Preparation - Box Day when we are new to MFW or to hs

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Preparation - Box Day when we are new to MFW or to hs

Unread post by schoolmom2 »

Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.
hppymom25 wrote:We are new to MFW, coming from SL and I thought that I was ready to "take the plunge" but now have so many nervous and overwhelming feelings. I decided that I at least needed to try an activity based curriculum for at least a I'm just really stressed, just looking at something new.

I wasn't sure about the LA recommendations but ordered PLL, to look at it and be able to make a decision a little better. I like it! We're coming from SL LA and looking at the ECC curriculum is so different. They have no list of their own, I knew that when I ordered but it's just trying to figure out what to do. I know I could type out my own, on Microsoft, but that's just another thing to do.........I really want them to each have their own binder with a schedule in it for LA, Math, etc.

We have a three month old and all of our kids ages are 11, 8, 6 and 3 (and our three month old). I feel so over-whelmed and wondering if I'm going to be able to pull next year off, as well as wondering if I'm going to be able to school all of our children at home, like we're wanting to do.

WOW, this post is all over the place, I know.....I'm feeling such a HUGE mix of emotions, right now. I really felt the Lord was even telling me to switch things around for this next school year, so I would be involving the kids in more hands on things but now that I've done it, frankly, I'm scared to death. I feel panicky when I wake up in the morning and I feel the same way, at night before going to bed. I just wish I felt positive about this change. I even feel a little sad that we won't be learning History for the up-coming year.

Thanks for listening...........sorry to bombard the boards with negativism. I think MFW is obviously a great program......I just don't know if I can make this work and am feeling like a fool right now.

Amy :~
Hi There!

I also felt overwhelmed when I received my first box from MFW, and I only have two kids! I can sympathize with waking to anxiety and feelings of inadequacy!

Once I read the TM, and organized my supplies, however, I felt a little better. The first two weeks were a little rocky as I got my feet under me, but it has been a breeze since then. To be honest, I didn't do any extras for those first couple of weeks. I just concentrated on the core materials. Then I started adding things (like art, music, LA (aside from the normal writing and narrating in the core stuff)). I found it more manageable to ease into things. If we are finishing up our LA book a couple weeks after we're done with the core material, no big deal.

If you feel that God has led you to MFW (and my personal opinion is that He did - what a wonderful curriculum!), then you can trust that He will give you everything you need to be successful in teaching your children. Pray for a clear mind, the Lord's strength, and let this board know of any questions you have - these ladies are so helpful!

I will pray for you right now!
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by BHelf »

hppymom25 wrote:Beth,

Thanks for your kind reply and the encouraging words! I knew that this would be a difficult switch but didn't realize quite how I'd feel, trying to get used to just seeing different materials, different style of Teacher's guide, etc. I LOVE all the activities mentioned but am just really trying to figure it all out, right now and mostly praying that God will give me peace about me decision. Thanks so very much for your prayers!!
I really recommend reading through all the notes at the beginning of the manual and then reading through the first 2 weeks of each program. Down to when the grid says to use a student sheet, get it and look at it. Read the pages in the books that the grid says to read. Make a list of supplies you'll need for those first couple of weeks. Then just skim through the rest of the manuals. Then figure out your schedule (which subjects you'll do in which order) based on what works the best for your family. I think once you do these things, you'll feel better and not so overwhelmed because you'll be able to see how your days will flow with MFW. ECC is very doable. Keep in mind that those first 2 weeks are more "full" than is typical with a week in ECC. So don't let that overwhelm you. Maybe even start math, spelling and LA after those first couple of weeks to gradually work things into your schedule.

I got the K and Adventures program this year and for some reason, the K manual threw my brain for a loop! :) But I just read through the manual while looking at the student sheets and figuring out what a day in K would look like. I did the same with Adventures and then made up my schedule to combine the 2.

Also, some have suggested to start one program a couple of weeks before the other, so start with ECC and in 1 or 2 weeks, add your K student in or the other way around--whatever would work best for your family. That way you aren't so stressed out trying to fit everything in while you're still getting used to a new program.

HTH somewhat! You'll have a wonderful year with MFW!! :)

Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by fdjoyce »

Just wanted to encourage you with prayer & say that God will give you the wisdom & strength to do all that He asks. It sounds like you have really thought through & prayed about your decisions. Don't second guess yourself or start comparing- that is one of the biggest obstacles for HS Mommies (I think.)

