Academics - Discussion about the rumor that MFW is "light"


Academics - Discussion about the rumor that MFW is "light"

Unread post by cbollin »

BeyondTheSea wrote: Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:44 pm Hi everyone! My daughter is currently in 3rd grade in public school. I was pretty much convinced that if we DID homeschool next fall, I knew my curriculum choice. To my dismay, it just didn't feel "right". I mean, it was better than the "classroom in a box" approach (for us anyway--I'm sure it's a wonderful curriculum!), but something was missing.

I really wanted our Bible study to line up better with history, and I knew that my daughter needed some hands on craftsy type stuff to reinforce her learning. She gets excellent grades in PS, so I know she can survive in the rote learning, textbook approach, but she's not thriving. I want her to be excited about learning, not just memorizing something and forgetting it as soon as she's not required to study it any more.

So I got back home, and I found some references to MFW and decided to check it out.

I heard mention that MFW was too "light" and I wondered what they meant. Is it just that some of the responsibility falls on the parent to add books from the book basket list? Or do they really feel like the main textbooks are inferior? Quite honestly, when I was at the conference and looking at the ahem...competitors' materials, ;-) I wasn't terribly impressed with the main history texts. I'm sure they are fine, but they just didn't look like they would be attractive to my daughter. She's a really visual kid.

You know what? I think I'm finally understanding my daughter's learning style enough to be willing to trade an extra reader for a craft project! She's a strong reader, but she needs some hands on time to be creative as well. And quite honestly, now that my radar is on, I'm finding so many extra things that we could use along with MFW when and IF we ever feel like she needs it.

Tell me what you think. And thanks so much for just being here...I've learned so much from reading all your posts!

Light is so subjective, who knows what that means. A lot of the books that are mandatory in other programs are also on the MFW recommended books --- so it can't really be about other subjective terms "superior" or "inferior". It's just that MFW uses the books so differently. And maybe the amounts of day to day reading are different or something. But MFW is doing other things on the same day.

I never have understood what anyone means by the books or reading is too light. There is a lot of reading in MFW. Look for the reading lists in ECC at the beginning of each continent. I just grabbed my ECC teacher's manual and randomly opened to Asia (week 21 -30). I counted 116 books in the book basket list. I don't think that is light, but light and heavy are relative terms that mean different things to different families.

I checked out 33 books last week for 2 kids just for one week. I had a rolling crate to carry them out --- didn't seem light to me. (I should mention that they don't have to read all 33 books, I just got carried away at checkout. :)

The nice thing is that you don't have to use each of those books to teach your lessons. You are not dependent on the exact titles to be able to use MFW. Those books are for enriching the unit study. The titles that you need are part of the basic/deluxe packages.

I guess it's like getting a meal sized tossed salad with MFW. Sometimes any particular bite on your fork looks light on the carrots, or on the lettuce or protein --- but when it is mixed all together it is a complete meal. Anyway.... it must be near supper time if I'm thinking of too many food analogies.

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Unread post by RachelT »

Hello! About the "light" comments, we are in MFWK where we have one day of reading non fiction books or the encyclopedia and one "book day" with a specifically recommended book. However, one thing I love about MFWK is that we have to time to go to the library and to read as many other non fiction, and "living books" about our unit topic as we want.

To kind of echo what Crystal posted to you already, I think I had 95 items checked out of the library last week - now, I didn't get them all out at once, but I probably get an average of 12 books for each unit (we are in MFWK), plus other books for fun reading and our library lets me check out books for 6 weeks (because I am an educator), so that adds up quickly. We also like to get books about other topics - my son wanted to try origami this week or audio books and videos. And sometimes I don't use every thing I check out, but it's just easier to look through it at home.

So, light and heavy are what you make of them! Good luck!
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It's a myth...

Unread post by Joy1139 »

Truthfully, this is a myth that has somehow developed about MFW. I have used 2 previous programs and I own another which I've looked over very thoroughly and have a good feel for. Great curriculum, but not any more academic than MFW even though I hear that all the time.

