MFW - What do you love?

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:36 pm

Winni wrote:I am so nervous about trying MFW. We used one program for 5 years...but now that I am adding in my younger children, combining would be too tough. This summer I was soooo convinced that I wanted us to use another program, but then it ended up being too involved...kinda overkill, I thought. THEN, I bought another. It is definitely not overkill...but it turned out to be a little dull. With still another program, my kids can only be interested in coloring pages for so long. Then I almost bought another...but it was so expensive.

NOW I am trying MFW...will we love it? I REALLY wanted a curriculum with an emphasis on missions. That is one of the reasons I am so attracted to MFW. I also like that Art and Music are incorporated into MFW. Sigh. Will we LOVE MFW?
Will you love MFW? I'm going to guess that the answer is probablymaybewell yes!

If you're looking for a combination of "classical education" with "unit studies" with "hands on activities" with a easy to follow pre-made lesson plans all centered in a program that is designed to raise up a generation of families that see the world through God's eyes and acts on that knowledge, then I really do think you'll love MFW.

Here are the things that I have appreciated over the years. It is doable for the kind of teaching that I want to do. I wanted a program with gentle approaches to learning in the early years; with hands on acitivities; and an easy to use unit study approach. And it had to be a Christian program. I found all of that with MFW.

I didn't want to be trying to decide from too much to do. I like that MFW doesn't give me too much to choose from. The activities are fun and easy to find the supplies. I liked the food projects in ECC. I like that the unit studies flow and connect.

I hope that you will find it as much of a blessing to use as I have over the years.

--crystal

Jill S
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:21 pm

Unread post by Jill S » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:39 pm

We love MFW. We're on year three, but so far we've used or are using MFWK, MFW1, ECC, CtG, and RtR.

ECC was our first year and totally sold me. I was drawn to it because I wanted to study my childrens' birth countries. Naturally, those were my children's favorite times! The cooking was fun but not overwhelming. The crafts were fun but not overwhelming, except for the time we made over 30 Chinese lanterns! They're still hanging as a king of valance over my kitchen windows and the kids WILL NOT even think of my moving them, or the Mexican tissue flowers attached to the kitchen light fixture, or the Japanese carp hanging with the lanterns. LOL The memories are just too happy for us, and that is so precious to me.

Another personal favorite was reading the missionary biographies; in fact, we are still reading new ones all the time and IT STICKS WITH THEM! My daughter in first grade wants to be a missionary when she grows up, and it all started when she listened in to those books as a 4 year old.

Windows on the World is a great book, too, and my children learned so much from it. They still reference certain people groups or religions.

They learned their geography, of course, and now I see them using it in the Ctg and RtR programs. It is a great base.

I loved teaching science that year, because it is so easy to show your children how God created animals and plants to thrive in all the different ecosystems. You can really see His hand at work. My children just loved seeing the amazing diversity of all the creatures, and that still comes up all the time.

Even the PLL lessons are still with us, especially the poetry. For that matter, I still use the poem from the TM of ECC--if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Simple, effective, fun, and with great staying power--that pretty much sums up our MFW experience.
Mom to Alex, 12, Russia--RtR
Luke, 12--RtR
Song, 9, China--RtR
Vera, 8, Russia, Down Syndrome
Anna, 7--MFW1
Emma, 6, Down Syndrome
Ella, 3, Colombia, Down Syndrome

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

Unread post by tkbbrl6 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:05 pm

Winni;

I wish that I could say that "yes, MFW is just the thing for you and your family." But, each family - dc - mom - are all different - that's why there isn't just one size fits all curriculum out there. I can tell you this - we used another program and we liked all the books that we read, but some books mention topics that I'm not so sure I want my 8 yo and 10 yo reading/hearing about so sometimes I change wording. My 8 yo could thrive on reading, but my 10 yo is a visual/hands-on and our previous program needed tweaking. My 10 yo could easily be a workbook kid, but I can't teach that way - I want books and lots of them - not just little snippets of info for the kids to learn.

