My first questions would be:
Was the writing they did in public school in complete sentences? Were they able to write without fragments? Were they able to use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling?
The reason I ask these questions is the samples I have seen of other mother's children from public school show far more writing earlier on than in the MFW curriculum. The writing samples from K - 2nd though seem to be full of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and fragment errors. A practice that seems to continue as they go up in the grades? I am not trying to be critical of public school writing. I will fully admit that the writing in the public schools is far ahead of what I have done with my own children for home schooling in the early years. I have questioned though whether the early writing in public schools produces good results. The writing my children have done is written with complete sentences, words spelled correctly, and correct punctuation. The writing they have done at their grades, of just starting 4th, 3rd, and first, though is much less than the quantity written in the early grades of public schools.
The areas we have focused on using MFW:
*Listening - reading aloud to them
*Grammar (something I add to MFW)
So the area that is standing out to you the most is the area that many home schoolers use a different scope and sequence in for home schooling. I think it evens out in the end. I honestly think it produces better writing in the end since it is a focus on taking the time to understand and write complete sentences.
I beefed up ADV a lot through book basket and having my oldest read a number of books on US history that were age appropriate, but also were able to reach his reading abilities.
On a heart level though the most important element I have found in home schooling is teaching my children the Word of God and working daily on all of our characters. To me that is the true beauty of home schooling. Home schooling gives me the time with them to know them well enough to be able to work with them on their strengths and weaknesses in a way that I would never be able to do if they were gone from home all day. I am grateful for the time I have had with them, the relationship building, and the time I have had to share our Lord Jesus Christ with them.
Prayers for your success.