In my opinion, MFW is just as rich and is actually more balanced FOR US. I think curriculums are whatever you make of them. For me, personally, I tended to neglect other things... like notebooking (if you have to add this yourself), music, art, and nature walks. I often focused so heavily on history, that I was too tired for science. I could have added these things or been more diligent to get them done, but it's just easier to do it with MFW because it's right there in my daily schedule and I don't forget about it. My sons are really enjoying the hands-on projects. They are simple to do and really help them to love school.
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

Welcome, Chris,

I switched to MFW for the very reasons that you mentioned.

If they are only comparing what you can see on the website then MFW looks light. But those of us that have used MFW realize that MFW can be as rich or richer because we have all these great resources listed as options. I can use all those great books with MFW if I choose to but don't have to feel like I am skipping half my program if I don't use them. In addition to using the great lists that Marie has provided in her TM I have found that typing the subject into my library's research engine often gives me some other wonderful gems too. Yes, I still buy some extra books (they resell very well at used curriculum sales) but I am getting more use out of my public library by using MFW and helping my budget.

I also think MFW does a great job of blending Biblical history with secular history to get the whole picture. This is something I wanted from other programs but somehow didn't get.

In conclusion, I personally think that my previous program is lighter than MFW because it lacks the integration that MFW offers, it lacks referrals for extra book options from the library, it lacks the hands on projects that MFW offers, and it lacks a list of possible video or DVD options.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:14 pm

I have been using MFW for 6 six years now and I have just never found it light but very balanced in not only the breadth of subjects but in the depth as well as the time spent on each. I really think my kids have received a good overview without sacrificing the joy of learning. I do not think you will need anything extra. As the previous poster mentioned, there are lots of books in the appendix for each week that you gather from the library to add to that weeks study in several subjects. If you choose you could buy some books for this purpose but I would not try to use an MFW guide and another guide at the same time. Just my opinion.

Each year adds a little more to the child's expectations (oldest), adding in jr. high science in 7th grade, and the history naturally becomes more challenging simply by the immense amount of it that exists in years 4 and 5. This is of course why those 2 years have special supplements for 2nd and 3rd graders (who will do years 4 and 5 again in 7th and 8th grade). Any year 1-5 done in 2nd or 3rd grade is repeated in 7th or 8th grade with all the advanced material.

Part of the goal of MFW is that you can be finished with school by lunch or early afternoon, depending on when you begin, so that your kids can pursue other interests and hobbies as well as have time for some kinds of service. Of course when there are lots of littles and younger kids that just means more time to learn by playing.

So this has been my experience with MFW. I hope this gives you a start anyway and helps you as you make some decisions.
my3boys wrote:I guess what I meant by it being light was that not all the literature you read is included with the curriculum. This means that the books for the book basket can be of my choice and we should have some extra time to read them. When we used a heavier program, I found that there were so many other 'classics' that I wanted to read with the kids, but we never had time because there were so many books included in the core and I felt obligated to finish those.
In that sense it is light. Light on what you are required to read. I really like that we can read more read-alouds if we finish an assigned one early (which in our house has happened often). It is also nice that through the book basket you and your kids have lots of choices of extra information to enrich the topics you study. It is also great to be able to choose the readers so that like you said if you want to have them read a classic, you have the freedom and time to do so. This is some of the flexibility that I have enjoyed with MFW.[/quote]

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Unread post by TammyB »

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:21 pm
Yes, I think you will definitely find that you will be able to read literature that is not included in the curriculum. I've been able to add in Charlotte's Web and Henry Huggins so far this year. There are a few more on my bookshelf that I am hoping to find time for as well. :)

Honestly, if the book basket concept is being utilized, there is NO WAY this curriculum could be called light. In fact, I would venture to say that it actually has MORE literature than any other curriculum I have used. Its book list per unit is huge. We have always been big readers, but we are now consistently reading more books than ever before. I end up reading many of the book basket books in the evening in addition to our scheduled read aloud. (We read about an hour each night.)

