We began My Father’s World-God’s Creation from A to Z curriculum in the summer and are just about finished with it all. In this post, I mentioned a few of the things I liked about the curriculum and how excited we were with the first few lessons. After going through the entire year, however, I felt the need to share a complete review for anyone who might be considering this curriculum for their pre-k or kindergarten child(ren).
Overview: My Father’s World-Kindergarten begins with 10 days on the creation story in order to provide a foundational understanding of how the earth and all that was in it was created by God. The next 26 units, each broken down into 6 days of instruction, focus on specific parts of His creation, such as the sun, moon, water, butterflies, leaves, goats, horses, dinosaurs, rocks, etc.
Parents are encouraged to provide information on the selected topic via the Internet, videos, pictures, and books. A comprehensive book list for each unit is found in the curriculum, including fiction books on the topic, easy readers, and informational texts.
My Thoughts: I am fortunate to have a wonderful library system in town where I am able to reserve these books in advance and pick up 3-4 units worth of books at a time. The children have greatly enjoyed the books and have learned so much from our couch reading time. If an adequate library is not available, however, this might pose a bit of a problem and more effort will be required to provide this information. Of course, you can go as deep or as shallow as you and your child choose.
Activities: The Teacher’s Manual also includes a variety of hands-on activities for understanding the important concepts addressed in each unit. These activities include demonstrations, creative play opportunities, crafts, and engaging experiences for the children. We built a sundial, watched ants in our ant farm, sang hymns and fun songs, painted scenes from our read alouds, constructed a nest, collected and sorted rocks, measured how far a kangaroo could jump, watched caterpillars become butterflies, and so much more! My Father’s World also embraces the Charlotte Mason approach of encouraging outdoor exploration and offers additional activities for outdoor play.
My Thoughts: We really enjoyed the additional activities that were a part of the curriculum. I found that it was these very experiences that made our year so memorable and helped the children really understand the topics we were learning about. These activities made kindergarten exactly how I envisioned it to be: fun, exciting, and inspiring.
Bible: The Bible concepts are also directly linked to the concrete topics covered in each unit. For example, when we learned about butterflies, our Bible concept was “God can make us new.” Throughout the unit, specific scriptures, discussion ideas, and experiences are shared to help the children better embrace these Biblical truths. A badge is also made in the middle of the week for posting and future review. Memorization of the Biblical concepts is encouraged.
My Thoughts: I really loved the Bible portion of the curriculum. I especially liked how it was woven into all that we did throughout the week. We sang hymns and read scriptures together, and had some wonderful discussions about what they meant and how they pertained to our lives. It was amazing to see how well my son learned his Bible concepts and can easily recite each of them from the beginning of the curriculum.
Read Alouds: Read alouds are encouraged as part of the curriculum and a comprehensive list is shared for each unit as mentioned above. A couple of special books for each unit are also provided as suggestions. These special books can be purchased through My Father’s World as part of their literature collection or can be checked out at the library. Specific activities and discussion topics are provided for these books as a way to wrap up each unit.
My Thoughts: We purchased the literature collection and have enjoyed reading through the books and working on the activities provided. The children have enjoyed browsing through the books on their own time as well.
Phonics & Handwriting: Specific phonics lessons are addressed each week to help children understand their letters, sounds, and decoding. When the children learn about butterflies, for example, the letter B is taught, along with its sound and how to write it. Phonics worksheets, short stories, and games are provided to help teach a child to read with ease. The letters are not taught in alphabetical order so the child is able to begin decoding earlier in the program. A handwriting sheet is also provided each week for the letter of the week.
My Thoughts: I really liked the way the phonics portion of My Father’s World was laid out but ended up supplementing for my son. Because he was already six when we began the curriculum and was struggling with decoding up to about Unit 14, I decided to purchase All About Reading, Level 1 for him. All About Reading has been a perfect fit for him and really helped close the gaps in his understanding and has advanced him quickly in his reading ability.
As he grew as a reader, he found the My Father’s World phonics activities and sheets to be easy and has since made it a point to complete all of the phonics activities on one of the days during the week. He has the confidence to do them independently, so he enjoys working through them alone. Had we started this curriculum when he was 4 or 5, I do not believe we would have had to supplement at all.
Math: My Father’s World follows Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning and offers a very gentle approach to math. Mathematical concepts are experienced daily with basic counting activities and a calendar. Specific math topics are only addressed once per week, however, and very little formal instruction is provided.
My Thoughts: Because my son was older when we began MFW, we supplemented with a different math curriculum as well. We still completed the MFW math worksheets but have been using Right Start Math for his more formal instruction. He is a very tactile learner, and Right Start Math uses a Montessori approach of instruction, which has been a perfect fit for him. Had we started sooner, however, then the gentle approach of MFW would have probably been enough.
Deluxe Package: My Father’s World-Kindergarten offers the option of a deluxe package for those interested in completing their curriculum with more resources. The deluxe package includes, an inflatable globe, an Alphabet Book with cuisenaire rods, a classical music CD, the book For the Children’s Sake, which provides an overview of the Charlotte Mason approach, and a dinosaur book. These additional activities are woven into the lesson plans for each unit as options for those interested.
My Thoughts: We purchased the basic package along with the classical music CD. Opportunities to enjoy classical music are provided each week, and the children liked the cute little activities. We also enjoyed our CD during other parts of the day. I also checked out For the Children’s Sake from the library and found it to be a great resource as well. We did not need a globe and already had a creationist book on dinosaurs, so we did not purchase those. We also did not engage in the Cuisenaire activities because I did not find them relevant for our son at this point.
Final Thoughts: Some have asked if My Father’s World-Kindergarten is too easy, but I think it was a perfect introduction to formal learning. The beauty of it is that you can go as deep as you want. When we were interested in a particular topic, we dove in for a few extra days. When we weren’t as interested, we zoomed by. We also supplemented where we needed to and still felt that we gained so very much from the curriculum itself.
My only regret is not learning about MFW sooner. I would have loved to have shared this with our son when he was 4 or 5 rather than 6, but we made it work well even then. When our daughter turns 4, we will definitely begin this with her at that time. She is always excited to learn new things, and we can approach it a bit more gently to encourage her as she grows.
Our son (and daughter) learned Biblical concepts, character development, and a number of other wonderful facts about God’s creation. He didn’t just memorize facts for a short while; he truly learned about all of the topics we explored. We shared wonderful memories through it all and embraced a love for learning together. We loved it so much that we are excited to continue the journey with My Father’s World-Learning God’s Story in just a few short weeks. Stay tuned!
Linking up at: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Hip Homeschool Hop, Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop, From House to Home, Homeschool Link Up, Weekly Wrap Up, MFW Blogroll