I also will be doing ECC & MFWK next year & although I have done K once before this will be our first time with all MFW curriculum. I have 10,7,4,2 year old boys & a baby to arrive early Sept. so we are insimilar situations. I will pray for you.

I don't have any big advice except to take your time going through your TMs & if you need to delay the start of school to give yourself a little more time then do so. An older & wiser HS Mom once told me it is better to start a week later & feel ready & organized than to try & start when you are not ready & I have certainly found that true for myself.

Also, you might want to read the posts "Anyone doing ECC w/ a baby"- I thought those ladies had a lot of great ideas & the one about "Do you write on your grids?" both of which are on the current main board right now. They both helped me.

I decided to photocopy my plan grids from the ECC manual for each child doing ECC & then I can write their individual assignments in those spaces for math/spelling/ LA/ etc. Then they will each have a set of plans for their notebook (like you are used to.) Also, I will save those as records for each child.

I also put my MFWK plans into grid form (for myself of coarse, child can't read) because that was simpler for me. I did not do this the first time I did K because I honestly did not think of it & did not have as many children to teach at the time. However, I asked about that on this board & was given links to some plans others had done that are available online. I'm sure that post is still up on an older page- I think it was called soemthing like "MFWK plans in chart or grid." Unfortunately I could not open any of the premade plans on my computer so I used one that was posted as a sample as my model & made my own set. It took about 1 day- of devoted work but I think it will be worth it to me at this stage.

Hope some of this is helpful to you & I encourage you to read this board; I have really learned a lot by reading of the experiences of the more seasoned MFW users. God's blessings!
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by jasntas »

I felt the same way last summer when I received K and ADV. I knew I would feel overwhelmed so I had already planned on starting the K program over the summer. We started it 2 days a week last summer with my dd (in addition to LA and math for my ds). It was so much easier to implement ADV after that b/c I felt I already had a handle on one program. I plan to do the same thing this year. Start 1st over the summer with dd and just LA and math with ds. I also plan to do a few of the ECC hands on activities over the summer so we don't all feel too overwhelmed the first few weeks while I am getting my feet wet with ECC. As others have stated many times, the first couple of weeks with ECC are very full so I want to ease into it. We also eased into the other subjects as the TM suggested and I plan to do that again this year.

Remember, you won't do everything all at once. It will take a little adjusting to, especially coming from a very different program but I believe it will all work out. And if you originally believed God lead you to MFW as you indicated, you will be able to do it. You received a box loaded with everything for the year. You will be doing a bite at a time and not eating the whole thing at once.

Honestly, I was a bit surprised that when I started reading through everything in my box of 1st and ECC I started feeling overwhelmed all over again. But I have been taking it one thing at a time (for instance focusing on the art projects for the year and making my list of things I will need and not looking at the other subjects at the same time) and I am feeling much better and excited about it. I love the art projects so for me that is a good place to start.

Anyway, I am going to pause and pray that God will give you peace and remind you why you chose this program to begin with. It will all work out.

Keep coming back with questions or concerns and everyone here will be happy to encourage you. :-)

Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by hppymom25 »

Just checked the boards and am so thankful for all the advice and encouragement! I have sat down this morning and tried to really look at the guide more and even have looked on about buying some of the books that they recommend for ECC (haven't done this for MFWK, yet. It might help me if I could purchase some of the books, ahead of time. I'm used to getting lots of books that I can look at and that helps me (I know, sort of strange, but it does).

I have always felt confident with the way SL does their grammar but my boys really dislike the workbooks so I've really decided to give the MFW recommendations a try. They're really different than what I'm used to but this is what I've been praying for........a change. However, now it's time to make the change and I'm nervous. I think I'm also feeling like a writing or grammar program needs to cost lots of money..........crazy way to think. I think that I will try WS and have already bought PLL and my boys were so excited to see that there wasn't a workbook to complete, as well.

Anyway, lots of thoughts going on in my head and worrying that I can't get it done is obviously not helping me. I really want to just feel peaceful and know that I need to keep praying and reading these boards to find out info. that will help me to get organized and be ready for next year. Change is good, right?

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and for all of the kind words. I appreciate all of them so much and will try implementing your suggestions in my planning for our upcoming year!!

