MFW only? Anyone ditch most everything else?

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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:05 am

mfw recommendations

Unread post by pjssully »

Got to say that i have been in the same position for awhile now. I have tried other curriculums (many) only to come back to MFW. i wish i could have trusted the recommendations before now but i guess it was a learning lesson for me in trust. We are converting to all mfw recommendations (except my daughter who has problems in math) and though i am nervous, i can tellyou there is nothing "perfect or better" than the simple recommendations that MFW gives. I am looking forward to not "shopping" but living life. Glad you got so many responses, too!

Unread post by cbollin »

4littlehearts wrote:I also like the idea behind PLL but get nervous at the idea of not doing a traditional textbook approach to English, wondering if my child is going to miss out or fall behind his schooled counterparts. Thanks again for the encouragement you provided.


I think the biggest concerns with following MFW’s suggestions for language arts comes with mandatory testing states because the tests will have some vocabulary on it that will not have necessarily been taught with books like PLL/ILL. Some examples of that would be “find the main idea of this paragraph”. Instead, you’ll see things like “what is the central thought of this paragraph”. Or some people are concerned if the vocabulary of parts of speech are not in PLL. Parts of speech are taught in PLL, they just don’t get into the vocabulary and analysis of parts of speech. In the MFW sequence, those kinds of things are done when children are in the so-called “logic” state of learning when it makes most sense to do that kind of analysis with language.

So, if you live in a mandatory testing state, you might want to add some simple test preparation workbooks to get a feel for taking standardized tests.

If you aren’t comfortable with evaluating for comprehension of reading the way MFW does it (narration, and talking with student by asking Who What Where When Why questions), you could consider a really inexpensive grade level workbook that is just about reading comprehension with small selections. That way you’ll be comfortable knowing what skills are normal for grade level. I think that MFW provides lots of opportunities for reading. But I can see also how it might be hard to be sure that it is being covered. It is covered in PLL and ILL, and from listening to read alouds and talking about the stories without long literature guides and things like that.

So, if those kinds of things are of concern to you, you can look for simple (cheap) booklet for reading comprehension at a local book store or discount retailer or teacher supply store. You don’t need a full curriculum for that. The bits and pieces for practicing and learning those comprehension skills are in MFW. But at the same time, it can’t hurt a newer homeschooler to be sure what kinds of things are taught so that you can look for those skills. I’ve bought these little 3 dollar workbooks out of concern that somehow I was missing something only to find that my 9 y,o. child could ace the workbooks once she knew some of the terminology of those books. So, I ended up dropping those little books and was very glad that we didn’t get a full fancy homeschool reading program that was all about plot, analysis, etc. etc. Even in the textbook style of books in MFW, there are comprehension questions and then we learn to discuss Bible. It’s all in there in MFW except that we don’t over stuff “standardized adult terminology” of reading, grammar, etc. into our kid's little minds. They don’t need that in elementary years.

I’m sure there must be some links in the archives somewhere with testimonies about standardized testing.

Other skills in MFW that are taught are not always tested. And they are the important stuff.

Maybe the question is also, “how does MFW cover such and such skill?”

Remember, that in MFW there is a lot of language arts built into the unit study. You do memory work, copywork, narrations, narrative summaries, dictation. PLL adds in the bits and pieces that aren't covered efficiently with that.

I've noticed at my church that my 9 y.o is doing at least as well as the kids who attend our church's elementary school. The skills are there in MFW. Whether my kid falls behind counterparts in other school really depends on her teacher staying on the path.

too much soapbox for me this morning. sorry. :D

(yes, Donna (aka 4truth) my bicycle flag is an MFW catalog)
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Unread post by 4littlehearts »

Thank you ladies. I guess in my mind when something is so simple (for ex. MFW with their recommendations), it just seems like it is just too simple to actually work. I come from an education backround that continues influencing me to think that in order for children to get a good ed. there has to be more work involved for the parent and teacher. It is hard for me to get out of that mindset. Hearing testimonies of fellow mothers who have used MFW successfully helps to influence my mind in the opposite direction. Thanks again for your help!
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:17 pm

Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by abrightmom »

mothergooseofthree wrote:I have had all of my kids in another LA for the last couple of years and I do like it. However, there are a few issues. The work load has greatly increased and there is no room for acceleration. I really want to add in more writing. Plus, I want to add in the PP guides as MFW suggests next year and that would be way too much. He is also beyond their level of spelling, but it is hard to separate this from the rest of the program. And, lastly, he hates it. He gripes EVERYDAY when we pull it out.

I sat him down the other day with the ILL and WS samples and he chose them. So, I bought the ILL section 3 workbook and started it today. He also started WS 3 today since the lesson was so short. It went very well and he said, after reading ahead, that he thinks he will like it better than the program I was trying to add in. We will not be using SP; he may just keep a spelling notebook with words that he misspells in his other work.

I also switched my younger two. My dd does great and will with any program I use. My ds has struggled, and I will need to move on to something different. I have been struggling with this decision for a while because it has gotten him where he is, but with a LOT of hard work, too hard. Combine that with the fact that while researching writing on this board, reading all of the posts about PLL/ILL, and seeing how things fit together as we get deeper into MFW; I have come to trust MFW and their LA recommendations. I decided that now is the time to switch these two if I want to follow MFW. They are in 2nd and 3rd. So, I got PLL.

I am so happy to be following MFW almost exclusively. I have been loving how it all fits together and as I read around here, I have come to trust MFW. I think I had to look through some of the LA stuff to see how it fits in with the rest of the studies. And, reading on here has helped me to see that all of those grammar terms and diagramming really aren't necessary in the lower grades. Tedious writing programs are not necessary as long as they are really learning to use language. Maybe my kids eyes will stop glazing over when we pull out our LA materials and we will see actual progress instead of relearning the same terms and such over and over and over. My sis is a ps English teacher and says that they have done research that proves that conventional grammar does not click with most kids until upper junior high or high school for MOST kids. Yet, here the ps and many hsers are drilling into our kids heads every year.....again. Why not just wait and teach it when they can absorb it for good?

After MUCH prayer and research over the last few weeks, I am happy to have come to these conclusions.

I am thrilled for you and encouraged by you. :-)

I am back to considering MFW after not liking multiple guides with another program. I have also been researching PLL and I'LL :-) this week and pondering grammar.

You inspire me and I am proud of you for making the switch!

DS15, DS14, DD12, DS8
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:56 pm

Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by G'smom »

Yay!! We're doing PLL this year as well and it's working nicely.
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Isn't it wonderful how much you care for your children and see every need? And isn't a blessing when you find peace with what to do about it :) *You* as the teacher are providing the most important factor, and the materials will give you lots to work with, without overwhelming - celebrating with you !!

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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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:09 pm

Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by mothergooseofthree »

Thanks everyone!

I am finding that I am able to trust MFW and the long term goal much easier than I did with my previous program. Or, maybe a better way to put that is that MFW's materials work better for us. I realized that after using CtG last year and now am seeing it even more as I have researched LA materials.
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:59 am

Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by marsha617 »

We switched too. We are really enjoying both PLL & ILL. It took awhile to finally get there but glad we did.
Andrew 10
Nathan 8
Ryan 5
Josh 2
Yes, we have ALL boys. Life is fun and always interesting!
MFW since 2008; CTG this coming school yr.
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Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by RedTulipMom »

Nice to hear!! Just wanted to jump in as someone who also switched to MFW. I used your previous program with my oldest son for Pre-K and Kindergarten, and I am using MFW 1 with him this year and MFW Pre-K with my 4 yr old daughter. We are all loving MFW. I have been contemplating whether i will go all the way and use the singapore math and the recommended LA as well next year, after reading this thread i think i will just put all my trust in MFW like my gut is telling me!`1`
wife to Michael
Mom to:
Joey 23 (homeschooled 5th grade thru end of highschool)
Luke 7
Anna 4
Clare 1

currently using MFW preschool and MFW 1
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Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by Joyhomeschool »

