Academics - Is it enough? Do you supplement?

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Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:06 pm

Academics - Is it enough? Do you supplement?

Unread post by Jacqueline »

juliebean115 wrote:Well I finally bit the bullet and ordered the ECC basic package. Last year was just torture. The kids weren't happy and either was I, we need more fun in our school! So here we are trying something new.

My biggest concern was that it would not be enough academically for us, like they might miss something important. I have come to the conclusion that how could knowing the Bible better be a mistake? So I hope I am right here after much prayer my answer was to try it and see what happens!
Welcome! I think MFW is academic enough.

When I think back to things my kids have learned, the things they've really retained have been those that involved an experiment, project, field trip, or something that was presented in a way that made it different (not just something they read in a textbook). I just LOVE that we have no boring textbooks this year for the core of our program.

You are so right that knowing the Bible is the most important thing. Everything else pales in comparison.

I hope you have a wonderful year with ECC - that's what we're using too and I've learned a lot just reading through the TM and flipping through the books.
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Nevada

Unread post by InfertilityMom »

We have been with MFW since preschool (now starting 2nd grade with Adventures) and have loved the entire learning experience! Our son is in no way lagging educationally and in many cases is far advanced beyond his peers, so I really don't think you have anything to worry about them "missing"! Welcome to the MFW family! :D
Jenni Saake, Nevada
after 10 years and 10 losses:
ds J. born 12/99 and dd R. 1/03, 1850s to Modern Times
ds J-Bear 1/06 finishing up K, looking toward 1st in early 2012
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:16 pm

Unread post by TrainingHearts »

I'm new here myself but I have had the ECC curriculum in my hands for several weeks now. I have thoroughly gone through it and I LOVE the format and I wholeheartedly believe that it is a full education program. I am very relieved that it is planned out so well and it really leaves a lot of space for adding in more if you feel the need.

BTW, they ship really fast and I think that you will be very pleased with your purchase.

Have a wonderful homeschooling year as you travel around the world.
Heart Training our 4 daughters - Ages 14, 12, 9 and 2
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:00 pm

Unread post by juliebean115 »

Wow! What a greeting. I can honestly say I have poured over this message boards now for weeks! That is one reason I choose to go ahead, you all seem so helpful with advice and sharing how things are working within your families! Thank you for your welcomes! :)

I am now so looking forward to going through the TM when it arrives, I am hoping it comes before my vacation at the end of the month, I would love to take it and gather as much info on things as I can.

Thanks again, see you all around here on the boards!
Mom to 3 Wonderful boys! Praying God will use them for awesome things all their lives!!!
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:23 am

6th grader - Do I need to add more?

Unread post by mamaofredheads »

momrandles wrote:I'm doing ECC w/ a 2nd grader and 6th grader. I've been getting the push from dh to do something harder with him. He thinks that since we get done so early in the day that this curriculum might be too "light." I don't agree, and I've done my best to explain how everything works together.
It might help if your husband were to listen to some of the CDs by David Hazell. He specifically addresses why they have short days & light Fridays, yet still complete thorough academics. I think it is the one about Independent Learners. The CDs really helped me understand the "big picture" and why they choose the items they do. I've also loaned them to several friends who have enjoyed them as well & will be using MFW because of what they heard.


Unread post by cbollin »

(agreeing very much with Glenna about understanding the big picture about some of it. here's a link to the post with ordering information

And chiming in...
One of the suggestions for "beefing up" science in ECC for a 6th grader is to add in more library books. And I've heard that MFW recommends Wildlife Atlas published by Readers Digest.

Another idea is to hand over the science section to the 6th grader and let them set up and clean up all of the science lessons for younger child. Sometimes we don't just add more academics to a 6th grader, but we add in more responsibility to help with moving toward independent learning.

Same thing with all of the crafts and music in ECC. Let the 6th grade help with set up and teaching. Go ahead and let them begin to take more of that role.

Also, be sure to do science notebooking and nature journaling as part of science. That is a very important skill to not forget to do. They are not fluff and are scheduled in MFW. (My dh spent 12 years as research scientist in a university. So we like to add in science skills instead of too much knowledge information-- nature journals and notebooking for lessons help with that.) Then in 7th grade you can start with Apologia General Science.

