If you have ever Googled the words:
You will be met with hundreds of thousands of suggestions, and strong opinions. You Google, CHRISTIAN Homeschool Curriculum, and there are just a many if not more, fascinating and overwhelming opinions and articles to pour over.
Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside, Abeka, Apologia, Christian Academy of America…..and on and on it goes.
I know, because I spent hundreds of hours, no kidding, researching it a few years ago, and then again this summer. In addition to reading, I called each of my top 3 choices on the phone and spent 1-2 hours with them talking about pros and cons and pricing each one. Finally the Lord answered my prayers and gave me direction:
We would do My Father’s World for everything except Math. There is just too much controversy and wide-ranging opinions on Saxon Math. Plus, I hate math and didn’t want to have to a) teach it b) spend an hour going over problems to grade it after. We will discuss what we chose and love a bit later in this post.
The reason I chose MFW (My Father’s World) is because I loved the “One room schoolhouse” approach. It was formulated by a large family, and for large families with a wide variety of ages and grades in their home. And it works WELL.
I am teaching about 5 of the 7 subjects together, all as a family. Then, assignments are handed out based on age and abilities. Perfect! It frees me up so much quicker in the day, to deal with household tasks and life, then it ever would have, had I tried to teach 7 subjects to each of my 4 children, individually.
Come on into our classroom and I will show you around!
I will talk about schedule Wednesday, but let’s look over the different topics and subjects we do daily and weekly.
The first thing you should know about MFW, is they work in what is called “Family Cycles.”
Family Learning Cycle
My Father’s World’s unique INVESTIGATE Multi-age Family Learning Cycle is designed for children through 8th grade to be taught together using the same program. Bible, geography, history, literature, science, music appreciation, and art activities can be enjoyed by a range of ages. Our Teacher’s Manuals provide guidance for grade level expectations as needed. A 7th grader will complete assignments more thoroughly than a 3rd grader while using many of the same resources. The Multi-age Family Learning Cycle keeps the family together when possible and assures that the parent is only teaching one complete curriculum package each year.
You purchase only one INVESTIGATE package per year for all 2nd – 8th graders. Add grade level language arts and math for each child. All our recommendations for 2nd – 8th grades are designed to be completed together in about four hours each day. Each 7th and 8th grader has an additional one to two hours of independent study in more advanced math and science.
Our five year-long programs begin with a one-year foundation in geography and cultures followed by four years of chronological history. A 2nd or 3rd grader continues in the cycle for 6-7 years, repeating material previously learned in 2nd or 3rd grade at an advanced level.
We are doing Exploring Countries and Cultures this year, and jumping Tylan up to a 3rd grade level on Geography, per the suggestion of the man who helped me set up our curriculum for the year. He also jumped up to 3rd grade in Math and will go until he maxes out on his 2nd grade knowledge, then we will review, or move on to multiplication tables.
You will find school grades are not nearly as important in homeschooling, and do not start and end with “regular” school months either. He is getting 100% and excelling in this program, so at this time, I am not concerned about this jump.
Exploring Countries and Cultures means we go on lots of “trips” every few weeks. We are all loving to use our Passports to “travel” to all the different countries of the World. We went to pretend Mexico in September with our Passports, met a crazy customs agent, traded our US dollars for pesos, and had a Mexican Fiesta at a kitchen table cafe. We will do these activities and money exchanging for every place we stop, now as I write this, we are in Brazil, and some cacao beans turned chocolate bars were purchased for our snack time.
The planned games and songs are fun, as well. By the time we are done, we will know all the Countries in the World, and many key words, phrases and songs to represent their culture. We are learning them in fun game style. There are also recipes to make, for each place we stop. I am in HEAVEN!!!!!
In September we studied North America, and wouldn’t you know, by day 2 the big kids knew all of the 17 countries, and by week 2, so did the littles. It’s so incredible to be a part of my children’s education, I find such joy watching them learn and grow.
And, I won’t lie, it’s been a good review for me too! Can you say all the countries in the below map?
Greenland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Jamaica……I could go on, but I won’t! haha 🙂
We are done with the Countries of South America: Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana etc. Told you this was a good review for me too! We just ended our “visit” to Germany and learning all the Countries of Europe, and are headed to AFRICA this morning.
