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Can you compare Sonlight and My Father's World?

Curriculum advice needed

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#1 Jill

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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.
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#2 knitterofsocks

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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

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#3 tkbbmomof4

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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

Wife to dh 19 years
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#4 Grace4all

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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 cons...pro: 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.

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#5 Momlady

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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.

#6 Jill

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

Thanks so much. Anyone else have any thing they would like to add?
~Jill~
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Jill@Sonlight.com
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#7 heartofjoy

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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 14, 12, 10, 9, 7
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
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#8 club190

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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.

Blessings,
Chris

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

Wife to Jim since 1991,
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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: Core 300, Larson's Geometry, Chemistry 101 with MicroChem Kit, SL Psychology.
Daniel, 8: Loving lots of SL titles and lower level SL Sci but not doing a core right now. Instead, using IEW's PAL, RightStart Math, and giving Weaver another go; Wolf 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

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:04 AM

Thanks Chris. I think this was very helpful. Anyone else care to chime in with your experiences?
~Jill~
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Jill@Sonlight.com
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#10 MeAndTheBoys

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

We used Adventures in between Core K (A?) and Core 1 (B?). My younger son just wasn't ready for the next SL core. We really enjoyed our year with MFW--we bought the Deluxe program and it had everything comparable to SL--readalouds, history, etc--as well as Classical Music study, awesome. The extra library books from the Book Basket was overwhelming at first, but once I learned how to reserve books at the library online and we set a day to pick them up, and we set aside time to go through them at home--it was a wonderful addition to really flesh out what we were doing in the main curriculum.

Now--the state pages in MFW were a little ridiculous. All in all, we enjoyed the notebooking--it was all laid out for us and simple to use, no pressure, no "lapbooking"--just copied pages to color and write on. But when we got to the state studies, it was the same basic page every day and my kids didn't care after a while--but we muddled through it.

There are a lot of things about MFW that I liked more than SL--the built-in, extremely easy notebooking; the classical music study SCHEDULED IN and easy to do; the book basket suggestions. I don't think the MFW book selections in later years are as interesting and thought-provoking as SL's books.

My ideal, that we have tried this year, is to have SL with added simple notebooking. But finding sheets to use (even after I bought Hold That Thought! software with printable notebook pages) and scheduling it in is proving to be beyond my thought process right now. My ideal includes using the music appreciation that SL suggests--but here we are in Week 15 and we haven't done it yet--I need it scheduled in! and for some reason, I don't trust myself to pencil it in.

I wish SL would have corresponding simple hands-on in an optional package, and have the art/music scheduled in, and you could do it or not do it. I used to be on the other side of the camp--"Don't put it in! I'll feel pressured!" but here in our 5th year of homeschooling, I feel confident that I could ignore it if I wanted to, but I'd be more likely to do what I wanted to include if it was right there on the "authoritative schedule". I wouldn't feel pressured, but I'd feel reassured.

Betsy
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DS3--11/08--Little Peter Rabbit and All Things Fun--P 4/5, R&S Kindergarten books, Learning Through Sounds, OPGTTR, DEL--and lots of Playmobil!
 

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#11 Jill

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:21 AM

Thanks Betsy, that was very helpful.
~Jill~
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Jill@Sonlight.com
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