Thanks again,
Amy C.
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by Amy C. »


I just wanted to say we did (and are still doing) ECC and MFWK. We have about 5 weeks left. We plan to finish in the summer working around camps and VBS and other summer activities. I am expecting #4 in Sept., and we had to slow down a little while I was so exhausted during the first 3 months of pregnancy. We were new to MFW this year coming from a more traditional curriculum that encouraged more independence in the children's learning - translated: very little time for me being involved and very little hands-on learning. My kids were hating school and quite frankly so was I. I knew it was time for a change. After much prayer and searching, I was introduced to MFW and felt that was the way the Lord was leading. I was nervous but excited about taking the plunge. After receiving my curriculum and going through everything, I was really nervous. Momentary doubts would creep in, but I KNEW God had led us to it so I would pray and tell God, "Okay, I feel very strongly that you led us to this, but I am having worries and doubts", and He would bring peace to my heart and remind me of why I felt led and drawn to MFW. I pray that same peace and confirmation for you at this time.

Another thing was that once we got started it was very exciting but also overwhelming because it was just so different. I went from very little involvement and very little hands-on to a lot of involvement and hands-on. When I say a lot, I mean compared to what I was doing before. I wanted more of this, but at the same time it was an adjustment for me. As mentioned before, the first couple of weeks of ECC are heavier than the rest. I think that added to my overwhelming feelings. However, I can now look back and say that we definitely made the right decision with MFW and have really enjoyed it. We were so ready for a change that I have just looked at this year as a get-refocused, rejuvenated, transitional-kind of year. We needed that.

Once we got used to the way MFW works and got in the groove of things, it has gone much smoother. If I had to do it over again, I would take the advice of many on this board and start K or ECC first (not both at the same time) and slow the first couple of weeks of ECC down a little, maybe start math and LA for my older ones doing ECC first so that we could get used to doing those before starting the rest.

I also think it is good to read and reread the beginning of the TM getting a good picture/plan in your mind of how to implement the program. Of course, if you are like me it is going to take actually doing it to get in that groove. I am a hands-on, on-the-job learner so it definitely took me doing it to work out the kinks. However, I did read the TM and look over the materials several times before we started. I think this helped.

I am certainly no expert. We still have tweaking in our schedules to do, especially with a new baby arriving in the fall, but I did want to post because I can relate to what you are saying and hope that I can offer some encouragement that this is doable. God does not make mistakes, and He is faithful. He will see you through. It may look like a lot when you first open the box, but remember you work on it a little at a time, not all at once. Also, I have learned that I don't have to feel pressured to do every art project or activity, and I can tweak the schedule to fit our lives. I love that I have a TM and grid to refer to, but that I can make it fit into our schedule and work around life without missing anything. If we don't do something the day it is scheduled on the grid, I can refer back to it another day and fit it in, like on our light and independent day, which is scheduled as Friday in the TM, but you can even adjust that if you need to and make it another day of the week.

I agree that this board is a huge help and encouragement. That is another reason I am glad we chose this curriculum.

Praying for you,

Amy C.
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by Caryn »

Amy, our ECC box day is going to be next Wednesday so we will be "ECC'ing" with you the next year!

I have done pre-K, K, 1st and Adventures and now ECC. I remember when I got the K box. I was about ready to send my kids to public school ;) After I spent the weekend mulling over it and familiarizing myself with it, I started to feel a bit better. Then we did Day 1 and I wanted to send them to PS again :-) Within a couple of weeks, I was feeling better, and within a month I felt like an old pro.

Then came the 1st box. Repeat above cycle ('cos it's a different format!)

Then came the Adventures box. Repeat above cycle ('cos it's a different format!)

I'm waiting for the ECC box WITHOUT any trepidation because I KNOW that it's going to be OK. It always has. And also, because the format is the same as Adventures - they all are from here on. Well, maybe not high school, because I haven't seen that, but I won't stress about that until I get there!

All that to say that how you're feeling is to be expected. Especially with a 3 month old in the house! Wow! Take your time. Read over the into a few times as the other ladies have suggested, and what I have found very helpful (after the kids are in bed!!!) is to lay out the resources as I read through the manual and familiarize myself with them.

I know that I've just repeated what others have said, but I hope you can gain some encouragement from the fact that most of us go through the same thing, and then get used to it, and then LOVE it.