Another little thing that I've had to do in our day... I've let the 6th grade do more of the out loud reading this year. Maybe your 6th grade could do parts of that as well.

Other little ideas to add in for your 6th grader if you and your dh decide that really needs to be done:

*Perhaps it is time to start studying another language to round our your 6th grader's school day.
*Time to practice a musical instrument?
*Work on life skills and chores (my oldest is still learning that).
*Perhaps you could encourage your 6th grader to do something that can be used in a ministry setting. In my 6th grader's free time she sometimes likes to crochet or cross stitch things to give to people. She's done a read-a-thon to raise money for Bible translation. Can you child help with childcare at the church ladies Bible study?

For Geography:
*Have the child do one country report. Maybe an extra unit on the country of your ancestry. If you need help learning how to write a report like that, MFW sells a book called Writing a Country Report. MFW recommends this for 7th or 8th graders, not 6th graders. But if you and your dh really think that your child would benefit from one extra report, that's an option to think about. I think that the 6th grader who is doing ALL of the pages in World Geography book is doing plenty each time. But to tie it in with a family tree/ancestry unit could be fun. I enjoyed doing that when I was about that age.

*Read “Top Story,” a Christian weekly current events news magazine from God’s World News. Use a map to locate all geographic areas mentioned in the articles and test reading comprehension with the weekly tests that come with it. Students might clip out the international articles and file them by continent in their geography notebook.
Here's a link to order that and to benefit MFW's Bible Translation fund while getting a 10% discount for yourself

I like that MFW is a rich program that still leaves us time to do other things that round out life. It leaves room to add in little things without having to add another full program for a subject.

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Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 6:18 pm

Unread post by mrs_mike98 »

I actually just had a discussion with DH on how our children could possibly be learning ANYTHING when our entire school day is about 2.5 hours (we're using MFW K and LA/Math/Spanish/Science) and other kids are in their school for at least 8 hours... I reminded him that the PS kids are having to deal with hoardes of other children - some who don't understand what's being taught, some who are goofing off and distracting everyone, changing classes, taking attendance, hearing announcements, going to lockers, bathroom passes, etc. There's a lot of "fluff" to that 8 hour PS day. Not to mention most of what they're learning is review anyway. I heard a statistic somewhere that out of an entire 8 hour school day, students recieve approximately 45 minutes TOTAL of new information. And lets not even mention the quality of things that are being learned!

So our 2 1/2 hours compared to that 45 minutes... ;-) Sometimes its hard to break out of the idea that school "has" to be a long, drawn out drudgery.
Erin, blessed mama to 5 boys :-)
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:20 pm

Unread post by momrandles »

Oh, Ladies, thank you so much for your replies!!! XOXO

I guess that since it was going so smoothly for me I let a few anxieties creep in ...... "MY first week can't POSSIBLY be going this well!!!" :D

We are planning on adding foreign lang. and music lessons in week 3 coming up. ( We are taking a week off after the first 2 to visit family.) I think dh doesn't see the science part as academic enough for him. I bought Apologia General Science, but I had decided to wait until next year. Maybe if he started now and took two years to do it, it would be a good compromise. That way he could participate in all the MFW science this year and next (CTG). (We are actually going to do our first nature walk at the Creation Museum this weekend!!! :D)

Thank you again for all your time and encouragement--it means so much!!
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Unread post by LSH in MS »

What really encouraged me when listening to the workshop Cds is that MFW plans time for you to learn real life skills and pursue interests in the afternoon and on Fridays. Academic bookwork isn' t all the education our children need. Children shouldn't be sitting at a table all day working. There is so much else to learn that is extremely valuable.

My husband has been able to do projects with my sons that build their relationship as well as learn skills. They helped him build a storage shed for their grandparents and a tree fort in the backyard. Their grandmother is a plant enthusiast so they go to her house and learn the names of all of her flowers and trees, how to recognize weeds to pull up and leave the good plants. My son loves to go out and pull all the weeds in our grass.

