Family - Will MFW work for large families? Tips, schedules


Family - Will MFW work for large families? Tips, schedules

Unread post by cbollin »

bachmayer wrote:I have enjoyed reading the posts and how many people are happy with this curriculum. I have 4 children, soon to be five and am wondering how doable this is with a larger family. I will have a new born, preschooler, K, 3, 6 and my third grader has serious learning challenges. I would buy K, and Rome to Reformation. Any help or suggestions? susan
Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:38 pm
The Hazells, who author MFW curriculum, are homeschoolers themselves and have 6 children. At one point, if I remember this correctly, when they just had 4 children it was an elementary age student (about 7), a 5 y.o, a 2 y.o. and a newborn. David Hazell was the main instructor for the family at that time. So the Hazells understand what it is like to have many children and to have your hands full and your feet busy. And they have written homeschool materials that take that in consideration.

You mention that your 3rd grader has some learning differences and challenges. As another mom to special needs children, I at least want to just encourage you to keep on keeping on. I know it's not easy day to day. :)

I think your 3rd grader will enjoy parts of Rome to the Reformation along side the 6th grader. This year I had a 4th and 1st grader working together. The 1st grader liked the science and hands on activities in RTR a lot. She is one of my special needs learners.

You might want to consider if the 6th grader can help “teach” the K student with the science and character activities. My oldest had fun helping set up the 1st grade science for her sister. It might be one way to help you when you have to work with the 3rd grader or tend to the other children.

hope some of that brings some encouragement your way.
Elissa Baker
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:08 pm

Unread post by Elissa Baker »

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:38 pm

We used ECC this year and it went great. My son was doing mostly 3rd grade and my 1st grade daughter joined in a lot. My 4yo and even my 2yo did the coloring pages and flags with us and some of the other art projects. The 4yo also listened in to some of the books and tried to draw the pictures for science.

I don't think this would have worked out this way had each child been doing something different as in a typical wkbk/txbk approach. I love MFW because it is ready to use, I don't need to spend hours or even very many minutes preparing. I usually just look ahead to see what supplies we'll need for the week (like for an art project or science experiment). Also, every couple of weeks there are some copies to be made, I usually do this on a Sunday afternoon.

Here's a little testimony ... I was planning on taking off a month or whatever was needed when our 5th baby was born in December. But it actually helped to keep the children content by having them occupied, rather than them just trying to keep busy playing or doing something on their own. We just moved school into the livingroom while I rested on the couch w/ nb and read from there and then they would move into the kitchen to do writing/ or a project. We did skip a few science and art projects, but the rest worked out well. We ended up taking only one week off.

It helps to have something quiet for the littler ones to do. I don't let mine use their toys during our schooling hours, but they have several of the preschool toys/puzzles that MFW sells, and we have other learning toys, etc. They also have their own crayons, scissors, etc in a drawer so they can use those things freely as well.

I was also just wondering why you'll be starting with Rome to the Reformation? It didn't sound as though you've used MFW yet and I just want you to get all of the benefits of MFW by not missing out on the previous years.


Soon to begin CtG (and MFW K again)

A great year with MFW (even with 6 kids!)

Unread post by Melissa5 »

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:42 pm

Our school year.........has been going great!! I am hs 4 this year! Shoo! I thought I might share what has been working for us. This is our third time doing MFWK so I have that just about memorized. It's been fun every time. Each child is different and life takes different paths so even though we're using the same curriculum it's still different KWIM? We are doing K slllllloooooowlyyyyy at the moment. Might speed up later, but we are in no hurry.

I expressed some concerns a while back about whether or not I was going to continue with the MFW language arts. We decided to stick and I am so pleased to say it is going well. I can see how it is all coming together as we are working our way through the middle of ILL. It's awesome to see my kids on these different levels of PLL and ILL.