Now for MFW ECC - they LOVE it - can I say that again - MY KIDS LOVE IT! And I really do too. Even my 8 yo ds who is LD/ADHD/SID is doing - his choice - all the pages from World Geog - which is quite a bit of writing! My dc don't ever want to stop with the ECC work so I have found myself finding "extras" to go with the country/continent we are studying. They are really retaining the info and when we read other books they say "Hey, let me show you where that is on a map, " or "That is an island - an island is surrounded by water on all 4 sides - but a penninsula....." Plus, book basket books are always avail on ECC topics for the week along with books about animals/habitats for the area we are studying. I offer them the Global Art book and let them select which projects they want to do - we generally do one a week although they might select 2 or 3 or something they've seen somewhere else. As for the music - they listen in the car - even my 3 yo knows the songs on the Wee Sing CD by heart now and has his favorites!

I can honestly say - with the exception of adding in Sci (and quite frankly I think if they weren't so into Sci or hadn't done so much Sci the MFW would be plenty) - my dc love ECC. But I also know we could add in more resources from the library on animal/habitat topics.
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

NHMom
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:00 pm

Unread post by NHMom » Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:43 pm

We've just started using Adventures and MFWK and we LOVE IT!! We've done a few other things but nothing was quite right for us. This is the perfect balance of reading, crafts, Bible lessons, EVERYTHING! This is our 5th year homeschooling, and it's the best year so far by far.

It allows me to still have energy to still be a mom. Today we even baked cookies after school. Usually I'm too exhausted by then to do anything.

Every family is different, but chances are you'll love MFW!

Gayle
Gayle

Mom to DS 9, DD 8 (using Adventures)
DD 5 (used MFWK, now using MFW 1st)

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

Unread post by Tina » Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:36 pm

Hi Winni: I have used MFW for the past 4 years and here's why:

1. It's biblically based thru and thru. This curriculum teaches God's word. This is exactly why my dh purchased MFW. He found it, and he said "this is the one!"God's word is central in MFW.

2. The price is so good. You cannot beat the price of MFW. It is so worth it. I will be able to go back and use each of the years' teacher's manuals for my younger child when its time.

3. It was written by parents who had lots of children at different levels of learning for parents of children at different levels. It is a family-based curriculum. Marie Hazell wrote this for us teacher-moms! She did all the work for us to make it easier for us to teach and enjoy teaching. I so appreciate that.

Those are the top three from me. I hope that you are happy with MFW. As stated by another poster here, each family is different and have different needs, etc. however, I just love the hands-on, gentle, biblical approach that MFW has. We really love it! Best wishes to you and your year in ECC!
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

Willow
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:05 pm

Unread post by Willow » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:26 pm

TracyLee01026 wrote:I read some messages on forums and it sounds like those ladies are doing a lot of combining of companies and subjects from a variety of suppliers. Some are using one this year and going back to another next year, or supplementing one with another etc etc. I'm trying to get away from that eclectic thing! Plus, I couldn't afford to buy more than one curriculum and all the supplementals just so I "have them on hand just in case..."

Anyway...I really want and need a one stop, complete, go no further, affordable, did I mention affordable? shopping experience this coming year. I guess that's what it comes down to...what will ultimately suit your needs? Thanks again!
Tracy
Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:13 am

For whatever reason, our previous programs just didn't feel "put together" for me. I haven't been able to figure out exactly why this was. I wish I had looked into MFW last year, so we could have done Adventures.

This year is our first with MFW. We are using ECC (1st & 4th grader) and loving it. All the parts of ECC tie together so smoothly. Book basket is a big hit here -- our finances appreciate not having to buy tons of books.

Kris

my3boys
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Unread post by my3boys » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:35 pm

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:32 am

We switched last year, and will be trying MFW this year. I've seen many people from other forums on here, so I know there are others. You will be hard pressed to find reviews from people that have tried MFW and not liked it.

Some people prefer to order and it comes complete, as opposed to MFW where you are supposed to use the library. Personally I like that MFW doesn't include all those extra books for a couple of reasons -
1. I can choose what we will be reading for read-alouds and readers. I can include off topic classics or favorites if I want. With other programs, I always had a pile of books that came in the package that I didn't use, or I felt compelled to read some of the books in the package instead of ones that I've been waiting to read my kids.
2. It's cheaper. I can use my library for some books - they have online browsing, reserve and renewal services to make this easy. If I want to buy the extra books instead of getting them at the library, I can buy them from Amazon cheaper than anywhere else.

