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Why DIDN'T MFW Work For You?


SnMomof7
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We currently use SL. SL is very much my teaching style, I love reading, I love books. I love the easy to use grid that keeps me on track with reading the more non-fiction type books with lots of pictures that I'm not TOO keen on reading out loud. I like that science isn't on the schedule (heehee.)

 

But, I keep looking at MFW. Here's why - better for multiple ages, better bible history/geography integration.

 

Downsides - 2 years of modern/US-ish history in the 5 yr cycle. We are Canadians and need to break out for Canada studies every now and then. Doesn't look like ENOUGH books (I know the whole book basket idea, but i like that SL schedules the lit, I am BAD at planning, and we have a poor library.) I'm also not sure the schedule layout will work for me, but it's hard to say until I try it. Includes science on the schedule - could be good, could be bad...is it still do-able if you swap out the science?

 

Anyway, my plan right now is lots of SL - mostly condensed cores to make room for Canada studies in 'off' years. Then in HS do MFW Ancients and World programs to get that great biblical integration at an age when the dc can really dig in, then SL modern history (300?), then Canadian civics/govt/modern history to wrap up with.

 

But...even though I love SL I wonder if I'm missing out on MFW? I've heard all the pros, can you let me know if you are someone it didn't work for, and if so, why?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Full disclosure: I only did MFW Adventures and then switched to SL, which I LOVE (book selections, IG boxes to check off, etc). :001_smile: Having said that, I will share what I didn't care for in MFW without bashing (they are SO nice and it IS a great company!). Adventures had some great book selections (several of which are used in SL, too), but the TG is not nearly as well organized/put together as SL's IGs. Also, there isn't as much "depth" - at least not in Adventures, which I know is for younger kids anyway. I would say that if you are wanting to use SL for a wider age/grade range, just implement MFW's book basket idea and get picture books from the library for the younger ones. As far as integrating Bible & geography better, I didn't really see that being a strength in MFW, at least not "better than" SL. HTH!

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Well I tried to like MFW because it is so all-in-one, but after many tries it just didn't work.

 

MFW Kindergarten - This is my least favorite program. The TM never made ANY sense to me.

 

MFW 1st grade - It didn't have any cushion and my daughter just couldn't keep up with the learning pace.

 

MFW ECC - I only used it for a bit because I borrowed it from a friend. I really liked this level from what I did.

 

MFW CTC - We did the whole level, but it really got boring. The books are scheduled for so long and we didn't care for the Foster books.

 

MFW RTR - This was supposed to be multi-level but the younger students portion was VERY lacking. After trying so hard to like MFW, and the books just didn't vibe, I finally said forget it.

 

We have used and LOVE TOG for a couple of years now.

 

Michelle

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We tried MFW K- I agree with others.....TM was not set up well....very confusing and lots of back and forth.

 

Purchased MFW 1st- Will not be using. I don't like that the phonics portion is to integrated in with the rest of the curriculum. What if your child needs to slow down or move ahead?

 

Adventures looks like a lot of fun, but since I decided to try TOG, we will not be using it either.

 

I looked extensively at the upper levels of MFW, and even had a gracious friend offer to let me use hers, but ultimately, I felt as if it would not work for us. I wanted something that was for K-12 that would keep everyone on the same page. Although MFW folds in younger siblings at 2nd grade, I felt that most of the spines read would just go right over the head of a child that age, and they would get little benefit from it. That's why TOG appeals to me.....each child has their own level while still studying the same time period.

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Well, I DID actually like MFW K (perhaps I should amend that to say that I LEARNED to like it! :D). The first go round was rough b/c of what others have already said...poorly laid-out guide. Lots of flipping back and forth, seemed rather disjointed, etc. I sort of got into a "rhythm" and really enjoyed it from then on. MFW 1st didn't work out quite as well b/c it moved too fast for my ds...not enough practice or reinforcement. It would have worked well for my dd5 but I just grew tired of it. I am looking forward to the poss. of using MFW Adv. for next year as I've had my eye on it for some time. We also used MFW ECC for half a year and neither me or my kids could get into it. Perhaps is was just the year we were having as others have said ECC was their favorite year. I guess I really "wanted" to like it? I think if SL is more your style, stick with it. You aren't missing out on anything if SL works for you, KWIM? Don't fix it if it ain't broke, lol. For me, no ONE curriculum has been perfect. I like parts of MFW, parts of SL, parts of HOD, etc. If I had the time I would design my own but alas...I do not. So, I am a curriculum junkie who hops from year to year. :D

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Well, SL definitely isn't broken for us, we love it. I just keep getting that niggling 'maybe the biblical integration is so much better' feeling, but I don't know. This IS what leads to curric. hopping for sure! :O

 

I think sticking with SL is safest because it's a known commodity, KWIM? I KNOW it works.

