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LAmom

MFW Babyish and Not Academically Challenging

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In the past few days, I have read things such as MFW is babyish, and also came across something that said it is not rigorous or as academic. :confused:

 

Any of you think this? Why is that? Just curious. I only have used MFW 1st, so I don't know what to expect with other years. I look at it and it LOOKS good. Looks like the book basket would add alot, too. Don't see how it is much different than Sonlight. I have looked into TOG and decided it would be too much for me right now, but I do get a "more intense" and "more rigorous" feel from that.

 

So, if you have felt this way, can you help explain why you think that? Where do you think it is lacking?

 

Thanks!

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Well, I don't think that MFW is any of those things, but I did have questions about its academic path compared to TWTM (which I love). I asked those on the MFW forum, and you might be interested in their answers: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8945

 

We have used MFW from Kindy, and are going into Adventures this coming year. I will also be doing Kindy again with my youngest. I love MFW!

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I have a friend who's using MFW with her 5th and 7th graders and her dc are loving it. From what I've seen, it's not babyish at all.

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I don't know where they would have gotten that from. MFW certainly isn't babyish. As for academic rigor, we found MFW to have "just enough" without going overboard. I think the Hazell's do a very good job of combining the best of Charlotte Mason with Classical Education. True, their LA recommendations tend toward the Charlotte Mason side (PLL and ILL). But, I don't know that I would say it is less rigorous. Having only used K, 1st and ECC, I cannot comment on the History cycle programs. However, looking over the book list and sample plans, I certainly wouldn't classify it as "babyish".

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Hogwash! MFW is not at all babyish. I am constantly amazed at how MUCH my kids have learned from that program. It is a shame that someone has planted that seed because it is totally unfounded.

Stacey

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I've used MFW for over 7 years. My oldest just finished 8th grade. We've used all MFW recommendations for a long time, with the exception of spelling (this year) and cursive handwriting. My kiddo earned 2 high school credits this year while in 8th grade with Algebra I and Russian I.

 

babyish? I don't think so. I certainly haven't experienced that.

 

MFW uses Story of the World (I hope not too many people think that is babyish). MFW uses various other recognized publishers for history and science. Uses the Bible. Book basket is very full. Strong math (Singapore and Saxon and Jacobs). Strong language arts with a Charlotte Mason feel.

 

What I tend to hear on internet about MFW being babyish is that some people think the K program is really a preschool program. But given that in the K program they are reading short vowel readers half way through the year and work on that skill for months afterwards, I just don't understand why that is considered preschool. MFW K has them working on copying 4-6 word sentences by end of the year. They've worked on laying a math foundation with place value and many concepts.

 

MFW is low prep on mom. Very strong and doable. Very age appropriate to allow kids to learn. It grows each year just like a child grows. I like that even in the 2nd grade program (Adventures) they get to play a bit while learning and they are engaged that way -- it's called hands on learning.

 

My dh and I enjoy strong academics as we are both "nerds" academically. He has a phd in chemistry and works as a researcher. I have my bachelors degree and then stopped because I just wanted to work after that. I want smart kids. I have no problem letting them have play time as part of their young learning days.

 

I like that MFW gives me all of that. I like the "done early" in the day Charlotte Mason way so that my kids have time to pursue whatever they want. My oldest crochets, reads tons of novels, does archery, likes to serve on the youth leadership group at church, and learning Russian.

Middle gal - loves nature, playing in the garden, painting, and learning Chinese.

youngest - autism, and learning a lot.

 

I guess if someone wants academics all day for 8 hours in elementary school, they aren't going to be happy with something like MFW. If they prefer complex hands on learning, they might not be happy in MFW.

 

and we even like the science.

 

-crystal

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Nope, not babyish. We really enjoy it here! We're heading into ECC this year and it looks quite meaty actually. I can't wait to dig in. I feel like it would be a perfect fit for my boys (esp. my oldest). We're also doing K with my almost 4 y/o and I'm thinking we'll have to it everyother day because it looks like it will quickly become "too much" for her.

 

My .02!

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Nope not babyish at ALL :D We have used K, 1st, Adv, ECC and I owned CtC (didn't use though because at the time it was too much ;)), EXP1850 (we will use this coming school year) and 1850toMod.

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So, if you have felt this way, can you help explain why you think that?

 

Thanks!

 

hmm... not sure I should say this. but I will.

