Academics - Discussion about the rumor that MFW is "light"

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by gratitude » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:02 am

Thank you for your insights. They are helpful. I also found all of the links, inside MFW forum, from another person very helpful. All of you are really helping ease my concerns in switching. I have found so much peace in MFW Grade 1 Phonics, I love the Bible integration, but letting go has been harder than I would have thought. 'my3boys', you are doing what my husband has encouraged me to do. He has thought integrating the two programs could be the answer.
lynzee wrote:When I did Core 1 I had a K and 2nd grader. I wish I had focused more on the OT and teaching them God's truth (which is what they get in MFW) rather than a lot of mythology when they were so young.

Keep praying for God's wisdom with this it can be so confusing trying to choose the "best" for your kids.
This information is really helpful since my 2 oldest will be K & 2nd (very young 2nd) next year. We kept them home to teach them the Bible and to love and serve the Lord, well and for other reasons too. It has been difficult to decide what is 'best' for them. Adventures though looks very positive and gentle.

club190
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:12 am

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by club190 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:17 pm

I wish I could ease your concerns. All I can do is explain where we're coming from.

I loved core 400 with ds17. I had done Omnibus with him for high school up to that point and I really wanted that boy to major on the American aspect for a whole year. But, I have to add that I wanted core 400 from the time it first came out all those years ago as core 10, so I was likely primed to like it.

I loved the stories of core p4/5 for the little guy. Ours was a much older version than what is currently available though, more of a 3/4/5.

Alt 7 for the ds14 was an absolute disaster, mostly due to his dyslexia and accompanying learning issues. If I had gone with 3+4 this past term, my results may have been different, but he really wanted to study the middle ages. (I had started the term with Tapestry of Grace, but that's a whole 'nuther post!)

Well, back to where we are ... we chose to buy ECC with the 7/8 supplement for the following reasons:
1. Not as many books to read
2. No books being read as an overlap (I'm mainly talking about literature going at the same time? Far too stressful for him.)
3. Since we spent the bulk of his earlier education teaching him to read (the code only unlocked for him when he was about 12, praise God!) he really knows nothing about what happened where and when and by whom. We figure it makes sense to give him a thorough overview of the earth and all that is in it before working on filling in the details of who did what and when. So the geography of the whole world of ECC was a major deciding factor for us.
4. Even though it's not recommended for 9th grade, we're doing it as such because from what we've seen of the books and the manual, it really is an excellent program that, much like the story of "Goldilocks" goes, is just right for this particular boy and where he is academically at this point.
5. We don't know what the future holds for us, but the MFW high school programs, at least the 9th and 10th grade ones (ancient and world) seem like they too would be a good fit for this boy, with the added bonus that we already own many of the books! Work wise they seem to be a good fit for him. He's bright, he's just got issues with his ability to get esoteric information into his brain. Yes, I know it's not esoteric info, but to him it is. He doesn't "own" the concept of education yet, mostly because learning is so hard for him. It's hard work, not fun at all.

I hope this helps you make your decision. I know I am still dealing with various degrees of uncertainties, even though I really do know it's the right choice for us! Just so you know, even veteran have doubts! It's wonderful that we can come here and honestly voice them.

One more thought, and a rather important one, is that while I really like SL's upper level cores, I'm not a fan of their lower level ones, for much the same reasons that others have posted. I don't want my little ones learning mythology before they learn that the Bible is the only source of truth! I'm fine with teaching mythology to older kids, ones who already are well grounded in their wolrdview, that is. After all, I for one find it fascinating how many of the myths make sense when you fit the facts of the Tower of Babel and the Dispersion of Races, not to mention the Great Flood, into the ancient stories of so many cultures around this globe. When I read many of these reviews comparing the two programs, I often forget that most people asking these kinds of questions have young children and they are just starting out on their journey. I don't envy young folks just getting going in their homeschooling -- there are far too many choices available today! (Anyone else coming up on 15 years or more homeschooling? -- And no, that's not counting before we did preK or K. -- If so, you probably remember when the Rainbow catalog was only an inch thick as well.)

I know in my heart that what we have set before us is God's plan for this boy for this term, and since He makes no mistakes, I am content. (Sometimes it just helps to keep telling myself that!)

Blessings,
Chris
Wife to Jim since '91
Mom to:
Matthew, 18, Ursinus College student
Andrew, 14, ECC 7/8 + a few extras to make it "official" for high school credit
Daniel, 5, wanting to "do school" but still not really ready

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

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:58 pm

club190 wrote: I for one find it fascinating how many of the myths make sense when you fit the facts of the Tower of Babel and the Dispersion of Races, not to mention the Great Flood, into the ancient stories of so many cultures around this globe.
Chris,
MFW doesn't schedule the specific books you mention, though there is plenty of room for reading & book basket. However, I just wanted to mention that it sounds like you will be very happy with MFW in this regard.