The other thing to consider if you are trying to simplify (as opposed to setting up eclectic style homeschool) is that MFW schedules everything on one schedule, including LA, math, art, nature study - I haven't seen this in another curriculum.

shera
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:38 am

Unread post by shera » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:37 pm

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:54 am

I switched as well. Some of the resources used seemed over the head of my 5 yr old. I thought my son would love the program but it didn't seem to engage him at all. I didn't like the crafts. They were mostly paper crafts. The Bible seemed added on and was only one day a week so I would forget to do it. It's a good program for some but for me it just didn't seem to work at the time.

If I were to combine different curriculum, I would use MFW as a spine and buy books for the book basket or for read alouds. That is the only way I could do more than one curriculum. So if you like some of the books and can afford them you can put them in the book basket.

HTH
Sarah

annaz
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:34 pm

Unread post by annaz » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:38 pm

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:01 pm

Understand that some issues that I didn't like , may be what you would like, so here it goes:

The resources in my opinion were not as age appropriate for the general age level listed. They're a bit more advanced. Projects come really straight from books and didn't always work... whereas MFW's come from your kitchen.

I love MFW, because while I don't have a good library here, I can buy what I know my dd will like as opposed to having to buy what comes with it. I can choose my books either by visiting a library or by purchasing them. I like that option.

I love that MFW has everything contained in their programs unless otherwise stated. Science, history, math, phonics in the early years. Then recommendations schedule in for the rest.

I love that MFW has their bible portion integrated with the rest of the curriculum..Almost one stop shopping.

So 1) love MFW's age appropriateness
2) superior customer service
3) great price...and....buy or borrow option on extra books
4) all inclusive curriculum

Ann

RB
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:14 am

Unread post by RB » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:39 pm

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:53 pm

We dabbled until we found MFW and realized it was a better fit. Our reasons:

1. Bible, not added on devotional books
2. Flexibility...you don't buy all the books so it is more "custom made" without completely designing your own curriculum
3. The MFW multi-age cycle will work nicely for us
4. It just feels right :)

I still check other catalogs for ideas, and might use parts. There are many great companies out there. Seek the Lord for what He would have your family choose.

my3boys
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Similarities and/or differences

Unread post by my3boys » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:57 pm

kalphs wrote:What are the similarities and/or differences between MFW, Sonlight and Winter Promise? Reading from these threads has helped me to get a clearer picture of what MFW is all about. Thank you!
Kathy
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:24 pm
I have used SL and WP and am now starting MFW. For me the big thing is the schedule. It is more structured and includes absolutely everything - this simplifies things greatly. Also in MFW everything is more tied together as a unit.

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

Unread post by SandKsmama » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:01 pm

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:22 am

If you search this forum, I think you should come up with a number of threads comparing MFW. Not all 3 together, that I know of, but that might help you figure out some of the similarities and differences.

As I see it - similarities: All are literature-based; they use a number of the same "spines" and book choices. All 3 have programs based on time periods of history. Some are more chronological than others.

Differences: MFW is way, way less expensive. Others tend to add the Bible as just another subject - easily removed from the program altogether. MFW comes completely from a Christian worldview, and the Bible is integrated throughout. Others come with ALL the books - MFW has the essential books, and then you get additional literature, etc. through the book basket. MFW has a balance of hands-on, literature/read-aloud, and sit-down work; I don't know about some of the others on this one.

That's all I can think of right now!
Amanda

Beverly Puckett
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:31 am

Unread post by Beverly Puckett » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:02 pm

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:51 am

I want to add that as you progress through MFW, especially beginning with CTG, History and Bible are taught from the same time periods. This is an important reason why I continue to choose to use MFW. I want my children to know that God is in control of everything, not just what is recorded in the Bible.

Do you know who was Pharaoh when Joseph was sold into slavery, or when Moses led God's people out of slavery some 400 years later? Do you know what was going on in India when Elijah and Elisha were God's prophets on earth?

Learning about the different gods from ancient history has not only enriched the sermons our pastor faithfully preaches, but it has caused us to gain a glimpse of the world into which Christ came.

