Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

If you have used My Father's World curriculum, please share some of your experiences with us. We would all love to hear your stories -- and it will be especially helpful for new people who are trying to determine if MFW is right for their family or school situation.
Post Reply
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:30 pm

Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

Unread post by Marie »

If you have used Exploration to 1850, please share some of your experiences with us. We would all love to hear your stories -- and it will be especially helpful for new people who are trying to determine if MFW is right for their family or school situation.

Unread post by cbollin »

This is our 4th year of using MFW.

I admit I was very concerned the first week with learning how to use one program to teach to my oldest while bringing a young 2nd grader into the family program. I am very thankful that the MFW office was willing to help us with lots of phone support. Your customer service support is awesome. Thank you. I'm using the suggestions you have given us and they are working great!

As I write this, we are in week 12 of EX1850. I have a 5th grader (who has used ECC, CTG, RTR) and a 2nd grader (who has done MFW pre K, MFW K, MFW 1st).

One of the little things that I’ve liked this year is how well book basket is helping with the 2nd grader. While my oldest is learning more detailed information in history, my 7 y.o can browse picture books and “lighter” material. On some weeks when there is a lot of world history going on for the oldest, my 2nd grader can just have an age appropriate lesson in world cultures (similar to what my oldest did during her ECC year).

We’re enjoying the hands on activities. Oldest child likes to set all of that up for me and help her sister.

The first 4 weeks in EX1850 were an adjustment time for me to learn how to get 2 sets of read alouds in during the school day. There are the EX1850 read alouds and then the 2nd/3rd grade supplement. But that was easily solved by letting Dad read one of them in the evening. But not every week has a full set of read alouds in the 2nd grade supplement --- so it also self resolved.

Somewhere else I described the first four weeks of EX1850 by comparing it to jumping into a swimming pool instead of walking down the stairs. Don’t worry --- the water is fine. The pace is faster for the older children. Don't let it scare you off.

If anyone struggles a lot in those first 4 weeks with that --- consider moving some of the “supplement” materials to week 5. Also, it helped with us to “get done” with all materials for the 2nd grader and then finish with older material. That way the 2nd grader could be done and just hang out with us without the expectation that she have to listen.

Each year MFW’s programs add more and get more challenging.

I’ll chime in later as the year goes on.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:39 pm

Exploration to 1850

Unread post by cjw »

I used Exploration to 1850 last year with my 7th-grade son, as part of the pilot program. It was our 4th year with MFW curriculum (we began with ECC when he was a 4th-grader), and Expl to 1850 was just as wonderful as all the rest!

Our favorite part of each year is probably the read-alouds; they bring the history lessons to life. In Expl to 1850 we sailed on the Mayflower with Mary Chilton and made our way across the country on the Oregon Trail, among other adventures! The best part is that each book is based on the life experiences of REAL people - often better than fiction!

Lessons are in-depth to thoroughly cover each time period/historical event, with cooking projects and games to supplement the "book work". Regular written summaries of the material covered in the history lessons helped to reinforce the material covered AND sharpen his writing skills (he didn't always like it, but it worked!). We love getting our lessons from several books rather than just one textbook, in addition to supplemental library resources as we choose to add them in book basket time.

Bible last year was challenging - memorizing the whole book of James! (There is an alternative memory work schedule with only selected verses.) But it was one of our best years ever for Bible, including the kids' inductive Bible study on James. I loved helping Jon see that getting into the Word may take a little work & thinking, but is so rewarding. Suddenly we kept noticing verses from James at church, on the radio, in other books or magazine articles, etc. (he would look over at me and grin!)- the book came alive to us both! The practical instruction in the book of James was humbling and challenging.

Science was both in-depth and hands-on (typical for MFW). We actually "fast-forwaded" through some of the lessons (doing them more often than scheduled) so that we could begin Apologia General Science in the last quarter of the year. I wasn't sure Jon was ready for Gen. Sci. at the beginning of the year, but he was by the end. Keeping a science/nature journal prepared him for the lab notebook in the high school Apologia courses.

Art and music (we use the Deluxe package) correspond with the history lessons - I love the unit study approach in this curriculum!

