Comparing - Help, I keep switching curriculums! (David Hazel

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Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:12 am

Comparing - Help, I keep switching curriculums! (David Hazel

Unread post by txquiltmommy »

Help, I keep switching curriculums!
We are ready to start week 18 in Adventures. WE LOVE IT!!! I feel like we have finally found a niche.

I have always had a problem with curriculum shopping. I love the research process so much, that I would always pour over catalogs and web pages and constantly be looking at all the choices out there. Unfortunately, it led to overbuying and a constant sense of discontentment with whatever we were using.

For the first time in seven years of homeschooling I feel totally at peace with what were are doing. I even throw catalogs away that come to the house without even reading them first! Gasp! That never would have happened before! Lord willing, I really see us staying with MFW for the long haul. I am excited to use ECC next year, so I enjoy the posts on these boards about ECC because it gives me something to look forward to. However, I feel no desire AT ALL to shop around from other providers. We have found what works and I'm sticking to it like glue! :)
dd (14)
ds(9) - ECC
ds(8) - ECC
and one on the way in December!
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:25 pm

Unread post by MJP »

We are ready to start week 9 in Rome to Reformation, and day 40-something in 1st. We will be taking a break very soon as our little one is due in a week! We also love MFW.

I have time to teach because I am not researching curriculum!
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850
Carol Skinner
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:54 am

Comparing curriculums - Encouragement for making a change!

Unread post by Carol Skinner »

Hi and Welcome! I have 5 children ages 1 thru 10 and this is my first year with MFW, so I don't have a lot of experience, but I just wanted to encourage you. The Teacher's Manual has been such a blessing to me this year, and frankly, that was a big attraction for me.

Like you, I enjoyed piecing together my own curriculum, but as our family grew and all the blessings of busyness that go along with that, I knew something had to change. My husband and I were using another classical curriculum that began to be a challenge. When we saw the MFW catalog, we prayed about it and went for the change and I am so glad!

It has really been a time saver for me. It is also filled with advice and good ideas for record keeping and time management, etc. We have been very pleased with MFW curriculum choices as the lessons are shorter, but filled with the knowledge our children need, and giving them time during the day to pursue history and science lessons deeper or their own interests. I highly recommend the Susan Schaeffer McCauley book in the catalog--it has been encouraging to us (if you haven't read it already). Hope this wasn't too long. Take care.
In Christ,
Wife of David for 11 years, mother of Courtney(10), Hannah(9), Rachel(7), Mary(4), Rebekah(2),and one on the way!!;MFW RtR this year

Encouragement for making such a big change to MFW?

Unread post by cbollin »

mom2-3 wrote:I am about to place my order for RtR. I am totally sold on the curriculum... but I am having butterflies just thinking about it... you know how it goes you are completely convinced you found THEE right curriculum and then you hear someone talk about something else and oooohhhh should you buy that one????? I know MFW world is going to be a good fit for us ..... Just wanted to post and hopefully get some last minute encouraging words......
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:31 am
If you think in analogies this will make some sense.

I read your post and remembered when we had to buy our first mini van. Everyone else was getting the Honda brand. I sat in that Honda and it didn't fit me. You see, I'm only 56 inches tall. So I have to buy something that I can use. Well -- it didn't matter what everyone else was buying because I found a different brand of mini van that I could see out of and the seat belt fit too!! And I knew it from the moment I found that van -- but we still spent the rest of the day test driving and test sitting the other brands.

Well that makes sense for a vehicle, and I think it does too for a curriculum. Sometimes you buy what fits you, and it doesn't matter what everyone else is driving or talking about.

{hugs} and prayers for you.
MJ in IL
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

Unread post by MJ in IL »

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:14 am

I have to reply to this as well. I am a curriculum junkie. My friends tease me because if they want to know about a homeschooling resource, chances are I have researched it.