MFW has brought so much joy into our school. It has revolutionized our days. Each week I open the TM with much anticipation, and I can honestly say, each week seems to get better and better. How is that?! I am so excited about our future with My Father's World!

Praying God will give you the leadership you need....
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Unread post by TammyB »

my3boys wrote:I'm just curious as to what differences you've found. I understand there is a lot less required reading - is there anything else?
Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:11 pm

I've actually thought a lot about the differences, but I want to make it very clear that I haven't used enough of either program to make authoritative statements. All of my comments need to be read with that in mind. Nothing in forum-world bothers me more than reading blanket statements about a curriculum from people who actually only dipped their feet into it.

Based on my experience here are the most significant differences I see between the two:


At first glance, therefore, it looks as though other programs are more "academic," for lack of a better word. However, If you utilize the book basket, which is a key ingredient in MFW, you will not read less with MFW. You may, in fact, actually end up reading more with MFW. (We have.)


Other programs focuse on learning through listening and discussing. Narration is also emphasized. I found K to be quite "visual" as well.

I think I can best explain what I mean by giving an example. Last week the children and I were reading about how the Pilgrims made oiled windows for their homes since they did not have glass. Previously I would have read and discussed this with my child, and then moved on to the next topic. MFW, however, took it a step further and had your child make an oiled window. It involved giving your child two pieces of computer paper, spreading vegetable oil on one, and then conducting two simple experiments to test which paper allowed more light through and which was stronger. This was about a twenty minute activity.

This type of "learning by reading, discussing, and doing" takes place within all scheduled subjects, Bible included.


For example, MFW waits to introduce martyrs until ECC, typically started by the oldest child in the family in the third grade. Other topics like homelessness, war, Nazis, imprisonment, hunger and poverty are also delayed. Previously, I found that to be extremely troubling and skipped many books because of it.


I made a big mistake by starting the MFW program with my son before he was ready. We ended up using the first half of it last year and just this week began the second half. I think my 7 year old is now really ready to handle it. (In hindsight, I wish a year ago I had just stopped it and done K with him.)


In our previous program, reading twenty pages in an Usborne book about trees and then about flowers and then about birds and then about fish was more than he could bear. It seemed more focused on accumulation of knowledge than on observation and discovery.

I find MFW to be much more balanced in this respect. There is plenty of book knowledge, but that is not the focus.

MFW is without a doubt a much better fit for him in this area. With the book basket he has so much more control over the depth of study he does in a particular area, and he is once again happy and thriving. He is also eating up all the experiments!

So, there you have it. My thoughts, for what they are worth. :) I'm sorry I ended up rambling!


Why isn't MFW as "rigorous" as other programs?

Unread post by cbollin »

HSmommi2mine wrote:So far we love MFW but I hear this criticism quite often. That it just isn't "enough" and people end up supplementing a lot. Is there any particular reason that MFW has decided not to make their program more challenging or more in-depth?
Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008

I have too much to say about this because I have used MFW for 5 years. For the last 2 of those years, I have only used MFW’s recommendations in all subject material. I have only added life skills, dance class, a music theory video, and a co-op class for Russian. In terms of the regular academic subjects, I do MFW as written. My dh and I want our kids to have a high quality education. MFW is providing that.

With MFW you get a strong academic program that respects the ages and stages of learning of your child. As your children enter new stages of learning, they will have longer school days with more to learn.

MFW balances the school day so that you have time to teach things like cooking, cleaning, life skills and have time to play sports, dance, learn to play a musical instrument. And to be able to have time to be servants in God’s kingdom. That’s important.

