Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions we’ve been asked regarding Christ-Centered Phonics and Math. Perhaps some of these answers will address questions you may have of your own. If not, please click here to ask us questions, and we will answer as quickly as possible.
QUESTIONS ABOUT CHRIST-CENTERED PHONICS:
Where should I start in the Christ-Centered Phonics program?
The best place to start is to read through the Christ-Centered Phonics Master Guide (item 200). This 3-ring binder contains a Christ-Centered Phonics “Big Picture” Chart plus an overview of how to teach the three levels of reading. After that, familiarize yourself with the binder’s phonics charts and visual aids in its five tabbed sections. When and how to introduce each of these teaching aids is clearly shown in Christ-Centered Phonics Lessons for Aa–Zz: Level A (item 202) as well as in the four Christ Centered Phonics Lessons for Flashcards 1–31 (item 204), 32–66 (item 206), 67–93 (item 209) and 94–118 (item 211)
I've been using Phonics Edition 1. How do I transition to the Phonics Home School Edition?
We have an easy-to-read transition chart to help. Click here for the chart.
How much time is required to prepare for a phonics lesson?
Initially, you should spend five or ten minutes glancing through the daily lesson to familiarize yourself with the teaching patterns. Because the same type phonics exercises are used throughout the lessons, once you get used to them you will probably skip a lot of the word-for-word “Say …” instructions. As a time-saver, we recommend highlighting the word examples in the Phonics Art, Jacob’s Phonics Ladder, Blend (or Word) Search, and Vowel Lane Spelling exercises (which include word examples for “Advanced Students”).
What do the terms K4, Advanced K4, K5, Advanced K5, B1st, and Advanced 1st mean?
K4 refers to a four-year-old who would do better by being taught Phonics Level A (item 001) for just twenty minutes or so two or three days per week. An Advanced K4 student is an older four who is ready for our full Beginning-to-Read Program (Level B – item 002). K5 is a traditional term for a five-year-old kindergartner; an Advanced K5 student is one who can keep pace with a Beginning 1st grader (B1st — one not schooled previously). An Advanced 1st (A1st) grader is a student who has finished Phonics Levels A and B and is ready for Level C (item 003).
How many days should I teach per week?
With the exception of Level A, the Christ-Centered Phonics and Math Programs were designed for a 180-day school year. If your state requires that home schools teach a specific number of hours per day (usually fewer hours than state schools), you may wish to school the same days as the public schools in your area. However, since some states don’t require children under age six or seven to be in school, if you’re teaching a younger child you have flexibility on the amount of days you teach per week. For example, if you’re teaching a young four-year-old, you may prefer to teach for short periods just a couple of days per week. For older four-year-olds, we recommend at least four days per week so that what is being taught is more readily retained. Kindergartners, B1st, and older students should be taught on a Monday—Friday schedule. (Consistency is a key to success.)
How long should a phonics lesson plus workbook assignment normally take?
For a young four, the Level A phonics lessons and workbook should take about twenty minutes. In the beginning, the Level B:1 phonics lessons (item 205) should take no more than twenty to twenty-five minutes (including the daily phonics drills). However, as the lessons become more complex, twenty-five to thirty minutes is the norm. Seatwork activities (workbook pages, spelling lessons, writing practice) usually take fifteen to twenty minutes initially—depending on whether your student is an “eager beaver” (works fast, but not always carefully), a “perfectionist” who must get everything right, or a “slowpoke” who loves to dawdle. As workbook assignments become more difficult, these can take twenty to twenty-five minutes. Ideas for how to develop godly character during seatwork sessions appear in “How to Build Godly Character Through Seatwork Activities” on pages iii–viii of the Christ-Centered Phonics Workbook Instructions & Answer Key: Level B:1 (item 205AK). This same article also appears under the “Helpful Articles” link at the top of the page. Click here.
What is the difference between the DAILY PHONICS DRILL and teaching?
The primary purpose of the daily drills is rote memorization—one of the key ways children learn. DAILY PHONICS DRILLS put needed information into children’s long-term memory banks to be drawn upon when the parent-teacher presents each of the Beginning-to-Read lessons.
How long should I spend on a DAILY PHONICS DRILL?
Initially, drills take a little longer during the poll-parrot phase: Say a drill/child repeats it. However, as soon as your student is capable of saying a drill with you, the DAILY PHONICS DRILL should take no more than five to seven minutes per day. If your drills take longer, perhaps you’re taking extra time to discuss the rhyme or verse on the phonics flashcards. If so, we recommend asking the Lord to help you focus on the purpose of the drills—rote memory, not understanding. (All of the spiritual and phonics information will be fully introduced in the lessons according to the numerical sequence of the Christ-Centered Phonics Flashcards 1–118 Master Set (item 201).
Do you have any suggestions for how to make phonics drills more interesting?
Yes, on page viii of Christ-Centered Phonics Lessons for Flashcards 1–31: Level B:1 (item 204) are some suggestions for ways to vary the drills.
Can your phonics program be customized to meet a larger family’s needs?
On pages xi-xiii of Phonics Lessons 1-31 are suggestions for “Meeting the Special Needs of Large Families.”
