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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pros and Cons 1850 to Modern Times

The last year of the Family History Cycle!  We will be repeating ECC next year for 8th grade, but it feels so surreal, and awesome, to have studied history from creation to modern times as a family!   You can see pros and cons from all our other years on the MY FATHER'S WORLD Page  of this site (I am not affiliated with MFW).

The beauty of My Father's World curriculum is the core teaching is done together, with additional activities or supplements suggested for older students.  You teach ONE science, history, and bible to everyone, and then split for only individual subjects of Math and English. Since the curriculum is designed for a multi-age classroom, some resources hit may resonate more with younger  kids, some middle elementary, and some for older. Don't get discouraged if a resources seems over their heads sometimes, they will retain more then you expect. It is OK if your youngers don't retain all the details from every book, they are still learning at their own level.

My second favorite part of MFW is the flexibility to make it work for our family.  Throughout the year, you will need to assess if a book suggested works for all your kids. For those of you like to check all the boxes, you need be OK with sometimes not doing something listed because it is too old or too young for your kids, or doesn't fit into your schedule.

Below are descriptions of why a book did , or did not, work for our kids or schedule.  Your kids are different, so your cons may be our pros, and vice versa!  Please leave a comment on what works for you!


  • 1850 to Modern Times Teacher's Manual I pretty much use My Father's World for the teacher's manual.  The schedule for History is essential.  There are so many resources our there that is overwhelming. The work that goes into tying it all together into a  easy to follow manual, that is structured yet flexible, is amazing to me.
  • Student Sheets for 1850 to Modern Times While I have mixed feelings sometimes, overall I have used and enjoyed all of the MFW sheets up until this year. Almost all of your student sheets this year are copies you have to make from the SOTW activity book, so don't bother with the student sheets, in my opinion. The student sheets are only state coloring pages and blank sheets that are for President note pages (there are stars around the edges, but other than they are blank).
  1. State Sheets- I printed State Fact pages  and we looked up the birds and flowers
  2. State Videos- Instead of the cards, we just looked up the bird and flowers, and sometimes watch a kids video online for each state. 
  3. Presidents Sheets- I had my kids type their President sheets, but you can just use blank paper. I also printed the pictures of the presidents with this PDF.
  4. History Notebook pages You will have to copy your own notebooking sheets them from the SOTW Activity book 4-that is truly what makes up the bulk of your student sheets this year. If MFW had included those in the packet, it would have been worthwhile to buy them.
N/A-Didn't Use
  • Synergy Group Guide: 1850 to Modern Times

*NOTE FROM MFW FOR SECOND AND THIRD GRADERS: The history content for 1850s to Modern Times is difficult for younger children. The books are written at a higher comprehension level than in our other history programs.  This history content itself is often troubling- describing wars and human cruelty- and not suitable for younger students. The author of Story of the World does not recommend using Volume 4 for 3rd grade or younger, and we agree.  However, 2nd and 3rd graders can still join you for Bible, science experiments (easier section) and president and state studies. Your 2nd and 3rd graders will have an opportunity to repeat 1850s to Modern Times in 7th and 8th grade when they will have the maturity needed to full comprehend the complex information. 
There is a 2nd & 3rd Grade supplement package available through My Father's World. 

  • The Story of the World, Vol. 4 * We have really enjoyed using the SOTW books the past few years.  It is a living book textbook almost.  The stories have details, but are told with a story feel to them.  The chapters are not too long or short.  I would recommend using the teacher's manual schedule, because reading cover to cover would be a bit confusing. (see above note for age restrictions)
  • Story of the World, Activity Book 4 * The activities are great, but if you are a check list person, be OK that you may not do all the activities in a section.  Sometimes we did none (gasp!).  The Map Work is a must do, they were EXCELLENT and very helpful for comprehension.
Story of the World Maps
  • Creation to Modern Times Timeline Book The timeline has always been a great visual.  This year had a LOT more pieces, way more than our wall can fit. The books is easier to use.
  • States and Capitals Songs, CD My kids really liked these songs, especially when memorizing the capitals! Everything is easier to memorize with a song! 
  • American History - a visual encyclopedia Great visuals and concisely worded American History.
Mixed Feelings
  • The U.S. History Cookbook (DELUXE) We didn't use this at all, and all the recipes could easily be found at the library or online. If you have tag alongs, 3rd grade and younger, who are not able to participate in other History readings due to maturity level*, this would add to your state studies. 
N/A-Didn't Use
  • United States Map Sheets We printed out our own State Sheets from above link.


