Academics - Feel like I'm not doing enough-how can they be learning?

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momof3nKS
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:41 pm

Academics - Feel like I'm not doing enough-how can they be l

Unread post by momof3nKS » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:50 pm

pjssully wrote:I have just finished three days of MFW ECC and it's gone well but I feel like I am not teaching enough--we were done by 12:00 and that's with adding some reading. How can they be learnig enough? My kids are 7 and 9 by the way. Is there anyone who has used MFW for longer than a year and has seen the result of MFW in their children? Any feedback would be great!
pam
This is my 4th year using MFW. I have used MFWK twice; MFW1st second time around this year; Adventures once; and ECC for the first time this year.

I am on Day 33 of MFW1st and Week 4 of ECC. Even though we had what I thought were pretty full days the first 2 weeks in ECC, it gets fuller just adding the Spelling Power in the 3rd week as well as those who are using Writing Strands. Last week and this week, it took me a good full 4 hours of schooling for ECC, and I think that's about right. AND that's without the reading and book basket time.

Hang in there, you are only on your 3rd day. Enjoy it now, because it will get busier.

Cathy
mom to dd7, ds6, dd3
enjoying ECC and MFW1 this year

Lucy
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:55 pm

Pam,

First of all every year starts slowly giving you and your kids time to easy back into school. I like this because it gives us time to establish some good habits for the year before adding everything. We are finishing our 2nd week and I have really enjoyed the slow pace but I know it will not last once when we add more history reading, read alouds, spelling and weekly writing assignments(my kids are a little older than yours).

ECC is a lighter and more fun year than the years to come but in no way is it not enough. If your kids learn the over 100 countries that you will play the game learning, do the packet work, learn about the different biomes in these areas and learn about the people in these regions as well as pray for them they will have learned a lot.

I am in Year 5 and each year is a little more demanding than the year before. There was a definite jump from year 3 to 4 as well.

You can always add more read alouds and the packet work but do not feel that you need to add more just to add. Also remember that there are many good books in the book list that could be read alouds or readers. You want your boys to enjoy school and so you want them ending each day looking forward to coming back to the next.

I really think you should stick with it. You will find next year will be just a bit more and the following year just a little bit more and so on. I think it is enough.

I think I said this in another post to you but it is always easier to add a little more but difficult to trim down.


Are your boys enjoying it? Are you enjoying it? Besides not being sure if it is enough.

You are doing fine. Relax and enjoy your year.

Blessings to you,

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

Heather (WI)
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Unread post by Heather (WI) » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:43 pm

Hi,

Just wanted to reassure you that YES they are learning enough!!

We are on our 3rd year of MFW (previously used ECC and Adventures, and now in Creation to the Greeks, with our 4th grade dd). I kind of felt like you did, at first, but it is amazing how much geography our dd STILL knows (a couple years later), and how much American History she knows (from Adventures).

We actually did the "Brainquest America" cards--which are quite challenging at times--last year that are for ages 9 or 10+, (after we finished Adventures, as a review), and it was SO reassuring to me that she knew SO many of the answers just from what we had learned in Adventures. Even *I* got a great history education last year, even though it seems so gentle.

So, I just wanted to let you know that even though it may seem gentle or "light", it is really VERY effective and gives them a VERY good, solid education. It's just that everything fits so well together and flows so nicely, and that Marie's lesson plans are so cohesive and "do-able", that it may seem like it's "not enough"--but it really IS!! It is just that efficient!!

And, because it fits together so well, and it's not "overkill"--they retain it, too, and that's one of the main things we hope to achieve in our efforts.

Just remember, we don't have to "kill ourselves" or always be pressured to "do it all" to give our kids a great education. It really can be this nice!!

We LOVE MFW, and hope to go all the way with it!! I always like to tell people that it is a solid, Biblical (most important) education, that is also very "do-able" for the regular homeschooler. It is such a perfect balance of activities, reading, etc., that you can keep up, and still teach all they need to know.

Hope this helps!!!

God's blessings on your school year!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR,
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!

