Compare MFW to other unit studies

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Re: Is ECC What We Need?

Unread post by sojen »

I am doing ECC with my 4th grade and 1st grade girls right now, and all of your concerns are well covered by this curriculum! I spend just a few minutes each week checking the supply list already provided in the TM. It's super easy. I spend about an hour every 2-3 weeks putting books on hold through our inter-library loan system, but then I just have to swing by and pick them up when they are ready.

At the beginning of the year they were a few more weird items (like earthworms) but now that we are into it a few months I have most stuff around the house. I love, love, love the MFW grid that sets up your day for you. It's wonderful. It gives me so much more time to do stuff with the kids.

And the Bible focus is great. It has really impacted our lives in a positive way.

Good luck with your decision!
Jen in GA
mom to dd 11, dd 8, and ds 5
traveling through the medieval world with RTR.
Slowly starting kindergarten with my little guy.
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Re: Is ECC What We Need?

Unread post by RachelT »

We have enjoyed using MFW for a few years. We are beginning week 20 of ECC today and my son was saying that he wants to go on a mission to Haiti or be a pilot so he can fly people there! ECC has really begun a shift in our thinking about the whole world, not just our little world, and how many people need to hear the gospel. My children are in 1st and 3rd grades, but I think the 2nd and 5th would be about perfect for ECC. My 1st grader is pretty advanced academically so she does most everything in ECC. It is great to have a curriculum where I can work with both children together in most of our subjects. From your first post on this thread, it sounds like you and MFW would be a good match! :)

Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19
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Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by amelasky »

NicoleJ wrote:Hi! I have spent much time looking over catalogues. I really like the look of ECC as I think it is good to have a geog. year before starting history. I love that mission stories are included. I love the passport idea. I love the song cd. I guess I am just worried that... on the whole, it will be.... BORING! Please tell me all the fun things that I will get to do so I can be more excited!! Also, I need to know how fun and do-able MFW K is going to be. THANKS!
Nicole (in Western Australia, that's why my spelling is 'strange').
We loved both MFW K and ECC! I cannot imagine describing either one as boring. We had lots of fun and learned ever so much.
Married to my best friend and high school sweetheart for 18years. Blessed momma to my princess (14) and little warrior (10).
Exploration to 1850
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by Kelly1730 »

My boys, just turned 9yo twins, loved "visiting" the different continents and countries. I think ECC is geared toward doing as much or as little "extras" as you like. We used videos and of course book basket to enhance their understanding of the different cultures. We didn't do too much cooking this year as the boys are pickier than most but that would have made it more fun for some. ( I'm hoping they will be more adventurous eaters when we do ECC again in 7th grade:) The coloring pages were a big hit with them. We loved ECC, I hope you do too:)
Mom to 6
Mimi to 8
MFW K, MFW 1st, Adventures, ECC, CTG, RTR ,EXP-1850, 1850-MOD, Ancient History and Lit 2016-17
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

My kids loved it. Even when my boys were just 4 they joined in on the "fun" stuff all the time. It was a great hit for my dd.

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
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by rxmom »

ECC was SO much fun--cooking, crafts, geography game....etc. My kids LOVED the missionary stories and we all gained a deeper love for other nations and cultures....we cried, prayed, laughed, and prayed some more....we ended our year by sponsoring a child through World Vision. The foundation in geography is wonderful and this has definitely benefited their knowledge/understanding of the world in our CTG year. Have a blessed year!

Blessed beyond measure...Lovin' MFW in SW VA
ds (14) ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT, Coming Soon...AHL!
ds (12) 1st grade, ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by RB »

We did ECC and K the same year and they are both great (non-boring) programs. My girls were 7 and 8 when we started ECC. The thing I wish I really knew then (that I know now) is that when doing ECC with 2nd and 3rd graders you really do get to focus on all the super-fun stuff without any guilt!!! We did all the things we loved (cooking projects, amazing read-alouds, art, music, wonderful book basket books, fiestas/parties). I didn't understand that you really don't need to do those geography research packets with 3rd grade and under. I think it would have been even more enjoyable if I'd enjoyed this freedom. (Of course you might have an 8 year old who is itching to do research packets, and that's OK, too :) )

After our ECC year I read some creative ideas for notebooking with the younger ages, instead of those packets...things like keeping a "travel journal" or making country collages. My girls would have loved doing some fun notebooking pages like that here and there. They did really enjoy the vocabulary cards and coloring pages and other notebooking things that were suggested in the manual.

Keep in mind that the first 2 weeks of ECC are really different than the rest, with longer days. They are important weeks though, so it might be worth looking at the manual before you start school to make sure you have a good plan for making them enjoyable.

