Placement - Must we start with Geography (ECC)?


Why all of the emphasis on ECC?

Unread postby cbollin » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:34 pm

HSmommi2mine wrote:Every time someone comes on here and asks where they should start, they are pretty universally told to start in ECC. While it is a good year and it useful to help the kids know geography in the later years I think we do a disservice to people when we universally recommend ECC as a starting point.

We did ECC but we could have easily gotten by without it by making sure we emphasized map work in the history years (which I have to do anyway because my younger one didn't do much of ECC map-work).

Why stop in the middle of a 4 year cycle without good reason? I often see people use ECC, decide it's not "enough" and never even get to the history years. I always feel bad because I want these people to see this history years so that they understand the reasoning behind ECC. Maybe I just want them to be devoted and get hooked with the history years so then when they do ECC they can see how it fits so nicely.

ECC makes perfect sense for younger kids going through the whole cycle but I don't think it is good to interrupt the history cycle for an upper grammar kid. Just my two pennies, YMMV. - ducking the tomatoes.

For the vast majority of cases of people who post questions, I have an opinion that it fits better to start at the beginning based on the big picture of the ages of their children and for teaching the whole family. For many families who have been bogged down in history and juggling "cores", ECC can be a breath of fresh air.

Other times, I just do not want to tell someone to start in year 4 or year 5 if they're oldest is 4th grade or even 5th grade (that's upper grammar, right??). So, I want to let the kids get a little older before doing the bigger stuff and keep them from burn out. (but there are exceptions if the kid has come from another school, or is used to doing heavier work load) That often factors into my reasons for expressing my opinion about it. They can jump back in after ECC. Even in 6th grade, it can make sense to start with ECC then jump to year 4 and 5. After that, we're talking the logic stage. ;) It's almost better to start slower instead of going for burn out.

I don't have a history centered approach to classical education. I look at goals and stages of life and just how big the family is. I'd rather suggest to some stranger on the internet to let their child thrive in ECC rather than crash and burn in year 5. With ECC they'll have time for other things and to be able to let their genius kids explore science on their own, or learn an instrument, or have time to play in the snow and shovel for the neighbors.

Even a die hard MFW purist like me doesn't 100% always recommend starting ECC in every case. As much as possible I try look at the big picture and long term picture. There are exceptions and situations that don't make sense to start with ECC. Or it makes more sense to use it in a different part of the rotation. There are times it makes sense to jump a history year to get to modern history before high school. Also, I assume that people have free will and can hit the order button and get what they want. It is after all, just a recommendation and suggestion based on my experiences with it.

I also don't worry what people say about MFW being light. I've used the whole 5 year cycle. I know the big picture. I know what is coming in terms of length of day when you follow all of MFW's recommendations in the logic stage. It is not light. School is not done in 2 hours. ok?

But I understand your passion that you don't want people to dismiss MFW as a legit program just because they don't like ECC or something.

all of that aside, let me myself ask this. What is it about ECC that makes me encourage (not dictate to) people to "not miss it" or "try to do at some point"? (and remember, I don't work for mfw)

Well, a lot of it has to do with current events, current places (not just history of places) and beginning to see what the world is like today. It's about worldview too. I don't want people to miss out on being able to pray around the world for others. I don't want people to miss the fun just for the sake of doing more chron. history. Our children need to know that everybody needs Jesus. Everybody in the whole wide world. Everybody has a right to know.

and that world exists now. I think children benefit more from learning cultures of current people and places than from learning about this war and that war (and doing map work on the side). Can your children greet an international student (from local university) and say hello in their language? do you know what that means to the wife of a graduate student to be welcomed by strangers? I think it matters more that my child knows the person is from China and can try to greet her, rather than knowing more details about the Opium War.