 

I love using a book basket for my youngers with SL idea, thanks for that! I just need to get my books better organized so I can actually FIND that Martin Luther pic book when I need it without a 20 minute hunt, LOL! I am planning on running two cores max as my dc become older, both on the same topic, like core 1+2 with core alt 7 for example so my brain doesn't need to do SO many gymnastics!

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We did Adventures and ECC. Redundant - that's the best word to describe it. THe book basket was great, but the main schedule was VERY redundant. I finally sped up ECC toward the end (put 2 weeks into one) and didn't feel like it was too much at all. I just needed to finish it and get it done. We moved over to TOG. A LOT more variety.

 

Beth

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I am probably crazy but I am using MFW ECC with TOG. The reason is I do NOT like the YWAM books at all! I have read or tried to read a couple of them and the writing style just irritates me.

So really, without those that leaves the maps, activities, Bible, and science. TOG has no science, Bible is there when it can be, and it's very easy to do ECC in the TOG order.

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from your visible profile, you're in Alberta? That's 12 hour drive from the Vancouver convention in late April. bummer. MFW will have a display there if that would be worth a drive to see it in person? (well on their website it says tentative, but they were there last year and plan to go again)

 

MFW works for me, so I won't say anything else on the thread. not even sure why I opened the thread.

 

But if seeing something in person helps I just wanted to mention the possibility. I guess they have ways to adapt for Canadian history? I don't know

 

hope you find what works.

 

-crystal

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Thanks for the suggestion Crystal. We are in Alberta, but we aren't big convention folks - there is a BIG one in Red Deer (around 5 hours away), but we've never even been to that!

 

I'm not in a big rush, I'm set for the next school year, but I'm casting my net around for long-term solutions :).

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I think if SL is more your style, stick with it. You aren't missing out on anything if SL works for you, KWIM? Don't fix it if it ain't broke, lol. For me, no ONE curriculum has been perfect. I like parts of MFW, parts of SL, parts of HOD, etc. If I had the time I would design my own but alas...I do not. So, I am a curriculum junkie who hops from year to year. :D

 

I know this is a couple of days old, but I was lurking and saw what Sue said. I just had to agree with her. I WISH a curriculum fit me as well as you're describing! As it is we've jumped from Sonlight, to MFW and now we're going back to Sonlight. Not because MFW didn't work for us as a curriculum, or Sonlight didn't work, but because of what I wanted to cover in a particular year. I personally don't care for Sonlight's American History Cores, so we did MFW the last two years. I was going to do ECC next year, but I decided my oldest would enjoy Core 5 more. I wish I could do both, but I can't. I also don't want to spend a whole year on Ancients again. Our plan is to use Core 5, Core 6 and Core 7 before High School. I love both programs but can only do one at a time KWIM?

 

And Sue, I have decided people like you and I are not Curriculum junkies, we're Curriculum Connoisseurs. ;)

 

Blessings!

Dorinda

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I really like MFW but we will not be using it next year at least not with my 10 yo. We've had a couple long talks recently and she hates the history. She really can't stand the history narrations. We use WWE 3 and she is fine for those narrations but she can't stand doing them for MFW. We are on week 6 and I own the entire Explorers to 1850 package I really hate to jump ship now. We are going ahead and just doing the readings and skipping the narrations for now.

 

I have liked MFW K alright but I wish they had varied the format of the worksheets from week to week a little bit. Neither of my kids could stand the math worksheets or the ones where they are supposed to draw pictures of things that start with the letter for the week. I do love the easy readers they include and the Bible and Science in it is really good but there are definitely things I don't like. I'd planned to go into MFW 1 next month but I think the phonics is going to go too fast for my twins so now I don't know. So much of MFW 1 is tied to the phonics if we have to slow down for phonics then we'll have to slow everything down.

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Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts everyone! I was considering MFW for K and 1st for DD2, but now I'm thinking we'll just stick with our fairly informal style schedule for those early years. I really don't like feeling like she 'must' progress at a certain rate in phonics. I think hard skills like that shouldn't really be planned out on a schedule, content is one thing, skill progression is another.

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Most of the same reasons others have listed....K manual is not well set up...didn't like the integrated phonics...relied too heavily on book basket to feel like there was enough meat to it...price too high just to schedule history/bible/science and leave me to plan math/LA/...

 

And mostly because is was too repetitive and so boring! We found Heart of Dakota and are so, so, so happy with it!

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Most of the same reasons others have listed....K manual is not well set up...didn't like the integrated phonics...relied too heavily on book basket to feel like there was enough meat to it...price too high just to schedule history/bible/science and leave me to plan math/LA/...