We have really enjoyed Adventures, ECC and CTG and we are looking forward to RTR next fall.

annaz
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:34 pm

Unread post by annaz » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:04 pm

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:47 am

Having used all 3 (eye roll), my personal opinion is that MFW is most age appropriate. Others have some heavy material for an age that is too young to process. Others have no activities and MFW is more put together; there's not as many snippets of info in a day. It's more cohesive and is much more of a well rounded curriculum, covering all subjects, age appropriately. It includes activities that are around your house, so they're easier to do. Plus....it's way, way, way less expensive.
Annaz

PaulaA
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:07 pm

Unread post by PaulaA » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:57 pm

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:54 pm

...and it was a huge plus that the science, art and music tie in as well.

RobinF
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:52 pm

Unread post by RobinF » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:00 am

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:53 pm
I personally like the TM for MFW because it schedules all subjects one page. Plus I like that it seems to be a well thought out and integrated program. I like the way the Bible is integrated.

I also like that MFW doesn't overschedule books. I found that previously we didn't get through all the books in the schedule it was too much for us. I like that with MFW I can add extras in using a book basket and not feel like I am dropping the ball if we don't do all the assigned reading.

Also MFW seems to be more stable in their book selections. It seems to me that others change some book selections in their core every year. That frustrated me but that may just be my personality.

We burned out quickly. I ended up dropping alot of the read alouds and may pick them up this fall when we do Adventures.

Now I wish I would have found MFW 4 years ago when we started homeschooling and used them from the very start. I love their resources that much.

Posted Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:11 pm by RobinF
Reasons I prefer MFW

1. If you use their core, language arts, math and science you could have at least 4 IGs and that is if you don't have more than one la program.

2. I didn't care for their reading schedule in the guides. It was too broken up for me reading bits and pieces. My boys prefer the book basket approach. They like to pick one book and read through it.

3. I like that we can substitute our own LA easily into MFW. Dh wants us to use GwG instead of PLL and we are going to try that next year and will use Spelling Power and Writing Strands.

4. I didn't feel like WP was coherent and the lay out was confusing. I spent more time reworking things to make them fit for our family.

5. Much of the "hands on" aspects we skipped, because it just didn't work for our family.

6. I feel like MFW resonates with our family and a personal desire to raise children that are mission minded. Also we want to raise children with a Christian/Missionary world view. I feel that MFW offers that for my children. I felt like some of the Bible aspects of WP were forced to provide something for people who wanted devotionals that tied into their studies. The Bible in MFW is integrated and it is truly a study of the Bible not just cute devotionals.

There are things that I appreciate about both but as a whole MFW is a better fit for our family. So that is my experience. For my family I really like a lot of the things about MFW. I love that they are mission minded. My bil/sil are serving overseas right now and dh and I have planted 3 churches in the US. Missions is close to our heart and calling so we love that emphasis.

mgardenh
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

How do I know if MFW is for me???

Unread post by mgardenh » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:53 pm

kidswife wrote:I once read a post on here from a mother who described herself as a "curriculum junkie". I thought, "So there's a name for people like me? and I'm not alone!" I read another post on here, from a woman who said that God doesn't want us to stay in a state of confusion. If I've found what I like, stop wasting my precious time looking for something else. That convicted me.

"Sonlight" has a section in their catalog where it lists "Reasons to buy" and "Reasons to NOT buy". Is there something like that for MFW?

Or maybe it's just a try and see sort of thing. Has that been the case with you all out there? Do you just have to jump in and see? I see that returns are accepted w/in 30 days. I suppose if it doesn't work out, I'll just pick something else. No harm done. I guess I can't get over the feeling that if I pick the wrong one, I'm forever lost (perhaps that's too dramatic).

Anyway, any advice you can give this newcomer would be greatly appreciated.... Thanks!
It seems to me the question isn't really what curriculum is right for me. Seams like the deeper issue here is how do you want to school your children. The curriculum you have listed very greatly in style and are similar in many ways.

I would sit down and list out what is important to you and schooling your children. What goals do you have for your children, what is important to you (do you want to see a lot papers filled out with answers, or do you want to have more discussion based), what do you want a cirriculum to have, what will work for your family situation. No curriculum is perfect and is going to meet your every need. But I can tell you this I don't even want to look at another curriculum because I have found what is good for our family.