It's about worldview and future passions for our children. Yes, history is important. But God has used ECC to help me to think about their future. When I teach current things about places around the world to my children, I know it is the stuff that is going to be left out of the history books for their children. In other words, even using SOTW vol 4 in 1850MOD, I was still telling history from when I was a little girl and I had my parents tell stories too. I think ECC is important to do so that my children know where places are in the world now, what is going on there, what the people look like now. what they eat. what they wear. I hope some day they grow up to go somewhere else. Yes, history is important, I know. But don't forget that even in 1850MOD, you aren't going to get current culture in SOTW vol 4 (you'll get some modern history and a lot of map work), but culture is important too. Why leave that out of their education? History is just one subject. Christ is the center.

Classical education is not just chronological history. It is about the goals educators had for their children. ECC meets one of those long term goals in my homeschool.

I just really like what ECC is about. And if it makes sense to use it in a family's situation, then I like to share that opinion to encourage them not to miss it at some point. I know there are exceptions for the timing of using ECC. I just don't see a lot of those situations.

make sense?
your mileage may differ from mine.

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Re: Why all of the emphasis on ECC?

Unread postby dhudson » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:45 pm

Did I miss something? I think I missed a controversy - drats, I like a good debate.

I will be the first to admit that ECC is not my favorite year, CtoG is - I loved it, I thought it was so much good stuff and we loved the feasts and festivals. Oh and I think history is more interesting than Geography. There, I said it.

All that aside, this is why I recommend people start in ECC - it is the heart of MFW. I think it shows more than any other year what MFW is about. It is (imho) about teaching a Biblical worldview that places the emphasis on others. It teaches that us that the US isn't the only country that God loves and that God loves all the people groups of the earth and it helps us to learn to love them too. I would say for us that it was the year that most changed who we are as a family. It was the year that we decided that we would do service as a family both here and around the world. We have served twice as a family in Mexico for a week and have adopted a Compassion child because of the way God moved in our hearts during ECC. We have a little girl who is dedicated to the thought of serving in India as a missionary because of what she learned about Amy Carmicheal, we have children who regularly put money into their "tithe" jar and donate it to various mission organizations - including God's Word for the Nations. I think ECC puts the world in perspective and gives children (and adults) a heart for the whole world and teaches them how to pray for them. I have seen this with my own family as well as several families around me. Okay, off my high horse.

Academically, I see the difference in my oldest who went through ECC first and my twins who were folded into the mix this year. We are constantly stopping to explain a people group or the geography for an area that we are talking about in history. I think a year of geography (even though it's not my favorite) is a great foundation for history and there is no other year that I know of that places the emphasis on geography, not just history.

For the record, though, I have encouraged people to start with a different year of MFW as I have heard David Hazell do but for the vast majority, I ( emphasis on me) think that it is in the best interest for a family to start with ECC.

Just my opinion, of course.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

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Re: Why all of the emphasis on ECC?

Unread postby hsmomof5 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:14 pm

cbollin wrote:Classical education is not just chronological history. It is about the goals educators had for their children. ECC meets one of those long term goals in my homeschool.

I totally understand everyone's view here and I agree that each circumstance is individual. I think every homeschooling family must review the curriculum and choose the best option. I think that by the time a child reaches logic stage, he or she has perhaps completed a geography course so ECC could very well be skipped, IMO, but for someone who has not had a formal study of geography, I think it will truly bless a homeschool. We are thoroughly enjoying ECC and I don't remember why or who, if any person, told us to begin with ECC with my 4th and 5th graders. I just knew we hadn't completed a formal geo program so we really needed to do so before continuing into the other history years. I am a newbie with MFW curriculum but since we have started, I can't find anything wrong with it and I have already planned a scope and sequence using MFW with my children because I know that we are sticking with it. A few hs moms have also informed me that they were trying MFW this fall after I shared with them. Everything that I have wanted in a curriculum is in MFW. Lately, when I hear about another curriculum, I find myself comparing it to MFW. :-)

I have read very positive reviews on the WTM boards regarding MFW. I have also read a few negative reviews only to find that the negative reviews were due to "wrong fits" or someone just didn't utilize the program to its fullest. MFW isn't for everyone just as any other curriculum may not be for everyone. However, I want a curriculum that is appropriate for the learning styles of my children, my teaching style and one that will meet our goals. MFW answers it all.