 

Actually, K and 1st grade have math and LA fully integrated. :D To better explain the TMs and what the price includes:

 

From Adventures on, you can either use MFW recommendations for math and LA (instructions are in the front of the TM for how to use those, along with tips for language arts CM style, but once you know the technique, it's basically just "do the next thing" if using their recs), or you can use other choices if you prefer. Marie has intentionally left the math and language arts spaces on the weekly grid blank so that you can individualize those subjects for each student (as once they're reading, every child will always be in their own level of math and LA, anyway).

 

So if I have 3 children doing a MFW year together, I don't have to buy separate manuals just to cover their "scheduled" math and LA for each student. I photocopy the weekly grid, one per student, and then put that copy right in the front of each one's binder and mark her assignments in math and LA right there on her own copy of the grid. Then that binder with copies of the weekly grid in it serve as our required portfolio for the state. Thus, doing it the MFW way really ends up serving dual purposes, and also allows for flexibility (and writing space on the grid) to plug in other math and LA choices if you don't like their recs.

 

The manual also includes the extensive book (and video) list which allows for more flexibility and individualizing in this multi-age level program. The personal time that Marie and her staff have spent hauling literally carloads of books back and forth from the library so that she could read every single one of them to pre-screen for Book Basket, and add personal commentary to them, is the reason the booklist is part of the copyrighted TM.

 

The TM schedules more than just history/science/Bible... it also schedules read-alouds, art, music, and extra reading time in your day. The weekly grid really ends up serving as your schedule and time log for ALL subjects... it's not just a "what to do next", although there is that.

 

Also scheduled are additional LA assignments (CM style) including narrations, dictation, copywork, and memorization.

 

There are extensive teacher notes at the beginning of the manual, as well as notes for specific assignments each week. There's a suggested schedule where the Hazell's describe how they did it with 6 kids. There's a short list of consumable supplies needed for each week, too, so you can see at a glance the weekend or week before whether you've got everything in the house you need for science or other projects coming up.

 

Also, the TMs used to include notebooking pages and maps for your binder, but since they had so many requests to not have to photocopy these, they pulled them and made them a separate student pack, and lowered the price of the TMs accordingly.

 

I'll agree that the layout of the K manual wasn't terribly efficient. It was the very first one she wrote way back in the beginning, and it was originally written for a classroom that Marie taught in. Plus, with phonics and Bible being the primary focus of both K and 1st grade, it makes it a little harder when deciding HOW to lay out the lessons. When we did K, I solved the layout problem by putting tabbed dividers on the first page of each section so it was easier for me to go back and forth between subjects. It worked out fine... those tabbed dividers made a big difference. The 1st grade manual IS better than the K manual, but still different than the upper years because of the phonics and math integration.

 

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand a little better what the TMs consist of, Jennifer. High school manuals are different than the 2nd-8th grade manuals as well, because again, once you get into high school, it's more necessary to do individualize in ALL subjects rather than just (or primarily) the 3 R's. And between 2nd-8th grades, Marie has "advanced" assignments or "younger children" assignments on the grid, as the case may be, in addition to the assignments that you do all together. I love how she's written it to include the whole family, and yet allow room for personalization, too. Oh, but you didn't ask why someone LOVES MFW.... :lol: But I did want to explain the manuals in a little more detail. Have you looked at any of the sample lessons from the website yet? Maybe you could see them IRL at convention, too. It seems like most of the responses you've gotten so far are from moms who haven't used MFW beyond the earlier years, and I think it's helpful to see the big picture. Have you listened to any of the convention talks where they explain different aspects and overall philosophy of the curriculum? Some of those conference CDs are available on the MFW website if you want to check them out.

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I am probably crazy but I am using MFW ECC with TOG. The reason is I do NOT like the YWAM books at all! I have read or tried to read a couple of them and the writing style just irritates me.

So really, without those that leaves the maps, activities, Bible, and science. TOG has no science, Bible is there when it can be, and it's very easy to do ECC in the TOG order.

 

Which year of TOG did you combine with ECC? We love some books that we used in ECC but combined the ECC with CATW from Winterpromise the second time we used ECC.

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Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts everyone! I was considering MFW for K and 1st for DD2, but now I'm thinking we'll just stick with our fairly informal style schedule for those early years. I really don't like feeling like she 'must' progress at a certain rate in phonics. I think hard skills like that shouldn't really be planned out on a schedule, content is one thing, skill progression is another.

 

If you do decide to use MFW K, I would encourage you to look at it first. We bought it to use and I hated the teachers guide.

 

For K we are relaxed and use OPG, HWT or Italic, MUS Primer and ETC for reinforcement fun (my boys are strange). Science they sit in with their brothers and "play" with lots of science stuff we have. I actually am planning on setting up "centers" again for our youngest next year and letting him work with centers while we are doing other subjects.

