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Susan's "The History of the Ancient World" and TOG


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#1 bookfiend

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:43 PM

Anyone read it? Is it appropriate for High School? I'm looking for a complementary spine that I can use all year with TOG Y1. The student is a rising 9th grader. Any thoughts?

ETA - this is our second round with TOG, we used Story of the World the first time through.

#2 Nscribe

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

I have read it. It could be used for high school. I am not familiar with TOG at all.

I would say that while I like the narrative form of HOAW, I would suggest something with vivid maps and art from the periods/cultures. I would also want some original documents to work with for study. These could be accomplished in many ways.

#3 Starr

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

Dd loved HOAW.

#4 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:08 AM

TOG uses Spielvogel's History of Western Civilization as a spine (even though it is listed, as SOTW was, as optional/additional reading). You could use History of the Ancient World and match chapters to topics. I suspect that there would be situations where you would need to spread the reading out a bit more. For example, I suspect that there is much more material on Ancient Egypt in HOAW than could be read in the 3 weeks TOG allows. You might need to carry some of the reading into later weeks when there might be less match up between chapters in HOAW and topics covered by TOG. Also, look at how much reading you will be assigning. HOAW is a very dense text and there is a great deal of reading in some of the weeks of TOG that adding HOAW might be more than a 9th grader could handle. You'll need to assess which readings you intend to assign vs. how much reading your child can complete. I think it would be a nice complement just plan carefully.

#5 Candid

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

Tapestry does not provide a spine in any of the R history year plans. The Spielvogel is an alternative for folks that want to use a textbook over real books written by people who love and know that one time or culture.

I would encourage you to consider the choices that Tapestry makes and use those books. They will give your student a taste of what those who study a particular culture think and know. They also give you a nice out for a child that doesn't like everything or gets bored with one author, you'll soon move on from most books you use as you move forward in history.

#6 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

Tapestry does not provide a spine in any of the R history year plans. The Spielvogel is an alternative for folks that want to use a textbook over real books written by people who love and know that one time or culture.

I would encourage you to consider the choices that Tapestry makes and use those books. They will give your student a taste of what those who study a particular culture think and know. They also give you a nice out for a child that doesn't like everything or gets bored with one author, you'll soon move on from most books you use as you move forward in history.


Please note: in the following I am using the term "real book" in a CM sort of sense, not as a measure of the value or legitimacy of any given book.

I'm afraid I disagree with your first statement or at least I use TOG differently. Once you reach the Rhetoric level it would be impossible to use real books to cover all the history of a given time period. I use Spielvogel (or alternatively one could use HOAW or any other hs or uni level text) to fill in the gaps that the other readings can't possibly cover. It is important in history to have a sense of place; to be familiar with important dates, military actions, discoveries, leaders, artists, inventors, etc. It would be difficult to obtain that context from the various TOG readings alone. For this reason we use a spine such as Spielvogel (you could use Durant, HOAW, some of the Oxford history series, etc.) to fill in all those gaps and give the big picture. It is not a reading used in lieu of real books (nor because I or the kids can't hack real books) but a supplement to them so that you can understand the context in which the events in the real books take place.

In considering AP and SATII exams in history for my kids I find that this sort of broad view will be essential to them in understanding many of the questions on the tests and for placing an essay in context. Hopefully the meat of the essay will come from the understanding and insight they have gained from the more in depth reading, primary documents, and contemporary sources found in those real books.

Once you reach hs and uni level course I can't muster the antipathy I had to text books or survey books in the earlier years. I find that they are a necessary tool that my kids need as part of their overall study. I don't think TOG includes Spielvogel as an alternative for those who can't hack reading the primary book list but rather I perceive it as being there to fill in gaps in a child's knowledge. Those gaps could be because the week's readings can't possibly cover every name, date and event that the child should know or because the child has never studied that period in history before, or because they are preparing for an exam or course that will require familiarity with the many facts that fill a text book but cannot possibly fill one of the more focused works on the primary reading list. Choosing between a text and the primary reading list needn't be a mutually exclusive choice. The text, in my opinion, is there to complement and supplement the other readings not substitute for them.