Crystal, I just love reading your thorough responses. I wish we lived closer so I could bug you. :-)
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)

MJ in IL
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Re: Why all of the emphasis on ECC?

Unread postby MJ in IL » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:26 pm

Having used several years...I just think I like each year even better than the one I just completed. So far each year has had its own "flavor." While I trust the Hazell's experience, heart and reasoning, I also know each family also has to balance that with how God may be leading their family. I'm committed to using MFW,and we are also doing some years "out of order."

Now, I love geography (and have at least 1 geography-loving son) hear that before I move on :) My kids were at great ages for this, too, as they were 1st-2nd / 3rd-ish / 5th-ish. I really learned during ECC how to work multi-age expectations with one curriculum. Granted, that could have happened with other years, but it made so much sense to me during ECC.

I'm agreeing on the worldview aspect also. I think our time in ECC did prepare us, not only geographically (ds12 remembers quite a bit for use in 1850MT mapping,) but culturally. We have a perspective a bit broader than we had before. My children have a better understanding that not everyone comes from our Midwest US Judeo-Christian mindset. We learned to pray for others more than simply that "they would know Jesus." The kids understand more about challenges facing each culture we studied, including the missionaries, whether it be traditions, government, or religion... It also gave us a chance to "make a bridge" with things they knew--people or ministries...if that makes sense. For example, reminding them of a friend from India and locating where they lived (and how good their food was!), comparing memories of friends who were adopted from Haiti to situations in a similar culture, or emphasizing the struggles of friends who lived and "worked" in a closed SE Asian country. It was in ECC my children learned the faces of the countries, I guess.

Jenn in NC
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Re: Why all of the emphasis on ECC?

Unread postby Jenn in NC » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:46 am

I haven't read all the replies, so forgive me if I am saying something that has already been said, but I personally think that ECC is about so much more than geography and maps.

It is about seeing that the world is a very diverse place, that there are LOTS of other places and cultures besides the US. That the way we live, here in the US, is not the way life is for most of the rest of the planet. That there are people in deep need -- in material need, and in spiritual need. People trapped in darkness, in totally futile religions, and possibly with no one in their culture to tell them of the hope of Jesus Christ.

It is about beginning to understand God's heart for the nations of the world.

I think it is an indispensable part of the cycle.

No tomatoes though. Just my too-loud opinion.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

Julie in MN
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Can we start with Creation to Greeks?

Unread postby Julie in MN » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:06 pm

hsmom24boyz wrote:I am still struggling with where to start my boys who will be in 4th and 7th next year. This will be our first with MFW. We had planned on starting with Exploring Countries and Cultures, but looking at the catalog, we have already read/done several of the books: Window on the World, Maps and Globes, Geography from A to Z, Living World Encyclopedia, Fun with EAsy Origami, George Muller, Gladys Aylward, Bruchko.

So, while I think ECC looks exciting, there are just far too many books we've already done. I don't know what the book basket books are, but my guess is we've probably already done those too(we've done SL cores Pre-K through 4)

Would we be ok to start with CTG? Is there any reason we shouldn't start there? Thanks for any tips or advice!
Tara B

Hi Tara,
Here is a thread I remember about the topic that might help your thinking process:

I can add more of my thoughts later, but maybe that's somewhere to start.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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Re: Can we start with Creation to Greeks?

Unread postby gressman9 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:07 am

I have done a lot of Sl in the past too, and unless you have done core 5 and added too it many library books about each topic, you probably have NOT done the book basket books. The book basket books are mostly on each country or about things like mountains, desserts, the religious groups in that country, etc.

It is truly up to you where you start in the cycle, but we are LOVING ECC. I am so glad we didn't skip it. My kids now know soooo much more geography than they ever have before. The geography game alone has taught them so much. You could always skip the books that you have done before and look for more hands on stuff about each country to do instead.

Just my 2 cents.


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Re: Can we start with Creation to Greeks?