They believe in breadth over depth at the elementary years . You want to foster a love of learning, not create an atmosphere of burn out. In the jr. high and high school years the school day will be longer and more in depth. But not in the elementary years. It’s not the right time of a child’s learning. Maybe the real question is Why are the others doing too much with their kids?

I want to assure anyone out there that when you do 1850-MOD you will have no doubt whatsoever about the strength of this program and you will appreciate that each year was a gradual increase in expectations.

By scheduling 10-13 subjects on most days in a 3-4 hours time frame, MFW provides free afternoons to pursue individual interests (such as the ones mentioned above) AND more importantly…. As a family you will have time to do service projects together. Isn’t that the reason we all homeschool – so that we can raise our children to be godly? Then why do we forget about that and insist on academic machines? Service and Academics are both important.

In order to get that many subjects done in that time frame, MFW selects materials that are written for that purpose – advanced without being overwhelming to parent or child. Materials like Singapore Math and PLL/ILL are strong academic programs that don’t take a long day. Many programs out there think that homeschoolers have 1 hour each day to devote to each subject per child. That is just not reality or a necessity in the homeschool setting.

MFW uses top notch programs and materials in its recommendations. It is a complete curriculum. I have this theory that most people (out there in cyber space) who think it is light are not actually using the complete curriculum as written, and therefore had to add because they aren’t using it as designed. That or they just don’t share the same goal about what to do with non school time. Or they don’t understand how an integrated unit study program works to combine many subjects in a short time. It’s about retention as well.

Some of those top notch recommendations are:
Singapore Math (very advanced scope and sequence but doesn’t overwhelm your day)
Saxon math and Jacobs Geometry (in jr. high and high school)
Apologia Science
Rosetta Stone
Writing Strands levels 3-5
PLL and ILL (cover a lot of language arts including grammar without overwhelming the day)
The Bible
Book Basket (hundreds of reading books)
History books that cover a lot of material
The Vox Master Series --- composers study in classical music
God and the History of Art
And more! But this is already too long.

I’m not sure what needs to be added except opportunities to love people, love God and to be servants for His purposes. However, with MFW's structure you can add another subject if you want to --- just get done with school and service first.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:10 pm
Lots of discussion on these threads, so you can see it's not a "light" topic around here :o)

Here is a classic thread by Beth that I think is great: Whoever said MFW was light has never done it!

Less reading can mean more understanding

On this one, look for "Testimony for MFW 1, which at first seemed light for my dd"

There are more linked here: Choosing Curriculum: Comparing MFW to other curriculums

When my mind wanders to this topic, I sometimes think this rumor must have been started by folks who came to ECC from either
(a) a full workbook program or
(b) a full classical rotation.
Possibly these folks just didn't get the unit study method of creating better retention by learning in a variety of ways -- mostly because that's not how *we* remember being taught. I've seen a post or two on other boards that seems to say the "meat" of ECC was the geography packets (which are absolutely not the main way of learning in ECC) and they felt they needed to add *many* more worksheets than that! Or, they felt compelled to add lots more historical literature, when ECC is really not about history and wars and political events.

There could, of course, be other folks who see MFW as light. Maybe those who are very excited for their kindergartener to learn *everything,* or those who don't see the Bible in CTG as a "real book" like D'Aulaire's Greek Myths is... or many other scenarios. Just guessing, who knows...

I do think some folks may try MFW and go away for a while and then slowly realize what MFW was really all about.

Those of us who instantly take to MFW are often folks who already had a philosophy of learning similar to MFW's. We may have been searching high and low or trying to put things together by ourselves. Finding out someone had already done the leg work for us was a huge blessing & there was no looking back! Things that *I* was searching for include:

