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TOG users (K-12): How much of this has been a problem for you?


Annabel Lee
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I keep eyeballing TOG, but from a distance. Since I'll eventually need to decide on something for history and literature for next year, I'm looking at it again. There are specific reasons (i.e., things I've merely read/heard) I've kept TOG at arm's length, and I'm hoping you can address them as true or untrue If it's not so black-and-white, please elaborate & tell how you solved the issue in your homeschool:

 

1. Map Aids - I've heard that the answers aren't always easy to figure out, or that the answer key isn't helpful, or that resources that are supposed to match up re: the maps just don't and in that case users have been told to just look at the answer key.

 

2. Answers to some of the questions (D or R level) not being easy to find, but scattered throughout many books.

 

3. Hard to use, hard to plan, too many books, too time consuming (for teacher and for student).

 

Thanks for the help! (again, always)

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1. Map Aids--I just give my kids access to the teacher's copy with the answers and they fill out theirs from that--It hasn't been a problem, and they are learning this way.

 

2. I can't really answer to this one because I don't always give my kids the questions to answer--less so as we move away from TOG which brings me to question 3.

 

3. Yes, hard to plan and too time consuming. Way too much info for me to wade through every week. I don't have time for it. I got TOG to use mainly with my rhetoric student, but also to keep my dialectic and upper and lower grammar students on the same page so to speak as well. There is some good stuff in TOG, but I have to dig too deep to find it every week. It has not been as helpful as I thought it would be for me as the teacher in teaching lit analysis to my high schooler. I read all that info, and I still feel confused. I also think it is overkill for younger students. I will not be using TOG again next year.

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1) Map aids-I find that by looking at a historical atlas, at maps in the readings or sometimes by discussion and use of the teacher's copy we get the exercise done. I don't consider the weekly maps to be a test so if they need help or to use the "answer map" that isn't a problem for me.

 

2) Yes, the questions at D & R level aren't always meant to be simple factual answers. Some require thought and brief/paragraph essay style answers or discussion. Your answer should, in my opinion, be synthesized from the sum of your readings.

 

3) I don't find it hard to use. The only planning needed is because items are set up by week not by day-you need to pick how much to do each day. Reading charts tell you what books to read for each level. The second page of reading is optional. Then choose your added activities-writing, maps, tests, arts/crafts, lapbook. We certainly don't do it all. The preparation I think will be more intense for me at the R level. I hope to read several of the books along with my students to make it easier for them to discuss the material with me. In the earlier years reading some books aloud or reading through the teacher notes were sufficient. No, this isn't an assign the work and walk away program. But that is also not my view of homeschooling in general. My kids love history so if there is overkill I don't notice. If you feel overkill/too many books I recommend looking critically at the alternatives page and not trying to do all those books. As far as which books are used I think you will find much overlap between some of the major programs-TOG, Sonlight, WP, VP, and Biblioplan.

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2. Answers to some of the questions (D or R level) not being easy to find, but scattered throughout many books. -- I don't see this as a problem. Yes, the kids will be reading several sources and at the D and R level, they'll need to synthesize information, make connections and gleen appropriate content. No, TOG q and a will not hand your child answers....they'll have to read, think, and figure it out.

 

Now, as a teacher, there have been a few times that we just could not find the answers to a question in *any* book (William the Silent is the most recent problem). My coop teacher brought it up on the forums and Dana (one of the writiers for the program) acknowledged this oversight and they planned to correct it. The company is fantastic about listening to the users of the curriculum.

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1) Map aids-I find that by looking at a historical atlas, at maps in the readings or sometimes by discussion and use of the teacher's copy we get the exercise done. I don't consider the weekly maps to be a test so if they need help or to use the "answer map" that isn't a problem for me.

 

2) Yes, the questions at D & R level aren't always meant to be simple factual answers. Some require thought and brief/paragraph essay style answers or discussion. Your answer should, in my opinion, be synthesized from the sum of your readings.

