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TOG Yr 2 vs. SOTW Vol 2: Scope, suitability for 2nd grade?


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Hi there! I am deliberating between TOG Yr 2 and SOTW Vol 2 next year for my upcoming 2nd grader and kindergartener. We have used TOG Year 1 this year, but with SOTW Vol 1 as the spine. The kids have really enjoyed and retained a lot from the hands-on projects, but of all the reading we've done, SOTW has definitely been the most enjoyable.


I already have TOG Year 2, and I'm looking through it and noticing both that SOTW 2 doesn't seem to be scheduled much (which is disappointing) but also noticing that the 2nd-year scope of the curricula seem very different. I'm trying to decide which to use for next year - TOG year 2 or SOTW Vol 2? Here are some considerations....


1. I definitely want to use TOG at the higher grades, and planned to use it for this first cycle so I myself could get used to the planning. However...


2. SOTW is simpler, and my kids have definitely liked it. Simpler is starting to sound more appealing, at this stage where I have one barely independent reader and most subjects are still being done orally with both kids, which is a lot of hands-on investment of my time with each kid each day. (We're also using RightStart math, which I LOVE, but which is time-intensive.) More planning might be easier when we've hit the point where I can hand off assignments and check in, instead of hovering over shoulders all day. (Is it real that there will be a day when I can hand off assignments and check in? That seems like a fairy tale. But I digress.)

With SOTW, I can incorporate some hands-on projects from the activity guide, and bam - history's done, versus more planning and more book juggling with TOG. For 2nd grade, it might just be easier to do what's...easy.


3. Can anyone speak to the differing scopes of the two curricula? TOG 2 seems like it's a lot of Church history, and it ZIPS through the Middle Ages awfully fast. It goes all the way from the fall of Rome to the Constitution, and to me, that seems like a lot to cover in one year. It almost seems like, at my kids' ages, more time on the Middle Ages and Renaissance might be preferable to a lot of Church history, which they might not really appreciate until they're a bit older? Or am I wrong about the TOG scope? Have you who've used it found that TOG Year 2 works well for the younger ages? Will we be missing something if we go with SOTW?


4. Finally, because of the difference in scope, it seems that whatever I use this year, I'll need to use next year as well. So the decision feels big...although I'm starting to learn the homeschooling lesson that consistency means more than having the "perfect" curriculum.


Sorry for all of my rambling, and thank you very much for your thoughts! :)

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It sounds to me as if you want to use SOTW without TOG. :) That's a good decision. If you love TOG (I do) that's great, but if you don't, why do it? Especially when you know what you want: SOTW. You won't be missing anything that your child won't learn at higher levels. SOTW is meant for her age and stage.


It's not true that this year decides next year, either, if you're working on a 4 yr cycle at the grammar stage level. If you like TOG for year 3 better than SOTW on its own, you can absolutely go straight from SOTW 2 to TOG. There are some overlapping dates but that's very easy to find out on TOG's website. I think you'd start in Unit 3 or 4 of year 2 to match SOTW vol 3.

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I am planning to use TOG starting when my oldest is in fifth grade. We have been using SOTW. I found it thorough and complete enough for second grade. The Activity Guide was easy to use. I got extra books from the library, but if a chapter wasn't too interesting, we just read it and moved on.


One of the things I am really looking forward to in TOG is that they spend more time in the modern ages. I am planning year 4 in the next cycle, and it is SO challenging to fit everything in between 1850 and 2015. Major things happen then! I am finding that I am going to use SOTW as background and focus more on the U.S. With major themes such as Civil War. It will probably take more than a year, esp. since I want to add in state history too. I am actually moving away from SOTW in the fourth book some and using more living books.


In my opinion, the Middle Ages dragged on a bit, and I am looking forward to TOG streamlining this in the future. I feel like SOTW doesn't spend enough time on some US history events such as the Revolution. Yes, there are many book suggestions I can add in, but I felt like I had to prepare two unit studies on the American Revolution and the Constitution and founding fathers and government because it was only a few chapters in SOTW this year.


HOWEVER, you can absolutely use SOTW this year if you desire. It can be somewhat easier to plan as it seems less overwhelming. But if you like all the extra reading and projects, you do have to do a bit more planning of what to do when. There's no weekly plan laid out. But it is thorough and complete. There are no extra activity books to buy. It's all there.

TOG can be a bit overkill for just lower grammar, and SOTW is great. Plus, you can get the audio CDs to read along. You don't have to do every activity or read every book and do as little or as much as you want. It doesn't have to be complicated. Book 2 and Book 3 were very well done in SOTW. You can always add in more of that church history your next cycle with TOG and build a different layer of understanding of that time. There is also great literature in cycle 2.


Hope you enjoy whatever you decide!


ETA: There are probably fewer reading assignments in TOG from SOTW because they cover the material in half the time. I wonder if this holds true for cycle 3.

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