Im using a workbook for PLL part 1. I really like it for the first part of PLL when they are just getting used to using it. I make my kiddos copy from the text in the upper levels though because its good practice. I love the simplicity and how sometimes we can just breeze through and do it orally. My DD tested last year at an advanced level and the ONLY Language Lessons we've used were PLL and ILL and we only did spelling for ONE year! I was so pumped for her! I use the TM because sometimes I just dont "get" what they are asking for. I purchased mine from Rainbow Resource. If your not familiar with teaching grammar I would suggest buying the TM. It does help a lot.
Homeschooling my 7,
2018/2019 1st, EXP, AHL, US 2
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Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by gcampbell »

Hi! While I read these forums regularly and enjoy them and learn so much, I rarely, if ever post. I just found this thread and had to respond. I just wanted to thank the original poster for the encouragement/motivation to make my own change to our LA curriculum. I have really struggled in the area of language arts in the past. I could have made some of the same comments myself. As we progress through the MFW years (we are currently using Exp-1850) I am beginning to see the big picture and how everything meshes together.....including language arts recommendations. I have 2 older kids, ages 10 and 12 and then two younger ones, ages 8 and 4. While I have jumped around over the years with the older ones, I want to start and stay the path with the younger as far as MFW recommendations. Thanks so much for the encouragement and's made my day :-)

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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:48 pm

Re: Well, I did it! I switched over to MFW's LA

Unread post by homemama »

Well, after using MFW ECC for the first week, I decided to go with the ILL in book format (not workbook). My ds loves it ! :-) I love the way it's written and how we can do some of those lang. lessons orally. I'm so glad we switched to MFW! ;)

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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:48 pm

A few final questions before hitting "place order" butto

Unread post by Erna »

hsm wrote:How much adding to the program do you all do? I really want to just get MFW and trust the whole program without adding much. How many people do that and were you happy? It would be such a peace of mind to order and not feel like I need to go adding to it.

There are only a couple of things I am thinking of adding (handwriting without tears book because that is what we have been using, some us/state history stuff for my older dd because she will miss the last two years, and maybe some math for Ker). Secondly, in later years (specifically ECC) how is reading comprehension handled? I have considered getting Reading Strands to give me something to work with but I don't want it to be overkill. Third, I also feel like I might want to buy book basket books as our library is not very good :(

I know every family is different and has different needs but I would love to hear how someone took the program as is and was very happy. Again, I prefer to just stick with MFW as much as possible (peace of mind and peace of the pocketbook :-) ) Thanks everyone! I plan to hit the order button this week!
We have done K all the way to CTG with just MFW recommendations and have been quite satisfied. I did add lapbooks to one of our K years and the odd extra activity I found on-line.
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:56 pm

Re: A few final questions before hitting "place order" butto

Unread post by kw4blessings »

Hi Lori,
We have only used 1st grade so far, but followed MFW's program as written. We have been thrilled with the results!

Along the book basket lines...I was in our local "clothes closet" this morning. (A little thrift store) I picked up several children's books that will be great for book basket in the future (several about animals, one about 5 senses, one about Williamsburg). And the best part was that they were only $.50 each! Just wanted to encourage you to pick up cheap books wherever you can, used curriculum sales, thrift stores, goodwill!
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Re: A few final questions before hitting "place order" butto

Unread post by hsm »

Erna, Thanks for the reply. I am going to use all of the recommendations this year. I feel very optimistic and hearing that you have been pleased after several years is very encouraging.

Good idea, Kelly! I do hit Goodwill a lot but I never thought about other thrift stores. I always like to check the library too...sometimes they sell old books....not often but I have found a gem a couple of times. I am going to make yard sales a priority this summer too :) Thanks for sharing how pleased you are using the program as is. Very encouraging!
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6
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