* children often don't remember much thru just reading
* the Bible itself is a core part of history and other subjects, rather than a separate subject or a forced quote added on to every math page, etc.
* it is very nice to be able to experience some of lots of things -- some copywork, some games, some memory work, some good literature, some solid texts -- but not to be so bogged down that the children think mom will never stop (ask me how I know :o)
* it's nice to have some core books from great series such as scientist biographies or Genevieve Foster horizontal histories or Patrician St. John stories or Kay Arthur inductive Bible studies, but not to feel obligated to do an entire huge series
* some nice Usborne-type picture books are really helpful, but not memorizing every overwhelming detail packed in them; instead, using them to build up things we already learned in other ways
* having music (classical, hymns, folk songs, patriotic songs) as well as art (history tie-ins and skill development) included is very rare, and even moreso having just the right amount

Okay, I'll stop now!
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Define Rigorous

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:03 pm

I haven't started ECC yet, but I have been looking through the manual... Is it going to be lighter than Abeka? Probably yes, in some ways, but probably more rigorous in other ways. I didn't buy Abeka's Bible program, so right now it's Awana's Sparky Climber handbook. But, in ECC Bible is a part of the program. Geography and Science are tied together in ECC - it may make it seem "lighter," but I bet my dd will remember that Brazil has rain forests because she was studying the whole country of Brazil. In Abeka, science is completely separate from history. Is she going to remember what it was like in colonial America? Maybe.

What do people mean by rigorous? So many worksheets that their child's hand cramps by the time they're done? Two to three hours of reading aloud daily to their children? The child reading some specific number of books a year? Covering way more information than is really necessary for the subject at that age level? Memorizing the location and date of every battle of the Revolutionary War? How well their kids score on standardized tests using MFW compared to some other program?

Some things that draw me to MFW... How gentle it seems. Gradually increasing the work load (not going from 2 worksheets to 6 or 12 in one year!). Age appropriate information. Tying God directly into the big picture in ways that I don't know how to do myself. Using the library as a resource. Flexibility. Covering history in the order it happened. I can reuse it without buying so many more consumables when my boys get to the same place.

The original statement ("Why is MFW considered light?") presumes (or assumes) that we must be rigorous in our homeschooling. Why? I don't think it has to be hard. I'd rather be gentle with her and have her enjoy what she's learning then kill that desire to learn.

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Unread post by inHisgrip »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:15 pm

Amen Ladies!!! Just to add a little something... I believe to homeschool is truely a calling from our Lord. How does He teach us?? Humm, something to think about.
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Unread post by JohnsWife »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:43 pm

I was just (like 10 minutes ago) listening to the conference workshop tape by David called, 'Creating a family of eternal purpose'.

On the tape he said that he always asks this question to homeschool parents:
What do you wish you would have known before you got married?
He said the answers are always like, how to cook, how to resolve conflict, how to communicate with your spouse, etc...

David said he had never heard ANYONE answer, 'I wish I would have done one more study in science or biology or calculus or whatever,' never does anyone wish for more academic study. They wish for life skills that will enable them to help their children and grandchildren live a life with an eternal purpose. We need academics to fulfill our dreams and purpose but we need soooo much more to accomplish a purposeful life.

I know I just slaughtered this. What David said was done much more eloquently, but the bottom line is that academics is not the 1 most important part of homeschooling. It is an integral part but there are many different aspects to learn (life skills, service, etc).
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Unread post by MJP »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:26 pm

We are memorizing the book of James this year. That is NOT a "light" undertaking. We have finished chapters 1-3 (2 more to go!). We have used K, 1st, CTG, RTR, Exp. to 1850, and have 1850-Mod. Times ordered for next year. Clearly, I think it is a great program.

Whenever I have tried to supplement, I always ended up killing the program and missing the "meat". There is truly so much in each program! Sometimes I think too much extra just drains the sugar out the program, the parts that your family will remember and cherish forever just get swept aside as something else to do or finish.

I also have to agree with Crystal, any "light" comments have not seen the last two years!
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Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:53 pm

I wonder if they have seen the first grade. I do not think it is light. How many first graders do you know that know the solar system all the planets and dwarf planets (3 dwarf planets as we learned in a library book) and have done a scale model of the size and distance of the planets. Well ok the first graders in your house probably know this but what about PS?