I appreciate MFW's perspective on this. Most other programs do not allow time for real life learning and I think that is unbalanced.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
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Unread post by donnagio »

There was a great point made by a very well known homeschooler- maybe Ruth Beechick? - What I Wish I Knew Then(?) which is a series of articles by many homeschoolers.

She said she realized that curriculum could be a "tyrant" when someone told her that they had driven past Mt Russhmore, but did not take the time to stop, because the children were "behind in their workbooks". I often think about that.

We had a wonderful missionary come to our church who asked if he could spend time in children's church. First of all, how wonderful is that?! And he was so sweet and humble, apologizing for taking my time. All I could think of was how wonderful it was to talk to a real missionary about the country and how he was seriving the Lord and the individual children whose lives he was touching instead of learning about missionaries as part of the lesson! It was actually a lesson on missions! LOL
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Combining MFW & another program w/same children?

Unread post by 4Truth »

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:42 pm

I think if you try to do *both* MFW and another program, it'll be too much.

Believe me, I've tried "supplementing" MFW, and every single time, I end up frustrated and want to ditch the whole thing. Personally, for me, trying to make more out of MFW than it is just kills the joy of it.

The booklist in the TMs are quite extensive. There are TONS of options in there. I don't think you'll have much time left to do some other program, honestly. At least not if you have any life outside of "school". Now that doesn't mean you can't read some books at your leisure if you want to... that's certainly your choice. But don't try to do both as a full (or even half full) curriculum.

Just my opinion.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

is MFW enough academically?

Unread post by cbollin »

pjssully wrote:HI-- i've been back and forth with this board for a couple months now. every time i look, i am always inspired to go back to MFW. Right now i am using sonlight 3 with my 9 and 7 year old. i tried MFW for a few weeks and just felt like it wasn't enough.

My question is to those who have used MFW for a long time--does it seem like enough academically--i worry about the science not being enough.

I think i will miss the history piece if i do mFW ECC, since there is no history. should i try to add to MFW ECC? Or should i just trust MFW that it is truly enough ?
Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:25 am
Rather than link back to previous posts, I thought I’d like to share why I still use MFW and stopped looking at other catalogs.

I can understand the nervous feelings of wanting to know if a program is right. Been there. I’ve stayed with MFW. There are so many programs out there. And if you have ever been to a home school convention, it is overwhelming to try to decide. I was in that boat in 2003. Never heard of MFW until that year’s convention. It had everything I wanted. Hands on learning. Unit Studies. Chronological history. Encourages a gentle approach to learning in the early years (ala Charlotte Mason). And at its core --- it is a Christian program designed to help me raise my family to see God’s hand in history and act according to that knowledge. It was designed to be done in a way that left me time in the afternoon to do other things without feeling so burned out that I didn’t want to do them. It is academic and simple. I like that combo too.

The first couple of weeks in any MFW program are typically lighter than other weeks in the program. This is by design to allow you to ease into the school year. Once you add in the full program (by about week 4 or 5) you can begin to see it is a complete program – assuming that you are doing all of the program. If all you are doing is Geography, then you have chosen to miss the rest of the program. ECC covers about 7-10 subjects using materials that are academic, effective and not time consuming. Those subjects include: Bible, character, geography, science, art, music appreciation, (math and language arts), optional foreign language, reading. Reading is covered in at least 3 areas: read alouds, reading time and book basket.

What other subjects are you hoping to add? Some people want other things--- you can add those things on Fridays or in the afternoons. Get done with school first and then add those other individual interests.

You do study some history in ECC --- but it is not a full history program. While studying about people groups you are learning about their history as well. When we read missionary biographies --- we are learning history. It is a more general approach at this level instead of a focused chronological approach that is found in years 2-5.

I'm in my 4th year of using MFW. I clearly like MFW. I like having smart kids. My oldest is my child with no special needs labels. So – she gets to be my smart kid. We love science. My husband is currently a research scientist at a Big Ten University. He holds a PHD in Chemistry. We like science. We’re nerds. Here is why we like the approach that MFW uses in science. It is age appropriate. It encourages a love for learning more about God’s creation. It encourages thinking skills early in science over a ton of facts shoved in their brains to be spit out on a test. It doesn’t complicate the learning with too much science jargon. It encourages the use of everyday things to teach science.