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I purchased MFW 1st, used, way too early...I used to do that. :) By the time we started K, dd was reading well, writing well and doing simple arithmetic. My problem with MFW 1st as a whole was the lack of meat in the LA and math sections at that level. Of course, this was a personal opinion, based only on the needs and level of the child I was schooling. However, when I couldn't find a Bible storybook for that age that I was comfortable with, I pulled MFW 1st back off the shelf. That portion of the program--using the TG to read stories, having her read from the Bible reader, keeping the Student Bible Notebook--worked perfectly for us. It was the highlight of that year. Again, I had purchased the materials used and later I sold the TG, so I didn't feel like I wasted a lot of money by using only this part of the program. I loved the multi-faceted way of getting the stories into her--hearing, reading, drawing, writing...

 

That being said, I often glance longingly at the MFW materials and even purchased R2R used with full intention of using it. I don't know exactly why I can't fully commit to using a MFW program though. I know as someone else stated in another thread, seeing the list of needed supplies for the week could run my blood cold. I do love doing crafts and projects with my dc, but on my terms. When a material requires them, like science, it makes me fearful that too much will not get done if I happen to be lacking one or more items...This of course is based on my own personal character flaws and not on the program, but it does answer the question of why MFW has not worked for us. I sold R2R after perusing the TG and deciding it was not the program for us. My current plan is to use SL 4 next year and then try to dive into TOG. I'm scared, though. :)

 

I do love how MFW integrates Bible with other subjects. When ds is old enough I will definitely be considering at least the Bible extras--reader and notebook--to add in with whatever else we are using.

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I purchased MFW 1st, used, way too early...I used to do that. :) By the time we started K, dd was reading well, writing well and doing simple arithmetic. My problem with MFW 1st as a whole was the lack of meat in the LA and math sections at that level. Of course, this was a personal opinion, based only on the needs and level of the child I was schooling. However, when I couldn't find a Bible storybook for that age that I was comfortable with, I pulled MFW 1st back off the shelf. That portion of the program--using the TG to read stories, having her read from the Bible reader, keeping the Student Bible Notebook--worked perfectly for us. It was the highlight of that year. Again, I had purchased the materials used and later I sold the TG, so I didn't feel like I wasted a lot of money by using only this part of the program. I loved the multi-faceted way of getting the stories into her--hearing, reading, drawing, writing...

 

 

That sounds like a good way to do it. I hadn't even thought of trying to do it that way. I spent a lot of yesterday pouring over MFW 1 because we'll be done with K in a few weeks and I love the Bible part so much. I've already spent the money on the entire grade 1 kit and second student pack I really want to use it. My big reservation is the phonics in there. The method looks good but there is not enough review. On Day 18 they introduce long A and then on Day 19 they introduce long E. That is way too fast for my twins who are just now starting to read CVC words well after lots and lots of practice. The K program only goes through CVC words so if you are only using MFW then this is the first introduction to long sounds for the child. Day 20 is an exploration day and then Day 21 introduces long i and Day 22 introduces long o. I cannot see keeping that pace unless it is with a child already comfortably reading long vowel sounds.

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Actually, K and 1st grade have math and LA fully integrated. :D To better explain the TMs and what the price includes:

 

From Adventures on, you can either use MFW recommendations for math and LA (instructions are in the front of the TM for how to use those, along with tips for language arts CM style, but once you know the technique, it's basically just "do the next thing" if using their recs), or you can use other choices if you prefer. Marie has intentionally left the math and language arts spaces on the weekly grid blank so that you can individualize those subjects for each student (as once they're reading, every child will always be in their own level of math and LA, anyway).

 

So if I have 3 children doing a MFW year together, I don't have to buy separate manuals just to cover their "scheduled" math and LA for each student. I photocopy the weekly grid, one per student, and then put that copy right in the front of each one's binder and mark her assignments in math and LA right there on her own copy of the grid. Then that binder with copies of the weekly grid in it serve as our required portfolio for the state. Thus, doing it the MFW way really ends up serving dual purposes, and also allows for flexibility (and writing space on the grid) to plug in other math and LA choices if you don't like their recs.

 

The manual also includes the extensive book (and video) list which allows for more flexibility and individualizing in this multi-age level program. The personal time that Marie and her staff have spent hauling literally carloads of books back and forth from the library so that she could read every single one of them to pre-screen for Book Basket, and add personal commentary to them, is the reason the booklist is part of the copyrighted TM.

 

The TM schedules more than just history/science/Bible... it also schedules read-alouds, art, music, and extra reading time in your day. The weekly grid really ends up serving as your schedule and time log for ALL subjects... it's not just a "what to do next", although there is that.

 

Also scheduled are additional LA assignments (CM style) including narrations, dictation, copywork, and memorization.

 

There are extensive teacher notes at the beginning of the manual, as well as notes for specific assignments each week. There's a suggested schedule where the Hazell's describe how they did it with 6 kids. There's a short list of consumable supplies needed for each week, too, so you can see at a glance the weekend or week before whether you've got everything in the house you need for science or other projects coming up.

