Compare MFW to literature-based programs?

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Compare MFW to literature-based programs?

Unread post by shera »

pjssully wrote:Can anyone give me some comparisons between literature-based unit studies and MFW?
MFW has hands on activities.

They also have an extensive list of book recommendations to allow you to pick and choose what would be appropriate for your family.

This allows for time to do other things or read things that are not related to school.

Hopefully someone else will chime in.
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

While we loved a lot of the books [in our previous literature-based program], I found that I needed to add a lot to get the hands-on and visual components that both of my dc, but esp my middle ds needed.

I also felt that as we moved into the higher levels, sometimes there were book choices that we weren't comfortable with for our dc at the ages they were.

My dd also began hating to read the readers and since my dc weren't on the same reading levels I found that if I wanted readers on the topics we were studying I had to spend the extra time researching and locating those books.

While my dc loved history, that was about all we had time for.


With MFW I can more easily combine the ages/levels of my dc. There are even recommendations for young, middle and advanced students.

The MFW selections are -IMO- more appropriate for the ages they are intended for.

MFW is less expensive because I can purchase the books I need all year and then utilize the library to selct books on the topics we study.

With MFW's suggestions I can select various types of books - fiction, non-fiction, picture books, easy readers, chpt books, etc. that cover all my dc's ability levels.

MFW integrates Sci, Hist, Bible, Art, Music, Handwriting so it all works together in just the right amount of everything. All I have to add is LA/Math and a foreign lang. The IG is easy to follow and everything is in one binder.

My kids love the hands-on projects and making notebooks.

MFW gives you the flexibility/time to be able to add in things that are of interest to your family.

I've heard a number of people say MFW looks light - believe me looks are deceiving. It's a very meaty program - but it spreads the weight around to all subjects.
Wife to dh for 13 years
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Unread post by MJP »

We did well for 3 years, and I learned a lot about teaching history with literature. I changed the spine; I just didn't care for the tone. I am pretty sure my worldview would be different than the author's.

However, eventually it was not a good fit. Cores were too politically correct. I was always using white out (in the readers and read alouds as well). I am not kidding. One day my son said, "Mom, if we have to use that much white out shouldn't we just read something else?" Conviction. I put the book down and got something else.

The Bible always seemed added-on; I frequently felt behind. There was nothing but reading. I thought I could tweak it.


MFW is everything I wanted my previous curriculum to be--and tried to make it. The MFW program complements my worldview instead of fighting it. I can complete the workload; it's realistic--even with 7 children. My children are retaining more. I like this message board better; it doesn't overwhelm or agitate me. My children's notebooks are wonderful references and keepsakes. If I want to add something, I can. It is easy to combine ages. I don't even have to look at curriculum anymore. Now that is saying something for me. Obviously, MFW has been a much better fit for us.
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
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Age appropriate

Unread post by bethben »

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:48 am
I feel like MFW is more age appropriate and I can involve my 3 year old in school too without much trouble. One reason I switched is because I will have 4 year gaps between my last 3 children (eventually, it will be 10,6, and 2). The little ones would be left behind while I did the upper levels.

DS also likes hands on and that is something I always had to add. I was also adding music appreciation and art (which are included with MFW). I also knew ds wouldn't sit through that much reading.

I find that this year, I can easily include my 3 year old in the crafts and just add book basket books related to the topic more on his level. It's easy to add to MFW because there is time for it, and I can do everything in the TM without feeling overwhelmed.

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:22 pm
We did Adventures this year and we're sticking with MFW. Ds remembers so much more of what he learned and it was a much more "appropriate" age wise year for him. Many of the book basket books (from the library) are picture books that relate to what they're learning. Yes, the suggested read alouds are chapter books, but for that 7-8 year old range, picture books still have their appeal. There were also many hands on projects along with notebooking. I didn't have to add anything to Adventures, but you could easily if you wanted because the day is short and does the job well.

We are doing ECC next year and ds wants to start now after looking through all that we will be doing. The programs MFW puts out are easy on mom and I don't feel like all we've done all day is just read. We are doing art and listening to music and reading a lot, but only as much as we want without feeling like we were getting behind. MFW is a nice blend of reading and hands on stuff. We really like it here.

