July 30, 2011

A Review of Adventures in My Father's World

Our family used Adventures in My Father's World during the 2010-2011 school year.  We used it for our first grade boy and Kindergartener girl.  The program is recommended for first, second, or third graders.  We used the history, read-alouds, and Bible elements, primarily.  We did use some of the art and music, but not as much as the teacher's manual instructed.  We did not use the science included in the package as we had already chosen to use Apologia science.

Adventures in My Father's World covers American history and includes a study of the states.  The Bible portion is a study on the names of God. 

Please keep in mind a few additional things:  My Father's World considers Adventures to be an optional program.  My children were a bit younger than the recommended ages.  Also, I have a very full household with a lot of littles and that makes my ability to improvise rather limited.

What I Liked:

The Instructor's Manual. The teacher's guide is laid out in a very user-friendly manner.  A week-at-a-glance page at the beginning of every unit is very simple, informative and quick to glance at.  Even the introduction at the front of the manual gives the parent clear information regarding what materials will be needed, etc. 

The book lists.  At the back of the guide is a very organized book list for additional resources, by unit.  Most of these are books one can look for at their library.  In addition, the lists are organized by age level, from younger to older, taking into account content and length.

The read-alouds.  Our family read all but one of the read alouds and will finish that one this coming year.  They are quality, enjoyable, discussion provoking, family friendly stories.

The History Spines.  There are two books used as the primary living history books.  My kids (any above 3 years) all loved listening in on the readings.

The idea of the Bible study.  Studying the names of God was a very special and unique topic that our family appreciated.  Our two older children really enjoyed the posters they made throughout the year for the names of God.

The four-days of school a week. The instructor's guide schedules all subjects for four days a week except for math and reading, which are scheduled for five.  This gives a great amount of flexibility to the parent. 

What didn't work for our family:

The quantity of History reading.  The history reading is primarily in the first half of the school year, as the state study was during most of the second half.  Even when there were weeks with reading scheduled every day my kids were often asking for more.  Isn't that ideal?? That is why the books are listed in the previous section.  But really, it was as if they felt let down that there wasn't more to read.  Parents can use the book list in the back to add to the reading, but we have a small library and many of the resources were not available to us.  And of course, there were weeks when getting to the library and my planning ahead to pick out more books, simply didn't happen.

The State Study.  This part of the curriculum reminded me too much of what I spent a lot of my school years doing in traditional school.  I felt it was busy work, with little true learning value to it.  However, I do have a friend that had just had a baby, etc when they used Adventures and really appreciated how her children were able to work more independently on their social studies.

The Bible study portion.  Many a Sunday evening I would quickly browse over the next week's studies only to be left feeling let down by the lightness of the Bible study.  I was not looking for a serious sermon, here.  Just some help deepening the topic we were on.  But at least twice a week we were simply reviewing the memory verse.  Eventually, I added in a devotional that we all did as a family.

The hands-on activities.  This would be a positive in many families.  Just not in ours.  There are cooking and other hands-on activities throughout each week that became too much for us.  First of all, I am a very left-brained person so creativity is not easy for me, let alone trying to keep four sets of little hands doing a project together in some sort of organized fashion.  It just seems that our kids are much more comfortable sitting around listening to a good story than trying to make Indian tepees. 

Simply put: Our family is much more literature based, and less project oriented than the Adventures in My Father's World curriculum.  We enjoyed the choices of literature, some of the history notebooking, and the light Bible study.

I would hesitate to do this curriculum for many second or third graders; it is a bit too easy for that level, in my opinion.  It seems to fit most of my children, ability wise, around the first grade mark.

However, if a particular child has a hard time sitting still for very much reading, but can write a couple of sentences, and enjoys hands on projects this may be just the program for your family!

1 comment:

Diana said...

Heather, thank you for the interesting review. As I was reading it, I was wondering if there was any way that we could help you. - would it help to have Grandpa read aloud a book on a CD, that you could play for the children? Or record a Bible lesson? Or call and talk to them on the phone about a lesson? Of course this may require us to have to have a copy of the book too, but that would not be a problem for us.

Some thing to think about.