Now, with all that said, in ECC the science looks light because it is so intertwined with the unit study. You will not spend a huge amount of time doing a separated out science program with MFW in the early ages of elementary school. It is age appropriate for your 9 and 7 y.o. The science, as written in ECC, is great for exposing children to the living world around them. It would be ideal to visit every place in the world and have a field trip to go with the science --- but that’s not a real situation or possibility for most of us. So we do that through books and some fun for the kids activities.

Now, we tried to add a full science program to ECC when our oldest did ECC as an 8 year old. You’d think that PhD scientist and his wife could pull that off. But guess what? It backfired. We wanted a program that had more experiments, more jargon and was a science program. Phooey on us. We wised up and went a different route. Instead of doing another program we added to the science that year by playing with baking soda and vinegar. We checked out more library books. Some were about animals; some were about plants; some were about physics and chemistry. We used the light and independent Fridays to add in fun stuff that fit our child’s interest. We took a field trip to a hands on science museum. We finally realized, even if we didn’t have the words for it, that at this age, it is really about exposing them to the world around them and enjoying it. The super formal lessons can wait a few more years. And that is from the science nerd perspective. Let them enjoy science --- don’t knock the joy of it out of your children.

Is MFW enough? If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be on this board all the time trying to help others who want to know. Clearly I think so. But why? Each year gets a little harder. There is time to add more work in. There is time to not get bogged down in language arts and math and science and history and still have time for life. It is a thorough program. I’ve learned over the years of home schooling that you don’t need to cover every single subject very heavily every single year or even every single day. It covers about 10 subjects in the program. I think that is enough for this age!

I’ve used this analogy on this board before, but I’ll say it again. A school year and a full term pregnancy are both 9 months long (give or take a day or too). On any particular day of the pregnancy, that baby may not seem to change or grow much. But at the end of the term --- a lot of growth has happened. It is the same way with a MFW program. On any particular day of any week, it may look small and unimportant – but there is growth, learning and part of a bigger process.

I hope this rather long story gives you a bit of the picture of why I still love using MFW. I was drawn to it at the convention and it fits our family.

May the Lord lead your decision.
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:30 am

I don't know if I'm qualified to answer since I'm not a long time MFW users. We have only finished week 11 in ECC. But I can say, for me, doing ECC and a combo of other things was too much. I felt like I was leaving out so much that we could be doing with ECC and at the same time short-changing History. When I asked my kids they really, really like the ECC. They like the history - buy we've done so much that just seems like history in our house that their fav right now is the ECC. So this past week we did only ECC with an extra science supplement and it was an awesome and very full week. They loved it so much that they actually begged to go one more week with South America, North America and the Rainforest. They wanted me to come up with lapbook projects for them to do as review.

I realize that we add to MFW - you really wouldn't have to. I do bec I already had the materials. We do think the Sci is a little light for us - but we are a sci family - I know a lot of hsing parents who don't even do as much sci as in ECC in the early years. ECC has great ideas in it for Sci and things that you can easliy expand upon by doing more experiments or getting a few extra books from the library if you're dc are interested in a particular topic. That's part of what's nice about MFW is that it's a solid program but it's not so crammed full that you have to ask yourself what can I leave out to stay sane - but it gives the dc time to have child lead learning.

We haven't thrown history out the window. First, as you're studying the countries you do learn some history about the area you're studying. You can add in books for your book basket that cover historical events for the country, etc. In addition you don't have to give up the history books your are using. I have history readers avail in the book basket that they can read - they select history books (they select from the shelf and they are in chronological order) as read alouds for me to do at night or over lunch so they are getting history it's just not all happening on a schedule. This week they selected a PBS movie on the Civil War to go with our week and they will do a notebook page after watching it.