Both CTG and AHL don't just compare the ancient stories of other cultures to a book "about" the Bible or to quotes from the Bible, but those levels of MFW compare ancient stories to the actual Bible, which is read line-by-line (well, most of the history portion in CTG, and then all of the Old Testament in AHL).

And by preparing for this in ECC, children are praying for folks who are afraid and don't know Jesus, so kids come into the study of the ancients with a confidence that we need not be afraid.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by RB » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:26 pm

gratitude wrote:Chris,
Your quote has been my and my dh greatest concern with SL. We have been concerned about what it would do to their world view if we taught Greek mythology now when they aren't even grounded yet in all the Bible has to offer. They have learned a lot of Bible, but they have a very long ways to go!
We really experienced this during our second year of SL (way back in '06/07) with a 1st grader and tag-along K'er. My poor oldest (age 6 back then) was so confused, and kept asking why she should believe the story of Noah from the Bible was true when it didn't seem any more "real" than the Greek myths we were reading (in her sweet little mind.) It has literally taken us years to rebuild a solid biblical foundation for her, because of that early start. Some kids might not be so messed up by it (she is a deep thinker, and very sensitive) but I think you are wise to consider this carefully. MFW gives such a beautiful foundation during the early years...and then keeps building upon that.
R.B.
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)

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

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by my3boys » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:39 pm

I'm certainly not trying to influence you either way here, but there is very little mythology in SL 1 and 2. I think there is one book of myths (it is cartoon style) and a reader on the trojan horse - we skipped those books and I don't recall there being any mythology taught other than the egyptians/greeks/romans believed in other gods - and really you get that much teaching by just reading the OT bible stories, which are scheduled through those years. We did CtG this year and there was way more teaching on mythology than we have ever done in SL. If you have a second or third grader tagging along in CtG or RtR they are getting a lot of that stuff. I don't have a problem with it, I'm just saying.
Alison
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

cbollin

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:15 pm

my3boys wrote: We did CtG this year and there was way more teaching on mythology than we have ever done in SL. If you have a second or third grader tagging along in CtG or RtR they are getting a lot of that stuff. I don't have a problem with it, I'm just saying.
One thing I've noticed from only using MFW.... my oldest child tends to naturally filter some of this stuff to her younger sister so that even though the younger children get to hear some of it in CTG/RTR it is in the also through the eyes/ears/mouth of older sister saying "now wait.... don't think it's the same".

CTG and RTR are for when oldest child in the family is older than 1st/2nd grade and those other beliefs are told so that the Bible context makes sense.

haven't used the other program in question... just saying how my MFW only experience has been. I'm glad that in first grade my middle daughter focused more on doing MFW 1st grade and only joined older sis in RTR for science and fun.

-crystal

Captivated
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:25 pm

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by Captivated » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:24 pm

I have used SL for 10 years. :) I am switching to MFW this year and am really excited.

I have three kiddos:
- 19 ds (graduated - homeschooled from 4th -12th) used Sonlight with some Notgrass Government at the end. :) SL was perfect for him. He loves to read and discuss, read and discuss. He loves to share his opinion on everything...he just finished his freshman year in college majoring in Biblical Studies.

-8 yr old ds -3rd grade this fall. He likes to read and discuss but SL had WAY to much history reading for my science loving boy. He hates coloring but loves projects. Isn't crazy about Usborne books.

-7 yr old dd - 2nd grade this fall. She is bored to tears. She can't stand Usborne books and SL uses way to many of them. She needs coloring pages and projects.

I am going to start Adventures this fall. I don't know exactly how it will work but I am so excited. Partly cause I was ready for something new to keep it fun for me. But also, honestly, the MFW history is just so much more cohesive. The flow of MFW is just such a relief. I have tried for 3 years to add projects but unless it is in my TM I forget about it or it just never happens. The history is the biggest issue for me...I just want to be able to relax and read. I sometimes dreaded history time b/c their was just so much (core 3 is when a BIG jump happens in quantity) reading to do or I knew it was boring my dd to tears. I read some of the MFW history to her and she begged me to keep going.

Sonlight has THE best readers and I will be using those along with each level of MFW. I also am adding a bunch of SL read-alouds since we read alot faster than MFW seems to schedule the read-alouds.

I've always admired MFW and said they would be my second choice. Something clicked this last year and I knew MFW was now my first choice. I can't WAIT!!!

