Academics - Is it enough? Do you supplement?

Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:40 am

Using MFW-Do any of you add other resources?

Unread post by amelasky »

sonlitgables wrote:This is our 6th year of hs'ng. Because we have tried many different things in the past 5 yrs, we have lots of different resources for history and geography. Many of these are ones that are incl. in MFW programs. ;) My question for those of you who have used MFW, do you ever add any other resources than the ones recommended? Is there time planned into the schedule for using other resources to enhance the programs, or would it make school too overwhelming?

I do realize that there is really no right or wrong answer here. The issue is one of personal opinion and what works for different families. Still, I would love to hear the opinions and personal experiences of others here. :)
By God's Grace,
I used to do this (MFW K and MFW 1) but am DETERMINED to stick with MFW's plan this year. I'll briefly tell you why.....

I found that after 2 years of adding "other" things in, we missed so much of what MFW had to offer because we were stressed and rushing to fit it all in. I found that it stressed us out and we were behind.

So, this year we are only doing MFW!
Married to my best friend and high school sweetheart for 18years. Blessed momma to my princess (14) and little warrior (10).
Exploration to 1850
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Ditto ditto ditto. I am one who previously wore a supplements crown. ;) This year, our 4th with MFW, I finally learned my lesson. Below are my words as posted on another thread.

my own experiences led me to streamline my choices so they are in line with what MFW suggests (with the exception of math, but that is because we're 4 years into a program that works very well for us). I was a big supplementor, grabbing this extra and that extra "because we need it", and doing my own thing for language arts. It's not that I didn't like what I chose either. It's just that I've come to realize I've made it unnecessarily hard on myself in some regards.

We have the blessing and great benefit of Marie sorting through literally hundreds of potential options before she has narrows it down to those that make her cut. We have the same blessing and benefit of a TESTED curriculum that has been implemented in the homes of multiple pilot families (because many other curricula out there are NOT tested before release). The pilot family feedback is vital, as Marie can then tweak and adjust as needed before releasing the final product to us. All that to say, I learned that I should simply trust what Marie has laid out for us. I finally did so this year and WOW, our year is off to a great (gentle, cohesive, effective, calm) start. But I had to align my own attitude and thinking first, it seems, and now the benefit of that is becoming clear to me.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm


Unread post by kellybell »

Kisa in CA wrote:Has anyone used another program's readers to supplement CTG? I like that he would have scheduled reading in addition to his bookbasket time. How about a program of notebooking pages? I'm thinking the history pages could be scheduled on Fridays to help us incorporate more writing into our week that is based on our history studies. I'm also going to use their timeline, so you think extra timeline figures are necessary? Any thoughts or input?
Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:13 pm
Okay, anyone who's been on the board long enough realizes that this post is virtually a rerun. Okay, let me step on my soapbox: There.

MFW programs are complete and don't require supplementing at all.

If you have a terrific book, by all means read it. If you know of a great local field trip, schedule it. If you know someone from church who has experience with whatever it is, spend a day with him or her.

I don't recommend supplementing for a few reasons:

1. It requires extra effort on Mom's part. You lose that advantage of "easy to implement." Soon you are spending precious time trying to mesh this program or that into MFW.

2. It makes your days long. If you read an extra book, do an extra workbook page, and throw in a bit more science, then you've added an hour or so to your day. One advantage of MFW is that it fits in the morning (theoretically). You don't want a long day.

3. And, if you still keep your days short, it slows down your year. I'm guilty of this. I'd find a terrific book and have the desire to add it in. Nothing wrong in that, but a week here and a week there and you are not going to finish a curriculum in a year.

4. It bogs kids down. "Hey, kids, Mommy loves you so much that I found another book on the Civil War. This one is better than the previous 19 that we just read; I'm sure you'll love it and be inspired by it." You don't need 20 Civil War books. It's also sort of like saying, "Hurry up with your Saxon, because you know you need to do your Math LifePac. After that, we'll have lunch and move on to Math U See." You need one good math program, not three. You also need one good unit study, not two or three.

Many ladies HAVE combined programs, but I am not gifted with that talent. If you are tempted to try it, go for it. I tried adding this and that and found that things run smoother when I let Marie do the planning and let me do the teaching of the kiddos under our roof!

I'll step off the soap box now and wish you well in whatever you choose.

Anyway, maybe someone with a dissenting view will chime in. As for me, I recommend sticking with the recommendations for a sane day. And a sane day mean a sane mom.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2910
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Kisa in CA wrote:Yes, great points. I do not use MFW LA suggestions and we've got to get more writing into our day. One writing assignment each Friday is not too much IMHO. I also believe in daily assigned reading in addition to book basket, thus the readers. The time line is simply a different format that allows me to add writing assignments in the binder. I do LOVE the simplicity of MFW and the fact that it is EASY on me. Thank God for this wonderful curriculum!
Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2008
Hi Kisa,
CTG is one of my favorites, lucky you!