One other thought, it isn't written anywhere that you have to start MFW with ECC - it's recommended and I can see where it would have been helpful to have more geography with my oldest when we were studying earlier history - but I but map work in, pulled out the globe and atlas for her, etc. She's learning a lot from ECC. If you've done a little geography, you could look at Adventures (which would give you Am Hist and US geography).
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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:25 pm

One way to sort of "test" whether or not a curriculum is fine for an older (middle school and up) student is to look at it and ask yourself (assuming you have a middle school or beyond education) if you'd learn a good amount of it YOURSELF by doing the program.

As for ECC, we did this the first year we homeschooled and I learned capitals and locations of countries and gave some good thought to the science presented! I learned SO much that year and would assume that most middle schoolers would have a lot to learn too!

Go for it, adjusting science, math, and LA to fit!

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:50 am

MFW is enough. I've got enough MFW experience to see it working in our family. We keep having these moments where the kids know things that their peers don't know. Last night we had one of these moments at AWANA. I help out in a room with about 16 3rd through 6th grade girls. The leader was talking about different central and south American countries and had a big atlas opened up on the floor. She was asking them if they knew where certain countries were. Some of the girls could identify Brazil and Mexico, but Mary (my 10 yo who did ECC when she was 7 and 2nd grade) was able to identify all the countries that she asked about. The first question was, "who can show me where Honduras is?" Mary's hand shot up and she was the only kid who could find it on the map. We didn't know that we'd be doing map drills so we didn't prep her for it. Mary is a bright girl, but not a genius, not a geography-nut. She just knows what we taught her.

MFW doesn't take long to teach. We school from about 8 to 2 each day and I know other families who do school from 8 to 5. That mom is more energetic than I am.

Since MFW doesn't take all day, you have lots of time to add in things. Our family adds in violin, karate, dance and ... more science. I feel that MFW science is plenty and not overwhelming. It's age appropriate, not giving concepts that the children aren't ready for (and the older kids do Apologia science in middle school).

As for adding more science if you want, you could do what we do and just find fun library activity books. I guess you could do the same or you could even stick with the science you have. I think you'll find MFW science to be effective and enjoyable! We've added science because that's what we like to do and since MFW doesn't take all day, we can. My neighbor down the street avoids science at all cost! She would rather add more literature to her homeschool!

During our ECC year we did learn lots of history. When you focus on history, you cannot avoid geography. Similarly, when you focus on geography (and missions), you're going to get a lot of history. When we read Snow Treasures, we learned about WWII, for example. The book basket always had books that mentioned an areas history and culture. You can't avoid history when doing ECC. And, like most homeschoolers, we got a few Thanksgiving books, etc.

Just the fact that you made your post shows that you are torn between the two programs. You tried MFW, you switched. Now, you either are doubting your switch or you are not ready to leave MFW behind. Your job now is to read these posts and PRAY. God will direct you.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:01 am

I am now in year 5-1850 to Modern Times and academically it is enough. Each year in MFW gets progressively more academic.

I have said this many times on the board but I wished I had done a better job the first time I did ECC. It is a lighter year over all but what you can accomplish if you stick with it is amazing. Learning where all the continents and over a 100 countries are and learning about the people and the kind of land they live with is all so important when moving into the history. Many programs try to do geography along side but I found the one year I tried to do that it was just too much information for my kids brainse to hold. You do continue to use the geography and even refine it connecting more and more with history in each year in years 4 and 5. Your "history" in ECC is the "history" of the people of the land and learning about their cultures including their faiths and how we can pray for them. It is a foundaional year in showing God's work in these many lands across the years and it really gives a perspective on who we are and how thankful we can be for where God has us right now.

At the age that your kids are at you can always go back if you are not happy.

Another thing that I really like about MFW is that it has a balance with the subjects. It may not seem like enough science but it really goes hand in hand with the geography and there is some cross over of these 2 subjects that your 9 year old would get in doing some of the packet pages.

Also if you only did the first 2 weeks of ECC you never really go into the deeper meat of the program. MFW programs always start more slowly. I really thing you need to give it a chance. There are so many other great read alouds in the weekly or unit librarly book list too. So if you really like to read choose some of these to read aloud too.

