Academics - Plunging in to MFW & Charlotte Mason, need hand-holding!

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MJ in IL
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

Academics - Support plunging in to MFW & Charlotte Mason

Unread post by MJ in IL »

Plunging in to MFW & Charlotte Mason, need hand-holding!
ChristyH wrote:I spent this summer trying to pull together my own thing for school and it was pretty good, but I spent so much time looking for books and planning and thinking about it that my head is going to explode.

I frequent the homeschool review board quite a bit and everyone had just a ton of great things to say about MFW. Just a week or so ago the children were playing together and the boys didn't know what part of history their sister was playing and I was struck by a thought. Why am I taking such effort to school them separately? Why not have them learn together? I am sure by now you are going, well DUH!

I have skipped around the curriculum world a bit too much so I didn't think Hubby would be happy at the new suggestion but he was actually quite on board with it. (less time listening to me be frustrated about school, I think) After I purchase ECC I am chucking all my links and recycling my catalogs. People seem to stick with MFW after they try it. The biblical focus of MFW and the not terribly expensive package price is a plus with using the library, are some of my favorite parts of it. I think the library is great and it's free and doesn't take up space on my shelf.

You are perhaps wondering why I need hand holding. I have spent a lot of time reading Charlotte Mason books and thinking about homeschooling and using HEAVY books. AM I cheating my children by using lighter options? After reading a lot of CM I feel like I need permission to let go and just enjoy the journey and not worry so much about my homeschooling technique.

Oh and now more about me, I have lovely creative daughter, Erin 10, and twin boys age 6, one scholarly and the other mechanically minded. Married to best friend 15 years tomorrow. Live in beautiful western Michigan. Thanks for learning more about me then you ever wanted to know and then some, but hey, confession is good for the soul. LOL
Welcome Christy-

I can relate to much of your post as I was much more focused on my "teaching" of my oldest vs. now being more focused on my children's "learning."

I wanted to share how I am seeing so much more creative and (what-I-think-is) useful use of my children's free time with MFW. Prior to this, I think I was so focused on "teaching" every spare minute, they were not interested in searching out for themselves. Look for some threads on "productive free time" because this is where I have seen such great benefits.

Enjoy ECC!!
dd14 enjoying AHL; ds12 & ds10 in RtR & dd5 working through K!
have done K (2X), 1 (2X), ECC, CtG, & 1850MT
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

Hi Christy!
I applaud you for being willing to share that much in your first post! It's going to be great having you on this board.
I would be SHOCKED if you feel like you're "cheating" your children by using light material after you've started MFW. I believe that you're going to love it as much as the rest of us do.
Best of everything to you -- especially those productive play times! My dd thinks that all of the hands-on activities are play time! School is supposed to be enjoyable - for the teacher, too! :-)
Let us know how it goes!
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
six meadows
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:51 am

Unread post by six meadows »

Hi Christy,

I too have spent a bunch of time planning (which I actually enjoy) but it took so much time I began to get crabby about it. The thought of using someone elses plan was a great thought, but then I was sure they would not choose what I would so it couldn't be as good.

After coming up with a few ideas for this fall I told my husband about them and he said, "Well you are going to use MFW. I am going to make the decision this year." I felt like a huge weight lifted off me. No more decisions to make. The funny thing is I keep trying to research or plan and when I sit down and realize there is nothing to do I scratch my head get up and walk away from the desk and say "wow". Now, you still get to pick out books you want to use throughout the year that will compliment the program you are using so I am happy as a clam doing just that.

You will get to add whatever selections you want to book basket and reading time. make them as rigorous as you want. I am very happy to be using year 5 this year and will be starting in a week.


wife to David
ds12, ds10, ds9, dd6, ds3, ds3, dd3
on to CTG
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Unread post by Poohbee »

I find it strange that people refer to MFW as being "light". On the contrary, the MFW curriculum is more about creating lifelong learners. Learning should be a natural, daily, 24/7 pursuit...not just during "school time". We do have "school time" at our house, when we have our more structured learning and more direct teaching by me, but we are learning and discovering new things together all of the time. The way MFW is set up--using real literature rather than textbooks; using discovery, hands-on learning; allowing time for the kids to learn and discover on their own; not to mention the best feature of it being Biblically-based--is really how one would go about learning throughout life, not just during the active schooling years.

So, rather than thinking of MFW as being "light", think of it as being "real"--a real-life learning method.

That's just my take on it.

I would encourage you to listen to CDs of David Hazell's presentations. I've been listening to several different ones, and they are very encouraging. I especially liked "Learning to Read" and "Combining Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Studies with a Christian Perspective."

Enjoy the start of your life-long learning journey with the help of MFW!

In Christ,
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

A major heart-toucher happened to me this afternoon. I laid down after lunch "to rest my eyes for a minute" on the couch. I woke up 15 minutes later with my daughter sitting beside me silently reading Charlotte's Web and holding her stuffed pig - which is her current favorite stuffed animal. She looked up and smiled and said, "This is such a good book!"

I'm prejudiced, but I don't think that would happen if we were just using basal readers and workbooks. She loves to read real books - she's always swiping the read-alouds and reading them herself. MFW is the perfect curriculum to encourage her to do that.

