Posted Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:29 pm by 705emilykalphs wrote:What sets MFW apart from other homeschooling curriculums?
There are several things that set MFW apart from other curriculum for our family. I will try to list some of the main ones.
1. The entire curriculum is built on a Biblical framework--in other words the Bible is not just added in as a separate subject.
2. MFW is a "hands-on" approach to a "classical" curriculum. The classical approach is utilized in MFW but not merely in an academic sense. There are hands-on learning projects built into MFW that teach and reinforce concepts.
3. The curriculum is designed to be used with multiple ages of children.
4. The curriculum is MANAGEABLE. By this I mean that even when you complete everything offered by MFW's curriculum, which is a LOT, you will still have time for music lessons, doctor's appts., AWANA, and service to others.
5. The curriculum is Literature Rich. MFW utilizes a "book basket" which is scheduled into the curriculum. It provides the opportunity for kids to read many, many books on their own that pertain to the topics being studied. The extensive book list is listed in the Teacher's Manual
6. The curriculum utilizes unit studies. When in Adv. you are studying Christ, the Bread of Life, you will be doing yeast experiments in science, and you will be making butter the way the Pilgrims did it in History. This method of learning connects the dots for kids in a way that non-unit studies don't.
Before I found MFW I put together my own curriculum by trying this and that. It was frustrating! When I found MFW, it was as though I could go Ahhhhhhh! and relax. The Hazells have done so much wonderful work that we are benefitting from! I can truly say that MFW has been a HUGE blessing to our family!
Posted Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:43 pm by cbollin
Now there's an open ended question: Should get lots of fun answers from many different perspectives of it. Should be a fun thread. Here's a link to the "super thread" in the archives about what sets it apart from other similar style curriculum
Honestly, MFW has been a gift from God for my family. Some things that I see that make it work over here:
*easy to use lessons plans.
*each program is designed to be a year in length instead of spread out for long time
*programs that are intended for use within families and that really recognize different stages of learning of the children.
*books that are packaged for you and sold at competitive rates
*enrichment reading that doesn’t require specific titles
*a blend of learning and teaching techniques
*real focus on the Bible as a spine in many of the programs where ancient and world history are the focus.
*hands on projects that can be done and cleaned up easily. Uses normal stuff from grocery stores and occasional hobby/craft store
*and they are serious about funding Bible translation projects with their missions fund.
I have used MFW since 2003. I’m not really all that qualified to tell you how it compares or is set apart from "other stuff" because I’m not out shopping. But I lurk on a few places here and there and noticed something about ECC and MFW in general that I want to share. These are differences and don’t really mean better or worse.
ECC is one thing that can set MFW apart. It is not just about setting the stage for learning history by studying geography. It is about helping you and your children to see yourselves in other parts of the world where God can use you. There are other literature style programs with year long geography. But MFW has a few approaches that are different. One of those program will focus more on the 10/40 window. ECC takes you on all continents. (that’s just something different in the programs. Not inferior or superior)
And also in ECC when you read missionary biographies you have gentle ways to introduce heavy topics at the right stage of learning. So I think that sets MFW apart --- it takes a more insulated approach instead of an over and too early exposure or even isolated approach to it. Some topics need to wait until our kids are a little older and in the context of what God is doing about it through people who are willing to follow Him. MFW provides that balance. That way your children aren’t totally isolated, but you don’t expose too much info at the wrong stage of their lives. But it’s always done in the context of what God is doing and how you can do that too. It’s not just learning about the plight of others.
And when all of that is said.....
At the heart of it from a very personal level and this is not a comparison to any program. God has used the materials and structure in MFW to change my family for the better—not the perfect, the better. The Lord has used MFW to create in our lives the desire to see God's hand in history and current events and to do stuff about it. That’s not just a slogan on their website. It really is happening in our lives even though we aren’t that great or very extroverted types. We still know that we can serve as senders.
MFW has created the opportunities to allow even my husband to read about Christian Heroes and missionaries instead of just reading the newspaper or online comics or fiction novels. (Still does that too, nothing wrong with that). Dad can be involved in MFW teaching.
From using MFW my kids have on their own said things like "China is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I'm going there someday and tell Muslims that Jesus loves them." (quote goes to my 9 year old.) It's helped my oldest (age 12) think about money that she finds --- she doesn't ask anymore how much of this money should I keep? She says "this is God's money, what does He want me to do with it today?" She’s been challenged to think about using her talents with crafts to help missionaries and local ministries. She’s donated money to help print Children’s Bibles in another language that will be used in that country’s public classrooms.