I guess you could add some read alouds but I would not try to anything else like all the history on top of the ECC. If you have a child that really does not like to read that much, then it may be too much. MFW has a different philosophy, in that they like kids to work at their pace, as well as get to choose some of what they would like to read.

God's grace and peace to you,
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:45 am

I think the reason some moms feel MFW is not "enough" is because there aren't lots of worksheets and stacks of thick texts. But really an abundance of paper products is a recent invention. Throughout history, even into the last century, learning was done through discussion and reading and exploring. And historically, I think *more* learning went on in such classrooms & homes.

I think your biggest decision is whether *mom* is going to be able to accept the MFW methods, or not.

Will mom skip playing the geography game as often as recommended because she thinks it's fluff, or will she use it as a tool for teaching? Will mom skip the science experiment because it looks too simplistic, or will she tie it in as a major jumping off point for absorbing the biomes being studied? Will mom encourage the kids to use their notebooks as an exciting way to organize & review the information, or will she use it as storage for tons of extra worksheets with errors marked wrong?

If you are close to using these methods but just need a small boost, you can just add a couple of evaluation tools at the beginning and end of the year to see what progress has been made, such as the geography quiz included in ECC or the Spelling Power pretest. But this is just for your own comfort. Really, kids DO learn this way!

Our hearts go out to you as you make your decisions,
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Unread post by Tina »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:33 am

Hi. I had something occur this week that might be of encouragement to you as you decide whether MFW is for you.

I have, over time, collected...or held onto, homeschool books of all sorts because others were going to throw them away. I just hate to see this happen, no matter what curriculum it is, So, I have collected over time three 18 gallon totes of these, miscellaneous books.

Well, this weekend I did a lot of cleaning and I went thru all these books and typed out a list of what they are and sent the list off to all people near me who homeschool, hoping that maybe some people will take these books. Well, I did get some takers and the rest of the stuff, well, I hope to get it to the person who does used curriculum sale.

Anyway, my point of telling this long story is that as I was going thru these texts and TONS of materials (huge books, pages and pages of workbooks not filled in by students), I realized and was very grateful to be using a curriculum that has such a nice, multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning. I was grateful that I have continued to break out of my own comfort level and go with a learning that is more fun and sticks for my children. We don't need all these texts and workbooks to get the same, if not better, education than those who use all these materials.........and sometimes never even fill all the books in!

I really appreciated Julie's post above. I can truly relate (and sometimes still struggle with) what kind of teacher mom I will be (or am),,,,,and maybe even sometimes finding a fit somewhere in the middle.

Best of luck on your decision. I love MFW. We are blessed in our home to have found it and to continue on a path of learning thru a multi-sensory approach that is fun, easy, challenging, and biblically based.
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

pjssully wrote: I think i will miss the history piece if i do mFW ECC, since there is no history. should i try to add to MFW ECC?
Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006

Well, we all feel that it is enough but you will have to make the decision that works for you. ECC is a Geography year not a History year. Geography is the foundation that history is built on. Some other curriculums weave the geography is with the history but MFW chose to teach it first as a foundation. You will still end up getting both, just a different order of teaching them.
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Unread post by Omma »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:09 pm

I have struggled with many of your issues. I think we have to really watch out for burnout. Also, I heard David Hazell talk about producing "academic machines" and if that should be our goal. What about teaching our dc how to minister to others? I have been thinking a lot about this, because, if I were to be honest, I do almost want to emphasize the academic over all else. But what if my dc never learn to serve others? These are battles I am going through now, and I may order some tapes about the Hazells' view on family ministry opportunities.

Is it rigorous enough is your question? Well, we have to examine our goals for our family carefully. Also, we have to see if we (as hs moms) are wasting so much time in wondering what we are missing, that we produce homeschool chaos in the home. I personally love to do research, and I love to analyze and compare and combine different options.... but I can also drive myself and others NUTS by my constant search for more information! Perhaps I like being an academic machine... but is that what God really wants for our family?

Just thought I'd share some of my rambling thoughts on the subject. I don't know what is right/wrong for any family, but I do know that God does not want us to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6).

The biggest thing I hope for you is that you attain some measure of peace about your decision, so you can let your mind rest and enjoy the curriculum and homeschooling opportunities that you have with your dc!