Unread postby baileymom » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:11 pm

Take it from a family who did skip ECC...and start with it, we wish we had.
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1

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Which program is easier to implement, ECC of CTG??

Unread postby joy2BAMom » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:07 pm

4littlehearts wrote:This will be the first year that we would use MFW since we did Adventures a year ago. I know the reasoning behind starting ECC first, BUT I would like to ease into MFW and which program would be the easiest program to do that with? I realize all of this is a matter of opinion, so please share with me your opinion. (BTW, I would have a 4th grader, 7th grader(I was planning on using the 7-8th grade supplement if we use ECC), and I have a first grader).

We did ECC and then CTG. I felt like ECC was harder to start than CTG, but probably it was just b/c it was the year of me getting used to how MFW works. We modified several things those first few weeks. But, we LOVED ECC and appreciated the framework it set up for our history. I don't think you would regret it either way. jmho. Good luck!
Sherrie- wife to Jay for 10 years
Mom to 10 yo boy, 7 yo girl, 3 yo girl, and new baby on the way (due April Fool's Day 2011)

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Re: Which program is easier to implement, ECC of CTG??

Unread postby microcarter » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:55 am

Hmmm...great question. While I personally liked ECC better (mainly because of the science), CTG probably is less overwhelming. Of course, I might have just thought that because it was my first year doing MFW and I was doing ECC and 1st but somehow I don't think so. Of course, I had the 1st edition ECC. The 2nd edition looks like it gives you more help in the "implementing".

With that said, CTG & 1st go together well since 1st has Bible history from Genesis to Revelation. Doing ECC with all 3 would be great!

dh of 22 years Danny
dd Sage 11
ds Knox 7
ds Kase 4

LA in Baltimore
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Re: Which program is easier to implement, ECC of CTG??

Unread postby LA in Baltimore » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:06 pm

Lots of great comments!
One note about starting with CTG...LOTS of Biblical Feasts stuff right at the beginning of the year.
Just noticed people commenting about the first few weeks of ECC and didn't want you to think CTG didn't have its own busy beginning. It probably is possible to stretch those feasts out a little bit and not have sooo much right in the beginning. Just a thought.
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!

Julie in MN
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Re: Which program is easier to implement, ECC of CTG??

Unread postby Julie in MN » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:42 am

4littlehearts wrote:Thanks ladies for all of the helpful tips and comments.
BTW, if I gave my kids a say, they want to do ECC. :)

Well, that's big!

I agree with your kids -- do ECC first :) Here are the things that come to my mind --

- ECC was written first and is meant to be done first, so it makes sense to me to follow along
- There wouldn't be an interruption in the flow from Old Testament to New Testament history (CTG to RTR)
- ECC will prepare your kids for the Egyptian gods and such by first praying for people around the world and caring about their needs

Remember that ECC is a tool meant to help you teach grades 2-8, and you can adjust that tool to fit your needs. If a child needs help mapping, or needs to skip a map, you have my permission :-)

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

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Quick question...

Unread postby mamacastle2 » Sat May 15, 2010 9:15 am

mommax3 wrote:Hi. I'm going to use MFW for my two dds (they will be 2nd and 6th grade). I'd really, really like to start with the 1st year of history and skip over the ECC. I definitely like that program, but feel like they would get so much more from Creation to the Greeks? Will I completely mess them up if I skip ECC?

Thanks for your help,

Here is an answer I typed for another board:

Well, of course you are free to skip to whatever program you believe benefits your family the most. ECC is a wonderful program, and really helps set the stage for the history study that follows. It is really important to have that geography down so that when you are talking about history, you and your children know the geography where you are studying. It is sort of a frame work for history, like doing the outside, straight edges of the puzzle before filling in the middle. However, some people do start in the middle and they figure it out, too, so it is really an individual thing.

And of utmost importance with ECC, unlike other "geography" programs, is you are learning even geography with a biblical worldview. So you don't just learn the countries, lakes, capitals, etc., you learn about the people groups that live there and you pray for them. I am excited as can be about starting CtG this year, but I personally am thankful that we did ECC first. It really was a wonderful year for us.