Also, someone on this board recommended a book called "Our World" by Millie Miller, which has a 2 page spread for most of the countries studies in ECC. This was a great book for 2nd/3rd graders and I often summarized the Illustrated World Atlas readings and then added "Our World" which seemed to work well.

Also the Geography Game is super fun, especially with M&Ms (or something similar)!
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by doubleportion »


You can get a taste of what we did at my blog (Go to the April posts for the ECC in retrospect)

Maybe that will give you a better idea of some of the fun things you do in ECC. ECC is the best school year we have EVER had homeschooling. It is also the reason I wanted to do MFW.


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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by gratitude »


It is what put the life and purpose into home schooling. It is what is keeping me going next year. It is what kept me from quitting last January.

I have used A Beka, SL, & MFW. MFW is by far the best curriculum of the three, the most interesting, and the most fun!

I will say though you have to use it to find that out. The MFW catalogue was laid aside by me for a long time, left with an I am unsure attitude from me. I wish I had started with it 2 years ago, it would have made so much difference.

When the materials came in the mail they had a more subdued look to them. So I wasn't excited. My journal entry though after 3 days with MFW says it all, "Peace at last."

After a week I was amazed by the fun, peace, learning, etc. that was going on in our home. It's the content inside (rather than the package) that says it all. Six months later we still LOVE it! And I am missing doing it during this summer break we are having, and I am very excited to return to it in the fall! :-)
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by Poohbee »

We will be using ECC this coming year, so I have no experience with that, but, boy, it does look like so much fun! I can't wait to get started with it! I just had to chime in about K, because not much has been said about that so far. We LOVED the MFW K program. It is such a gentle introduction to structured learning. I love that it can be accomplished in about 60-90 minutes each day. Also, it can work for kids at different levels. If your child doesn't yet know letters and numbers, that's okay, because that is what they will learn during the K year. Or, if your child already knows the letters and sounds or can even read already, you can still use the K activities and just go at a faster pace or something like that. And, K is so much FUN! The science topics are wonderful, and the hands-on activities are awesome! We loved tasting different kinds of apples, using clay to make the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle, watching grapes turn into raisins, etc. There is a character lesson and Bible truth to go with each science topic, and I love that each topic goes with the letter being studied. My eldest dds K year was wonderful! And, now my second dd can't wait to start K this fall! You'll surely have fun with MFW K! Oh yeah...and your dc will learn a lot, too! :-)
happily married to Vince (22 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2021-2022: CTG with 12yo boy
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by Crystallea »

Absolutely, positively NOT boring. We loved it, loved especially the food!!!!
Wife to Randy, mom to Gavin 27, Ryan 24, Dawson 11 Bailey James 11, Brianna 10, Melissa 9, Jack & Sam 6, Micah 5
Blessed to have adopted youngest 6.
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Re: Is ECC going to be boring?? What about MFW K?

Unread post by NicoleJ »

Thankyou, thankyou! That's what I wanted to hear!! I am excited about doing this program now! I am still tossing up between ECC and WP's Children Around the World. Hmm.. too many great programs to choose from!!
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The grass is NOT greener! LOL!

Unread post by lisaha »

Confession time! I got a free unit study curriculum from a friend last year. I thought I might try it this year and if I couldn't pull off the lesson planning. I decided to pull out my non fiction books and the curriculum guide book and start lesson planning for the year.

About 1 or 2 hours into it, I had a massive headache, not enough books to make enough lessons, not enough to make it more for my oldest, was not creative enough to find different projects for different ages, I ran out of creativity for all of the lesson plans, and I found out that I REALLY DISLIKE lesson planning! I came out of the camper to tell DH all about it and asked if I could order ECC instead! LOL! He told me that planning lessons myself was not a good idea before I even tried! LOL! I guess I had to see for myself if I would enjoy it and pull it off. I don't enjoy it and he is all for ordering ECC! LOL!