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Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:57 am
I am not an activity mom, but my kids love the hands on projects. I went with MFW because I needed to do this program for me, and for the kids. Having it in the TM is the push I need. Our last program had to many choices so I would do nothing. That is just my reasoning for MFW.

What was yours? Why do you want to switch? That is the biggest thing.

You may need to switch to hands-on projects in the morning so you can just do the reading in the afternoon as you would like. There is a reason you choose MFW and you need to decide what it is. I suggest you put some of those great books into the book basket or read them at bedtime for fun.
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Unread post by Suzq »

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:42 pm
I want to echo what Christina said about the book basket. We are doing RTR. We are reading many of the books we had, I just plug them in during the time period that they seem to be written in. Or just put them in the book basket. Sometimes I take a week off from RTR and just read the books. Most of the books are suggested books in the RTR appendix anyways.

I have really enjoyed MFW these last two years. I like their manual and I like being able to do some hands on things too. I think if you stick with it you will find a rhythm that works for your family and also be able to read some great books too.
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Unread post by Omma »

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:58 pm
I have recently switched. I know the strong pull that big name curriculums have, due to their marketing techniques and all the forum users. I used to think this was because my curriculum was academically better than other curriculums, but I honestly don't believe that anymore. I still enjoy all the books FOR MY OWN READING PLEASURE! But I am really blessed by doing MFW. Just today, God spoke to our family that Jesus is the way, and will show us the way we need to go.

You wrote that your dc liked what they were doing in MFW. Isn't that the key? I have realized that my dc are retaining things better (and having more fun along the way). It is hard, at the beginning, to switch to a new approach... Of course, if I had both programs right at my beck and call, I'd probably try to merge them some way, but that often leads to feeling overwhelmed and can produce homeschool chaos. But I'm sure you could pick out some of the materials for your book basket time.

As for flexibility, what I have done is to look at what needs to be done over the course of the whole week, rather than just day by day. For example, I did 2 days of MFW Bible in Adventures, because I missed it yesterday.

Keep praying for God to give you wisdom for your school day, and He will!!!
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Unread post by TammyB »

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:55 pm
I have switched to MFW and I have found it to better for my children. But it took some time for me to deSonlight. (There was a time when I believed that SL was the be-all and end-all of hsing curriculum.)

One thing I know for certain....God is not the author of confusion. It is not His plan for you to stay torn up about which curriculum to use in your homeschool. I think the enemy would like to distract us with things like that to keep our minds and hearts off of the things of eternal value. (I remember a lightbulb moment I had when I realized I spent more time and energy worrying about curriculum than I did praying for my lost brother.)

I thought of something else I want to share with you. If I remember correctly, you did not have peace about the lack of Biblical content/perspective in your history. That issue was the deal breaker for me. In my opinion, it is an incredible opportunity to present history to our children from a Biblical perspective.

Since throwing myself wholeheartedly into MFW, I have been amazed at how my children have thrived with it. The multi-sensory approach to learning has stretched me as a teacher and has made my children very happy indeed. We still read a lot because we are a book-loving family, but now we are getting our hands messy as well. :) We are also singing (and dancing....wait a minute...that is not in the curriculum...) and creating and playing and having a wonderful time.

The only things that could make me a happier hs mommy are a quieter two year old and the ability to have ECC in my hands TODAY. :) I'm praying for you. I've been where you are and I have learned that God can and will give peace.

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:48 am
I have used both. Several differences I have noted between MFW and SL......

SL introduces a child to some of the difficult realities of the world sooner than MFW does.

In the early years SL covers a much wider range of topics than does MFW. SL's kindergarten program, for example, covers many, many more topics than does MFW's. (Many people who use core K stretch it over 18 months to 2 years. It is a lot of information to cover.) MFW K covers fewer topics with the option to go as "deep" into each as the parent wishes.

In the Adventures program (second or third grade) most of the read alouds tie into the history. SL's read alouds in its second grade core include both historical and just-good-books titles with the majority of the books falling in the category of the latter. It is not until third grade that most of SL's read alouds tie into the history.

SL schedules read alouds in each of its cores. MFW schedules some in K but none in first grade. In first grade the parent chooses its own family read alouds through the help of a book entitled Honey for a Child's Heart.

SL begins its international missions emphasis at the prek level. MFW waits until Exploring Countries and Cultures, which I believe is ideally taught first in the third or fourth grades. The emphasis in MFW K, first, and Adventures is on the person and character of God and the student's understanding of and responsibility to Him.

