My Father's World for high school concentrates on Bible, English, Literature, and History, with government, economics, and geography added at upper levels. Science and math need to be covered separately as well as a foreign language, health, and other electives. As with the younger levels, MFW embodies methodology from unit study, Charlotte Mason, and classical approaches with a strong biblical worldview focus (Protestant) throughout all levels.
Each program centers around a core guide that includes daily lesson plans written directly to the student along with other vital information required for the course. MFW also publishes supplemental books for literature and composition that are essential for several of the levels. In addition, a number of other courses and resources are incorporated into the lesson plans. Some of these are sold elsewhere as stand-alone courses, but MFW has integrated them with other resources to create a curriculum for each year that connects subjects to one another in more of a unit study fashion.
High school level courses are:
- Ancient History and Literature (includes the Old Testament)
- World History and Literature (includes the New Testament and Church History)
- U.S. History to 1877 with Government, American Literature, and Biblical Worldview
- U.S. History 1877 to the Present with Economics, English/Speech, and Bible
The first two courses should be used one after the other, and the second two should be used one after the other. While courses are not restricted to use at only one grade level, it really makes sense to use them in order for grades 9 through 12. The inclusion of government and economics in the last two courses strongly suggests their use in the last two years of high school. The guide for each year lists suggestions for additional reading for students who need the extra work or who might be interested in reading for their own sake.
These high school courses are designed for students to complete most of their work independently. There are a number of instances where it would be very helpful if the parent/teacher were more involved such as discussing literature, working through worldview resources, developing essay writing skills, and considering controversial questions. If parents have time to stay on top of the readings and interact with their students that will certainly enhance the learning process, and for some students, it might be essential. There is a good deal of writing involved as students answer questions for the various subject areas and write essays and papers. Also, parents are strongly urged to try to read and work along with students in Taking the Old Testament Challenge (1st level), Experiencing God (2nd level), and Thinking Like A Christian (3rd level).
Parents/teachers definitely need to evaluate student work, and the guides suggest a weekly conference between parent/teacher and student to go over the week’s work. Tests are included for some of the resources used such as Exploring World History and United States History. Student evaluation is based upon essays, written answers to history questions, written work from Bible and literature study, vocabulary quizzes, etc. Each guide offers quite a bit of help for evaluation, so this isn’t left to guesswork.
MFW encourages students to use their time and resources wisely, and to that end, they recommend that students try to prepare for CLEP tests on subjects such as U.S. History as they complete them. This is stressed more in the U.S. History courses but it is mentioned in the others.
You can purchase individual items, but complete packages might save you money if you need all of the resources. Be cautious about trying to substitute other editions of some of the literary selections since some might be difficult to read in comparison to the recommended editions.
MFW’s catalog and website offer recommendations of resources for math, science, foreign languages, and electives that you might want to consider.
MFW for high school level allows for more independent study than at younger levels, but it retains the coherent, worldview, Bible-based foundation of younger levels. The high school courses provide solid academic coverage, with a focus that is quite different from typical standards-based programs. The history sequence adds considerable information on Biblical and church history. Many literary selections have a Christian perspective, especially in the second year course. While I agree with MFW’s choice to purposely select what to teach rather than follow the traditional standards, college entry issues might arise whenever course content differs from that of most other schools. Because MFW also provides an academically-rich education, this is not likely to be a problem. If you prepare a child well academically, and possibly have them accumulate some CLEP credits during their high school years, they should be well-positioned for academic success in college as well as solidly grounded in their faith because of the intensive worldview education they will have received.
Reviews of individual courses follow.
Ancient History and Literature
History coverage draws heavily from the Old Testament, but includes ancient civilizations with particular focus on ancient Egypt and Greece. For both Ancient History and World History, MFW has timeline books for mounting timeline figures (from History through the Ages). Literature selections and Bible study integrate around the chronological history. Geography is also covered within this course in conjunction with history. The primary resource for history is Notgrass’s Exploring World History, which is also used with the next level. Other history and geography resources are Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (Usborne), and The Student Bible Atlas.
