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MFW vs. TOG


Guest kennellychari
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Guest kennellychari

Someone recommended I join this group to get some feedback on both MFW and TOG. My husband and I are wanting a classical education for our kids in that we want them to learn to think, analyze, reason for themselves. We know we want a unit study curriculum...easier with 4 kids born within 5 1/2 years...and I want us to learn together as a family. After researching a TON last summer, I decided to go with MFW-K for my dd5. We're nearing the end and we've really enjoyed it...it's been a good home schooling start for her and I. I think we'll go ahead and use MFW 1st to continue the phonics instruction we've started. However...I am one that like to choose and path and stick to it, so I'm looking at the long-range plan/goals and wondering if TOG is more of what we're looking for. I've downloaded and reviewed their 3 week sample on Egypt. Looks good.

My thoughts on TOG:

 

Pros:

-#1...discussion questions! Seems like they'll teach my kids to THINK!

-#2...evaluations....able to see if they're learning and retaining

-CD's so hubby can know what's going on and be more involved

 

Cons:

-more planning than MFW...but is this really true? Anyone used both so they can compare? If it's just that I have to flip more pages b/c TOG has all four stages intertwined, that's not a problem for me.

-not sure I like that they're going all digital.

-concerns about their financial situation...will they be around long term?

-can't resell their DE....when we're done with it or if we decide it's not for us.

 

I'm already supplementing the MFW-K to fit my dd5, so I wonder if it is a lighter program than what we want. I know MFW lovers say it's not light. But, I think there's a difference between having lots of books to supplement understanding and teaching my child to think more in-depthly. Can't tell if my kids will get that level of thinking from MFW..any opinions here? For those who have switched from/to one or the other, what were your reasons/opinions on both. MFW is known for being easier to use, but don't want to go that route if my kids won't get as strong of a classical education. Thanks in advance to those that respond!

 

I've considered using MFW for Lower and Upper Grammer stages and then switching, but would you seasoned moms recommend that? It negates some of the cost-savings and may make it harder to adjust to TOG when/if we switch down the road. Any advice?

 

Chari

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To answer the scheduling question: Yes, there is more to do with TOG than with MFW. MFW is just open and go. TOG tells you what to read each week, but not what to read each day. It doesn't take a long time to schedule it out over a week, but it is more than just open and go.

 

Now to tell the story of what we did and why. DS has never been to a brick and mortar school. I figured if I could teach him to read, dh would let me bring the girls home. So I set out to find something for him. The Lord led me right to MFW. I used it for ds for K and 1st.

 

We started at an odd time of the year so when the girls came home and started the new school year, we were 1/2 way through MFW 1st. Again I felt the Lord leading me to stay with MFW. So we did ECC with the girls and ds tagging along as he could - mostly sitting through readings. He did some worksheets but not many. Kids were 6th, 4th and 1st/2nd.

 

I tend to stay with what works so the next year we started CtG with MFW. We got maybe 10 weeks into it and my then 7th grader kept asking when we would be doing history. I decided then and there that I needed to look and see what is out there that I could figure out where we were in history and start there. The Lord led me to TOG. We've been happy with TOG ever since.

 

I seem to be the only one on the local yahoo group that has used both and I recommend one over the other based on ages of kids. If you only have young ones, I say go with (or in your case, stay with) MFW. It is plenty at those ages. It's easy to follow and easy to do. If you have at least one in middle school and you are looking for a very rigorous program, go with TOG.

 

MFW is not light at the younger ages. I think it was right on for my younger two (3rd and 5th when we left). BUT for the older middle schoolers, I think it is light. I never looked at their high school program so I can't comment on that.

 

I haven't really gotten into all the ramifications of TOG digital. I did pre-order year 3 print edition because I prefer to have something in my hands, on my lap. I do think they will be around long term.