Sorry this is so jumbled, I'm so tired tonight.
Blessings,
Amy

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

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by RB » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:31 am

gratitude wrote:My dh and I keep talking about how we love the idea of SL of discussing both sides of issues with our kids so they leave our home prepared to encounter vast number of ideas different from ours, and sharing why we believe what we do. It seems though to us that we need to start with the foundation of facts and world view first and then present the other view points for discussion (Any thoughts on that statement? We are fairly new to all of this after all). It somehow seems different when so many of these issues actually come up when reading OT stories, maybe because we end up discussing them in biblical context.
Sounds like great thinking to me! For the record, MFW does not avoid other worldviews, but just waits for more appropriate ages/maturity levels and gives kids a strong foundation in Bible before introducing false gods, mythology, and other tough stuff.
Have you listened to any of the David Hazell CDs? We have a few, and they were extremely helpful in understanding the reasons behind MFW and their approach. You can order some through the catalog, and lots through Rhino technologies. I'm thinking that "What Should 21st Century Christians be Teaching their Children?" might be an updated version of one that we have that was really good and would apply to the questions you are considering. Crystal always has great recommendations about which CDs might be helpful.
R.B.
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)

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by gratitude » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:09 pm

cbollin wrote:Here is a link to the titles that MFW sells
http://mfwbooks.com/workshops.htm

and a link to an archived thread with many great reviews other than my opinion on various titles, and how to purchase and stuff like that
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3234

Agreeing with RB, What Should 21st Century Christians.... is a good one for questions/considerations you have. And maybe Exposed Isolated or Insulated? would be another similar topic. Exposed Isolated Insulated talks about that balancing act that we have as believers of what and when and how to introduce other beliefs to our children.

-crystal
I had ordered some of David's CDs and I switched today in the car from the one I had been listening to and started the CD "What Should 21st Century Christians Be Teaching Their Children?" You were correct it's answering A LOT of my questions, and then some. I really appreciate his approach and all of the background information regarding education that I didn't know. Thank you.

Crystallea
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:44 am

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by Crystallea » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:31 pm

I used Sonlight K, 1 and 2. And I love the switch to MFW. I could not complete all that the guide had planned and I know you can pick and choose, but I always felt guilty or maybe I was missing something. What I love about MFW is I can get it done. My kids are retaining so much from the short and sweet lessons. The Charlotte Mason approach can really be done with MFW. I have 4th, 5th, 5th and 6th graders lumped together in one level--the only way I could continue to homeschool and stay sane. Financially, it has been a better fit. Our library system leaves much to be desired but we still found books to read. I love the fact that on some days we can whip our way through the assignments and do other things and other days we can park ourselves and discuss the information. I don't know how they did it, but this is the most flexible curriculum; yet we have learned so much. I could keep going on, but I have loved the switch and my kids are excited about learning. couldn't ask for more.
Crystal
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.

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by gratitude » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:33 pm

Thank you ladies!

We are on day 49 of Grade 1 (fabulous curriculum!), and I have had trouble letting go. All of your posts have helped so much in the letting go process. God has given me so much peace about switching to MFW. THe more I learn about it, and the more I see, the more I realize what an immense blessing this journey will be for my children. Yeah! :-)

hsm
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by hsm » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:21 am

I pulled my children out of public school in November of this school year. I have a 5th grader, 2nd grader, and a preschooler (he is 5, but he has a late birthday). We are currently using an eclectic approach using Story of the World Vol. 1 for history. I have been led repeatedly by God to MFW and I am not getting much support from my homeschooling friends who also incorporate an eclectic approach. I am not sure why this is. They don’t feel it is strong enough which I find interesting since they haven’t used it and MFW uses a lot of the materials they already use and/or is recommended by the Well Trained Mind. Maybe it is a bias against boxed/planned curriculum in general. I am not sure. But, I know that God keeps leading me here so I intend to listen. It is just hard when seasoned homeschoolers disagree with me, a newbie. However, I do value their opinions because they have more experience and were instrumental in helping me get started. I am going to a convention in June so I can look at the materials in person. I have been reading these boards for some time and I am confident that the program is academically thorough and I am drawn even more to the strong biblical basis of this program.
I would like to order ECC next year for my oldest two and K for my youngest. My oldest will only be able to finish ECC, CtG, and RtR before starting High School. I plan to do the cycle as is so that my younger two can do the cycle in order. For my oldest, I would like to add in some American History, state study, US Geography, and Constitution study before HS. Any suggestions? I don’t want to overwhelm her either, but I feel she needs this before HS. She has had a lot of Am. History in public school although it is not very thorough. I was thinking of adding this during the ECC year since the following year she will be in 7th grade and will have the 7th grade supplemental work. Do you think that using SOTW this year and using CtG in two years will be too much repetition? I really don’t want to miss CtG because I want to incorporate the Bible in our study of history. That is what I am really missing in SOTW 1.
My next question is in regards to Language Arts. I am currently using First Language Lessons for my 2nd grader and Easy Grammar for my 5th gr. We also use Bravewriter although not consistently as I am having a hard time incorporating it. It is not my style. I tend to lean toward a more formal grammar approach although I am realizing that gentleness has its benefits. It is just such a change for me that it is hard for me to step away from a formal program. My oldest hates writing. She is very strong in grammar (however has no experience in diagramming), writes well even though she doesn’t want to do it, and is used to the public school method of teaching grammar, so I am not sure if ILL is a good fit for her. However, change is not a bad thing and I am certainly open to it as I am not interested in reproducing a public school in my home. I was thinking of doing Rod and Staff for both and Writing Strands when it is time. Is that too much?
My last question is in regards to science. We currently are using Apologia Flying Creatures and my kids love it. History and science are their favorite subjects. My oldest aspires to a career in a science related field. I want her to have a strong science background. I know some years in the cycle use Apologia and she will use it when she is in 7th and beyond. Is the science in the other years of the cycle thorough?
Sorry for all the questions! I really want to use MFW and I believe it is the answer to my prayers. I just want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. In an ideal world, all of my kids would have started homeschooling with MFW in Kindergarten but alas that is not the case :) Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