Thank you Lord for a program in which I can combine my children, teach them together, and IS PLANNED FOR ME! I can add a creative project or change one slightly for my creative side, like I did with Adventures, but I don't have to do everything, the books are there, the planning is done and my children LOVED it and THRIVED in it last year. Last year, for the first year ever, they loved school on most days and wanted to continue learning throughout the summer. Two days after we finished Adventures they asked to start another one. They reread most of the books this summer and "played school".
WE are expecting our 6th in Nov, and I was nervous about keeping on schedule with the new baby, but maybe we will start in August and take a month off in Nov. At least I don't have to have the stress of pulling together school for everyone! I looked at many other curriculums this summer, bc I like to look at them, knowing that the children enjoyed MFW and we could go back. Many that are planned for you, you would have to do several different programs for different ages, those that are "unit study" and combined often require extensive lesson planning. The grass is NOT greener and I'm glad I figured that out with a free curriculum and before the school started so I have time to order what works for our family!
Julie in MN
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Why use MFW?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

oneboyonegirl wrote:I've been homeschooling my two children for four years now. I've come to realise this year that what we are using doesn't fit with my daughters style of learning. She is definitely a visual learner so constant reading doesn't work with her. I'm looking to change curriculum for next year and I'm torn between MFW and another program. I'd appreciate any help you can give me in regards to how hands on MFW is in terms of activities.

We are at the end of our four year history rotation and are due to study ancient history next school year. Therefore, I would like to start MFW with CtG. I look forward to reading your thoughts.
Hi Lyn,
I'm sure you'll receive many good replies. But as you wait, I'll give you some links to past conversations about these kinds of questions. For instance, this thread links to comparisons to other programs (which might not be named specifically, but general comparisons cover many things you might be thinking about):

As for the really general question, Why use MFW, I like Mike's answer here, and there are more good answers if you follow the entire thread for 2 pages: ... 191#p44949

And here's one of my posts about why I chose MFW. I will add that in my personal faith journey, I was really misled by folks who skipped around in the Bible in various ways, leading to some very strange conclusions, so I am sensitive to that with my children. I've looked at other programs and just felt that they often skipped around in the Bible, without leading children to really know what they are reading & where it is. ... 410#p45410

P.S. Give some consideration to starting with ECC, too.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by ChristyH »

I feel MFW is balanced in terms of activities (hands on) and being able to get it all done. The books are read at a little slower pace and we tend to remember them better, because they are "flying by." MFW takes us including math from about 8am to 1pm to complete everything. My dd in eighth grade a little longer sometimes. Our previous program would take us until almost three but then again I was trying to do two cores. Now everyone is pretty much on the same page and learning together.

I have not used HOD but I have looked at it. MFW has a more outward focus and HOD appears to be more inward. We personally needed a little push to move "outside" of the house with our christian faith. Our new church helps with that too.

The bible aspect or portion with MFW is so much richer, My dd who was doing core 6 last year, not sure what the new letter for it is, but it is the one with The Bible Field guide for it bible portion and she asked me after going half way through the book how it was suppose to help her walk closer to the Lord. She felt it was a bit frivolous.

I am sure other will give you much better info that then I did. ;)
Married Scott, 1992
Erin, 13
Connor, 10
Gavin, 10
ECC 2007-2008
CTG 2008-2009
RTR 2009-2010
1850 to modern times 2011
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Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by mothergooseofthree »

Hi Lyn,
I have used SL for 5 years, then HOD for 3 years, a touch of MOH, and now MFW. Here is a post that I wrote shortly after we started: ... 030#p70030

Now that we are further in, I only love MFW more. The others are great programs, but doing two levels of HOD or SL was more than I could take. HOD was taking my oldest forever each day. It also took me forever...I was doing all of his stuff that I was to do with him, plus trying to do Beyond with my younger two. A lot was getting skipped from each guide just because I didn't have time. Plus, I didn't discuss much with them because I felt pressured to "check that off and move on" so that we could get things done. Now, we discuss everything to our hearts' content. I am really discipling my dc and I am amazed at what even my 6yo is remembering.....mostly because I now feel no pressure to hurry and we really talk. Also, everyone is studying the same thing. This causes our "studies" to become family conversations or free-time play ideas.

Now, we are getting history, science, and Bible covered. Plus, we are doing the composers. Art isn't interesting to my boys and the book MFW schedules was over my dd's head, so she does Atelier on her own. Otherwise, we do pretty much everything on the schedule....oh, well we already had our LA and math worked out, so I don't use MFW's recommendations for those subjects. I actually use things that are probably more teacher intensive. But, that is my focus...skills.

