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Sonlight vs My Father's World vs Sonlight

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OK, we've been through Core 1 and 2...and the K-er is going through the Core K Read-Alouds. K-er is also working through MFW K. I DON'T have an opinion about MFW beyond the 1st grade program.


So far, we like MFW K, but I do supplement and I also teach things that I just "really wanna cover" - lol - (like American Tall Tales :D).


As far as Sonlight is concerned, I have a lot more experience with this one.


It can be expensive. In fact, I think it is very expensive. Most of the Read-Alouds are Newberry Medals or other pretty common titles and you can find a lot of them at the library for free (if you can't afford the entire core).


In Cathy Duffy's book, it says that my oldest kids rate very low for Sonlight - and last year, we had a very hard time getting the boy to sit through ANY Read-Alouds. However, this year...they all seem to like the book selections.


Sonlight has no hands-on activities. I add these myself. For Houses and Homes, we built model houses and painted them (just an example).


Sonlight ships pretty fast, their customer service was OK (couldn't complain) and you have to buy a certain amount of books to use their forum (I think they have a free trial, tho). BTW, you're not missing much on their forum.


A lot of people don't like their LA (we didn't use their LA, either).


Their website is actually a great place to order math (for some reason). They have pictures and descriptions of a lot of programs on their site.


The Readers for Core 2 were awesome. We bought Readers 2 Intermediate and Readers 2 Advanced. My kids loved every one of these books. My kids did not like to answer the questions in the IG, tho (well, of course).


I am looking to start Core 3 next summer (?) and I'm waiting because I don't think my son will be able to grasp the material. That's another problem...sometimes the book selections are a little above their heads. In the meantime, we're finishing the 3 or so books left in Core 2 and adding in Read-Alouds that we are interested in (from the library).


We have not done their science, so I have no opinion on that.


We DO read through CHOW and love this also.

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I don't have experience with Sonlight but I have researched it a lot! From what I understand, it has wonderful reading but A LOT of it. I also understand that some of the reading is heavy and could be upsetting.

MFW is pretty balanced between the reading and the activities. I know SL is totally literature based which is great in theory to me but I find it too much time spent to find out what the deal is with history. I like that MFW has spines that are interesting and engaging along with informative books and read alouds to give you literature about history. I just don't think I have the time or patience to learn everything about history through literature! I also think Sonlight has questions about what the kids have read and MFW does more notebooking. As far as comparisons, that is how I understand it. I know many love SL and that is the beauty of homeschooling! We can pick what works for us.

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I've used SL Prek - Core 4 (this year). I also used half a year of MFW Adventures and MFW K. I think MFW is a great program, but for us, there wasn't enough reading in Adventures. They liked the books, but it felt like there just wasn't much to it. I really enjoy reading to my kids and we look forward to that part of our day. In hindsight, I could have easily resolved that by using some of the book basket books as read-alouds, but as a new homeschooler, I didn't realize that would be okay.


There are some fun and simple hands-on projects in Adventures and my kids did enjoy those, but I'm not sure that they got the point of some of the activities we did. I remember feeling frustrating after doing an activity with them and then trying to discuss what we learned and getting blank stares. I think they learn best by listening to me read rather than hands-on.


The other thing I did not like about MFW Adventures is the bible portion. Actually, I loved it and got a lot out of it, but my kids felt like they were being lectured to and tuned me out. On the other hand, they love for me to just read the bible to them as we do with SL.


I will say that I think MFW K is one of the most wonderful K programs out there. I have very precious memories of some of the activities I did with my daughter and have deep regrets that I never finished it with her because the phonics was too easy and I just let time get away from me.


I've got to run, so hopefully this isn't too disjointed.



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I've done Core 1 and a little bit of Core 3 (returned it after 3 weeks- I was trying to use it with a young 8 yo with LDs and it was just too much reading). I also own Core 5 and was going to use it with my 10 year old this year and then decided to wait a year or two. We're doing MFW Exp to 1850 this year instead. The one thing I've learned with Sonlight is that I should not use it with my kids on the very young end of the age range. They get more out of it when they can handle the material better. I haven't ruled out using Sonlight again but I will not try something like Core 3 again when the oldest child using it is 8. I was considering Core 3+4 for my 10 yo this year but I couldn't afford it so went with MFW.


