- Reviewed on Monday, June 23, 2014
- Grades Used: Pre-K, K, 1, ADV, & ECC
- Dates used: 2010 - 2014
We will finish ECC before the end of the year so I am putting 2014 as our end date. It is June 2014 now and we are about half way through the ECC program. I do not plan to continue any further with MFW so I really do believe our end date will be at some point in the next six months.
I have four children. My oldest was 5 years 6 months when my fourth was born; so they are close in age to one another. My youngest though has Down syndrome, so that changes our learning dynamics to three close in age and one a few years behind the others. My oldest has completed MFW1, ADV, and half of ECC. My second born has completed MFWK, MFW1, tagged along in ADV, and half of ECC. My third born has completed MFW Pre-K, MFWK, MFW1, and tagged along for ADV and half of ECC. The end of 2014 should complete ECC by my oldest three.
My Father's World was started with the goal of raising money for Bible Translation. Prior to running the business of My Father's World the Hazel family were located in Russia doing Bible Translation projects. The MFWK program though was initially written for Marie Hazel's public school Kindergarten classroom; it was of course used in that classroom without the Bible. The second program of MFW1 was being sold while they were still in Russia, and due to the sales going well they came back to start the business. They then wrote ECC and the rest of the 5-year cycle. They initially did not plan on writing a high school curriculum. 1850 to Modern was their initially planned last program. Since that program though they have added Adventures for second grade and a four-year high school college prep program. I know all of this information from the CDs they sell with David Hazel speaking and their message board.
The heart of the program is a push for international missions. It is often quoted that Exploring Countries and Cultures is the heart of MFW. The focus of ECC is Bible translation, praying for other cultures, missionary biographies, and geography. I have looked at their TMs through the cycle. The mission’s heart that starts in ECC actually continues through 1850 to Modern and actually increases in intensity. The positive to this missions push is that it exposes children to a need in the Christian community through the Great Commission. The negative to this missions push is that the cycle is sold as being a family cycle for 2nd - 8th grade. Overseas mission stories can be lovely as a family read aloud. They also though can be written with higher emotional and maturity content. I personally don't think of guerrillas, gun shots, bodies floating in blood, 4 year olds being traded off in marriage for a new dog, a lady missionary going down to underwear with male soldiers for a search, etc. as appropriate second/third/fourth grade material. In order to use ECC with a 4th/5th, 3rd/4th, and 1st / 2nd grader I have had to modify in order to make it 'family learning'. I strongly suggest pre-reading Windows of the World, some of Hero Tales, Kingdom Tales, and the missionary biographies if you have young sensitive children. The poetry missionary books by YWAM are also a lovely option to do missions and keep it age appropriate for seven and eight year olds that are tagging along as suggested by the program. I think missions can be introduced, as programs like AWANA does, without the gore. However, if you want a large missions focus in your home school days and missionary stories as a focus that at times is your Bible for the day this program may be the right one for you.
Academically My Father's World is OK. I wouldn't say it is weak, and I wouldn't say it is strong. It is average in a lot of ways, and stays true to a public school scope and sequence. The science follows an honor track from the public schools. My biggest challenge has been my accelerated children in certain areas for each of them. They always seem to be light years beyond the program in one area or another, and that can create tensions in implementing it. The phonics in MFWK is about on par with the first book or so of Rod and Staff grade 1 phonics. MFW1 is about on par with the second and third books in Rod and Staff grade 1 phonics. The phonics taught in the last book in grade 1 R&S phonics and in 2nd grade is not taught in MFW. The geography in ECC is mostly a geography game, and they do learn their countries from it. It is a highly effective part of the MFW that we have used.
The program is full of hands on projects. If you love hands on projects you will adore MFW. I do not love implementing hands on, but have done them for my children who have enjoyed the process. I don't find them particularly educationally beneficial, but more for fun learning while they have been young. Moms who really want hands on will find MFW delightful.
The appendix is a full book list. If you are good about reserving library books on-line and picking them up there is a long enough list for even an avid reader. I haven't gone this route, but used other book lists for my avid reader. I think though some moms find this to be their favorite part of the program known as book basket.
MFW for us has been the curriculum that gets done. It is the main reason we have used it as much as we have. I love the Hazel's heart for missions. I don't love how missions are taught in the curriculum, but I love their heart for missions and Bible translation. I think ultimately the Biblical worldview they are referring to in their marketing is missions.
I am thankful for our MFW years. They kept me home schooling through some pretty challenging seasons with our youngest. I taught privately for years prior to home schooling, and I think it has ultimately made it difficult for me to completely want to follow another mom's ideas. I want more Bible in our days than MFW does, more reading, fewer hands on, and more science and math. Ultimately, we all have to pick our top goals and focus on them since it seems difficult enough to even manage those in a typical home school day!
