Preparation - Box Day! and helpful hints

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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Preparation - Box Day! and helpful hints

Unread post by mgardenh »

I just wanted to let you know what I do when I get the new year's curriculum. It might be helpful for some.

Box day is very exciting but can be overwhelming. So here is what I do to help.

After the initial opening I read through the whole manual (I read the first two week grid and teaching info and just skim the rest but you could read the whole thing). I tell myself to relax, don't worry about what I read, just read it. Then I let it sit for a day. Usually it is a little confusing and overwhelming (not understanding everything).

Next I read the manual again. This time it is not as overwhelming but usually I have lots of questions. So I write them down or mentally note them. I have the curriculum with me while I read the TM. That way when I come across something I do not understand I can pull out the book or whatever and it makes sense. If not I make note of it.

Next I read through any other parts of the curriculum that have teaching helps or tips. This usually clears up all my questions.

Then I take another 24 hour break at least and then read the whole manual through again. This time I have a pretty good idea of what is going to be happening and what's going on. If I still have questions then I come here or call MFW office. Then I usually have all my questions cleared up.

Then I read the manual again the 4th time. This time I write down the things I need, make note of any suggestions of what to do for different parts. After I have read the manual 4 times I feel confident and I can follow all the pre-planning steps. Also usually during the 3rd or 4th reading I look at all the books and stuff to get familiar. I do not get started with gathering materials, etc, until after I have read through it 4 times. (I know reading through it 4 times seams like a lot but I have found that my enthusiasm for new year's work makes it easy and desirable.)

Doing all these things are really helpful for me, build my confidence and ingrain in my brain what I need to do for school.

I hope that these things are helpful for you and you can use as a tool. If there are things you do that are helpful please share. And Happy Box Day
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:34 pm

Unread post by Mercy »

I found the adventures manual a little tough to "get" at first. I don't really know why, just couldn't grab a hold of everything and fit it together. But, as Mike said, just reading through a few times, one time to skim the whole thing, the next time through to make notes and then finally I "do" the curriculum essentially by looking through the books.

I only actually REALLY pre-read the first month or so (with the books, etc.). I do like to make notes for the year and get an overall view of what we're doing. But, I leave the little details to work themselves out as we go along.

It's so exciting to see the overall picture, but from week to week there are some neat surprises. I like to see everything fresh for the week as we read through it. Maybe I'm weird, but I don't want to ruin anything for myself by preparing for the weeks too early in advance. :-)

I've been thinking about MFW and I think I can compare it to a novel. You sort of know what the story is going to be about by looking at the back of the book, etc. BUT, once you begin you don't want to put it down because you want to find out what's next. :-)

I'm sticking until the end.
Wife to Superman
Mother to 8yob, 3yog & 3mob
started in ECC, switched to ADV
"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." H.W. Beecher
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:55 pm
Location: United States

How much time to prep?

Unread post by KimberlyND »

momma2kact wrote:How much time do you spend/set aside to prepare to teach Adv.? And how often do you plan(daily,weekly, etc...) What exactly are you doing to prepare?
The teacher's manual for adventures is so well organized. After my original prep time of reading through the manual, finding the supplies, and getting my school room organized I find I don't have much weekly or daily prep to do. Each week I make sure I have the supplies I need. I look through the assignments and notes. It doesn't take long (1/2 hour?). After we finish each day of school I will organize what we will do the next day. That doesn't take long either (15 minutes). The planning is already done by MFW. That makes it much easier for us.

In fact, last week we had barely started our school year. My aunt had to have surgery and I was away from home for two days. I asked my older daughter, Whitney, if she felt comfortable teaching school. She had never done it before but agreed to try. She liked MFW so much she has asked me to save it for her. If she gets married and has children she wants to use it for them!!

So far, it doesn't take much prep time and is so user friendly. We love it!
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Unread post by RachelT »

I love having my grid and the planning isn't a lot because it's already so well organized and laid out for me.

I guess that for Adv. planning I take a little time each week to look ahead at what we will do and skim over the lesson plans and supplies that we will need. I also look ahead at the book lists for the next week or two and spend a half hour or so searching for books and reserving them on my library's online catalog. Each day I look ahead at the next day and think about our schedule and any individual assignments that aren't specifically written out in the book like what we are going to need to do in math or spelling the next day and I write it in the "math" or "spelling" box in the TM grid.

