You're Invited! to our 25th Anniversary Party in the Rockies this June
The New Look of Sonlight ...
Check It Out!

Jump to content


Can you compare Sonlight and My Father's World?

Curriculum advice needed

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Jill

    Associate of Learning

  • Registered Users
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,172 posts

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:29 PM

The following posts were made by folks after I asked for some of our users who have used or are using My Father's World Curriculum to explain the differences between SL and MFW. If anyone else wants to share their views, I welcome you to add your comparison to this topic. Thanks so much.
Would you like to contact me?
Please email me at:

#2 knitterofsocks

    Not enough time to knit my socks

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPip
  • 976 posts
  • LocationMichigan

Posted 07 January 2012 - 05:50 AM

I used MFW before using SL. There is a four year gap between my children in grades. MFW says you can use their main curriculum for grades 3-8. I don't really feel that is true. We used it for my boys who were 4th grade and my dd who was 8th grade. It was just way too easy for my dd. I don't think it prepared her for high school level work and independent work well. The parent reads all of the history and bible and the children narrate and maybe do a notebook page. By having me do all of the reading DD didn't absorb as much and when were we together with the younger set she always knew the answer which over time frustrated the boys.

Also I don't think enough time was spent on American history topics. I remember being frustrated at 6 weeks to cover ancient Rome but on 3 weeks for Civil war and 2-3 weeks for American Revolution. The last two years of their cycle have you going through all of the presidents and all of the states. I just wasn't interested in that and thought more time could have been spent on history or science instead. (just my own opinion here) Their science is weak.

There are no readers scheduled, instead you have the book basket which is a weekly list of library books that you can get to round out what you are studying. For some reason I had to force my kids to read them. When my library made changes to its system using the library was no longer easy, so it made this curriculum more hard to use.

The bible ingratation is wonderful in MFW and I love the easy of use of the teacher's manual. Not to mention for teaching all of your kids together it is cost effective and doable.

There are no questions generally related to the any of the books you read. All of the books are mostly santized, which I don't think SL does and it makes for better discussions with the my children. My children have really loved the readers and books we have read with SL. I am able to foster independence a little better SL. I love SL's LA much, much better than the Writing Strands MFW recommends. One thing that has been very very helpful has been having ALL of the books here. No library trips, no waiting for the book to come in, no trips out of the way to pick them up or drop them off. One more thing, SL uses more stories, where as MFW uses books that have just information.
Christy, married to my best friend, Scott for 21 years
Daughter 16 doing Core 200
Twin boys, 12 doing Core G

Previously have used MFW, Ambleside and FIAR and former curriculum hopper

Corgi owner!!

#3 tkbbmomof4

    Full Forum Access User

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,241 posts

Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:26 PM

I used MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures as a break from SL while I waited for one dc to mature a little. We enjoyed the program and the ability to spend a year focusing and learning where the various countries were and some info on the cultures. While it is said that the program can be used w/ 3rd and up or can include younger siblings - there is a great deal in the meat of the program that is even over the head of 3rd and 4th graders. The science is very lite and I found the need to supplement heavily. I spent a great deal of time every few weeks hunting for the books recommended in the program to fill the book basket --- the book basket is what the dc read and the bulk of the meat for the program --- without the book basket the program is very lite. We ended up adding in WinterPromises Animal Worlds to ECC and it made a great program.

I liked the IG layout and the inclusion of all subject on one page in MFW but missed the extra information that you get with the SL IG and my dd missed the SL comprehension questions.

We tried the next level program but it just wasn't a good mix for our family and I was tired of hunting for the books. We went back to SL
  • gentlestrengths likes this

Wife to dh 20 years
mom to T - 25 -Marking Mgr; Political Campaign Mgr
K - 18 -1st homeschool graduate :) college freshman 2014-2015.; gymnastics instructor
B - 16 - 10th; Left handed baseball pitcher
B - 11 - 5th; music and video lover
and mom to furry children - Molly Anne; Candy & Patches
Using 2014-2015 Core 300; Core E;  Apologia Chemistry



#4 Grace4all

    Living life at full swing!

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,578 posts
  • LocationPlanet Earth

Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:17 PM

I have used both programs and am currently using MFW Adventures for my ds and MFW Rome to the Reformation for my dd. Last year we used Creation to the Greeks.

