Academics - Will MFW be challenging? (Author response)

Post Reply
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:30 pm

Unread post by Marie »

sara wrote:I was all set to use the Well Trained Mind curriculum, but since having my third son, I don't think I have the time to do the foot work. I am looking for something already put together like MFW. Any comments? My son is K so I don't need anything that challenging this year, but would like to chalenge him in the years to come.
Author: Marie Hazell
Date: 4/10/2004

MFW is a great combination of classical education, Charlotte Mason, and hands-on unit study, all with a strong Biblical foundation.

Our philosophy is to begin gently, so our kindergarten program is only 90 minutes a day. That includes all necessary kindergarten skills, plus strong character development/Biblical concepts. We focus on 26 science themes (sun, moon, leaf, etc.) and you can easily expand on these to add more "depth." The first grade is only 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day, but still covers all needed subjects. For K and 1 we focus on the basics -- God the Creator and his amazing creation (nature studies), the Bible He has given us, learning to read and write, mathematical understanding, and keeping the joy of learning! We think younger children need time to "be kids" -- to play outside, to make creations with scissors and paper and glue, to make a tent in the living room, to explore nature, to enjoy books, etc.

This is followed by our five year cycle. During those years, we cover U.S. and world geography in-depth, world and U.S. history in-depth, the Bible (both as history and to feed our spirits), and a broad range of science topics. So we ARE a very strong program academically. That is important to all of us. But more than that, we want to help families give their children a firm foundation in the Lord, to see God's hand in all of history, to see the world through His eyes, and to keep the joy in learning!
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Is MFW college prep?

Unread post by tiffany »

JanineP. wrote:I am wanting to know about the academic rigor of this curriculum. I love the looks of MFW but have never used it. I am wanting to know, if I were to stick with this curriculum for the rest of our hs years, would my children be well prepared for college exams and college level work?

I have 3 children. Next year I will be schooling a 4th ds, 2nd dd, and a k ds. I will begin with ECC and be able, gratefully, to complete the 5 year cycle before my oldest enters highschool.

Any information would be much supplementing needs to be done etc. Thank you so much.
Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:57 am

I'm on my second year of this curriculum, and I'm fully committed to it through the 5 year history cycle.

I think that the history units have been complete for us so far, no supplementing necessary. It's up to you whether or not to include the deluxe elements, depending on your time restraints, family situation, etc. Of course you need to add in language arts and math, and MFW gives recommendations for these as well.

For us, MFW will be our program of choice for Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:05 am


That's an excellent question to be asking. The high school program is definitely being written as college prep material.

For the other years in MFW --- each year you gradually build up more and more in rigor. There is always a balance between increasing the expectations of a student's performance and causing burn out before they are 12 years old. I have heard in some of the MFW homeschool convention workshops that the authors of MFW burned out their oldest child before high school. They learned along the way to do it differently with the other kids.

Let's see what have they mentioned... child #2 is in a top engineering school studying to be a civil engineer. Child #3 -- started taking college level classes while he was still "high school age".

So having strong academics is important with MFW. However, it doesn't mean that you start as strong as possible as early as possible.

Strong academics is important to my dh and me as well. He has a Phd in chemistry. I have my degrees. I have noticed in my 4 years of using MFW that each year it gets harder, the expectations are higher for the student but still recognizes a young child's need to not be burned out. We have more writing to do. More analytical thinking gets involved as the years progress. More independent learning as the child gets older. The level of books increase. In the middle school years, MFW encourages those 7th and 8th graders to begin to work more independently in strong language arts, math and science programs.

just my experience
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:17 am

No need to apologize. The question has been asked before LOL! Here is an archived discussion similar to yours:
"Academics - Is it enough? Do you supplement?"

And there are lots of other interesting discussions we've had around here in the past that might help answer your questions:

Have fun investigating :o)
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Homeschooling supervisor teacher criticism

Unread post by TammyB »

Sheena IA wrote:I just met with my homeschooling supervisor teacher yesterday. We will be using ECC this year with a 4th and 3rd grader. After I showed her ILL she really felt that it wasn't strong enough in teaching "grammar" rules, etc. She wants me to add in a workbook or text to teach grammar usage. I've been reading about this in the archives and I've come to my own conclusion that this can wait. But I may just find a simple Grammar workbook at Barnes & Noble or something.

But the 2nd thing she said really kind of bothered me. She feels that MFW doesn't prepare them well for college. I called a friend who has used MFW and she felt that it was very challenging. I don't believe this is true, but I'd love to hear from those that have used MFW through the 5 year cycle.

