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*crosspost* Omnibus or Tapestry of Grace


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I have looked over many options for middle/high school and have narrowed to two choices: Omnibus or Tapestry of Grace.  I would like to one of them all the way through our remaining school years, we are currently nearing the end of elementary school.  My goals are something with deep discussions, great books incorporated, yet still keep the love of learning. 


I am wondering about other's pro's/con's about these curriculums and their experiences.   Did your kids find them too overwhelming or did they help foster a love of learning?  Were you able to have meaningful discussions or did they just feel like facts recitations?   Do you feel your kids were able to develop their own thoughts about the subject matter or was it just repeating what they were told in the guides?



Edited by aelllc
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Also following because I have the same question. I also am leaning towards omnibus. I like the fact that Omnibus has a "spine." It seems easier to actually implement. My plan is to start with Omnibus and just take it slowly - and maybe just do the secondary reading the first time through. But I have not used either. Hopefully someone who has will respond. 

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We have used (and loved) TOG for 7 years. We have great discussions and my children have enjoyed the vast majority of the book choices. However, my oldest is only in 7th, so I can't give an answer with btdt high school experience. 


Karenciavo used to be the resident expert on Omnibus vs. TOG. I haven't seen her post in a long time though. If you try a google search like this: karenciavo omnibus site:welltrainedmind.com


you should get a whole bunch of threads. Here is a really great comparison that she wrote:


I have used both TOG and Omnibus I, we are only using TOG this year. Here is a comparison I did a while back:

TOG - History program with great books study.

Omnibus - Great books of Western Civilization study with history readings optionally scheduled.

Who comes out on top (IMHO):
History - TOG

Literature - TOG (Redesign only), although Omnibus is quite good, compared to Classic TOG I give the nod to Omnibus. The rhetoric literature program in Redesign is very meaty, students complete analysis weekly and keep an ongoing file of literary terms that they should be quizzed on.

Writing - Toss-up. Omnibus has lots of writing assignments to choose from including progymnasmata. It doesn't have much writing instruction though (assumes you have learned essay writing and such from IEW I guess.) TOG's writing does a very good job of teaching writing using contemporary methods and you may purchase Writing Aids which includes instruction for teacher and student, samples, organizers, grading rubics.

Socratic Discussion - Tie. I think both to a very good job with teacher prompts and asking good questions.

Worldview - TOG. Omnibus discusses cultural and Biblical views, but since it's limited to the books contained in Omnibus, rather than world history like TOG, I think some areas are covered more in-depth in TOG. With Omnibus you will discuss the ideas of people like Darwin (while reading Livy) but it assumes you already know what those ideas are. TOG has student read portions of Origin of Species and it also has the Pageant of Philosophy pages (narrative written by Marcia Somerville's husband that has a character named Simplico who meets various thinkers throughout the ages. Included in all 4 year plans).

Government/Law - TOG. Again, because TOG covers more cultures in history there can be more discussion brought in. I do like what I have seen of Omnibus' questions about government.

Geography - TOG. There are some map projects included in Omnibus.

Church History - TOG

Fine Art - TOG. Omnibus has some interesting picture studies.

Theology - Omnibus

TOG Credits:
History - 1
English - 1 (using their suggestion to pick a vocabulary book and grammar from Shurley 7 or a foreign language such as Latin). Or 1/2 credit literature and 1/2 credit grammar & composition.
Church History/Bible Survey - 1 credit
Worldview/Philosophy - 1/4 credit
Government - 1/2 credit.
Art History - 1/4 credit

Omnibus Credits (I spoke to a consultant on the phone):
History: 1 credit (with the Spielvogel text)
Literature: 1 credit
Theology: 1 credit
~ This is if you do all the readings (primary and secondary).

If your goal is to focus more on history then maybe TOG is for you; if you want to focus more on great books then perhaps Omnibus. I really like them both very much, but ultimately I chose TOG because it does a very good job at both educating my children and holding my hand and it makes my life easier because all three of my sons are studying the same topics (usually).




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Good Morning,


Instead of answering your question, I would like to suggest something. Try them. 

I know I haven't answered your question, but I would gently like to suggest that you might be asking the wrong questions. 

Instead of asking about my kids, try an experiment. 


Google Books has a generous sample of Omnibus I here:



Slide through it to find a primary selection that is generally intact - The Early History of Rome (p. 352) looks good. Get a copy of the book from the library, and try it. Or buy it. After all, you will probably be buying the books, so experiment. Buy one book. I believe the first assignment is to read pp. 29-72 in the text. So, sit down with the introductory lecture and read the info from Omni I. Then sit with the book, and read pp. 29-72. How long did it take? What did you think? What will your child think? Is he/she loving this, or is he/she overwhelmed?


Day II. Read through the discussion. Have it with yourself. Imagine having it with your child. Is it a great discussion or is your child just staring at you? Read through the essay assignment. Imagine your child completing the assignment. What would that look like? Can he work independently on the assignment, or does he have no idea where to start. Do you have the skills to help him? Now think about how you will grade/critique it. Do you have the skills to offer the kind of feedback that uses the assignment to grow a writer?  Your student is not done. Reading to do - pp. 72 to 104. How long did day two take?


Recall that EH of Rome is just the primary book. Omnibus offers secondary books as well. How will you make time for those? Are you going to skip them? How will you feel about that? How will your child feel about that? If you only do the primary books, will your child be miserable? If you only do the secondary books, have you really read the great books? What will their transcript credits look like? Can you really give them a history credit if they only do the secondaries? 


