Compare MFW to other types of unit studies?

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kellybell
Posts: 480
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Compare MFW to other types of unit studies?

Unread post by kellybell » Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:35 pm

pjssully wrote:Just wondering if there are any people who have used other unit studies and then switched over to my father's world. What was your reason for making the switch. I need to decide. Any feedback?
pam
I've always used MFW (except for one do-it-yourself year) so I have no direct experience with other unit studies. When we decided to homeschool, we soon found Sonlight and Weaver to be the "top two" for us, we went to convention, saw MFW, got confused by finding something else, went home empty handed, prayed, and have been MFW fans ever since.

Here are some of the things that made MFW better for our family:

1. I don't think I could handle two big programs at once for different aged kids. I can handle a big (Adventures and beyond) MFW program alongside MFW's K or 1st grade because K and 1st are quick and easy (but effective).

2. MFW does such a great job of integrating Bible into their program.

3. MFW is less expensive. We buy the deluxe packages and they are less than other programs. The packages contain the books you really need as well as those you will use over the course of the year. For the remainder of the books (those you read through once or don't really "need" to have), we rely on the library. Works for us.

4. We subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy that MFW seems to follow. MFW resources (such as Spelling Power or ILL) are inexpensive and easy to use, so they don't take up much time or money or brain cells in preparation. The things MFW recommends get right to the point and lack "fluff."

5. MFW includes some already-thought-out hands on projects. My kids like these projects but I am not good and creating them. So, the TM already has them (and for most of them, we've got the needed items already at home).

6. I like the MFW community here on the board and knowing that if I really needed to talk to someone about MFW, I can pick up the phone and speak to someone that really is connected with the program, not simply a "rep."

ANyway, in all fairness, you should post on other boards and see what they say.

Oh, and don't forget to PRAY. God knows what will fit your family best! And, he wants to answer that prayer.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

birthblessed
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:29 pm

Unread post by birthblessed » Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:36 pm

I used other unit studies for 4 years and now have switched to MFW. It was less expensive, fewer books, more Bible centered, more integrated learning (instead of just reading) and more Charlotte Mason inspired. The "deluxe" included music and art, which was sorely lacking in our previous programs.

TurnOurHearts

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:27 pm

Hi Pam ~

Truly, His ways are NOT my ways. To be very honest, in looking at My Father's World, I was a bit of a snob (I hate to admit that...). It didn't seem to have as much 'professional gloss' as I saw with other programs. Could it be as good? Then I began to pray about what I wanted for my children. What is my heart-cry for them? Simply this: to know Jesus as closely and intimately as is earthly possible. That may sound academically irresponsible, but I don't mean it that way at all. In My Father's World, I have found the curriculum that I believe will shape, first & foremost their foundation in Christ; all the while, the program is so rich academically! I could not be more pleased with our decision.

Hands down, I think our greatest responsibility as parents is to ask God for wisdom where our children are concerned. He is not in the business of failure. Pray & seek God. Trust that His plans are for your good, not for your harm. Then rest. Rest in His goodness & provision.

A fellow sojourner,
Paige in NC

MJ in IL
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

Unread post by MJ in IL » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:36 pm

Pam-
I also have used several other programs and, for the most part, really enjoyed them with my oldest.

I agree with the others about amount of time, the stretch to do SL with more than one child, easy hand-on activities and especially:

...more Bible centered, more integrated learning (instead of just reading)...

I love the Bible focus and not having it just as an added subject. I also prefer the MFW manual to flipping all the manual pages for History/LA and Sci. I also appreciate their mission mindedness.

Someone also mentioned on an earlier thread (birthblessed maybe?) questioning the wisdom in introducing more mature subjects at an earlier age, which was an issue I had with other programs, too...I felt I had to pre-read all of the books before using them...with 2 avid readers now (and one coming up), I don't have that much time!

All in all, I was certain God led me to MFW as when I found them at a convention, I was not looking for any curriculum. I had totally passed by their booth several times, as I had many of the books they had and was happy with what I was using. I stopped to pick something up for a friend and ended up buying the K package. The rest is history!