Again, it is definitely doable to skip ECC if that is what your family decides to do. Sometimes we have to go with what works best for us, and you can certainly map all the areas you study and really delve into geography that way. But it is important to know you will miss out on some aspects of ECC, so it's just a decision as to what is more important to you.
Wife to Brody
Mother to DD 10, DS 7, DD 5, DS 3, DD 1
MFW User Since 2007: MFW 1st, Adv., ECC, CTG
2011-2012 - RTR & MFWK


Classical Conversations & MFW

Unread postby MFW-Lucy » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:23 pm

MillerFmlyFun wrote:Hi everyone! I have 4 children (15yo, 10yo, 8yo, 5yo). For the 3 younger ones, I am considering adding the MFW Rome to Reformation Package. I am concerned about being able to get it all done in 4 days/week. Also MFW recommends starting with Exploring Countries- in light of the CC geography and history cycles is it ok to jump into Year 3-Rome to Reformation?

Dear Becky,
Thank you for your interest in My Father's World.

We recommend new families to My Father's World begin with year 1, Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC), for all the children in your home in grades 2-8. ECC is an integrated geography program that prepares students to more effectively retain history and more detailed geography during the following years of chronological history. In our opinion teaching history and geography at the same time without a strong foundation in geography causes overload and a lack of retention for the student. During this year we also study the book of Matthew helping families to understand and embrace God’s heart for all His people and His creation prior to studying history, allowing history to be seen and understood from God’s perspective. Through Exploring Countries and Cultures your family is better able to understand a Biblical worldview that is others-focused, discovering God’s great love for the world. A sample may be viewed on our website,

You will add grade level math and language arts for each child in grades 2-8. In 7th and 8th you will also add a grade appropriate science program and additional grade level projects. Our recommendations for these programs may be viewed on our website on the following links:

Math -
Language Arts -
Foreign Language -
Science -

(The following does not apply for your family, but I thought I would add it for others who may also read this topic)
To insure this is an interesting and challenging program for 7th and 8th graders we offer a supplement for ECC
( ) Scroll down until you find this package. The Teacher’s Manual provides extra lesson plans that incorporate these supplements. You may view the lesson plans in this sample of the Teacher’s Manual, .

With this said you may start with RTR if that is what you decide is best for your family. The ages of your children will be fine to begin here. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 573-426-4600 or you may reach us at .

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Should I start with ECC?

Unread postby rxmom » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:07 am

prov31sandra wrote:OK, I was thinking of skipping ECC and starting my 2nd and 4th graders in CTG. But, now I'm not so sure. Is ECC fun? Is it repetitive? I've read some reviews saying it got kind of old doing the same thing for every country.

My kids know basic continents, have read 2 children's encyclopedias of the World, they know basic cultural/people groups from reading the Usborne PEOPLE book over and over, and they know some main countries on the globe such as India, several countries in Europe, Japan and China. They have both read Hero Tales Volume 1.

They haven't eaten food or created art from different countries. They haven't tied in their missionary reading with specific countries, or had any of this all tied together in a unified way.

THey love anything we do together, so I do think they would like learning about more geography. THey DON'T like making mini-books, lapbooks, or anything that just requires filling blanks and pasting. They don't like coloring. They like to draw and tell stories.

So....maybe I should be wise and back up since ECC is so foundational? Or maybe we've covered enough geography and cultures and should move on? Should I just ask them?

ECC is LOTS of fun and the projects (cooking, crafts, passport, coloring is minimal and even my oldest boy enjoyed those) are easy. My kids still talk about our "geography" year. Just because I wanted to try lapbooking, we completed a small lapbook with all the info we learned about Africa. We have not done another one since then, however. My boys were not too interested in that format.

We are a family of food lovers and had lots of feast--our favorite was the African-themed feast that we celebrated with another family.. We always used the cookbook recommendation from the bookbasket list...we found these at the library.