As I continue into CtG, I grow more in love with MFW. My family has been unified in our studies and we even include dh now in projects and experiments. Our school day has been streamlined which makes for a less stressed mommy and an older ds that now reads for pleasure. He never picked up a book after completing his HOD Preparing or CTC workload. We now have time for extras that I want to add in: logic, typing, interesting books. My kids get to practice a bit of studying in the way I would really love to, delight driven studies, via book basket. I stock it with some books on the topics we are studying and some things that each has shown an interest in learning about. They enjoy getting to pick what area they want to go deeper with. And, yes, I like that school doesn't take all day. MFW felt light when we first started. Then I realized that often the other curricula used two or three different readings per day to teach the same information. If we read it and discuss it and then notebook about it, we usually remember it better than they did by reading about it from several sources. And, they are not saying, "But, MOM, we just read about that in the other book." So, it does feel light, but it is covering everything just as well. Then, you are free to go deeper via book basket or not if you are busy that day. The lighter schedule has also given us the freedom to do our teacher intensive curricula for skill subjects. The crafts are usually simple, which causes them to get done. If you are wanting to build elaborate models and such, you will not get that. But, if you are looking for simple, fun things that the whole family can enjoy, that's what MFW has for you. I am not a crafty mom and my dd is my only crafty kid. She is satisfied with the projects, yet they are not too much so my sons enjoy them as well.

As for SL vs HOD. Neither is easy to adapt to a wide range of ages. HOD is "sweeter" than SL. That is hard to explain, but it just is. HOD had the hands-on stuff, but I could never get my ds to do it. HOD also has all of the narration as such, while SL had the lists of questions to discuss. For me, HOD's guide was too scattered, but others love it. That is just a preference thing. HOD has science integrated into it so that it corresponds with the history study (as does MFW), while SL schedules it completely separate and it has nothing to do with the history.
Hope all of that helps!
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Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by proud2bmykswife »

I used HOD for a while last fall and it was my dream curriculum at first, even though both my dh and I had reservations about some of the books used. We thought I would be able to discuss what they were reading, but with 7 children at home ages 2-18, it was too much to fit it all in. I still think it can be a wonderful curriculum, if it fits your goals and standards. But we were concerned about some of the books that were used (one for ages 8-10 detailed a young girl worshiping the sun) and some of the crafts (making a golden calf out of edible playdough, taking it apart and eating it - for ages 6-8). Many families have no problem with those things, but we just didn't want to take that risk with our children. We have some young ones that play act most of what they read/have read to them and we didn't feel it was appropriate for our family.

I am planning on ordering MFW next week. We did use it a couple years ago, but didn't stick with it due to family medical issues, but those are past now. I haven't seen anything in the MFW booklists for elementary that gives me much concern as inappropriate. My advice, really pray, seek the Lord, and your husband's advice as to where he would like his family to be heading. So many times we homeschool moms leave our hubbies out of the equation. I know some don't want to be involved, and that's okay, but many do.

Laurie, married to my hero 27yrs
dd 26 getting married in June, 23, 20; ds 25 in India
dd 16, 13 AHL
dd 10, 8 ECC, 6 1st, 4 1/2 K
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Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by MelissaM »

In terms of the activities - I've found them to be pretty doable in ECC and K. Not sure what year you're looking at doing, and I haven't done the other years yet, so I can't tell you about them.

In the last couple of weeks we've done several projects/experiments/activities that I would not have done with other curriculum, because the schedule always seemed to be so full already. With MFW, the schedule is full, but the activity time seems to be factored in. I don't think I'm explaining this well, but projects are getting done a lot more now than they were when we were using different curricula (we've jumped around a bit with different programs). We still don't get to them all - maybe I am just too disorganized - but we do a fair amount and we are learning a lot and having a lot of fun.

Hth and that you have peace in your decision-making,
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Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by IdahoGrown »

We used 6 cores before making the switch to MFW. We really enjoyed our SL years but then realized (like you) that it was no longer a good fit for us.

What I love about MFW:
The Bible is first and foremost. Scripture readings, memory verses, biblical integration with history lessons...
The book basket! It allows us good options if we have time to delve deeper into subjects.
The Charlotte Mason feel it has.
Our school day isn't ALL about history.
Hands on activities.

That about sums it up! This is our first year with MFW and it has been great and low stress. I already have next years MFW sitting on the shelf just waiting!! :-)
Mom to dd 13 and ds 8
Hs'ing since 2004.
Using Adventures and RtR 2011-2012

Previous cores used: CtG 2010-2011
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Why use MFW?

Unread post by rebeccal2002 »

ChristyH wrote:I feel MFW is balanced in terms of activities (hands on) and being able to get it all done. The books are read at a little slower pace and we tend to remember them better, because they are "flying by." MFW takes us including math from about 8am to 1pm to complete everything. My dd in eighth grade a little longer sometimes. Our previous program would take us until almost three but then again I was trying to do two cores. Now everyone is pretty much on the same page and learning together.
I could have written this exactly. We just came over to MFW a couple of months ago and I am loving that decision. I'm calmer, the kids seem to be learning more in less time and it's just all around a better fit for our family. (5 kids, Oldest 11, youngest 23 months, with new one due in June.)

HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!
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