For our family I find the readings with MFW more managable but I miss some of Sonlights books. They seem to have a greater variety than MFW does. When we did Core 1 my dd was so freaked out over Mountain Born (there's a part where sheep are castrated) and she was so upset by this it was hard to get back into the program after it. I know MFW schedules that same book in Adventures. It does seem like Sonlight schedules more "heavy" type books and for my very sensitive dd that can be hard.


I like that Sonlight has reader packages. MFW does not even offer reader packages with their programs. That works okay for us because dd likes to pick her own books but I kind of enjoyed having a reader package. MFW mainly does narration for history and I do like that but I wish there was a little more variety as far as that goes. I do like that MFW has some hands on activities. Most are pretty simple though. There are several cooking ones in Exp to 1850 and my dd likes doing those. Most of their craft projects are very basic and my dd thinks some of them are babyish.

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I've used SL 1-5 with my older kids and MFW K, 1 and ADV with my younger kids.


SL- Great if you have a child that LOVES to read. There is a lot of reading and flipping between books. I remember reading outloud until my voice hurt. The LA was a mess but it has been about 10 years since we used the program so it may have changed. I loved SL science. I felt SL micro-managed our day too much and there was very little flexibility to add extras in for a child. Overall, SL is a great concept but for us was just too much. If you chose SL, I suggest getting the 4 day schedule and using the 5th to catch up. I also suggest choosing a program in which your child is at the younger age.



MFW- Has hands on activities that are easy to do and my kids have enjoyed. The program can easily be expanded by use of the book basket for a child who loves to read. I find MFW gives us enough structure so that History/science gets done but enough flexibility that I can easily add more of something for any particular child without too much stress.



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I haven't used SL, but I can tell you that one thing that kept me from it. SL has different levels studying different parts of history. MFW has all the levels studying the same segments of history at the same time. This means less to buy and easier to teach.

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I love the flexibility in MFW. I like that I have Book Basket from which to choose MANY more readers, chapter books, and educational videos to enhance the core lessons IF TIME AND INTEREST ALLOW. Sometimes we just don't have time... sometimes we're bored with a particular topic and want to move on... sometimes a particular child will really get into something and we load up on Book Basket titles and spend more time on it than is scheduled. So you could really look at MFW w/Book Basket as a buffet.... many choices, take as much or as little as you want, go back for 2nds or 3rds if you want, or just eat a little something from each of the basic food groups, then go outside and enjoy a nature walk or get about the business of serving. :001_smile:


We have a great library so I haven't had the need to *buy* a lot of extras in order to use MFW w/Book Basket, but some either can't or don't want to do the library thing. For those folks, Marie has asterisked some titles in Book Basket that she recommends for purchase. I've also heard of a lot of moms who use SL books in lieu of Book Basket.


There are 300-400 titles in Book Basket (give or take), ALL of which have been pre-read by Marie, and she's noted next to each one a brief description, age-appropriateness, and parent alerts to questionable content. I love that! It's made my job a lot easier when it comes to picking the titles I want to get from the library. Saves me a ton of time on pre-screening everything, which I just don't have time for.


Sometimes, sensitive content in a book is best handled by Mom doing the read-aloud so that she can sort of screen it she goes along. Otherwise, we tend to all take turns reading aloud here. It gives practice in both reading and listening (and patience w/an attitude of serving for one of my girls who doesn't like to listen to a non-fluent reader! :D ) But I also assign reading to some kids independently. It just depends on the topic and the individual child.


Anyway, lots of room there for adding to or paring down, just depends on how much your family needs. :)


I love how easy it is to *personalize* MFW for each child, despite their age and learning differences. For hands-on activities (of which there's a variety), we pick and choose, and I may have one girl do an activity but not the others. Same with notebooking.... I'll have an older child add more detail, do more written narrations, or do extra notebooking assignments that I make up, but a younger child only needs to do the coloring pages, or do her "written" narrations using stickers or other mediums that she can handle.


I also love how MFW has integrated Bible into the lessons rather than treating it as a separate subject. We view biblical worldview as something that we make part of our whole lives, not a separate box that we need to check off every day, and that lines up beautifully with how MFW does it.

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