It's just not very time consuming and I am thankful!!
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

Getting used to the Grid

Unread post by cbollin »

amelasky wrote:My dd has completed MFWK, MFW 1 and we are both very excited about Adventures. The program looks wonderful and I am excited about it. Yet, for some reason, I still feel confused and unsure as I read the new "grid" and try to figure out what is expected. What would you recommend for me to do now?
Thanks so much,
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:42 am
If it makes you feel any better, just about each year that I got a new manual I would feel overwhelmed.

then I'd just take it a week at a time and it was fine.

Just a few helps/hints. I'm sure others will chime in too with even more specifics to ADV.

Each column is a day's worth of lessons to cover many subjects. Bible, spelling, English, history, math, science, reading. Then the things from the deluxe package.

*Start the day by "going down the column" grid.
*When you come to a point in a grid where it says "See Notes" (or something like that), that is when you will look on the Notes side of the page that are marked with the days of the week. Those are extra notes that just don't fit in the grid box.

example: ADV Week 1, Day 1 (i.e. the left most column), In the first grid box with Bible, it has instructions to "see notes". So, you'll look over on the next page, under Monday and use the notes that match. Then you go to the next item on the list on the column.

During the first week is when you will be looking the most at the extra notes because many routines and regular instructions are introduced in this week. So it will look overwhelming that week in notes.

Remember to look in the appendix for what needs to be copied. those pages will be listed as Week #, Day (example Week 1, TH)

Book basket is listed in the appendix by weeks.

day at a time, week at a time... you'll be fine :) ((hugs))
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:34 pm

Unread post by bethben »

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:38 pm

Here's what helped us to make the year go smoothly.

- I made copies of all the appendix pages and put them into a file folder in order. When I needed a copy for the day, I just pulled it out.

- I also collected everything I needed for the crafts and science experiments. It really helped having everything on the supply list ahead of time. For instance, sometimes you would need a 2 liter plastic bottle. When we had one, I just threw it into a box. I would look through all those random containers I usually threw out and stick the ones I needed in the box. That way, when an experiment or craft came up in the lesson, I would just go to my box because I knew I had it and wasn't scrambling around trying to find it.

Hope that helps! We had a GREAT year.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:01 pm

Hi Annie :)
I was SO nervous when I began ADV (I was also doing MFWK that year)!! I would just encourage you to set aside a few minutes any evening you can & curl up with your TM & a pencil. The more you know the TM, the more relaxed you'll feel. Now I tell people the grid is my BEST FRIEND ~ it's like having Marie Hazell in my school room holding my hand. ;) Those introductory pages in the TM which explain what your expectations in each subject should be were probably the most helpful for me (and they were again this year in ECC).

One thing you can know, God is just as interested in helping you find your groove as you are in finding it. He'll help you. Depend on him ~ these are the cares He wants cast upon Him. Yes, even these.

I hope you have a GREAT year!

ADV highlights/recap/suggestions

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

mom2h wrote:Just saw that you did ADV recently. Would love to "pick your brain" on preparing for that year. I will be doing 1st this year, and if you have any great insights on that,please share, but I am so looking forward to doing ADV with ds. I keep a folder going all year for the NEXT year's study, so this will go into that file. Share the love!!!
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:59 pm
We have loved each year with MFW, and ADV was no exception! For me, I simply followed Marie's prep tips at the beginning of the TM and spent a good bit of time perusing the "Ideas for ADV" forum. I printed pretty much the whole forum & went through each one with a highlighter. I scrapped what didn't appeal & saved what did. Each family is different & you can easily see what fits with your style of homeschooling/kid's learning styles. We didn't use all of it (not nearly!), but I had options. I like options. ;)

One book I would've had in my book basket (for the year) if I'd known about it ~ The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide by Millie Miller. We used the sister book, Our World: A Country-by-Country Guide, by the same author for ECC this year and loved the format. It was a huge hit! You can usually find both books on special together, if you're interested.

I can't think of any other specifics, but feel free to ask more questions. And you're welcome to email me off boards as well. There are lots of folks on here that are WAY more creative than I am, so hopefully they will offer some of their suggestions as well.