We are only using the Hazell's recommendations. We have tried different things over the past several years, and everything seems to go crazy. This year I decided to do what they suggest. We use Singapore. This is our third year of it?? My kids like it.

My boys LOVE RTR!! Augustus Caesar's World and the Bronze Bow have been a hit!! They did not want to quit reading them! I cried at the end of Bronze Bow. We loved it. We are getting ready to plan our Roman Feast and move on into the middle ages. Of course, they can't wait to learn Chess. My boys are getting a lot out of our Bible study this year. The human body science so far has been our favorite!! We pick a new favorite every year though, so I'm sure we'll also say the astronomy will be our favorite. lol.

Getting our school work done has always been a problem for us. It would sometimes get so miserable. This year has been different even though we've had our house for sale, sold, packed, deal fall through, unpacked, and now have refinanced and are remodeling an apt. for grandma to move in- we have still stayed the course. Oh yeah, all this with a brand new baby and a toddler to boot. ;) And does anyone else's family always seem to be sick?? We always seem to have something. Not everyone gets it , but someone is almost always sick. <G>

We still need to start Spanish. We haven't been able to afford it, but will be able soon. We don't do the extras in Spelling Power. One of these days I will work on that. Some of the things I'm suppose to read to the boys I let them read to themselves. They prefer reading the Usborne type books on their own.

I use the marker board. Every day I write out all their independent work. Today I have listed:

book basket
victory journey

It looks like a chart with a box where they write their first initial as an item is completed. They come to me for spelling, math, and english. This way they can choose the order of their subjects and I can move through all of them. This also keeps them moving while I'm attending the younger children and doing K (which doesn't take long). We get as much done in the morning as possible and then we have free time until after lunch. I put the younger ones down for their naps and then we sit on the couch together and do our bible, history, science, read aloud. We also work on any projects, experiments, or notebook pages during this time. We try to do art/music in the mornings too. Victor Journey is on the list for them to do alone because I have a sore throat. Usually I read or paraphrase this to them.

Before I felt we all needed to do Math together, then science, the english, then spelling etc....... Doing it this way is working out so much better.

If we fall behind on a day we have still been able to get caught up on Friday. We try to do our nature walks and a few other school extras on Friday, but we don't worry about it. I still want to add in spanish and typing for my dc. We school from about 9 to 3. We usually have more than an hour for our lunch break and some days finish before 2.

I just want to encourage those who might be struggling to play around with your schedule, and try things differently. My boys are getting older so they are able to work more on their own. The marker board chart has been an incentive to get their school work done. The dawdling for the most part has stopped because they are not allowed to have free time anymore until it is finished. I am thinking about doing the same for our chores. They also like to compete with each other to see who will be the first to finish. This works because an item is not completed until it is done correctly (all math probs. must be corrected) and neatly. If not they must re-do!!

enjoy your day!!
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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:25 pm

When you see the big picture

Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:44 am

Well I have children all over the page (7 for now). I just run the cycle as is (and keep reapeating it!).

It helped me to make a chart with all the children's ages from now until graduation for each of them (all on one chart). When you see the big picture, you see how everyone is going to get everything they need, and mom can still have her sanity! My little ones learn so much by just being around the olders.

One thing I did do for the youngers was to buy the activity guides from Story of the World for the coloring pages. This was a big hit at my house and helped with the youngers' retention and enjoyment. We also buy the Story of the World CDs and the youngers love to listen to them after we have covered a CD's content. We still need a hard copy for the children to look information up later for their summaries. I must admit that even my older children enjoy this time, listening to the CDs and coloring. This is from the two olders that I couldn't get to color anything when they were younger. Maybe I didn't let them have markers. (I was more cautious about such things when I had less children.) This has consistently been a favorite time of our day, followed by the read alouds.

