Babies - How to structure our day

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am

Babies - How to structure our day

Unread post by LSH in MS »

Ahhh schedules. Do I write what I plan to do/would like to do or what actually happens?

My schedule changes each year as I am adjusting to new baby, more schooling etc.

During the year I did not get up before the kids, I woke up when it was time for the baby to nurse usually about 7:00. We usually did not start school early. Sometimes it was 8:30 but usually 9:00 or 9:30. We do school until lunch. You can read a little more under the post Can I do 3 programs, but basically we did Bible and history reading, then I worked with the K and 1st one-on-one. But there were many days I did not get to the Kindergartener. I am going to try to work with him more this summer.

After lunch we finished up school. I usually quit by 2:OO even if we weren't finished. I had a hard time doing history and science the same day so we usually did 3-4 days of history and 1-2 days of science. Sometimes we did all the science for the week on Friday.

I found out that everything took longer as I was nursing, taking care of the baby etc but I was surprised at how much the kids could help. I couldn't have done it without them.

THey are supposed to have their chores done by the time Dad gets home but I must say this has been a BIG struggle mainly because I am not consistent in enforcing this. I need to get better in this area. I would get so tired I would go take a nap when the baby was taking one and the boys would not do their chores while I was asleep.

We did our read alouds in the evening.

We are actually implementing some changes this summer that we haven't done before.

My dh desired to teach them God's Word and life lessons in character so he said he wanted all of us to get up at 6:30 to do Bible lessons and exercise before he goes to work. I really balked at this as I hate getting up early but the LORD told me I needed to support him so we are doing it.

I have been amazed at how the dc have responded to this. THey have really bonded with their Dad during this time.

The older boys are learning to make breakfast and lunch for everyone. In the evening we read aloud and on weekends have movie nights.

I hope this helps you but I would advise you to take several weeks off after the baby is born and then slowly add in more. I usually start with the basics for a week or two then add in the MFW unit study stuff. Feel free to ask more questions.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
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Babies & how to structure our day

Unread post by mom2boys »

6patrix wrote:This is our first year to use MFW, and we are doing ECC w/ my oldest 2 (ages 8 and 10) and MFW-K w/ my 6yo. Also have a busy little toddler, age 3, as well as our new baby!

Any suggestions on how to structure our day? I like it, but I feel very "needed" by all right now, and sometimes overwhelmed by it. How can I help my older 2 do some things for themselves?

The upside is that we are having beautiful fall weather here and the kids have been able to play outside quite a bit. This has been good for them to work at playing sweetly together. Also they are helping me around the house. So I am thankful for the good things happening despite only a little schoolwork getting done.
Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:32 am
We had a baby in Nov 2005 while doing ECC with my 1st & 4th graders. We ended up taking 1 1/2 years to do ECC and it worked out just great. My boys really learned to love their baby brother and become interested in people all over the world during that time!

Maybe you could slowly start adding the core subjects (Math, reading, etc) back in and relax with the rest for a little longer. Apply the "unstructured afternoons" by having books, educational videos, art supplies, etc for them to do independently while you at least rest for a time in the afternoon. A rested mom is needed to care for 5 lovely children!

One other note - my oldest did standardized testing with our church's school at the end of 5th grade and did well even on the science and history parts even with a more relaxed learning style the previous two years.

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Unread post by Brandi »

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:25 pm

Here's an idea I recently got from my local MFW support group; it might help with your feelings about "more parent involvment" and getting the older kids to become more independent.

Get the older kids their own small white board. Each time you introduce a subject, write on the white board their individual assignment for that subject (the things they can do independently.) Then, set that aside and go on to the next subject. They will do their work after you're finished explaining everything. This is not the "schedule board" per se. Its their own daily "to do" list. Things like math pg. numbers, coloring, copy work, book basket, etc . . . When you get interrupted (or need to do K or work with another child) then the older kids already have a list of stuff to do on their own white board. Things you've already explained/introduced to them.

Keep their lessons short. Remind them to set the timer for 15 minutes for each subject. If they work diligently, and are still not finished w/ their work, then set it aside to finish tomorrow. If they are not working diligently, have them still set it aside to complete during "study hall" . . . a lonely, dreaded time in the evening (instead of playing with dad, for example) (or during free afternoon time).
Keep the lessons short . . . (Charlote Mason style).

A lot of my problems were b/c I would try to finish one whole subject before moving on to the next. Interruptions always dragged the subject out longer than 15 minutes. It was so frustrating. Why can't one child just move on to his next subject while I'm still working with another child? Because he doesn't know what to do! So, tell them what to do, put it on the white board, and remind them of the timer.