The Literature and Composition Supplement for Ancient History and Literature from MFW is the core book for language arts. It is divided into four main sections: writing, grammar and style lessons; study guides for the assigned literature; answer keys; and vocabulary quizzes. The assignment chart in the core guide Ancient History and Literature directs students when to complete each assignment in this book since students don’t just work straight through it. The first section of the Supplement teaches how to write an argumentative essay. It continues with a number of grammar and style lessons with exercises that address basic grammar as well as the most common errors made by upper level students. Some of this might be review for some students so parents should look at the material and make adjustments if needed. Along with the Supplement, students will also read The Epic of Gilgamesh (a condensed version), The Cat of Bubastes, Bulfinch’s Greek and Roman Mythology, The Iliad, The Odyssey, Eric Liddell (by Catherine Swift), and the Bible. Study guides for the literature include vocabulary work, glossaries, recall questions, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments. The vocabulary quizzes are tied to the literature.
Bible study adds a worktext titled Taking the Old Testament Challenge, a pamphlet titled The Tabernacle, The New Answers Book, The Purpose Driven Life, Daniel Teen Inductive Bible Study, and Unwrapping the Pharaohs. The last title sounds like history, but it has to do with “redating” the Egyptian dynasties in a manner that better aligns with a biblical chronology. Student will also read through the entire Old Testament. The Victor Journey through the Bible is also required but not included in the package for this course. In addition to their studies, students are expected to work on service projects throughout the year.
All items except the Victor Journey are available in a discounted package from MFW.
World History and Literature
World History and Literature continues in a similar fashion, covering world history from ancient Rome up to modern times along with geography. Required history books include those mentioned above for Ancient History and Literature that are used over the two-year span plus the MWF World History Timeline Book, two more sets of timeline figures from History through the Ages, History of the World (a DK book), and Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World.
For English, vocabulary activities are optional this year. Students focus their efforts on writing a research paper as well as other forms of writing along with their literature studies. Step-by-step instruction for the research paper is included. Resources required: Writers INC (grammar and writing handbook), Beowulf, Julius Caesar, British Literature (a parallel text), Practicing His Presence, The Pilgrim’s Progress in Modern English, A Tale of Two Cities (abridged), Silas Marner, Pride and Prejudice, Cry the Beloved Country, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, The Hiding Place, Animal Farm, and In His Steps. As you can tell from the literature the course continues with a strong emphasis on developing a Christian worldview.
For Bible, students read the New Testament as well as Heroes of the Faith, Church History in Plain Language, More Than a Carpenter, Experiencing God: Youth Edition, and Christianity, Cults & Religions.
U.S. History to 1877 with Government, American Literature, and Biblical Worldview
For this course, history studies use the first half of the BJU Press United States History course as the mainstay for the first semester, along with its ancillary Student Activities worktext and Tests plus a U.S. History Timeline Book. This provides one semester of history credit. The second semester provides one semester credit for Government using the books Under God and Never Before in History. Both books study Christian influences on the development of government and apply Christian worldview principles, so this will be quite different from courses used in secular schools.
Literature parallels the history with readings from Early American Literature (anthology), Of Plymouth Plantation, Four Great American Classics (The Scarlet Letter, Red Badge of Courage, Billy Budd, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, My Heart in His Hands, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and 101 Great American Poems. Using the MFW American Literature Supplement, students are directed through reading the above books as well as a few excerpts from source documents reprinted in the guide. English studies also include essays and many written responses to questions, practice with different forms of writing including literary annotation, and review of grammar using Easy Grammar Ultimate Series. In their other coursework, students will also be doing additional written work. Much of the writing is literary analysis from a biblical worldview.
The Bible credit is earned through intensive worldview study using the Thinking Like a Christian course, Assumptions that Affect Our Lives, Growing up Christian, and Christian Character.
U.S. History 1877 to the Present with Economics, English/Speech, and Bible
This program includes a second semester of U.S. History; an interactive, engaging semester of economics; a full year of English comprising modern American literature and speech; a biblical focus on spiritual disciplines, including personal prayer and Bible study skills; plus, the option of completing a semester of geography started in level 2.