What should I do if my student just doesn’t seem to be “getting” phonics?
First, we recommend reading “How to Help a Struggling Reader.” Click here for the article.
Sometimes, one of the following reasons may also apply: (1) inconsistency due to large gaps between schooling; (2) lessons not taught properly; (3) “picking and choosing” which exercises to teach and thus unknowingly leaving out important parts; (4) choosing a level that is either too advanced—or not advanced enough; (5) due to family stresses, perhaps a negative spirit has been “caught” by your child; or (6) it may not be your child’s God-given timetable for everything to “click” and he or she just needs more time.
To resolve such situations, pray fervently for wisdom (James 1:5; 5:16b) plus empowerment to correct whatever is needed. Since God is the One “who teaches man knowledge” (Psalm 94:10), pray that He will open your child’s understanding. In the meantime, be an encourager by passing on the joy of learning.
QUESTIONS ABOUT CHRIST-CENTERED MATH:
Where should I start in your Christ-Centered Math program?
The best place to start is to read through the Christ-Centered Math Master Guide (item 500). Part I of this 3-ring binder contains a Christ-Centered Math “Big Picture” Chart plus an overview of these topics: “The Biblical Roots of Mathematics,” “Diligently Add to Your Child’s Faith—Virtue,” and a challenge to “Dare to Be a Daniel—Educate for Excellence.” Part II contains a “Practical Overview: Math Levels A, B, and C” plus five tabbed sections containing a Christ-Centered Math Flashcards 1-10 Set plus other math visual aids. When and how to introduce each of these teaching aids is clearly shown in Christ-Centered Math Lessons A (item 502), B:1 (item 530),and C (item 540).
Which Math Level should I choose for my child---A, B, or C?
For an advanced 3-year-old or young 4, order Complete Math Kit A (item 004Hs); the following year, order the Complete Math Add-On Kit B (item 005AO). For an advanced 4, K5, or Beginning 1st grader, order the Complete Math Kit B (item 005HS). The Complete Math Kit C (item 006HS) is appropriate for Advanced K5 and first grade students who have completed Math Levels A and B.
Do the Christ-Centered Math Lessons have a PACING SCHEDULE at the top of each lesson like the phonics lessons do?
Math Lessons A (item 502) and B:1 (item 530): In the Christ-Centered Math Program, the lessons are divided by concepts; each lesson teaches a particular mathematical concept. Workbook page numbers that reinforce each concept are identified to the right of each lesson’s title. The “TEACHER NOTE” at the beginning of a lesson lists the number of days it has traditionally taken teachers to present that concept well to various ages. However, this pacing may be adjusted as needed.
Math Lessons: Level B:2 (item 532): This supplementary text (extracted from the original Christ-Centered Math Lessons Guide: Level B) is in a Workbook Instructions & Answer Key format. Therefore, no pacing guidelines are provided. The Fractions/Time/Money workbook pages may be completed at whatever rate best fits your child’s capabilities.
Math Lessons: Level C (item 540): This is a further revision of the original Christ-Centered Math Lessons Guide: Level B. Place Value concepts will largely be taught through the first half of Christ-Centered Math Workbook: Level C . Meanwhile, students will be prepared for the second half of the workbook (11-18 addition and subtraction families) through math lessons which focus on helping them understand the Base 10 system. To eliminate unnecessary “how to” repetition of various exercises, the former daily lessons have been streamlined into just four chapters, as follows: (1) Character Training Tips; (2) Daily Math Drills; (3) Basic Skills; and (4) Place Value & Teen Combinations Concepts. Each of these chapters contains patterns which show how to systematically introduce and review each of these skills. Rather than establish a specific daily schedule, you have the freedom to proceed through each successive skill at whatever rate your student can best handle. To facilitate your planning, a simple-to-use Weekly Math Lesson Plan form (reproducible) is provided at Appendix A of Math Lessons C.
How long should I spend on math drills?
Math drills should normally take no more than five or ten minutes a day. After your child has mastered a particular drill, move on to the next in the sequence. (Occasionally review previous drills as needed.) Remember: The key to success in math is “drill, drill, drill” because, when it comes down to it, even though it’s very important to teach the concepts, much of a child’s early math progress is due to rote memory from drills.
Do you have any suggestions for how to make math drills more interesting?
Yes, on page iii of Math Lessons A (item 502) are some ideas for how to vary counting exercises. Also, some suggestions for game ideas are scattered throughout the different math lessons.
How long should a normal math lesson plus workbook assignment take?
If teaching only Level A to a young four-year-old, the math lesson and workbook page should take about twenty minutes. To complete both Levels A and B in the same school year, the lessons plus math seatwork usually require about forty-five minutes per day.
How can we reinforce Christ-Centered Math’s character training tips in our home?
Throughout the Christ-Centered Math Program are CHARACTER TRAINING tips for students and parents. These tips illustrate ways to apply these Math Flashcards 1-10 qualities to everyday life: generosity, loyalty, orderliness, courage, decisiveness, joyfulness, responsibility, endurance, and determination. We recommend studying these qualities together as a family, and then praying that God will develop them in each member. Faithfulness in doing so will be a great blessing for all concerned.