"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting Started With My Father's World ECC

It seems I always start a new curriculum with a bit of struggle.  This year I thought that would not be the case.  I thought I was prepared, but once again I have much to learn.  I clearly did not fully realize what I had purchased when I ordered My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  I had this vision of fun little moments of cultural adventure and pointing out the countries on the map.  That was my vision, but as usual I soon lost "my" vision.  I have been trying to do everything in someone else's vision.  And I did purchase this curriculum to get the expertise of that "someone else" and their vision, but I have got to start remembering that I must not lose my own vision in theirs.  We have to give ourselves room to change what we need to change or simply omit some things. 

This weekend I shall spend some time rediscovering my vision.  I already know some things I will change.  Right now I want to share a little about what we like and what we don't about this curriculum.  First of all, I think there is a huge mix of age ranges within the books.  The problem with that is that there are a couple of books that are way to complex in my opinion.  On the other hand I can see where some people might not like some of the more youthful books and the music CD.  I myself have to ease myself into the "hokeyness" of children's music, but now that I have I would say there is much to learn from it even for older age groups.  This curriculum also has a lot of worksheets and labelling of maps and that equals dullness to me.  I know that sometimes learning can be dull, but these worksheets require way too much labelling.  I would rather do a puzzle of the world or the country we are talking about or some other hands on activity.  I think they can learn as much that way without getting severe hand cramps.  I can see having a worksheet with a list on the side and drawing arrows to the location or using an "A,B, C..." type code.  I do see the value of some mid to older age range kids learning the spellings of the countries and geography words, but my 2nd grader is not able to write in all that information and even my 5th grader is stretching it a bit with as much labelling as the sheets have.  I will go through the books one at a time and tell what I like, so this will be sort of a product review.  Keep in mind that we are only beginning, so maybe I can update this as the end of the year. 

  • Teacher's Manual, 2nd Edition = Great organization; Organizational format is like Adventures and has a great weekly Grid

  • Parent/Teacher Supplement (required) = We have not used this, yet.; Looks like extra copies of the maps and Geography game; I am not sure if this is necessary

  • Student Sheets (purchase one per student) = About an inch thick; I am not fond of all the maps to label; the coloring pages look fine, but the sort of thing you could pull off the internet for free; I do not like that they have it altogether for you, though.

  • Flags of the World Ultimate Sticker Book (purchase one per student) = Great stickers that allow one for each country fot the passport and one for the coloring page; I think that there is only one country that will not have a sticker and we will probably find something on the internet to glue and paste into our passport and coloring page; My kids will like this.

  • Passport (purchase one per student) = Looks official

  • World Geography (purchase one per 3rd-8th grader or photocopy) = Do NOT like all these worksheets; dull; I showed my husband (teacher/principal) and he did not like it, either; just too much unnecessary busy work that could be done hands on for the most part; We might use some of it, but very unlikely that we will use more than a couple of pages

  • Hero Tales = Awesome book for Bible time and copywork of character qualities; I like the format with short readings 3-4 days per "hero".; I do wish that there was modification for younger children as the copywork sentences are lengthy.  I was going to make these and realized that someone on the MFW ECC Yahoo Group has done this in the files sections and there are two versions. 

  • Window on the World = Awesome book for Bible time; Readings appear lengthy, but the information is very interesting even to my 2nd grader.

  • God Speaks Numanggang = This book is read a little each day for the first couple of weeks and is written by the Hazell's; It is very informative about the need for and process of Bible translation.  This book really conveys the vision of My Father's World.  I do not know if it is schedule to read again throughout the year, but I think it would be great to re-read about once a month to remind the students of the MFW vision.

  • Illustrated World Atlas = I like this book.   It is definitely one of those that you would not want to read everything, but rather summarize and it gives an overview of each country. 

  • Classroom Atlas = Well, I guess you can not expect and Atlas to be exciting.  It is what it is... factual.  Necessary, but we will be summarize and not bogging our brains down with too much detail.  I will show the kids the maps, etc. and discuss it according to interest level.

  • Wall Map of the World = I do not like things on the wall... but it is a nice map; I will deal with it and it is useful.  ;)

  • Maps and Globes = This book looks like a child's book; however, it is quite detailed and it is great that it is read in small sections at at time over the first couple of weeks.

  • Geography from A to Z = Great book with colorful drawings to go with each geography word (used for weekly vocabulary terms); definitions are a bit lengthy, but good... I shorten them for the kids.

  • A Trip Around the World = Worksheets (more elementary level) and coloring pages; This looks good.  Even with older kids I think they need to do the fun stuff like this and not all the dull stuff.

