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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tree Study. Tree Roots~K-1 Grade Lesson

Learn how a tree uses it's roots to drink and move water up to the leaves.

What Do Roots Do?  by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Investigate how roots "drink" by dipping the edge of a piece of paper towel into water (food coloring optional).  I recomned food coloring because it will help you see the ater climb. The water will climb up the paper towel.

Record what you did using this simple Science Lab Recording Sheet.

Create roots by cutting and gluing yarn. 

Printable Below

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Water Cycle/Weather Unit 1st grade (or Kindergarten)

During MFW 1st grade, we read about water cycle and storms in "Things Outdoors". 
The boys really enjoyed this subject so dug a little more into it though different paths.



  • Magic School Bus: Gets Wet All Over

  • Art Extensions:
    • Water Cycle Printable (after watching You Tube video above)
    • Water Cycle on Bulletin Board  (pictured above)
      • Materials- tempura Paint, Paper Plate for Sun. and butcher paper for clouds, rain, and water
    • Read "Cloud Book" by Tommie De Paola and make Cirrus/cumulus, and Stratus clouds out of cotton balls and glue
      • Take book on your next few nature walks and discuss the clouds you see

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Why I chose My Father's World Curriculum

    Congrats, you have made it through the soul searching process of deciding to home school ! Now WHAT to teach? I took years off my life searching and fretting over curriculum. Overwhelmed by all the options, I was sure I would ruin my kids' education (and life) if I picked the wrong one.  It came down to Sonlight and My Father's World.  Well, that isn't true.  I. Wanted. Sonlight.  I had a friend who used it and I was convinced it was for me (notice I said me, not my kids).

     I have a another friend who had home-schooled her four kids for six years who led me towards My Father's World.  I had seen My Father's World (MFW) online, but dismissed it thinking it was too  traditional for me (again, note I said me, not my kids). Thankfully she was patient with my search for other curriculum, and kindly showed  me the Kindergarten teacher's manual after I whined about how overwhelmed I was in my search. After looking at the Kindergarten Teacher's manual, I was HOOKED.  We are now on our fourth year of using My Father's World, and I can't see ever switching. Here is why I love MFW, and why I chose it over Sonlight (I am not paid/compensated by my My Father's World for anything I say here).

    Before I begin, please remember that no matter what curriculum you chose, remember your teacher's manual does not know your kids like you do!

    Treat the teacher's manual like a smorgasbord, take from it what works for you, and leave the rest. I have been using MFW for 10 years, and never once used/done all the assignments in a given week.

    I must say that NO CURRICULUM IS PERFECT, including My Father's World.   MFW is flexible because I can easily drop something from the manual, while still covering all learning bases for that day. You can visit my My Father's World page to see all the ways we have adapted My Father's world to work for our family, including supplements and work-boxes.

    LEARNING AS A FAMILY (less work for mom)
    If you have more than one child, this is a HUGE SELLER. The family cycle is the main selling point to me. After 1st grade (or 2nd depending on ages of kids), you start a family cycle.  We do Bible, History, Geography, and Science together as a family, then split for more individualized age-appropriate learning in Math and Language Arts.  I honestly can not imagine having to teach 2 different history lessons to two different kids...let alone 3+ kids that many families have.

    You may think, how can my 6th grader learn the same science as my 3rd grader? MFW provides several books to read, and each child retains what is developmentally appropriate for their age.  While studying Tundras, your older children may retain the characteristics of a tundra ecosystem, while your younger children learn about pandas bear's camouflage.

    Many grades are even set up for "tag-alongs", a.k.a toddler siblings who love to listen to all the great books. Your little one can listen to books about China, make paper lanterns, and eat fried rice with everyone; while your older child works on their student notebook pages during the toddler's nap time.

    As children get older, there are 7th and 8th grade supplements that help you match your child's needs.  For example, in Exploring Countries in Cultures, after everyone reads about China and makes fried rice together, your 8th grader will have to independently write a country report.

    Using one of the many Butterfly (Letter B) book suggestions to draw butterflies.
    MFW  Kindergarten.

    *Updated 2021

    As I said before, I originally wanted Sonlight.  It is truly a great curriculum, I can not emphasize this enough.  But the cost was prohibitive for us.  In the beginning, when I was determined to use Sonlight, I  tried to piece together their core program used, and even bought some Sonlight Language Arts materials on Ebay. Once I started adding up buying the books separately, even second hand,  we were taking a larger chunk out of our budget than we could afford. I tried the library, but many books were not available and they did not give you alternatives in the curriculum.

    MFW packages include all the essential books you will need for the year, for a 1/3 of the price of Sonlight.   What we love is it gives you several book options for each subject in their "Book Basket" lists so there is not need to buy the books when I can borrow them for free, and you  can read any or all that are available at your library.

    My Father's is also less expensive than many others because it's a one classroom style, meaning you only have to buy one curriculum for your whole family (depending on age of course), so your cost will be much lower.