One major difference is that with SL you get all the read alouds and readers for the entire year when you order a core. With MFW there is an appendix that lists out relevant books for each week of study. This has its pros and I choose what we read. Con: then I have to schedule it in. lol. Pro: it can help save money by using the library. Con: using the library. : )

With SL, the ancient history is not biblically integrated. With MFW it is. That is the reason why we used Creation to the Greeks with dd last year and continued on with Rome to the Reformation. Next year we will be using Core H to finish out our world history study and moving on to the highschool cores.

Both MFW and SL have their pros and cons. MFW has a more laid back feel to it. SL has a more rigorous feel to it. Both are wonderful ways to educate and both have enabled us to read lots of great books with our children.

Edited by Grace4all, 10 January 2012 - 03:19 PM.

  • gentlestrengths likes this

Dd 16: 10th grade. History 520, Sonlight 230 literature, MUS Algebra II, Lifepac Spanish, Apologia Physical Science
Ds 10: 5th grade. America the Beautiful, Sonlight Science D, MUS, Lifepac Language Arts

#5 Momlady

    New Kid on the Block

  • Registered Users
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:50 PM

I used MFW ECC with my at-the-time 10yo and 7yo. MFW is a good program, but it didn't work for us.

Cons (for me):
Extremely repetitive. ECC [Exploring Countries and Cultures] was basically "Same thing, different day" for us.

Book Basket. I live rurally. Our library is not exceptional at all. With MFW I had to drive 60+ miles to a decent library to find most of the book basket books. While the program is ok without the book basket, you really need those books to flesh out the program. Sonlight gives you everything you need in a cute box. We will use the library to expand on our Sonlight topics, but we don't *have* to.

Six-Day-Creation-Only stance. I am a Christian who believes the earth is old. Really old. Sonlight allows parents to teach their own views on Creation. MFW does not. With MFW, it's 6-day-creation or nothing.

MFW will work for many families. It didn't work for my family. While it is a bit early to tell, Sonlight seems like a much better fit for us.
  • gentlestrengths likes this

#6 Jill

    Associate of Learning

  • Registered Users
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,172 posts

Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

Thanks so much. Anyone else have any thing they would like to add?
Would you like to contact me?
Please email me at:

#7 heartofjoy

    Assign Positive Intent

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,755 posts
  • LocationCentral Texas

Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:55 PM

I tried MFW K and 1st. These programs have phonics integrated into them. K also has math integrated.

MFW K - letter sounds - I preferred SL PK4/5 to this program. With SL, I can read age appropriate, engaging books to my children while letting them learn to read at their own pace. I thought MFW K was a very traditional "learn to read" phonics program. It also had a few science activities and Bible lessons, but mostly you were paying for "learning to read". This was not high on my list of priorities for K, and I also do not prefer to teach reading in that manner.

MFW 1st - This program was very reading intensive. Lots of phonics worksheets. It moved rapidly from three letter words to long vowels. Again, this is just not how I prefer to teach reading. I like to read lots of books to my kids and use a simple phonics primer (like Phonics Pathways). SL is just sold in a totally different way. I can buy SL Core A and it mostly comes with books, books, and more books. Books for me to read to my kid and books for them to read to me. The variety of books keeps us engaged and eager for the next day. I do not have to purchase their LA (and I don't) or their math or any other extras. I can just buy the core. That's what SL is to me. MFW 1st is a Bible and phonics program with a few other things thrown in. Not what I was looking for.

Desiree, mom to five children, ages 15, 13, 11, 10, 8
Cores Used: PK 3/4, PK 4/5, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, W  Science Used: A, B, C, D, F, H, 100
dd15 10th - BW Help for HS & Boomerangs, Apol. Bio. (co-op), World History (co-op), TT Algebra I (home), ASL, Forensic Science (co-op), Volleyball/Track, Theater

ds13 8th - Core H, Apologia Physical Science, IEW Medieval, MUS Algebra I, Geography (co-op), Baseball
dd11 6th - Core D, Science D, IEW/Growing with Grammar, MUS Epsilon, Geography (co-op), Drama (co-op), Art (co-op), Volleyball/Track
dd10 4th - Core D, ETC/HWT/GWG/AAS, Netflix Science, MUS Gamma, Drama (co-op) 
ds8 2nd - Core D, ETC/HWT/AAS, Netflix Science, MUS Beta,  

#8 club190

    book mavin

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,690 posts
  • LocationThe Crossroads of America

Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:06 PM

If it isn't too late to talk anout MFW, I'd love to chime in!