 

3) I don't find it hard to use. The only planning needed is because items are set up by week not by day-you need to pick how much to do each day. Reading charts tell you what books to read for each level. The second page of reading is optional. Then choose your added activities-writing, maps, tests, arts/crafts, lapbook. We certainly don't do it all. The preparation I think will be more intense for me at the R level. I hope to read several of the books along with my students to make it easier for them to discuss the material with me. In the earlier years reading some books aloud or reading through the teacher notes were sufficient. No, this isn't an assign the work and walk away program. But that is also not my view of homeschooling in general. My kids love history so if there is overkill I don't notice. If you feel overkill/too many books I recommend looking critically at the alternatives page and not trying to do all those books. As far as which books are used I think you will find much overlap between some of the major programs-TOG, Sonlight, WP, VP, and Biblioplan.

 

 

I like her answers.

 

We use Tapestry tweaked to fit OUR family.

 

I love that I don't have to read every book to discuss it.

 

For me, I'm NOT a fan of worksheets or tests. So, we don't use Evaluations, the supplied worksheets (often) Pop Quiz, etc.

 

We use Tapestry for the in depth discussion, the great books, and a little guidance of what to do next. I used to plan the kids' school work a la TWTM, but I found it overwhelming to try to coincide four different levels of kids. Frankly, I found it overwhelming to fully plan two together and then toss in little kids to boot.

 

Yes, Tapestry requires planning. Other than textbooks & workbooks I don't know what doesn't????

 

And you have to ask yourself, if what you want is a CLASSICAL education - training our children to read, think, write, then why would you resort to a textbook/workbook format?!

 

Question #1. Is it A. B. or C. ?

Hmmm.... A monkey has a chance of getting it right.

 

So, yes, shouldn't we EXPECT our D and R students to sort through various books, retain that information, and be able to coherently relay it back to us in complete sentences? To think? To write? :001_huh:

 

Tapestry is a way to get a classical education.

Marcia fully admits it is meant to be mother led, never with a student on their own. It's meant to be MAMA INVOLVED. Why? Because students, to learn, truly LEARN, and think and discuss, need a teacher who thinks & discusses WITH them.

 

Otherwise, I'd save myself several hundreds of dollars and resort to textbooks. After all, then they can teach themselves, answer it quickly, check it themselves, and be done. I can "check the box", do my thing, and feel good. *IF* that's what I wanted.

 

But, I have to ask myself, is that a classical education? Am I teaching my child to think?

 

Hmmm....

 

Obviously, I'm biased.

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1. Map Aids -- This is our 1st year with TOG. What we've experienced with Map Aids is that occasionally there will be a city to include on the map but the map that you print out does not have that area printed. Last week we were supposed to label Tarshish on our outline map along with several other cities in Assyria & Israel. The outline map included part of the Mediterranean Sea then headed east, showing the land area and rivers as far as the Persian Gulf. Tarshish is apparently in southern Spain so there was no land area to label it. The teacher's key showed it labeled in the Mediterranean with an arrow pointing west to show that you'd find it that way. This has happened a few times, so now I preview the maps making sure I can find everything in the atlas, before I give them to my kids. If something is missing I don't have them label that area but discuss where that city would be if necessary.

 

2. D & R Questions -- I can only speak to D as I don't have any R level students. There are times in ancients (that's the only level I'm familiar with) where my kids haven't been able to able to answer some of the questions. When I give them their questions, I tell them to let me know if they have any trouble finding the answers. If this happens, I may try to go through the books with them to see if they just missed it. Or I may tell them to leave it blank and we'll go over it at discussion time. I feel like I have a head's up about these things in the teacher's notes though, as they'll usually say something about how there's not a lot of information on ________.

 

3. I haven't found it too hard to use or plan, but it is definitely more time consuming than other programs I've used. I've found I do need to plan. Most things I've used in the past have been more open and go with me discovering things alongside the kids. With this I feel I need to prepare. I think it's because they're reading most things on their own vs. read alouds, so I have to prepare myself in order to know what's going on for discussion time.

 

As far as time consuming for the student, it depends on your student and the week. My 6th grader reads much more quickly than my 7th grader so he gets his reading done more easily. This week though, there isn't a lot of outside reading for the period of ancient history we're covering. It's almost all O.T. reading. When I looked it over each boy would need to read over 200 verses per day to get the work completed. Even though it's the bible, it's just too much for my kids. We're splitting this week up over 2 weeks so that they can move along at a comfortable yet challenging pace. This will be the second time I've done this. Most other weeks I've felt the work load was fine.

Edited by luvnlattes
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