Compare MFW to other in-depth Christian unit studies?

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Compare MFW to other in-depth Christian unit studies?

Unread post by dslicom »

What is drawing me to another Christian unit study:
1. More critical thinking.
2. All the background info, however, will I REALLY have time. I only have 2 LG dc (K and 3rd next year), I admire all the families that have been blessed with 3+ children and how you handle it all.
3. Integrated writing.
4. We love to lapbook.
5. Lots of hands on activities.
6. Resource list is very extensive

What is drawing me to MFW:
1. Minimal planning
2. Missionary focus
3. I have heard David speak, and I like their philosophy.
4. Seems like school will be fun.

Thank you for your opinions and time. We will keep praying for wisdom.
Christina in MN
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Unread post by Christina in MN »


The reasons that our previous unit study didn't' work for us are.....

1. It was a lot of extra planning on my part as we were using two different levels. I knew that would just get to be more as I added the up and coming children.

2. I found it difficult to make it flow without any spines. The history just seemed disjointed.

3. I wasn't able to afford all of the books it would have taken to make both levels work well, and again, I knew this would get harder as we added more.

I've really enjoyed teaching with MFW as I don't have to plan. I have time now to plan some fun extras and whatnot. Also, the book choices are great! We haven't run across one yet that we didn't enjoy. We find that what is scheduled is plenty and affordable.

Hope that helps a little!

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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 9:25 pm

Unread post by MJP »

I couldn't have written better reasons why we love MFW.
dslicom wrote:1. Minimal planning
2. Missionary focus
3. I have heard David speak, and I like their philosophy.
4. Seems like school will be fun.
I would add two more.

5. & 6. It is easy to adapt to multiple ages and flexible. We are enjoying RtoR in a year with a new baby, an upstairs remodel (6 kids sleeping in the living room--the baby is in a cradle in our room), a bad case of some sickness with a cough and fever that spread throughout the house, and now the chicken pox!
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850
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Comparison to MFW?

Unread post by pjssully »

mn_kids wrote:I love writing out lesson plans!!! Another Christian unit study would allow me to do that but I am wondering if anyone knows what it covers in comparison to MFW?
Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:40 am
Hi-- I tried to use if for awhile. It is was very labor intensive for me, even though i was only teaching two children-10 and 8 (however, i have twin 6 year olds). It is definitely thorough but i found many books were not at the library and ending up spending 200 or more on the books needed to use it. The hands on activities were fun for the kids, but it just was too overwhelming to me to use--i ended up selling it.

I think if you like to plan, it could work for you. I just don't have the time or willingness to spend loads of time planning. Maybe it would have gotten better after a few months but i didn't want to wait. I did part of ECC and the ease of the MFW teacher's manual is more appropriate for my "personality."
Karen in TX
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Unread post by Karen in TX »

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:48 pm

I tried the 3 week trial. I bought a considerable amount of the books in order to try it because it seems everyone had them checked out of the library at the same time and there was a list of people waiting for them ahead of me.

It probably wasn't a good time for me personally to try to do all that work. That said... we're planning to do MFW1 next year. It was lovely, but it's not "pick up and go," there is a lot for mom to do, and there is a lot for mom to buy. It's not in my budget long-term, I would have had to do one year's worth over two years.
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Unread post by ElaineTX »

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:58 pm

I loved the philosophy behind it. Once I started looking through the sample weeks, though, I had serious reservations. I finally realized that MFW scheduled for me what was recommended for the grammar stage anyway!

There is still plenty of school planning for me to do -- especially MFW book basket books and the other curricula I use. Even with using MFW's schedule, things go better when I've made myself familiar with the week's assignments.

MFW has a reputation for being "light," but I have not found that to be the case! Even if it was, with our other classical subjects, music lessons, co-op, and life in general, I'm not convinced we need a heavier focus on history than we have with MFW. So, MFW it is for us!
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Compare MFW

Unread post by ChristyH »

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:29 pm

I feel that our previous curriculum pushes to hard and too fast. The author even says herself that it is mostly written for the highschool student. I remember it asking my then second grade dd to write a 3 paragraph report newspaper style. Way too much for her then.