Tina
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:00 pm

Unread post by Tina » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:55 pm

Pam: I also want to encourage you that yes, you are doing enough and yes, your children are learning. We did ECC last year with a 4th and 2nd grader. The 4th grader also did math, drills, ILL, WS, SP, some of the packet work from World Geography and a lot of extra reading. The 2nd grader's work load was less and more for his pace and ability. He did math, drills, PLL, Spelling by Sound and Structure, with no formal writing program and his reading ability increased dramatically this past year.

I love MFW and have used it since my 4th grader was in 1st grade. It is mom-friendly, easy to follow and biblically based (as the poster above described). I think when you get into really studying the countries you will see that it does pick up and will be amazed at how it all ties in together and how much your dc will retain!

Oh, on another note, we are big readers in this family and besides all the work we did with ECC, we also read 35 family read-alouds, so, read-alouds are good too!

Wishing you the best on your journey in MFW!
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT

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

Unread post by MJ in IL » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:05 pm

Pam-
What is it you feel like you might be missing? Or is it just a nagging feeling that you might be missing teaching something? I have found peace in the fact that I can't "teach" everything and know God will guide me in what He wants my children to know and understand. (BTW we are doing CtG this year/we've done K,1st, and ECC)

I have had a neat lesson today...for me...that after my "teaching time" is done, my children are learning even more. Today, I went to put the little one down for a nap and reminded the boys (again) to finish their "lab report." They are 7 and 10, so it is just a 4 square grid with the basics and a picture. We had done a very simple experiment with light and colors. I came back to find our DR table equipped with a prism, a crystal decoration they thought might be a prism too, a row of colored glasses that they were 'experimenting with,' a MSBus video about Making a Rainbow (they had remembered that it went along with this and wanted to watch it) and were reading in a optical illusion book I had checked out for book basket time. OK, so they hadn't finished the paper, but they had been "playing" with these things for over 45 minutes. (We did eventually get the report done too!)

I am very excited about this kind of learning because it is active and initiated by them. I KNOW they understand the concept of light not being clear but made up of more than one color.

I would really give it a bit of time. I will tell you that my 10 ds (9 last year during ECC) was telling me where the Black Sea was in relation to some country mentioned in an extra read aloud we were doing...this is a child who has really struggled academically.

There was also a great thread awhile back on productive afternoons, or something like that. This sounds corny, but even though I may finish my CtG lesson plan by noon (OK, I really have a hard time doing that!) the learning doesn't stop!

In Christ, Molly

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:29 am

I wanted to chime in a bit. I agree with the other answers --- they said it well.

I wanted to give you a few picture analogies to help you a little bit.

Both an academic school year and a full term pregnancy are about 9 months long. Early on in the pregnancy, you may not even feel pregnant. You certainly won't look pregnant for a little while. On any particular day, you may not see a lot of changes. It may not feel like enough. But, as the days and months progress --- there is a lot of growing and a lot of progress. At the end of the pregnancy, you have a child who has grown a lot and is ready to be born.

It's the same way with homeschooling. Some days are lighter than others. All days are important to the full school year of growth.


One of the reasons that MFW may seem light, is that MFW trims the unneccesary fat from schooling. You will not be sitting around with lots of worksheets to prove that you are learning. Instead you have the benefit of the good stuff.

Another little consideration. Remember that one on one teaching takes less time than classroom teaching.


Enjoy your year. It is age appropriate materials. And your children will learn a lot over the course of the year. We've been using MFW since 2003.

-crystal

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

Unread post by txquiltmommy » Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:07 am

Hi Pam,
I have not yet completed a full year with MFW, so I can relate to the fact that it is a switch in routine!

I have one child who struggles a bit, and a wise friend counseled me recently to remember to always set my kids up for success. I appreciated her advice, and I think of it often as I watch that child truly enjoy Adventures. I somehow adopted the philosophy over the years that "if a little is good, a lot must be better!" So, if we were reading a book and enjoying it, I'd plow through an additional four chapters and take the fun out of it. Or, if they expressed a slight interest in a science topic, I'd overwhelm them with an hour long activity. If they did well with a certain math concept, I'd assign an extra page. You see where I'm going with that. I've learned with MFW that learning can be fun, and that it is nice to end a day leaving them ready (and willing!) to learn more, because then they come willingly (and with great attitudes!) tomorrow.