Geography also includes a Classroom Atlas study, with beautiful colored pages, and neat facts sheets about each culture and country we are studying.
Science is done in book study, animal finds, and outside every Wednesday.
Morning and afternoon are filled with Scripture reading, and memorization. We learn a verse a week, sometimes building 3 weeks until we have learned an entire section of verses. It has pushed me to hide God’s word in my heart as well as watch it take root in my childrens. What a blessing!
We also read things in Hero Tales, copying Character traits for handwriting time, or some mornings we are assigned to read chapter books about famous missionaries. They don’t move a muscle during Bible Time!
Kingdom Tales is a Fiction, and totally captured my kids attention, all 4 of them BEGGING for more chapters. It’s like Narnia, whimsical, but Biblically based. All of the below books came as part of our curriculum package.
I love how hands on, and literature rich this curriculum is!!! Totally fits our family and my passion for reading!
Every day there is a required 15 minutes of Book Basket time. Once a week, or once every 2 weeks, depending on unit length, we go to the library and find books about that Country and its Culture. We fill the book basket and turn them loose. It’s a big hit at our house. If you get your work done early, and we are waiting for the others to move on, it’s also used as a reward.
Math is an area I was terrified to teach. I hated it in school, and I still hate it now. How can I teach something I do not care about or know much about anymore?
Then my friend, Allison, told me about Teaching Textbooks math. It’s a CD Rom program and REALLY fun for the kids! There are little fun cartoon buddies that help encourage you along the way. The nice teacher man tells you the lecture, with step by step writing, on this piece of paper you see on the screen. Then you do practice problems, then the lesson.
Every time you get it wrong, it asks you if you want to see how to do the problem correctly. My kids are required to do this for every missed problem.
They rarely call me over for questions, and they get really good grades, too!
A few times, we have cleared out a lesson and started over, this time through, the concept was learned.
I control all that from a teacher page, and can check to see if they did every problem, if they watched the solutions on all they missed etc. It’s a fantastic program, one I hope to use through Calculus!!! Which yes, they do have! PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
There is also 15 minutes of Math Drill scheduled every day. We bought a variety of games at Zulily, and flash cards at Dollar Spot at Target, for this purpose. Avery has mastered addition and is moving on to subtraction, Tylan is on the 4 family of Multiplication….all this with just flash card time! I was in awe!
And for fun, we do Life of Fred on days we don’t do math games.
Life of Fred is a math chapter book. You listen to the story, help solve the problem based on the numbers given in the story. It also goes Elementary through High School, and can be a stand alone curriculum based on some people’s reviews. For us, it’s a fun additional math activity for non Math Game Days.
So let me just say, if you can read, you can teach from the MFW curriculum. And if you can follow directions and be organized with it, you can teach homeschool with success. School is scheduled full for 4 days and light for the last. Such a great way to go into a weekend!
This teachers manual comes with your curriculum and breaks down what you need to do which days, and what to read and teach, what questions to ask and more. I fill in Spelling, English, Math and extras.
I just fill out Math, English and Spelling each week, based on the children’s progress.
Free Reading is required 1 hour daily during nap time, so I don’t schedule that on the lesson plan, even though there is a slot for it.
I also LOVE that My Father’s World has a student packet that comes with your curriculum package, just add-on one per additional child.
They have every single work page I need to hand out to the children that day, conveniently printed off in advance for me, in this packet. I literally just go pull the days pages from my file box, ready to go. AND, they are numbered at the top 9M, which is week 9 Monday, so its fool-proof. Sorry I forgot to take a photo of this part, but trust me, this is seriously a bonus of the program!
On the opposite page of the Teachers Manual, not pictured, it lists off exactly what you will need for the week, and day by day instructions of what to say, what to point out, what scripture to look up, and what questions to ask when you are done. Talk about simple! I told you, if you can follow directions, you can do this!
Let’s not forget Music and Art, which is included in the Curriculum, with easy to read instructions on when and how to utilize them.
So, that covers our day!
We eat morning snack while we do math drill, we take a break for an easy lunch, which I stick in the toaster oven earlier in the morning. We eat together, clean up together and everyone either goes to nap, or their quiet reading spot for 1 hour.