 

Also, the TMs used to include notebooking pages and maps for your binder, but since they had so many requests to not have to photocopy these, they pulled them and made them a separate student pack, and lowered the price of the TMs accordingly.

 

I'll agree that the layout of the K manual wasn't terribly efficient. It was the very first one she wrote way back in the beginning, and it was originally written for a classroom that Marie taught in. Plus, with phonics and Bible being the primary focus of both K and 1st grade, it makes it a little harder when deciding HOW to lay out the lessons. When we did K, I solved the layout problem by putting tabbed dividers on the first page of each section so it was easier for me to go back and forth between subjects. It worked out fine... those tabbed dividers made a big difference. The 1st grade manual IS better than the K manual, but still different than the upper years because of the phonics and math integration.

 

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand a little better what the TMs consist of, Jennifer. High school manuals are different than the 2nd-8th grade manuals as well, because again, once you get into high school, it's more necessary to do individualize in ALL subjects rather than just (or primarily) the 3 R's. And between 2nd-8th grades, Marie has "advanced" assignments or "younger children" assignments on the grid, as the case may be, in addition to the assignments that you do all together. I love how she's written it to include the whole family, and yet allow room for personalization, too. Oh, but you didn't ask why someone LOVES MFW.... :lol: But I did want to explain the manuals in a little more detail. Have you looked at any of the sample lessons from the website yet? Maybe you could see them IRL at convention, too. It seems like most of the responses you've gotten so far are from moms who haven't used MFW beyond the earlier years, and I think it's helpful to see the big picture. Have you listened to any of the convention talks where they explain different aspects and overall philosophy of the curriculum? Some of those conference CDs are available on the MFW website if you want to check them out.

 

This answered so many of my questions. We plan to do MFW next and I was still trying to get a feel for it before I ordered. Thank you.

 

sorry to hijack....:blushing:

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Don't fix what isn't broken is my motto. If it works...use it, and try not to listen to the newest thing.

 

 

:iagree:

 

My goal is to find a curriculum we can just Stick With! I looked for a long time at MFW, but what turned me off were the book choices....lots of Usborne, non-fiction and missionary stories in the older elementary and middle school years. This may work for some and I'm not critiquing your choice. I get the reasoning behind starting off with a whole year of geography, but honestly it looked boring to me! And if it looked boring to me, then my kids probably wouldn't like it either. Some of the future years also looked too in-depth for younger elementary; I've btdt with Weaver who tries to be a one-size-fits-most type of curriculum, and that just didn't work for us. I always felt like my dd was getting the shaft.

 

This year we're using Heart of Dakota (well with my dd) and I love it for the most part. With DS we're going with a CM-themed pieced-together curriculum. HOD isn't perfect, but I enjoy the book selections, the TG is well-laid out and easy to folllow (minimal to no planning for me which is what I need), and it's something we can stick with for several years so we can avoid having any serious gaps. While I will probably always browse (love the term, "Curriculum Connoisseurs"), I feel peace and contentment about using HOD long-term. There's nothing wrong with looking, but by what you describe and need in a curriculum, it sounds like SL is really working for you and your family! :thumbup:

Edited by Nojo317
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We currently use SL. SL is very much my teaching style, I love reading, I love books. I love the easy to use grid that keeps me on track with reading the more non-fiction type books with lots of pictures that I'm not TOO keen on reading out loud. I like that science isn't on the schedule (heehee.)

 

But, I keep looking at MFW. Here's why - better for multiple ages, better bible history/geography integration.

 

Downsides - 2 years of modern/US-ish history in the 5 yr cycle. We are Canadians and need to break out for Canada studies every now and then. Doesn't look like ENOUGH books (I know the whole book basket idea, but i like that SL schedules the lit, I am BAD at planning, and we have a poor library.) I'm also not sure the schedule layout will work for me, but it's hard to say until I try it. Includes science on the schedule - could be good, could be bad...is it still do-able if you swap out the science?

 

Anyway, my plan right now is lots of SL - mostly condensed cores to make room for Canada studies in 'off' years. Then in HS do MFW Ancients and World programs to get that great biblical integration at an age when the dc can really dig in, then SL modern history (300?), then Canadian civics/govt/modern history to wrap up with.

 

But...even though I love SL I wonder if I'm missing out on MFW? I've heard all the pros, can you let me know if you are someone it didn't work for, and if so, why?

 

Thanks for reading!

I wanted to like MFW, I tried to like it. We used EX-1850 for one year, well, part of a year. It didn't work for us because my children just did not like the books, I am a tweaker and MFW did not leave me enough room to wiggle (which is also why I don't use Sonlight), and I really needed to find a way to keep all of my children learning together as much as possbile. I am happy we spent our time doing MFW, I learned a lot as a teacher. I learned that my children could memorize whole chapters of scripture, we sang hymns, and I learned that I really cannot have my weeks planned out for me, life with 5 dc is too unpredictable. I have ECC here, but everytime I pick it up to do it, I just cannot. It just isn't a fit for me.

