I don’t know about you, but the choices to be made about curriculum have been more nerve wracking than my initial decision to pull my daughter out of public school.
Is it rigorous enough? Is it too rigorous? How many 5 star reviews does it have? How many 1 star reviews? Why is it so expensive? Why is this less expensive??? Is it not as thorough? I put it in the checkout cart…I took it out of the checkout cart. I lost sleep over it. I scoured the web to find just a few more reviews to read. My husband was exasperated with me, “Just pick one!”
The pressure is enormous! Only your child’s entire educational future is swinging in the balance! (Not really, but it sure feels that way!)
Can you relate? Whether you have been homeschooling for years or this is your first rodeo, I think the fears are universal of making the best choice within your budget.
Whether you call it dumb luck or God’s blessing – we were blessed with stumbling on a great curriculum – My Father’s World – from the start. I have purchased Preschool, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and intend to purchase 3rd grade and Kindergarten this year.
I want to share with you my experience with My Father’s World and why I have fallen in love with it! Maybe you’ll love it as much as I do, or maybe it will give you an idea of features to be looking for as you shop around.
My Father’s World is what is called an “all in one” curriculum. It is exactly what it sounds like. You do NOT have to piece together an age/grade appropriate curriculum on your own.
A team of professional curriculum developers have done it all for you! All the lesson plans are written out for you and rolled into one beautiful book! You just flip it open, look at the day of the week, and go! There are even little boxes next to each subject so you can check them off as you go along.
Side bar, starting in second grade My Father’s World does not include math, language arts, or spelling, BUT they do give great recommendations that you can include in your package. The lessons are still scheduled in your My Father’s World teacher’s manual so you can still check them off daily and stay organized.
The all in one format and only one teacher’s manual makes preparing for lessons a breeze! When I first committed to homeschooling I assumed that I was signing my life away and completely sacrificing myself to my kids’ education. It was surprising how little time it actually took to prepare for the week.
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I actually began to enjoy setting aside Sunday afternoons for lesson preparation. I would get a hot cup of coffee, sit at the dinning room table, flip through the upcoming week, and read the lessons. It only took me about 30 minutes and that’s because I took my time and lingered while sipping coffee.
Life has picked up now, so I probably spend about 10 minutes on Sunday reading and making a list of any small supplies I may need to pick up. During the week, I spend about 5 minutes every night rereading through the lesson and making small notes to myself. That makes me feel sharp and ready for the upcoming day.
What I mean by braided lessons is that because MFW is an “all in one,” the subjects are often designed to compliment each other. This points to how the MFW curriculum developers carefully thought out and planned each week.
The Bible, science, history, and read aloud books often work together and overlap material. For example, my daughter just learned this week about Robert Foulton who developed a better steam boat that changed transportation in America. The same week we learned in science about flotation. Later in the year we will learn about the Wright Brothers in history and aviation in science in the same week. See the parallels there?
I love this feature and how it engages my daughter, shows application of the lessons in different subjects, and really helps her to remember information because she learns it in different ways. It also helps the lessons to flow when I am switching from subject to subject. It is an easy transition when the lessons are connected.
MFW is a Christian curriculum and that is felt throughout the lessons. First grade was phenomenal in teaching Biblical history (the timeline provided is incredible!), weekly studies of the Proverbs, learning the books of the Bible, and teaching reading with a “Bible Reader” that went from Creation to Revelation.
Second grade has been a very interesting study about the different names of Jesus (Lamb of God, Emmanuel, etc.). I am excited to see what we will study in third grade!
My daughter has grown so much in her faith and knowledge since we started with MFW (me too!). I loved to see her ask hard questions and apply what we we were learning to her life.
Before MFW I had never taken the time to do daily consistent devotions and Bible teaching with her. I am embarrassed to say that I had never made time for that. My Father’s World makes it part of the curriculum – and it’s all braided together – so it was much easier to do every day.
This opened up a much deeper spiritual relationship with my daughter that is priceless. I am excited to take my younger kids through these lessons in the future!
The only negative comments I heard and read about My Father’s World was that it was not rigorous enough. People were worried that they should be supplementing with other things to challenge their kids more.
In my opinion, this is a common trap for homeschoolers. “Am I doing enough?” is the constant question. It can cause us to overwork our kids as we seek to validate our homeschool.
My Father’s World is intentionally designed to be gentle and instill a love of learning! The lessons are short (1st grade can be done in 2-2.5 hours a day), but they do build.
My daughter learned to read in first grade and it still amazes me to see her sitting in a chair reading a normal book (not an easy reader). I followed the simple lessons every day and they resulted in a kid who loves to read, loves to ask questions, and doesn’t like taking breaks from school.
What?! I told you that My Father’s World is not paying me a cent for this blog post, so that is the truth. The curriculum is fun and she enjoys it so much that I have had to encourage her to take breaks. I even had to tell her we were not taking school books to Grandma’s house for Christmas – Mama needs a break too!