SL sells reader packages. MFW offers suggestions. Both recommend many of the same titles.

SL provides extensive notes on the books in its cores (history, read alouds, readers) with corresponding mapping activities for each book. MFW Adventures did not include many notes on the read alouds. Plenty of mapping was included.

SL is primarily reading, discussion, mapping, and writing. MFW includes those things but is much more multi-sensory in its approach.

MFW includes notebooking, activities, and projects. There were a limited number of activities suggested in cores prek and K.

The MFW programs that I have used include much more actual Bible instruction than SL cores prek and K. In those cores a Bible storybook and devotional were scheduled with no additional helps given to the parent on how to explain Biblical principles to a child. In my opinion one of MFW areas of strength is in its author's ability to articulate a Biblical truth on a child's level.

In my opinion SL is much more parent-directed and structured. Every book is scheduled.....every history book, every read aloud, every reader. MFW is certainly parent-directed; however, there is much more room for the child to choose reading material of his own interest. (He chooses the books he explores via the book basket. I do choose some of my son's readers, but at eight I try to let him choose his title of choice from a selection of books I have gathered.)

It really was way too late for me to be typing this, so I hope I was clear-headed enough to offer clear explanations. If not, don't hesitate to ask for clarification. You can ask this same question on the SL board, and I am sure you will get responses there from people who have used both.

Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:17 pm
My father-in-law, a PhD in New Testament studies, accompanied me to a hs convention last spring. He and I talked with both Mr. Hazell of MFW and other curriculum reps. We questioned them on their worldview, on their scope and sequence, and on their Biblical integration in the study of history. My fil actually told me that he felt MFW was superior in its content and organization. Even after later reading catalogs, his view did not change. (That was particularly interesting to me as my fil is the most well read person I know. He studies poetry, fine art, and classic literature for pleasure.)

I have discovered that curriculum choice is a very personal matter and that even when two families use the same program, they probably tweak it and use it to suit their own style and preferences. For example, when we finally finished reading Farmer Boy, a scheduled read aloud in Adventures, I was never so happy. I barely made it through that book. That certainly doesn't mean that Farmer Boy was a poor book choice. It just means that I didn't love it even though many do.

My favorite thing to do with my children is to read to them. I love it, they love it, and I feel it is time well spent. I owe SL a sincere thanks for helping me find books that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading to my children. I also owe MFW much gratitude for teaching me how to teach a child in fun, interesting ways. I also owe much to them for helping me teach abstract Biblical truths to my children in ways they could understand.

Both have served me well. I'm thankful for both and so thankful to our Lord for raising up people who have answered His call to help prepare the next generation for kingdom work.

God bless,
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Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:52 pm
I have used both. Love MFW and here are some differences.

1. Hands on activities telling you what you need and what to do (in advance of time to do it) with MFW.

2. This is the kicker for me. Taught with the Bible as the core and through out all the areas you teach. History is taught from the Bible along with other history books too. From a Christian perspective in MFW. Bible is core in MFW which was why I made the switch.

3. MFW uses combination of workbook, books. textbooks, and hands on activities. The book basket is a great concept.

4. MFW is less expensive for the most part.

5. MFW warns you of things in books you might find more difficult or whatever for your family so you can decide to read that section or not.

6. History done chronologically.
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Compare MFW ?

Unread post by dhudson »

momtogc wrote:Can someone give me a good, strong comparison of MFW, maybe some personal insights into how one curriculum over the other is preparing your child(ren) to be ambassadors for Christ?

Our background with these two curriculum are: We loved the Bible study and timeline in MFW1. Some of the hands on projects were fun, too. I opted to use another program next because you get all the books upfront and I don't have to gather material to do projects. I know the library books with MFW are optional but my dd loves reading.

Now I'm seeing that while all the reading aloud is great, my dd loves it, there are no projects for reinforcement and/or fun. Just read, read, read. My voice grows tired. Furthermore Bible is not woven throughout as it is with MFW and I miss that. My hesitation about MFW is the library problem again - however I spoke with Mr. Hazell at convention recently and he had some wonderful suggestions on how to deal with that issue - so maybe it wouldn't be such a problem. And then MFW seems much lighter by comparison....I'm wondering if perhaps this is really a good thing?

