The (late) Friday Find

I want to share my thoughts on our curriculum – Adventures in My Father’s World. It contains Bible, history, science and geography (as well as art and music if you choose to add it).

History – We’ve been using these two books for our main lesson time. One is in more of a textbook style and the other is stories about the people, usually children, who lived through the historic events we’re studying. Both are written from a Christian worldview and there are mentions of God in each lesson. There is a different topic each week and are building a time line through our school room. We started with the Vikings, then Columbus. Week three was Jamestown and this coming week is Native Americans. It continues on from there until the last lesson where each student writes a letter to the President. Nothing too in depth or weighty for these little ones but each lesson is a great, age-appropriate overview of the topic. There are also several smaller books for reading aloud, seen here.

Reading – Apart from the daily history lessons in which there is always reading, the teacher’s manual also schedules read aloud time each day. The books for it may be purchased in the Deluxe package or borrowed from the library. They all tell stories of people from the time period we are studying that week. I would highly recommend buying the read aloud books if you are able. They are great books for a homeschooling library. This has become a great calm-down time for my girls. We read after the baby is in bed at night so we have time to discuss what they’ve learned.

Book Basket – The feature that my girls have come to love about MFW is the book basket. Each day there is a slot of time (how long is determined by mom) for reading books on the topic we’re learning about in history or science. At the back of the teacher’s manual there are two books lists – one for Book Basket (listed by week/topic, each fully reviewed by the authors of the curriculum. They also give little side notes like ‘ Good for independent reader’ etc. so you can gauge which books would suite your child) and another list for independent reading time (listed by reading skill level, again all reviewed by the authors). It is a huge blessing to me to know that the books Lael is reading are appropriate.

Geography – The basic package comes with a place mat sized map that has the US on one side and the world on the other. We started the school year reviewing the continents and bodies of water. Now as we travel through American history, the paths taken by all the great explorers are coming to life as the girls can look at it on the maps. As we continue, the geography/history unit will focus on each of the 50 states. I believe there are two states done each week and the students learn basic facts and geography.

Science – We love our little science books so far. Nothing intimidating, nothing complex. Just basic “this is the world around you” science. So far we’ve learned about how air affects us, even though we can’t see it. Experiments are simple, using things you’d have around the house. The girls love it.

Bible – The Bible curriculum for the year revolves around the names of Jesus. The students make a poster of the names, using the reproducibles in the back of the teacher’s manual. I like that the lesson contain a good amount of Scripture while not being too heavy for young minds.

My Father’s World also recommends the following:

Singapore Math – I cannot communicate enough how much I love Singapore Math. It is clear, no nonsense math with great review and practice for new topics. It is definitely a very advanced math curriculum though and if you are planning on using it, please have your child take the placement tests. For example, Singapore expects a child to know basic multiplication and division by the end of grade 1. I found this to be quite a few months ahead of other curriculum we’d used and looked at.

Primary Language Lessons – I love this little book. If your child is not reading comfortably, it may not serve you as well as it could. Lael is a good reader so this book is really great for teaching punctuation, grammar and memorization. She memorized a poem last week! And loved it! Each lesson is very short, allowing time for slow and complete learning. The teacher’s manual suggests 2-3 lessons per week. We’ve gone a little slower than that (mainly due to the time we were spending on phonics) but I’d like to be using this more often.

Spelling by Sound and Structure
– I’m waiting for these books to arrive so I can’t give a full review on them. From what I’ve seen online, it is a basic spelling curriculum – no frills, just learning to spell. We began the year using Saxon Phonics 2 and while I know many parents who love it this program just didn’t work for us. Lael is already a very comfortable reader and never learned to code spelling words. It was torture for both of us to go backwards and try to learn something in a different way that she already knew how to do.

For Alyssa, we’re using Saxon Phonics K – which is great for her – and a simple math book from Walmart. She participates in all the Adventures lessons.

So for my first year buying “real” curriculum, I am so pleased. I fully plan on using My Father’s World curriculum for years to come.


7 thoughts on “The (late) Friday Find”

  1. Did you get the regular or deluxe package?

    MFW has looked great to me from the first time I considered it this past summer. It’s just so expensive! I bought all our school stuff– including all the random supplies like an electric pencil sharpener, construction paper, etc.–for less than $100 for both Gabriel & Bronwyn… I guess I kind of choke at spending hundreds each year before we even get to higher grades when I’ll NEED to spend a lot on textbooks. That said, knowing someone like you (who likes to save a buck, too!) thinks it’s so worth it makes me look again for the future.

    I also really like the reading approach I’m using (Ruth Beechick). Do you think the reading stuff could easily be adjusted to the teaching/learning style I like, or is it mostly laid-out for you?

  2. Jack, just wanted to say that I’m thinking of you–praying for you. Wish I could have really stopped and talked with you yesterday–soon enough =) I hope you have a blast on your field trip though, it’ll be great!

  3. @ Brietta – I bought a modified deluxe package used, which I would highly recommend. Get onto the MFW Yahoo Group now and keep an eye out for deals. The entire basic package (minus the Bible, which was fine because we wanted to let Lael choose her own) plus all the read aloud books from the deluxe package, plus Primary Language Lessons for the bargain price of $172. I had a complete panic attack the night I ordered everything – MFW, math, Lael’s bible and our 3-in-1 printer – because I spend about $300. But Josh has really given me complete freedom in this area. He’d rather spend the money and see me calm and happy. 🙂 Once I got everything I was happy with it. Thrilled. Maybe you could stop over some time and look through what we have, to see if you think it will work for you. I know the 1st grade curriculum is all-inclusive. The price may be a bit steep but I’ve heard it’s worth it. And since there are so few consumables, using it for the younger kids will be cheap.

    @ Lore – I’m a little more relaxed now, but I’d still love to chat with you! Come over soon, okay?

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is so helpful as I look ahead to choosing our curriculum for this year.

    Does MFW help with teaching reading, or do you use another phonics curriculum for Allysa?

  5. @ Abby – The MFW K and 1st grade programs do include reading/phonics – from what I’ve heard they are wonderful. We’re using what is technically the 2nd grace program so Alyssa has been doing Saxon Phonics for reading.

  6. Thanks for all this feedback! It’s really helpful. I may stop by sometime when I’m ready to think through future curriculum purchases.

    Oh, and thanks so much for your offer to take Gabriel today. I am so disappointed to miss the field trip, but it just isn’t working for us logistically (me + all 4 kids on a lengthy outing, and $$ being stretched thin right now with our project, etc.) and Gabriel wasn’t very keen on the idea of spending the day apart from me. He’s getting the jitters even about Friday Program and I’m already having to reassure him that none of the other K students are really reading either. (He’s very concerned that he won’t be as good at school as the others– too funny!) In the meantime, I don’t want to push him too much.

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