If you do feel that you have extra time in the afternoons it is great to add extra books, but I'd really recommend doing it only if you WANT to, and not because you feel like you HAVE to.

One last thought.....not only do you add additional subjects those first few weeks with Adventures, but the content and difficulty level of those subjects quickly increased. The first several lessons in math, spelling, phonics and writing were review, but once the learning curve really kicked in (which was about the time Adventures really started taking off) we had a pretty full plate.

I'm glad you made this post. I've enjoyed reading the responses. It is a nice reminder that progress doesn't have to be painful. (Unless you're dieting! Ha ha.)

Give it some time, and enjoy something fun in these light days...an extra art project or a nature walk. You'll look back on this post in a few months and think "remember when it seemed so easy......................"

God Bless your journey, Pam!
Brooke
dd (14)
ds(9) - ECC
ds(8) - ECC
and one on the way in December!

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

Unread post by birthblessed » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:36 pm

Do you have a full Book Basket? The first week I hadn't checked my online library system and so hadn't gotten the Book Basket books assembled. The next week (and since) I've looked up the recommended books online and placed "holds" on them, and pick them up from the library on Mondays... the kids are allowed to browse for recreational reading at that time.

tkbbrl6
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:24 pm

Unread post by tkbbrl6 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:17 am

Pam;

Like you when I first got into MFW ECC I thought there is no way I can do this with my kids - it's way too light compared to how we've been doing school. My dh was very concerned that it wasn't enough and our hs accountability group told us we needed to add in more Hist/Sci. So our original plan for the year was to do ECC, 3 additional science programs plus science books and kits, and an American History program with read-alouds. I had it all scheduled out.

Well, back to the drawing board this week. Some of it is boring and some is okay, but they LOVE ECC and of course have always been big Hist/Sci enthusiasts so any hist/sci stuff they don't consider "school"!

I'm finding there is soooo much you can add into ECC once you get into the countires - I printed off all the World Geog pages for dd but ds is even interested in doing them if I figure out a way where he doesn't have to write alot (like rather than writing words out we number responses, etc. or I write for him!) They are begging to do more ECC work each week and don't want to stop.

All that to say - it does seem lite at first - but once you are into week 3 there becomes so much more you can do and if you add in book basket along with your Lan/Math I think you'll find it's full. If you want more "worksheet" type work try looking at enchanted learning - I've printed off some resources from there that my kids loved to go with ECC and have even used it to expand the Sci that ECC has.
Wife to dh for 13 years
Mom to ds (19) Sophmore at USC; dd(11) Level 7 USAG gymnast; ds(9) Green belt in Karate; ds (4)Still waiting for a pet buffalo or lion
Using RTR

kellybell
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Am I doing enough?

Unread post by kellybell » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:40 pm

sharon wrote:I am a brand new homeschooler. I have a 4th grader in ECC which we are really enjoying. I also have triplets in 1st using MFW 1st grade.

I know my kids are learning and we are all enjoying it, but I have a nagging question if I am really doing enough. Since they were in school before I keep wondering if I am pushing them enough. My 4th grader is very smart so is there something I should do to push her more? So far I have been sticking to the curriculum guide almost exactly. Also I wonder if I should be pushing my first graders harder, and how exactly will I know if I am doing enough?

Thanks for your input :)
Sharon
Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:23 pm

Sharon,

You are doing plenty. MFW programs are written in a way that they give you the most "bang for your buck." By that I mean both time AND money. You are spending less per child than the public schools do (and less than many homeschoolers). Plus, you are spending less hours per day than the public schools (and most homeschoolers).