MuzzaBunny
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:52 pm

Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by MuzzaBunny » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:20 am

hsm wrote:I pulled my children out of public school in November of this school year. I have a 5th grader, 2nd grader, and a preschooler (he is 5, but he has a late birthday). We are currently using an eclectic approach using Story of the World Vol. 1 for history.

I have been led repeatedly by God to MFW and I am not getting much support from my homeschooling friends who also incorporate an eclectic approach. I am not sure why this is. They don’t feel it is strong enough which I find interesting since they haven’t used it and MFW uses a lot of the materials they already use and/or are recommended by the Well Trained Mind. Maybe it is a bias against boxed/planned curriculum in general. I am not sure. But, I know that God keeps leading me here so I intend to listen. It is just hard when seasoned homeschoolers disagree with me, a newbie. However, I do value their opinions because they have more experience and were instrumental in helping me get started. I am going to a convention in June so I can look at the materials in person. I have been reading these boards for some time and I am confident that the program is academically thorough and I am drawn even more to the strong biblical basis of this program.

I would like to order ECC next year for my oldest two and K for my youngest. My oldest will only be able to finish ECC, CtG, and RtR before starting High School. I plan to do the cycle as is so that my younger two can do the cycle in order. For my oldest, I would like to add in some American History, state study, US Geography, and Constitution study before HS. Any suggestions? I don’t want to overwhelm her either, but I feel she needs this before HS. She has had a lot of Am. History in public school although it is not very thorough. I was thinking of adding this during the ECC year since the following year she will be in 7th grade and will have the 7th grade supplemental work. Do you think that using SOTW this year and using CtG in two years will be too much repetition? I really don’t want to miss CtG because I want to incorporate the Bible in our study of history. That is what I am really missing in SOTW 1.

My next question is in regards to Language Arts. I am currently using First Language Lessons for my 2nd grader and Easy Grammar for my 5th gr. We also use Bravewriter although not consistently as I am having a hard time incorporating it. It is not my style. I tend to lean toward a more formal grammar approach although I am realizing that gentleness has its benefits. It is just such a change for me that it is hard for me to step away from a formal program. My oldest hates writing. She is very strong in grammar, writes well even though she doesn’t want to do it, and is used to the public school method of teaching grammar, so I am not sure if ILL is a good fit for her. However, change is not a bad thing and I am certainly open to it as I am not interested in reproducing a public school in my home. I was thinking of doing Rod and Staff for both and Writing Strands when it is time. Is that too much?

My last question is in regards to science. We currently are using Apologia Flying Creatures and my kids love it. History and science are their favorite subjects. My oldest aspires to a career in a science related field. I want her to have a strong science background. I know some years in the cycle use Apologia and she will use it when she is in 7th and beyond. Is the science in the other years of the cycle thorough?

Sorry for all the questions! I really want to use MFW and I believe it is the answer to my prayers. I just want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. In an ideal world, all of my kids would have started homeschooling with MFW in Kindergarten but alas that is not the case :) Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
I'm afraid I'm no help to you at all as we've only done K and 1st so far. I am very much hoping to read the answers to your first question, though, as I was recently given the same impression. I was chatting with a homeschool veteran whom I only know casually. I told her that we use and love MFW and plan to stick with it. She abruptly looked away and said, "Well, nothing wrong with stretching and growing either..." I felt gutted and just sort of walked away.
That's my long way round of saying that I too am very drawn to MFW and intend to continue, (we've purchased for next year already) but am wondering what the other attitude is about?
Bunny

lea_lpz
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by lea_lpz » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:04 pm

I don't have advice on ECC and K together. We are finishing up our first year homeschooling and used k as our core for both my 3 & 5 year old and I also use the mfw preschool package for my 3 year old. We've been happy with both the preschool package and mfw k :). It sounds like your plan for the mfw cycle works perfectly and there is a thread on doing a condensed version of history over the summer before HS so that could be doable for you.

As far as homeschool moms having an anti box approach, both those I know in person and forums, I've had this experience, too, but I have also meet others who have used it or heard positive things about it. I think you have to do what is ok for you and less on the opinions of others because in time you'll find your way. I am just finishing our first year of homeschool and I get it is scary starting out. Their are so many options and you fear you'll make a bad choice. You worry about being judged by people for homeschooling and worry about getting the approval of more seasoned homeschool moms.

I think what could help you is make a list of the reasons why you decided to homeschool and your vision for homeschool. That could help you have clarity on what your priorities are.