Every family is different, but that seemed to put things on everyone's level without me having to run another program.
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:00 am

MFW was made for real life - Kingdom life

Unread post by niki »

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:01 pm

Last year we had 2 foster kids in the mix! By God's grace they came to us during the summer (ages 2 & 4) so we had some time to adjust before school started. So we had many interruptions, visits, therapy, and other issues throughout our school year and they were with us for the full school year. They left us in June (after a year) to be adopted by a wonderful cousin. They gleaned so much from our schooling and life!

I am thankful to God for our crazy year with them as it was a wonderful year of school - I was schooling 2 and had 3 little ones 4 and under!!! YES, you can do it...MFW was made for real life - Kingdom life...we're getting ready to do it again and I know we can do it and still homeschool with MFW! The Lord is the giver of all good things (and I thank Him for giving us MFW)!
Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Help deciding what to use for my 10 children

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Homeschooling10kids wrote:I need help deciding what to use for my 10 children. My children are ages 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 5 months. We don't have to worry about our 18 y/o; she's going to NWC in a few months. The other 2 high schoolers are also set. What would the next 5 children use with MFW? HELP ME!
Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:15 am
Just wanted to pop in to say that I am using MFW for a very similar age range to your range listed above, and we love it. It is soooo simple compared to other programs that often will require the teaching parent to teach two or more full programs to several kids. And I love how then the kids are all "on the same page" in history and Bible and science, etc. I think you will find it to be a breath of fresh air!

The simplicity of the grid layout in the TM in grades 2 through 8 is a big plus too. Very easy to see at a quick glance what I need to cover each day for all subjects.
Homeschooling10kids wrote:The Exploring Creation with Astronomy book almost all of my kids have done.
It might be possible to have one of your olders who has been through the book already be in charge of teaching the material to your youngers (under your supervision of course). That would be a great way for your older to review the material, and possibly quite fun for the youngers as well! My preschooler thinks it is great fun when one of the olders spends some special learning time with her.
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:46 am

The only other thought I had was that if your 4 year old could use the pre-school package and you could use the suggestions listed by the author in this link to teach K and pre together if your 6 year old is not first grade yet. Just not sure what level those younger kids are at.

Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:00 am

Can they honestly do this together?

Unread post by GoodCat »

1blessedmommy wrote:I have 4 children I will be teaching next year. 7th grade, 2nd, K, preschool, plus a toddler running around. I am really concerned how this will all work.

My 7th and 2nd grader will be starting RTR. Can they honestly do this together? See, my 7th grader is use to working on her own. I know she likes interacting with me in school, we don't get alot of time to do so, because of the younger children.

See, I am really scared about how much time this is going to take 7th grade through preschooler and if we can feasibly do it with all of the interruptions in a day. Are there others out there who have been in this position? Any advice?
CTG, ECC, 1st, K, Preschool
Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:20 am
I think you can really do it!! This year I had a 6th grade dd, 5th grade ds, 3rd grade ds, 1st grade dd, k dd, and a toddler. So next year when we do RtR, I'll have a preschooler, 1st, 2nd,4th, 6th, and 7th. Wow. It does make your head hurt doesn't it :>)

My little ones had no problem during reading time. I would read everything together and we would talk about it. Naturally my older ones got more out of what we read then did the younger ones, but everyone remembered something. And then my older ones would re-read during book basket time a lot of what had read together. This would help them to really get it.

Since the older ones are able to do more independent work, this gives me time to work with the little ones. I really don't do much with the preschooler. She usually like to hang out with us when I teach my K dd. She'll sing with us and try to copy writing and stuff, etc. This way shes learning, but I'm not setting aside extra time just for preschool. Does that make sense? I also only spend about 30-40 min. on K. Although she does sit in with us for reading and bookbasket and science.

So I do think that once you get a good flow going, its very doable!!!

Have fun with it... they grow so quickly.
MJ in IL
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

Unread post by MJ in IL »

Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:49 am

I can relate a bit here.... Next year I will have 1 in the HS program, 2 in RtR and 1 in K. Right now we are all doing Year 5, ds9 using the 2nd/3rd supplement, &, of course, the preschooler.