 

HTH

 

Cheryl

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Guest kennellychari

Cheryl,

 

Thanks for your post...very helpful! You're the first one to give me details about WHY TOG is a bit more labor/time intensive for parents...besides "having to weed through all those pages"! Your recommendation about staying with MFW for at least the next few years is what I've been thinking. Just heard many say that they wish they'd started TOG earlier so they could've had more of a chance to get used to the curriculum before their kids were older. And I tend to be one that hates change...don't want to change courses mid-way through. I'm also concerned about cost...but know that isn't everything. Thanks again...hopefully I can get some feedback from someone using MFW for high school! Since it's so new, I'm having trouble getting ANY feedback in that area!

 

Chari

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It seems that my opinions of TOG have varied drastically over the last 2 years. We purchased Year 1 when our OLDEST was only in K....thinking that we would just use the Lower Grammar sections. Well, our idea BOMBED big time! I thought it was TOG. We switched to several other choices through the next 2 years, ending up with MFW-Adventures for 2nd grade. I really loved it at the beginning! I even posted about how much better MFW was compared to TOG (I only say this because somehow you may run across one of those posts at some point! ha!).

 

However, after completing the first semester of MFW-Adv I really felt led to try TOG again. We just started it again and are currently in week 3 of YR 1. The difference now is AMAZING!!!! Why? First I think it is because my daughter is able to read on her own. What a difference that makes! We do most assignments together orally, including taking turns with reading. But for the longer selections she is able to take the book and read on her own. She can also read directions now so I can give her one of the worksheets and she can work independently if needed (we have 4 other children ages: 5, 3, 2, and 1 so I can't always just sit with her all morning). Second, the crafts/projects are much more fun now that she can really participate and make connections between what we're learning and what we're making - she didn't really care when she was younger. Third, she is really starting to make the necessary Biblical connections to her history at this age: ie understanding why the Egyptians' practice of worshipping false gods was so important and why God sent the 10 plagues against them in relation to their religious practices.

 

Comparatively I do believe that MFW is lighter, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When my oldest was younger that's what she needed and it was a great blessing at the time. 8-)

 

Now I plan to continue with TOG since our next oldest will be joining us for school next fall. My expectations for her participation are really low (a mistake I made when my oldest first started, I thought she needed to do EVERYTHING...oops!) but it will be fun to include her in some of the reading and maybe some crafts. It's also good for me to plan ahead so that I can accrue the books we'll need in the future since I know what stages my kids will be then.

 

I don't think the planning for TOG is hard at all. I agree with the previous poster, just stick with the assignments listed for your specific stage of learning, you can ignore the rest. The teacher's notes are helpful for me but I don't always read them. I'll definitely need them later on, but for 2nd grade it's really not that meaningful to our daily teaching time. I also don't worry about any of the supplemental readings on the alternate resources page. When the kids are older they can choose one of those if they'd like to, but I just stick to what the main selections are. MFW is "open and go" if you stick with all their selections for Spelling, Grammar, Science, Art and Music....we didn't. I ended up writing those in each day (which was no big deal) so the only real difference for our family between MFW and TOG planning-wise was just adding in the history piece. Everything else I was already scheduling anyway.

 

MFW is great because the books are included with your purchase, which was a great help to me last year when I couldn't get to the library regularly. That may also weigh in on your decision. TOG is an expensive purchase and it really isn't NECESSARY when all of your children are only LG, but if you're thinking long-term it is great to have when your kids are younger just for YOU to become familiar with it and to plan ahead (book purchases etc).

 

I'm still glad we switched to MFW for Adventures, it was the right choice for the time we were in. But I'm definitely happy to have returned to TOG at this point.

 

HTH,

Caryn

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Guest kennellychari

Caryn,

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's encouraging to me to hear the experiences other mom's are having, especially from one whose kids are young right now...like mine are. Blessings to you and your family!

 

In Christ,

Charissa

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I've used both. As you can see, I have many children close together. TOG was too much when my older children were younger. I was even told by other TOGers that I shouldn't use the program (but I was hard headed and figured if they could, I could...granted all of them had older children along with younger). It was a miserable year for us.

 

I've used MFW and had planned to go back to it this year, but am not going back to it till this summer. My husband and I have both sat down, looked at everything we've used, what worked and didn't work, etc. Our BEST year in all of our schooling was MFW. We didn't use Kindy, but we did use ECC and from what I hear, it doesn't stay light, but it doesn't drag you through the mud either.

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