Praying for you this weekend as you peruse and mull and enjoy :)

In Christ,
dd9, ds8, and ds3 (Speech therapy and pre-k)
Pre-k (twice), K (twice), 1st (twice), Adventures, ECC and currently CtG
My blog: Considering Wildflowers
Julie in MN
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Re: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I always liked Mike's post about box day, here:

It'll be okay. Just do one thing at a time. And let yourself be done when you need to be done -- whether it's a planning day or a school day.

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: Just received my ECC and MFK and am overwhelmed.

Unread post by hppymom25 »

I will be taking the advice you have all given me and pouring over my materials this weekend in order to become more familiar and also more comfortable.

I have sort of felt like my head has been spinning with homeschooling and with having a small infant. Our newest addition has brought much joy to our family but has also brought about many challenges. There have been many times I have felt like giving up but after much prayer, have gotten through the toughest of times and feel like God has really been trying to re-direct my thinking to pick a curriculum that would be good for my children, as well as for me.

I really feel like this is where I need to be, for my children and also for me. I think that after using MFW that I will be able to see the difference that the hands on activities will make. Although I love SL, I believe that I was the only one who was really excited about it. My kids have many favorite books and we did build lots of memories but they are so excited about adding activities. I didn't feel that at this time in my life, with so many little ones under my feet, that it was as easy as just finding my own activities and then adding them into the curriculum. I felt like I was really struggling to get through all the reading and couldn't imagine adding even more to my days.

I have also really been feeling like my kids didn't have enough Bible woven through their days, whether it be in their reading or writing and look forward to have more Bible and character training in all aspects of our day.

Thanks again to all who have responded to my's amazing that God has brought all of us together in one place. Some of us looking for help and some of us who have lots of advice to give. This is a great place for me to be and just in reading the responses, I know that this is where we should be. Thanks for being here when I was feeling like such a failure and questioning my decision.

I've been looking up books on the reading list for ECC and am starting to really get excited! I need to make myself go to bed but this is the only really quiet time I have right now so here I am........

Anyway, thanks again to you all for making me feel not only like it's o.k. but I'm now starting to get excited. It really helps, knowing that I'm not the only one who sometimes over-whelmed on box day!

Thanks so much for the prayers, too!!

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Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by purpleheartwife »

2girls2boysnme wrote:We are a new MFW family, and will be beginning with ECC on Monday. I am teaching an 8th grader and 2nd grader, with a preschooler and toddler tagging along. We have finally gotten our homeschool room set up (this is our first year), but all of the books/curriculum/student sheets, etc. are still in the box. I haven't had a chance to look through anything, place holds on library books, etc. I am not even sure how I am supposed to organize anything! :~

It all seems so daunting! I would love some suggestions, quick start instructions, encouragement...anything! %|
No worries- you will be just fine:) The first two weeks are really used to just get your feet wet with ECC. If you don't have time to get books from the library it is no big deal. In week 3 they will start visiting countries and starting specific science topics (USA and forests). So just take the first 2 weeks to get used to the books. Everything in ECC is so open and go, you won't have trouble getting started. You can set up the binders as you go. All you would probably need to do is get out the first week of student sheets and go from there. Once you can get to the library I think you will find the book suggestions are great- especially when it comes to picture books to use with your younger ones. We will be starting week 5 on Monday, and so far ECC seems to be a great fit for our family (this is our first year with MFW also). Relax, and enjoy your year:)
Wife to my Purple Heart Marine:)
Mom to ds8, dd6, ds3, ds1
Our 1st year with MFW, using ECC
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I am not doing ECC and so don't have any specific suggestions for you. Is there any way you can possibly get a couple of free hours to look through everything in a peaceful atmosphere... even if it means doing it after the children are asleep? You could give the curriculum a good thorough overview and then really focus in on the first week of the curriculum, making a list of what you will need just for that first week (like the oranges for the mapping activity that I believe is one of the first activities). Try to get some free time this weekend to delve into it... I know, easier said than done! ;)

I wonder if the teacher's manual might have suggestions for setting up binders, organizing student sheets, etc? Have you looked at the ECC archive forum and the ECC ideas forum on here? I haven't looked into those sections, but imagine they could have some start up and organizational tips just like the K and First archives and ideas forums did for me.

I also wouldn't worry about library books just yet. There is enough going on with starting a new curriculum as well as a new way of "doing school" since this is your first year without having to mess about with the library and books and such.