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 7:40 pm

I am sorry for this but I think the "it's to easy thing" is ridiculus. If you fully use the programs the way they are outlined, it is not easy. Flexible yes, not as intense yes, but easy no way.

That being said. I have found no reason so far to supplement anything in the curriculum. Do more of if dd struggles yes, but supplement no. Review yes. You might add something because dc enjoys it and wants more. Like for my dear daughter we get lots of science books from the library; she is really into science.
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Unread post by ChristyH »

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:55 am

I have done the rigorous route with other curriculums and my children were left in the dust. I was tired of all the reading aloud I had to do and my voice even gave out for a week.

This has been our first year with MFW using ECC. This has been the best year ever for schooling with DC. My dd knows where every country is, even better then I do, and she has asked to read books on the country we are studying. She is not fond of reading, so this was a huge blessing for me.

For me the question isn't about what is rigorous but what is effective. I will admit that I didn't want to like and use MFW as after using the harder stuff, I thought it was too light, but the proof is in the pudding. How can anyone fight against children who enjoy school for the most part and have retained more then ever before? My favorite part is that "I" am not consumed with finding more books or adding more things to this wonderful program and I have time in the afternoon for other pursuits.
MJ in IL
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I have done the rigorous route with other curriculums and my children were left in the dust. I was tired of all the reading aloud I had to do and my voice even gave out for a week.
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:27 am

As I read this thread, I agree with what has been said and thought all I could add was that I don't lose my voice anymore. :)

I have used other curriculums, literally read stacks of school books before naps and bedtimes. MFW works because for us because it instructs in the academics and develops an enjoyment for learning by allowing time for my children to take that instruction time a bit further in the afternoons. I found that prior to using MFW, much more of my time was devoted to actual instruction...whereas now, I find myself instructing, then facilitating...if that makes sense.
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Unread post by 4Truth »

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:42 am

Agreeing with pretty much everything the other ladies have said. I think that people who believe MFW is too light have either:

-- been used to a heavy textbook curriculum with many, many pages and years of redundancy and hand-cramping seatwork and test-taking;

-- been used to a heavy classical curriculum with much rote memorization in the early years and many hours of academics each day;

-- not used MFW in the upper years, or didn't utilize the advanced student recommendations, so they're comparing a gentle start in the early years a la Charlotte Mason or Ruth Beechick with what they *assume* an older child would be doing. They don't realize that each year of the curriculum builds and more work is added every year. Ironically, many of these same people will complain that SOTW volume 4 is too "heavy" for their 4th grader (for whom it was written by the author of that book)... but in MFW, that volume isn't used until at least 7th grade (if you were following the MFW sequence as written, it would be 7th grade). Or, they have:

-- used another lit-based curriculum which goes into a lot of depth analyzing just a *few* key people or events, rather than spanning a broad number of people and events which would in fact fill in a lot of gaps in time, and which to ME, has answered a lot of odd 'n end questions that I've had in my lifetime. MFW connects the dots for us. God has really given Marie a great gift with that, and I'm thankful that she and her family are doing it.

I'm one of those gals who's considered leaving MFW a couple different times, re-thunk it, compared it intently to something else, and realized that MFW really does have just about everything we need and want. It meets our goals as a family.

I also appreciate the biblical worldview of MFW, which I have yet to find in ANY other Christian curriculum, whether it was textbook or lit-based.

And there aren't a ridiculous number of books to purchase with MFW. Only a few really good ones are needful; if I want to load up on a ridiculous number of books (and sometimes I do!), I can do that via the library using the Book Basket list in the TMs. Or I can purchase a few of our favorites as extras. I can get many, or just a few, of these books each week based upon time and interest... and I don't feel *required* to use the list at all.

I love it. I love the balance. When things start toppling and getting unbalanced, it's because of ME. We humans tend to get a little over-anxious about some things, you know?
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Too easy?