Hope you have a great journey with MFW! :)

(PS ~ this year my daughter has done MFW1, but we did the bare-bones version, as she was very much involved in ECC with her older brother. She did almost none of the science, art or other projects with her own program.)
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Organizing our beginning weeks

Unread post by Julie in MN »

LouisianaFamily wrote:This will be my first year homeschooling my 2 little ones, ages 7 and 4. We've experienced 'Box Day', and are so excited to get started! I will be doing MFW Adventures with my 7 year old son, beginning on July 28. My 4 year old daughter loves to 'do school with big brother', so she will just work along with us when she feels like it and I'll begin MFW K with her in January or next July.

Right now I have everything spread out all over my bed lol trying to figure out the best way to organize our beginning weeks. Do most of you just use the Grid schedule in the TM and read through it over the weekend to prepare for the following week. Any ideas and opinions are greatly appreciated.

So far, I've copied the Appendix pages and put in file folders labeled for each week. I've looked up books at our library online to see which ones they will have for us to use.

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:04 pm
How fun! Two new little students!

One thing that really helps our day go smoothly is to have everything I'll need out & ready. I think Crystal is the one who taught me that even the stapler needs to be right there, not at the other end of the house -- and she was so right!

I like little sticky tabs to mark each page in each book. I like having the current week's book basket all set up. I stack the books I'll need to teach from on the first day right next to the couch or wherever I tend to sit (each year it's a little different).

Here are some threads about having a fun first day of school, too. Usually MFW schedules a little lighter first week:

Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:27 pm

Unread post by doubleportion »

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:18 pm

We just finished out first week of Adventures. YEAH!!

The one thing I found helpful was to pull what I needed for that week from the appendix pages and timeline copies and keep them in a separate folder. I also pull all the books I would need for the week and put them in one spot.

I did find that it took a little time getting all my things put together to begin the first week, ie creating you timeline base, copying appendix, getting all the craft and school supplies recommended for the year and the first four weeks etc.

I plan my month rather than each week. We are out in the country and I have a toddler and one on the way, so planning fours weeks at a time is easier on our gas consumption and my energy consumption.

The TM is so easy to follow. Thank you, Marie!!! We just go down the grid and I check things off as they are done. I will also put in notes of what was read for reading, what pages done for math etc. But I am the ultimate organizer and very visual. It helps me to have everything written down where I can see it.

We are some distance from the library. So checked I out our book basket books for the first month from the library. I put just the books for the week we are on in the basket for my dd. She already is loving book basket and can't wait for book basket time to begin!! Yipee

The first week is very gentle. So enjoy the easy break into school time!!

My daughter is already asking if there is more, when we are done for the morning!! Isn't that what you've always wanted to hear! LOL

She really enjoys the I Can Do All Things Art pages.

Enjoy your start to school. We are!!
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Getting started

Unread post by mgardenh »

aimee wrote:We will be starting Adventures in January and I am wondering what other supplies we will need to begin. Would anyone be willing to let me know what are some things you need the first few weeks, beyond the books?

Do you have your Teaching Manual (TM)? It has everything that is in there. It is copyrighted so we can't write it out with out permission.

The biggest thing you will need is copies of materials to get started and you can't do that without the TM.

Most of the other things are basics you have around the house (or most people do) Like yogurt, eggs, and other stuff like that.

Other things will be basic school supplies like scissors, glue, clay, construction paper, plain paper, paper for writing (unless you use what MFW has and make copies).

I can't think of anything thing else for now but I'm sure others will chime in. We are having a great time in adventures.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

Unread post by cbollin »

Agreeing with Mike that the best thing to do is to get acquainted with the intro section of the manual where the supplies list for major stuff for the whole year and things about binders and all of that can be found. Read through the intro section of the manual for some awesome tips to get started.

also, you might want to look at these archived threads for some pointers (but it might get overwhelming) [above]

for specifics for week 1, take a look at the weekly notes for week 1 and 2 where it lists the supplies. That the page after the grid.

You'll want to do a quick online search for the "meaning" of your child's name.