I was so excited when I ordered the Deluxe package, with the 7th and 8th grade supplement for ECC from MFW (Exploring Countries and Cultures). I was still excited when the box arrived and I had a chance to look over the books, but as I perused them, little shimmers of doubt crept in. I had wanted to go with Core 5 (now F) from the get go but DH and I decided that it made more sense for Andrew to study the geography of the whole earth and not just the Eastern Hemisphere. Plus we reasoned that using their package with the7th/8th grade supplement along with an Earth Science text would make the whole thing worthy of high school credits in World Culture and Geography. We reasoned that it would be simple enough to add in whatever books from the SL catalog or our shelves that we wanted to during "book basket" time. We also figured that it would be a good fit for our youngest son later on. Those were our reasons for the choice last term.

As we got going with the study, we quickly found that much of the material was too juvenile, even for a struggling student. Actually, part of the reason it was such a dismal choice was due this. Anyone with a dyslexic/struggling student knows that babyish things go over like a fart in a space suit (mother of sons, sorry for the graphic euphemism). Then too, I really didn't enjoy the "schoolish" nature of the schedule with everything separated into the artificial subject areas. We much prefer to keep things integrated as much as possible. The science, as previously mentioned, was very light, but we did enjoy reading the AiG text in the full color version.

We struggled through North and South America before waiving the white flag and begging for a change. DH agreed and I was able to sell off the MFW set and purchase what we needed for doing Core 5/F. We've been happy in our studies since then! Instead of heading east across the Atlantic and studying Europe, we chose to go west and learn about the Pacific Rim with Sonlight. We've slowly been making our way ever westward in our trek around the world and expect to finish up the core in April before heading up to Europe in preparation for studying American history with Core 100. So, it all worked out, but it would have been far better if we hadn't taken the detour into MFW in the first place. Live and learn.


Edited by club190, 14 January 2012 - 05:08 PM.

Wife to Jim since 1991,
Mom to:
Matthew, 22: Homeschool grad 2010, Eagle Scout, some college but making good $ working in irrigation right now (making hay when the sun shines).
Andrew, 18: Waiting for Physics101, finally learning to drive, doing Reading with Reason: Mega Classics (beta), and eager to graduate!
Daniel, 9: Loving lots of SL titles and lower level SL Science but not doing a core right now. Instead, taking rabbit trails, finishing IEW's PAL, RightStart Math; Bear Cub.

P.S. I'm a lousy typist so please excuse any typos you see but I missed! I really don't know how my fingers get ahead of my brain with the keyboard.

#9 Jill

    Associate of Learning

  • Registered Users
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,172 posts

Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:04 AM

Thanks Chris. I think this was very helpful. Anyone else care to chime in with your experiences?
Would you like to contact me?
Please email me at:

#10 Jill

    Associate of Learning

  • Registered Users
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,172 posts

Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:21 AM

Thanks Betsy, that was very helpful.
Would you like to contact me?
Please email me at:

#11 blessedmomof3

    Grateful daughter of God

  • Full Forum Access
  • Pip
  • 43 posts

Posted 28 June 2014 - 09:06 AM

I posted this in choosing curriculum but thought I would post here too so I could cover all bases and get the most help. : )

Hi, I love Sonlight. We have finished Core D/E, Core F, and have Core W to start next year. My 2 older kiddos have learned so much from these cores. SL truly makes learning enjoyable!

My youngest dd is 6 and has been a late bloomer. I had heard how wonderful the A Beka phonics program is so I bought it. We muddled thru most of the K program and I have the entire 1st grade curriculum. We tried it last year. She hated it. She moaned and groaned at school time. It takes forever. So I shelved it thinking she just wasn't ready and pulled out the old K wkbks. And ended up shelving them too. We focused on the 3 R's and stories and she is FINALLY starting to enjoy learning. She is writing her letters, reading short words and doing math facts with a smile. Unfortunately, A Beka really killed her love of learning. (My son however thrives with various A Beka things while my oldest dd loves her SL and devours books like is amazing how they are all SO different!)