  • Across Five Aprils (DELUXE) Loved
  • Corrie ten Boom (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Courage To Run (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Sousa to Satchmo (DELUXE) Loved.
  • Sergeant York (DELUXE) Loved.

Didn't Read
  • Brother Andrew (DELUXE) Didn't read
  • Hudson Taylor (DELUXE) Didn't read


  • Apologia: Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd edition  We really enjoyed this book.  My favorite part of this book is that the author teaches critical thinking skills alongside science.  He teaches the children how valuable Science is in all parts of life, but also the limitations and bias of scientific research. If they forget all the terms, and just remember how to employ critical thinking in regards to science, then this book is a high success.

    The experiments were easy to do, and usually used materials we had in the house.
    DNA strand made with pipe cleaner and beads
    The only bad reviews I have seen have been from moms who have their children do this book completely on their own.  I am not saying that is wrong!  I am just saying this was a good year to learn together. As 7th graders, they still needed me to read with them and teach them the note taking and study skills they will need for truly independent study in high school.  I felt that if I had just given them the book without guidance it would not have ended well, it is a lot of information to take in.
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, Notebook We were given one copy of this, but we ended up not ever using it. There is no need , in my opinion, because all the experiments, questions, and study guides are in the 2nd Edition textbook.  I don't know if the 3rd edition is different. The schedule isn't really needed to much either, because the chapters have natural stopping points in them for reflection questions. We bought a 10 cent BLANK notebook from Walmart and it worked just fine. 
Didn't Use
  • Chemistry and Physics Exploring Creation N/A  I have two seventh graders, so we started the 7th to 12th grade science cycle.


  • Bible Study Fellowship We do not use MFW Bible curriculum because My kids and I attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) that has a school age program, and they have their own daily homework to complete.
Didn't Use
  • A Young Person's Guide to Knowing God- N/A
  • Tales of Persia N/A  


  • Progeny Press (MFW Recommendation) We all really enjoyed these guides, a great resource for  reading comprehension.  They were independent enough for my kids to do most of them on their own, but challenging in good ways. I will caution you that the first guide your child does, you will need to more hand holding as they learn.
  • Learning Cursive in Narnia  Only one of my sons had to do this, but it was a HUGE success.  He had completely forgotten the cursive he had learned in third grade, and had to relearn it all.  
  • Easy Grammar Plus  I am VERY glad we introduced grammar gently through LLFT, but they needed this year of repetition through Easy Grammar. It was a little  dry and repetitive compared to our past Language Lessons for Today, BUT I would recommend it because it was simple to execute and my kids really learned their grammar.
  • Writing with Skill Level 1 (MFW Recommendation) This is done independently, and my kids enjoyed it. It took longer than I expected to finish, each week in the books took about two weeks to finish, which is why MFW recommends you only do the first half of the book this year. 
  • Applications of Grammar (MFW Recommendation) We read a ton of reviews that said MFW recommendation of Applications of Grammar was way too hard and not able to be done independently. We looked at another friend's book and knew it would not work for us. 

Didn't Use
  • Collegiate Thesaurus 
  • WorldTEEN Magazine

  • Draw & Write Through History We are again using Draw and Write through History alongside My Father's World for Homeschool Art! I am amazed at how much my children have grown in their drawing skills using these books for the past four years! I can not recommend these books enough!
  • Hoffman Academy- Free Music and Piano   MFW has some learning materials for Music appreciation, but the practical playing is not covered. Unfortunately I am not a musically talented person, so I am not capable of teaching themselves, and for  lessons are just not an option financially. Thankfully, we found a solutions three years ago with free music lessons through using Hoffman Academy. 
Didn't Use
  • The Best of George Gershwin (DELUXE)  
  • The Stories of Foster and Sousa Music (DELUXE) 


  1. I stumbled upon your post as this was so helpful as we plan for next year! I love those state pages at the link you provided. I had one question. You mentioned printing the photos of the presidents from a PDF file but when I click that it doesn't open. Just wondering if you had a working link. Thank you!

    1. I am glad it was helpful! I went to the link and it looks like the website no longer has the free PDF, sorry about that. I will update the post. Good luck with your next year!

  2. Thanks for your review. We start this month and I hadn't bought the student pages, so glad I'm not missing anything. I appreciate your information for 3rd graders because I have one this year with my 7th grader, so I will remain aware for history information.

  3. Thank you so much, this is helping guide me for teaching my son this fall! I'm prepping now and really have appreciated your thoughts.

    Did you make a post on countries and cultures by chance?

    Thank you and God bless. Laura

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this info! It is very valuable to me as I plan for this next fall. Your insights are so very helpful.