New Year Speculations

Around this time every year I start making plans towards the next school year. In part, it is an extension of evaluating where we are and where we will be at the end of this school year. However, I think it is also a way to beat back the winter doldrums that can set in here at the midpoint of a school year. Thinking about and researching new materials is fun. Well, at least it is for me.

Right now, I'm debating what to use for history. We are using and enjoying Sonlight Core W this year for an overview of world history. I am planning to begin the classical history cycle again with Ancients next year. I had originally planned to use Veritas Press' Omnibus series, but now I am seriously considering Tapestry of Grace. I am both excited and frightened by the prospect.

Why I am excited:

  • Tapestry of Grace (TOG) is a very rich history program that also incorporates the Great Books. History is taught from a Christian worldview, and there are great discussion questions to facilitate deeper studies with older students.
  • TOG makes it possible to include multiple students. Although I only have two students, there is a wide age gap between the two. The idea of being able to teach them both history from one source is very attractive.
  • Once I have purchased the program I can use it again for subsequent studies within the same time period. My oldest will only be able to go through the rotation once, but my youngest would be able to use this program twice more, for the dialectic and rhetoric years.
  • I'm impressed with the depth of study in the later years. TOG would provide an excellent college prep foundation.
  • Other subjects are included within TOG besides history: literature, church history, government, geography, and writing (if the writing aids cd is purchased). 
Why I am frightened:
  • Many people have expressed frustration with the sheer amount of resources included in the program. This doesn't seem like it would be a problem, but it has the potential to be overwhelming.
  • Implementation is not as clear-cut, apparently, as some other programs. Being that I have no personal experience with implementing TOG, I cannot speak to this with experience. However, from reviews I have read, another frustration is that the teacher has to do a lot of prep work regarding what to cover, what to weed out. For some of us who are box-checkers at heart, this could also lead to becoming overwhelmed. I am a box-checker, so I am concerned.
As we investigate materials for our future school years, we often have to take a leap of faith. We weigh the pros and the cons, the good reviews and the bad, and we decide to go forward or to take another path. I am still in this stage with TOG. Part of me wants to make sure the path we take is level and straight so as best to insure I don't trip or stumble along the way. On the other hand, though, I am aware that the most adventurous and challenging paths can lead to the deepest levels of growth. I'll be sure to keep you posted on which way we go...and if we do choose to use TOG, I will post a knowledgeable review once I am able. 


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