I don’t think any of that would happen with any other program. She didn’t learn that as part of a kids finance program. It came from using books and other MFW resources. Honestly – she has David Hazell to thank for some of that. My oldest listens to his workshop CD’s and pays attention. That’s something that sets MFW apart from some programs --- God gifted our brother in Christ to talk about stuff like that and he does. God gifted our sister in Christ, Marie, to write a really good and easy to use low prep program!!!! As goofy as this might read in cyber space, I feel like MFW just helps me stay focused about big picture thinking with homeschooling. It’s not just a tool for getting school done with kids. It’s a tool for me too to grow.
When it comes down to it, what has set MFW apart in my eyes from all of the other stuff around me that my friends use and like is that we get to learn a lot of really good academic stuff, have fun with simple projects, read lots of books, and have learned to love the Lord more as a family and that we get it done in our real lives. I like that I don’t have to do any lesson planning. I like that the things used for language arts and math and science are strong programs that don’t overtake our day.
My autistic daughter is learning to read this year. Two days ago, while I was in the midst of trying to decide if MFW K would be too hard for my special daughter, she picked up the K manual and read the words on lesson 4 out loud and clear:
If I stay in Jesus I will have much fruit.
That's what sets MFW apart from the other curriculum --- even in the most simple of ways the word of God is interwoven into the program so that even those with severe language disorders will have the chance to hear and see God's word. Those without those language problems get to hear it too. But I want her to stay in Jesus and have much fruit. I think God was saying “Remain here” one more time to me. I really feel that with MFW, I am staying in Jesus and I will have much fruit. and that might sound and read all sappy and weird, but I really feel that way.
Bible and character and worldview are not tag on in MFW. Is MFW the only curriculum that can say that? I don't know. Maybe there are others that are like it. But God called me to use MFW to get it done. HE placed them in my path in 2003 and I remain there with my kids – growing in the Lord.
Posted Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:13 pm by MJ in IL
For me... I was hooked when ds12 (then much younger) declared that his Bible notebook (in 1st) was the best part of school.
Now I think I appreciate the big vision MFW has. I know that this past year I realized that I didn't really just use a curriculum with a nice mission project. I was funding a great mission by using a wonderful curriculum!
Just tonight my boys were cleaning off the top of the dryer and I overheard them trying to figure out what to do with the loose change... Ds9 encouraged ds12 to put it in the "blue Bible pig" (our fund for Bible translation) rather than collect it for the fair this weekend.
I have used several other curricula and MFW fits our family the best. I get to read aloud with my children, do unit studies within a framework (I can go off on loooong tangents otherwise) and have time for life skills. Most importantly, MFW focuses on Bible and character without skimping on the academics.
Posted Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:26 pm by 4Truth
Well, as the pp mentioned, it's MANAGEABLE. I'm very guilty of overwhelming *myself* with getting off on a tangent and trying to add this or that... but I always, always, always "default" to just MFW and then we're happy again. We make really good progress when we're just doing MFW as written and not trying to tweak or add too much. And the kids are happy, too, because we're actually doing school, and they love the way MFW teaches history. And "manageable" is one key element that I was looking for when I found MFW in the first place.
Thus, I like to call MFW "balanced". It's a very nice mix of a little classical, a little Charlotte Mason, just enough hands-on, just enough reading... but lots of Bible. We wanted more emphasis on Bible than most other programs offer, and we didn't want a curriculum that primarily teaches the publisher's own doctrinal viewpoint. We wanted the emphasis to be on God's Word alone (not that of Denomination XYZ), and on Jesus Christ.
And I like the overall scope & sequence of MFW... not just the history side of it, but the Bible side of it, too. I don't know, I guess you can get "history" anywhere, but not so integrated with biblical discipleship as with MFW, from what I've seen. With MFW, there's a pattern of "discipleship" in the program which kinda' goes like this:
In preschool, the child learns to *enjoy* spiritual things through music and hands-on activities.
In Kindergarten, the child is introduced to the Creator and all that God created, including him or herself (while learning to read).
In 1st grade, the child grows by practicing reading from their own Bible reader which they themself create with drawings and short narrations. They also get an overall "bird's eye view" of the Bible at their own level, and learn obedience by memorizing verses from the Proverbs.
In 2nd grade, the emphasis is on the names and characteristics of Jesus; that is, getting to know the Saviour, the Son of God. Oh, cool, I just thought of something... think of the first 3 verses of John, which say: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Well, there you have it... the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That's very similar to the pattern of "discipleship" we see taught in K-2nd grade. Let's call that Discipleship Cycle 1.
Okay, moving on....
Then you have another cycle of discipleship for a more mature child. You begin learning hymns with ECC and that continues through the years, but ECC is being reintroduced to Jesus our Saviour through the book of Matthew. You also learn more about why Jesus came as you study other countries, cultures, and people groups, and praying for those outside our own little world. You learn a lot of geography along the way, too. LOL. It's world geography, but it's not just geography.