My two oldest were 2nd and 4th graders at that time and both learned so much. (So did I) The geography game was such a fun and simple way to learn countries. MFW/ECC really challenged us to see these places with our hearts (not just our brains) and to pray for each one as we went along. The missionary stories were a big hit at our house--the kids LOVED them and begged for more when we were done.

Should you do ECC? It would be a great place to start even if you they already have some background in geography. I have to say that I'm sure our study of ancient history (CTG last yr, RTR this year) has gone "smoother" because the boys had a great background in geography--they have no problem with mapping or identifying areas of study on the map. I truly believe the year of ECC gives a solid foundation for the study of history, a love and appreciation for othe people groups, and lights a spark in the hearts of our children to reach others with the gospel of Christ. (and parents, too :) )

Sorry to ramble--having trouble with cohesive thoughts this morning...need more caffeine. Anyway, I do believe MFW recommends ECC as the starting point for the 5 year rotation but of course, you must do what you feel is best for your kids--pray, call the MFW office, and see what the other ladies and gents on the board have to say....there are some great folks on this board that have been a tremendous help to me along the way....Best wishes with making your decision!

Blessed beyond measure...Lovin' MFW in SW VA
ds (14) ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT, Coming Soon...AHL!
ds (12) 1st grade, ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT
dd (9) MFWK, MFW1st, EXP to 1850, 1850 to MT

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Re: Should I start with ECC?

Unread postby momsflowergarden » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:37 am

The other ladies are right in if you truly feel lead to do CtG then that is what you should do. That is what I planned on doing because I felt we had done enough geography and my oldest is in 5th grade. My thinking was I would skip ECC and she would get through the other 4 programs before she reached high school.

I was going to start with CtG but backed up when some suggested that ECC was such a foundational yr for the rest. We to had done a Geog. yr but I am so very happy that we are doing the ECC. I have seen a growth in my two and that is so exciting.

Personally, I am so glad that I did go ahead and get ECC for us. My two have learned so much already and it seems has more of a heart to pray for other peoples. The study of the Ecosystems has been very interesting and again things that they nor I new.

Now that we are starting with ECC I would not want to totally skip it. :-)
Be Blessed
Mom of 5
Homeschooler of 2, ds 10 and dd 11
Using CLE Math, Calculadders, PLL/ILL, Rod and Staff spelling, AND MFW ECC for History, Science and Bible.

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Re: Should I start with ECC?

Unread postby annaz » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:08 am

ECC is repetive but most things are. But here's what I feel is the difference: In the science book "Living World Encyclopedia" if there is no activity scheduled, the kids get to pick out what interested them in their reading; draw and write 1-3 sentences about it. Book Basket lets kids read more on a topic or even looking at pictures by letting them choose a book. For the "World Geography" book you can choose again. Learning about the countries can be so open ended. I mean whatever you have about a country at home works; puzzles, games, movies and stories, food (cook your own or go to the restaurant). There's archives for MFW which is really helpful with some online games, I mean the list is really endless if you think about whatever country you'll be studying.

I'm a box checker but I feel like I have choices here and I NEED choices and I NEED structure. It's easy to deviate without being off track and that has been hard to find. Some of this is just the way MFW works. But in ECC I like using the informational books instead of a main living book as a spine, because if I hate the main living book, the content is completely lost. Here you use informational books and can go deeper using other books ... of choice.

Julie in MN
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Re: Should I start with ECC?

Unread postby Julie in MN » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:42 pm

So much to think about for your precious ones. Here are my contributions:

1. No, I wouldn't ask the kids. They just don't know enough of the big picture. And it could lead to disappointment for at least one.

2. Even if you decide to do CTG, you could potentially do ECC the following year. I don't think you have to decide about that yet. Really, any time you get to a point where you think your kids could use another year of maturity before moving ahead with history, you could do ECC. Not the usual plan, but an option.

