Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:28 pm
I've used a textbook curriculum for the last 3 years, for K - 2nd. (I will be using ECC next year and am so excited). It is a very thorough curriculum, and if your children transition back into private/public school, it will be similar (or if they are transitioning FROM private/public school, they would relate to it).
[In the textbook program:] There are tests (depending on grade level) for Phonics/Language, Spelling and Math. As you get into 3rd and 4th grade, there are tests for history and reading. It is very textbook/workbook style. And it comes from something having been written for private Christian school.
It has a TM for Math, then a TM for Phonics/Language/Spelling/Reading/Poetry/Activity Time (which is History, Geography, Health and Safety, and Science, Art and Music and you alternate through things), and a TM for Writing and Seatwork.
My daughter has 7 or 8 readers this year (2nd grade), a History/Geography book, a Science book, a Health & Safety book, a writing workbook, phonics workbook, language workbook, spelling and poetry workbook and "seatwork" workbook. (We use Math-U-See for math). The readers have pretty good stories, and often talk about character issues. At the younger ages, the writing, phonics, language and reading are all intertwined and relate to each other, something I liked. (If you are studying the letter "e" in phonics, you are writing the letter "e" in writing.)
I "grade" my dd (as per the TM) for Reading (there are no "tests" for this), Spelling (there are tests), Phonics/Language Arts (again, tests), and Math (MUS has tests). I believe in 3rd grade, you start "grading" seatwork, too.
So, that's kind of what it is like.
I am glad to be switching to ECC next year. My little boys will be 4, and I hope they will "join in" for some of the hands on projects, book basket, and geography, even though they are little (they love having me read to them already). As it is with our current curriculum, there is no way, and I don't think you can combine subjects to teach multiple children at one time (which is one of many reasons why I'm switching).
We start school at 8:30, have a 1/2 hour recess in the morning, 1 hour for lunch and cleanup, and my dd is usually not finished until 3:00. It is very time intensive.
Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:45 am
I am using a traditional textbook program this year. And, while my dd has learned to read and write, the writing and intensity of it has burned her out. Next year we will use ECC. I think it will be fun (hands on stuff - dd LOVES that!) and gentle, and she will learn more about God's heart for the world and her (that's most important).
Anyway, the other day at our home school support group, one of the ladies mentioned you don't have to be real rigorous until 7th/8th grade. You want to make learning gentle and fun so they are not burnt out by 7th/8th grade. Then, to prepare for college (if they're going to college), you need to step it up. Now, you may have to be "more rigorous" in one area for a little bit, like phonics until they can read well, but you don't have to be that rigorous for everything.
It will be different than what you are doing now. Your children will still each have their own math, language arts, and readers (if you want them to read aloud to you) that you will need to work individually for each one. But, the rest you will do together, requiring only what each child is capable of doing. For example, for a science project, a 5th grader might have to do a full report, where your 2nd grader just needs to draw a picture of it and write one sentence about what she learns. For filling in a map, your 5th grader would be required to label all the countries, mountain ranges, rivers, bodies of water and major cities. A second grader would probably only label the countries and bodies of water. The TM will guide you.
Really, it will be okay. I've never heard of someone homeschooling fail to teach their children. God is gracious, and will even use our weaknesses.
So, while I haven't used MFW yet, I am confident that God is the middle of it and will use it. (He's even used our "traditional textbook" program, too.)