Anyway, I would just love to hear what others have to say, comparing the two curriculum. Many thanks!
I don't think MFW is "lighter." Literature based may have more books but that in no way makes it academically heavier. MFW is a great combination of CM and classical and prepares a child very well. All three of my children have used MFW and have scored very well. I also fall more in the classical approach because chronological history just makes sense to me.

I am a book lover as are my children. I do buy some books from SL to give my kids more good books but we borrow from 30-40 books every other week or so which allows me to give serious depth of information to my kids. I couldn't buy that many books so I appreciate the book basket approach.

Honestly though, the main reason I choose MFW (and I looked at it long and hard in the beginning) was the Bible and character training. IMHO, MFW has the most thorough Bible on the market. We as a family have been personally changed by the Bible curriculum in MFW. It has changed our family values and has given my kids a heart for missions and for the world. This year (they finish tomorrow) all three of mine will have memorized the book of James and will have it implanted in their hearts. That's why MFW was our choice and continues to be.

What does your dh think? My dh often has a better view of things than I do because I am in the thick of the trees and he can see the forest through the trees.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
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Re: Compare MFW ?

Unread post by jenkinsinpa »

Hi Meleasa,
I have an MS in education and was a I looked long and hard at curriculum! I have bought and sold every curriculum under the sun, and I have only found 2 complete curriculum plans that seem to really integrate God's word with our academic studies. MFW is one of them, and is the one I have chosen to use.

For many of us who choose MFW, there are reasons why we keep coming back... I decided there were a few reasons I preferred MFW:

Biblical training is integrated with our studies in MFW, which to me sends a message to our children that we place God's word above academics and above good literature. If I think of my children's lives and the direction I want them to go, and I think about homeschooling as a ladder to get them there, I need to think about what wall I throw my ladder up against. I want to raise up children for God's Kingdom...therefore, I need to put my ladder on THAT wall, and make HIM our focus. MFW enables that for all of us (myself included). It is really easy to get caught up in knowledge that puffs up....MFW is consistently reminding me, on a daily basis, why we are studying and Who it is all for.

MFW is always age-appropriate, and when looking at violent or ungodly cultures, it is done carefully and through the lens of God's word. Never glorifying false idols as many curricula seems to do, with Egypt and Greece and ROme, etc. (My son used to almost revere Egyptian and ROman cultures....from all the kids books glorifying this stuff. But looking at it compared to what God's word says, he now sees them as lost and saddened by them not knowing the Lord)

MFW has a good balance of activities for different learning styles. My kids LOVE to read, they would be happy with SL's heavy reading, but they do also really enjoy the MFW projects and it makes me feel like they are getting a more well-rounded education)

MFW really has a lot that I actually get DONE....all the extras that I never got to in SL, I actually can do in MFW because there is not too much planned at once. Poetry, art, music, projects, SL (and some other programs) I could only manage the history/core page. I could never even get to the LA and Sci pages.

MFW allows me to not feel stressed out, not always behind, gives me time to take care of the youngest, gives my kids time to play outside and read independently and play with each other, do piano lessons and Spanish and ballet....and I can still get dinner cooked, LOL! It is enough, but not too much. If we want more, we turn to the book basket. Or, we pick up a good book and read more together on the couch. But I don't feel overwhelmed.

And now I am out of time, heading to church (yep, skipping school to go to church--we always choose a church activity over school, another way to send the message to my kids of our priorities).

But there is some food for thought, reasons why I personally really like MFW and am so thankful for it!
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Re: Compare MFW ?

Unread post by mgardenh »

I have used both. Here's what I think. It is just my opinion. I think the bible was lacking (and boring). Not trying to be rude it's just my opinion. Also I felt awkward reading books with other religions and material that was way too much for the age. Having used it the philosophy works well for a much older student like Jr high and high school. I'm the kind of person that if you give me structure and guidelines I do really well. Although there was structure and guidelines there was too much left unsaid and not enough direction given on how to incorporate christian world view into the curriculum ( I need that, other people do not). I think it's a great company it just didn't work for our family. Just like MFW may not fit every family.

I think people get confused and think if you read a lot books that it makes something academically strong. So people think well there's just not as much reading so it must not be academically strong. Strong academics is not just about rigorous reading of books.
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Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
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Re: Compare MFW ?

