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Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

Hi there. I have 2 daughters, ages 8 and 10. We did a study of Michigan History this year. I am liking the idea of doing more of a chronological approach to studying history now, so I am trying to decide whether to use My Father's World: Countries and Cultures or Heart of Dakota either Preparing Hearts or Creation to Christ for next year. I am feeling more drawn to Heart of Dakota, but I don't know a single person who uses it. I know a couple of people who use MFW and they really like it. I have checked both out online and looked at their samples. I like the layout, the scheduling, and just the overall feel of HOD, but would like to get some input from any of you who have used either or both programs. And if I decide to go with HOD, should I start with Preparing Hearts? Thank you.

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

Based on your dc's ages, Preparing Hearts would probably be better. The next program would probably be too much for your 8yo.

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

No firm answers here but I would recommend you use Preparing if you go with HOD because of the 8 year old - and I'd plan on really helping her with the history portion. I have an 8 year old and there is no way that he is ready for the content of Preparing (he's entering 2nd but I would say 4th is a better age for that level at the minimum). I understand your struggle to choose as I'm having the same/similar issues. I don't have a problem with the book basket because I have a pretty good library system so MFW is on my list. I'm actually considering doing MFW Adventures for my 2nd grader and Preparing for my 5th grader - go figure that one! When using HOD really is key in using her placement chart - so many people end up not liking it and most often it is because they didn't read the chart and didn't place the child at their skill level and they went with subject level (i.e., ancient times or US history). I think ECC might be a fun year to have studying lots of countries but I guess many people don't study it separately and stick to the 4 year history rotation - just something to consider for future plans I suppose.
Heidi

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

We use and LOVE HOD. I'm using LHTH, LHFHG, and BHFHG this year. I've also already used BLHFHG. I would look at the placement chart, and go from there. If your 8yo places into Bigger Hearts, I'd go with that and add the extensions for your 10yo. Then you'd do Preparing the next year as is for the younger and with the extensions for the older. It's much easier to beef up any curriculum, that to tweak and omit for a younger. The levels are meatier than the samples lead you to believe. They are so full and so wonderful! I've also used MFW K, 1, and ECC. I will not be returning to MFW. I just found it disconnected, not layed out well, and dry. My kids didn't enjoy it, especially ECC. I didn't either. Too much of the depth relies on the book basket as well. And for that price, and not to have math, LA, and such planned in...just history, science, and a separate Bible study...it was jus too much money! I like HOD b/c the LA (copywork, poetry, dictation/spelling, and grammar are all planned) as well as the Bible lesson that goes along with the history/science topic. It all ties into together making for a wonderful, smooth, cohesive day of study. I considered combining my kids as well, but I enjoy the one of one study time we get to have together. We get enough all together time in other areas of life. Our study time, especially Bible is wonderful to do just mom and child. We are LOVING the chronological American history of Bigger Hearts with my almost 9yo/almost 4th grader. She is a very bright child, advanced reader, and this is the perfect level for her. It's so full and is providing that training for the next levels very well. She is using R&S grammar 3 in place of 2 though. I look forward to doign Preparing with her next. I love having her on the older side of the guides because I feel she is really getting the meat of it ...more so than she would if she were on the younger side for sure. I would seriously consider doing BIgger with your two...possibly Preparing. I would highly recommend NOT doing CTC at this point.

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

I have a friend who's using Preparing this year with her 9 yo dd and loves it! She's also a first time hs mom and doesn't find it overwhelming at all. She's also hsing a 1st grader with something different. Normally I'd recommend MFW for the purpose of combining children with a large age span between them, but in your situation, HOD would be totally doable for combining. I'm pretty sure the author would recommend favoring the younger age in your choice of programs, because it's much easier to beef up something than it is to scale back on mature content. I believe Preparing offers the extension package, which would be perfect for your older. If I was going to use the 4 year history cycle, I'd go with HOD over MFW. Preparing gives a nice overview of what's to come in those 4 years.

If you'd rather have more of a pure geography focus before jumping into the history cycle, then MFW ECC is a fun choice too. It's the only year of MFW that I really like. I prefer HOD's book choices for history over MFW.

I'd definitely hold off on the 4 year cycle beginning with ancients in depth one more year, though, for the sake of your younger dd. It's such a difficult time period to teach to younger children, and I think HOD has tried to be very selective in their book choices with which to approach that time period, and the author has confessed that this was not easy to do. I definitely feel that HOD is much more age appropriate for studying the ancients. JMHO.

May I ask what you used to study MI history?

Nancy (a fellow MI homeschooler)

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

Nancy, we used Chronicles of ________, A State History Notebook, by Gladys Whitted (Hewitt Homeschooling Resources). It is a notebook that you can use with any state, so I did have to do some research and find a lot of the info. to fill the notebook in, but it is a pretty in depth study if you fill in the whole notebook. You can go on the Michigan.gov website and download a state coloring book that has a lot of useful info. in it. We actually used some of that to fill in our Chronicles notebook. I bought some books from Rainbow Resource to read to the kids about Michigan as well. We used those to gather the info. we needed for the notebook.

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

Wow, thank you so much for all of the insight!! My 8 yr. old is mature and a pretty deep thinker, so that's why I was pulling her up some toward the 10 year olds level, but it sounds to me like I need to rethink that! I did look at the chart for HOD. My oldest dd will turn 11 during next school year, but it sounds like the extension idea might be the way to go. Again, I really appreciate all of your input. I need to go back and look at the level before Preparing (Bigger, I think it is?). I've never used HOD, so this has been very helpful!!

re: Debating: MFW vs. HOD for history/science

I am using Preparing with just 8, 9 and just 12 year olds. It works. However, I do have to help the 8 year old.

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