Destiny and I do her Spelling in the afternoon. It’s called Spelling Power, and is part of the MFW curriculum pack for 3rd grade and up, all using the same book!!!!! I just added on the workbooks, and I am so glad I did. It takes 15 minutes a day, and get this…….
NO pre studying the words, just fresh that day only.
I LOVE THAT PART! I got so sick of supper time prep while listening to spelling words, trying to read the list to a hungry, tired child, while frying hamburger and dealing with the other children’s needs and homework as well. It’s a neat program, overwhelming to read about, but easy to add in on the 3rd week of school, as directed. It focuses on the 5,000 most used words in the English Language.
Once you do a placement test, you test the words with your child. 5 minutes of testing total. For us, that is all 25ish words on the list. OR, you test until they miss 5 words. Then you stop that list, and pick back up tomorrow where you left off.
The way you test is interesting:
I say the word, use it in the sentence and say the word again. She repeats the word, then spells it on her paper. I check it right then and there.
If its right, we go on. If it’s wrong, we stop right there and correct it on a special line saved for corrections.
Now, the next 5 minutes begins.
She takes the words she missed, usually just 2, and studies them in a variety of ways listed out with check boxes on her workbook page. Like close your eyes and spell. Use your finger and trace it on your desk. Write it in a sentence.
The next 5 minutes are for further study using games and activities. We have not found this last 4 minutes necessary, so we just do 10 minutes of spelling a day.
The next day, we pick up where we left off, first adding in the 2 words she missed the day before and then continuing.
Same rule, go until the list is done, OR they miss 5 words.
That is our day in a nutshell.
Tomorrow I will talk about the Kindergarten Curriculum from My Father’s World, and the next day more about the ACTUAL schedule part of it, not just the subjects.
Hope this helps you make this oh so important decision for your home and family!
As far as I’m concerned the best education you can give your child is in your own home. I did it and would not trade that experience for anything.
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Oh Tonya, I am so glad that you are loving MFW! We are too!!!! I was dreading adding another person to my lessons and having to do something totally different for the other one. When I found this I was soo excited! I don’t think we will be changing anytime soon.
I will have to look into the math that you are using. I am NOT a math buff either. I never paid much attention to it. We are using Math-U-See and I like it. Steve Demme the owner of it does a DVD for each book and you watch a lesson before you start each new chapter. It had really helped me to understand multiplying. I was amazed how easy it was once he explained it.:) All these years I just thought I would never understand it and now I am learning with my 3rd grader! hehe!!!:)
If we lived closer I would love to be able to do the combining of some of the school work that MFW does. That would be so nice. But alas we don’t. So, oh well.
You actually gave me a few ideas for doing some of the schooling differently. Thanks!
Well, Hope you have a good day!
My first year of homeschooling, we used MFW. I loved the unit-based approach to learning, in this case, English, History, Geography, Art, Cooking, etc were all taught based on the country studying. My kids had a great transition to homeschooling, and I credit it to MFW.
My kids are older, however, and I found that they love the book baskets and the library time more than everything else, so now we use Sonlight.
MFW was a great start for us, and really gave me the confidence I needed to enter what I thought was going to be a scary world of homeschooling. Tanya’s right in her explanation of how easy that MFW makes teaching kids a quality education.
Way to be brave, Tanya, in jumping in to homeschooling! Not every day is easy, but believing in what you’re teaching is rewarding!
We used Math-U-See when I home educated my two, and they graduated from HS in 03 and 04. It was great and my husband being a Mathmatician thought it was a well done curriculum. So many options out there! I’m glad to hear you are enjoying training/teaching your children Tonya! What a privilege it is to have that opportunity-our adult children are still grateful we made that decision.
Oops, they graduated in 02 and 03!!! It seems forever ago…..
Thanks for giving me a peek into your school! I used MFW Kindergarten last year and am currently using MFW First grade with my daughter. It has been wonderful for us! I really enjoy your blog!!!
We used and LOVED MFW for 6 years, before joining Classical Conversations. It has been a HUGE blessing to still be able to do the one room school approach AND add the benefits of comradery, group science experiments, music theory, weekly oral presentations, a VERY strong language arts program (grammar AND writing), etc.
I love having that community support for moms, too, as we have to attend with our children each week (meets one day). It’s a half-day until approximately grade 4, then a full day due to the afternoon language arts program. Enjoy your break and the second half of your year.