As a side note I think that the alternative/additional reading list in TOG is there for a variety of reasons. First, the books are alternatives in that they are not required to successfully complete the course and evaluations as TOG presents them. Secondly, they are there to provide additional reading for motivated/interested students. Third, it is a way of putting commonly owned or otherwise valuable but out of print books on the reading list but not require them for success in the course. Fourth, they are truly supplemental material that is recommended to give further insight into the week's topic. What the alternative/additional readings are not are lesser works, unworthy of being required reading.

#7 Harriet Vane

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:03 AM

My dd used it and loved it. We paired it with an Usborne encyclopedia of the ancient world. I would definitely recommend it.

#8 Candid

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:13 AM

I'm afraid I disagree with your first statement or at least I use TOG differently. Once you reach the Rhetoric level it would be impossible to use real books to cover all the history of a given time period. I use Spielvogel (or alternatively one could use HOAW or any other hs or uni level text) to fill in the gaps that the other readings can't possibly cover. It is important in history to have a sense of place; to be familiar with important dates, military actions, discoveries, leaders, artists, inventors, etc. It would be difficult to obtain that context from the various TOG readings alone. For this reason we use a spine such as Spielvogel (you could use Durant, HOAW, some of the Oxford history series, etc.) to fill in all those gaps and give the big picture. It is not a reading used in lieu of real books (nor because I or the kids can't hack real books) but a supplement to them so that you can understand the context in which the events in the real books take place.



But you can use the real books they suggest as their primary resources and, I suspect, get much better in depth coverage of any particular time period or culture by doing so.

We certainly are doing that. We certainly are getting " important dates, military actions, discoveries, leaders, artists, inventors, etc." and we are doing it with more on most of them because we are doing it with books whose authors are specialists in that time period.

And they do get all those details and much much more in the real books.

I certainly don't think the writers of Tapestry expect someone to do a text as well as their primary sources. As you have posted further down in this post, the alternatives are there so people can use a text if they want or if they already own it and don't want to buy more. But the primary resources thoroughly and deeply cover the topics.

#9 swimmermom3

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

We like SWB's HOAW and are reading it now. However, as a TOG user, you may have some objections to the content as outlined in this rather hot thread.

I only bring this up because I remember that TOG suggests that you staple together the pages of the love poetry in either the Mesopotamia or the Egyptian literature books.

#10 Candid

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:03 PM

We like SWB's HOAW and are reading it now. However, as a TOG user, you may have some objections to the content as outlined in this rather hot thread.

I only bring this up because I remember that TOG suggests that you staple together the pages of the love poetry in either the Mesopotamia or the Egyptian literature books.


I forgot that, I read the Mesopotamian love poetry and thought it was totally weird. Not at all what we would say or even what Elizabethan poets would say, very unusual metaphors used. It is though somewhat graphic and Tapestry does have warnings about it.

#11 bookfiend

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

This made me smile. We aren't offended by nudity in art work or quotes from history.

I used the Stream of Civ. textbooks throughout D level in addition to the primary reading. Often I substituted the primary read with a Landmark book or Messner biography. For us, having a spine text oftered a synopsis that filled gaps in understanding from one week to the next. It is also useful if we have to skim a week or two and can't devote time to full on TOG assignments.

Any other recommendations are greatly appreciated!

We like SWB's HOAW and are reading it now. However, as a TOG user, you may have some objections to the content as outlined in this rather hot thread.

I only bring this up because I remember that TOG suggests that you staple together the pages of the love poetry in either the Mesopotamia or the Egyptian literature books.



#12 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:11 PM

But you can use the real books they suggest as their primary resources and, I suspect, get much better in depth coverage of any particular time period or culture by doing so.