Unread post by niki »

AliciasMommy wrote:Wow! There's SO much info to read thru on this message board! I will be home schooling my kindergartner and third grader. I am leaning towards MFW for my curriculum. The only real complaint I've seen is that some people state it's too easy. For my first year of home schooling, if that ends up being the issue, that'll be okay with me. Maybe I'll choose to supplement.
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 2:45 pm
I'd just like to comment on the "easy" part...because my kids have really enjoyed each year of MFW (K,1st,ADV, ECC). I have that inner battle on occasion - is this too easy? Because it's so well planned, I hardly have to plan anything except getting library books and making sure I have needed items for - whatever we're doing - my kids think only certain things like math, spelling and grammar are school - they other things are just FUN!

As I thought of that exact question I looked into another curriculum for the fall and I'm sticking with MFW (after some wrestling from within).

I went over my kids' notebooks for all subjects over the years (they were so enjoying this - they remembered so much). There has been so much growth in their work and abilities. In preparing for an end of the year presentation I'm doing with another MFW,ECC family, I have found that my 2 older kids have learned the art of researching and finding info for themselves when I point them in the right direction and give them some books. Then take that info and make it interesting and presentable for their friends to hear! That was all I needed to see. It's working. They're learning and most of the time they think it's FUN! WOW, I'm am at ease.
Julie in MN
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Switch to MFW?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

gratitude wrote:MFW has been so much easier to use than SL (even as a supplement), partly due to the fact the work load is lower. Have you found MFW to be as strong academically? I love the Bible integration in Grade 1 Phonics, it looks like the Bible continues to be a wonderful integrated emphasis. I am assuming MFW provides a solid Biblical education, does it? I know SL goes through the entire Bible every four years, is their some kind of good equivalent with MFW? OK and on a personal note did you miss the SL forums for mom support?
I just used SL one year, so my experience is limited. I used it with a high schooler and pared it down a lot. But here are some thoughts on what you've said, based on my limited experience.

1. "the work load is lower" -- I would say that the SL "reading load" was much more "structured" and I guess that was "more." But for us, I've found the MFW "work load" to just be more varied and more age-appropriate.

2. "I know SL goes through the entire Bible every four years" -- I'm sorry but I never, ever saw that in SL. Did I miss something major? SL had various devotionals that had verses from the entire Bible, was that what you meant? MFW, on the other hand, does go through the entire Bible every four years. Maybe you meant to say that? Sorry, I'm easily confused. MFW has children read a children's reader the first time, then major portions from your own Bible the second time, and reading every word of the entire Bible in high school.

3. When I was using SL, I wasn't on their forum as much as I am on the MFW forum. But I feel the detailed information and prayerful encouragement is huge over here :)

Here are some more thoughts:

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: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thanks for the great input so far.

I found your comment of the work being more age-appropriate interesting, since that has been one of my own struggles with SL. Some of the books this year I felt exposed my kids to topics I wasn't ready to expose them to.

Their curriculum advisor at SL told me the scripture assignments add up to going through the Bible every four years, I assumed it was word for word, but we have only done Cores P3, P4, and K so I don't know from experience (or for sure if it's every word). One of my main thoughts for switching has been the integration of chronological Bible with History for the four year History program. I just love the thought of integrating the two together!
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Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by jasntas »

We just completed ADV and I felt it was very much age appropriate. It was a wonderful introduction to Am History. We all enjoyed it greatly. :-)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
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Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by cbollin »

here's an older thread with some thoughts on academics and the rumor that mfw is light. [above]

my oldest child is my normal kid. My other two are special needs kids and aren't going to be poster children for test scores. My oldest is a smart gal. in 9th grade as of this week. loves to read read read read read.... plenty of reading is available in MFW. MFW gives us what is called book basket reading (about 300 or more titles per year to use. they schedule which week various on topics books are best to use, but we get to pick/select from list in order to let our children enjoy the books. Then there is a list of general reading of classics. Then, we have read alouds (mfw schedules the read alouds and sells those.) So, lots of reading beyond the books in basic package.