Pray...sketch out what you want in your curriculum and how each one fulfills your goals...and pray some more! Some of the reasons I may love MFW may not be key issues for others. Also, I bought a couple of David's tapes that really impacted me. I especially liked one on becoming a family of purpose.

In Christ, Molly

hollyjay
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:56 pm

Unread post by hollyjay » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:49 pm

We started with a literature-based program with our younger two and quickly became overwhelmed with all the reading. It seemed like all we ever did was read.

We found MFW quite by accident, prayed about it a lot (I'd never heard of it before, never met anyone who'd used it, nor had I ever even seen it. All I saw was their little catalog). We switched to MFW and it was a breath of fresh air. We've used it and loved it ever since!

I love how MFW integrates Bible throughout and you don't have to buy the science separately. I love the easier pace and the less is more approach that someone else mentioned. But I still use literature for readers and extra read-alouds.
Holly Isaac,
wife of Jason (20 yrs),
mom of Allison (17), Kirsten (14) & Heather (12)

Homeschooling with MFW since 2004. We've used ECC through 1850-Mod Times.

txquiltmommy
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:12 am

Unread post by txquiltmommy » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:54 pm

I have had a wonderful experience using literature with my dd, who is a strong and voracious reader and can sit endlessly through read alouds. She doesn't enjoy crafts and would prefer to read about how a science experiment is "supposed" to work rather than actually doing it.

Enter two wiggly, giggly, hands-on, highly active and super creative boys...........

Last year was my first attempt at using two programs at one time, which was necessary in my previous program, and it was a very rough year for us. I found the workload overwhelming, I struggled to keep up with the reading, and my sons really had a hard time with the format. (They are not strong readers and do not enjoy sitting still for long and challenging read alouds.) In an effort to make it more enjoyable for them I tried feverishly to gather hands on activities, coloring sheets, lapbook projects, etc. Adding that to my plate was just too much. It also impacted the amount of quality time that I could spend with my dd on her work. Last Spring I switched the boys to MFW Adventures, and it has made a night and day difference in our household.

For us, it boiled down to learning styles and personalities. My boys love DOING things with MFW. They look forward to the simple activities, they love adding pages to their notebooks, they love the art curriculum, they have a ball with the science, they take great pride in the Jesus poster, and the language arts is a MUCH better fit. I love it too! I enjoy reading to my kids, but I need for that time to be productive and bring closeness.

Last year I found myself on the couch for hours (literally!) at a time fussing constantly at my kids to sit still, pay attention, and LISTEN! I felt guilty if we skipped books or got too far off schedule because I felt like I wasn't getting my money's worth out of the program. Ultimately, I did abandon their schedule and do my own thing with the books, but the planning that went along with that seemed to defeat the hefty price I had paid for the instructor's guide in the first place. Some of the reading material was so far above their heads I wasn't sure if they were really "getting it", and I had nothing to show for our year but a stack of books. One of my favorite things about MFW is the notebook approach. We have a wonderful, varied, creative record of what we are doing together. We frequently add extra pages to our notebooks because my sons both enjoy journaling, drawing, preparing a recipe or finding a simple craft that ties in with what we are studying. The book basket has done wonders for their desire to read and spend time with books. MFW has been a GREAT fit for both my boys, and I see us sticking with it for the long haul.

I think the programs I have used are both great programs, and I must say I have received excellent customer service from both companies. I personally find MFW much more enjoyable to teach, especially in the younger years. I also think the needs and preferences of my sons are more "typical". Dd is more unique and takes bookworming to a whole new level. :) Both programs fill a need in our household and bring great blessing. We have harmony, thanks to the balance provided by MFW. I'm thankful for choices! :)
Brooke
dd (14)
ds(9) - ECC
ds(8) - ECC
and one on the way in December!