I unexpectedly found MFW at our homeschool conference several years ago and have not turned back. I have used K twice, 1st twice and now ECC. I told my husband something felt wrong because my next year's planning only took about 20 minutes! I'm more used to hours/days...he laughed and suggested I used all that extra time working with the kids on this year's work!

I know I will continue using MFW (CtG next year) because Marie thinks how I think (or maybe vice versa,) it is the first resource I have used without rewriting the whole thing, and I love their mission-mindedness. My older son (whose gifting is not in academics:)) has consistently commented how the MFW part of school (Bible reader in 1st and ECC now) is his favorite part of school. He suggested that we continue with ECC next year because he thinks this "is working so well, Mom." I am serious in the fact that my computer time has dramatically decreased as I no longer have the need to find the newest product for LA, math or whatever-because I trust their choices. The "search" was a hobby for me but I am now finding better things to do with my time....ususally!

Enjoy using RtR!
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:19 pm

Unread post by JenniferF »

Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:23 pm

What a great analogy Crystal!!

Here is a poem which was posted this morning on a homeschooling board I visit. Thought it applied well here. :)

Curriculum Blues
By Mardy Freeman

I had found the curriculum that we should be using.
It was fun. It was bright. And it wasn't confusing.
But just as I started to write out the check
I discovered a new one was much better yet.

I had written that check when I suddenly read
That another new program was better instead.
So I dutifully researched and found it was true.
This one was better – yes, all the way through!

"This one looks perfect!" I said to myself.
"Not a piece of this resource will sit on the shelf."
It was simple, yet timeless. Its methods were flawless.
With only one glitch – it cost nine thousand dollars.

I had thirty-nine dollars and fifty-three cents,
So off for curriculum fliers I sent.
And they came on one day – all four hundred five.
I answered the door and was buried alive!

My children revived me and gave me a kiss
And it suddenly dawned on me what I had missed!
It matters less what they know than it does who they are!
With strong moral character, my kids will go far!

Determination and courage are worth much more than talents.
So teaching them character will keep them in balance.
Then encouraging them to reason, to ask and to think,
To wade through the waters of knowledge and drink.

Education's not just what I pull from the shelf;
It is in giving my children a part of myself!
I see now they'll learn it – one way or the other.
But, lately my kids are in need of their mother!

The fliers I saved for a few weeks from now
When I know I'll be desperately wondering how
To implement all of my newfound ideals
And scrambling again for incredible deals.

In the meantime...should you find the one that beats all
And stumble across it some time before fall,
If it teaches me how to do all these things –
Please pick up the phone and give me a ring!
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:36 pm

Comparing - Help, I keep switching curriculums!

Unread post by Fly2Peace »

pjssully wrote:I am having an awful time this year with curriculum. I started out with My Father's World and did it for two weeks. Thought it wasn't academically challenging enough and switched. I have been happy but tonight at dinner my daughter said the best part of school work was getting done!!! Now I don't want my kids to think that all of school is a bore--I know some needs to be hard but to hear that she couldn't wait to be done just broke my heart. So now I am thinking I should go back to MFW which would be more fun for her and her sisiter. Anybody have any advice for me--I can't keep switching back and forth!!!!!!
Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:36 pm

MFW starts gently into the year. You add subjects and build. Even when you are up to all subjects it SEEMS gentle. Yet it is effective. DD learned so much last year. Each year is a little more challenging, and deeper. Each year is a nice mix of learning styles, reading, hands on, Bible.

Another bit that might reassure you, dd took standardized testing and tested at or in most cases above level. The one and only area that showed any weakness was in grammar, and we have chosen not to do that yet, so I went in expecting that kind of result.

It is so difficult deciding what is right. Each of us have to decide for our own children. Yet, what a blessing it is that we get to do that! Pray over it. Discuss it with your husband. God will lead you to the right choice for you and yours.

Peace and blessings,
Fly2Peace (versus flying to pieces)
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:45 am

Unread post by hsmom2five »

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:06 pm

I know how you feel! We went for 2 years trying to figure out what to do. I read about so many different styles and ways of homeschooling....