Unread post by Alison »

I am not a long time user, so keep this in mind.
In comparing preschool son loved reading the PreK books. However, I don't think he actually learned a lot in the way of skills. When doing MFW preschool, he's gained so much. I thought at first they were just toys, but there was SOO much gained through all of the tactile games. He learned thinking skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, language skills, his alphabet sounds, etc. It started me out seeing MFW focus - age appropriate learning. By the way, my kids love Wee Sing Bible Songs!

It got me thinking about kindergarten and the upcoming years. When I think about SL, I think about Core. Core is good, but it's not MY primary focus of learning for my children. My kids need to learn to read, write, and do math. Those are my priorities for lower grades. I think if I used SL I'd focus on the core reading and then tack on the math, language arts, etc. With MFW it's woven in so well. The Kindergarten has the math & phonics right there to start with. I've also looked at the First Grade. Again, the history is woven in with the Bible and language arts. This shows me that MFW priorities are my priorities. The reading then becomes fun, relaxed, and extra. For the later years, you can choose your own language arts & math. I like that I won't be so worn out from a core to be able to actually do what is most important (IMHO).

I also don't like the feel of needing to read a certain chapter or amount of reading a day for every single book scheduled. Many days I read to my 4 year old for an hour straight. I can't imagine just stopping after one chapter in one book, one chapter in another, and one in another. If my son wants me to read 3 chapters of My Father's Dragon, no problem.

I've also heard that most of the books are in the TM of MFW but perhaps just in different years.
I hope that helps a little. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
God will direct your steps.
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Re: Compare MFW?

Unread post by blessedmomof3 »

I wanted to throw my two cents in also. With K I was overall pretty happy. When we started using Core 1 something started bothering me about it. At first I really couldn't put my finger on it. After much prayer I realized there were several things that I was not comfortable with. For instance, I really don't want my kids to know about Zeus before they know the only one true God. I found myself just leaving off certain books and parts of books.

I think it's a pretty good curriculum for some people, just not my family. I have loved all the book basket books this year with MFW Adventures. I have continued to order some readers and read-alouds from Sonlight to have for my children and this might be an option for you.

We love MFW and have not looked back!
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Re: Compare MFW?

Unread post by tiffany »

Plenty of reading opportunities with MFW. The books just don't all come in your package, and you're not able to see a picture in the catalog of all of them. The book basket list will give you more then enough ideas, plus there is a general reading list in the back of the manuals-listed by grade level. You then have the option to purchase books or use your library. We do a little of both. We have read some real gems from the MFW list. I think you will be happy with your decision. Enjoy!
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
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Re: Compare MFW?

Unread post by momtogc »

Thank-you for all of the wonderful posts and for sharing your thoughts and your hearts. You gave me a lot to think about. Dh and I have had several conversations about curriculum and he has read all the posts, too. He believes Adventures would be better suited to our daughter and I agree.

I am so grateful to you for giving such wonderful input. We could not have made our decision without it.
cbollin wrote:There is a lot of reading available in MFW. The book basket lists are huge (hundreds of titles each year), and there for enrichment, "independent learning", and love of reading.

If your daughter loves to read, she'll be happy in MFW if she is anything like my kids.
This is very exciting to know and it will thrill dd to have lots of books to read! She is an only child so in the absence of playmates (when Mom can't play) she buries herself in books. I told her this morning of our decision to change curriculum and her face fell, but I reassured her we will get *plenty* of books for her to read. She shared with me that she hadn't really been enjoying the history study that we've been doing. I was relieved to know that bit of info; the change shouldn't be as hard on her as I thought it might be. Just trusting God to direct our steps.

Mom to Gabi, a fun-loving and happy girl!
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Compare MFW Pre-K to literature programs

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Help! Considering MFW starting in K or waiting til grade 3/4
spunkytigrr wrote:We are new to the idea of Homeschooling, but plan to HS our children from the pre-K/Kindergarten age on up. I’ve checked out 2 levels of FIAR at the library, and like the idea of a bit less formal, literature based approach for the early years, and it seems very enjoyable. I’m wondering how MFW and FIAR compare in the K-3rd grade years.

>> In FIAR, children learn to tell what medium an artist uses in the illustrations. They also take certain aspects of the artwork (the medium, perspective, lots of other stuff) to make their own. Does MFW do this?