I'll try to answer from my family's perspective:

1. Reading time is allowed for in CTG. 30 minutes is recommended in the teacher manuals. If you like to assign specific readers, that will fit into the timeslot just fine. When we did CTG, I found my ds chose readers that were totally unrelated to our studies. He felt the Bible in CTG was better than any stories "about" the Bible, and he felt the history readings were just "enough" history for him. But each family is different.

2. One problem with using a set of scheduled readers, as Kelly alluded to, is that you get bogged down in deadlines and assignments. Just keep an eye out for that. You can always adjust if you see an issue. Live & learn, I call it :o)

3. My son did all his notebooking on the computer, so premade notebook pages didn't help us. There is so much available on Google images, and ds is able to do so many fun things with Word, that making his own notebook pages worked well. The only thing I purchased was a package of cardstock that was speckled so it looked "historical" or something -- one ream has lasted us 4 years so far.

However, having extra pretty pages on hand may spark ideas or encourage creative kids, I suppose. My daughter may have appreciated that.

4. As for adding writing, I have just told my ds for a couple years now that he is going to write every day. It may be Writing Strands, ILL, history notebook, letter writing, or I may have him write a page about a field trip or something. There seems to be plenty to choose from without needing extra assignments.

That may sound like I am stuck doing extra planning, but it pretty much flows naturally from the curriculum or other things I want to do. I keep a running list of things I want to finish or add as time allows, including writing assignments that occur to me. If you want to add a purchased notebooking program, you will have to do a little more specific planning to correlate it with the topics you are studying, etc.

5. About extra timeline figures: I would first caution not to over-do it, because elementary school is not the time to memorize names & dates and such ad nauseum.

Also, I sometimes get confused when we discuss timeline notebooks versus timelines on these boards. At our house, all our history notebooking goes into a "history notebook" in chronological order, so it is a "timeline notebook" of sorts. When we read through it, we are seeing the progression of time. That works for us.

Does any of that help?
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

What about a 7th grader done w/cycle?

Unread post by dhudson »

prov31sandra wrote:I'd like to start my kids, 3rd and 5th next year, in RTR. We have covered all the topics in CTG and they are totally "into" the middle ages. That would mean my son would be done 1850-present in 7th grade. Leaving his 8th grade year up in the air. My dd would be in 6th. What would I do with them then?
prov31sandra wrote:Never mind! I answered my own question. I see that ECC has a 7th-8th grade supplement! That would be perfect. Then my dd would re-start the cycle with supplements in CTG and RTR or repeat whichever she is interested in.

I just really would love to enjoy their learning all together as long as we can, even if it is only 3 years. And I like MFW's layout, book choices, Godliness, etc. etc. I want my kids to be able to read and understand, and be in the running for scholarships with good SAT scores, and more than all of that to know and love and serve Christ and for us to have a wonderful family life, full of loving each other, serving in the church and visiting the "hurting" among us. I would like to try MFW if my dh would go for it.
Glad you got your question answered. I just wanted to mention that we have always felt that MFW is academically rigorous, especially if you use the book basket to its fullest extent. It is a great resource allowing you to do more if you feel the need but keeping it as a supplement when you can't get to all of it. My kids have tested well using MFW and my ds is doing really well in MFW High School.

I think many people don't see how classical MFW is. It just has a Charlotte Mason feel which allows us to teach in a fun, age appropriate manner but it still has a classical structure which keeps our kids academically challenged but allows the parent to decide how deep you go and the book basket has a large part to play in that. It also gives my kids time to pursue other passions like piano, karate, computer programming, sewing, Bible Bowl, soccer etc....

Overall, though, what keeps me with MFW is the biblical training that MFW schedules in. I think that it is one of the most rigorous Bible curricula out there. It certainly has changed and grown our family - not just the kids but the entire family.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by MelissaB »

Blessed Jess wrote:I am very interested in using MFW for the next school year with my two daughters, currently 5.5 and 4. This year has been our "testing the waters," gentle learning year. Two of my CC friends are using MFW with their families this year and love it, so I took a closer look since I am constantly studying and researching Charlotte Mason's philosophy AND classical Christian education. This may be the perfect fit!

For those of you who have used MFW First Grade, is it necessary to add any additional language arts to it, or is that taking away the simplicity? I love The Well Trained Mind (but love MFW's biblical base even more!), but don't want to add in First Language Lessons, Writing With Ease, and Spelling Workout if copywork, gentle grammar, etc. are already covered in MFW 1. I don't want to fix what isn't broken! I see that MFW starts language arts more in 2nd grade, and recommends Singapore Math at that age as well. We actually also have Singapore Essential Math K right now as well (ahem...curriculum overload), so I'm having my daughter work through more of it gradually to see if she thrives with the style.