Also, keep a general schedule posted some where in the room (so they can move from one thing to the next on their own). You will find yourself trying to get as much stuff as you possibly can onto their white boards. B/c when you've done that, then suddenly they're accomplishing alot more school in a lot less time. This is Very helpful with a large family!

I'm sure you will get more ideas. I hope it helps a little.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 6:37 am

This is a subject very close to my heart... I just lived through the same situation last year. We survived :o and now our new little one is almost 1.5yo. You are right, this will pass... and you will soon be missing the newborn days, so focus on enjoying the sweetness of these short days, being close to your baby, and helping your other children to adjust. This takes priority over academics.

Elizabeth Elliot always says, Do the next thing. Just do the next thing, with no thought or worry given to the other things on your agenda after that. It is so freeing to realize that all you have to do right now is the highest priority thing for this moment. Leave the rest with God. I spent so many days last year praying from one thing to the next... asking, What's next God? And then doing only that. Then move on to the next thing. Praying all the way. He will help you immeasurably. There is much peace in this way of life.

The white board idea or something like it is a good one. I found that there were weeks I didn't even have time to do that though (to write down in the morning what everyone's daily assignments were for that day). We ended up just doing the short lessons with the timer, and their daily list was not specific. For example, every day they were to work for xx number of minutes in math. As long as they were working, then whatever point they were at when the timer went off, they just stopped, put a little sticky flag on the page, and put the book away till tomorrow. They are very motivated by the short lessons. And I found it was totally unnecessary to have the exact page numbers written down. They can just pick up where they left off. If they have a question they can come and ask you, or they can move on ahead and go back to the problem they had a question about when you are available. It helps to have them working near you.

If you are concerned about record-keeping you can just photocopy the table of contents at the end of the year and put checkmarks by the chapters they completed and date the page and put it in their record. Or just save the book.

Lots of teaching can happen in small quiet bites, with baby on your lap and the 3yo at your side playing quietly. There are lots of ideas in the archives on this board and other places about occupying the small ones. Things like having a nursing-time-only-basket (or school time only) with small quiet toys and sticker books etc so the 3yo can be near you. Having the olders rotate time spent your littles (the 3yo and 6yo) can really help too.
Maybe you could slowly start adding the core subjects (Math, reading, etc) back in and relax with the rest for a little longer. Apply the "unstructured afternoons" by having books, educational videos, art supplies, etc for them to do independently while you at least rest for a time in the afternoon. A rested mom is needed to care for 5 lovely children!
I couldn't agree more. There will be days (lots of days) you don't even get the three R's in. That is okay. And even a 15 minute "cat-nap" is helpful. Also the kids can all benefit greatly from a short "room-time" in the afternoon spent doing something by themselves that they enjoy. You can coordinate this with the toddler's nap time. Well... ideally these would coordinate. In real life it won't work every day. You know that already :) But it is worth aiming for.
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Unread post by ElaineTX »

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:49 am

(My baby is 2.5 now. )

When I found out I was pregnant, I was able to begin school a little early and finish up before she was born. (Truth be told, we weren't quite finished with a few things that ended up being called "done" too once she was born!) Then, I didn't start up again until August! I say this so you won't feel pressured to conduct full school days when your baby is only 3 weeks old.

One thing that really helped me was to brainstorm on what the kids could do schoolwise while I was nursing. We did Bible together in the morning while I nursed, including having them recite memory verses. You could all sing together then too. I think I remember doing one child's math lesson while nursing later in the day, but I definitely had a child read to me after lunch while nursing.

I also went ahead and prepared a schedule for our day from the instructions in Managers of Their Homes once we started back to school (so not when I had a baby as young as yours). We didn't stick to it strictly, but it really helped me to think through priorities for my own time and to think about what each child could be doing while I was working with another. With so much for me to do, I knew I would need to be more organized in order to accomplish much.

Here's one more thought. How about prioritizing daily Bible time with the kids, math, and having the kids read (or phonics for 6 yo) and then just checking off what you're able to do with ECC as you can (and not paying attention to how long it takes you to get through ECC for now)? You could just pick up where you left off each day in ECC and consider it "gravy" for now while you have such a young baby.

