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Carol S
08-13-2012, 04:41 PM
I am assuming that we are more free to talk about other curricula on this board, but if I am wrong, I will understand the deletion.

Has anyone used Tapestry of Grace for their secondary students? I am seriously considering it, and need to decide pronto. Would love to have some first-hand opinions.

Also under consideration: Notgrass and MFW, but I think I like the prospects of TOG better.

Robin in Colorado
08-13-2012, 05:54 PM
How about a second-hand opinion? ;)

I have several friends who have used this with their high school students. They (the moms and the students) can't say enough good things about it.

Carol S
08-13-2012, 07:51 PM
Yes, second-hand counts! Thanks.

JuliaT
08-13-2012, 08:42 PM
I am using TOG for the first time this year with my kids. We are in our second week of our new school year so I am still fairly new to all of this. The greatest thing about TOG is the teacher notes. This is why I decided to use it and it has not let down in this regard. These teacher notes have helped so much in our discussions. I am thankful for this help.

We are doing Dialectic and Upper Grammar levels. These levels depend on historical fiction for their book lists. I am not a big historical fiction fan so I have made our own literature lists which has worked out quite well. The literature required for the Rhetoric level are more classics which is another reason that we will probably be using it for next year.

If you have a good library system then it probably is worth it for you to use but if you have to buy the books, well, it can get quite pricey.

Crystal in WI
08-14-2012, 07:51 AM
After my children completed all the FIAR series, we went to TOG. It is an outstanding curriculum for both dialect and rhetoric students, which I am now teaching. There is no question it is a bit of money up front, but I have researched dozens of curricula for older students, and none even touches the depth, thoroughness, or rigor of TOG, if that's what you're looking for. And it's true that the teacher notes are worth their weight in gold! Very helpful to prepare you, the teacher, for the week's discussions. You will also learn so much!

After the ease and open-and-go quality of FIAR, TOG was somewhat of an adjustment because there is more planning required to organize my weeks, but TOG encourages your children to learn time management and planning on their own, so slowly this burden has been shifted to them instead.

One little tidbit of advice though :) If you decide to go with TOG, start slooowly and simple. TOG offers a lot of subjects! And if you decide to go hog-wild with all of them, you may become overwhelmed. I have learned that it's okay to skip perfectly wonderful stuff. You just can't do everything..nor should you. Try to remember that you're tailoring the curriculum to fit your children's needs, not the other way around. Then as time goes on and you feel more confident, you can add more subjects as you see fit.

We are on our third year over here with TOG, and it just gets better and better for my high-school students. I feel very confident that they are getting a high-quality, relevant, challenging and character-strengthening education...especially after the rock-solid foundation of FIAR.

Nancy Ann
08-14-2012, 11:11 AM
I have used TOG twice both in the grammar level. Looking at the dialect and rhetoric level I would say that is where this curriculum shines. I like that you would not have to read all the books that your child is reading because the teacher notes are very extensive. I love the idea that in the upper levels you have these meetings with your child to discuss what they have been learning and again the teacher notes are really great for this.

I feel like the writing is very well done. You still have to implement the writing and some people may still want more teaching but the writing assignments cover a large amount of topics and techniques. The handbook you buy to help with the writing assignments is very good and explains things well, but may not be enough for some.

My favorite part of this curriculum is the geography. There is a lot of mapwork and the map cd's are a must in my opinion.

There is hands on activities which is nice. In general it feels very well rounded. Lots of reading and comprehension and analysis of that reading, a good variety of writing and lots of mapping and than some hands on activities.

The cons for me with this curriculum is it is just too much history. So much of the curriculum out there is centered on history and I am just tired of it. My son is really not all that into history. TOG book choices are just not very good in my opinion. Most are quite boring in my opinion. The reading choices are very challenging and this may be a plus for some. I also could not stand that sometimes you would skip around when reading a book or just read parts of it. It drove me nuts!! not sure if it's always like that and at all the levels.

TOG also takes some work to pull together and I just didn't want to spend that sort of time. I am sure it will get easier in time. We did 3 units and each unit is about 8-10 weeks. After the first unit I did I just felt exhausted and didn't want to start another unit. I think it is easy to burn oneself out on this curriclum if you are not careful and take things slowly. The same thing can happen with FIAR if you insist on doing ALL the lessons and also do extras. It's really easy to get excited and just do too much of TOG.

Also, if you don't have a good library or not good at using the library on a regular basis this curriculum can be very expensive, even more expensive than Sonlight.

TOG also has a slight providential slant to it. TOG has a heavy emphasis on God and His part in history and there is lots of bible included so for some this is a BIG plus. However, if you are not a Protestant or particularly an Evangelical Protestant it may be difficult. I had a really, really hard time with her notes because they had such a providential tone to them. I am just not comfortable with that and also being an Orthodox Chrisitan it was challenging.