Kim Schroter
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Unread post by Kim Schroter »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:16 pm

I don't think anyone can convince you how great MFW is, it's something you would come to know on your own from trusting that God is leading you in that direction. Everyone can tell you how wonderful it is, but it sounds like there is something that doesn't sit well with you. That's really OK! Maybe God has a different plan for your home school that doesn't include MFW.


Maybe God keeps bringing you back to MFW because this is what He has chosen for your family, but you personally don't mesh with it. I know from previous posts that you like both, but I know you're struggling with MFW being enough. If God has directed you to MFW, trust Him and give it a thorough chance. God will bless your home school and your trust in Him.

There are genuine women on here who truly care about your peace and success and keep you in prayer. Seeing this care has been deeply encouraging to me and I hope there is at least a pea sized amount that could help you from my response.

All home schools have a different swing/dynamic, but I know you can find peace with your decisions.

No matter how many failures I can count at the end of each day, I know God has placed my girls in a safe nest for training and education. For that alone, there is success at the end of every home school day!

Many blessings,
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:43 pm

Unread post by SandKsmama »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:14 pm

The only thing that I can add to what the other ladies so eloquently said is this...I felt just the same as you when I started with ECC the beginning of last year. I wavered over my decision and wondered - is it enough? Is the science too light? What about history? All those same questions. BUT, we weren't in a position to buy anything else at the time, so I just stuck with it.

By the end of the year, I wasn't asking those questions any longer. I could see such progress in my daughter - she (and I!!) had learned SO much! The science topics aren't "heavy", but they are applicable, and that knowledge sticks. I would encourage you to use the book basket to your fullest advantage, especially on those science topics. It's amazing what my daughter learned by just picking up those books.

And I know it's been said over and over, but everything about ECC laid such a great foundation for CTG this year. I do think you can trust the work that the Hazells have done.

Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:03 pm

Unread post by kfrench »

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:10 pm

It is enough. When I have tried to do other programs I would end up skipping stuff and skimming over subjects because we didn't have enough time to do everything. With MFW we can actually do everything and the kids love it. When they love it they learn more. I noticed if lessons were long my kids would tune out and get nothing from it. When it is short they remember much more so they actually learn more when they learn it in little bites than when I try to cram to much in. And they love the little extra crafts that usually don't take more than 5 minutes. The science is short but they can usually tell dad exactly what they learned where before they would cover too much and couldn't recall much of anything. I realize in K that my kids learned more from reading library books about science and history subjects than they did from a text book or canned lesson. We have tried lots of different stuff but MFW is simple and doable and doesn't burn me out of schooling or my kids. ANd there is time left to read more books and do fun stuff and be creative.
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:03 am

Unread post by Joy1139 »

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:27 pm

Is there a particular area that you are most concerned about... as far as, if that is academic enough? Are you wondering mostly about skill development (how to write a research paper, how to conduct a science experiment) or are you more concerned with the content level (a certain level of knowledge you want your children to eventually possess)? I"m asking this because it really is important that you know. From your question, it appears you may be most concerned about giving your children a certain level of information.

First, my personal ramblings are just that... my personal thoughts. No matter what curriculum we use, it is not going to play out the same in every household. Even with highly scheduled curriculums like MFW, our families and children are so different, they will never look the same. So, another person may totally disagree with me, no big deal.

In my opinion, the strength of some programs is the volume of knowledge that you pass on to your children.

In my opinion, MFW's strength is a thorough integration of the development of the child's skills. My impression is that MFW is not as much about acquiring knowledge (though it is about that, too), as it is about taking knowledge and skillfully handling it. MFW doesn't seem to hold to the "more is much" point of view. Rather, I get the feeling that the information is more systematically presented so that the child can DO something with that information... write a summary, complete a notebook page, participate in a meaningful activity, or spend your afternoon pursuing additional content on that topic as you are inspired to do so.

I guess that may be obvious to some. But, when I began to understand the difference in that, I became very concerned. My oldest son has is very, very knowledgable and even at the ripe old age of seven, he amazes other people with his knowledge. That's good. But, as he gets older, I want him to be able to do something with his knowledge.

