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.
 



8 comments:

  1. Hi.. I love to read your homeschooling blog. Basically we have the same reason why homeschooled our children. Come and visit our homeschooling blog in Paradise Island Of Langkawi, Malaysia. Some of the post were in Malay but you still can read it through translation. Bye...

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  2. So, what happened?? Was MFW what you expected?

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  3. Have you had a look at Sonlight? They supply all the books. The history you can choose between American or World history? Perhaps you should order their catalogue and have a look.

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  4. Sorry, have not been here in a while. Yes, MFW is great and I'd say more than I expected Hesme, I'll write about it in another post soon. It's not just the MFW stuff, it is their subject recommendations for Math and LA that have been a blessing to us as well. TJ, thanks, we did try Sonlight for 2 years in our early HS days, love the books, but the shipping is just too much for to us in South Africa. The more I read the Sonlight catalog, the more I think MFW has more Bible, which is what we were wanting and trying to achieve with Weaver and then DIY. Thanks for the comments!

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  5. Lovely to know how families on the other side of the world work and study. We would love to go to south Africa one day. Enjoy home schooling!

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  6. Hi! I just came across this post and would love to hear how MFW is working for you. I am American but live in Brazil and have been looking at Weaver for many of the same reasons you did (primarily, have the Bible at the overall focus), but have become concerned about the 'library' time and needed extra literature. How is MFW working for your family? My children are currently in grades K, 3 & 5, but in a Brazilian (portuguese speaking) school. My heart is turning to homeschool and I am thinking to use a US curriculum, but will supplement with Portuguese and brazilian history. I'd love to hear your thoughts! There is little homeschool support here, but it is growing. THANK YOU!!!

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  7. Hi Sonja. Thanks for stopping by. I understand your need to supplement with Portuguese and Brazilian history. We do the same, with our history and local languages. We were not able to purchase MFW again this year due to finances, but it is still the best that I have found and I would love to order it again. I found it had just the right balance of academics and fun activities. Believe it or not I did end up supplementing Bible, but have decided that I must move with the Holy Spirit where I am led to do this. I too was worried about the book basket, as you cannot see it before you purchase, but it is really not a "big" thing. The curriculum is SO complete without the extra books. Our libraries here are not great, and I couldn't afford to buy lots. Sometimes we found a book from the list at the library, or one about the topic, other times we skipped. It really is a very complete curriculum if you buy the package.

    I must be honest,if my children were your age, I would do Weaver Interlock, which is what we used at that stage, or MFW K, not the ECC year yet. I am only familiar with the K and then the years, but not first, though it looks good. I think K could be tweaked to incorporate the other children, just leaving the phonics and math skills out. I must say I am not a "rushed" person, we do not push our children to read etc in preschool. Alternatively, if you wanted a more "schoolish: approach Horizons preschool by Alpha-omega is Weaver Interlock re-worked into an easy to use, fun system, with workbooks.
    If we can afford MFW I will skip the very American years, and add our history there. I hope this helps. Feel free to e-mail me, I know how it is to be without support and I am happy to help. Leave your e-mail in the comments and I'll come back and delete it, and reply to you.

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  8. Thank you so much for your opinions! I get such conflicting info about Weaver and MFW it gets confusing. Is Weaver doable as a morning only curriculum for the most part? It's important to me that my kids don't spend all day in ''school'' - as the schools here are either only morning, or only afternoon and it works great for us. I really do love the Weaver system, but am concerned about Prep time...I don't want to be spending HOURS preparing classes - the more laid out for me day by day the better. That's great to hear about the library...I wonder if I might be able to get some of the books in Portuguese.

    Why would you choose Weaver over MFW for these ages?

    My email is smhg71@gmail.com. How old are your children now, and what are you using?

    Thanks again!!!!!

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I love hearing from other families, please leave your comments ;-)