Finally, we splurged and took a year-end "field trip" to Jamestown and Williamsburg, VA, a great finish to another great year! This year we have a friend using Exp. to 1850 with her 7th-grade daughter and the 2nd-3rd grade supplement with her younger son. They dressed as Pilgrims for a fall parade, and then took a trip to Plymouth Rock (where the kids got in for free for dressing in costume!).
Shelly Best
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:42 pm

Unread post by Shelly Best »

This was an eye-opening year to all we have today materially. The work load does increase in regards to writing. Yet it seemed so appropriate to the time of history. There was nothing better to do, it was school or chores.

As we studied the Little House book, we had our children build a house in our back yard to what they thought the house Laura lived in was like. Our three children became neighbors one day and traded goods for home repairs as our youngest childs house collapsed. We had went to Home Depot and added to supplies we had available from our left over home remodel trash--to build three homes--to treasure. Some days the boys would rob their sisters house or the three of them would become tournament enemies (from RTR)

A sneak peek into the next year....shhhhhhh......they built another house this year from card board boxes to become homeless inventors. By the end of the year.....I hope they will proclaim their speech to become the next US President!

By the way, these ideas are NOT MFW, but the added excitement of our free time earned when we get our school work completed by NOON!

Have a great year in My Father's World, we have adapted this quote into our school life by all the blessings of becoming a family having our hearts and minds trained by the great God who created us AND the Hazell Family!
Shelly of CA
wife to Mike;
mother of Hannah(13), Michael(12), Thomas(9)
MFW since 2000

Unread post by cbollin »

We're in week 25 now. I wanted to share about the Botany book (Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany). At first, I was "concerned" about starting this book for 2nd semester (winter). I realize the book is written for use year round, so I should have known right away that it would all work out.

It is working out. The photographs in the book are awesome to use when you don't have the plants you need. and with quick trips to my grocery store's floral department, we've been fine. Many experiments have just needed a few little things here and there (mostly household items). And when the experiment is too complicated, I'm liking that the teacher's manual suggests to leave it as optional.

I didn't have have to order a bunch of seeds. Instead we used dry beans, or just took the seeds from fresh produce. Even though it is cold and wintery in my house, it's working. The bean plant has provided a lot of what we need for the observation lessons. First we sprouted it in a plastic bag, and then moved it to some potting soil. Even in the winter, this little bean plant is doing great.

The big thing that "failed" in our Botany study was the herb garden. We didn't try to do the long term "light hut" that is suggested. I tried to use a Chia herb garden. I forgot to get a growing light for it. oops. Oh well, it worked long enough for what we needed it. LOL

All of that to try to encourage you a bit about the Botany book and its placement within the EX1850 year.


Unread post by cbollin »

I have to admit that I was more than a little nervous about the last 4 weeks in EX1850 with science. When I saw it was going to be nature journaling I thought -- ok, that's nice. Now what?

I have been blessed by how it has worked. In other years of MFW, we never took the journaling all that seriously because it was "extra" for science. Well, for the final 4 weeks of EX1850 it is not the extra to do journaling. It is the science.

But never fear! Marie Hazell walks us through it and give assignments so that you aren't just saying "go outside and draw a picture". I was really worried that was going to be the case. silly me. It goes from being these general guidelines in the J. Fulbright book about journaling to real assignments based on that part of the book.


So, in case anyone is thinking like I was thinking (what am I going to do?), just have fun and know that it is written out for to follow.

and the state history reports? Even that hasn't been as unstructured as I feared. yeah!

Julie in MN
Posts: 2876
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We are ending ds's 6th grade school year in week 14 of EX1850. What a lot we've learned -- both student as well as parent! For those who are wondering what Year 4 will be like, some highlights for me were:

* Seeing the explosion of exploration by different nations, and realizing what a very short span of time this all happened in.

* Learning the interconnections between exploration and the explosion of Protestant denominations, the changes brought by the printing press, and other rapid developments. I remember one lesson was on the new "science" in farming.

* Understanding the different motivations behind the settling of each of the U.S. colonies -- explorers, traders, religious pilgrims, hopeful landowners -- many very unique factors! I had always felt kinda confused about how there were pilgrims, but then not everyone was a pilgrim...