I wasn't as prepared for First as I had wanted to be, so I just got out the first week of student sheets, gathered the supplies for the first few days, and started up just with that. You can always fall into a routine and organization later, as long as you get a firm handle on what craft/activity items and student sheets you will need for the first week or two.

Please don't freak out!
I'm Shawna...
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by smithrr »

There is also the option of starting a week or two later than planned. :)
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by MelissaB »

Hi! Welcome along! :-)

When you get a chance to sit down (for me, that's bedtime :)), look at the first few pages of the ECC Teacher's Manual. It has a lot of wonderful organization ideas & instructions.

Enjoy your year in ECC!
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

purpleheartwife wrote:No worries- you will be just fine:) The first two weeks are really used to just get your feet wet with ECC. If you don't have time to get books from the library it is no big deal. In week 3 they will start visiting countries and starting specific science topics (USA and forests). So just take the first 2 weeks to get used to the books. Everything in ECC is so open and go, you won't have trouble getting started. You can set up the binders as you go. All you would probably need to do is get out the first week of student sheets and go from there. Once you can get to the library I think you will find the book suggestions are great- especially when it comes to picture books to use with your younger ones. We will be starting week 5 on Monday, and so far ECC seems to be a great fit for our family (this is our first year with MFW also). Relax, and enjoy your year:)
I love that this post is from a first-year user. She says it so well. I agree -- No worries - you will be just fine. Take some time to look through the beginning of the TM and the first week's grid; don't worry about having binders and everything perfect just yet.
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by 2girls2boysnme »

Thank you all! I am tucking kids in now, and then I am going to spread everything out on the dining room table and look through it. I just want to make sure there are no surprises that make it so we can't move ahead (supplies needed that I don't have, etc.), or me losing my audience as I fumble through instructions! I really do want to start out with the book baskets, because I know my kids will love that. I will reserve some library books online tonight too. :)
I did see the school supply list and picked those things up this afternoon, just not sure how to organize binders/student sheets. I will look for specific help in the ecc ideas forum. I got page protectors, but also a 3-hole punch...not sure how I'm supposed to do it, but I like the idea of having all of the pages bound at the end of the year as a keepsake of sorts.
Anyway, thanks again! I am glad you all reminded me that there is lots of flexibility here!
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Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by s_duguid »

Ooo, I remember that feeling of being overwhelmed starting homeschooling for the first time. My recommendation is to start out with half days for a week or even two to just get the feel and structure of it. You could either do the Bible/Geography/Science portion or do Language Arts/Math as you ease into it.
Sue, married 20 years and mother to 3 (only homeschooling one):
TJ (18), college sophomore
Drew (17), high school senior
Victoria (12) starting 1850-MOD in fall
  • completed Exp_1850, RtR, CtG, ECC, ADV

Re: Starting ECC Monday (8/6) and freaking out!

Unread post by cbollin »

2girls2boysnme wrote:I'm still feeling a bit confused/overwhelmed, even after looking at the tm a bit. I'm just not sure how we are going to do it all, or even know what all to do when! I guess it takes a while to get into the groove. I'm sure it wouldn't be as difficult if I wasn't trying to teach an 8th grader. Her stuff (science, la, math) is kinda a lot!!
one suggestion.... can you start your 8th grader on science, la, math a week ahead of other students and all other subjects.... ? do those subject sorta together... work out the kinks on it over the week.. then start other stuff?

then the other students could be doing "school games" together or glancing through books..
2girls2boysnme wrote:Great idea! I think we will start with math for both grades, the apologia science...
It looks like language arts is assigned to not all days? I don't know, it all gets so confusing who does what when?! I'm sure it's just me. I know it will all come together eventually. But I think starting a week early to get things figured out will be helpful.
language arts, I can see why you might be hitting some stress levels. (((hugs)))

8th grader: Grammar book.. think of that as "my 7th grader can work through that book when it says English on the grid"
Writing strands - when assigned...
(so it could be 3 days a week in grammar focus. 2 days in writing focus.... you have options to do a week of grammar, a week of writing. be flexible. help student to plan to get through books. help as needed.)

Progeny Press Guides - during Reading time.. in ECC 2nd edition.... I think more is shown on missionary biographies and then PP guides....

2nd grade: when it says "english".. that's PLL time. 3 days a week. plan to cover lessons 1-82 over the year. some lessons (such as lesson 2) take 2 school days to complete. one day with copywork, next day as an intro to dictation.

other langauge arts are built into the program in other ways.

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