Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tapestry of Grace Year 2 First Impressions

I did it again. I made a sudden change to our curriculum just days before we started back up. I had been eying Tapestry of Grace for a while. I really like the idea of Sonlight, but I really think I tried it at the wrong time. I was in a mental state of chaos with life events (selling our house in the city, moving in with my parents and building a house in the country) and struggling to find what my oldest daughter needed in certain. Add to that my toddler and we will just say that not much was going to plan. We have still been using elements of Sonlight, especially their reading lists and when things started getting calmer.

I started re-approaching the idea of using Sonlight at the beginning of last year. I really love the idea of it. We love living books and I want to use history as our spine. I researched and talked with friends, went over what made me try it the first time, but for some reason, for which I am still not entirely sure, I chickened out last minute.We finished last year using an eclectic mix and the year was fairly smooth.

But it still wasn't what I was wanting.

When my friend and contributing writer Christa started researching Tapestry of Grace, I was initially impressed but not particularly interested. I still pretty much had my heart set on getting back into Sonlight. However, as time went on Christa started using Tapestry of Grace and after hearing all of her glowing feedback, I re approached it and eventually decided on giving it a try. I purchased the Digital Edition of Year 2 Unit 1and thus, last week began our Tapestry Journey.

First Impressions: I have come to learn that there is a coined term for the first few weeks of  Tapestry to new user, it is called the TOG Fog. It is very accurate. In the beginning there is so much information to take in that you sometimes feel like you are drowning. Since Tapestry differs from Sonlight in that it is meant to be less of a plan and more of a "buffet" that you take what you wish from, you will spend a few days staring at pages of suggested resources. I am pretty sure I developed a twitch from trying to sift through the information. You will spend much of week 1 fumbling through as you figure out how to teach, what to teach and how much to teach. I purchased the digital edition because I have a patience problem and the download gave me the satisfaction of instant gratification. I am not sure I would recommend this to someone else with my personality. I can not read through the amount of info that TOG offers, over the internet. I spent a good portion of 2 days printing out the 700+ pages, hole punching and organizing them. Had I purchased the print edition it would have been done for me. Please take that into consideration before deciding if the extra money spent on print might just be worth saving your sanity. I did eventually get everything organized and that alone lifted a good portion of the fog. I won't lie, it was a lot of work, but I am grateful to have a hard copy.

Even in my fog, I did feel like we got a lot done. I love the hands on activity options and we had tons of fun creating our map. I loved that we had so much to chose from but didn't feel like we were missing something if I chose not to do it. I also love that from the beginning TOG starts setting the pace for creating independent children who can work off of an assignment sheet rather than having to be hand held the entire day. My girls LOVED their check lists. I am also glad that TOG offers the option to purchase in units rather than having to make a large investment in something that might not work. It is a little more expensive but I think it is worth it.

At the end of the week we felt like we had accomplished something and I feel as though we dug a bit deeper than usual, but we did it without piling on a bunch of boring busy work. I am looking forward to week 2.

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ourhearts4home said...

I am doing TOG Year 1 and we're in week 5 right now. Yes, I'm loving it, I've been singing its praises to Anna and everyone else I know! I agree with all Anna says, yes there's a fog haha! And then the lights start coming on. We've studied ancients before but this time it has much more depth and is more interesting to both my boys than ever before. I'll be sitting down and writing up my thoughts on our experience with Year 1 in the near future! :)

Lisa Keva said...

Great post on TOG! Once you come out of the fog, it gets easier. I've been using it for 4 years now and I still have a bit of fog upon the initial year start up --- and experienced it again when I started Rhetoric while also doing two other levels. One nice thing about TOG is that there's plenty of support!

Thanks for linking up!