Michelle in WA
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:30 pm

Unread post by Michelle in WA »

Welcome to ADV! We are in week 5 so only a few weeks ahead of you. It is a lot of fun! No tips on the supply list. We just plow through each day starting at the top of the grid & working our way down.
Michelle, momma to
A (01) completed 1st, ADV, heading into AHL (gulp)
T (02) completed K, 1st (doing something else for now)
C (05) (doing something else for now)
T (08) completed K, doing 1st
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:06 pm

Unread post by LoveBaby »

I can't think of anything too out of the ordinary, except a piece of posterboard.
Jesse, homeschoolin' helpmeet just trying to do the Lords will! Starting MFW 1st and CtG 9/12!
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

BCat7305 wrote:Adventures came yesterday-- I am SOOOO excited. I looked thru all the books, read the Instructor guide and a few weeks of planning, looked on my library website for book basket books--and I think this is going to be perfect for next year. Thanks for the help!

Question is--I look here on the forums and there are so many "additional ideas" for using the program. Would you suggest I even look at these overwhelming posts :) or just plan to do it as-written for a while until we get in the groove? There look like PLENTY of great ideas within the program itself but there are so many other great ideas--I'm overwhelmed :)

We won't start until later in the summer or even fall. Any input on starting up--much appreciated!
About the "additional ideas" -- close your eyes! Put duct tape over your screen!

If you come to a point where you want a different recipe because you don't have the right groceries or you aren't sure if your berry ink turned out correctly or you want to read more about South Carolina because that's where Grandpa lives, then you have permission to peel back the blinders for a bit.

Otherwise, just enjoy the program as written. It's been piloted by many different types of families to choose what works best. Enjoy!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 201
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Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by doubleportion »

The first couple of weeks felt a little overwhelming for me. It was my first time using MFW last year and I read through my TM as soon as I got it. My opinion would be to just follow the TM the first month until you get used to the schedule, format etc. Then I would go to the ADV Ideas area and look at just one week down the road that you will be doing.

I enjoyed some of the extra book ideas and the websites. We enjoyed looking at the state birds online and listening to their calls. But it took awhile for me to feel like we were in our groove. By the end of the year it was second nature and easy to throw in extras.

Don't be afraid to skip something and do it on Saturday or stretch something out for two weeks if you are really into it. The first few months I had dh do all the science projects on Sat with my dd. I also stretched out certain weeks when my dd was really interested in a topic. Just take your time and enjoy it. You will find what works best for your family. I thought the suggested schedule in the front of the TM was great but it was not a good fit for us (especially with a new baby). That schedule may or may not help you. We also found that going to the library every two weeks or so was better than trying to do it every week. I created my list on the library website before hand, printed it out and then went straight to the shelves when we got to the library. (Time is of the essence when you have a 2 yr old and infant in tow)
ADV is a wonderful year! I know you will enjoy it.

Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by dhudson »

I agree with Julie - don't look at all the ideas unless you are struggling with something or a few weeks in and have all the bugs worked out.

Adv is a great year and we really enjoyed and there were lots of hands-on, fun stuff to do!
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by BCat7305 »

Good thoughts--I'll just go "as written" and get in our groove and only peel back the duct tape from my eyes as needed :)

DS1--11/2002--MFW CtG; Saxon Alg 1; CLE Read7; CLE LA6; Science in the Beginning
DS2--6/2004--MFW CtG; CLE Mth5; CLE Read5; CLE LA5; Science in the Beginning
DS3--11/2008--SL Core P 4/5; R&S K; CLE Reading 100; CLE Math 100
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:42 pm

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by hollybygolly »

I'm agreeing with everyone!! I'm fairly new to homeschooling, I'll be starting my 3rd year in July doing Adventures and K again. I made the mistake of reading through those posts %| (which are filled with WONDERFUL ideas!!) and panicked over how to implement both the program AND every single good idea I read. Use the program as is, and IF you need an idea for a particular week, use the posts as your tool box (but not unless something is broken!!). Looking forward to doing Adventures with looks like SUCH a fun year!!! God bless~Holly
Have a blessed day loving our Savior-Holly
Mommy to: Annie and Lynne (11), Maely (8), Gracie (6) and one precious one waiting in Heaven
Completed: MFW K; 1st Grade; Adventures; ECC
Currently using~MFW 1st grade (again!); Rome to Reformation
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I love this board - it is an awesome resource. But, I agree about the ideas section. If you've got time to glance through the unit you're coming up on, great, but it can make ya crazy trying to do everything. ADV is our third year with MFW and this is the first time I've not used the ideas regularly and it's been just fine for us. I don't feel like we're missing anything.