 

maybe this perspective would help a bit too. If things are zoomed in too closely, it can look that way. But with big picture in mind and in full context it might look differently.

 

I know one other common thing I hear regularly over here about mfw and babyish....

There is this one book in Adventures that is suggested in week 6 of the program in book basket that might seem to be "babyish".

However,

http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/viewWorkDetail.do?workId=1817&

according to the Scholastic book wizard, that book is grade equiv of 2.1 which is about where MFW schedules the book in week 6 of ADV. In the full context of that week in ADV, it is the 6 week mark of school year. You've just spent 2 weeks in science (including any links from usborne book) to learn about yeast and chemical reactions. You've just learned that Jesus is the bread of life. And you have given your child time to learn how to bake bread.

That's a lot to do. Some families - it might be the first time the child has baked bread or tried to.

 

so, to use a book that reading level is grade equiv 2.1 is not "babyish" in my opinion even if that book looks younger and has an interest level of Preschool through 3rd grade age. It is meant to be read by the student for a fun ending to 2 weeks of learning about bread and baking bread on their own. For some kids it will be very easy to read on their own and for others it will be just on level. It is age appropriate and used at a point in the program where it makes sense with all of the bread learning and baking. The kids were learning much on baking, yeast, etc. so one book to enjoy is a good thing.

 

I know I'm bias so take that into account. but that's my big picture of it with Adventures on that one book. But I've heard that book is one reason that people will say it's preschool or babyish. So I wanted to share the other side of it.

 

 

blessings,

-crystal

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MFW is not babyish. I've never heard that. Several years ago, I did read someone's opinion that MFW was "too light", not "enough". I was using MFW at the time and had a friend who was a die-hard MFW user. She was ahead of me in the program so I called her and told her what I had read. She invited me over to show me exactly what she was doing with her children. Believe me, it was not light... at all. She was a public school teacher before she started homeschooling and she loves MFW. Actually, I know several teachers who became home-educators who use and love MFW.

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I can't give specifics because I have only used K and looked closely at 1, but I do want to jump in on that one thought about grade level book selections. I constantly hear that if we don't challenge our kids reading level that they will be bored. Does their reading level need to be challenged with every book they read in order to learn? I just read Island of the Blue Dolphins and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Percy Jackson, and a Wrinkle in Time. I feel like I learned something from the first two books. I both enjoy and learn when I read SOTW and the books that we read along with it. They are all WAY below my grade level. So were all of my text books in Public School. I don't understand this idea that every book our child reads must be challenging. Honestly. Even if we should challenge their reading level at times in order to expand their knowledge of phonics, grammar and vocabulary, they can learn much in content areas from books below their level. Good grief, I learn from Apologia's elementary series.

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:001_huh:

 

I'm doing MFW K with a Social Sue and she really, REALLY likes it. In fact, we've been doing it on Saturdays too. :tongue_smilie: I could also see it working very well with a Wiggly Willy.

 

My Perfect Paula needs workbooks, though.

 

MFW is not babyish. It's just a different teaching approach.

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I don't understand this idea that every book our child reads must be challenging. Honestly. Even if we should challenge their reading level at times in order to expand their knowledge of phonics, grammar and vocabulary, they can learn much in content areas from books below their level.

 

 

I agree with you, Carmen.

 

That's why I am personally glad that MFW includes both "at grade level" and "above grade level". and even encourages us to let them enjoy "below grade level" for some of the reasons you said. Not all of the books in MFW are at 2nd grade level even in the Adventures program. But that one book that one week is. It's like coming up for a breath of air before heading into more challenges.

 

oh part of me thinks I should put in an exercise analogy about interval training or circuit or... but I'm a little overwhelmed studying for my own exam in being a group exercise instructor.... :lol: what in the world is that word in my book -- can I run over to the Human Body book in MFW's RTR and look it up? giggle...

 

I like how my mother in law puts it. She says when she is wanting to learn just a little bit of information, she heads to the library to the children's department first. Then, if she wants more she heads over to adult section for more. She has her masters degree from when she was in her late 20's early 30's, and currently is studying for a new degree in horticulture sciences. (she's in her 60's). She tells me -- don't burn them out young so that when they are my age and want to learn something new they will want to do it. alright. go grandma....