>> Is MFW good at grabbing the child's attention to make them want to learn the subject?

>> How is MFW more than just "school in a box?"

Thanks if you’re still reading this super long list of questions 8| If you have any food for thought I’d love to hear it... Thanks !! !! !!
I was *planning* on BFIAR with my twin boys. But, after looking through the great activities they have listed in the book, well, I just didn't have time for that and my 8 yo dd and ECC last year. I used it as a resource to get books from the library to read to my boys, and they enjoyed every one of them. But, what they enjoyed most was just mommy sitting with them and playing games, teaching them how to finger paint or use play dough, learning their letters, singing songs, and learning their AWANA verses.

I really felt like BFIAR was a lot of work for the parent. You know, create a construction paper bear, and then construction paper clothes, and mix and match and try to dress the bear. Well, that sounds like lots of fun, if you're not interested in having clean clothes or dinner on time :) That kind of stuff just isn't my *thing*. Now, my dd would have LOVED it, but she'll never know what she missed.

I always feel like MFW is complete. I can add stuff if I want, but it is ALL there - Bible, science, history/geography, art/music, read alouds. I haven't done K - Adventures (did Abeka for K - 2nd), but we did ECC and are looking forward to CtG. The Bible is really lead by you. You read the passages, child narrates, and you discuss together. You can't separate MFW's Bible from the curriculum.

I think reading the stories in BFIAR and using the MFW preschool stuff would be a great combination. (I do have MFW's preschool stuff. My boys love it. Especially using the pegs and numbers and building gas stations and race track pit facilities for their matchbox cars.)

With MFW, you wouldn't have to add Bible, Math, Reading or Writing for K or 1st.

I think MFW curriculum is wonderful and gentle, and you get good stuff, that fits in the day.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
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Re: Help! Considering MFW starting in K or waiting til grade 3/4

Unread post by spunkytigrr »

cbollin wrote:Been using MFW since oldest was in 2nd grade. Prior to that, I didn’t know MFW existed.

I used Five in a Row with her from Pre K through 1st grade. How ‘about that? Neat huh. I tried the character stuff in FIAR and tried to add a Bible curriculum. Everything felt so disjointed. I loved reading the books.

Based on that, if I had to gently encourage someone, I’d lean more toward going with MFW in Kindy and add in some fun books from FIAR list and not worry about doing the “lessons” in FIAR, but just enjoy the books. I was surprised at how little of the lessons my daughter retained. Many of the same books (and they are really good books in FIAR) you’ll get to read in MFW as well.

Does MFW cover various art? Yes. But what I found with the FIAR lessons in art appreciation, we weren’t really learning the information about art medium because I wasn't adding art instruction and play time with those art supplies (my fault probably. not fiar's fault). It was good to use the art vocabulary, but we ended up dropping that part. Picture studies and art instruction are in MFW. Examples are in art instruction with I Can Do All Things, and God and the history of Art. As well, as Come Look with Me series used in first grade. And Drawing with Children in first grade too

Thanks for all the feedback so far. (Yes, I meant BFIAR (Before Five in a Row) for Pre-K.) I was hoping to hear from someone who had used both FIAR and MFW, so thanks for sharing Crystal :) I really do want to avoid being “disjointed,” which is what I took from your experience w/ FIAR and one of my reasons for leaning to MFW. I like the suggestion of using MFW and adding in some fun books from FIAR.

I’m a big list maker (if you can’t tell by my use of the >> 's, I do bullet lists a lot), and had decided what little bits I wanted to take from the various educational methods. I was really glad (& surprised) to come across MFW since I think all the things they try to do were on our list in some form or other of things we hoped to find! It kindof seemed too good to be true. The closest fit I’d found was the FIAR, but I like that MFW uses Bible to set the order of study.
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:05 am

Rethinking Curriculum- Need Help!

Unread post by pjssully »

bookwormmama wrote:Ok, I need some major help here. After taking a careful look at my children's learning styles and my methods of schooling versus my own learning style, I have come to see that I really do need to do something different for school. I think a literature-based program appeals for to ME than it does to my children. They do like to be read to and we have great story times, but it is TOO MUCH reading for all of us. It always takes us 1 1/2 years to finish and I am tired of "being behind" every year. I am having a hard time letting go because I really believed for so long that this was the way to go. My kids need more hands on {they are kinesthetic and visual learners and I have one auditory learner} and they love being read to as well but not nearly as much as 'doing' and seeing.