I simply can't wait to start my youngest in SL but she just isn't ready for Core A. Not ready for sitting thru the read alouds or to read the readers. I need something between the Fun Tales and the Grade 1readers. Lol.

So, I began to research MFW. I figure I could sell the A Beka 1st grade stuff...get MFW grade 1, and then move into SL Core A in a year.

So, after that long description of our family dynamics... I am wondering about reviews of MFW grade 1. I did do a forum search...I read a lot about MFW...but couldn't find much about grade 1 which seems to be different than their older grades. I am just looking for a gentler approach to 1st grade, with a guide similar to SL, that won't take all day or have a ton of busy work but will teach her to read so we can switch to Core A next year. Btw...I don't like the ordinary parents guide or 100 easy lessons. I liked how MFW looked like it used a lot of Bible Stories, how the proverbs were used for writing, and the look of the simple phonics worksheets. I am fine with Math and a Science being weak in grade 1. BUT... I only read good reviews and read MFW's marketing. I haven't seen the books or spoke with real people who have used it. So I need help and am coming to consult the experts.

Any thoughts? Recommendations? Thank you all so much. Whenever I come to the forum for guys always come thru!

~ Jennifer

dd - Artist - 7th Grade. Sonlight Core W, Easy Grammar, Apologia Jump In Writing Book, Teaching Textbooks Math, Apologia Physical Science, A Beka Health, DuoLingo French
ds - Builder - 5th Grade Sonlight Core W, Easy Grammar, Apologia Jump In Writing Book, A Beka Math, Apologia - Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day, A Beka Health, Duo Lingo Spanish
dd - Princess, - 1st Grade. An eclectic mix of the best of many curriculums her older sister/brother have used over the years.

" A smile is understood in every language"

#12 Xzavan

    Counting my blessings, one by one

  • Full Forum Access
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 30,800 posts
  • LocationWandering Around

Posted 28 June 2014 - 06:21 PM

We used MFW K, not first, and an older version of it, at that. It basically was a series if worksheets on learning to read, a serious of math worksheets, and then a suggested list of books to read that were not in the package. My son was 4 years old, but reading very well already, and did the whole thing in less than six weeks (he would have probably done it all in a week, had I let him go through it as much as he wanted),and that included most of the suggested books, many of which were found in other levels of Sonlight. He only did it because he wanted to see how fast he could do it all, not because it was interesting. It was actually quite boring and didn't do a good job of teaching how to read anyway, and the IG was really hard to use; tons of flipping around.

I have ever had the desire to try another of their cores. It was really just a waste of money for us. Less busywork than Abeka, but still largely worksheet oriented.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, we liked Abeka a lot more.

Have you considered All About Reading for reading?
For Core-style books, try Five in a Row, Winterpromise, or Heart of Dakota, or Easy Peasy Homeschool (
  • blessedmomof3 likes this

Veronica, Wife to the Best Pastor in the World

Mother to: Vaneza, 13; Xzavier, 10; Zacarayah, 8; Eliza Beth, 7; Hozannah, 2, and Keziah, 1;

Remember that it took it a group of professionals to build the

Titanic, but a lone amateur built the Ark.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#13 yhurlbert

    New Kid on the Block

  • Full Forum Access
  • Pip
  • 30 posts

Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:08 AM

One of the reasons I chose to go with MFW last year was that it is a "hand-on" curriculum with lots of activities.  I thought my kids would really enjoy this approach.  The other reason was to combine levels in learning.  Neither worked out well.  My 1st grader whined and complained through nearly everything we did.  My 4th grader was okay with the work, but didn't enjoy it at all.  The book basket was difficult to implement.  I had to assign my oldest to do book basket and summarize what she read or she wouldn't even go near the books.  The science is ECC was very weak and it was frustrating to all of us.  I hated teaching it and they hated learning it.  I didn't like the country selections they had or the activities and by the end of the year we were just reading what we had to read to get through.  I was initially resistent to SL because of the heavy emphasis on reading and lack of hands-on, but it turns out my kids didn't like the hands-on stuff anyway, so it was a frustrating year all around.  I am much more excited about this year, although I am having to use separate cores for all my kids.  In reality, though, I think that is how you have to teach unless your kids are really close in age.  Mine are just too far apart to be able to effectively study the same subject without me having to do a lot of re-tooling.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users