Oh CindyLou, how disappointing.CindyLou wrote:Hi everyone -
MFW won't have a booth at our convention! So not only will I not get to hear / see David Hazell's workshop about how MFW is a combination of Unit Studies, Charlottte Mason, & Classical homeschooling styles from a Biblical point of view, but I won't be able to SEE the curriculum, ask questions, and get a feel for how it works!
So...to those of you who are already using MFW....just exactly how does MFW curriculum combine these methods? Obviously, I understand the unit study portion and that the curriculum is also Biblical. But how does the Charlotte Mason and Classical part fit in?
Also, is there a way to get a "sample" of the various MFW curriculum? And a scope & sequence chart? Although I was mostly interested in seeing the Kindergarten & First Grade curriculum, my husband was hoping to view and to be able to ask questions to better understand how the multi-age 5-year cycle works before we commit to this curriculum. For example, our state requires yearly testing ... will our children have gained the necessary knowledge EACH YEAR in order to pass the testing? Or does it take the full five years before the child has the complete understanding / knowledge necessary for state testing requirements?
We really WANT to know more about MFW - from all of our research, it SOUNDS like the best fit for our family, but we had hoped to attend the workshops, see and touch the curriculum, etc.... Any suggestions? Input? Thanks in advance....
Let's see if I can give a few points on how MFW combines those elements you mentioned. I'm sure there's a lot more than I am mentioning here, but here are the things I can recall right now...
1. Classical. While we aren't learning to speak Latin or Greek, we are learning the Greek and Latin word roots. Also, we approach history chronologically.
2. Charlotte Mason: Cover many subjects in short time periods before the child burns out. (Math is sort of the exception to this - math just takes longer). Work hard in the morning ("structured mornings") and get done before "unstructured afternoon." Living books vs. "twaddle." When you are done with a "school" book do you want to throw it away (or kindly shelve it but never refer to it again) or do you want to read the book over again. Living books usually are written by an expert on the subject area (be it birds, or whatever) whereas textbooks are often written by committees and not always by experts. MFW uses books that you want to go back to again and again. Charlotte Mason also recommends dictation and copywork, as does MFW. Charlotte Mason recommends nature hikes and nature notebooks, as does MFW.
3. Unit Studies. This means tying in various subjects to one theme. So, when you learn about Brazil you also learn about rain forests, Brazilian art, Brazilian music. When you learn about Egypt, you learn about the plagues in the Bible in Exodus, you study the structure of pyramids, as you learn Egyptian history. That's what MFW does from K on up. Some unit studies out there take it farther, so that your spelling, composition, etc. are ALL tied together. MFW still has you doing a traditional LA and spelling, etc.
4. Bible. Sounds like you are comfortable with the biblical basis for MFW curricula. It truly is woven in to the entire program.
Hear that squeaky sound? That's me stepping onto a soapbox for a moment...
We do the SAT test too. I don't sweat it though. I think I'd be nervous if we were at the low end where the state gets interested in how we are doing. However, we're gloriously average and it feels great.
Before testing I tell the kids that the testing is really "testing mom and dad" to show us if we need to spend more time on a particular subject, etc.
Also, it helps to be realistic as homeschoolers. Generally (I know some exceptions) we don't "teach to the test" as the public schoolers (and many private schoolers) do. The tests were designed for public school kids and public school textbook writers design (and market) their texts to FIT these tests. It's the tail wagging the dog! We can expect that our scores might be less in certain areas (hey, WE'VE not covered Rosa Parks yet & that was the ONE question on a recent history test). I know some people using certain mastery math programs see their test scores are lower than they had hoped simply because they've not worked on certain concepts yet. That's simply what happens when a curriculum doesn't fit a particular test.
Also remember, that SAT scores are simply ONE tiny piece of what you'll use to measure success. YOu'll also consider the work you've seen and how your children are getting along with others, how they are sparkly and interested in things and not burned out, how they share their things with others, how they don't say, "I can't play with you because you're in SECOND grade." So, take the testing with a grain of salt.
Still on my soapbox, aren't I?
One of the biggest blessing my dh gave me when we pulled the kids out of their rigorous Christian school is when he said, "Hey, let's aim for average kids." He meant academically, not morally or spiritually. In other words, it would be great for all four of our kids to excel in all subjects, but it's not realistic. So, we look for areas where the kids are behind academically and adjust our time to help where they are behind... Perhaps discuss testing with your dh and ask what is acceptable to him. Is it fine to have a child hit the 50th percentile? Is it okay if your kids are at the 20th percentile in a few things? What is a good goal? Where do you worry? Where does the state jump in and get in your face? It's a personal thing that should be prayed about.
JUmping off the soapbox...
Anyway, "surf" the http://www.mfwbooks.com website and you'll see that there are samples of the TM. After you take a look there, perhaps the moms on this board can fill you in on how MFW works. Maybe we can explain what the samples don't.