MY TOG review

When I was first considering homeschooling my children I spent hours/days (and I really mean that) researching curriculum. I love the idea of lit-based learning for history, and I looked closely at all of the available programs in that style (MFW, Sonlight, WP etc.) At the time, I fell in love with Winter Promise, because the programs looked so fun. I had looked at TOG and though I found it intriguing, but I thought it looked a little dry and over the top. However, when we made the decision to homeschool the boys for the last 11 weeks of the school year, money was tight. I found I could buy one unit of TOG to finish up the year, and get a lot of the books at the library, so I ordered Unit 1 of Year 2 (I figured knights/vikings etc. would be a fun way to start our homeschool adventure). After spending time with TOG I am amazed at how in-depth it is. I taught for 11 years before this, middle school reading/language arts and social studies, and this is more in-depth than anything I have seen. Age-appropriate resources are chosen for each level, and, the parent has the flexibility to move between levels for their children if needed. (i.e. my older son is gifted so he uses a mix of the upper grammer/dialectic materials…my younger struggles more in reading, so I will probably be keeping him at the lower grammer level through the summer, even though he should technically move into upper grammer). Especially as you get into the dialectic/rhetoric level, the depth of the discussions and activities are impressive. The focus isn’t just on “summarizing” what was read, but on really thinking about it. Everything is laid out for the parent so you don’t have to think of questions to ask or things to say. You just turn to the right page, and discuss. Now you do have to PLAN with TOG. The assignment sheets list activities/reading by week, and the parent has to decide how to divide it up for each day. This isn’t difficult to me as planning is something I am accustomed to from my days in the classroom, but I can see how it would be overwhelming at first if you had never done it before. I would suggest starting off the first couple of weeks slowly getting into the program, as you see how much reading your child is able to handle each day. From there, you can adjust the daily assignments to suit your child. I typically plan with all the books for the week laid out in front of me, then I look at each week’s reading to see what connections I can make (for example, if the kids are reading about Charlemagne out of a particular book for their history reading one day, I would have the kids read those books on the same day, then do the Famous Men read aloud that day as well, so it all ties together). I also look at the activity pages and lapbooks to try to tie them in with the topic of the day. We are going to be getting into American History this summer and I can’t wait. I plan on ordering the first two Time Travelers CDs from Home School In the Woods, as we love hands on here, and tying that in with our studies in TOG. I just ordered Y2 U3 from them, so I’ll let you know how it all ties together once I’ve had a chance to sit down with it all! It’s funny how you can write something off at first, then end up using it and figure out its exactly the right thing for you, isn’t it?

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