Some things I like about mfw are:
-integration of classical, Charlotte mason and unit studies
-hands on activities
-everything is laid out for me, saving me time
-as a new homeschool mom it takes the guess work out and I get the benefit of an experienced homeschool family
-the family cycle means I can overlap core subjects for children in different grades, saving me time and allowing the kids to spend more time together

I like the idea of going to a convention and getting to see materials and hear different curriculums presented.

Pray and seek guidance from The Lord and he will help you in your ministry as a homeschool mother.
dd: 10, Prairie Primer
ds: 7, mfw 1st
dd: dd3, All Aboard
Dynamic Duet of Destruction twin dds 1

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

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:50 pm

hsm wrote: I have been led repeatedly by God to MFW and I am not getting much support from my homeschooling friends who also incorporate an eclectic approach. I am not sure why this is. They don’t feel it is strong enough which I find interesting since they haven’t used it and MFW uses a lot of the materials they already use and/or are recommended by the Well Trained Mind. Maybe it is a bias against boxed/planned curriculum in general. I am not sure. But, I know that God keeps leading me here so I intend to listen. It is just hard when seasoned homeschoolers disagree with me, a newbie. However, I do value their opinions because they have more experience and were instrumental in helping me get started. I am going to a convention in June so I can look at the materials in person. I have been reading these boards for some time and I am confident that the program is academically thorough and I am drawn even more to the strong biblical basis of this program.
I'm sorry you and Bunny have received those comments. Homeschoolers aren't always very united, are they?

We used to get a LOT of this back when MFW only went through 6th grade. There are a lot of archives about it, such as here:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2927

Here are some random thoughts on why I felt I saw this early on:
- As I mentioned, MFW originally was written for grades K-6 only.
- Many folks try ECC only (which for one thing was only written for 2nd-6th at first), and aren't happy with focusing on geography before history. Or, they were skipping the learning activities such as games and songs and cooking, not realizing that children often retain more factual information from those things than reading. There is a learning curve for not only MFW teaching methods, but for using a guide written for a range of ages.
- MFW Kindergarten is gentle, and most of the parents I met wanted their kids to read at age 3. I can't stress enough how much *I* think that that creates memorization without understanding (and I have tutored a lot of children), and in the long run does more harm than good. My own children are now ages 17 to 28, and I am happy to say that a late start in formal academics has done them nothing but good. Oh, and MFW-K has unit studies based on letters, so many folks assume that is all that children learn in K, when really they are learning to read, as well as learning a variety of topics in science and math etc.
- A lot of families came from textbook/worksheet mentality, at least when I started out, and couldn't conceive of learning without a paper trail.
- A lot of parents have an oldest child who just sort-of does what he's told, and haven't yet found what classroom teachers know - not all kids in the class are learning.
- Some parents really like formal grammar at an early age and bristle at MFW's method of waiting until 6th grade to really memorize the names of parts of speech, even though that is a method that is supported by many wise educators including Ruth Beechick.

Anyways, I think it's kind of like being given all that advice when you first take a child home from the hospital. It takes a while for folks to see the results and trust your choices. In the end, you may even find others following your lead. I used to bring my kids' MFW notebooks to our local end-of-year celebrations in co-ops and support groups, and I always felt that helped folks see a different learning result, since it was really different from the usual stack of worksheets or stack of books read. It helped my husband and family to see that, too.

On a side note, I run into just as many homeschoolers who say, "Ooo, you're doing MFW, I suppose you like all that hard stuff." Homeschoolers are a varied group :)
hsm wrote:I would like to order ECC next year for my oldest two and K for my youngest. My oldest will only be able to finish ECC, CtG, and RtR before starting High School. I plan to do the cycle as is so that my younger two can do the cycle in order. For my oldest, I would like to add in some American History, state study, US Geography, and Constitution study before HS. Any suggestions? I don’t want to overwhelm her either, but I feel she needs this before HS. She has had a lot of Am. History in public school although it is not very thorough. I was thinking of adding this during the ECC year since the following year she will be in 7th grade and will have the 7th grade supplemental work.
I like the materials in MFW's last 2 years. You might pick things from there, or order a year in advance so your oldest has some extra reading material? The Children's Encyclopedia of American History in 1850MOD covers a lot of US history. Also in 1850MOD, the states & capitals CD is a fun way to learn, and the 1850MOD student sheets add some card games and map games for memorizing locations, capitals, etc. Those last 2 years also include the state sheets for all 50 states (which might be available separately from the student sheets, I'm not sure, or they are all together in the Adventures student sheets). MFW also has a short state study book in 1850MOD which you could use. Oh, and check the archives from the US history years, because I remember posting some extras we used regarding the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Presidents, etc. For example: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=4836

So, there are a lot of materials there, but I wouldn't want to overwhelm. Near the beginning of ECC, you do spend a couple of weeks on the USA, so I might start with those weeks and decide what to add.