* Beginning to keep straight the different kings and queens in Britain as well as several other nations. I didn't know, for instance, that there was a period when Britain didn't have a King or Queen. It was also interesting to see the effects that different Monarchs had on our country, our Bible (especially King James of course), and so on.

* I have enjoyed being able to keep up on the whole world -- China, India, Japan, Russia, and more. The world didn't stop once America began, LOL!

* Read-alouds, as always, have been precious and added much to our studies.

* Seeing my son advance in his notebooking of events this year, done on almost a daily basis now. It is so interesting to see what he "heard" in the readings, and to share with him what more he might think about.

* Continuing to learn in a variety of ways. This really helps us visualize the things we are learning about -- especially foods :o)

* Noticing that past MFW years have given ds a great foundation in understanding all of the geography and mapping very well.

* A final story to share, illustrating how all of this cool learning is glorifying God in our home...

This last week in EX-1850, we were studying Japan's isolation in the 1600s. The chapter in SOTW-3 discussed how Zen Buddhism became popular after Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world. The chapter briefly described this type of Buddhism, where they "meditate" to find wisdom "within themselves."
  • Without prompting, ds, age 12, piped up... "Good luck with THAT!" he said. LOL!

Remembering his comment later, it still made me giggle. But I started thinking... SOTW presented Zen to him totally without comment. Plus, we were listening to the chapter on CD, so I wasn't even influencing him by reading that section with a smirk in my voice :o)

I realized that ds had totally reacted from his own heart. And I thought about the fact that at age 12, ds probably knows more truth than my whole generation of high schoolers -- who thought Zen and so many other ideas were oh-so-profound.

I see my son showing just what I had hoped for him -- a discernment based on a clear understanding of truths. Thank you, Lord, for guiding us in our homeschool lessons to know not only your great love but your truth -- so we won't be confused. And thank you for guiding MFW to help us greatly in teaching our children!
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
Julie in MN
Posts: 2876
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Part 2

We finished our EX1850 year in the middle of ds's 7th grade year -- and what a year it was!

Following my post above, we gradually arrived at what was the highlight for me -- the forming of a new government, ever-so-carefully. It was so interesting watching all the different great men -- who had very different personalities and viewpoints -- bring their contributions to the mix. It was enlightening to see the very same agonizing political debates we see in the news today! I was close to tears when I realized what a unique moment it was when George Washington, conquering general, voluntarily stepped down from power.

It added even more meaning to the development of our country when we then studied the "revolutions" that sprang up in countries & colonies throughout the world -- France, Haiti, and more. These comparisons made my son feel our government is a greater achievement than he first realized. And regularly checking in with all different areas of the world kept reminding ds that America wasn't operating in a vacuum.

Of course, there were so many other treasures this year. What a great idea to review the composers we had studied in CTG & RTR, but now during the years that they actually lived! Learning about artists added to our understanding of each era, from John Audubon to Gilbert Stuart on the Washington nickle. We enjoyed getting to know individual states and presidents. There wasn't a heavy emphasis on tragedy, or on defining people by their tragedies, but we could notice how very many Native American tribes there were on the state sheets, and we dried our eyes after reading of the trail of tears. The read-alouds would take us deeper into a subject, such as being awed by a man's character even as a kidnapped slave.

At the end of the year, I realized that the greatest treasure Marie Hazell had provided me was a "framework" I can teach from. A framework that is solid and clear enough for me to build on. Finally, I have a place to put all the random life experiences and beliefs and observations that have been spinning around in my brain. What a blessing! What a great foundation for my son to *start* with! What a great framework for his teacher to speak knowledgeably from. Just what I needed. God is good.
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: 318
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

Unread post by dhudson »

Just thought I'd wrap up the year of school with a brief note.

Bible - Yeah! We actually memorized all five chapters of James, even my third graders finished every verse! I was doubtful about the ability of the twins to be able to keep up but they did and it was a beautiful thing to behold. They have hidden so many Bibles verses in their heart that I think it will provide a great moral storehouse for them. I think my 6th grader will be greatly blessed by having the book of James in his heart as he heads into the difficult adolescence years, as a matter of fact he has put them into practice already in some social situations.