We certainly are doing that. We certainly are getting " important dates, military actions, discoveries, leaders, artists, inventors, etc." and we are doing it with more on most of them because we are doing it with books whose authors are specialists in that time period.

And they do get all those details and much much more in the real books.

I certainly don't think the writers of Tapestry expect someone to do a text as well as their primary sources. As you have posted further down in this post, the alternatives are there so people can use a text if they want or if they already own it and don't want to buy more. But the primary resources thoroughly and deeply cover the topics.


TOG doesn't really provide spines for any of the age levels. There are primary reading books for particular time periods but what are traditionally thought of as spines (including SOTW) are all on the extra reading pages listed as text books.

I am not advocating the use of a text book to replace the primary readings in TOG, nor do I use them in this fashion. I am saying that Rhetoric level students could derive much benefit from using a carefully selected spine in addition to the real books.

The readings assigned in the Spielvogel text are actually quite short and give a good generalized picture of the time period in which to then place the primary readings in context. I also think you do a great disservice the many of the authors of the texts and other books people use as spines when you imply that they are either not fully educated on the topics they write about nor passionate about the study of history. That is why choosing a spine carefully is important, not every text book is written by a committee that has a focus on sales rather than study. There are many texts that are written by specialists in their field who have a passion not only to further knowledge in their field but to support education of those interested in that discipline.

With hs in general and TOG in particular the choice is not about mutual exclusivity between a textbook and a real book but rather about providing enough historical knowledge to the child so they can place a variety of world events in context. And yes, even the creators of TOG refer to "choosing Spielvogel as your spine." While it is not essential to successfully answering their essay and evaluation questions I doubt they would mention or recommend a variety of texts to use as spines if they didn't place some value on their usefulness.

Again-it is not about choosing a spine/text book vs the use of real books, it is about choosing the best combination of the two to make history tangible and understandable to the student. There is nothing educationally faulty in choosing to have a student use one spine text on which to hang their subsequent readings, primary sources, etc.

And to the OP-one problem with using HOAW as a spine-you will run out of books in the series when you reach more modern times. I think the series only runs through the Renaissance now. You would need to make an alternate choice from then on. Not that this has to be a problem-just go into it knowing you will need to find another author before you are done with the full 4 year cycle.

#13 melmichigan

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

Anyone read it? Is it appropriate for High School? I'm looking for a complementary spine that I can use all year with TOG Y1. The student is a rising 9th grader. Any thoughts?

ETA - this is our second round with TOG, we used Story of the World the first time through.


I have HoAW, which I'm reading, and Speilvogel in front of me and I'm trying to decide between the two, or how I might use parts of both. I have to spend a little while looking through them. I did take the recommendation from another thread for HoAW by civilizations that one prof is using for a college class. I think it will be very helpful in grouping chapters. It also has some excellent ideas for papers. My DD is an avid reader and is above some of the new books being used in the update, although I understand why they are using them now thanks to Candid. We have discussed it and will be skipping those so I will have room to fill and some other book choices to make. This year is going to take a lot more planning on my part than other years.

I have always used a spine.

On the positive, DD loved SOTW so much when she was younger that she is ready to read HoAW over the summer we if somehow were to choose not to use it.

#14 katilac

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:20 AM

We found HOAW slow going After the first semester, we switched away from it and back to more of the old school WTM history style.

#15 Susan in TN

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:00 PM

Anyone read it? Is it appropriate for High School? I'm looking for a complementary spine that I can use all year with TOG Y1. The student is a rising 9th grader. Any thoughts?

ETA - this is our second round with TOG, we used Story of the World the first time through.


I'll have a 9th grader starting Y1 in the Fall, also. I'm glad you brought this up - I will keep it in mind for next year!

Hey, and look at that - my public library has a copy!

#16 Julie Smith

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:03 PM

:hat: I was looking for an old thread about this same subject. Thanks for posting it.


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