I am so glad I decided to go with MFW. I love the flexibility of it. I read somewhere that you can just use their weekly lesson plan by putting a check mark in the box. I started doing it like that, but I don't even always do everything in order or even get everything done for the day, but all I have to do is look to see what we didn't do yet and I can fit it in on another day. The first week or two actually TOOK us two weeks EACH to get everything done. So we might go longer next summer....who cares?! We'll get it all done sometime this next year! It really is enjoyable for the children, so they wouldn't mind if we did go year-round.

I guess my point is just that they are your children, you don't have to keep up with everyone else or compare them to anyone else. If they enjoy MFW, go for it! You can just pretend that you took a vacation or something for the past few weeks! (or however long it's been:)) They won't care if you switch back, especially if they enjoy it more. I have found that my children are much more flexible than I am, and that has allowed me to lighten up on myself and not worry about being "perfect" with the whole thing.

I am sure that your children are better off with their mom as their teacher anyway, no matter how you do it! I know you are doing a great job; just taking on the responsibility of teaching them yourself is a wonderful thing. Just relax and enjoy the journey....even when the road curves around! :)

Homeschool mom 2 five
LaMere Academy
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:18 pm
Location: Florda

Unread post by LaMere Academy »

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:27 pm

What I would do is ask your daughter which curr. she would like to do. I would do MFW and add in the books you enjoy from your other program. Let us know what you decide.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:35 pm

One of the little things I've realized over the years of using MFW is that it really is a quality academic program in a gentle format. I've compared it to a pregnancy. Most school years and most pregnancies last for about 9 months. On any particular day of either one of them, there may be almost nothing happening at that moment. Or at least we think nothing is happening.

At the end of it all there is a lot that has developed and grown. And a lot of learning takes place even without a lot of busywork and worksheets.

The material in MFW is reinforce throughout the subjects -- so it looks simple. But it is an academic program. Each year gets harder and harder. The expectations are raised.

I like what someone else said about trying to do MFW and adding in some extra read alouds from SL or just a library list. MFW lists many of the same books in book basket and General readings list because they are good books to read.

Take the time to pray about it and let the Lord lead you.

Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:25 pm

Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:22 pm

My husband thought our scores might go down slightly the first year we used My Father's World because our school year went so much more smoothly. While we are concerned with test scores, my husband even said a few points dropping would be worth it because everyone was happier, including Mom.

However, our test scores were even higher! Even I am retaining much more due to the integration, the hands-on projects, and the time to breathe incorporated in MFW! Feel free to keep the read-alouds that you are enjoying and go back to the MFW schedule. Each year does step up academically as another poster stated as well.
Cathy Goodspeed
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Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 12:33 pm

Unread post by Cathy Goodspeed »

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:53 pm

Here is something else to throw in...
Statistically, child who are not having fun will only retain 20% of what they are being taught. However, they will retain 80% or more if they are having fun (enjoying themselves).
I thought that was interesting.

Sue in MN
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:01 pm

Unread post by Sue in MN »

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:25 am

I use MFW as my core and just add in a little if there is something extra that I want. I wouldn't buy two curriculums to use at the same time but if you already have them then there is no harm in doing the best of both. You are the teacher and parent, so you get to choose which things to use each day.

Don't let one comment from your dc discourage you forever. Dc say things that in the long run they don't really mean. I had a dc that complained constantly about his learning to read curriculum. A few years later he told me "That was really fun." You just have to do what you feel is right. They are only children and don't know what is best for them.
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:12 am

This is our 5th year and I will say that the challenge academically increases a little each year as you progress. This is the way I think it should be. So ECC is a much lighter year but you are learning over 100 countries and many landforms plus you are learning a bit about cultures and people. The next year will increase a bit.

Also to reitterate what another poster said. All MFW curriculums start off nice and slow each year introducing the subjects little by litte so that by week 4 you have added everything. This helps me each year to set a good pace and to work up to everythiing slowly. Also if using ECC the academic challenge is adjusted by the amount of World Geo. pages each child does.