Hope something there helps!
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Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

lisaha wrote:We did Adventures this year with Abby (3rd) and Joshua (1st) and three little ones running around. This next year we will have James in K, Abby 4th and Joshua 2nd, two little ones running around and a new baby due in the fall. I was wondering if ECC would be hard to do with all of the hands of projects and library books with a new little one and a c-section? WE won't be able to get to the libray from a long time, is it ok to do without any add-on books from the back? I'm throughly looking into next year!
All things are possible through Christ who will give you strength. And we can all encourage each other. I won't be doing ECC, but I'll be doing CTG with grades 4 & 2, a 4yo, a 2yo and a new baby (due July). ECC was a huge blessing to me this year, and while I didn't have a newborn, I had a 1yo and I think that is harder. At least with a newborn up to about 6 or 7 months or so, all they need is to nurse and sleep. Once they start getting into things, they make life a little more hectic (around our house, anyway).

But even with 4 kiddos, ECC was perfect. Give lots of attention to the preschoolers and toddlers first thing in the morning, and schedule little 5 min. house pick-ups several times a day for everyone to help tidy up after the messes that are sure to occur. Do the crafts and listen to the music together. Don't forget to rest yourself whenever you can. My kids probably watched more TV and played on the computer a little more than I would have liked this past year, but we still had plenty of learning and loving and growing and blessing and that is all I can hope for.

By the way, check with your library to see if you can order books online. I literally go through the book basket list online through my library and order everything they have that is on the list. They email me when the books are in, and I either pick them up or sometimes ask dh to pick them up on his way home from work. Then whenever we get a chance to go as a family I tell each kid to be sure to get plenty of books, and they read those until the next trip. It worked pretty well this past year. A couple of times we didn't pick up our books on time and they were returned to the shelves, but honestly, if I didn't have enough time to pick them up, I probably didn't have enough time to read them anyway. :)

Blessings to you for the growth of your family and especially for the life growing inside you now. Don't worry too much about schooling - focus on the important things and the other stuff will line up!
Wife to Brody
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Julie in MN
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Even more helpful posts on babies:
(and above)
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
Amy C.
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by Amy C. »


We did ECC and Kindy this last year. Well, actually we are still doing ECC. We are going to do CTG and 1st in the fall. I am expecting our 4th boy in Sept. We had to slow down quite a bit my first 3 months of pregnancy due to my fatigue. We did just the basics. My plans are to finish up ECC (5-6 weeks) through the summer taking breaks for camps and VBS and such and not starting back until after the baby is born when we have recuperated/adjusted, maybe mid-October. Of course, dad might can help with math before then, but I am talking me officially starting school.

I had a newborn when I first started homeschooling a Kindergartener and a preschooler (not using MFW). I was really nervous and prayed and prayed and talked with other homeschool moms who had done it and received much encouragement that it could be done. My newborn at that time slept a lot and it worked out well. I did have to learn to adjust our schedule as the baby needed me, but it was definitely doable. I am praying that it will go as well this time. I did learn to give myself much grace during that time and...

Oops...had to go take care of spilled grape juice that my 5 year old spilled. He is the newborn (at the time) I am talking about. I was just about to say that I learned to juggle it all, but as you know, we homeschool moms have to learn to do that every day, just like taking care of an unexpected spill in the middle of doing something else. I am sure you have learned to do that well with 5 young children.

My plans are to pray fervently, put one foot in front of the other, do what we can do when we can do it, and trust God with it all and that He will help us through each day. Another thing I plan on doing is encouraging my then 6th grader and 4th grader to be more independent in their work. I plan on setting up a system where they each have their own grid along with their needed materials and make sure they know what to do each day. I plan on them taking the initiative more to get their work done and not rely on me to tell them each thing to do next. I don't plan to turn them completely over to themselves, but I do think it is time they start learning a little more independence in getting their work done. Not just schoolwork, but chores as well. You know, not wait on me to say, "Okay make your bed, brush your teeth, get your Bible notebook out, now get your math, etc......" As far as chores, they know what to do, but I think they procrastinate. I have told them that this is going to have to change. As far as schoolwork, this was our first year with MFW so it was a new learning curve for us all, but now we know what to expect and hopefully can plan a little better. Of course, your children are younger than mine, but setting up a good system in advance I think is going to help us. I will also have a 1st grader who will NEED me for his schoolwork (not that the older ones won't but the first grader can't be as independent as they are) so I will have to get a good system in order for things to go smoothly. I am also wanting to get more organized with our school storage system before the new baby and the new school year get here. My dh and I are looking into the best way to do this.

I agree with mamacastle2. I am more nervous about having a 1 y/o/toddler under tow in a couple of years rather than a newborn! But I do feel so blessed to be having another child. I know God blessed us with these children and that He called us to homeschool and to MFW and that He will work it all out in and through us. He has been faithful every minute of every day of every year.

I also agree with mamacastle2 on the online library thing. I have set up an account with our library and can put holds on books online. When they are ready to pick up, my library calls me. If I can not get there to pick them up, my dh picks them up for me.

