View Full Version : Curriculum questions-HOD and MFW

07-19-2009, 01:50 PM
This is our first year homeschooling and we chose Heart of Dakota. Don't get me wrong it is a good program, but it isn't fitting us well. I came to this board b/c you can't really ask about substituting things or talk about things that don't work for you on a curriculum based board.
Here is my dilema. My kids are all a year apart except the baby that is 2.5. So my girls are 9, 8 in a month, and a son who will be 7 in December. Yet, with HOD I can't combine in 1 program with them b/c of where they are with the 3r's.
I am thinking about My Father's World for next term to compare the two. I don't know whether I will like it better or not or whether I will wind up going back to HOD when we are done or trying a different approach altogether.
Has anyone done well using 3 programs with HOD for the long haul? and has anyone went from HOD to MFW? or from MFW to HOD?
What didn't you like about either of them or what did you like about them?
I am really wanting to research more this time before buying. With HOD, I will always be in 3 guides. My oldest will always be by herself, my middle dd and oldest ds can combine somewhat but not totally, and my youngest will always be by himself b/c of the age gap.
Any recommendations for other programs that would keep them together at least for some subjects would be appreciated. I know I will always be doing separate for the 3r's.
The Taylors

07-19-2009, 02:03 PM
i just posted a response on your other thread

07-19-2009, 02:35 PM
I have no experience with either of them, we are secular and I don't use a curriculum.. just a bunch of curriculum pieces and a menagerie of things I make up on my own. Not very many here do use one set curriculum... we all use a mish-mosh of things putting together a curriculum that works for each of our kids... and even in the same family, what works for one child probably won't work for another.

Just wanted to say Welcome.. stick around, there is more help and support here than you can imagine :)

07-19-2009, 02:50 PM
I think I might move towards mixing and matching later on and I have nothing against secular and am not strictly looking for Christian curriculum. I am looking for the curriculum that will help my children learn the best. Combining with history and science would make my life easier and MFW and HOD both are supposedly easy to combine a lot of age ranges.
I welcome any advise or curriculums to look into for my kids and their ages/grades. I want to be more informed before spending money this next year.
My dd9 is 4th grade, dd almost 8 is 3rd grade, and ds6 is 1st grade...ds 2.5 is having fun but likes to "pretend" school. ds6 is the only one still working on learning the basics like reading and writing from the school aged children.
I don't think I am confident enough in schooling yet to go off on my own and mix and match. I welcome any suggestions or advise on other curricula or if anyone can answer some of the questions from my original post that is appreciated as well.
I am really just wanting to make sure I don't jump in this next time and buy too quickly before really being sure that it will work long term for us.
This is what is working for us-
Singapore Math
Singapore Science-I actually like more secular science

The Taylors

07-19-2009, 03:49 PM
I have a few of the Singapore I Science.. I can't find any more :( But I LOVE them!

Have you looked at Real Science 4 Kids or Pandia Press's R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey? Both of them can be used by mulitple ages, and are secular. Secular science if very important to me!

For history all 3 of your kids can use The Complete Book of United States History... we spent 3 years going through it adding additional resources online and in book form from each topic. Also you can come up with some fun projects to go with the topics.

07-19-2009, 05:13 PM
I owuld really encourage you to do history and science with ALL your kids at the same time. Other subjects, such as reading and math, you'll want to split up. My children are (currently) 15, 13, and 9. I did science when my little one was 3 and my girls were 9 and 7. My 3yo would sit and color while we did science or history. One day, he told my dad (when dad was putting fertilizer..."plant food"...on the flowers), "You don't understand, Grandpa! The plants make their own food from the sun!!!"

07-19-2009, 07:04 PM
I think it is best to do math, spelling, handwriting independently. When they are learning phonics, it is hard to combine ages. But as they get older, it is easier to pick books that will be good for multiple ages. But then everything else can be done multileveled. MFW is multilevel as well as a few other programs. Sonlight and Konos and Winters Promise come to mind. I am doing Apologia science this next year but then after that, when my boys are in 1st and 3rd, I am doing Considering God's Creation. For history, I have tons of history books that I am reading to them and activities that I am doing. I just picked a particular topic as they do not have specific interests and we are going to focus on that. Funny thing is, I have an 8th grader, K'er, and 2nd grader this fall and have managed to combine for those! We are doing American History. The 8th grader will read more advanced books and all, but she will help with studies with the youngers and be involved there which will reinforce what she is learning for her. They have questions and she will look them up for them. (today's question was what kind of bugs did they have on the Mayflower, ewww, I know..but...it was something to look up). She is doing physical science this year and so the youngers will be doing astronomy and some physical science stuff (we will be doing some constructing bridges and such that I have some books for from Magic School Bus, and a kit I am ordering and I have Real Science 4 Kids Physics. We won't do everything, but we will do a little). I think it helps when the whole family is doing the same thing at once, even if they are not doing it at the same level. We will be going on field trips to things that focus on American History and astronomy. DD is also growing a garden and since we are doing Colonial Days, the youngers will plant some vegies...like the Pilgrims did.