 

I love it when she and her husband visit and pick up our school books like Streams of Civilization, or Children's Encyclopedia of American History, or even SOTW. They love it! They'll read a caption and say "I never knew that". My dad, who was never ever been a reader -- ok.... picks up books from our book basket and reads them. He got really into several books (Sgt. York, and then Courage to Run).

 

this is where I say should something about multi generational teaching in homeschools.... :lol:

 

maybe I should send that story about my kids' grandparents to MFW office. LOL

 

 

-crystal

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I can't give specifics because I have only used K and looked closely at 1, but I do want to jump in on that one thought about grade level book selections. I constantly hear that if we don't challenge our kids reading level that they will be bored. Does their reading level need to be challenged with every book they read in order to learn? I just read Island of the Blue Dolphins and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Percy Jackson, and a Wrinkle in Time. I feel like I learned something from the first two books. I both enjoy and learn when I read SOTW and the books that we read along with it. They are all WAY below my grade level. So were all of my text books in Public School. I don't understand this idea that every book our child reads must be challenging. Honestly. Even if we should challenge their reading level at times in order to expand their knowledge of phonics, grammar and vocabulary, they can learn much in content areas from books below their level. Good grief, I learn from Apologia's elementary series.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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Hmmm, no one that has that view has commented, though I guess it is kind of setting them up (unintentionally)... I guess I was hoping for an explanation on why MFW looks babyish/not challenging to them vs what they are using. What am I missing? What don't I see? That kind of stuff. Where is it lacking, if at all. The spine is history, so is that the weakness? People add on their own math, LA, etc.

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Babyish? :001_huh: Ummm, no. But then, I don't define myself as a classical educator, either. ;)

 

I wonder how many of the folks who think MFW is too babyish at the elementary level have tried their high school stuff yet? :D

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We have used K, 1st and Adventures, and we are now preparing to start ECC this summer. MFW is not babyish at all. I find that it is very age appropriate. I am amazed at the amount of information that my children have learned through MFW. They've not only learned history, but also Bible, science, music appreciation, art . . . And they gained an excellent math foundation in K and 1st.

 

This is a very rich, well organized, well rounded curriculum that inspires a love of learning in the families who use it.

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Actually, I know several teachers who became home-educators who use and love MFW.

 

I happen to be one of those former teachers who chose MFW, and I have to say WE LOVE IT around here!

 

Honestly, it always confuses me when I read comments about MFW being light. My mind is going in a million different directions right now with things I want to include in this reply, so I'll try to get everything typed before I forget it all!

 

(1) I wonder if these comments are made by people who have actually USED the curriculum and used it the way it's designed. The reason I say that is because I can understand how someone might have that impression if all they do is go to the MFW web site and look at the sample pages or the resources that are included in the package but don't see the extra resources that are added in through the use of the book basket. (You won't find me saying many bad things about MFW at all, but I have to admit, even I wish there were more sample pages online and book basket lists online. I think a lot of people's opinions would change in a heartbeat if they had a better picture of the curriculum as a whole. But unfortunately, you don't get to see all the extra book basket gems or the overall picture of the curriculum until you have the TM in your hands.)

 

(2) This comment ALWAYS baffles me because, as the teacher, YOU ultimately control how challenging the curriculum is. YOU'RE the one who chooses your book basket resources, so if for some reason you feel like the recommended book selections are too babyish, then you just have to choose more in-depth books when you make your weekly trip to the library. They give recommendations in the book basket list, but you are in no way tied to those choices. You are free to use any book, movie, etc. of your choice as long as relates to the topic being studied that week. I happen to really enjoy their book basket choices, but it would be a REALLY easy fix for someone who doesn't.

 

(3) You don't have to do any activities that you feel are too babyish. Next year, for example, we will do Adventures, which is MFW's version of U.S. History for 2nd and 3rd graders. If we come to an activity that I feel dd wouldn't enjoy, then we'll just grab an extra historical fiction or maybe throw in an extra American Girls book or something like that as a substitute. I understand that not everyone learns the same way, but I can honestly say from my own experience that the few things I do remember from public school are things that were hands-on. I remember making a costume to go to Dickens on the Strand. I remember staining a paper with tea and burning the edges so it would look like an old document, then writing part of the Declaration of Independence on it. I remember cutting the legs of black pantyhose into three sections and braiding them, then putting the hose on my head so I could have "indian hair" when I studied Native Americans. It made the learning fun by making me involved in it, and that's the only reason I had any interested in it whatsoever.