I feel MFW is more age appropriate where you can either beef up a little or back down a touch. Not so much prep or ton of extra information that isn't really needed unless your teaching high school. TOG even admits there is a period in getting used to it. None of that with MFW.

I know we were overwhelmed when we used it. MFW has been the best we have ever used. My children like it, not so with the previous curriculum.
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Unread post by gressman9 »

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:39 pm
I used it too. I loved the concept....teaching all the children the same subject (hmmm....sounds like MFW...). BUT we were very overwhelmed with it too. The writing part was very hard and confusing to us, so we did not use it.

We will start MFW in the fall.

Posted Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:00 pm by gressman9
It is a wonderful classical program. BUT....I have 7 kids ages 2-16. It seemed more aimed at the older kids. Also, I found it hard finding the book that I needed when I needed them. We also found that some of their resources were way over my kids heads. Their writing component was way too hard for my children. I can combine more of my children with MFW highschool program is way more independent. I honestly do very little with my hs daughter. I think MFW is more balanced and overall easier to use.


Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:19 am

Rather than written at a pace that is designed for high school and includes tag along ideas for younger kids, MFW works high school differently by allowing high schoolers to be independent at go at the pace they need. MFW offers a “family work together” cycle as well. So instead of trying to juggle children in different stages of learning within each year, MFW writes a program best suited for the different stages of learning.

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MFW differences

Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:43 pm

My dh's cousin is using [the program you mentioned] ... and liking it. It does look good. Here are some differences that I've found from conversations, etc.

1. MFW has the geography year.
2. MFW has a separate kindergarten and 1st grade that are designed to be taught alongside (if necessary) a "bigger" program.
3. And, similarly, MFW has Adventures which is designed for a 2nd grader who is oldest in the family (or an advanced 1st grader, or even 3rd grader).
4. MFW takes much less prep time. You open the TM and go.
5. MFW simply says, in the TMs, "for older students" or "younger." MFW doesn't refer to four levels specifically by name, which is fine with me.
6. MFW has (okay, "is developing") a separate high school program. The other program includes everyone from K to 12.
7. Both have the classical elements of following history from creation to present.

Someone familiar with both should really answer this!

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:27 pm

Kelly mentioned about ECC (just tagging on)
*MFW has a year of learning geography and cultures before starting chronological history. Geography and current cultures are important to know as well. Geography in ECC goes beyond map work. History is great and I love studying it, but we live now and today, and need to know about it too. If we are called to be ambassadors for Christ and go into the world, we need to know current world and the history too.

*MFW includes science.

*MFW just looks simple to use and do. I got lost on that 52 page online sample of one week's lesson in the other program. gulp. I love MFW's manual!!!

Looking forward to hearing from the real experts – ones who have actually used it

And there is a thread in the archives that compares MFW in general to other curriculum categories. Here’s that link

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Unread post by perkins7nac »

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:22 pm

I've used the two.

Both are distinctively Christian curriula. However the other program does not integrate Bible study within the full curriculum; it simply include Biblical history within the spectrum of historical studies. MFW builds, year upon year, upon the foundation of family worship, Bible study and memorization.

TOG is classical. MFW is classical with that CM twist (short, concise lessons covering the broadest possible spectrum of subjects). While lessons in fine arts and other topics were in the lesson plan, we never did manage to finish our other work in time to get to it ... music is included in MFW, not in TOG. Science is included in MFW not in TOG. (These topics are not only included, they are integrated!)

I feel that MFW better matches my goal of Christian discipleship and it helps me reach my goals with my kids. (I love and respect what Marcia Somerville has created and written, but in practical reality it did not translate as well for us as MFW has ...)

Karen Perkins
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Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by DS4home »

mshanson3121 wrote:Right now we're doing MFW grade 1, and DS really likes it. I love the integrated Bible and the open and go format. When we finish what we're doing next fall, it'll be first of October, and DS will be 6 and a few months. He is a very visual learner who needs lots of pictures. Struggles with copywork.