My last thoughts, decide and go with it! You can always switch back next year or try MFW next year, and in the elementary years one year is not going to ruin your kids one way or the other. You are choosing your own math and lang. arts and if you are moving ahead in those core subjects as well as reading to them you are not going to go wrong either way.

God's peace to you as you decide.
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:07 am

It helps me to write things on paper too. Write down WHY you chose something else a while a go, why you chose MFW now. Write down what made you leave the other program and what is tempting you to leave MFW.

Remembering te pros of each, consider the cons of each. Maybe a con of the other programwas that you weren't happy with the Bible portion. If that is so, how important is that? Is it possible to "fix" the problem? How tough would it be fix the problem.

Do the same with MFW. If you are unhappy with the hands on, ask yourself how big of an issue is it. Maybe you feel guilty for skipping it? Maybe the kids are begging for hands-on? Maybe not. How tough would it be to fix it? Maybe not at all if you just wait for the move. Maybe it would be a continuing problem? Maybe an older kid (teen) would love to do the projects with your family? HOw important is it to fix the hands-on issue? Would the kids not care if you never did a project?

Oh, what does dh say about all this?
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Unread post by TammyB »

pjssully wrote:...we might move. I am now recosidering MFW--wondering if i could do it-the projects/hands on stuff...
Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:14 pm

I don't really think this is a MFW issue. Whatever curriculum you use has to be "usable" in everyday real life. Unfortunately, real life throws us curveballs. For you it is preparing for a move, for me it is traveling back and forth to Indiana to help care for my father, and for someone else it is caring for a chronically sick child. All of us go through seasons where it is difficult to homeschool. (I actually haven't gotten to a season yet when it has been easy! :) )

The same reasons that led you to purchase Rome to the Reformation last week are still valid today. If I remember correctly, you said that your previous program "didn't feel right." I suspect that if you continue using it, it will continue not "feeling right."

Would it be easier to just read, read, read instead of reading and doing some easy hands-on with MFW? My guess is not. It all takes time. If you are currently experiencing a time crunch, you are going to be crunched no matter which curriculum you use. I'd rather be crunched doing what feels right than doing what feels wrong. (That is exactly what is happening in my little corner of the world right now.)

You are never going to know if MFW is right for you unless you implement it for a full year. Seriously. I think it is going to take a full year's worth of use in order for you to get a good feel for it. Using a new curriculum has a learning curve. I've had a strong learning curve with MFW, but that is because it is teaching me how to teach a child. That is a learning curve all in itself!

I also think that after using Rome to the Reformation (really use it, book basket and all) for a full year that you will truly be in the position to reflect on a YEAR'S worth of work and honestly evaluate your children's growth.

Give yourself and your kids time to adjust to MFW. Don't expect every detail to be perfectly in order right away. Realize that moving will interrupt MFW as much as it would SL.

I have to be careful not to make rash decisions in moments of frustration. I've learned that is not the way the Lord leads.

I'm glad you posted, btw. Don't ever feel embarassed about such things. I can't imagine anyone reading your post and not identifying with second guessing oneself.

Blessings to you!
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 19, 2004 9:38 pm

Unread post by david »

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:07 am

The Hazells (David here) wrote the program for real life -- We moved, put someone in the hospital, and Marie was very sick for more than a year (all at the same time) and we kept up with our school. Sure we are a bit creative at times -- Saturdays, evenings, double days etc., so we could have mid-week breaks, cleaning days, and travel days. But we did it. We write our curriculum, so you never have to fall behind if you don't add to what we recommend.

It is the spiritual content that we interweave into every level that is what we want to instill in our children. We personally would do it no other way. Sure that sounds partial, but we have tried it all and regret not having the spiritual content interwoven. In a sense there were times when our children would suffer spiritually when we wanted self-convenience. We have decided that our children's solid spiritual health is never to be sacrificed even when the road gets rocky for us and it has been very rocky at times.

I hope this helps.
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