Then look at the curriculum and make your decision based on your goals, needs, and wants. Sonlight is heavily reading based, Abeka is heavily seatwork base, mfw is imbetween. Once you made a decision trust God and after a year if it not working try something else. I used a different curriculum before discovering MFW. I really liked my daughter struggled some to alot depending on what we were doing. We rarely finished what was supposed to be done in a day. We are loving MFW and finish it all almost every day.

I would view the curriculum as a tool for you to acomplish the goals you have for your family. Don't let the curriculum rule your life it needs to work for you. Pray, pray, and pray some more.

I have rambled on long enough.
Mike
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alexisg
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

dhudson
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Unread post by dhudson » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:03 am

The best thing I can tell you is to sit down with your dh and write down your goals for your home school. Think long term - what do you want for your children? We write down goals in academics, spiritual growth and character development then we decide on curriculum. We've found that having a plan BEFORE you pick out curriculum keeps us on track and after 7 years we've found it to be the best thing you can do.

The other thought is that if you keep switching curriculum's you are going to miss something as each curriculum has their own scope and sequence. If something really doesn't work than obviously switch but I think you need to do that carefully.

The main reasons we yearly choose MFW are:

The best Bible and character training in any curriculum we've looked at (and having been home schooled myself - I've been around the curriculum floor for 20 years). We love that the Bible is present in everything, science, history...

A great mix of classical ( which we love) and Charlotte Mason (which the more I teach my children the more I see the benefits) and heavy on literature.

It's fun! The kids enjoy it and one of our goals is to teach our children how to love to learn. MFW helps us do that.

Strong hands-on science. We love science.

Again, my advice is to first look at your goals and what you want your children to know, to be and to become. Then you can look at curriculum and find one that best fits your family.
God Bless,
Dawn
http://www.shiningexamples.blogspot.com
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

my3boys
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Unread post by my3boys » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:56 am

I think I could fit the 'curriculum junkie' criteria. I've used SL, WTM, Winterpromise, Beautiful Feet, Ambleside, and now MFW. The good news for you is that all of the curriculums you listed are very similar in style and so although you may not feel like it, you have narrowed your search down to the style of homeschooling you would like to use.

MFW really does a great job of combining the best parts of all the different curriculums. I plan on sticking with MFW from now on because of the teacher's guides, although I will be buying books in the future instead of depending on my library. I do enjoy that I have the option to buy or not and also the freedom to choose what and how many books we will read. We are doing MFWK right now - this is the third K curriculum that I have used and by far the best, I wish I would have had it for my older ds.
Alison
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

mamanamadee
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:29 pm
Location: Missouri

Unread post by mamanamadee » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:59 am

Everything said so far is great. Reading this message board is primarily what convinced me that MFW was right for our family.

When my first child was about 2yo I started going to conventions and researching curriculum. I fell in love with the idea of classical studies--my kids *needed* to learn Latin! Then I heard arguments for the Hebrew methods of education. I thought, "Wow! that sound so much better, and they can still learn Latin!" I started hearing about different unit study curriculums and thought, "Maybe I could use the Hebrew approach to teach unit studies . . . and Latin." And along the way I added to my plans an overwhelming literature list that I wanted to cover before graduation. So, in a nutshell, before my daughter had even officially started school, I had planned out a course of study that would make a college graduate student cry.

When it came time to start K, I purchased an entire 1st grade curriculum. In the meantime, my step-daughter came to live with us and I had to jump into homeschooling a 10-yo as well. Her academic and other needs were very different than what I anticipated for my other children, so I abandoned my grand plan to look for something else. I knew I wanted Bible to be central. And I've already outlined some of my other preferences. I came across a MFW catalog I had picked up at a convention, then came to this website to find out more. After about a month of reading the archives and the main board, I was convinced that God had led me here and that I needed to use MFW not just for the 10yo but also for my other children--including K. Everything read on the board showed me that MFW is such a beautiful blend of EVERYTHING that I had come to believe is important for my children to learn, plus more. "Living books," "hands-on," "unit studies," "chronological history," "Charlotte Mason,"--MFW takes the best aspects of all this and more and rolls it into one easy-to-use curriculum. They have chosen fabulous read-alouds and even included some Latin study, with the Bible as the center of it all and a such a strong missionary emphasis in ECC--I don't think I could ask for more!