What I have found that works best for our group is to try and follow Marie's schedule as closely as possible...however, I have found that I need a time alone with each child. I have a 1/2 slot with each child alone while the others cycle through their math, indep LA or play with the preschooler. I thought our days would work without this this year as we were all on the same page for Hx. But I went back to the rotation this spring. After looking at the HS sample, I also am trying a "meeting" with my almost-HSer on Fridays to go over her work for the week. We are enjoying that!

Another Mom time-saver we do here is have my boys do the science almost on their own. I read but they do all the activities indep. I think Crystal sparked that idea for me.
Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

A bit more independence in jr. high age

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

cbollin wrote:MFW encourages using materials to help with working toward a bit more independence in jr. high age so that you will be able to have those 60 minutes to treat the K and 1st grade age students just as if they were your first born when you had more time.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:53 pm
This is one of my favorite things about MFW. On my own, my strong tendency would be to concentrate on my olders every year, to the neglect of my youngers -- instead of giving them the same amount of attention their older brothers' had at that age. I love that the MFW program makes room for me to be involved with my olders, while at the same time encouraging me to truly spend time teaching and connecting with my youngers.

It is also fun that sometimes the olders can be the ones to help the youngers out with some of those projects and read alouds. That is always a welcome change of pace for mom, and the kids love it!
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:00 am

I will be teaching English twice

Unread post by niki »

faithmom wrote:The schedule in the TM is great, but it looks to fit better with one student. For example, I will be teaching English twice, so it will take more than 20 minutes. I could have one do book basket while I teach the other, but then that takes away from time for my 1st grader.
Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:34 am
The schedule in the front of the TM is just a starting point, something to maybe base your personal schedule on. I only have three kids and it is tweaked in many places. This past school year I also had 2 in ECC and one in K. I adjusted our schedule many times throughout the year. Fit it in when it works - be creative, we don't need to get stuck in a certain timeframe, school is life, I could sneak school in the afternoon and they didn't think it was school- just FUN.

Don't fret too much about the schedule. I believe it'll work itself out, you'll just need to start somewhere and go from there. I am certain you will have a great year. ECC is an amazing program. I'm going to pray that the Lord will be your helper as you work on some kind of schedule for your day.
Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:18 pm
Just wanted to mention that the Hazell's schedule was used in their family. They had 6 kids. It was also piloted with many sized families, resulting in options that are mentioned in the manuals.

However, the larger your family, the more structured you will need to be in order to accomplish everything in 4 hours (if you were hoping to achieve that goal). The Hazells I know started their school day at 8 a.m., mom had all her books out & ready to go, and they set aside long digressions for their free afternoons.

The materials are all chosen to be used efficiently in families, rather than needing busywork in a large classroom so kids stay in their seats.

As for schedules with 1st graders, I'm no help but have you checked out the archives for other people's experiences? How about these:
Remember, the Hazells have done that, too. Call the office if you really feel overwhelmed!

Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:33 pm
Location: South Carolina

General large family experience

Unread post by baileymom »

cryste cole wrote:Hello, you have many kids, I am just wondering how you do it all, as this will be my first year homeschooling. what grades are they, do you combine, what does the baby do in the meantime? :0) If you just post your schedule that would be greatly appreciated! LOL. On a real note...if you would just share how you make it all work would be great!
Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:53 pm
To answer your question on how we do it...ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE. This will actually be our first full year homeschooling. I have a 6th dd, 3rd dd, K ds, PreK ds, and a 16 mo. old and 2 1/2 mo. old. To be honest, 10 yrs ago when we got married, my husband and I would have looked at a family like ours and thought it was completely insane. But the Lord knows what he is doing, and we are VERY happy and feel nothing but VERY blessed.

OK, more on your question.