The materials MFW has developed or tested are all wonderful resources that teach the material quickly and clearly. Take Spelling Power for example. In a public school, kids in a classroom all get one list and work it all week with exercises, writing, and fill-in-the-blanks. Come Friday they are tested on the words. For the child that knew the words already, those two hours of "studying spelling" were a total waste. With Spelling Power, you work the words you need just the amount you need. Other MFW resources work that way too. And, just being a homeschooler, you can speed up or slow down your pace to fit.

I would NOT require extra work from them if I were you. Don't add (I've tried it, and it just tires us out).

If you find extra time in your day, you can fill it with activities that will help the four of them grow such as:

Gardening
Hiking
Helping others (nursing homes, soup kitchens)
Serving your church (do the nursery toys need a bleach treatment?)
Collecting (rocks, feathers, etc.)
Scrapbooking and photography
Music
Art
Learning to keep house (laundry, cooking, cleaning)
Learning to fix cars
Biking, running, skating, swimming, etc.
Helping an adult with work (filing, filling orders, etc.)

If your 4th grader WANTS more ECC then give it to her, but don't require it. Perhaps she'd like to make a display of shelter or clothes from all the ECC countries. Perhaps she'd like to try a recipe from most of the countries you study. Maybe she'd like to look over the recommended reading and pick out some books. Maybe she'd like to look online for other activities. Let her explore but don't force it. Help her by buying the groceries, material, etc. she'll need.

Or ask her if there's something she'd like help learning. Add that foreign language if you're not already doing so. Get a typing CD-ROM. Let her learn the trumpet. Have her play 18 (see 1st grade TM) with the younger three. Help her start a craft club with girls from church, etc.

Similarly, see what the first graders want to do. Do they want to learn something, do something, etc.? Then let them!

Anwyay, MFW programs are complete as they are. Don't require more. Just see what the kids want and rejoice that your schooling is very effective and doesn't take all day like public school does. Pity those kids that ride the big yellow bus and then come home to chores, homework, sports, etc. They are busy 12 hours a day. Yikes.

sharon
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 9:17 am

Unread post by sharon » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:41 pm

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:31 pm

I really appreciate all you've said. It makes a lot of sense to me, and I agree with your ideas and philosophy. I will keep all that in the front of my mind and continue to pray the Lord will lead us if He would have us do any more. Bless you,

Sharon

Julie in MN
Posts: 2928
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:42 pm

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:51 pm

Sharon,
I love Kelly's post. I totally agree. My son is learning tons more with MFW than he (or my older children) learned in a public school, where the teachers have so many other things to deal with other than learning.

It sounds like you are taking full advantage of ECC, but I just wanted to be sure you haven't forgotten about some of the extra ideas right in the teacher's manual. In case you missed them, Marie suggests learning a hymn each month, doing a currency exchange in each country, starting a world stamp collection, nature walks, and many of the book basket books she lists have additional activities for the interested child.

Review is something you can easily incorporate. Review your notebook, your Bible verses, your geography game, & your missionary stories. Make a game out of it.

Your daughter can also add to her geography notebook as much as she likes -- illustrate, diagram, map, or write about what she is learning or books she is reading or places she has visited. I have my son write a page about what he has learned on each co-op field trip (or family outing) and we often find a connection to what we are studying.

However, as Kelly mentioned, don't require things such that you don't have time for family responsibilities and charitable work. And don't lose the success you already have when you say, "my kids are learning and we are all enjoying it."

Julie

Lucy
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy » Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:43 pm

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:23 pm

Welcome to the board and I am so glad you felt comfortable to post your concerns here.

I remember when my daughter hit 4th grade and I decided we needed to get really "serious" about school. The curriculum I choose was way too much for us and after 6 wks I found MFW and bought ECC. What a change of pace and what a blessing. We had fun and learned so much and I feel like it really helped us to keep homeschooling.

I agree with the other moms but do not feel alone. And just to let you know each year in MFW gets progressively more intense as far as work load so ECC may seem light but next year it will step up a notch particularly in history. Enjoy this first year as you all learn to enjoy the fun and joy of learning.

Lucy:)

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