 

You have to look at what you like about Sonlight, what you think you are lacking, and see if MFW will fit. For us TOG is a much better fit, I have enough structure to keep us on track, lots of room to wiggle and tweak, and lots of help for teaching High School. I guess it comes down to why do you want to switch?

 

The hardest part about choosing curriulum these days, is that it is all good-even great. I think we are a little spoiled compared to homeschoolers twenty years ago, they had few choices and made things work because they had to. Now we have so many choices it can make your head spin, there always seems to be something better.

 

I hope you find the best tool to educate your children.

 

Blessings

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The hardest part about choosing curriulum these days, is that it is all good-even great. I think we are a little spoiled compared to homeschoolers twenty years ago, they had few choices and made things work because they had to. Now we have so many choices it can make your head spin, there always seems to be something better.

 

I hope you find the best tool to educate your children.

 

Blessings

 

Oooh, :iagree:. Some of us really go around and around, especially on history (at least I do). Maybe it's just a case of too much good stuff to choose from!

 

Not like the days when it was only.... A Beka text books! :lol:

 

(Disclaimer: No offense A Beka folks! We happily use A Handbook for Reading and the leveled readers, I'm just NOT a grade-level textbook mom!)

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I think we are a little spoiled compared to homeschoolers twenty years ago, they had few choices and made things work because they had to. Now we have so many choices it can make your head spin, there always seems to be something better.

 

Yep.......my mother was one of those "pioneers" from twenty years ago....back then there was Abeka and Saxon.....and not much else. :001_smile:

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I only tried the Kindergarten level of MFW, but I quickly realized it wouldn't work for us because it was too much worksheets vs. living books, too much teacher teaching a lesson vs. kids exploring a topic, and too much in one package. My kids are extremely asynchronous -- they very much need their reading/handwriting/science/math to each be on customized levels. They also need to be able to zoom like crazy through a subject for awhile, then slow down for awhile. This means no all in one packages for us. The good parts were the extra activities... the boys loved the ant hill and the butterfly garden!

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I only tried the Kindergarten level of MFW, but I quickly realized it wouldn't work for us because it was too much worksheets vs. living books, too much teacher teaching a lesson vs. kids exploring a topic, and too much in one package. My kids are extremely asynchronous -- they very much need their reading/handwriting/science/math to each be on customized levels. They also need to be able to zoom like crazy through a subject for awhile, then slow down for awhile. This means no all in one packages for us. The good parts were the extra activities... the boys loved the ant hill and the butterfly garden!

 

That's why we are not using the MFW K's reading program, including the worksheets. We are only using the science and bible while moving at our own pace, and are loving it! Seeing God through His creation is just awesome and so important. It is an amazing, wondrous way he reveals himself to us! And having my children understand this (S-S-Sun...Jesus is the light of the world, for example) and to make connections of their own is priceless. It's also launching us into exploring a topic further on our own with books and activities found by library visits and the internet for activities, etc. from these sources (some rec. by by moms at the MFW forum) as well as the curriculum. A great way for them to get a taste of how much fun digging deeper can be. But, this thread isn't about why you love MFW. ;):D

 

*Edited to add: we get many, many more library books than MFW recommendations. We start with the TM and the forum recommendations and then go from there.

Edited by JENinOR
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I really, really, really want to love MFW. I want to!!!

 

We used Adventures with a 1st and Ker. It was AWESOME... until we reached the states.

 

It got.so.boring.

 

It.was.so.repetitive.

 

We all dreaded it. More states... more birds.... more sticker maps.... It just all blended together.

 

If I were a seasoned HS mom I would have combined - New England... The South... etc. Map them, read a few books, eat something... But I wasn't...

 

Then we took a year off and went with SOTW...

 

but MFW called to me...

 

A friend lent me ECC. Free.

 

Again. I was SO EXCITED! But within a month it.got.so.repetitive.

 

Another country... another map... another...

 

I had state flashbacks. We all dreaded it. I dropped it about 20 weeks in (yeah, I'm pretty stubborn!).

 

But from the friends I know who used the other MFW "cores" they LOVED it. Bible was great. History was rich. I just couldn't do it.

 

Though, again, it calls to me. I am researching. Again....

 

(I will also add that we have a really lame library. But my friend locally who uses it just goes through the TM and orders enough extra books to beef it up without using the library. It's still less than SL, you get it all together, and they all love it that way. If I DO do MFW this year, I'll compare the MFW TM with SL lists for the period and TOG reading lists, then just buy a bunch of books for my own personal book basket. Yes, it's more than just a MFW kit, but it combines all that I love about MFW with all that love about SL and TOG... I think...)