The main answer would be that my husband helps out a whole whole bunch. He did not at first, and when our 4th child was 6 weeks old he left for Afghanistan for 16 months. But once he got home he was a different person (me too). When he is not at work, he is at work at home. He cleans some, cooks some, gives baths some nights, and is just a second set of hands for me. It's sooo nice. I believe in any larger family it almost has to be this way or the mom would completely lose it!!!

I also have MOTH which I do not follow to a T, but it has shown me how to make things all work. I've had a general daily routine hanging up on our fridge for a little over a year now. I think now I'm going to actually make a different one for each day of the week. One thing I do differently from MOTH is that I don't really schedule my babies. I feed them on demand, the littlest one sleeps whenever, and they just kind of hang out with us. I like to keep us all pretty much together during the day. I have to keep a close eye on my 6 and 3 yr olds, they are ALL boy. If the girls need peace and quiet I try to give it to them, but they have gotten pretty good at working in the midst of it all.

We all take a 2 hour break in the middle of the day. I do whatever needs done and a few things I want to do. The girls go to their room and read, sew, write letters home (we live away from both mine and my husband's families), and sometimes check their emails. The boys nap. On days when this doesn't happen EVERYONE gets exhausted.

Another thing I've done is put up chore lists. We don't change them around either. They've had the same chores for a couple years now, and they still have trouble remembering them. My boys only have a few simple ones, but I think the girls have 12 or 13. But they include cleaning their rooms, putting out their clothes for the next day...some really quick and simple ones...and a few more time consuming harder ones. I have Christine Field's book Life Skills and it helped me a lot with this. I am very picky and have had to learn to let some things get "kinda kid" done. Oh well, a cleared table is a cleared table, right?

We also don't do a bunch of extra stuff right now. Home, Grocery, Church mostly. But my oldest does play softball, and my other girl and oldest son play soccer.

I see you have 4 children. I would say that is really when I realized I needed to do something more than the average family does about these kinds of things. I just tried things out, if they didn't work, it was obvious and we would try something new. But like I said,this is our first full homeschooling year,so I might be asking you for help in a few months! hehehe. Just hang in there, it all comes together if you keep motivated and ask for God's help.
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Planning for many - years in advance?

Unread post by kellybell »

JenniferJ wrote:I don't need to have all the 12 years for each of my children laid out perfectly, but I do want to see at least one option, so my mind can rest.
Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:42 am
I went through a month or so trying to draw out these little grids of what to do when. At the time the youngest was barely potty trained and I was trying to have her graduate high school (on paper).

If one scenario didn't "work" then I tried swapping some things around and I tried a different plan. And, a third one. And, just one more. And the fifth one ended up just like the first one. I remember thinking, "I cannot homeschool this family because these two kids were born at the wrong time." Ha ha ha. I was thinking quadruplets (of course, with the same interests and abilities) would be easier than four singletons born in different years!!

Add to this the fact that my kids (and most likely yours) are quirky. You know, one kid just isn't getting spelling. And the other is blowing everyone out of the water with his math skills. Another kid is having health issues and one is expressing a huge interest in science. You get the picture. You want your plan to fit their quirkiness, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and then Grandma gets sick.

So, I just prayed and said, "show me what next year is to be" and God has faithfully given me what I need to know for each child.

It's okay to draw out a grid, but don't obsess over it. You don't need to know that far in advance. Go ahead and draw a picture of what it might look like; it's fun and exciting. Then, pray over it. God might direct you to do just that! Or, he might have you slow down or change things around.

So, plan a little and look at the possibilities and then simply PRAY.
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:58 pm

Would MFW be a good fit for my family?

Unread post by mom27dc »

wigglesmom wrote:I originally came over to the MFW board to try and figure out what to do with my ds2.5 after we finish preschool. I was disappointed by the advise by my previous program to redo the preschool program and start him in the K/1st at 4. Someone pm'd me and recommended MFW preschool and K as options so I came over and registered to join the message board. As I was waiting for activation, I began perusing the options for the olders. We are doing well right now, but we are doing 3 guides with 4 kids. I basically have my children separated for history, Bible, science... and then they are in their own levels of the 3r's, too. My school-age kids are all a year apart... but I won't ever be able to combine them.