It's not light -- it's just pre-planned! Thank you, Hazells!
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:31 am

Unread post by lyntley »

I'm new here too and to MFW. It will be our first year doing ECC. Love CM, Been pulling it together on my own... etc. Your story sound familiar to me...

I just finished listening to "Integrating God's Word and Character training..." and "Becoming a Family of Purpose" Seminars. There really aren't any words to express what they have meant to me. "Absolutely incredible!" Is the best I can do... They just put it all in perspective. All my thoughts desires and hopes, David Hazell put in those messages. I'm pretty sure if you listen to those you will be charged up and ready to roll up your sleeves too.
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »


Welcome to the board!! I agree with these ladies so much. MFW is so very Charlotte Mason and one of those big ways that I have seen it is in age appropriate material. Let's take the solar system for instance. It is covered at least 4 times in MFW. K, 1st, year 3, and in physical science usually in 8th or 9th grade. Each time more depth is added along with age aappropriate activities.

I think you are going to love it and find that it is so much more literature rich (lots of living books) than you thought.

Have a wonderful year and keep asking for help and encouragement along the way.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Welcome! I love the Charlotte Mason quality of MFW. We get her gentle approach woven in to our homeschools without being "light" (ie. light and gentle not being the same). I think MFW is sometimes labeled that way because of some of the other unit studies out there that are so heavily saturated with "options" and "must do's". By comparision, MFW is streamlined, providing enough "meat" without overkill or overwhelm factor. If that's "light", I'm on board, lol. I think when you dig in, you'll find a very thorough (but not overdone) Charlotte Mason/Classical Education/unit study approach that is truly fitted to working with multiple ages at the same time.

Again, WELCOME and enjoy your coming year!
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE
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CM methods and time spent on "school"

Unread post by TriciaMR »

joyfulhomeschooler wrote:Just wondering if the short time periods for each subject are to continue into the later years of schooling. We love the idea of short days where formal school is done by lunch with the afternoon free to learn in life to our hearts content. Thus far it has been working for us, but I wonder how well this will prepare my children for college, where the classes and attention will take more time than the 15-20 min allotment for each subject. I don't have CM's original works and was just wondering if this is something that is addressed by her.

With MFW does the hours of study go up with each year studied? We've done 1st, Adventures, and ECC. I have CtG and have been looking through it and it seems the days still remain short. Does that continue in the other years?
When the kids get to jr. high and add in apologia science and Saxon math, then the days and time spent on the subjects get longer.

I also felt 1850MOD was a LOT more time on History than previous years (it could be because I was doing 2nd/3rd grade supplement, too :) ). There are 4 resources used for History in 1850MOD, and it seemed like some days history was 30-40 minutes - especially when we started writing from the outline. I also think memorizing James in EXP1850 took longer than the recommended time in the TM. History didn't seem too bad, but Bible seemed more.

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: CM methods and time spent on "school"

Unread post by joyfulhomeschooler »

Thanks for the reply.

In CtG then, do the days really stay short?

Does anyone know about how long the days will get and in what year?

Also, what does CM herself have to say about time spent on formal schooling in the upper years?
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Re: CM methods and time spent on "school"

Unread post by lea_lpz »

I feel like, and by this I mean by what I gather from message board posts and looking at each family cycle with the science, math and language suggestions, that MFW is more CM during the earlier years and gets progressively more traditionally classical as the get into junior high school and by high school the program, if following their 4 year plan, would be college prep.

K, 1st, and 2nd (if you do Adventures) will give a gradual increase in school time each year. K is about 1-1 1/2 hours long, 1st is 1 1/2 to 2, and then we get Adventures taking up to 3 1/2 (with math, language, and foreign language and doing 1 hour of independent work. During the family cycle, 2-3 graders will be doing less advanced activities, 4-6 will be doing more, 7-8th graders will be doing advanced science and math and more independent work as well as more rigorous / advanced stuff within the family cycle, so school will take longer after 6th grade.

Right now, if I follow mfw's recommendations, I see 3-6 grade for my kids being completed in 4 hours, so realistically, if we started at 8 am and didn't take breaks we'd be done by 12. This seems realistic to me as by 8, most children will be able to do this. Right now, I like that we can break up our day and take frequent breaks in k and 1st because both mom and the kids need them, and we can still be done by 12 if we start at 8.

Anyway, just thought I'd chime in to say that a CM approach in the younger years, especially k-2nd but also into the middle school years seems to make sense to me and that appears to be what mfw has in mind, too!
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)
Missy OH
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Re: CM methods and time spent on "school"

Unread post by Missy OH »

CM would have had 30-40 minute classes by jr. high.

We have found that the math and science recommendations from Mfw for jr. high and up take us about an hour each. Math sometimes takes us longer.

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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:11 am

Re: CM methods and time spent on "school"

Unread post by Joyhomeschool »

We were rocking a three hour school day until we had baby number six and added a fourth student. But even now our mfw work for the older kids doesn't take more than four hours, if we have a craft or science or cooking thing.
Homeschooling my 7,
2018/2019 1st, EXP, AHL, US 2
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