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(I will also add that we have a really lame library. But my friend locally who uses it just goes through the TM and orders enough extra books to beef it up without using the library. It's still less than SL, you get it all together, and they all love it that way. If I DO do MFW this year, I'll compare the MFW TM with SL lists for the period and TOG reading lists, then just buy a bunch of books for my own personal book basket. Yes, it's more than just a MFW kit, but it combines all that I love about MFW with all that love about SL and TOG... I think...)

 

That is a GREAT idea. Really, there's no requirement to use the library... the Hazell's were well aware of the lack of library options for many families, as they lived overseas and didn't have good library options themselves for a long time. BUT, for those of us who have neither the funds nor the space to buy all those extra books, the library is a big help! (I will add here that we don't *always* use the library, either. Sometimes life is just too busy to add more than what's scheduled, so we do the core lessons that are on the grid and move on. We still get the main point of the lessons and end up with wonderful notebooks even without the library every week!)

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I realize this thread isn't about how/why MFW worked. ;)

 

I also think that part of examining why a program (any program, MFW, SL, HOD, TOG, ACE, A Beka) doesn't work, is also to look at solutions to commonly faced problems. Do the solutions that others came up seem to be solutions that could help someone overcome an obstacle in a program, or just say "well, that ain't for me!" Nothing wrong with mentioning negatives, but it's equally important to hear why others didn't experience the problem to the same degree. At least in my opinion it matters.

 

One common solution to the repetitive nature of learning states, is to look on the mfw message board in the Ideas for ADV section to find fresh approaches, or extra books. same solution idea for ECC. There are common solutions that make it less of a boring thing. no need to list specifics right now, just saying there is a solution.

 

ask on their board for fresh ideas to tweak.

try them,

if they suck and don't work, don't worry about it. You're not a failure of a homeschooler just because a program doesn't fit your needs. right. we all know that.

 

another common problem that people don't like:

they have a preference for grid only style even in K and 1st. There are templates on MFW's board to help with that conversion. the programs were set up for certain stuff, but many of us have style preferences.

 

Another common problem: library. Well, buy some of the books if needed. you don't need all of the book basket. The thing to keep in mind is that the specific books in basket list are not required to make MFW work.

 

so, again, this isn't so much about why mfw doesn't work for someone, as much as presenting some common solutions to some common problems. That what someone who hasn't tried MFW can see another side of it.

 

then, if it doesn't work, it's ok.

 

I experienced various of those common problems/road bumps and found easy solutions and it was cool for me.

 

I'm not saying there aren't problems.

 

-crystal

Edited by cbollin
forgot a word or too
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I love MFW, and everytime I listen to a Hazell seminar I feel the urge to go back. But it really doesn't work for us. K and 1st grade works just fine, and the first half of ECC was ok, but then it got so repetitious, and we weren't using the science portion, and the book basket was getting old... just a lot of stuff. In RtR, I couldn't bring myself to do SOTW out of order, and Augustus Caesar's World was a bit over my son's head. Then there was the science again. And the book basket. I would much rather have all the books at my house then have to cart the kids and babies to the library and decide which books to read. I spent much more time searching for books through interlibrary loan than I wanted to. I don't need one more thing to think about during the day.

 

I'm also not good at combining my kids. As hard as it is, I still do them separately. I'm not real sure why I can't get that down, but I'm sure that has a good bit to do w/ why it didn't work. This year we did SL, WP, and MFW K.

Again, I love it in theory, but just can't make it work here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I am throwing in the towel with MFW. I wanted it to work, really I did...I LOVED MFW K...couldn't stand 1st grade...but toughed it out looking forward to Adventures. But, Adventures isn't working for us either.

It is the repetitivenesss...I was looking forward to a year of learning American History, and it seems like moving ahead it is mostly a study of the states. I have done/would need to do so much tweaking, that it is simply not worth it for me to invest in.

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We currently use SL. SL is very much my teaching style, I love reading, I love books. I love the easy to use grid that keeps me on track with reading the more non-fiction type books with lots of pictures that I'm not TOO keen on reading out loud. I like that science isn't on the schedule (heehee.)

 

But, I keep looking at MFW. Here's why - better for multiple ages, better bible history/geography integration.

 

Downsides - 2 years of modern/US-ish history in the 5 yr cycle. We are Canadians and need to break out for Canada studies every now and then. Doesn't look like ENOUGH books (I know the whole book basket idea, but i like that SL schedules the lit, I am BAD at planning, and we have a poor library.) I'm also not sure the schedule layout will work for me, but it's hard to say until I try it. Includes science on the schedule - could be good, could be bad...is it still do-able if you swap out the science?

 

Anyway, my plan right now is lots of SL - mostly condensed cores to make room for Canada studies in 'off' years. Then in HS do MFW Ancients and World programs to get that great biblical integration at an age when the dc can really dig in, then SL modern history (300?), then Canadian civics/govt/modern history to wrap up with.