BTW - I am so happy you decided to get ADV and are liking it so much. It is an awesome program!! :)
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
LA in Baltimore
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

Agreeing with all the posts...with a twist ;) ...

Depending on your personality, you may want to peek at the ADV board about 1 week ahead of where you are currently working.

This may help you avoid the little bumps that inevitably occur...
Like the time you can't get the egg to float...
or the time you think that if a few crayon shavings look good on the project a lot will look even better,
or the time your wigwam paper is just not bending... :~

The wisdom on the MFW is wonderful. Wouldn't want you to miss out on it as you enjoy ADV.
Have a wonderful year!
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:32 am

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by KellyinPA »

Agreeing with La. This is what I did. Took a peek a week or two ahead and then used what worked for us. I intend to do the same thing this year with ECC and I too, am most grateful to those who post what worked, what didn't, great extras to include to make it easier for us who are coming behind. Love this board! :-)
MFW K, 1st, ADV
ECC 2009/2010
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:05 pm

Re: Before starting Adventures?

Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Hi Betsy :) I am chiming in a little late here but wanted to share with you anyway. I've done both - sometimes using lots and lots of additional ideas and sometimes working strictly with the TM - and both ways are super!

I am an "additional ideas" reader, however, and there seems to be no cure for it for me - LOL.

I spend the summer reading through everything on site here that I can find pertaining to our new year. When I come across an idea I like, I print and file it in the appropriate week of my TM notes. That way if we are in the week and my sweeties want more, I have ideas ready to go. Too, this is a part of the joy for me - countless wonderful thoughts and resources that broaden my research and extend the creativity. I'm addicted and no help for it ;)
WLiC, Quinne

MFW since 2006
ECC (8th, 4th & 2nd) 2015-16
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:42 pm

ADV-Preparation tips?

Unread post by hollybygolly »

mom2h wrote:I am preparing for ADV to start in Sept., and I am very excited! Could someone who has recently done ADV or is familiar give me some ideas on what all I need to cover in my preparation?

*For instance, how much of the texts did you read before school starts?
*Do you have a day of the week you use to plan for the next week's lessons?
*What do you do during your planning time?
*Do you make a master list for yourself? Use a teacher plan book/calendar?
*Do you keep your copies and teacher notes in a separate binder/folder?
*We take almost a whole morning for a local Bible we try to do school that afternoon? I'd like to keep Fridays as light/nature days.

Any tips would help! Thanks!
mom2h (Rhonda)
Hi Rhonda~

I'm starting my 2nd week of ADV looks like a smooth and well-planned out year! You'll notice in the back of the manual there are quite a few pages to copy from the appendix. I took my manual down to Kinko's and had them unbind it, copy the appendix and rebind it. I needed two sets as I'm teaching twins...cost less than $10.

I do my planning on Friday nights. I read through the next weeks notes, jotting down any supplies I'll need for art or science. I search my library catalog online and make a list of books needed from the book list in the manual (I actually stay about 2 weeks ahead for library books to allow time for transfers from other locations).

I have a plastic bin that i put all books needed for Monday in, plus a file folder with any copies needed. That way I'm ready to teach on Monday with all that I will need (I'm also teaching a Kindergartner and have a very active (but sweet) 2 year old running around at full speed...time is of the essence and I don't want to kill minutes searching for a book or supply!). Each day after school I restock my bin with all books and copies that I will need for the next school day. At night, I take about 5-10 minutes to read through my manuals to make sure I get the gist of what I'm doing the following day.

I hope that helps as you prepare...God bless! Holly
Have a blessed day loving our Savior-Holly
Mommy to: Annie and Lynne (11), Maely (8), Gracie (6) and one precious one waiting in Heaven
Completed: MFW K; 1st Grade; Adventures; ECC
Currently using~MFW 1st grade (again!); Rome to Reformation
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:25 am

Re: ADV-Preparation tips?

Unread post by mom2h »

Thanks so much everyone! Great ideas and links. I have gotten some great resource ideas from the MB under ADV. Books, websites, games, audios, videos, printables.

I think I will make Thursday nights my planning night. Our library stays open late that night and will be available for book basket searching, etc...

I never thought of getting all my book basket books for a month at a time and just doling them out weekly. What a time saver!

And the 'back to school' ideas link will be a great way to infuse some enthusiasm into the start of the year!

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