One thing I like about MFW is that it isn't overwhelmingly about "History," spending 3 hours on history and saying, "Oh, write something for English," or "read a bible verse." :) Bible and English and all the other subjects are given prominence, too. We're in high school now, and I figure a credit is a credit, eh?!
hsm wrote:Do you think that using SOTW this year and using CtG in two years will be too much repetition?
MFW uses the Bible as the spine in CTG, and SOTW-1 only covers a few Biblical events briefly, so I'm happy with CTG but there is certainly room for following other trails with more reading & book basket for a 7th grader, if you like.
hsm wrote:My next question is in regards to Language Arts. I am currently using First Language Lessons for my 2nd grader and Easy Grammar for my 5th gr. We also use Bravewriter although not consistently as I am having a hard time incorporating it. It is not my style. I tend to lean toward a more formal grammar approach although I am realizing that gentleness has its benefits. It is just such a change for me that it is hard for me to step away from a formal program. My oldest hates writing. She is very strong in grammar, writes well even though she doesn’t want to do it, and is used to the public school method of teaching grammar, so I am not sure if ILL is a good fit for her. However, change is not a bad thing and I am certainly open to it as I am not interested in reproducing a public school in my home.
To me, it sounds like your dd needs a focus on writing, rather than grammar. When I brought my dd home in 10th grade, I realized she had no need to study grammar as she had already mastered it, but she needed to transition to grammar-in-writing, and to just writing in general. She *liked* grammar workbooks because they made her feel successful, so continuing is an option, but for my dd it was just a matter of not having enough time to add that in for those reasons.

ILL does have some grammar and does have an intro to a lot of advanced things, including outlining and writing a speech. However, there is a learning curve for both parent and child, in terms of using the lessons to work on the skills she needs and feeling the freedom of adapting (e.g. my son did a power point for one). There are some helps on the board here, but it's fine to use something else.
hsm wrote: I was thinking of doing Rod and Staff for both and Writing Strands when it is time. Is that too much?
I think folks who use R&S with Writing Strands usually do not do any writing included in R&S.
hsm wrote:My last question is in regards to science. We currently are using Apologia Flying Creatures and my kids love it. History and science are their favorite subjects. My oldest aspires to a career in a science related field. I want her to have a strong science background. I know some years in the cycle use Apologia and she will use it when she is in 7th and beyond. Is the science in the other years of the cycle thorough?
This next year in ECC, the science is about Ecosystems, with a book by Answers in Genesis as well as some more "living" books and some extra experiments in the ECC manual, and some various plants to grow etc. And don't forget nature walks - that was the one year we really took those seriously and what a blessing! So I think there is plenty for your dd to learn. My son also did a few science type things he found in book basket books during ECC and CTG, to add to the fun.

The science in CTG and RTR will only be for your youngers. CTG science is a bit goofy for some but has a TON of experiments in it, the most we every did. Others switch that one out, like you're thinking of, so that's an option. RTR spends one semester on Anatomy/ Facts-O-Life and the other semester uses Apologia Astronomy.

Does that help?
Julie
Last edited by Julie in MN on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Wendy B.
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by Wendy B. » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:18 pm

The bias to box/planned curriculum is a relatively recent phenomena. When I started homeschooling in 1994, there was a lot more support for a variety of homeschooling styles since we had far fewer options. Find what works, ignore the critics, and move on.

I wouldn't recommend planning on adding in a lot of extras. You could incorporate some American History, state study, US Geography, and Constitution into bookbasket time if you feel that these subjects need to be explored a little further. ECC has a 34 week schedule so you do have some extra time to add in a little bit more study.

I do not believe that SOTW 1 and CtG in a few years would be too much repetition. There will be some repetition with the Egyptians and Greeks but most kids seems to really enjoy reading about those particular cultures.

You can use whatever language arts curriculum with MFW that works for your family. If you decide to do Rod and Staff and Writing Strands, then skip the writing assignments in Rod and Staff. If you do all the writing assignments in Rod and Staff AND all the writing in MFW AND all the writing assignments in Writing strands, then that would probably be too much. When you get to the convention, really try to evaluate the amount of writing using MFW's suggestions. It does mesh very well together using the PLL/ILL/WS combination. I have a 5th grader who is transitioning to ILL from FLL and it has been refreshing.

Science in ECC would be awesome for a science minded 6th grader. I used it for a non-science minded 4th grader and it was a bit of a stretch. We have not enjoyed Genesis for Kids (CtG's science) so we just subbed in another Apologia text when Genesis for Kids was scheduled. A lot of families really enjoy this book so it is just a quirk with my particular family. Science in CtG is thorough but that particular book was a "miss" for my kids.

My boxed curriculum critics view my substitution of one science book in CtG as a reason to not use a pre-planned curriculum. For us, the benefits far outweigh the occasional miss or adjustment needed to make MFW a better fit for my quirky kids.