I am so glad that I didn't use my original curriculum choice for my K daughter. I see now how I would have overwhelmed her and probably would have turned her off of school completely. MFW K has been wonderful for her. Even though she could already read when we began the program, she has STILL learned so much. And because of the gentle approach, she is loving every minute of school. MFW has been a perfect fit for this "curriculum junkie." I am EXTREMELY grateful that God brought me here so early in our homeschool journey. I have such a peace with this curriculum.

All of this is to say that MFW fits perfectly with my family's goals for homeschool and for life, and that is how I know that MFW is the curriculum for us.

That's my story. Take what you can from it. I pray that God will lead you where he wants your family and that He will give you peace when you get there!

~Naomi
Last edited by mamanamadee on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2010-2011 preparing for MFW CTG in the fall
2009-2010 MFW 1st and pre-K/toddler toys
2008-2009 MFW ECC, K, and pre-K/toddler toys
dd12, dd7, ds3

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

Unread post by kellybell » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:58 am

How to know? PRAY of course!

I like the above suggestions of talking with DH about what will work. Us mommas tend to be starry-eyed about curriculum. We seriously get excited and our hearts start pounding at the conventions when we get our hands on a glossy-covered book. We envision smart kids who share our excitement, blah blah blah. Husbands on the other hand seem to not get as emotional and starry-eyed and dreamy.

Anyway, when we made a decision (finally!) to homeschool, we had a 1st grader and a 3rd grader in the Christian school. I did some websearches and came up with my favorites. Then, we went to conference and found MFW. We didn't buy it there because we wanted a few more weeks to compare.

What I think was important for us was to make sure that we were very REALISTIC about what homeschooling might feel like. I had to make sure that the things that attracted me were things that were not in some imaginary world. For example, I was wooed by wonderful books BUT, realistically, my kids would've thrown rotten tomatoes at me if I had attempted to put them through a literature program.

And, then there were programs with wonderful projects and such. I wasn't being realistic. I would've gotten all worried about the fact that it jumped around (not chronological) and while I love putting together projects, no way could I sustain this style of homeschool. I would've died trying.

And, I knew that my kids wouldn't do well with all textbooks because it would be boring for them. I would probably be reassured that they were "covering all the subject" but we'd all be hating it by about November if we had gone that route.

So, our family (yours is different) needed something that would fit my teaching style (and address my worries and concerns and shortcomings) and their learning styles (two are very wiggly, one is spacy, and one is a "good student"). We needed:

1. Bible as the center of it all, not an "add on" or separate subject.
2. Strong books that aren't necessarily text books, but not too many of them.
3. Not too demanding of time. If we get done early in the afternoon, we have time for friends, dance, music, chores (sigh), playing in the snow, Science Olympiad, volunteering at the living history ranch, etc.
4. Academically strong. Nothing wimpy.
5. Some DOABLE hands-on projects (considering I'm not into crafty things).
6. Not too much preparation (I don't mind preparing but I am busy with music, running a co-op, and the usual cooking, laundry, etc.)
7. Affordable.
8. Flexible. It needed to fit different learning styles and ages.
9. Won't burn me or the kids out.

Basically our dream curriculum fits into OUR lives. I am attracted to lots of other programs (and surely there are some out there that would also fit us fine) but I needed a little time to realize who I am (not crafty, busy with other things, etc.) and who my kids are (cannot stand too much reading, like hands-on projects, like free time too). Wonderful programs might fit other families with other needs, but they are not all going to work well with me.

DH and I had to realize we're not LIKE all those other families. We saw families thriving with Weaver, Sonlight, Abeka, and unschooling. But just because they do well, doesn't mean we will. So, we had to concentrate on US and what would work for us.

Oh, and did I mention PRAY. We had three to pick from when we first started homeschooling (2003) and as we prayed and waited for an answer little things started eliminating other programs from our thoughts and we found MFW.