Just some thoughts I have had for myself and thought I would share. Looking forward to any other advice others may have.

Amy C.
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by Kelly1730 »

Wow! Can I just say how in awe I am with you mothers of many young ones?!? I have six children but they were spaced at 2yrs, 3yrs, 4.5yrs and 10 years ( notice a pattern here, each pregnancy came further apart than the one before, just sayn':) Anyhow, I never homeschooled with babies, my twins were toddlers when their big sister was homeschooled and by then she was fairly independent.

My one suggestion would be to schedule older children with babies, toddlers and rotate them so they could remain supervised and entertained while you are working with another child. I also would like to encourage you to "not be weary in well doing:for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not". (Gal.6:9) If I could do it all over again, I would have homeschooled each one of my children and never looked back. You are doing a wonderful, albeit exhausting, thing by homeschooling these blessings the Lord has given to you, I know you will be blest because of it.
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by doubleportion »

We didn't do ECC the year that I had our 3rd. But just some ideas about how I handled schooling that year.

We were doing ADV with a 2 yr old running around and I did recover from a c-section. I started that school year in July. We took six weeks off for me to recover. Then we actually found out two weeks back into schooling that we were going to have to move. So we shopped for houses. Found a house and put in an offer. We were scheduling the closing date when we were hit by a huge ice storm that shut down power for a couple of weeks. Packed up the kiddos and 8 wk old and all our school stuff and headed south for two weeks. Came back up North, packed our house and moved in two days. Unpacked and continued doing schooling. All that happened and because I had started the school year early we still managed to finish on time in May.

Now if I hadn't started early that year I don't know if we would have had the time to have interruptions, natural disasters and moving. But there were weeks when not much but the essentials got done. You just take it one week at a time. I tried to spend some special time with my 2 yr old first thing in the morning. Then I could let him run around us while I nursed and we read together (either oldest reading to me or I was reading read-aloud stuff). She learned how to be even more independent that year. (the other ds was a ten week bedrest preg so she had already learned allot that previous year about independence)

I liked that school schedule so much after that first year, that we have started that way ever since. This will be our third year to school year round with breaks when we want them and a full month off in June.

MFW is so flexible and it is so easy to modify it to your family. ECC is very full in the first weeks. Don't get overwhelmed by that. You can even stretch one week into two if that eases the stress. I would also encourage you to just leave off any thing that is advanced. I would leave off World Geography pages more than anything in the beginning. They were a challenge for my dd at the beginning of the year. I added in a few more with each continent.

Some countries feel more full than others. Book Basket books and the music cds were really helpful to get a better taste of the country. If you could handle going to the library once a month, that is what I would do. I would go online and get my book list and then would head to the library on a light and independent Friday. We have an amazing children's library here. But if you don't have a good one, you will still have a great experience in ECC. If you are going to skip the library completely, then I would encourage you to be sure to get the deluxe package items. The CD in particular gave a great taste of the language and music and culture for the countries.

Also if you have not heard any of the CDs, I would encourage you to listen to them, especially Occupying Preschoolers while Teaching Older Children.
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by fdjoyce »

WOW! One thing for sure- we can encourage one another & no one needs to feel like the Lone Ranger! Our family will be doing ECC & MFWK next year with 5th grade, 2nd grade, K, & 2 year old boys & a baby due in early Sept! I appreciate all the hints & knowing there are many other families starting the same journey under similar circumstances!

Some things I am planning to do include using the library system to reserve (as described bove) & making only monthly trips to the library. Also, I went ahead & ordered my stuff 2 weeks ago instead of waiting for the convention. I think this was a really smart idea (FOR ME) because I really like to pour over my plans & make lots of notes & highlights. So for the past weeks I have been planning for next year. I think (hope it works out) that this will really help me personally because I already have marked in my TM which books are available through library, a list of craft supplies I need so I can be saving those up/purchasing; I've picked which optional projects we are going to do already for the whole year, & am even planning to go ahead & make any needed copies.

Of coarse after 5 years of homeschooling i know my plans don't always work out but my hope is that by doing all this now when I "only" have 4 boys 10 & under :-) I can kind of coast once we start school. Also we are starting our new school year in July so we can get in 5 or 6 good weeks before baby#5 so I think we will all have had time to adjust & be into a routine with ECC. We take an extended break for half of Nov & all Dec because we raise Christmas trees so our whole family is involved with farm work then. Even with that break & 5 or 6 weeks off for the new baby I think we will finish by May.