HTH
Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.

hsm
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by hsm » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:35 pm

lea_lpz wrote:It sounds like your plan for the mfw cycle works perfectly and there is a thread on doing a condensed version of history over the summer before HS so that could be doable for you.
I think I have read that post before. I will look for it again.
lea_lpz wrote:I am just finishing our first year of homeschool and I get it is scary starting out. Their are so many options and you fear you'll make a bad choice. You worry about being judged by people for homeschooling and worry about getting the approval of more seasoned homeschool moms.
Exactly!
lea_lpz wrote:Some things I like about mfw are:
-integration of classical, Charlotte mason and unit studies
-hands on activities
-everything is laid out for me, saving me time
-as a new homeschool mom it takes the guess work out and I get the benefit of an experienced homeschool family
-the family cycle means I can overlap cote subjects for children in different grades, saving me time and allowing the kids to spend more time together
You have all the same reasons as I do and I would add that the strong biblical influence is a huge plus for me.
lea_lpz wrote:Pray and seek guidance from The Lord and he will help you in your ministry as a homeschool mother.
You are absolutely right about this. I believe He is guiding me in this and I need to not worry about pleasing others, but rather Him.
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

hsm
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by hsm » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:51 pm

Julie in MN wrote:Here are some random thoughts on why I felt I saw this early on:
- As I mentioned, MFW originally was written for grades K-6.
- Many folks try ECC only (which for one thing was only written for 2nd-6th at first), and aren't happy with focusing on geography before history. Or, they were skipping the learning activities such as games and songs and cooking, not realizing that children often retain more factual information from those things than reading. There is a learning curve for not only MFW teaching methods, but for using a guide written for a range of ages.
- MFW Kindergarten is gentle, and most of the parents I met wanted their kids to read at age 3. I can't stress enough how much *I* think that that creates memorization without understanding (and I have tutored a lot of children), and in the long run does more harm than good. My own children are now ages 17 to 28, and I am happy to say that a late start in formal academics has done them nothing but good. Oh, and MFW-K has unit studies based on letters, so many folks assume that is all that children learn in K, when really they are learning to read, as well as learning a variety of topics in science and math etc.
- A lot of families came from textbook/worksheet mentality, at least when I started out, and couldn't conceive of learning in other ways.
- A lot of parents have an oldest child who just sort-of does what he's told, and haven't yet found what classroom teachers know - not all kids in the class are learning.
- Some parents really like formal grammar at an early age and bristle at MFW's method of waiting until 6th grade to really memorize the names of parts of speech, even though that is a method that is supported by many wise educators including Ruth Beechick.
I think you are right about these reasons. Oddly, though, some of these individuals use a lot of the same methods and materials as MFW. It seems to me that there is somewhat of a notion that if you put it all together yourself it is better. Does that make sense? But, if I can get it all laid out for me with everything I am looking for in a curriculum, what could be better than that? Less stress for me and the reassurance that it is done right. Right now, I have a mix of a bunch of stuff that do not flow together and I don't like the disconnectedness I am feeling from subject to subject. I often don't get through all our subjects because I need a TM and some guidance.
Julie in MN wrote:Anyways, I think it's kind of like being given all that advice when you first take a child home from the hospital. It takes a while for folks to see the results and trust your choices.
I LOVE this analogy! Exactly what I needed to hear. :-)
Julie in MN wrote:I like the materials in MFW's last 2 years. You might pick things from there, or order a year in advance?
Ordering in advance is an interesting idea I hadn't thought of.
Julie in MN wrote:One thing I like about MFW is that it isn't overwhelmingly about "History," spending 3 hours on history and saying, "Oh, write something for English," or "read a bible verse." :) Bible and English and all the other subjects are given prominence, too. We're in high school now, and I figure a credit is a credit, eh?!
I like this too. I don't want my entire curriculum to be history. My children love science also and I like how it is integrated in the program.
Julie in MN wrote:MFW uses the Bible as the spine in CTG, and SOTW-1 only covers a few Biblical events briefly, so I'm happy with CTG but there is certainly room for more reading & book basket for a 7th grader, if you like.
It sounds like CtG is SO much more than what the SOTW covers. Am I right?
Julie in MN wrote:To me, it sounds like your dd needs a focus on writing, rather than grammar.
Yes, absolutely! She hasn't done any diagramming though. Would you recommend skipping grammar all together and just focusing on Writing Strands? Or, go with one of MFW other recommendations for grammar that is used in 7th/8th grade?
Julie in MN wrote:When I brought my dd home in 10th grade, I realized she had no need to study grammar as she had already mastered it, but she needed to transition to grammar in writing, and to just writing in general. She *liked* grammar workbooks because they made her feel successful, so continuing is an option, but for her it was just a matter of not having enough time to add that in for those reasons.
Mine would rather skip the workbooks! :-)
Julie in MN wrote:ILL does have some grammar and does have an intro to a lot of advanced things, including outlining and writing a speech. However, there is a learning curve for both parent and child, in terms of using the lessons to work on the skills she needs and feeling the freedom of adapting (e.g. my son did a power point for one). There are some helps on the board here, but it's fine to use something else.
I do have my younger daughter who will be starting also. I am debating on PLL or continuing with FLL. I have requested PLL from the library so I can take a look at it in person. Or, if I decide to do R&S with them, maybe just jump into that? I am really torn on this subject because I am so used to grammar being introduced early in a formal way, but I am beginning to understand that it isn't necessary and can be counter productive. Gentle doesn't mean ineffective. I like the idea of being more gentle. I may have this option with my two younger ones as I am starting them with homeschooling much earlier than my oldest.
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

hsm
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by hsm » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:58 pm

Wendy B. wrote:The bias toward box/planned curriculum is a relatively recent phenomena. When I started homeschooling in 1994, there was a lot more support for a variety of homeschooling styles since we had far fewer options. Find what works, ignore the critics, and move on.