We are using Beautiful Feet and I am much happier with that. It is just enough history and is still literature based. BF is not so many history books that we can't include our own choices for independent reading and family reading time. I guess I am just a bit burnt out on some of this curriculum like TOG, MFW and Sonlight that has so many books that it ends up being really hard to add in the extra books that we want to read. I am also just really tired of history being the center.

Carol S
08-14-2012, 12:31 PM
I definitely need to spend some good time today seeing what I can find about the book recommendations. One thing that appealed to me about it over Sonlight is the fact that I can indeed have one purchase that provides plans for all three of them (10th, 8th, and 5th graders) to the extent that I want. But I think when I first started looking at it and comparing it to Sonlight and thinking it was much less expensive, I was comparing apples to oranges. I think I may have been comparing the very base TOG price to a Sonlight price that included all the books.

Decisions, decisions

Does BF have high school appropriate spines?

Nancy Ann
08-14-2012, 07:38 PM
BF books are great. For the highschool course they use the Hakim US books just like Sonlight but just not all of them.

You would have to go to the BF website and look at the books they have in their curriculum. I was very impressed with the titles for highschool. I also love that they have Ancient and Medieval for highschool.

BF has a great selection of books it's just not as many books as Sonlight, which is what I prefer right now so we can add our own independent reading and family read alouds.

So far I like the guides for BF better than Sonlight. It is not a schedule but it goes by lessons. I really like this. You just go through it step by step until you are done. Sometimes the schedule would get overwhelming. I also think the guides for BF have better assignments and has notebooking. I have not used the Sonlight guides for highschool but I know for the other cores the guide is not very informative. It offers vocab, comprehension questions and some mapping. I think the BF guides offer more. I know of many, many people who don't even use the Sonlight guides. Many people said they didn't use them until highschool so maybe the highschool ones are a bit better.

Another thing I like about BF over Sonlight and TOG is that with BF you are reading one book at a time and not reading out of 3 or 4 books at the same time. I am not sure if all the BF guides are like that but so far the two I have are like that. We read a book from beginning to end before starting the next one. I really, really like this aspect.

BF also has the Genevieve Foster books that for some reason Sonlight took out this year and are not using them anymore.

My reasoning from switching from Sonlight to BF was that I did not want to just read books, I wanted my son to interact with the books that we read more. I wanted more assignments, projects. I would rather read less books but get more out of them. Sonlight is great for families who want and enjoy to read, read and read some more and that's how they learn.

Kendra AU
08-15-2012, 04:48 AM
I considered it, but decided against it. I think it really depends on what you want. One of the biggest drawbacks for me was that it was going digital.

I know there's a pretty hefty review of it up over at the curriculum choice, if that will help you any.

Nancy Ann
08-15-2012, 12:02 PM
One of the units I ordered that we did was digital. I don't like digital either because I can't resell it. Sometimes I really depend on needing to sell stuff that we have finished to raise money to buy our new school stuff. I don't mind buying a few lapbooks or digital unit studies here and there. But TOG is too much money for me to feel comfortable buying all digital. You can still purchase paper copy but it's more expensive.

The other reason I don't like digital is that it too FOREVER for me to print off everything I needed. It took me hours for just one 9 week unit and I was printing off for just one child. I can see the appeal to just printing off what you need but it was really laborious and time consuming.

I bought the digital because it was cheaper but wished I would have bought the paper.

Kimberly Kane in La.
08-16-2012, 06:52 PM
I used TOG for my eldest for high school. It was phenomenal. I chose it because of the rigorous academics (if you do everything). The literature portion was written by Christy Somerville, a PHC grad. My eldest wanted to attend PHC! It was a perfect fit for her. We are now on our way home from dropping her off at her dream college.

One thing mentioned, but worth saying again is that TOG is a really rich curriculum that can be very overwhelming. They call it the TOG FOg. :lol:
Plan. Read ahead on notes. Get a feel for how heavy a workload your student can handle, then push a bit. At first, it is soooooo much. But, my daughter couldn't get enough. My son has just started the rhetoric level after a year as a dialectic student.

I would be happy to discuss more if anyone wants to PM me. :D

Katherine in CA
08-16-2012, 10:35 PM
Does BF have high school appropriate spines?

:yes: Beautiful Feet has a US/World History literature guide that spans two years of High School, in addition to their Ancient and Medieval History guides.

Most everything we needed was available through our public library, so I really didn't have to purchase many books.

We definitely loved the literature approach and really did it very conversationally (like FIAR!).