I'm a little frustrated, but I've learned to take what she says and let it roll off my back. She's a certified teacher, homeschools her 2nd grade foster child and taught in private Christian school for many years. She has wanted me to use Abeka or Bob Jones since we started. So I know she's also skeptical of my curriculum choices. Thanks for listening.
Sheena IA
I always find it interesting when teachers make blanket statements about education. I was once guilty of it myself. (I have a degree in Secondary English Education and have eight years of classroom teaching experience.)

Fist of all, since she taught in a Christian school for years, Bob Jones and Abeka are what she is most familiar with. Yes, they are both academically rigorous, but they don't have a corner on academic rigor.

My Father's World views education, particularly elementary education, with a different philosophical viewpoint than Abeka or Bob Jones. I suspect your supervising teacher is not well acquainted with the ideas of Charlotte Mason.

Secondly, Marie Hazell holds a master's degree in education, so not only has she completed a four year course of college study she has also earned a graduate degree. She obviously values higher education and has written a curriculum to prepare her own children for it. My understanding is that at least one of her children is currently thriving in college. (Two years ago I met one of the Hazell's son at a convention and found him to be a sharp, articulate, poised young man. In May I also met one of their daughters at convention. I found her to be delightful and was equally as impressed with her as I was with their son.)

In May my son was tested by a phd college professor. (Yes, I was nervous.) When reviewing my son's test results with me, she told me not to change a thing I was doing....that my son was doing excellently and that whatever I was doing/using was working. (Yes, I was thrilled and greatly relieved.)

From my viewpoint if a college professor assures me that my methods/materials are working, I must have chosen some pretty good material. :)

One last note....As a former English teacher, it was a bit difficult for me to let go of the idea of teaching formal grammar in grade school. At this point, however, it has become a non-issue to me. My son is composing beautiful sentences, well above grade level, even though he cannot yet define the term verb or adjective. The day is coming when he will be able to do both.

If you fully embrace the materials you have chosen, it will be more than enough.

Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:05 am

my thoughts

Unread post by pjssully »

I am also a teacher by trade and have had a VERY hard time letting go of the school "standards" for my children. I have homeschooled with another curriculum for 3 years but have never been happy--in fact, i did 1/2 of MFW last year and stopped because i felt it was not enough-and spent the rest of the year trying different curriculums. This year, God has led me to MFW and i am letting go and jumping-.

I hope that you can find peace with your decision to use MFW -trust yourself-you do know your kids better than anyone and God will help the whole way. The other thought i have had is that if my kids are academically prepared for college but don't have a heart for God, then i have failed!
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:29 pm

Unread post by Happy2BMotherof3 »

This is interesting as my husband is a public high school math teacher and he's the one who helped me decide to go with ECC last year (and thought that it looked very thorough, fun, and educational). He actually told me to do it! My husband has looked at Abeka and didn't like it because it was too much like formal school. I've looked at it and didn't like it either. From our experience my kids LOVe MFW and have enjoyed learning. That's really important to me is that they develop a love for learning. We can easily kill or hurt that love for learning if we are not careful by using something that doesn't fit them. I sure didn't learn as much as they are when I was in ps (that's why I'm learning along with them), and I went to College and did just fine..... So I don't even worry about my kids not being academically strong enough for college because I KNOW they'll be more than ready than I ever was. I think this teacher was mainly giving her opinion of what she thinks is best and I wouldn't worry about it at all. We all know what's best for our own children and know how they learn because we are the ones that are with them one on one everyday.

Sheena, I would do what God calls you to do. I've had the experience of doing what others have advised me to do and it wasn't the best advise for our situation, and I regret ever following their advise.
Julie in MN wrote:It kinda reminds me of nurses who aren't used to nursing mothers & ask them why they don't just use a bottle because it would "solve all their problems." Probably not the best advisers in that situation, but sometimes they're all you've got.

Not that they're "bad." A die-hard nursing mom probably wouldn't be the best adviser for a mom who chose to or needed to bottle feed (I've been there, too). Neither is bad; just not a good fit for advising in a situation they know so little about.
I agree with the nursing analogy that was given.......I had such advise about nursing given me when I was a new mom and it turned out to be almost a life losing event! I've learned to follow my gut and not follow the advise of a person more experienced than I unless I know without a doubt it's coming from God and is right for the particular situation. The person who gave me the advise was a close friend too.
Post Reply