I began to worry: is just reading enough? should I ask him to do a notebook page on this? OK, well, how many a week are enough?

With MFW, I get the whole program... and I have time for art and music and, hopefully, even a foreign language. I ought to get to it... it's right there in my schedule. It relieves my own stress and doubt to know that Marie will hold my hand, and she will tell me when we need to do a writing assignment and I can always add more if I want to but she will help me to know what is appropriate.

With MFW, they will tell me when to teach him to write a research paper. If I follow their recommendations, he will be prepared for that. They will also tell me when to study our own state history. I was worried about that. And, Marie will remind me about many other things that I'm just afraid we'll miss! With MFW, he learned to READ, compose a short written summary of material, and reflect on that enough to show me what he had learned (the notebooking).

So, in my mind, I am thinking MFW will be more academic and so far, that has been true for us.
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Enough for my book-lovin son?

Unread post by mgardenh »

apayne wrote:I guess I'm worried about whether or not MFW is enough for my book-lovin son; how do I manage the five-year cycle with only 4 years before high school for my oldest; is the load of MFW lighter for *me* than SL? I'm not lazy - I'm single with three at home and I work as an RN as well. I'm not looking for any *more* work, but I think my boys have such different needs/styles and I want something that works for all of us.
To answer your question. Yes MFW is enough. Now you ask how and why. If you follow everything in the TM as it is, you and your DC will get a lot out of it. Often people say MFW is light (not enough) but they either have not used it or do not do all of the recommendations.

For your child who loves to read, that is where book basket comes in. Book basket is a time for children to spend looking at and reading books. MFW gives you tons of suggestions (a lot of them similar to SL readers and stuff) but with MFW you get the books from the library (of course you can buy them too if you can afford it). So your child who likes to read gets lots of books from the library. If you get the ones MFW suggests they have been preread by MFW and are good; other books from the library you get at your discretion. So you do not have to get all the books suggested in the TM or only the books suggested. You get books related to the history, science, and whatever else you're doing in MFW.

In regard to the hands-on stuff. I'm not a hands-on person and I find there is not too much and they tell you what you need in advance and tell you how to do it . For this project-challenged dad it is great. Don't tell my DC but I really enjoy doing them, too.

I would definitely do ECC. Call MFW they love to talk to you about your situation and help you with questions you have. They would help you decide what year to skip for your oldest based on what you have done.
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: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:05 am

switching back

Unread post by pjssully »

After 7 weeks of MFW i switched and now i regret it. My kids were really enjoying the MFW but I was so concerned that it wasn't enough, that i quit MFW! After quitting, we switched 3 more times. I can honestly say that I let the "is it enough" fuel our lives last year and I became quite depressed. I spent most of the summer prereading books and preparing to go back to the program I had left three times, but the closer we got the starting date, the more uneasy I felt. I wasn't looking forward to the new year and was dreading all the reading. I quickly came to this forum and realized that God was leading me back. I sent all my stuff back, ordered MFW again (I had sold it last year), and I couldn't be happier!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a 11 and 8 yr old who LOVE to read and i will incorporate some of the readers/read-alouds that I had. It's very easy to do and they can then read them at their leisure, rather than having a time schedule of having to read them. Most likely they will read longer and enjoy more books.

I know the switch can be scary and i know I really worried about the rigor of MFW--I want my children to go to college. I have been given the gift from God of peace about the rigor of MFW--it's very different from how I learned but it's all there-in an easy, fun way for the kids.

I must also say one more thing--i think the kids lost the "love of learning" last year! They loved listening to read alouds but all the extra work suggested--i won't go into each topic, but it did take the fun out of learning for them. I look forward to giving my "hands on" child some fun things to do this year, look forward to using a curriculum that is centered around God, and to be honest, look forward to not just "doing what others are doing" but following my heart.

I hope you can hear your heart--pray and listen and let God guide you. If he guides you to SL, then fine, that's where he wants you at this time--maybe in the future MFW will be a possibility. Best of luck on your decision!!!
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