However, being that I tend to follow a more CM style and I LOVE having everything planned for me and I like having all the subjects flow together, I keep coming back again and again to MFW. At our convention a few weeks ago, I went hog wild at their booth and bought the preschool package for my daughter. I also bought a ton of books from the Rome to Reformation package to "supplement"! {sheesh!}

Anyways, so I here I sit, feeling like instead of spending more money on a separate handwriting program and science and art program that maybe I should just scrap this all and do MFW??! I have a K and 1st grader also and they would go into the K and 1st grade program. Help.

p.s. My 2nd grader and 1st grader BOTH have Asperger's and my K has ADHD.
Bookwormmama, married for 10 years to my best friend Jac!
I read your post here and on the well trained mind board. I don't have much to offer except to say that i have been in your situation. Every year (even sometimes during the school year!) i think i should be doing the one that we are not using--it goes back and forth. However, this year i took some time seriously looking at my ability to homeschool-i am a complete perfectionism and have struggled with "is the curriculum the best" After lots of debate and pray and time with my husband, i have decided to stick with MFW this year-i have four kids and the idea of doing more than one core is just overwhelming=-AND, i don't think reading literature-even good literature- all day isn't my idea of "learning" Yes, there are some awesome book choices but that's about it. No written work, no projects, no memory work besides the bible verse weekly. I love the idea of [learning through literature] but that's the key *I*, my kids like the books well enough but are they really using their brains? I have two boys coming up-age 7- and i am quite sure that the sitting around reading books most of the day will not work for them-they need variety and short lessons-all which MFW offers. Is MFW world "perfect" NO-but is it good enough and will my kids learn-YES! They will also have the bible time together, which is soooo important for us. I think you would be pleased with MFW-i really do. good luck in your decision and you will make the right decision after prayer!
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Rethinking Curriculum- Need Help!

Unread post by dhudson »

All those books are appealing aren't they? I love MFW because we can learn as a family which provides us with more quality family time. My kids so enjoy doing hands-on projects together, making a MFW planned meal for dinner together and just being able to talk together about what they are learning. I can't tell you how often I have found them re-enacting scenes from history using their legos, battle scenes are popular. I also love being able to study the Bible together as a family. This last year, the kids and I memorized the book of James together and they daily worked together on their verses (all scheduled in the TM, I might add). They also encourage each other (or try and convict each other) using the Bible memory verses that they all have learned. Family learning is a fantastic way of promoting family identity, closeness and quality time and the best part is that it's all scheduled for me in the TM.

That being said, I often buy extra books based on what we are learning in the MFW 5 year cycle, so I get the best of both world, lots of extra reading in the book basket and family learning with MFW.
Last edited by dhudson on Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Re: Rethinking Curriculum- Need Help!

Unread post by my3boys »

Former SL user here as well. What we have/are doing may work for your family. This past year we did K with 5yods and 7yo SN (spectrum?) ds with ECC for my 10yo (ADD). This year we will do First and CtG which go really well together content wise. I personally think that SL and MFW can be used in combination - with SL you have to buy separate science, LA, electives, hands-on - all of which are provided and scheduled in MFW; with MFW you have to get the books which are provided by SL. That said, I wouldn't try too much of a combo until your kids are reading and writing as that in itself is time consuming. Also, if you haven't already you may want to check out the workbox system - this has helped my SN kids so much this year.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

Re: Rethinking Curriculum- Need Help!

Unread post by MFW-Lucy »

Dear Bookwormmama,

Making these decisions can be very stressful. One thing I have found over the past 8 years with My Father's World is that I finally did not feel like I was a new homeschool mom each year I started. It has been a wonderful stress relief because all my subjects are planned out for me on one weekly grid and I can use it with multiple ages.

I am not sure if you noticed when you were at the convention the list of 300-400 library books that are recommended to enrich each weeks topics. These books are not required, but highly recommended. They are used in "book basket" giving your kids lots of choices about what books they will read. You are not expected to read all the books to your kids nor are they expected during this time to read these books cover to cover. The goal is to encourage a love for learning and reading. Each child will also have an independent reading time with a book that they are reading cover to cover.

