bible Notebook.)

Box #4 – Activities: Whenever MFW has an activity, it would go in this box or if there are Student Sheets scheduled because they are more like a craft. If there was neither scheduled, I would give her some other random fun thing to do so she had a “brain break.” (i.e. Sensory Bin, Bible Craft, educational toys, puzzles, math games from MFW 1st Grade, etc.)

Box #5 – Independent Learning: When she didn’t have handwriting, I’d give her a specific letter worksheet to improve her handwriting or a Sight Word Game to work on the MFW sight words. This was one box where I didn’t have to participate and I could work with another kid. Yay!

Box #6 – Reading: On the days she didn’t do the Bible Reader she would get random 1st grade readers she could read on her own so that each day she was reading. On the days she had to read the Bible Reader, I would put a book associated with the science that I would read to her.

Box #7 – Math: We didn’t use MFW 1st Grade math recommendations. We used Math-U-See Alpha. So her workbook was in this box along with flash cards.

Box #8 – Misc: I didn’t always use this box. If I had extra stuff to go along with either the Bible story or science lesson it would go in this box. But many times it remained empty.

*As added incentive for Princess Buttercup doing 1st Grade each day I would give her a treat for finishing school before lunch time. She has to keep herself motivated and bring out the next box herself. She didn’t do so well in the beginning of the year but now (we’re on day 137) she is an old pro.

Will I use MFW 1st Grade Again?

My last child is currently in PreK and as I looked back over MFW 1st Grade, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep it for my last child. I went searching for a new 1st grade program (looked rather closely at All About Reading. But as I compared all the phonics rules they taught in MFW 1st Grade I realized how comprehensive it really IS. I realized that it has, in fact, worked well for our family. It taught Princess Buttercup how to read (she is reading on her own now in the New Testament.) I like that it taught all the books of the Bible too. 

The only thing I will probably do differently is add the use of Phonogram Tiles as each one is introduced as a manipulative to reinforce the concept the way All About Reading does. I found some free Phonogram Tiles on MamaJenn's blog. But I just bough All About Reading level 2 for Princess Buttercup for next year in 2nd grade. (Buttercup is a Kinesthetic learner. I’m not sure of Queen Vee’s learning style yet.)

So, yes, yes, yes... I will use it for my last child!

What I Love about it…

Bible Reader (Second Edition)
My absolute favorite thing about MFW 1st Grade is the fact that my child is learning about many of Bible stories as she is learning to read. She is reading them herself! This may not be that big of a deal to someone else, but we do not go a structured church with a Sunday school program. My children only learn about God through our talks at home, What’s in the Bible video series (from the creator VeggieTales) and maybe when they talk to their homeschool coop friends. That’s it. So I LOVE the fact that she is getting all of this Bible learning. My kids are so hungry to hear the Word that my big kids would even sit in on MFW 1st Grade’s Bible story time. (They would compare it to the way it is presented in “What’s in the Bible.”)

Are you looking into using MFW 1st Grade? Are you currently using it? What are your thoughts or questions about the curriculum?

UPDATE 5/28/13:

Here is my grid (remember I moved Exploration Day to Fridays) and I have other stuff added on there too. You can use mine or change it, or whatever. It's in Microsoft Word format. Also, here are the Do-A-Dot Pages I had created. Hope this helps. :)