  • Another Trip Around the World = Same as above

  • Properties of Ecosystems = I do not like this overly wordy book.  My husband and I both agree this book should be highschool to college level and is rather dull.  I do understand that it gives a wonderful Biblical perspective, but I think you can do that with something that is more relateable to children.; Definitely, MUST read AHEAD and SUMMARIZE this book and share the pictures with the kids. 

  • Living World Encyclopedia = This is an Usborne book and I do not like the busy-ness of the pages, but the kids seem to like them.  I think it is best to summarize some of the information on the pages. 

  • Global Art = Great book to have all the project options in one book; I do think this book would not be necessary and the projects could be found via internet.  We will enjoy the book and not having to look up the projects elsewhere, though.

  • Wee Sing Around the World = I myself have to ease myself into the "hokeyness" of children's music, but now that I have I would say there is much to learn from this CD even for older age groups.  I love the songbook and the pictures in it.  It also has great little maps of the countries that I think would have been sufficient for making copies for projects.

  • Deluxe Package Items:

  • Kingdom Tales = Ahhhh!  The controversial book in the group.  It is an allegory much like the Chronicle of Narnia.  My kids call it the creepy book, although they (7 & 10 year old) understand it is not really creepy.  It just starts out with a two young brothers at their mother's funeral in Enchanted City surrounded by fiery furnaces (represents Hell).  I thought I would not like it, but now that I have moved beyond the first couple of chapters I do like it.  It does go over MY head some, but we get the main points. 

  • Christian Heroes: Then and Now - six book set = Very much like the Hero Tales book in that it tells about a Christian hero, but these are individual books about one hero each.  We will like these books.

  • Cameron Townsend = same as above

  • Amy Carmichael  = same as above

  • Nate Saint  = same as above

  • David Livingstone  = same as above 

  • George Müller  = same as above

  • Gladys Aylward  = same as above

  • Inflatable Globe = We like this, but we have not gotten to it's use, yet.  It is a ball that you blow up... looks like a globe... how can you go wrong with that?!  I think it is for a game, but you really could use it for your globe rather than buy one. 

  • The Great Animal Search = My kids LOVE this book!  My kids love "I Spy" books and that is just what this is.  It has great pictures and facts to go with it as they search for each animal.  LOVE!

  • Fun with Easy Origami = Sure we will love this one, also when the time comes to use it.

  • Overall, it is the map labelling, overabundance of worksheets, and book choices for Science that I do not like. I love the Biblical perspective of MFW.  I only share this because I think the more you are prepared for what you are getting yourself into the better.  Had I realized some of these things I probably would not have gotten so panicked once we started using it and realizing how overwhelming it would be for US.  I will try to update with my plans later.  Off to brainstorm about it all....


    1. Hi! We are using ECC this year as well and made some adjustments for my 2nd grader. I got a great Beginning Geography book she loves, and we are doing lapbooks on animals and FIAR books that go along with the countries. I'm hoping that this will make it fun and lighter for her age. I hope that you have a great year!

    2. GREAT post! I am not sure why the parent/teacher supplement is needed either. I think it looks like a bunch of extra copies of what is already in the student sheets.

      I don't think we will ever use the World Geography book aside from a few of the hands-on activities I have come across in it.

      We have not used the Great Animal Search Book yet, but it sounds fun :)

    3. All right, I'm gonna offer a science suggestion for you that I think would go REALLY well with ECC. Have you ever heard of A Child's Geography: Explore His Earth by Anne Voskamp? It's an 11-chapter earth science book, so it doesn't cover the same topics that POE does, but it would still be neat to look at the earth itself while you're traveling around it. It's a VERY God-honoring book, and it's super as a read-aloud. (Very much like Jeanie Fulbright's Apologia Young Explorer books, if you like those.) Fawn and I did part of it this summer with the girls, and it was a huge hit by all accounts. Or you could lapbook like Kattie said. That would work, too!

      I know you know this, but I'm just saying it to encourage you: Make it work for your family!! You know your kids better than anyone, and you're a great homeschool mama! :)

      HUGS to your whole crew! :)

    4. Thank you so much for your honest review! My kids both have fine motor delays, and I have to really modify everything, even writing-lite items. We have MFW ADV's and have enjoyed the hands-on projects, so I was really considering ECC. It doesn't sound like it would fit our needs next year. My kids are on the younger end (they'll be in 2nd and 3rd next year). Thanks again! I would hate to spend our budget and not have any money left to modify. I wish MFW would put samples of their student pages!! :)

    5. Here are some ideas for Exploring Countries and Cultures. We had these resources and it really helped!


    I love comments and suggestions! I read them all and I am so thrilled you are taking the time out of your busy life to share your words with me! --Shannon

    Note: If you ask a question, check back here in the comments for my answer or check the little box so it goes directly to your email (if available). (This way others who have the same question will be able to read the answer!)