Those of us on this board, of course, use MFW and are happy with it. Others have surely considerd MFW but have decided not to use it after praying and considering... That's good too. It's nice we've got a lot of excellent programs to pick from. It's a great fit for us, but not for everyone... Make sure that you are also asking the same question of the Sonlight board, the R&S board, the Winterpromise board, etc.

While we've taken a few detours from MFW (to study state history with some friends, etc.), we're basically an MFW family. We've seen tremendous growth in our children and we credit a lot of that to MFW. Our kids remember things years after we've taught it (sometimes they really are great at Jeopardy, for example). The methods in MFW "stick."

Again, pray.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:06 pm

When I started using MFW it wasn’t from marketing gimmicks about lists of reasons. It was a step of faith because I had not heard of MFW until I saw it at convention and then I just knew within a heart beat. Been happily using MFW since 2003. MFW was an immediate answer to prayer at that convention.


1.Another way to know if MFW is right for you is to listen to some of their workshops at conventions or go and see the booth at convention. I realize the convention season doesn’t start for a few months, so let me suggest looking at this thread so you can order some workshops with the big picture overall philosophy of MFW
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?t=3234

Please read through the list and keep asking the questions of which one would be good. I think Expose, Isolate, Insulated is a great one. I think Becoming a Family of Eternal Purpose is really good. I think What should Christians in 21st Century be teaching their children? is an excellent talk. The 2007 version of that talk was titled Classical Education in the 21st Century and remains the number one post convention best seller of all homeschool convention workshops that were recorded by Rhino Technologies. If you are into the idea of Classical Education from a Christian worldview, then get this talk in some form, or call MFW’s office and ask them to explain a lot of it to you on the phone. (then get the rest on CD) MFW is not all day long super sized Classical education. MFW blends Classical with Charlotte Mason influences, with unit study, built on a Biblical worldview. (in other words, if the ideas of TWTM sound neat, but not doable in your real world, MFW might be the ticket because MFW knows how to be a tour guide through Classical Education and homeschooling. They do the work so we can enjoy the journey.)


2. Agreeing that a lot of it comes from someone knowing what they want to do in their homeschool. Only when you know that stuff do any of the lists out there make sense. If you don’t have some ideas about schooling, then those kinds of lists are just marketing tools of any company to make you want they are offering. You might need some trial and error between programs to figure it out even after you pray a while.

Praise God, MFW gives me what I need, and I want what they are giving.

I need a doable program with lessons plans already done for me. There are some things out there that are overwhelming to look at. One program on the market expects me to wade through 50 pages of potential lesson plans for just one week??? Yikes. MFW isn’t like that. Phew.

I need a program with strong Biblical worldview integrated into it with an emphasis on helping to disciple my children through various stages of life and learning. It’s not just a Bible program that you can buy separately. I like that.

I need a program that has blend of teaching styles and learning styles and isn’t afraid of a textbook once in a while.

I need a program that allows me not to introduce some sensitive topics too early to my child. I don’t want them sheltered forever, but I don’t want them exposed too early to some stuff. I had to drop the reading list from one of the programs you mentioned because it wanted me to read books to my Kindy age student that are better suited when she was in 5th or 6th grade.

I want a program that has lots of optional reading from library. I like buying packages of books to have enough and then go get more at library. But not feel like I have to have the exact books on that list. That is MFW.

I don’t a program that is all day long academic machine. I want strong academics without overkill. MFW definitely provides strong, efficient academics.


3.How to know if MFW is not right for you?
Do you want a secular program In other words, I can’t imagine doing MFW secularly. If you want a secular program then MFW is not for you. go get something else or you'll be unhappy.

The other side of that: MFW has Bible interwoven into the whole day. Some people don’t want that. They want a Christian program, but MFW seems like too much to them. I don’t know why because I’m not in that situation. I’ve heard it on other forums where people say “MFW was just too much Biblical worldview.”
(and that doesn't mean they are any less of a believer. They just want something else to use for school.)
(side note on that: I love that MFW does not teach doctrine. That's my job.!!!!)

Do you hate hands on learning even if your kids like it? Well, MFW has low prep hands on learning a few times each week. It is low prep and easy and fun. Hands on stuff really helps with retention and gives you some fun time together. It's not going to overwhelm your day.