I'm very grateful for Marie Hazell's post on "how to teach K and 1st grade together!" It makes it look so simple and doable. love the thought of them overlapping different content subjects together and working on skill subjects independently. They are 16 months apart, so keeping them away from each other doesn't really happen and they will grow even closer sharing Bible, art, science, and history. It just seems natural.

In Christ,
Hi, Jessica ~

Nice to have you on board! :)

MFW 1st is c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e. You truly won't need to add anything. If you do become enticed to purchase an additional book or program, may i invite you to consider making this rule for yourself? : don't purchase any item until you've been able to look over MFW 1st thoroughly. Once you do, i think you'll see that it's so wonderful, and that it's really all you need {and you'll save money not purchasing extra curriculum you may not have time or want to do later}.

Don't worry about the "curriculum overload" decision this year; almost all of us do so the first few years, as we're trying to learn which curricula fit our children the best. I once had our sweet daughter doing three (3!) math curricula at the same time. Math took over an hour a day. If the Lord can help me overcome c.o., He can help all of us moms. ! ;)

Kindergarten and 1st grade are precious years.

Enjoy! :-)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:56 pm

Re: MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by kw4blessings »

Agreeing with Melissa that 1st is complete! It is so full of rich, yet gentle, add anything else really would take away from the simplicity. That said, I totally understand how much wonderful curriculum is out there! It's hard not to want to add. And, you may have a very eager little one on your hands who is up for more. For us, we are on 1st grade for the 2nd time. Both of my children so far to go through it could not have handled more. There are even days when I need to slow things down a bit for my current 6yo son (August bday, so on the younger side of 1st). You'll figure out what works for you. Have fun!!!
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:11 am

Re: MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by Joyhomeschool »

Welcome! Yes I agree with the previous posts. 1st is complete!
Homeschooling my 7,
2018/2019 1st, EXP, AHL, US 2
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:56 pm

Re: MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by kw4blessings »

2girls2boysnme wrote:I am following your post, as I am interested in the responses you receive. I have purchased MFW 1st for my son to begin this fall. We completed MFWK for his official pre-k year, and he is currently finishing up K at public school. I have started skimming it, and am really trying hard not to add anything to it! I am considering substituting MUS or Singapore math. I am sure I will add a lot of books, from the appendix, as well as those that are suggested in Honey for a Child's Heart.
Hi 2girls2boysnme!
I wanted to encourage you to consider going through the math that is in the 1st manual. I can't say enough good things about it. I've gone through it twice, first with my daughter who struggles with math, and now my oldest son who thrives in math. The hands on concrete approach was key in helping my daughter understand the concepts. For my son, we did end up speeding up the math portion of first (mostly b/c he wanted to do several lessons a day!). So, while we are currently on week 20 in 1st, we're on week 29 in math. But, I am still SO glad we went ahead with MFW's math. My son really understands foundational math concepts b/c of it. We've recently started Singapore with him since we're close to the end of MFW's math (I'm starting him in 1A to get a good foundation with how Singapore teaches...all review). So, you can always speed it up if your son is blazing through the math, then begin Singapore or MUS when you've finished. Just wanted to put that idea out there. :-) Enjoy!
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:24 pm
Location: Nevada

Re: MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by manyblessings »

Both K and 1st are totally complete. It is what drew me to them many years ago, and they look even better now. They include all the language arts and math you need at those levels. And it is so importnt to read all those introductory pages in the manual before getting started. I've homeschooled on and off for over 20 years, and I agree that we all probably go through curriculum overload, and "the grass is greener" syndrome :) Looking back, I would have stuck with one thing, like MFW, since we all liked it, instead of driving my children crazy with changing :~ So glad I get to do a do-over with my youngest :-) Nothing wrong with shopping around if something isn't working, but I recommend giving a curriculum at least half to a whole school year trial run, as is, before looking to add or change.
4 adults, 1 in 2nd
3 in heaven
Married 6/20/09
2019-2020: ADV
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: MFW K & 1st in 2015-16

Unread post by MelissaB »

O.K. ~ a little confession here. :~ When our daughter started 1st grade, we thought the MFW 1st Math was not, um, activity-sheet enough. So we purchased [another math program] to go along with MFW 1st.

As it turns out, MFW 1st was complete after all. More than complete. It gave our daughter a solid foundational understanding of all of the important math concepts.

So, as other veteran mfw moms have already written, MFW 1st Math really is complete. It may look easy, but - agreeing with manyblessings here :) - you might want to try it for a few months before purchasing an add'l curriculum that you may not want/need.

It really is O.K. to use a different math curriculum, I just wanted to share our experience with you.

Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
Post Reply