To go along with that gentle approach, My Father’s World has also designed Friday to be a short day – typically less than an hour of work is scheduled. This short day has been tremendous to keep us on track and keep me from losing my mind.
It has been wonderful to help with avoiding burn out, planning errands, scheduling, appointments, playing catch up when we need to, making time for attending a co-op, time for play dates, and just resting!
I think it is genius and has made homeschooling so attainable for us.
When I learned about the Family Learning Cycle with My Father’s World, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I have 2 younger kids coming up very soon and I have been worrying about teaching three separate curriculums in one day and how incredibly time consuming and exhausting that will be.
Enter the Family Learning Cycle! My Father’s World understands the stress that multiple students at different ages and abilities puts on a mom. They designed their program so that once your child hits 2nd grade, they enter the cycle. This means that everyone on the cycle is learning the same material – history, science, and Bible – in age appropriate ways. (The other subjects, such as math and english are still done separately.) I love the idea of my girls learning together and that I will not be standing in my classroom for 12 hours a day.
It can be a little complicated to figure out what the learning cycle will look like for your family depending on their ages. Here is a great link to the My Father’s World website where they explain everything. There is even a way to make little avatars of your kids and see them go through the cycle!
First and second grade curriculum have a daily 10- 15 minute “Read Aloud” time scheduled where the parent is reading to the student. There is either a recommended book to be reading or a book list to choose from. I’ll be honest and say that my first thought was, “Oh that’s nice. But if something needs to be cut for time – it’s gonna be this.”
I have to tell you that this has become the most cherished part of the day for my kids. We read constantly now! All of my girls, even my little three year old, love to sit and listen to me read chapter books to them.
I absolutely love to see them squeal when we come to the end of a chapter and we have to wait till the next day! Their imagination and attention span have increased dramatically since we started doing this.
My Fathers World does not require you to buy an enormous amount of books like many other curriculums. I really appreciate that because with three kids, those books would add up fast and take up tons of room!
There is a wonderful book list in the back of the teacher’s manual though. It is organized by week and has suggestions for library books that compliment the week’s lessons.
The local library has become our happy place! We go there weekly and use the interlibrary loan system. The books I need are usually already sitting on the shelf waiting for me when I get there.
Because of things like a library list instead of buying the books, MFW was less than half the price of other curriculums I was looking at.
Homeschooling can be expensive! But My Father’s World was inside our budget.
I am glad I remembered a great piece of advice, “Just because the curriculum is more expensive, does NOT mean it is better.”
Maybe this is common in other curriculums – I don’t know – but I love the Facebook Groups for My Father’s World. They are a wonderful place for ideas, support, and questions. Homeschooling, especially your first year, is challenging and can be isolating. Having other moms going through the same curriculum is awesome and encouraging!
If you choose My Father’s World be sure to look up these groups!
I couldn’t believe it, but a few months after buying the curriculum, a MFW representative called me to ask how our homeschool was going. She also wanted me know that they were praying for me and my homeschool.
What?! Who does that?! I can’t tell you how that endeared me to MFW. They really do care about education and families.
There are no perfect people and there are no perfect curriculums out there. I would not be honest if I didn’t mention that the My Father’s World science, art, and math programs have not worked well for us.
In first grade, the science was heavily reliant on Usborne books. I found it boring and ended up throwing it out halfway through the year. To make up for it, we did a unit study on zoology through the summer and the kids LOVED it! Highly recommend the The Sassafras Science Adventures!
In second grade, the science has been better, but I still pick and choose what I think will be the most fun (an animal cell model made out of jello was a blast!) or what ties into other lessons. We also picked up a science class in our co-op this year.
As for art, I don’t think any curriculum would have gone over well with my oldest. She loves doing crafts and being creative, but is not interested in structured lessons and being told what to create. I personally thought the drawing lessons were really fun and informative…but decided that forcing her to do them would not accomplish much.
We also dropped the Complete Book of Math that is included in 1st Grade (in second grade you pick your own math program) because it was not working for us. I found parts of it to be a little too unstructured and I seemed to not know when the lesson was over and if we had done “enough.”
If I could go back and do it again, I think I would have pushed the math facts much more gently. I wanted her to memorize faster and stop using her fingers or other manipulatives. All rookie mistakes. I think my middle daughter will benefit from my learning curve with oldest.
I have a friend going through My Father’s World 1st grade right now and her child is doing great with the math. Go figure – pun intended! 🙂
You might be having anxiety flairs every time you even flip your laptop open and start surfing the bajillions of curriculum options out there. My intent in sharing this review with you is not to add to that anxiety, but to give you information about what is working for me. If a friend had not shared MFW with me, I might never have heard of it or tried it!
My experience is honest and it is real. My Father’s World is not a perfect curriculum, but it works the best overall for us. The pros dramatically outweigh the cons.
I hope this has helped narrow down your search, answered your questions, given you new ideas for curriculum features you want, or given you the courage to finally hit that “Complete Purchase” button! I know you read through all of this because you love your kid and no matter what curriculum you pic – that will shine through.
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