3. I think I've read the same reviews about ECC being repetitive. They puzzle me. Kids thrive on routine. They like understanding what's ahead. I think they learn more that way, because it's not random bits. Plus, it's not like the routine is exactly the same (although you will get to try that when you offer them manna for every meal one day in CTG!). It's like refusing to learn math because it's the same old numbers every year :~

4. You're very wise knowing what appeals to your kids and what doesn't. You will love that when MFW says "hands on" they don't mean "more pieces of paper, but with glue this time." My ds loved that. He doesn't like to color or cut or paste. He learned to do some when it was important, such as mapping, but when it was optional we instead delved into the songs and the games and the recipes for lunch.

5. I like doing ECC before history because it gives kids the correct mindset for the later disappointments in history, from wars to Egyptian gods. But CTG also is very careful about that. Hmmm... I'm impressed that your kids know the Asian countries, but I'm wondering if they know more than where they are (which is important, too). Do they remember Gladys Aylward and how big China was and the type of traditional clothing she wore? Some kids glean much as they read stories like that, and some don't so much.

Honestly, I think you'll be blessed either way in your situation.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Posts: 326
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Should I start with ECC?

Unread postby dhudson » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:55 pm

I think ECC is foundational to the heart of MFW. Do you HAVE to do it? No. I think that the Worldview that ECC gives our kids for the rest of the world is foundational to learning about history. I have publicly admitted several times that ECC is not my favorite academic year but it is my favorite year for challenging and changing our entire family's heart towards missions.

I can tell you that even having gone through it twice (almost) that it continues to challenge our heart for missions and for the world. Anytime my kids hear about anything to do with missions or raising money for missions they are fully in and involves. My oldest is joing with several other middle school kids for a piano concert to raise money for orphans in Ethiopia of his own volition. This week, after reading about George Mueller's prayer life we started praying about some specific things and God answered in a day.

Just another opinion! :-)
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002


Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby cbollin » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:37 pm

abrightmom wrote:I do understand the "why" behind ECC being Year 1 of the Family Cycle (which I love). However, there are three thoughts driving my question. The first is hearing that many consider CTG to be easier than ECC although the reasons for that vary. The second is a desire to allow all of my kids to study ECC at the same time when they're at a good age for it. Using ECC now means that my oldest will hit HS before his younger siblings come back around to ECC (they'll be at awesome ages for it too). The third thought is that no kid really gets the cycle perfectly except for the oldest which is another factor playing into my ponderings. :-)

I'm awaiting funding and a final decision from my DH. In the meantime I've been pondering what to do for our path. ECC would be next for us and we'd be starting in late in the school year. I have no intention to rush through so we'd finish sometime in 4th grade for my oldest child. This led me to wondering about ECC vs CTG. ECC is so rich and meaty. It seems like a great year to do together, as a family, when the children are all at the ideal ages for it. If CTG is really "easier" then perhaps we should start there and hit ECC in 2 or 3 years when all the kiddos are ready for the potentially awesome discussions, stories, etc. By that time, by God's grace, I could have children who love the LORD and would be "heart ready" for the content of ECC. Sigh.

Hi Katrina.
I know when I started with ECC way back in 2003, I had no idea about 5 year cycles, repeating jr. high at logic stage or any of that stuff that people talk about on these forums. All I knew was that God put ECC and MFW in my path that year. I had 2 choices for elementary ECC or CTG. I wanted ECC. It sets the stage for understanding the world and praying for others.

God is able to reach your children will parts of ECC.

Want the story of my middle gal? My middle gal isn’t a strong student at all. If she were in public school, she’d be in special classes. Well, when she was in 2nd grade, as a family we were in EX1850. That was 5 years ago. I have all of these little notes in my manual from 5 years ago. This week, 5 years ago, week 11 EX1850, apparently, instead of doing SOTW, I had my daughter do (and this is written in my notes from back then) a “mini style ECC unit on Russia” instead of doing more on Peter the Great. Then, I apparently did something similar in her 3rd grade year in 1850MOD with China. A mini ECC style unit.