I've been debating for a couple weeks between Weaver (I like the unit study approach which I've been told would probably work well with my Visual-spatial son's learning style), MFW (LOVE that it's scripted and open and go) and SCM. The only downsides to both Weaver and MFW is that they are lacking in something that we need (Canadian social studies/history etc.), so I'll have to supplement. SCM will allow me to use whatever we need, but it's more work in the planning.

My son, who'll be 6, has SPD and is receiving OT, and our DD who'll be 3, is currently receiving Early Intervention. Life is far from calm - so I'll admit things that are planned, do have an appeal to them. But I also really need to be able to custom-tailor learning to his needs/our life needs. I need to be able to really tailor our lessons around our weekly schedule.

So really, my question is, in my position which way would you go?
Well.... seeing that you mentioned how you loved the open and go format that MFW offers...I would vote for staying with MFW and continue onto the next year (Advetures) when you're ready!

You have a lot of other time commitments that you are having to schedule and coordinate. To make school doable you need to consider how much time you have left to devote to school, meaning: teacher research/planning/possibly learning a new company's material/implementing it....all the parts of school that require time from you.

As I look at some of your comments here are the thoughts I had. You said you like the unit study approach you see in Weaver. MFW is a unit study approach as well. You are also drawn to the Charlotte Mason approach, which MFW uses as well. To quote the MFW catalog, they "Combine the best of Charlotte Mason's ideas, classical education, and unit studies with a Biblical worldview. So I don't think you can go wrong with sticking with the familiarity of what you have already started with! :-)

Just some of my ponderings as I read your post,
Celebrating our 30th Anniversary <3
Amber(HS Grad, Married), Carmen(HS+Col Grad, Married), Nathan(HS+College Grad), & Bethany(11th)
2020: high school US Hist.1
Completed the MFW cycle: Pre K-yr.5, AHL(pilot), WHL, US Hist.1
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Re: Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by mshanson3121 »

Sorry, I should have clarified, we're from Canada - so we need Canadian social studies/history etc.. That's the big thing with Adventures - I'm going to have to do a LOT of subbing. I have thought of just skipping Adventures and going right to ECC, which the website says to do, but where DS is a year ahead, I'm worried that may be too much for him.

Our province lists out their entire curriculum outcome requirements - you can use whatever you want to achieve them, and there's no testing (thought it does give that little disclaimer that they do have the right to require testing), no requirement on hours. But our social studies in the young years is not history/geography, as much as it is learning about individuality, community, civil servants, safety etc...
Amy C.
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Re: Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by Amy C. »

mshanson3121 wrote:Our province lists out their entire curriculum outcome requirements - you can use whatever you want to achieve them, but our social studies in the young years is not history/geography, as much as it is learning about individuality, community, civil servants, safety etc...
Could you achieve this with library books and field trips? I could see where health and individuality. community, civil servant, and safety could overlap. For example, fire safety and a fire plan and trip to fire station could be considered health, community, civil servant and safety. Learning about the human body, ways to protect themselves, good hygiene, good handwashing and how to prevent spread of germs and a field trip to a doctor's checkup/dental checkup could be individuality, community, and safety.

Just an idea.

Amy C.
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Re: Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by 4myboys »

I am Canadian also, and trying to sort out what to use with my boys who are older than yours. We have a new homeschooling family at our church using MFW. Their oldest is second grade and they skipped adventures and went right to ECC. Given your situation, and time constraints, could you use ECC with the while adding in health in the ways mentioned above, social studies would be well covered, but you could easily add a field trip to the fire station etc. Though I haven't had a good look at it yet, I am sure it would be possible to drop a country or two if need be or plan to do half this year and have next, giving priority to math and language arts goals and anything else that you feel needs focus at this time.
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Re: Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by kw4blessings »

After reading your post and situation, it seems like an open and go curriculum like MFW would work best for you to continue with. I'm not sure how I would handle homeschooling and life in general with my little people if it weren't for MFW's excellently planned out program.
4myboys wrote: or plan to do half this year and have next, giving priority to math and language arts goals and anything else that you feel needs focus at this time.
I love 4myboys' idea of using ECC and spreading it out over 2 years. It sounds like your ds if definitely young for the ECC program (not from personal experience, but reading about it). But, spreading it over two years would give you plenty of time to add library books on ss and health topics that you mentioned you needed as well as slow down the material so that it' not over his head. It does seem like all the subbing you'd have to do for ADV would add a lot of work to your already busy schedule.