 

(4) Let me just say before I type this that I'm well aware that I may get rotten tomatoes thrown at me for this comment, but it's my honest heart and it IS being said in love, no matter how it sounds, so here it goes . . . I often wonder if, as homeschool moms, we're not just WAY too hyper-sensitive about whether our kids are learning "enough." Maybe we feel like we have something to prove to our friends with kids in public school, to our parents (that's the case with me--I always feel the need to prove to grandma & grandpa that our decision to homeschool was the "right" one), etc. that we tend to err on the side of overkill. Yet if we would allow ourselves to go at a gentler pace (which, thanks be to God, is exactly what MFW forces me to do!), our kids would not only enjoy learning more, but they would also retain more of what they learn because they're not getting so much forced on them at once.

 

Here's an example of this that just happened in our home last week. We studied ocean creatures for one week (that's five days of an entire school year) back in October (seven months ago). Last week my six-year-old was running errands with my husband, and she took a spiral notebook with her so she could draw. When she got tired of drawing, she wrote the following "essay," for lack of a better word, about whales. (I'm including all of her grammar and spelling mistakes, so keep in mind that she's only 6.)

 

Did you know?

 

that a whale is a mammle. Whales have a spout that sprays out water. the mom and dad keep wach over their youg. if a enimy atackes the mom and dad save their youg. we have foud that some pepole take care of whales that live in bad water. some whales sing and thats how they talk to each other. whales eat fish and seals. I know it's funny but it's true. Whales live in the ocean and stay At the midel. Whales are Biger then a elephant and a . . . Dinosaur! thats cool dood! whales can jump and dive. it is cool that a whale can jump. it would be cool to have a pet whale. they can swim fast! a whale would make a good boat I like Lerning about whales don't you. well it's time to go. it was fun wall it laster. By!

 

Granted, it's nothing that's going to win an award for literary genius, but I think it's pretty okay that a 6-year-old learned about a topic, retained a good bit of the information for 5 months, and chose to write enough to cover a full page of notebook paper about it. And as I talk to people who have used the curriculum longer than I have, one thing that keeps coming up repeatedly is how much their kids retain. This, to me, is HUGE! First and foremost, I want them to love to learn; after that, I want them to remember what we've studied because it has become such a part of their world through literature choices and hands-on activities.

 

I'm sure there was more I wanted to say about this, but I've already written a thesis, plus I can't remember anything else I was going to say anyway! But it really IS a great curriculum. In our house, "gentle" doesn't mean "bad." "Gentle" means "enjoyable." And that's what promotes lifelong learning, IMHO.

 

Blessings,

Jennifer

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I hesitate to wade in, but as a MFW user who both enjoys it, and finds it on the light side, I might be the type you're looking for explanation from. I agree that MFW is gentle and enjoyable. I think it is a very well designed curriculum.

 

I have used 1st, Adv, and we're wrapping up ECC. I also own K. 1st I think is a great choice for a child learning to read. My own first grader started the year as a somewhat struggling reader, and finished the program in January and is now reading the Ramona books and can read the Thornton Burgess Animal stories on Classical Writing Primer outloud herself. I look forward to using MFW to teach my next child to read as well. The biggest drawback to 1st to me is that after having book basket selections for the first part of the year, about halfway through, there are no more selections--it just tells you to find books to read. I'm good at doing that, but I love the book basket lists so much that I'm stumped as to why the 1st grade list is for only part of the year.

 

Adventures I think is a great 2nd grade curriculum. I used it for my oldest's 3rd grade year, and while a lot of it was great, I think for that particular child, she could have used more depth. I think Sonlight's Core 3 and 4 would have been better for her. Especially once we hit the state sheets. That became very repetitious and I didn't feel she was getting much out of that. The book basket was really the place where she was getting most of her history learning, as I use the book basket heavily, and she reads it all.

 

ECC has been pretty good this year, but it again has felt lighter as the year has gone on. Last week, she did all the history/geography stuff for the week all on the first day (well, not all pages from the geography workbook, but many of those feel like busy work to me, so I don't have her do a ton of them), and I found myself trying to think what else to have her do. Like last year, the book basket is where she's learning the most. And she has learned A LOT through the book basket this year. The book list has been fabulous this year, and I feel like she has a great feel for the different countries we've covered. Our days still feel very light, though.