Excellent advice!
Wendy B. wrote:I wouldn't recommend planning on adding in a lot of extras. You could incorporate some American History, state study, US Geography, and Constitution into bookbasket time if you feel that these subjects need to be explored a little further. ECC has a 34 week schedule so you do have some extra time to add in a little bit more study.
That is a good idea. Maybe I can add some of those things during our summer and those extra 2 weeks and the rest she can get in book basket. Thanks. I also liked Julie's idea to order the year in advance so I have the materials already and she can go through it at her leisure. I will be using it anyway for my younger children.
Wendy B. wrote:I do not believe that SOTW 1 and CtG in a few years would be too much repetition. There will be some repetition with the Egyptians and Greeks but most kids seems to really enjoy reading about those particular cultures.
That is what I was thinking and yes, my kids LOVE those cultures.
Wendy B. wrote:You can use whatever language arts curriculum with MFW that works for your family. If you decide to do Rod and Staff and Writing Strands, then skip the writing assignments in Rod and Staff. If you do all the writing assignments in Rod and Staff AND all the writing in MFW AND all the writing assignments in Writing strands, then that would probably be too much.
This is what I keep hearing.
Wendy B. wrote:When you get to the convention, really try to evaluate the amount of writing using MFW's suggestions. It does mesh very well together using the PLL/ILL/WS combination. I have a 5th grader who is transitioning to ILL from FLL and it has been refreshing.
My 2nd grader is currently doing FLL and I want to switch to PLL so this is good to hear.
Wendy B. wrote:Science in ECC would be awesome for a science minded 6th grader. I used it for a non-science minded 4th grader and it was a bit of a stretch. We have not enjoyed Genesis for Kids (CtG's science) so we just subbed in another Apologia text when Genesis for Kids was scheduled. A lot of families really enjoy this book so it is just a quirk with my particular family. Science in CtG is thorough but that particular book was a "miss" for my kids.
She is definitely science minded so this is reassuring. I could always get an Apologia book if I find the same issue as you do, but who knows? Maybe it will be a fit for us.
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

lea_lpz
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by lea_lpz » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:29 pm

Why I chose to homeschool, what my priorities / vision for my homeschool and why I chose mfw are all a little different but the Bible and faith being deeply integrated were very big for me in chiding a curriculum.

I chose to homeschool because:
- the traditional school model wasn't working for kinetic learner who needed a more hands on integrated approach to learning
-after prechool I was dissatisfied with our public school both academically and because of the potential of negative peer influences
-private school was costly, and would limit the number of children we could have to 2 as well as mean I would have to work outside the home as soon as the second child started k
-even the private school options did not satisfy all the areas I would want covered iny child's idea education

My vision / priorities:
1) teach my children to love God and learn Christian character and build their life on the Rock
2) teach my children to cherish their family by forming strong sibling bonds and regularly contributing to the household and learning our values
3) develop a strong love of learning and learn how to learn vs memorizing what a teacher tells you; critical thinking over memorization
4) develop a love for God's people and a deep appreciation for the world God created, with a heart for service and conservation

I think mfw as a whole reinforces these values with their approach

I am less concerned with my kids being above grade level, spending large amounts of time on seat work, and academics as a whole because I feel like if we can meet the vision / priorities than the rest will follow as a natural result.

Ok off to enjoy a picnic and do a rock hunt by the stream to round off the rest of our "academically strenuous day"

Unit 19, Rr Rock, day 2 activity- go on a rock hunt :)
dd: 10, Prairie Primer
ds: 7, mfw 1st
dd: dd3, All Aboard
Dynamic Duet of Destruction twin dds 1

hsm
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

Re: Wanting to start next year-lots of questions!

Unread post by hsm » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:52 pm

lea_lpz wrote:Ok off to enjoy a picnic and do a rock hunt by the stream to round off the rest of our "academically strenuous day"

Unit 19, Rr Rock, day 2 activity- go on a rock hunt :)
What a fun outing! Sounds like a great time and this is what I look forward to. I will have a kindergartener along with my ECC girls :)


Thank you all so much for all of the replies, encouragement, and advice. I am very grateful. I appreciate this about MFW; the boards seem to be very helpful and encouraging. I apologize if my replies are not showing up very well. I am new to using a board and it may look goofy :~
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

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