In CTG and RTR, you're being reintroduced to God's Word through the study of the Old Testament and Jewish feasts in CTG, and the study of the New Testament and acts of Paul in RTR. You also see how the whole OT is really foretelling and pointing to the coming of the Messiah, which event happens near the beginning of RTR, right where it belongs in history as Caesar was reigning and Rome was becoming more powerful every day... just like it says in Scripture.
Then you begin a real focus on servanthood... doing something with all that knowledge of the Word that you've been learning all along. In Expl-1850 you study and memorize the book of James; you continue a study of church history that began in RTR; and you see how some key people in early America used their faith to do great works for the glory of God.
(Sidenote here... understanding church history is really significant to understanding what led up to the founding of America. I don't think you can fully understand one without the other.)
Then 1850-Modern continues a study of hymns, and the example of good works from many Christians of the past. The James study in EX1850 and the study this year really speak directly to the heart and mind of the student who is now approaching teenhood.
That's Discipleship Cycle 2. See the pattern? In both cycles you have: 1) the world and our purpose in it; 2) the Word of God, our authority and guide for life; 3) Jesus our Saviour, who He is and what He came for; and 4) servanthood. Each cycle is geared to the appropriate age group as the child grows and matures.
This cycle will repeat in high school, I'm sure, as the 9th grader will read through the entire Old Testament, and I believe he'll read the entire New Testament later on. They are strongly encouraged to use part of every day for service opportunities to those around them (servanthood), and they also should know by that point how to give an apologetic for Creation science against evolution, since all of the elementary years were spent studying science from that viewpoint.
That's what sets MFW apart from the rest. :o)
Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:19 am by dhudson
I agree with all of the ladies above. I am going to just add this, the knowledge and understanding that my kids have of the Bible and their place in the world is what has set MFW apart for me.
For example: After reading about Amy Carmicheal and India (ECC)my little cute as a button 5 yr old daughter ( she's 7 now) started praying about becoming a missionary to India and she's still praying about it 2 yrs later. She daily looks for ways to tell the world about Jesus.
My quiet shy son (5 at the time) knew that Jesus was the Light of the World and that he was like the moon reflecting Jesus light (MFWK) so he was willing to go to Mexico and hand out leaflets and tell perfect strangers in a bustling marketplace about Jesus.
My oldest son led my youngest son to salvation one night as the were talking after having memorized the Roman road to salvation (RTR).
I could talk about the academic excellence, which is true, or how well my children test, how much we enjoy learning as family which are all true but in the end it all comes down to how God uses MFW to contiunue to grow my children into Godly young men and women who have a heart for the peoples of the world.
Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:40 pm by Happy2BMotherof3
You've gotten a lot of great responses. I just wanted to say that MFW has been a HUGE blessing to our family as well. I love how the Bible isn't just ....like a separate subject. It's interwoven throughout the curriculum as well as part of history because it is history (most important part of history). My kids LOVE MFW and it's fun for them. It has been a perfect fit for our family. I feel as though the Lord led me here and I am very greatful for this curriculum.
I first started out with Sonlight when I first began homeschooling. The first year was nice because I really enjoyed reading to my little daughter (4 at the time). She also enjoyed listening to me....it creates a special bond. Well after purchasing the next level from Sonlight I felt like something just wasn't quite right......like something was missing.... there wasn't a balance....I was doing all the reading of a lot of books (while losing my voice in the process). It just seemed a little too much and wasn't balance out very well. MFW has been that perfect balance that I was lacking. So it has been a breath of fresh air. School is more enjoyable, I get to keep my voice (while still enjoying reading to my kids....no overkill), and it doesn't take us all day to get done. It's right at their level and it's FUN!
Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:30 pm by TurnOurHearts
I would like to add that MFW gives an amazing framework for people of differing personalities to be able to use and be successful. You don't have to be Type A to make MFW work for you. Or Type B or Type Z! You are given wonderful possibilities with each new day. If you choose, you can follow the plan to the T. If you'd rather not, you can mix it up. You can tweak. You can personalize. Or not.
The ladies and gentlemen on this board represent a wide variety of personalities, lifestyles, preferences, denominations, family size, etc., etc. My sister & I are one example: She's Mrs. Creative. I'm Mrs. Just-Tell-Me-How-To-Do-It. She's got book lists that could stretch from NC to California (okay...I'm exaggerating a bit). I'm doing well if I preview the book list in the back of the TM the week before we need the books. In MFWK, she & her dd did a mural of Creation on the ceiling (with posters)! We cut out the 7 day numbers & glued them on green construction paper as laid out in the directions.
I tell you that to convey that we are BOTH using MFW with GREAT success! Her way works for her family. My way works for mine. And we BOTH love MFW.
That's just one aspect of MFW that stands out for me, in addition to EVERYTHING that was mentioned above.
Posted Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:02 am by HSmommi2mine
The most important things to me
1. open and go
2. Biblically integrated
3. hands on projects
These are very big deals for me.