 

I'm trying to decide for next year, and am looking at options other than MFW, because I feel like as a 5th grader, my dd is ready to have her learning go deeper. I feel like she would have been ready for that this year, too. I still may go with MFW RTR, but I'm exploring other options due to wanting a bit "more" than MFW offers. So, I wouldn't say babyish, just light. K is the only year that might feel babyish for some Kindergartners, while it will be right on target for others. I will be using parts of it in a light, casual way with my 4.5 yo next year, because I expect he will be past it by the next year, and I don't want to miss the opportunity to use such a cute program.

 

Hope that helps some,

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The biggest drawback to 1st to me is that after having book basket selections for the first part of the year, about halfway through, there are no more selections--it just tells you to find books to read. I'm good at doing that, but I love the book basket lists so much that I'm stumped as to why the 1st grade list is for only part of the year.

,

 

Maybe I can shed some light on that part of it.

 

The math book basket is still scheduled during those days.

and we still have the Honey for a Child's Heart for general reading.

 

Science book basket however, did not have titles for those days (when Science with Water, and Science with Plants are scheduled). It says go to the library. I agree that it is a bit frustrating on that change. But some of it has to do with hte topics in the water book. It gets hard to find exact topics. So, that's where the MFW message board picks it up to have customer to customer help.

Would any of these books have helped with Science with Water?

 

http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3557#p56709

 

and for plants -- lots of stuff at the library, or just grow the bean plants and observe. or get out and go gardening.

 

But the math books are still scheduled in those days of the program, and of course, as parents we get to schedule whatever we want from Honey for a Child's Heart.

 

science in the first 80 days of 1st grade has a wide variety of topics in general science. You'll find that even as you do some of the Water, and Plants books, that you'll end up back in the same book basket books in the first 80 days. Or at least I did this year.

 

At one point this year on MFW's board I made this guess about the science book basket "ending" at day 80ish when someone else asked that question... so back in November I had this to say

 

"I started to look through Science with Water a bit. I still don't know why Marie didn't list titles (maybe she didnt' find stuff that was really good to use?) in that section. But I noticed that I would have a harder time in some parts because the topics aren't as specific for subtopics the way Things Outdoors has the ability. Well, there are things on boats, so you could look for boat books both non fiction and maybe even fun books like Burt Dow, or Make Way for Ducklings....

 

Then some of the "subtopics" with Water book: you can go back to books in Things Outdoors that were related to clouds, weather books, and stuff like that and read it again.

Or , well, Tracey you sell Usborne -- you know the design of Usborne books is to draw that interest to the child: take a look at what interests your child while reading: are they interested in the water mill, or turbines. Then maybe something like that would work."

 

So, if anyone gets stuck for ideas to do more in MFW... check their message board on the Ideas section for each year's program. Someone also has an idea to tweak, do more, make a craft easier, harder... etc.

 

 

-crystal

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When she got tired of drawing, she wrote the following "essay," for lack of a better word, about whales. (I'm including all of her grammar and spelling mistakes, so keep in mind that she's only 6.)

 

Did you know?

 

that a whale is a mammle. Whales have a spout that sprays out water. the mom and dad keep wach over their youg. if a enimy atackes the mom and dad save their youg. we have foud that some pepole take care of whales that live in bad water. some whales sing and thats how they talk to each other. whales eat fish and seals. I know it's funny but it's true. Whales live in the ocean and stay At the midel. Whales are Biger then a elephant and a . . . Dinosaur! thats cool dood! whales can jump and dive. it is cool that a whale can jump. it would be cool to have a pet whale. they can swim fast! a whale would make a good boat I like Lerning about whales don't you. well it's time to go. it was fun wall it laster. By!

 

 

Jennifer,

 

I like the essay. Wow! That's really good for 6 year old. awesome!

 

-crystal

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Well, I used MFW Adventures after using SL K, I think. At first, I felt like MFW was way too light because there is not much scheduled reading compared to SL. After we did the reading for the day, I always felt like, "that's it"? After a while, I realized I could really beef things up with the book basket.

 

In the end, I realized that MFW offers just as much as SL, but in a different way. However, I enjoy SL more because I prefer the types of books SL picks and because I prefer to have everything scheduled rather than having to add things in from the book basket. Also, my kids didn't really seem to get that much out of the MFW hands on activities even though I thought they were neat.

 

There have been times, though, when I have really wondered if MFW isn't a better choice as far as being more developmentally appropriate.

 

Lisa

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