21 May 2012

Switching to My Father's World Curriculum

Learning about our precious rhinos- Folded Paper Rhinos
Our homeschool journey has been a very bumpy one.  First, we were unsure how to go about homeschooling in South Africa.  We started off rather blindly, with no support or information about homeschooling.

Then, we found curriculum, but weren't sure which one to use, as there were so many choices.  We were seldom privileged to see curriculum being used in other South African homeschools, and we just don't know that many HS'ers.  After trying many and ditching many, I found that the one that offered most of what I wanted was the Weaver curriculum.

Musical water glasses
As I have always said, I love the way Weaver has the Bible integrated into so much of the lessons.  Whilst we really loved doing the preschool Interlock, we have not had as much success with the Volumes.  I have struggled to piece it all together.  The planning took me a long time and I altered so many activities as too many were written.  I also added a lot to Weaver, such as literature.  I always feel as if I "missed" an essential part of the Weaver puzzle, and perhaps, just having another user nearby would have done it.   I've taken breaks and prayed about it and so wanted Weaver to work,. We've tried it again, but it seems that now is just not the season for Weaver in our home.  And so, I started to do my own unit studies again, and pretty soon I was burned out, and looking again...

Although I have laid out a lot of money for Weaver, and other curriculum, I am closer than ever at finding what is right for our family.  I suppose all is not lost then.  I've discovered a few things about our homeschooling:
  • We want a curriculum that is Bible based, one that doesn't just tag on Bible
  •  We'd like to concentrate on Bible, lifeskills, missions, character and service at least as much as academics
  • We love unit studies, because we can combine various grades and cover a variety of subjects, thus saving time
  • We all love books, and reading plays a huge part in our learning
  • We like our history to be more or less chronological, and don't like jumping about too much from topic to topic
  • We like to do some hands on activities, some art and picture study, study composers, learn poetry- but often don't get time for these
  • We need the curriculum to be laid out for me, in a daily schedule, so that I can just pick it up and use it, without lots of planning time
  • I want to have all the books, not have to go to our library weekly, which is just not possible
  • We don't do well with too much planned for us, as we get burned out
  • We need LA and Maths that is not too intensive and time consuming
  • We want to lay a good foundation in academics, but still have enough time to do the fun things like nature walks, science experiments, poetry and art
Starfish from an intertidal rockpool

Cape Autumn Widow Butterfly
In looking for curriculum that had all those points, I found My Father's World curriculum (abbreviated MFW).  I had heard of it before, but thought it was very "American".  By that, I mean, most curriculum from the US concentrate largely on US history and geography, naturally, and I thought it would be the same.  However, I was pleasantly delighted to discover that I was wrong! Students in Grade 2-8, begin MFW in the 5 year multi-age cycle.  The cycle starts with a year of studying geography and cultures of the world, with an emphasis on missions and the book of Matthew.  And several of the MFW years to follow are not as "American" as I suspected.  In fact MFW has suggestions for International users on how to make MFW work.  I looked at all that MFW had to offer, and decided to order.  Since Joel is in Gr5 and Emma in Grade 2, we would start Exploring Countries and Cultures.  We now eagerly await our box.

Phases of the Moon, with Oreo Cookies,  yum!
We also took the plunge and ordered all the authors suggestions for LA and Math, after reading the reasons for their choices.  I have listened to a couple of audio's by the authors and I am very impressed with all I have heard so far.  David Hazell, the author, talks of many issues relating to homeschooling and I have been able to relate so much to this excellent speaker.  It has taken a long time for me to find a curriculum that is nearly perfect.  I am praying that MFW will be the right thing for us.