Here is what MFW recommends: 2nd and 4th grader--Year1-Exploring Countries and Cultures You will add the math and language arts for each student. There will be a few advanced assignments for your 4th grader that your 2nd grader will not do.

This program includes 60-90 minutes of independent work each day. This is time you can spend teaching your kindergartner and first grader; focusing on reading, handwriting, composition and math. Then invite younger children to join older children for Bible, science, read alouds, and other hands-on projects whenever they are interested.

1st grader--MFW First Grade Program, Please call the office for placement help. You will omit the science having the 1st grader join with K or Year 1 and you may omit most of hands-on Bible activities since he will be joining his siblings for other hands-on activities.

K--MFW Kindergarten Program, choose some of the lesson activities to do each week from the K program. You may invite your 1st and 2nd grader to join in for some of these hands-on activities if they are interested.

You may hold on to your books for the Rome to Reformation year to use in a few years are decide to sell and repurchase in 2 years.

Please call the office at 573-426-4600 for more help with placement.
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:27 pm

Starting RtR in January and have butterflies

Unread post by doubleportion »

Blessed wrote:Starting RtR January 4th and butterflies are already creeping in....after doing SL for almost 3 years I need help in de-Sonlighting :~ The reason(s) for our switch are that we wanted something that would better combine both of our children, needing and wanting a doable/realistic schedule that allows for time together. I began to feel like I was constantly behind (although behind what is still unanswered ;) )....O.K. now I'm rambling :~
I found the switch a breath of fresh air. So much more help on the grid and teachers manual. Everything is there for you. I don't think you will find yourself wanting to supplement at all.
Blessed wrote:All this to say that I do not want to fall into the trap of over-supplementation ..... the activities are already scheduled with MFW so I should be able to spend more time teaching, doing and learning rather than researching and trying to fit it all in. Has anyone switched to MFW and if so, do you have any advice for me?
That was exactly what I found to be the case. I spent so much less time planning and researching and so much more time finally teaching and enjoying my kids and our schooling!!! Yeah for MFW!!!!

I have not done RtR yet. We are in ECC this year. We still do tons of books from the library in our book basket. We are blessed with an awesome library in our little community and we are major bibliophiles!!! I found the living books were still very much there for my dd but my voice didn't get wiped out from reading outloud so much. We still got our read aloud time.

I think you will find the transition wonderful! Hope others will chime in here too.
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:36 am
Location: Canada

Re: Starting RtR in January and have butterflies

Unread post by Blessed »

Thank you sooo much for responding and reaffirming that the need to supplement will not be an issue with MFW. For us the need for supplementation arose because although we love great books, we also need the variety of multi-sensory learning. It is ALOT of work researching, purchasing, organizing and scheduling it all in.......not to mention I always got more than I needed or could even realistically think to accomplish. I was suddenly finding that music study/appreciation and art study/appreciation that used to happen no longer was. Science would get pushed aside....and I began to wonder "where did all the joy go, and why am I soooo tired, and why can't I seem to enjoy time with my kids". Time together seemed to be disappearing in lieu of getting boxes checked....and well you get the picture. I was introduced to MFW almost 2 years ago, and I kept coming back and back and back....but just wasn't sure. Well, I've been praying for balance in our homeschool and our home....God led me back here. And well, here I am !?

I'm really looking forward to the change of pace. Just a little nervous. I'm very much looking forward to having time again for nature walks.... we used to do those, but they somehow got pushed aside the last couple of years due to feeling behind. Also, we've missed going to the library.....the kids and I are really excited about having both of these added back into our week again.

I will take any and all advice on how to deSL so that we can have a true experience of all MFW has to offer. I am anticipating and believing God for order and clarity again....after all He is the author of both :)
Mom to two, dd(10) and ds(8)
New to MFW, RtR Jan 2010
SL Cores C,1 & partial 2 used 2007-2009
Come Sit by Me used 2005-2006
BFIAR & FIAR used 2004
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Re: Starting RtR in January and have butterflies

Unread post by mgardenh »

I switched to MFW. I would say enjoy the change. Don't try to make MFW like sonlight. Keep telling yourself this is not SL. Also at first it may not seam as rigorous and you will be tempted to supplement. Please don't. Give it a chance or you will find out that your back in the same place. MFW is just as strong academically just different. It will take you a while to get used to that. I hope you have a blessed time with MFW! We love it!
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
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