I have no experience with ECC, and others who have done it may think it's too much for a 6-7 yr old? Best wishes as you make your decision!
Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
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Re: Help me make up my mind...

Unread post by unitlovinmama »

Hey there. You've gotten lots of great counsel. Just want to add my two cents as a former Weaver user. I used it for five years because I loved the unit study approach. However, you must plan everything, choose all the books, and schedule it yourself. Even if you get the Day by Day, which is the schedule, it may not be to your liking and you still need to get your own books. Weaver does include art and music. It is very very teacher intensive. I absolutely loved it the five years we did it. I love unit studies and my children learn wonderfully this way.

But let me tell you, I had no idea what I was missing! Honestly, this has been our very best school year ever. Having everything planned for me, but with some leeway to choose some of my own "book basket" books, having all the scheduled books... it is just heaven :) You can very easily supplement the required courses. With so much on your plate with your little ones right now, I suggest sticking to a fully planned curriculum like MFW. Best to you!
-Stephanie, HSing for 5 yrs, first year with MFW 2012-1013 (ECC).
Wife of 12 yrs, mama to three crazy but amazing kids (9, 7, and 3)
"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us..." Psalm 90:17
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Anyone BTDT..tried Classical Conversations but miss MFW?

Unread post by kw4blessings »

cinmor wrote:We are in our 5th grade year with my oldest DD, and kindy with my youngest. We decided to give CC a try after prayer. I'm already looking at going back to MFW next year. Anyone have the same experience as us? I've used MFW with my oldest all the way through until this year. I'm thinking of getting RTR for my oldest next year, and going ahead and getting MFW kindy for my youngest even though I'm using Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons with her. She's on the autism spectrum and I think the added review would be good. Does this sound like I have a good game plan??

Any recommendations on how to get through the rest of the year since we don't get a refund????
Thanks so much!!!
Hi Cindy,
We actually started out with CC when my oldest was in K. I loved the whole classical method and it seemed like the best way to go at the time. It ended up not being the right program for us. I found MFW about halfway through that year. I wish I had gone ahead and purchased K right then, I'm sad to have missed MFW's K with my oldest! But, we did finish out the year with CC. CC is a great program and works well for a lot of folks. We just weren't one of those families and MFW has been a huge answer to prayer. I can't foresee us using anything but MFW in the future.

I can't tell from your siggy line, are you using CTG alongside CC right now? If so, I would suggest finishing out the CC year, but mainly for the social aspect and presentation practice on CC day. You could finish out CTG on your four days at home. If you're not using CTG, you could purchase that now and begin now. It would be a crunch, but you could get it done in time to start with RTR in the fall. I would highly recommend K for your youngest. Even if the phonics lessons are a review, the Bible and character lessons are not to be missed.

If you're really done with CC, one more thought... We had a family in our CC community that decided to stop mid-year. They actually "donated" the rest of their year to another family who wanted to try it out the 2nd semester, but couldn't afford it. Of course, that's totally up the the director's discretion, but thought I'd throw it out there. :)

Pray about it. The Lord will lead you in the right direction!

Kelly, blessed mama to
sweet girl 10, busy boys 8, 6, 3
Finished K, 1st, Adventures, ECC
2016-17 CTG, K, and All Aboard!
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Re: Anyone BTDT..tried Classical Conversations but miss MFW?

Unread post by Kab »

Hi Cindy,

We did K, 1, and ECC with my girls then I thought I would try Classical Conversations last year, the girls enjoyed it more for the social and the friends that they made. I feel that while we learned it was really not a good fit for us. I felt I was floundering last year with the school and I really missed MFW. In hind sight I should have just ordered CTG last year and worked through it alongside CC.