    *I always say you get what you pay for with homeschool curriculum, so I caution away from using only entirely free curriculums (I use free curriculum all the time as supplements and a few subjects) but My Father's World is no longer the middle ground in price. They are still not as expensive as Sonlight, but their costs has increased significantly in the past few years.

    MFW used to offer a basic or a deluxe package option, but have taken away the basic option. As someone who NEVER used the deluxe items, I am disappointed in this choice, as it raises the prices and forces the parent to feel they have to use EVERY book they buy. This puts undue pressure on the parent, and take away some of the flexibility that I have loved about MFW in the past. 

    My Father's World's utilizes a portion of their profits for translating the Bible into different languages. This was game changer in my process, and has kept me from wasting hours looking for used curriculum. I feel comfortable paying their extremely reasonable prices straight from their website because I know my money is being used in wonderful ways around the world.

    To see their work around the world go to MFW site-

    My Father's World has been perfect for us because it intertwines Unit Studies, Traditional, and Charlotte Mason approach  throughout all the grades. I have felt the freedom to leave out, or emphasize, the approach that works best for each child, or season in our life, without having to buy a separate curriculum.

    For Example, one of my children will zoom through his student sheet (more Traditional approach) in about 5 minutes, while the other spends 15 to 20 minutes painstakingly finishing his beloved sheets.We all enjoy cooking the foods from the country we are studying in Social Studies (Unit Studies). Both of my kids are bookworms, and will sit and read the book basket of living books for hours (Charlotte Mason).

    If your  kids are not big readers, MFW differs from Ambleside Online/Pure Charlotte Mason because the book-basket is not an essential part of the day, but a supplement to your main reading during your together time.

    For more on different Education Philosophies, and what you may lean towards in your house, see this post, Five Homeschooling Styles.
    Charlotte Mason Style Handwriting Copywork

    Originally I was leaning towards Sonlight because of all the pretty books (children's books are my Achilles heel).  Sonlight's main selling point is it's literature based and each package includes ALL the books your children will read for the year. While this is awesome, it is also very expensive, and doesn't give you flexibility in the books you read.

    With all My Father's World packages, all the essential books you need are included in your package, but MFW also gives you huge optional/ supplemental book  list called your "Book Basket". Sometimes we reserve ALL the books in the Book Basket, sometimes none.  It is a completely optional, but wonderful resource to have.

    I can pick and choose books from the long list of options in the "Book Basket", depending on what is available at my library or what I think will interest my kids. I also use the "Book Basket" list as a jumping off point for my library search.  If the library doesn't have that exact book in the list, I can find a similar book on the same topic.

    With the ability to reserve library books online and pick up at the branch closest to me, choosing MFW over Sonlight saved us hundreds of dollars. We all look forward to our bi-weekly Monday afternoon trip to the library, and the boys picked their own books as I pick up the books we will need for the next two weeks.

    The family cycle is full of living books as you study history of our nation and the world, which is the incorporation of my beloved Charlotte Mason philosophy. You learn about history and social studies, while filling your reading requirements for the day.

    Everything has meaning! No subject stands alone. My Father's World is closely related to Unit Studies because so many subjects relate back to one another, especially in kindergarten and family cycle.

    While studying "K" in kindergarten, we integrated science & art by making Kangaroo pouches, Bible with biblical truth that "God keeps us safe", and literature with story books in the book basket about Kangaroos.
    K for Kangaroo Pouches
    In second grade, we studied how yeast works in science as we studied Jesus was The Bread of Life in Bible.

    In third grade family cycle (Exploring Countries and Cultures), when you visit Mexico you can learn to make homemade tortillas in social studies,  study desert animals in science, and read about Latin American missionaries in Bible.


    If you are a mom that needs structure, MFW is for you.  If you are a mom that wants the ability to be flexible, MFW is for you.

    I have heard many moms say they started with an Open and Go curriclum like MFW, but as they grew more confident, they made up their own curriclum.  While I have grown more confident, my basic personality as not changed.  I am an ENFP homeschooling mom, which means I need structure or I get distracted very easily.  It also means I do not like strict rules and inflexible structure, so I need freedom to be flexible.
    MFW does both for me.

    The teacher's manual is laid out in a teacher-friendly way, and all the subjects to compliment each other well and flow well for that day.  For those of you who like to check off boxes, there are pretty little boxes for you to know you did all you need for that day!

     I stay on track by following the well thought out sequence, but I need to have flexibility to not do every little thing listed in my manual.  I can add my own supplements for art and music easily, without losing a lot money or adding too much work to our day. I can skip Bible Memorization, because my kids are in AWANA and BSF.

    Math and Language Arts are NOT bundled in older grades. Like I said above in money, we buy the basic package. Their package structures gives me the freedom to find the right math for my kids' learning styles. MFW recommends Singapore math, but since it is not included in the basic or deluxe package,I can easily purchase another distributor without loosing money.  We use Math-U-See because I prefer the Mastery Approach as opposed to the Spiral Approach in Singapore. The hands on learning and DVD of MUS are great for my visual and kinesthetic learners.

    How to Survive your first year of homeschooling

    My Father's World Organization and Resources 

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