MFW selects very strong materials in language arts and math. Top stuff there. and the K and 1st programs are strong too. Not overwhelming so homeschooling mom can get it done in the real world.

Bible in MFW:
I just need to link to that "scope/sequence" think to show it
I think I wrote more details in there and several others did as well..... I know linking to older answers can help. Look forward to current ones too.

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Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by my3boys »

MFW does have a lighter workload than SL if you are using SL core, Bible, LA, and science - MFW has about half the science that SL has. It is easy to add extra reading into MFW though and it is actually assumed that you do. MFW is more integrated than SL and the IG is easier to use.

All in all I think that both curriculums are equally strong academically if they are used as intended - with the exception that I think MFW has a far superior first grade program. I also think that SL gets a bad rap for their Bible content - there is a great deal of Bible reading and devotional content in SL as well as extensive notes expanding on christian ideas in the secular books that they use. The difference between the two curriculums is that MFW includes a chronological study of the Bible that follows very closely the historical units of study, especially in CtG and RtR - both curriculums go through the Bible in four years, but SL does not do it chronologically.

I'm still on the SL forums and find them invaluable - but there are other good free sites on the web where you could find similar support, this one included. I use SL for LA, read-alouds (we pick and choose), science (we use science from both curriculums) - and we use those alongside whatever MFW level we are in. In the fall we will be using RtR with the art and music, SL LA 2 with readers, read-alouds from core 2 and 6, SL science 5 - it's just what's working for us.
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finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
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Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by hppymom25 »

After four years, I just switched and bought MFW K and also ECC for this upcoming year. I was really nervous at first but after being on this board and from talking to the reps at MFW, I feel really great about our decision. There are quite a few people who replied to me, from this board, when I was feeling very anxious about the switch. We are going to be doing the MFW recommendations for LA and seeing how that goes. I think that it will actually work, quite well. My boys are so thrilled to not see workbooks. Although these were optional, they didn't like them but I'm a box checker and felt like we needed to do them.

I really wanted more activities.......not like WP, we tried that and it was just not for us. I really think that this switch will be a great thing! My boys just need more going on than just reading. Yes, I could have added my own activities but with five children, I just didn't feel like I had the time.

I'm adding in some books from Core 5 and my kids will be doing their readers from SL, just like they always have. I really do enjoy SL books, etc., but know that I was really reading so much to my boys that they NEVER wanted to pick up books on their "own time". I heard groans at different times when I called everyone to the couch for reading. There have been great memories but we've also really struggled at times with all of the reading and no hands-on to really reinforce what we were reading about. I feel like I sort of put our family in a "bubble" for the last few years because I wanted so desperately for it to work! I know they're now offering some activities in their lower cores so it goes to show you that many families really are wanting literature and activities.

I'm really looking forward to this coming year and really hope that MFW is what we "should" have been looking for the last few years!

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Re: Switch to MFW?

Unread post by lynzee »

I wish I had known about MFW earlier. I really like the readers in the Sonlight program but am so pleased with everything in MFW. It is easier to combine all my children with MFW. When I did Core 1 I had a K and 2nd grader. I wish I had focused more on the OT and teaching them God's truth (which is what they get in MFW) rather than a lot of mythology when they were so young. The Bible does use Leading Little Children to God which is like early doctrine for young children. Also in MFW's Ancient program and the study of Rome you read the OT and NT- my children really learned how the "stories " in the OT are really part of ancient history and it makes it more real (I don't know if I am making any sense). There is much more Bible in MFW's program. I do use SL for readers for my kids to go along with what we are studying. I am glad we made the switch.

Keep praying for God's wisdom with this it can be so confusing trying to choose the "best" for your kids.
Married to DH for 14 years
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