My suggestion to you would be the same as Kelly and if you can finish out the year with CC for the social , (we still meet up with our old CC group every once and a while at a park), and the presentation aspect, my girls confidence grew with doing the presentations.

Hope that helps with your thought process.
Last edited by Kab on Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Learning to wait on the LORD
Happily married to a great husband.
Mommy to two beautiful young girls.
Working through CTG
Back after a year of Classical conversations
Living in beautiful Alberta Canada
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Re: Anyone BTDT..tried Classical Conversations but miss MFW?

Unread post by abrightmom »

Hi Cindy,

Wow, your story is similar to mine (I have 4 kids and we opted not to do Essentials). :)

We did use MFW for K, 1st and Adventures and then poked around with "other" curriculum for awhile. I lost my bearings in our homeschool and felt "out of control". Last school year we decided to try CC and it was Cycle 2. My kids enjoyed CC (and the families involved were lovely) but we won't be returning. For what we spent I felt it was NOT worth the price as CC didn't take anything off the table for me. We can have fun without the price tag and I'm not one who believes CC is rigorous .... shrug. In the interest of keeping the focus on the merits of MFW let me just share that I sorely missed MFW these past three years AND all I could think about last year was how I wish we were using RTR!!

As far as finishing the year you have a few options:
1. Drop out if it's something you're not enjoying at all or it is draining you. The money is spent either way. I know it's a bummer. Focus in on that CtG guide. Isn't it wonderful????? Oh, I wish we hadn't missed it.
2. Finish the year. Dig in and make the most of it. Plan to return to MFW for RTR in 6th grade. And yes, if you love MFW K and think it's right then do it. :-)
3. Talk with your director to see if an alternative plan could work. If your site is full and there are folks on the waiting list then it may work to have another family take those spots and cover the remaining tuition.

We started RTR just this week! It took me all the way into the early fall to order and prepare but I'm so thankful we are back with MFW. I LOVE the teacher's guide; it is a faithful friend helping me to invest in my kids. The work is challenging and interesting and wonderful. It isn't easy and I don't think we'll always love school (sometimes school really is work :-) ) but "I love MFW" because it provides a strong, Bible integrated foundation for home educating/discipling my children. I wish I'd never left the MFW path but God had a lot to teach me in my "desert wandering" and I'm so glad He loves me enough to do so! MFW is a lot of work for us but it is SO balanced. It's SUCH a fantastic fit for MY family and if your heart (and brain because we Mamas think a LOT on these things) are telling you that you miss MFW and long to return then you are probably supposed to Come Back!!

Wishing you the best as you iron out all the wrinkles!

DS15, DS14, DD12, DS8
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Re: Anyone BTDT..tried Classical Conversations but miss MFW?

Unread post by cinmor »

LOL I guess I should update my signature line haha!! Yeah we did CTG last year. :) I think that we'll just stick CC out for the rest of the year, especially because I'm expecting #3 and due 2 weeks before our CC is finished. We're having to be careful of our $$ right now to prepare for baby because we had sold ALL of our baby stuff because we thought we were finished LOL!! We'll use our tax refund and hubby's bonus at the beginning of the year for school stuff for next school year. Doing the bare minimum (CC memory work w/ both girls, reading/writing/math with kindy and math/essentials work with 5th grader....sometimes we do vocab/spelling, sometimes not. Some days it's all we can do to get through our essentials work!!) Trying not to feel guilty about that, but also this is where I'm just a little less enchanted with CC now because I thought there'd be more to it than this? I should count my blessings on days when this pregnant mama just wants to take a nap!! :-) That's another thing I miss about MFW though, having the lesson plan laid out for me so I don't have to think about it so much! Which will be nice with a baby joining us next year!!!!
Cindy M
Mama to
Joseph Age (18 mos)
Mikayla Age (8)~Completing Learning God's story, moving on to Adventures/Exp to 1850 with big sis
Hannah Age (12)~Already completed MFW K,1st, Adv, ECC, CTC, and RTR, now doing Exp to 1850
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