Anyways, I will be praying for all of you & hope you will pray for our family too! Another great thing about deciding to start early this year...I am soooo excited I don't think I could wait till fall!

Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by cbollin »

one thing in the back of my mind.... the first few weeks in ECC will seem very full. So, agreeing with Edie's life there..... if you can try to start early and therefore "start off ahead", that can be nice. One of the other things in my head on scheduling ECC.... on another forum I visit someone was lamenting that ECC seems lighter (i.e. not enough) in the spring time. I see that as a positive part of ECC to be honest... spring is busy. babies are growing.....
but I've noticed there are ebbs and flows in Marie's lesson plans that allow for us to come up for air when needed. Just know that in ECC those first weeks are faster, fuller and no... it isn't like that each week.

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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by tiffany »

I did that the 1st year with MFW. I thought it worked out great. Especially when baby still napped frequently. Works out well to do group reading while you're nursing. Nice snuggle time for everyone, and an opportunity to sit down for a minute. It was such a great year for us. Really helped to have everything organized so well in the manual. Felt like school was one thing my brain didn't have to dwell on. Just was able to pick up the manual and go. We were usually able to pull off one craft per country and most of the cooking. We're kind of foodies though. (Love to make it- and eat it!) Try to look over your manual real well and have all the supplies you need on hand. I had a 4 year old at the time who liked to do some of the coloring pages and projects with us. He learned the geography song too, and tended to be pretty interested in what we were doing. I actually think it is a great year to do with a young family. Brings a smile to my face just remembering it. :)
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by kcmyworld »

I started ECC in January while working outside the home part-time. I chose MFW in large part due to the open and go format of the curriculum (plus of course the Bible base). It's taken us longer than it should have to get through each country, but God knows our current season. The plan is to take 6 weeks or so off when the baby is born, then pick up again mid-August. The kids will then be 2nd and 4th grade. We should be able to finish up ECC before the holidays, even with distractions and life happenings. I'm blessed to hear of so many others with so many more children than I who manage to continue to obey the Lord's calling.
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Re: Anyone do ECC with a new baby?

Unread post by lynzee »

Yes, you can do it! I did ECC with a new baby that year and we did okay keeping up with it. We just didn't do all the crafts or I made some of my own substitutions. This year we did RTR and I had baby #7 just before Christmas. (I have a children in grades 6, 4, 3, 2 and a 4 year old and extremely active 2 year old in the mix too). Here are a few things that worked for me and they might for you too- I started school in early August so we could be ahead- I just kept it kind of light at the beginning because the days are so nice here and winter can be soooo long here in Maine-we also did school outside and some days only Bible, history and science- I figured when the baby came we'd be ahead there so I could take time off from group activities and just focus on math, reading or independent work during the weeks just before and after the baby actually arrived.
I also try to do subjects we do as a whole or just spend time with the little ones in the morning and we do more one- on-one in the afternoon while the little ones are napping. We finish later in the day but we have a more restful morning and a long break at lunch time so my older kids can get outside an play a bit. My older ones do a lot of independent work in the morning too while I'm with the little ones.

Lastly, I like the idea someone gave about requesting library books online- I do this because than my husband can get them for me and it's just easy to go to the library and have them ready than to look for them while I take care of the small ones and my big kids are off looking for their own books- and it's just a given the baby is always fussy when I'm looking for books and my 2 year old is pulling all sorts of books off the shelves ;). I hope you this option is available to you.

I hope this helps. I try to remember my kids will be reviewing some of the same material again sometimes year after year but I only have my little ones small for this season. God gave you all these blessings and He will give you the strength you need and it's okay if you don't get to everything every day- little by little- inch by inch, precept upon precept. Not that I'm perfect about remembering this but I feel more peaceful when I remember this. When I had baby #4 a friend gave me this verse (can't remember the exact reference right now in Isaiah or Jeremiah- lack of sleep=) "in the Lord Jehovah is EVERLASTING STRENGTH" this is my mantra some days.
Sorry to be so long winded but I hope this may give you a bit of encouragement.

Married to DH for 14 years
Mom to 7 blessings
DD-12, DS-10, DS-9, DD-7, DD-4, DD-2, DD-5 months
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Julie in MN
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Getting a routine going with a baby ??

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Christine wrote:Hi - We just received our curriculum (K and Adventures) and I am excited to start! I was wondering if anyone had any tips for a daily routine or pattern when there is a baby who doesn't sleep through the night?
There are some archived threads to start with, while you wait for busy families to check in on the message board :)
Babies - How do you homeschool with them in the picture?
Babies - How to structure our day
Combining Preschool & MFW-K (plus an older program)?

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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