Ariasarias
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:26 am

Unread post by Ariasarias » Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:35 pm

I used another unit study for about 2 months and switched to MFW. I love the book but it was a little laborious and dry. We love to read all day, but it didn't work well. It was not cohesive. I really love how MFW revolves around God's word. We still read all day, but there is more purpose. For K, MFW seems to fit better developmentally too (at least with us. I did have a young 5dd too.)
May God lead you.
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

Lucy
Posts: 444
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:30 pm

When I first started out I was introduced to literature unit studies by some friends but really felt in the early years that I could never justify spending all that money when I could get most of these great books at the library. I also felt that my daughter who was a late reader would not benefit from all the readers that would be required. When my daughter was a bit older and reading much more independently I excitedly ordered my first literature unit study feeling that finally we could do a real year. Up to this point I put together my own units of history and science and used a hodge-podge of other curriculum. I felt we needed to get more serious and to start really tracking with a company. I was also tired of making up all my own stuff.

After 8 weeks I was very behind and my kids did not like it. It proved to be too much for us. Mostly I think it was the amount of information and books that we were expected to read. My daughter who had just really began to like reading was showing definite signs of burn-out from the long reading she was supposed to be finishing each day. Now for those kids who devour books it is great, but for those who have a moderate enjoyment and do not read very fast yet I think it could be burdensome. There are some books we skipped.

I decided we needed a change or I too was going to crash and burn. I switched to MFW not knowing if I would stick with it but finding that immediately it was doable and that we felt successful in finishing our work as well as enjoying it.

Here is what I did not realize about the literature program we were using: It is NOT a unit study at all. So I felt that although it was all good it was too much of a good thing. Too much history, too much science, too much geography and the bible was not connected in any way. I came to realize that what I loved was the literature. Unit studies are usually full of them so equated that with unit study.

Now that I have been with MFW for over 4 years I can see that uniting together makes learning easier as well as time effective. It is a good balance of academic subjects with out being too much.

I love that there is the choice for my kids to read history readers or other good books that may interest them. I like the book basket idea of giving them some choices and independence in their learning and time to discover things on their own in books.

If I had it to do all over again I would start with MFW.

I have found it easier to add more books than to have to adjust down the program and feel that we are missing something. As my kids have gotten older we have not done as many of the hands on activities but it is nice that at least they are there if we choose to do them. My kids always like the cooking ones.

This has become too long but after using several different curriculum I have found that MFW has been such a great trusted resource for me year after year.

The Lord will lead you for what is best for your family and maybe like others you will mix the 2. In the early years that is probably easier to do. But He will make it clear to you. He longs to be found and He already has the best in store for your family.

Blessings to you,

Lucy
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

cbollin

Is MFW a Unit Study?

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:57 pm

Robyn in TX wrote:I'm a newbie, looking and liking what I see in MFW. I did a unit study based on the Bible for first grade. We enjoyed it but I am looking for something else this year as we might be leaving the country in the middle of the year. Anyway, I was wondering how MFW is considered a unit study? How does that work? I would be starting 2nd grade with my dd and using MFW ADV. Thanks for your help!
MFW is considered a partial unit study approach in that some topics are studied together across more than one academic subject area, and it includes hands on projects that are part of it.

However, MFW doesn’t use the theme for unit study in all academic subjects. In other words, things like language arts and math will *not* be related to the history/Bible or Bible/science unit studies. For example some other unit study programs will have you do a unit study on horses and then all of your vocabulary and spelling words will come from horses and then you’ll count the horses, and multiply the horses, etc and just beat that horse to death until you know everything there is to know about horses and never want to see another one again.

Instead, MFW adds in thematically related topics when it makes sense. Examples: In CTG, when you are learning about Moses it makes sense to study Ancient Egypt and Pyramids. Or in Adventures when you are learning that Jesus is the Light of the World, the science will be about the stars and universe. And MFW schedules it so that you aren’t bogged down and stay in the unit for too long so that it stops being fun.

MFW is not a “pure unit study approach” for the whole year, nor the driving force behind the program. In other words, MFW is not just a bunch of unit studies schedules each year. The unit studies are there to help with retention of the material learned in Bible, history and science topics. And some times there will be a unit study in the curriculum that isn’t related to everything else, but is a great time to study that topic. I like that MFW does that with a short “stand alone” unit for Thanksgiving during the Adventures year.
-crystal

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