...Thanks for any advise or suggestions. I really appreciate it.
Posted by mom27dc » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:47 pm
I just wanted to add that I think MFW is a wonderful fit for a large family. Before I found MFW I was trying to teach 6 or 7 different subjects to three school aged children and at the same time trying to keep my toddlers occupied. Everyone was frustrated and in tears. Since we have switched, frustration level is very low and tears no longer exist. The short lessons in MFW make it very flexible and I am able to stop as needed and pay attention to the younger ones. I love being able to teach my children all together. MFW has been an answer to prayer for our family and has definitely simplified our day.
Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Re: Would MFW be a good fit for my family?

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Hi Val,

Just wanted to pop in here for a sec to say that I totally agree with with Yvette. MFW was created with the large family in mind. I have six kids so as you can imagine there is a whole range of ages represented there -- junior high, elementary, kindy, preschool, baby. And quite of range of differing academic ability as well, from my bright self-motivated ds to my sweet struggling dyslexic ds and everyone in between. Even given that huge span of needs, ages and abilities, MFW works for us.

We are getting ready to start our 5th year with MFW (we will have a K student this year, and we will be doing year 4 in the cycle b/c we started with the ADV program and then moved into the cycle) and we love it. The boys love learning together. I love that I am NOT teaching several different programs.

Just wanted to encourage you that it is not just that MFW *can* be successful in the context of the demands of a large family, it is actually perfect for that.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Would MFW be a good fit for my family?

Unread post by dhudson »


I just wanted to put in a vote for MFW. One of the things that we love the most about MFW is the family learning aspect. I have found that having every one on the same page in history and Bible has allowed us to have some really great family discussions and family times. It has given us an added bonus of bringing us closer together as a family, Dad too! Dh can stay involved in the curriculum and discussions because he only has one time period and topic to remember. We take family vacations (mostly - Disney doesn't count :-) ) based on what time period we are learning and it has really been a great side benefit of MFW.

I just wanted to point out that bringing the family together has more advantages than academic or sanity considerations.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
LA in Baltimore
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Would MFW be a good fit for my family?

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

Any multi-age/grade teaching you can do is a plus!

1) They all have the benefit of learning from each other and spending time together,
2) You can complete (most of ;) ) what you have set out to do each day.

It has freed me up tremendously to combine Bible, History, LA, Science, Art, and Music with my three youngest. That only leaves me with 4 individual math times as well as any special time/attention a child may need that day. Now I never feel like my high schooler's time is being squeezed out in the afternoon because of the demands of my younger ones.
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:31 pm

Re: Would MFW be a good fit for my family?

Unread post by wigglesmom »

dhudson wrote:I just wanted to point out that bringing the family together has more advantages than academic or sanity considerations.
I love that sentence. Right now I do feel a little insane. We start school at 9 and finish at 2 including lunch and recess. I am always alternating kids at the table and sending one in to work and sending the others out. I feel like I am juggling and at any minute I am going to drop the ball.

I'm going to really think about where I want to start the children over the next few months and lurk and read posts about the different programs. Then in December or January when we finish our guides, I will probably call and talk to someone first hand with where the kids are at after finishing.

I appreciate all of the advise and have been pleased with the openness and the feeling of being free to talk about likes and dislikes of programs and such. This board seems really friendly and helpful and not turned away by questions and talking of other programs. That is a definite plus in my book.
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:59 pm

first year with 6 grade levels.

