Sunday, April 19, 2009
Tapestry of Grace Review
I'd be surprised if you have been homeschooling for any amount of time and have not heard of Tapestry of Grace. If you're anything like me, you've probably not only heard of it, but spent a little bit of time at their website trying to figure out if it would be the right fit for your family. I was very pleased to find out that I would have the opportunity to review a unit from TOG for the TOS Homeschool Crew.
TOG is a HUGE unit study based on the classical method of homeschooling. There are four years of curriculum that TOG users rotate through year after year. How is this possible? Because one year of TOG gives you curriculum for every grade level, K - 12th. And each year is based on a different time period.
"Tapestry covers the humanities: history, church history, literature, geography, fine arts, government, philosophy, and writing & composition. Tapestry does not include a phonics program, science, math, grammar, spelling, or foreign language. Lampstand Press does, however, recommend and sell complementary logic, spelling, and grammar programs."
The idea is to unify your family's studies, by teaching all of your children the same thing at the same time allowing specific assignments to be age appropriate.
Each year is divided into 4 units. You can purchase a unit at a time or an entire year at once. You can purchase one unit of TOG in digital format for $45 or a full year in digital format for $170. If you prefer a printed copy, than you have the option of paying $280 and you will receive a printed copy along with your digital version.
TOG is a literature-based study and the actual books do not come with the study. What you do get is extensive lesson plans for each week. For example, Week 20 of Year 3 has 62 pages. Each weeks lessons include teaching objectives for each subject, reading assignments for each age level, a weekly overview of what should be learned, suggested writing assignments, student activities (many suggestions for hands-on activities), Pageant of Philosophy (which is basically background information written in a textbook style that is intended for the teacher to read), Teacher's notes, and a glance into next week's lessons. It is a TON of information and I have to admit, I found it quite overwhelming. While the digital format is easy to use, it does not make it any easier to navigate through so much information and I am certain I would prefer the print version.
TOG suggests that there is so many activities and assignments in one week that a parent shouldn't feel pressured to do them all. Instead they should pick and choose which will be best for them. As a result, however there is not daily lesson plans which I found frustrating. In addition to navigating through the lesson plans and having to decide which activities, assignments, and reading each day (basically creating daily lesson plans for the week), a parent will also have to gather all of the suggested books to read and materials for all of the hands-on activities. This is NOT a curriculum that you can simply open up and begin teaching from!
Also, some of the suggested books were also very hard to find from my library system, though we live in an area where this is generally not a problem. TOG's answer to this problem is to simply supplement with other age appropriate books on the same subject.
All that being said, TOG does seem to be a very thorough program...especially for older grades. I could see where it would be beneficial if I were trying to homeschool a large family that was varied in age. As it though, all of my children are still little and close in age. I would also agree that while the initial cost looks a little frightening, it would actually be an affordable way to homeschool if you were committed to use the program as it is suggested: only buying four years of curriculum and using it over and over again for all of your children through all of their schooling.
I don't think that TOG is the right fit for our family, but that certainly shouldn't stop you from looking into it for yours. The TOS Crew website has many other reviews of TOG from homeschool moms and many of them have been absolutely thrilled with this program. You can also find more information and sample lesson plans from the TOG website.
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