07-19-2009, 10:57 PM
After 5 years of homeschooling, I've found the same thing. If you can do History/Geography and Science to all kids at once, and break out the things that have to be broken out, it works best.

This will be our 2nd year. I've planned out US history based on Abeka and adding historical fiction ala Sonlight style without sonlight pricetag. We're finishing up Considering God's creation, and both my oldest will be doing Science in a coop this year as well. Language Arts is being based somewhat off of our historical fiction, but also adding Easy Grammar (3 for 3rd grader, and 5 for 5th grader), and we're using WRiting strands for writing and Sequential spelling for spelling. Hoping to do Teaching Textbooks for math for 5th grader, and probably stickign with Lifepacs for 3rd grader just because he likes that for now.

Anyway...I've looked extensively at MFW - Adventures in MFW - a friend let me look at everything. If I were to go back and start over - I would use it. I might actually still use the Exploring Countries and Cultures next year. Laid out nice, etc.

Anyway...HTH. :D

07-20-2009, 02:30 AM
I have only used MFW and not HOD so I can not comment on HOD. MFW does let you put all of your children together (2nd-8th). It has it all planned and is pretty much open and go. With MFW you teach them all otgether on everything except Math and LA. Those subjects you can pick what ever program you like best. They do have recommendations. Their LA recommendations have directions for lesson plans in the TM and if you buy math from them you also get a assignment planner.

07-20-2009, 08:17 AM
Oh Wow! I just went to Pandia Press and their history cycle is great and uses SOTW!! I downloaded their samples too. I am seriously going to have to get some ink for my printer now.
Now I am in a mess! I had really thought about MFW b/c of the history cycle and using SOTW. I like Pandia Press's history a lot though. I may try mixing and matching after a term of MFW. I kind of wanted to get in their state studies and geography before starting our 4 yr cycle, but it may be better to just start out with the 4 yr cycle now.
Ah!! All the choices!!! Has anyone used Pandia Press for the 4 yr cycle? How do you like it? Is it hard to use with 3-4 children? Any info on Pandia Press 4 yr cycle would be greatly appreciated.
I really like this board. I have found a lot of help from posting and searching previous threads.

07-20-2009, 12:02 PM
I have used HOD and if you really wanted to use it, you could do Bigger for all three older ones and have them do the 3 Rs seperatly. It looks like it be a good middle ground to work with. I have decided to keep my younger two together so when they are 5 and 6 they will do Little Hearts together. My other daughter has done her own since she is 4 years older.
The first two guides can be done in a hour but the other ones take a bit longer. My oldest did school for three - four hours when we did Bigger (not all at once) and it included doing the three Rs too.

07-20-2009, 01:22 PM
We can't combine in Bigger. It only fits my oldest. My younger 2 are in LHFHG on the left side with their right level 3r's for the rest. We are 9 weeks into BHFHG, LHFHG, and LHTH. I can't bring the younger ones up b/c they don't have the writing skills necessary for BHFHG and I can't bring my oldest down b/c it wouldn't be enough for her. My youngest would always be behind every one else and truthfully I can't take teaching that many different history cycles.
I think after writing and listening to people's responses that I don't think there will be a one size fits all solution to our curriculum choice.
I plan to try MFW adventures next term and add in SOTW for my oldest. That way we get in a study of the 50 states. After that, I am leaning towards trying History Odyssey by Pandia Press and adding in a lot of the suggested curriculum from MFW for math and language arts (singapore, writing strands, spelling power).
I don't have a problem with my children learning the different theories and I don't have any problem with the words a million years ago and some books that are classics are left out b/c they could be questionable by the Bible-based curriculum.
I am not bashing Bible-based curriculum. I may use MFW and love it and not change to Pandia Press for the 4 yr cycle. I don't know. While we will study religion, I don't want it to be the guiding point for every subject in a curriculum to the point that things are omitted or exaggerated.
I do know that while not specifically stated HOD is young earth viewpoint and choose all their books based on that or based on omitting anything that differs or questions that. This is my first time homeschooling and after coming to this board and reading and searching I realized that I didn't research what I wanted in a curriculum well before I bought. I bought HOD off of a separate web site and started with LHFHG as an after school supplement for my son who was doing horrible in public school. The short lessons were what he needed. We liked CLP's History for Little Pilgrims and weren't specifically getting around to doing all of it. He was doing Singapore math, history, handwriting, and the reading lesson as well as we were reading the storytime. So when we decided to bring the kids home from school I chose to go with Bigger Hearts for His Glory for the older girls. I hadn't actually went on the HOD site until after trying to figure out where to place my oldest. I don't regret buying HOD b/c it taught me a lot about what I want for the kids. I love the CM approach to an extent. I just think my philosophies don't fit in well with all of HOD's philosophies.
I specifically searched young earth on their message boards and the author says they carefully choose the books to not conflict with the young earth theory in one of the posts. She specifically says her family is young earth/creationists. I didn't realize when I started homeschooling that the other theories were avoided and not even mentioned in most Bible-based curriculum. Which is why I bought a separate science for HOD already and prefer secular science.
I also have a huge distaste for one of the history extension textbooks in BHFHG which leans so far to the right that it is unrealistic. I had someone who is a conservative read it and tell me it had a decided right lean to it. It is an extension book so it didn't change my using the program, but did get me researching what they believe and what they omit and what is maybe more stressed in their program.
I do know that HOD doesn't fit our family in the long run. I can't do 3 guides and I can't shortchange or overwhelm any of the kids. And I would need to add to it to get a more well rounded viewpoint.
I would like some more info on MFW and how it looks at the young earth viewpoint in choosing their books including history texts. I also would love to hear from anyone that has used or is going to use Pandia Press' History Odyssey. I may have to post another thread to find out more about it.
The Taylors