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

kayben wrote:I am preparing for next year. I am using MFW K and have used MFW 1. But next year will be a whole new ball of wax for us. here is who I will have home. (this will be my first year homeschooling more than two children and then next year will be my first with everyone home).

ninth grade dd
7th grade ds
4th grade dd
2nd grade dd
K or 1st depending on whether we get all the way through MFW K this year with three other programs running....
4.5 yr dd pre K... I own all of MFW pre K materials and she will have gone through LHTH this year
2.5 yr ds He will play around with cars and trucks for the time being.
6 month old (due this Feb.) I'm praying this is a "good baby" lol that loves to sit in a bouncy seat and look around and coo !!

thanks for any suggestions! or even links to old threads?
I wanted to point out a couple of things. You may be thinking that you are doing 3 levels now and that there won't be any difference since you may be using 3 levels of MFW, but here are a few things to consider.

The K and 1st programs assume you are using a main cycle program with older siblings. They take that into account and keep things short and sweet for the little ones.

High School is written to the student and largely independent. You will need to have some discussions and check in with them, but again, they assume you have younger siblings in a main cycle program and don't have 4 hours a day to sit with your High Schooler.

I just wanted to throw that out there for you and anyone else who happens upon this thread.

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
Julie in MN
Posts: 2906
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: first year with 6 grade levels. Which to use?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

kayben wrote:Ok, SO my high schooler will be mostly ind.
Yes, MFW high school is quite independent, if you wish. Have you seen the samples here?
There is also a MFW assignment guide for Science as well as Math

You will meet with your high schooler weekly, probably on Friday, which is also usually a light day with the rest of the kids so it works out well.
kayben wrote:The then first grader will do the phonics instruction and join the olders for everything else? Or does she stick with her program inclusively?
Here's some info from the author on how to combine K & 1st. You won't have both this year, but I think the thread could help you "see" how different things can be left out in order to combine the family as much as possible.

Here are some more threads with posts by folks who have combined 1st and older kids:

Wow, you are really juggling a lot. One thing that should help is that the Hazells have 6 kids, and spent some of the time raising them in Siberia, so I'm sure that helps make everything very do-able for a person in your shoes.
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

Re: first year with 6 grade levels. Which to use?

Unread post by cbollin »

kayben wrote:Ok, SO my high schooler will be mostly ind.
like everyone else has said, yep. Hard to believe it when our "babies" have reached this age, isn't it? sniff..... You still get time with them in MFW high school too.
and the little ones are just kind of tagging along...
The non-school age kids will tag along and be Educated, Involved and Occupied as needed. Lots of neat ways to include youngers in various programs in MFW to educate and involve them.
The then first grader will do the phonics instruction and join the olders for everything else? Or does she stick with her program inclusively?
It'll depend somewhat on how you want to do it. When done as a whole program, the 1st grade can be 1.5-2.0 hours. It'll take less when not doing the full program. When you get most stuff in when it's a younger kid, you can still get a lot of the program done. My youngest (who has autism) is in first grade program this year. We're inviting her to join us for activities in the older program (CTG), but really she is at a level where she benefits more from using 1st grade as the main part of her day. That was the case last year with the Kindy program and ECC. Other people find that they just use 1st grade for language arts/math and use older program for extras. But, Cadam or julie must have said this... I like how MFW K and 1st programs are easy to fit in when you have older siblings to teach and the programs are great when used with oldest kids too.
Then all other grades do their own LA and Math. I also have Rosetta stone.
That's pretty much going to be case. I like using MFW's recommendation for l.a. and math b/c they aren't time consuming, but are effective. So, whatever you use for l.a. and math with your kids, look for time efficient, high academic stuff.

Rosetta Stone - you don't need long amounts of time each day with it with non high school kids.
Would the science be altogether with maybe adding Apologia for the 7th grader? Still seems like a lot. But then again, I think I made that bed when we kept having kiddos ;)
Thanks again and please I love to listen to the voices of experience and reason!
Get the MFW lesson plans and encourage the jr. high kid to work more independently in science. :)

Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

please help me to choose wisely...