I pray this review may bless whoever reads this. I pray you will find the right curriculum for your family, and that perhaps this helped a little.
"God is Love" 1 John
- Reviewed on Monday, March 10, 2014
- Grades Used: k, 1st
- Dates used: 2013-2014
I started K with my son in Aug 2013, about 2 months before he turned 5. He could say his ABCs but could not recognize many letters. After 5 months of using the K program, he was reading CVC words like cat, sun, etc...
The K program is VERY repetitive. You use the same worksheets every week with different sounds. It works. It may seem mind numbing to you but it works for little minds. Especially wiggly little boys. Now, after 5 months, we were done. We didn't do the last 6 or so units because my son was reading CVC words very well and getting bored. So I ordered the first grade program.
-The Bible lessons are great (and simple) and he enjoyed wearing his badges.
-I didn't feel the math was enough so I added some pages of my own. Now, I did LOVE the pages they did include but there just wasn't enough.
My son is now 5 and a half years old. We are up to week 14 (out of 34) and my son is excelling! He is reading really well...sounding out two syllable words and enjoying school. The phonics lessons are just right for him. Short and sweet but fast paced. We do the phonics lessons during school, the reading review a few hours later and he reads to his dad every night...so he reads 3 times a day.
-The Bible verses and stories are GREAT!
~The math is ok. It is also short and sweet so it isn't overwhelming for him. I don't know how it would be for a 6-7 year old.
~The science is pretty light but that is good at this stage. I think he would be overwhelmed with anything more. However, I don't feel he has really learned anything from it.
~I've seen several people complain about a lack of handwriting practice...however I think there is plenty of handwriting practice. The key to good handwriting is watching your child write and correcting mistakes until they start doing it correctly.
~We bought the art program, Drawing with Children but honestly I don't care for it.
The k program took us about 30 minutes to an hour every day. The first grade takes a hour to 1.5 hours.
I love MFW and plan to continue using it. However, I may end up using a different science program..I need more structure. MFW is very family friendly and definitely Mom friendly! It is so well laid out there is minimal planning (almost none). And another pro is the price!
- Reviewed on Friday, January 17, 2014
- Grades Used: 9th and 10th
- Dates used: 2012 to present
Ancient History and Literature and World History and Literature
My son used the Ancient History curriculum last year (2012-2013) and is using the World History curriculum this year (2013-2014).
Both of these curriculums have been exceptional less the language arts. The literature is awesome and provides a wonderful array of classic books to read, but the grammar and composition are not enough for my liking. We use Rod & Staff English as a supplement. I have also added in 'God and the History of Art' for the fine arts credit--which has been amazing.
My son has thoroughly enjoyed both curriculums and that is saying a great deal. I took him out of public school after the 8th grade, because he wasn't completing all his assigned work, learning much of anything and his attitude was very unpleasant both at school and at home. What a turn around since we have been homeschooling! I feel confident that these curriculums have provided our son an excellent education in history, bible, and literature in an interesting, fun, and meaningful way.
My son and I highly recommend both of these curriculums with a note that the literature is definitely challenging, especially for those kids who may not like to read (They will need to read the original language in books like Caesar and Beowulf, however, an understandable English translation is on the opposite pages :) Good luck!
- Reviewed on Friday, August 30, 2013
- Grades Used: 1st-3rd
- Dates used: 2012 - 2013
This review is for MFW Adventures. For our first year to homeschool I could not have been happier with our choice. I learnt a lot and it was at just the right speed for a newbie. However, once the year was over, I definitely wanted to make some changes and had some things I loved and also had some critiques. For us, the science was too shallow so half way through we switched over to Apologia. Likewise, while I loved the kids learning bible verses and the names of Jesus, we will switch off to a more in-depth bible study in the years to come. We did enjoy all of the read alouds and the book basket is really the crowning glory of MFW. I would order several from the library, lay them out and let the kids peruse and choose as they wanted. The book basket definitely helped peak their interest in the time period we were studying. I did find that about half way through when we switched over to studying state-by-state that the teachers' manual was a lot less informative and quite honestly we got a little bored of filling our state after state sheet. I made it more interesting by using printouts from the U.S. Mint State Quarter website and found a video that had 10 minute snippets about each state. I don't think the kids learned much about each state as it got overwhelming going over every single state bird, state flower, state motto week to week. But I appreciated the overview of US History. We'll see in the years to come what they remember and learned.