Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Wheel: My Father's World

The "wheel" idea is one of the big reasons we switched from Sonlight to My Father's World. Sonlight has cores that do allow for combining teaching, but it is only for few years for age span. Since I currently have a 8, 6, and 3 year old, I would end up doing 2 cores, which is enough to make my head spin. If we are blessed with more children, you could make that 3 cores. Then you add the possibility that the 3rd will get a hoge poge education. Sonlight is a great curriculum, but I felt I needed something simpler for our family structure while retaining the philosophies and scholastic standards.

The were a few other reasons I switched curriculum, but this post is about the wheel. So let me explain it. Their catalog and website also has a great description of it as well. Here are some quotes for the website:
Our unique and innovative multi-age curriculum for 2nd-8th grade begins with a one-year foundation in geography followed by four years of history presented chronologically. Beginning with Creation, world history is integrated with Biblical history.

The curriculum is multi-age. Two or more children in 2nd - 8th grade may be taught together, using the same program. Each child will enjoy activities appropriate to his age, while studying the same curriculum as his siblings. This helps unify the family while easing the parent's teaching schedule.

Year One Geography: Exploring Countries and Cultures
Year Two History: Creation to the Greeks
Year Three History: Rome to the Reformation
Year Four U.S. /World History: Exploration to 1850
Year Five U.S./World History: 1850 to Modern Times

Each of our programs for grades 2-8 integrates Bible, literature, history/geography, science, music appreciation, art, and character development. Add grade level math and language arts for a complete curriculum program.
Your younger children enter the wheel when they each reach 2nd grade. For example, my 2nd child will enter the wheel at year 2 and continue the wheel until 8th grade, completing the wheel and repeating year 1 and 2 on an advanced level. This way I can make sure each child gets every section of the wheel. It is a simple way to make sure the younger ones do not miss a certain historical period or science topic.

Here is their explanation for the wheel:

How Our Multi-Age Family Cycle Works
  1. If your oldest is in 4th-8th grade, begin the Family Cycle at Year One with all 2nd-8th graders. (K-1st graders may participate in some of the easier activities for a low-key exposure to topics.) If your oldest is in 2nd or 3rd grade, use Adventures in My Father’s World and begin the five-year cycle the next year.
  2. Continue through the five-year cycle. When younger children reach 2nd grade, they join their older siblings in the family cycle using the same year the other children are studying. This unifies the family and assures that Mom is only teaching one of the five-year cycle programs each year. (Younger children can easily join mid-cycle because they have already been exposed to the earlier years as a part of the family.)
  3. When you finish Year Five, go back to Year One and cycle through Years One-Five with all of your children who have not reached 9th grade. A 7th or 8th grader will repeat, on a more advanced level, the years he was taught in 2nd and 3rd grade.
  4. When a child reaches 9th grade, he is ready for parent-guided independent work in our high school program.

What I love about the wheel:
  • Simple way to keep track and make sure ALL the children do not miss a period of history or science topic
  • We study subjects as a family. Great for family vacations field trips.
  • Works for any size family, no matter the ages between children
  • Will save my sanity by teaching subjects together, except for language arts and math.
There are so many great curriculums out there, this one looks like it will answer our issues and goals. I'll let you know next spring how it went. We have really liked using Adventures in My Father's World and My Father's World from A to Z


  1. It's such an interesting concept and really appeals to families with multiple children.

    I'm curious how they handle subject matter that may be too mature/violent for the younger ones. Any ideas on that?

    Thanks Karen!

  2. Yeah, when Nate Saint gets speared, that could be a little much for some kids. In our picture books by YWAM I would skip those parts in Kindergarten, but I read them now. It probably depends on the child.

    While our kids are all sensitive, they deal with it fine. I am not sure that young children really gasp death as adults do. Maybe it is because my children have lived through a heavy trial in life already. "Is Daddy going to going to be OK Mommy?"

    Life is hard and scary at times, full of trials. Little bits can be prepare them for life. It gives you an opportunity to talk about the hard subjects on an age appropriate level. Reading about missionaries can really inspire your children to have a heart for missions. Personally I can read those things and I am fine, but it disturbs me to watch it on TV. While I have read Nate Saint to my children, I would not show them the movie. You know your child the best, read it first and make the call. It is a balance of protecting their innocence while not protecting them too much from experiencing real life.

  3. Yes, I've seen this in the catalog and on line - and love the idea! Thanks so much for sharing this!!