Unread post by tiffany »

hnjmom wrote:I am looking at our curriculum choice for next year. We are currently using Veritas History Explorers to 1850 and textbooks for all of the other subjects. This seemed to be the easiest step due to a difficult pregnancy. I would like to move to a Charlotte Mason-type approach and this seemed to fit the bill. I have heard really great things about MFW.

I have six children with a new baby due on Christmas Day. Their ages/grades are as follows: 12 yo/grade 6, 9 yo/grade 4, 7 yo/grade 2, 6 yo/grade 1, 4 yo/beginning to read, 15 months/ tears the house apart while I school, baby girl due Christmas Day. I am confused as to what I actually need. Can I do this with such a wide age range and two littles?

TIA for your advice
We have been using MFW for 5 years now, and it has been such a blessing to us in so many ways. We too have a large family and being able to combine children for several subjects was invaluable. Also, the emotional burdens of wondering whether I was covering the right things or leaving educational gaps were lifted off my shoulders. For these reasons alone, I wish we would have known from MFW from the very beginning. Perhaps this way I am able to have a greater appreciation for it.

I think the general advice you will get here, is do ECC first- then the following year make your decision on the history cycle, given that you have previously studied some of these time periods. And yes, you will do 1st grade or Kindergarten separately with any children in those age groups. Should you ever have a 1st grader and Kinder age child at the same time, MFW (Marie) has a great schedule for combining those two age groups without doing 2 complete curriculums at the same time, and yet somehow manage to keep them at the right skill level.

When needing to add in KIndergarten or first grade, you might decide to skip some things in either curriculum you're using at the time, to help it fit your family better. For example, this year with my first grader, he is doing phonics, math and bible stories/memory- but not science, exploration days, timelines, or other extras.

I could tell you more, but I need to get school going. Hope this helps in some way.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:43 pm

Re: please help me to choose wisely...

Unread post by SandKsmama »

I don't have as many children as you, but I do have a wide age range, so I can speak to that - YES, MFW works very well. I've got my first grader doing her own phonics and math, then she joins in with us on everything else. I am doing 1850-Modern this year with a 13 year old 8th grader, an 8 year old 4th grader, and the 6 year old first grader (and then an 8 month old cutie that everyone would MUCH rather play with than pay attention to school!). It's working really well...I feel like there's a lot of guidance in the manuals on how to make it "enough" for my 13 year old, while not overdoing it with the younger ones.

As for where to begin...I think ECC is probably an easier program to start with, as a first time MFW user. You certainly could jump in to 1850-Modern, but with the ages of your younger ones, one more year might not hurt, b/c the content of modern history is just more "heavy", and there's a lot in the program that is only intended for 4th grade and up. (though we are doing the 2nd/3rd grade supplement with my 1st grader, and it's GREAT). What might work, if you want your 12 year old to finish up with the history cycle before moving into high school, would be to do ECC next year, then do 1850-Modern, then the following year he could move on to high school, and the rest of the kids would do Creation to the Greeks. (and if the oldest did MFW high school, you'd all still be in the same time period, which works out nicely:-)

Hope this helps! And I agree, do call the office - they are VERY helpful!
Amanda, Wife to a great guy since '99, SAHM to 4 fabulous kids! DD(7/96), DS(1/01), DD(8/03), and baby DS (3/09)!
Used MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Ex1850, and currently using 1850-Modern!
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:50 pm

Re: please help me to choose wisely...

Unread post by hnjmom »

Thanks for your guidance. I think that we have decided to do ECC with the whole group next year. (I am so excited about having everyone on the same page.) Also, I will be supplementing my first grader with the continuation of our phonics program we are using this year. Everything else will be as MFW recommends except math.

Thanks so much for your help in choosing. I just have to start saving my $$$$. I have quite a few months to do that since we are deciding earlier. This will be new ground for us. I am looking forward to relying less on textbooks and more on living books. I think my kids will be very excited!

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