Time to think about high school credits - as an exercise. Take a blank schedule page with the hours of the day listed. Block out the first assignment on Monday - mark the time it took you to complete the assignment, adjusting for the speed of your child compared to you. Block out the second assignment on Tuesday. Add in time for the secondary books if you plan to use them. 

There is a credit for history and literature. 


Add in time for math. We did 90 minutes of math in high school. Block out the time you plan to spend.

Add in a block for science. We did lab sciences, so I planned for 75 minutes per day with room for overflow on lab days.  

Add in a block for foreign language.

That's five credits. 

Most applicants for college have at least one more elective for a total of at least 6 credits per academic year. (Of course if you are completing all the primaries and secondaries, Omnibus claims three credits of work: Theology, History, and Literature. However, some parents don't want to list four years of "Theology" on the transcript. There is no problem with doing that. None. But you have to decide what you want to do.)


How does the plan look? Recall that you have completed 2 days of Omni I. High School is about 720 days. Can you see your student "keeping their love of learning"? Think about your other responsibilities. Can you devote this kind of time to this program. Will your student engage in the discussion with you if you haven't read the book or will it be like pulling teeth? If it's the latter, do you have time to read the books? If you don't read the books, how will you make the discussions interesting? IOW, you seem to want the discussions to center on more than factual recall. How do you plan to have an engaging discussion about a text you haven't read? (Maybe you plan to read them. That's great, but most parents have less time to read than their students.) VP can't possibly generate a TE that addresses every situation. A deep/challenging discussion usually requires that both parties have read the text. 


Do the same with a Tapestry sample.

How did it go?


Now what do you think?

The samples are there for you. Use them.


Keep in mind, that not all homeschooled students stick with hsing curriculum all through high school. There are DE classes, AP classes, SAT II exams with classes geared toward them, online classes, etc. What would you like to do? If you decide to outsource some of your high school credits, you might want to think about what that might look like sooner rather than later. If you decide to outsource for their junior and senior year of high school, you might not want to spend the first two years of high school working through ancient and med. literature/great books. There is so much great lit/history for high schoolers from the last two centuries. I know we didn't want to miss it. FYI: we live less than two miles from a very good community college. Very good. And my kids were very social; they loved to be out and about. Letting go of what I thought we should be doing, and learning to see our options as best case/worst case for us was part of the learning curve for me. Opportunity Cost - a HUGE PART of any endeavor. It's real. And should be factored in. 


BUT what my children loved has very little to do with what your children will love. There are so many disadvantages to homeschooling. The ability to tailor the education to the specific child is one of the immense strengths. If you fail to take advantage of that one, the whole enterprise sours just a bit. It really is your strongest card. Don't be afraid to play it. 


And, in the end, high school is about building skills through content. Getting through content generally requires diligence while building skills requires more critical assessment. Sometimes it's easier to settle into checking boxes (content), but it might not necessarily get you where you want to go. 


Please try both curriculums. Then you will know what YOU think. Years ago my husband and I built a shed. Talking about it was remarkably different from doing it. Talking about loving the great books is very different from loving them. Talking about teaching using the great books is very different from teaching with the great books. 





Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey


P.S. Another silly story. Years ago we were buying our first house. We looked at a really nice house out in the country. Big. Beautiful. Nice. The only problem was that my husband's commute was going to be about 70 minutes one way. My dad suggested that he spend 140 minutes commuting every day for a week. IOW, he was going to leave our apartment, drive to the highway that he was going to be traveling on, and drive AWAY from work for the appropriate amount of time, turn around, continue his trip and arrive at work 70 minutes after he left the apartment. He did the same after work. My dad suggested that he would find out whether or not he liked his plan. 


He did it once. 

And we confidently chose the much smaller, older house ten minutes from work.


Try them. Then you'll know. 

Edited by Janice in NJ
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I haven't used an Omnibus straight through; we've only used parts and pieces as we blunder through homegrown high school literature courses.


Did your kids find them too overwhelming or did they help foster a love of learning? My kids really did enjoy the Omnibus units we did; I adored them. (Someday I will end up working through a whole Omnibus text for myself.) 


Were you able to have meaningful discussions or did they just feel like facts recitations? Fabulous conversations that never would have come up otherwise.  


Do you feel your kids were able to develop their own thoughts about the subject matter or was it just repeating what they were told in the guides? I can't speak for TOG, but Omnibus isn't the typical literature guide you're thinking of. There's an essay to read with background info and more for each book, followed by a pile of questions to drive the discussions. My DC and I often had different answers for those questions, which is great. We'd explain our reasoning to each other and chase the discussion wherever it went.


Here's is a Google search of Omnibus vs TOG using site:forums.welltrainedmind.com in the search. There are some fabulous older threads about them that may help you make a decision. There are lengthy samples of all the Omnibus texts on GoogleBooks too.

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I've been looking at both of them also. I love that omnibus has self paced options and an option to do live classes. I'm not sure what the online co ops people talk about with tapestry are but I hear they are inexpensive. Classes with veritas are not cheap although I would say they are priced the same as most online classes. Looking at samples of them I can't wrap my head around tapestry of grace. It just looks very confusing and overwhelming. I keep reading it's like a buffet but being a box checker I have a really hard time with that. I have also read there is a big learning curve with TOG. Doing one of these I would want it to include history and from everything I've read TOG is better in that aspect.

Edited by Momto4inSoCal
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I have never used Omnibus, but use, and love TOG. The discussions we have are excellent. We have been meeting with a group for the past 3 years, which makes it fun. DS is presently doing the lit online, but did about 1/2 of it with me last year. It went well. We also do church history/Bible with year one and I like those discussions, too. We have used the writing on and off (I actually like assigning the essays from the rhetoric evaluations b/c there is a sample essay and points that should be included.)

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