History - It was a great full year. This year steps up the information quite a bit which follows well for anyone following a classical model and provides a lot of opportunity to discuss those moral questions that are so important in the Logic years. The 2nd and 3rd supplement is great for those kids still in the grammar stage as well. We spent the last four weeks traveling and studying our state and ended up with great projects from our third graders and a terrific report from our 6th grader.

Art and Music - These flowed so well with history this year. I was so pleased at how well rounded my kids education was this year and how understanding what was happening in the culture of the day affected the history of the day.

It was a terrific year!
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:48 am
Location: Senegal, West Africa

Re: Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

Unread post by JenD »

We truly enjoyed this year! It was challenging enough for DS13 but also on a good level for DS9. We had many great discussions on the beginning of the US & how it is faring now.
History was great! Art- DS9 had some difficulty but I think DS13 is finding that he is artistic. I pray that he will continue with it.
Bible - I want to brag on both DS! They were termendous troopers with the memorization. We don't live in an English speaking country so DH & I were the ones who benefited from their memorization. I couldn't imagine requiring them to memorize it in French or Wolof! LOL!
Again, thanks be to God for MFW's vision. My family is benefiting from it! Looking foward to 1850-Modern times next year! :-)
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:17 pm

Re: Exploration to 1850 -- Share Your Experiences

Unread post by Sallylourn »

We finished another year of MFW with Exploration to 1850, and it was such a blessing for our family.

I was so excited to memorize the book of James with my kids. We all did it together, and even my 3 year old memorized the first few verses. We still will quote parts of James during certain situations that come up. It was my favorite part of the school year. Our pastor just started a sermon series this summer on James, so now we get to review it every Sunday and dive more into it.

We also really enjoyed the hymn study. I really liked introducing my kids to the great hymns that I used to sign in church, as well as a few new-to-me hymns.

History was a bit of a step up in difficulty. There were many more written summaries scheduled, and my 5th grader didn’t like that very much, but I think she grew from it. George Washington’s World was a favorite history book in our family this year. Everyone liked coloring the pictures we copied from the book while I was reading. We all really enjoyed starting on the state studies. My first grader joined us for that and really enjoyed coloring the state pages. The state pages even inspired our summer vacation we will be going on soon to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, where we will try our hand at mining for diamonds! Once my 11 year old heard about that, she just had to go!

As usual, there were many great book basket suggestions. My 8th grade son enjoyed many of the historical novels, and my daughter enjoyed some of the recommended craft books. I didn’t have time to do a lot of that extra stuff, but my daughter used one of the books to independently make a loom out of a styrofoam meat tray and cardboard from a cereal box. Then, she made one for her little sister and taught her to weave!

I had grand plans for traveling around our state for the state report at the end of the year, but due to the pandemic, we couldn’t even go to the library. We adapted, though, and the kids got pretty good at research on the internet and with our library’s online resources. They got lots of practice citing webpages for their bibliography, which should serve them well in the future. The state report book made an overwhelming task easier.

For science, the first half of the year was Zoology. I liked how the World of Animals book started with Mammals and worked it’s way down to single-called organisms. I had always learned it the other way around, maybe because from an evolutionary perspective, things evolved in that order. I’m glad there are creation-based science resources that show us the evidence for creation. My daughter enjoyed Botany in the second half of the year a little more. We bought a supply kit that goes with it which I highly recommend. We would never have made a light box (scheduled the first week of botany) without it! We still use our light box to grow different seedlings this summer. There were several outside things that we simply could not do in the winter and early spring in MN, but YouTube videos made up for a lot of that. There was a lot of information in that book that I never learned before!

Overall, it was a good year, and we can’t wait to finish the cycle starting in the fall!
Sarah, wife of Steve
Mom of Timothy (15), Talia (13), Violet (8), and Lydia (5)
2016-2017 ECC (first year homeschooling)
2017-2018 CTG and VOD
2018-2019 RTR and K
2019-2020 Exp to 1850 and 1st
2020-2021 AHL, 1850 to Mod, VOD
2021-2022 WHL, ECC, and K
Post Reply