We’ve completed another year with My Father’s World! This year was our first time through their first grade curriculum. I thought I would keep up the tradition of reviewing it for those wanting to get a closer look and honest review. I’m all about being honest and upfront!
I’m not going to sugar coat this curriculum and try to convince you to use them. Choosing the right curriculum can be an overwhelming decision, reviews can be beneficial in helping you make that decision.
Let’s get started!
Once again, MFW has blown me out of the water with their Bible teaching. Hand’s down this is the best curriculum, in my honest opinion, for teaching Biblical concepts to young children. They do a fantastic job bringing it down to their level and making it memorable. Not only do you have crafts that correlate with the Bible time your child is learning about but they are also learning character lessons behind each story and each memory verse. I simply love that and would spend the $300 on it alone. Throughout first grade your child will learn the order of the books of the Bible, will chronically go through the Bible stories connecting the timing while creating their own timeline and will also learn what each book of the Bible is about.
The phonics is not overwhelming. This is a big plus if your child gets overwhelmed or frustrated easily. Most days your child will only do one workbook page. Like Kindergarten they keep it light. They focused more on writing more neatly and informal grammar lessons through the Bible reader and notebooking lessons that come about half way through the year.
My complaint is that it was too easy and made me glad that we again supplemented with Abeka. I would’ve felt like he wasn’t learning enough if we only did MFW. Yet this way of learning works great for other families, you really just need to know your child and yourself. I like some repetition with concepts and MFW lacks that. Once it taught they don’t go over them again. With Abeka they learned a lot more of the special sounds and reviewed them all year long. But one could argue that it’s too much. Either way, these two curriculums go well together and we will keep doing it.
Now, this is where I’m gonna get real. Math was a struggle and less than half way through the year we completely chucked it. We stuck with Abeka. The workbook pages were just so easy my son would laugh at it. It was as if I sent him back to preschool. Another complaint was that MFW likes to teach the abstract math, the more mental math and the why’s behind the problems. Less of memorizing facts. For example, the number of the day activities. Each day your child needs to come up with a math equation that equals the number of the day. So if they number of the is 87 you show them that 80+7=87 and then they need to come up with one on their own. My son would take an hour for this, we tried counting bears, dried beans, and countless tricks to get him through it faster and nothing worked. He cried, I cried. School days would last for hours and hours and we were both hating school. I finally had had enough. I chucked the activity and saw what a difference it made. A few weeks later we stopped the whole math section in the teacher’s manual. I realized that it’s okay to not learn math that way. It’s okay for my first grader not to have to stress himself out trying to figure this stuff out. It’s okay to do the conventional math and memorize math facts. Abeka works well for him, he loves the colorful pages and doesn’t complain at all about their problems.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that you need all these fancy, new approaches to math with all the math manipulatives and higher concepts. And maybe those approaches are just what your kid needs. But it’s okay not to keep up with the Jones’ and just stick with the regular basic math curriculum. Once I got to that point, our school year improved so much!
My kids loved having art lessons! This was a first this year and a big hit. We didn’t like that they stopped half way through although we could’ve kept going but let’s be real, there’s only so much time in the day and if it’s not in lesson book, I don’t get to it. What they do do is switch to the art card discussions. The boys were indifferent to this and would’ve preferred to keep going in the drawing lessons, my plan next year for our next first grader is to continue on in the book and skip the art cards since he did them this year. That way they get the rest of the lessons.
I wasn’t in love with the music. I found it cumbersome and stressful. Especially the Peter the Wold CD. In a nutshell, your child has pictures of the different orchestra instruments and needs to point to the instrument that is being played. This stressed my son out. So many of the instruments sound the same or he would miss the quick line that said which character was doing something and he would be lost. We didn’t find much enjoyment in them. It was more enjoyable when I would play it and let him just listen and not worry about finding the instrument pictures. He learned more about the instruments that way. Once he heard the CD a few times it got easier but we were relieved when it was over and the next part started. The second part, just listening to different musical pieces was much more exciting to him.
Next year I think we will listen to the CD a couple of times and then introduce the cards and then listen to the different sections identifying the instruments and then listen to it one more time through to put it all together.
I felt like science was light most of the year. It was nearly as exciting as Kindergarten. The science with water book was by far the best! I know they focused more on phonics and writing skills this year, but my science loving boys missed science experiments. Science is only on Friday’s and that made it harder. We felt like we were missing out most of the year. It honestly made me question whether or not to purchase their second grade.
There you have it, my complete review of My Father’s World first grade curriculum.
I hadn’t felt like we had a good year because of the math and lighter science. I was afraid to spend so much money on their next grade if we didn’t love this year. I was honestly shocked we really didn’t like their first grade. I felt like we were about to break up. But thankfully I have a local friend who does MFW with me (same grade and everything!) who buys her next year’s curriculum much earlier than I do so I can check out the next year’s books before I purchase. After reviewing the second grade, it does look like they added more fun, more science, great Bible work again that I decided to go for it. Starting in second grade you purchase your own phonics and math curriculum, so we decided to stick with Abeka since it works well for us. We are actually excited to start second grade and have some fun and excitement again!
I plan on doing the curriculum with my next two children as well. But now I will have my expectations much lower knowing that it’s just a tough year to get through with all the phonics and math concepts being taught.