 

But...even though I love SL I wonder if I'm missing out on MFW? I've heard all the pros, can you let me know if you are someone it didn't work for, and if so, why?

 

Thanks for reading!

No experience with MFW, but how is your library in your area?

 

I have some ideas! :)

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Well, I am throwing in the towel with MFW. I wanted it to work, really I did...I LOVED MFW K...couldn't stand 1st grade...but toughed it out looking forward to Adventures. But, Adventures isn't working for us either.

It is the repetitivenesss...I was looking forward to a year of learning American History, and it seems like moving ahead it is mostly a study of the states. I have done/would need to do so much tweaking, that it is simply not worth it for me to invest in.

 

:001_smile: Our experience has been the opposite. We are in the final week of Adventures and we LOVED it (we also really enjoyed the first grade program with my oldest). DS8 and DS6 had a blast and I found it easy to teach; balanced; fun. I almost didn't choose this program because I didn't want to do the state sheets but my boys have really enjoyed them, especially the 8 year old. :001_smile: The facts about each state have been fascinating for him. We purchased a couple of books about the states and he loves following up with that. Often the bird study was correlated to the states. They enjoyed recognizing state birds (which they color on each sheet - good art time for them) from the science readings. There is enough interspersed throughout with science and history that you're not doing only state sheets. Some weeks you might do one or two state sheets but also focus on a history topic like Abraham Lincoln or Inventors. Some weeks there is one state sheet a day with no other history reading/work and for me that was a nice change of pace. It was a lighter week then and freed us up schedule wise.

 

This is a vote to say that you don't know until you give a program a shot. For our family it was a great fit and perfect timing. We're not moving on to ECC at this time but I can heartily recommend Adventures. :001_smile:

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Hi AngelBee!

 

We only have a small rural library, not so great, and inter-library loan takes 2+months often..you really can't count on it!

 

For next year, grade 3 - 2011/2012 - I have SL 1+2, and I need to stick in some basic Canadian studies for littles sometime over the next year. Then I think we're going TOG!! :)

 

Feel free to keep sharing on this thread though :).

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Hi AngelBee!

 

We only have a small rural library, not so great, and inter-library loan takes 2+months often..you really can't count on it!

 

For next year, grade 3 - 2011/2012 - I have SL 1+2, and I need to stick in some basic Canadian studies for littles sometime over the next year. Then I think we're going TOG!! :)

 

Feel free to keep sharing on this thread though :).

Well....we could move closer together and share books! :D

 

What TOG do you think you will start with next year?

Edited by AngelBee
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Hi AngelBee!

 

We only have a small rural library, not so great, and inter-library loan takes 2+months often..you really can't count on it!

 

For next year, grade 3 - 2011/2012 - I have SL 1+2, and I need to stick in some basic Canadian studies for littles sometime over the next year. Then I think we're going TOG!! :)

 

Feel free to keep sharing on this thread though :).

 

Agreed! :lol:

We could go to Florida and hang with Tina! :D

 

Now we're talking!

 

NO, Florida is too humid. Come to New Mexico, we have beautiful weather her!. AND I'm doing Core 1+2 for my 3rd grader next year too!:hurray:

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Good point! MN gets humid too. The desert may be the trick! :D

 

I went to college in MN. I love it in July, and that's it :lol:.

 

Whew. The deep south! Okay, but only in the winter :P. I'd be heading north in the summer, I don't do too well with intense heat :).

 

But it's a DRY heat :lol: That's what everyone says to make themselves feel better. I went to High School in Mississippi and I have to say NOTHING is worse than the southeast in the summer.

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Thanks for this thread. At the beginning of the year, I was pretty sold on all things MFW (except for high school, which doesn't matter because it's a loooong way away for us).

 

I started my son in K, even though he knew all of his letter sounds and was beginning to blend words. First, I ended up cutting out the handwriting worksheets. He's a lefty and worked better with an Getty-Dubay. Then, he started getting bored with the same-ness of the worksheets. We started doing 2 or 3 letters a week. Then I switched to Singapore Early Bird so he would be more interested in math. For Bible he was memorizing Scripture from CC, so that was cut out.

 

I ended up tweaking and tweaking and tweaking until I was using a few of the worksheets each week and some of the Science. I bought many books because I have 4 children ages 1-6. We still would go to the library, but not consistently enough to make the Science work better for us (my K'er LOVES all things Science).

 

Finally, as I began to review our year and plan for the next, I came to the realization that in two years I would have one in K, 1st and Adventures. I just can't go there. Instead, I really need everyone to have their own handwriting, math and phonics/LA (a la the workbox system) and do the rest of the activities together.

 

Like many of you, I wanted SO desperately wanted MFW to be it. Maybe quitting after K is too soon, but I just didn't see any way to make it work in the long run.

 

Monica

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