In the 1850MOD time with oldest who was learning communism and post WWII China and Soviet Union, etc…. my slow 3rd grader was given a mini ECC style unit on China. I had taught ECC and knew what to do. At the same time, we’re doing Bible in year 5, 1850MOD, and praying around the world. It’s very difficult for me to forget what middle gal did that week. I gave her book basket on China. Oldest was learning about hard lessons in history in WW II. Middle gal comes to me “Mom. China is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I want to go there and tell them Jesus loves them.” A few days later “Mom? How many muslims live in China? Do they know Jesus loves them? Maybe I should pray for them.”

I have no answers for you. But all I know is that ECC is the year that impacted us in many ways. God used it. We liked CTG too. Yes, it was a little less time consuming since Bible and History were one subject instead of 2. But, I hope you don’t miss out on ECC.

If God can touch my middle gal like that, then I’m guessing HE is able to reach any child. Right?

Oh, I forgot to mention the year we repeated ECC. I had a 7th grader, 4th grader and little
Kindy kid (autism one). It was some fun moments with Bible memory. The older two were learning Mt. 5:15 Well, kindy gal recognized parts of it from her Kindy program with Jesus is the light of the world.

like I said, no answers....

Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby jasntas » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:15 pm

I think starting with ECC is a great foundational year for the rest of the cycle. My dd was in 1st and will repeat the program when she is in 6th. My ds was in 4th and will not repeat it. I'm ok with that. I don't know that I would personally want to do the program out of sequence but everyone is different with different need and desires so if you want to do ECC out of order and you are ok with that, then it's ok. :)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.

Julie in MN
Posts: 3095
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby Julie in MN » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:37 pm

Well, one thing to think about is that the transition to ECC might be harder just because it's a transition to a multi-age level, so it might be the same transition if you start with CTG? Not sure.

The other thing I think about is learning to pray for people before you start with the human failures in CTG. Because my ds had done ECC first, the strange beliefs and such of CTG caused nothing but pity for my son. Not sure if doing CTG first would have been the same?

Just a couple things to think thru,
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby jasntas » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:54 pm

Julie in MN wrote:Well, one thing to think about is that the transition to ECC might be harder just because it's a transition to a multi-age level, so it might be the same transition if you start with CTG? Not sure.

The other thing I think about is learning to pray for people before you start with the human failures in CTG. Because my ds had done ECC first, the strange beliefs and such of CTG caused nothing but pity for my son. Not sure if doing CTG first would have been the same?

Just a couple things to think thru,

Totally agreeing with Julie here.

Yes, the transition to a multi level program might be the same no matter if you start with ECC or CTG.

Yes, a main focus in ECC was praying for different people groups. This year while learning about the Ancient Egyptians my ds has come to the conclusion that they wasted their lives preparing for a false afterlife and, like Julie's son, he has 'nothing but pity' for them. I'm also not sure if he would have had the same reaction if we did CTG first.
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.

Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby abrightmom » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:32 pm

Good food for thought ladies.... ;)

Thank-you for sharing your experiences and opinions on the matter. Working on the funds needed to purchase a package as I definitely spent my homeschool budget for the year. Changing course completely, which is what I'm about to do, is expensive. I'm working on building up as much as I can in our PP account :-)

In the meantime, I'll continue to pray and ponder.
DS13 8th, DS12 6th, DD10 5th, DS7 1st: RTR & Learning God's Story

Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Saving ECC for the middle of the cycle??

Unread postby rebeccal2002 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:14 pm

I think that if you're not sure, to just go with the MFW recommendations. It seems that they set out the cycle for a reason. :) I can tell you that we were with a different curriculum before this past January and ECC has had more impact on my children and on me as the teacher than any of our other home school years combined. Learning about all the continents, countries, cultures (ECC!) has helped with my kids world view and mine, as well. I am looking forward to starting CtG soon, feeling like I am prepared to teach it having had the experience of teaching ECC first. Just my .02. :) As to the difficulty of ECC - I think ECC isn't that hard. Considering what we were doing before, it is a breath of fresh air. I'm looking forward to the even lighter load, however.


ps: this is of course your decision. If you start CtG and find it works out great then hooray! You could also start CtG and if it doesn't go too well, save it and get ECC and try again. :)
HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!

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