07-21-2009, 07:15 PM
I have not used SOTW or Pandia Press. However I've used both HOD and MFW and they are very similar. But if you're having combining issues with HOD you'll have the same issues with MFW as they both use the extension packs in the same way. Going a completely different route such at SOTW may be the way. Maybe you could combine History and Science for the older two and have the 7 yr old wait till next year for those or just don't worry about those two with the 7 yr old, he'll get what he gets by sitting in. As far as the 3 R's doing an all-in-one is not a good idea in that sense because we all get "off" in learning. Even with one child. You may be stuck on spelling but need to go further in reading. I say do eclectic more than an all-in-one curriculum. You could use the same program for all 3 in Reading, but they'd be all in a different level. This way you'd have the consistency by having the same program (for example Rod & Staff) but be in different level books.

07-21-2009, 08:02 PM
I think I will be able to combine MFW Adventures easier than I have had any luck with HOD. My kids don't have to be doing the exact same things, but I would like us all in the same time period for history and doing the same topics in science.
My kids are actually very close in age. The girls are only 13 months apart and my son is only 15 months younger than my middle daughter so the biggest gap in my school age children is 2 years. I think I can work with a 2 yr gap with MFW where I can't with HOD. HOD placement is all about the 3r's so my 9 yr old is 2 guides ahead of my other 2 children. Their history, science, Bible...is all separate plus their 3r's are all separate. And it is a pain to do the left side of one guide and the right side of another. I know I am doing it with my 7 yr. old right now.
MFW gets them all in the same history cycle and science and such at least. That only leaves the 3r's to separate. I will only have one teacher's guide. I think that will be a lot easier.
Pandia Press uses SOTW and Usborne and actually a lot of the books MFW uses and I am leaning towards going more secular with everything but religion. I never realized how much Bible-based curriculum out there is young earth and I am not young earth so that rules out a lot for me. SOTW is what drew me to MFW and if I can get that from Pandia Press without avoiding other things because of the young earth conflict then I think that is my solution.
We will probably only do the MFW Adventures year while I am piecing together our "curriculum" for the next year.
I would still love to hear from anyone that has used Pandia Press' History Odyssey.

07-22-2009, 08:16 AM

FWIW (and I think I already responded about my friend who did MFW and loved it...)....but...
(and I realize this creates more work for YOU on the front end....but...)

You could pick the period of history that you want to do and pick a history text book. Then supplement using Historical Fiction that goes with the time period, for the youngers, it could be a read-aloud, where the olders could be a read alone. And you could do the CM approach of narration, oration, etc for the language arts. Sonlight Cores have great lists of historical fiction - and while Sonlight is a Christian Company and slants to the right - they will not omit a book because of it - they put it in there as a springboard for conversation., etc.

For example - I have a 5th, 3rd and preK-Ker...this year I'm using Abeka 4th grade history as my core. I've aligned a historical fiction for each chapter. For the older two they'll have a form to complete each day with a spot to write a summary of the chapter, a spot to write down words they don't know (to practice using a dictionary to look up and record definitions), and a spot for copywork of their favorite sentence. I'll do spelling, grammar and writing separate (Sequential Spelling, Easy Grammar/Writing STrands)

But...I will pull in my youngest and let her color pictures and listen while we read the historical fiction. etc.

Science is Considering God's Creation - while this comes from a young earth perspective - and I know you don't want that to the exclusion of everything else - I can teach all of them and make it easier or harder depending on the child (oldes twill do more research/writing, middle will do what is suggested, and the youngest will do just the art activities)...that sort of stuff. Find a science that works (there's a free one out there for Life Science I think...or Earth Science....Mr. Q's something orother?)....

Anyway... :D Good luck in deciding....

07-22-2009, 10:40 AM
I'm only planning to do MFW for next term for Adventures. Then I plan to base our history cycle around Pandia Press' History Odyssey which has it all scheduled for me including fiction reads on different levels for the kids.
I'm just searching trying to find reviews and such from people that have used Pandia Press.
If I can find some more positive reviews and hear from some people who have done History Odyssey and it went well, then I am thinking...
History Odyssey-4 yr cycle
Science-Singapore Science and R.E.A.L. Science by Pandia Press
Language Arts-LLATL w/ Spelling Power and FLL to supplement
Vocabulary-English from the roots up
Math-Singapore Math
Handwriting-Abeka (manuscript series through 2nd grade)
I am really excited about trying MFW Adventures for a term and seeing how I like it though, but I have a back up plan for after that if we don't like it.