Do you think that homeschool must take all day? Do you want your elementary age children to school all day for 5-6 hours per day and do a ton of worksheets? Then don't bother with MFW. MFW incorporates a lot of Charlotte Mason influences one of which is getting done earlier so that you can have productive afternoons and time to pursue other things. You can add whatever you want to add to MFW, just get done with school and service first.

Does the phrase “raising generations of godly families who see the world through God’s eyes and live according to that knowledge” draw you in or push you away?
That phrase is MFW’s vision statement, mission, purpose whatever they call it. But they are serious about designing curriculum to help families impart a Biblical worldview and have time to serve together as a family. .

Do you object to a blend of instruction styles? MFW is rich in literature, but is not sit around all day and read.

Does the idea of using a textbook once in a while when needed make you want to hide? Well, MFW uses a variety of books and some of them are text style. Not everything in MFW is wrapped in pretty little bows and ribbons and shiny foil wrapping paper. But Box Day is still fun day. You don't just sit around reading a text all day either. :-)


That’s enough for now. I need to teach my children before continuing to fellowship on line today. Thanks for letting me hang out over here.

-crystal

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:44 pm

How do I know MFW is for me?

1. Tears have been reduced from a daily (or every other day occurrence) to maybe once every 3 weeks - and that's from me getting frustrated and not being a good parent, not with the work level. We used Abeka the previous 3 years of school.

2. My dd enjoys it and looks forward to it.

3. My boys join in.

4. It has made me a better parent and teacher (except for those blow ups about every 3 weeks or so...)

5. Bible is intertwined into the curriculum.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

wisdomschool
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:16 pm

Unread post by wisdomschool » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:16 pm

I agree totally on the talk to DH and PRAY!

I also began researching curriculum a couple years before my oldest was ready to start school.....

I don't know if this will apply to you or not, but when I looked at a program I kept thinking "is this what/how I want to teach my children"? I certainly wasn't planning on writing or putting together my own curriculum (I am sooooo unorganized etc....) but I did think of it that way, and when I saw MFW it was the closest, of anything I had seen or heard of , to what I would write if I was going to!

And that's why we choose MFW! I also agree that every curriculum/program isn't going to work for every family (that's why there are so many out there....) but it is best to go with what you have peace about/what you feel lead to, and don't change anything(like if your friend tells you about some "great" book or program that you just have to have etc...) unless something isn't working i.e. "if it ain't broke don't fix it".

However, if something isn't working for you or your child, then by all means look for what will!


I was homeschooled 1st-12th (and I love "homeschooling", and always knew I would want to homeschool my children) that said, "I hated school work" and I thought I was stupid (bad word, I know--we don't say it at our house :)

It wasn't until my one year of college was over that I realized " I loved to learn"! I just "hated school"! I want my kids to love learning! And I don't want then to burn out! ( I was burned out on "school work" by the 3rd or 4th grade)

I wouldn't even call learning "school" except that my oldest daughter started saying we needed to "start our school" before she was even 3 y.o.!

And my experiences come through in my dealings with her as she wants to fly through things(and my friends don't understand why I won't let her "skip" or "move on", but I want school to be easy for her, I want her to feel smart and successful etc... I don't want her to "miss" any foundational thing!!!!


Okay, enough from me! I'm quite passionate about this "learning vs. schooling" thing.....


Blessings on your journey to discern God's will for you in this


Debbie
Momma & Teacher to my super seven:

Kanen-6th
Abia-4th
Charis-3rd
Tobias-1st
Elijah-3 y.o.
Micah-2 y.o.
Eden-3 mo.

kidswife
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:20 am

This really helps!

Unread post by kidswife » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:52 pm

Thank you Mike, Dawn, Alison, Naomi, Christina, Kathy, Kelly, Crystal, Trish & Debbie, & anyone I missed who posted their help on this!

You've all brought out some good points. Thinking of curriculum as a tool to fulfill my goals, rather than my goal to be to complete a curriculum... that's new.

I'm saving all these posts on another file so I can refer back to them. Thanks again for taking the time to explain to me your thought processes when it came to choosing MFW.

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