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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Comparing SOTW and TOG

I sat down Sunday night and read all that I have prepared for this week's history lesson with The Story of the World, Volume 2. I read the supplement reading that I had chosen. I know SOTW forwards and backwards and the formula is pretty simple. Read SOTW, narration, map work, supplement books, coloring pages and projects. I'm still getting acquainted with Tapestry of Grace so when I prepared for this week in history, I also read what TOG had laid out for the same study of time.

This is a bit difficult because I have tailored our history studies outside the scope of what SOTW offers on its own. I'll list what SOTW has, what I have added and what TOG offers and maybe that will show why I got so flustered Sunday night as I compared the history studies.

The Story of the World
General Information about SOTW

Each chapter is broken down in the Activity Guide and there are pages referenced in various history encyclopedias at the beginning of each chapter.

Review Questions and Narration samples: These can be used to help the parent/teacher discuss the chapter with the student. Narrations are a retelling of what was read, SOTW models these in complete sentences.

Additional History Reading and Corresponding Literature: Fiction and non-fiction books listed with author, publisher, date published and a synopsis as well as the independent reading level and read aloud level.

Map Work: Maps are provided in the student pages and instructions usually consist of coloring an area that has been discussed within the chapter.

Coloring Page: Instructions for the coloring pages and helpful guidance about what to discuss about each coloring activity.

Projects: Activity, Craft and Art projects that range in involvement and styles.

You know as I type this out I realize I haven't been using certain features of this program! Slap the forehead moment. I haven't been reading the Coloring page information, and I haven't used the review questions to their fullest either. Okay, let me share what I did with our own tailored history lessons. Here's what I had planned (this is not representative of what SOTW has in their activity guide) for SOTW 2's Chapter 2 using our books, and I'll show you the modifications I made to this plan on Sunday night.

The Early Days of Britain - Chapter 2

Church History: Peril and Peace: Patrick
Mythology of the World: pg. 52
KF Ancient World p. 80-81, p. 108-109
Kingdoms and Empires p. 26-27
Celtic Gods and Heroes- Dover Coloring Book
Literature: Fav. Medieval Tales: p.8 Beowulf

ART: Celtic Illumination (book), color a page from Medieval Alphabet to Illuminate

PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Defeat the Romans

“Tempest on the plain of Lir
Bursts its barriers far and near
And upon the rising tide
Wind and noisy winter ride -
Winter throws a shining spear.”
Storm at Sea, Celtic poem

This is what we did. The selections not crossed out is what we actually read, Camille did a coloring page from Celtic Gods and Heroes, a Beowulf coloring page from SOTW AG, and an alphabet page from Medieval Alphabet to Illuminate after we looked at the book Celtic Illumination and discussed it a little. She did the copywork, mapwork and I recapped the information for her. *This week we had a problem with narration, this will improve with time. We have a little "new school year syndrome".

Looking at TOG for the same study, things looked a bit different. This chapter in SOTW is combined with others in the first week of Tapestry's Redesigned Year 2, Unit 1. Assigned is SOTW 2's chapter 1-3, reading the first two sections of chapter 1-2, and first section only of chapter 3). I should say that SOTW is listed as an alternate/extra resource for upper grammar in TOG, it is not a main spine for SOTW. (*Part of the reason I love TOG is that it is very flexible and be used a million different ways!)

TOG's program is laid out differently than SOTW, it encompasses much more than SOTW does. I am only going to share what the lower grammar (isn't reading completely on their own yet) and upper grammar (able to read independently well) has as possible assignments in TOG. It is impossible for me to recap all that TOG entails so please don't think that what I am sharing is *it*.

Threads: These are different elements of a week's study.

Writing Thread: Assignments found in Writing Assignment charts in the week plan, which is divided by levels (not age/grade level) also uses Writing Aids, TOG's writing program.

Geography Thread: LG/UG- Teach/review major generic terms for landforms. Learn/review major global features: deserts, rivers, continents, oceans and mountain ranges. Introduce major features of European continent.

Lower Grammar Geography
(to be done over two weeks) assignment- learn geographic terms for landforms: tributary, source (river), mouth (river), peninsula, island, plateau, canal, sea, bay, summit, delta, port, mountain range, inlet, cliff

Learn/review continents and oceans of the world: North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, Asia and the oceans- Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern (optional).

Learn/review major mountains, rivers and deserts of the world: Andes, Alps, Himalayas, Rocky, Great Dividing Range mountains, Sahara, Arabian and Gobi deserts, Amazon, Mississippi, Nile, Yangtze and Rhine rivers.

In Europe: British Isles, find London, find the area Romans called Gaul and locate Paris. Identify three major mountain ranges of western Europe: Pyrenees, Alps and Apennines. Identify Italian peninsula and note Rome, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Note the location of Iberian peninsula, Grecian peninsula and locate Athens and Crete. Note the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Discuss Rhine and Danube Rivers and how the rivers formed a natural northeastern boundary for the Roman Empire.

Are you seeing the picture yet? This is just lower grammar and I haven't even shared the reading assignments or anything else. I will spare you the Upper Grammar geography details, which really just includes more geographic terms.

Fine Arts and Activities Thread for Lower & Upper Grammar:
1. Salt map of imaginary country that incorporates the types of landforms mentioned in geography objectives for the week.
From the reading assignment pages
LG: A Coloring Book of the Middle Ages by Bellerophon Books
UG: Knights & Castles 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages; Life in Celtic Times by A.G. Smith with pages to read already chosen out.

Church History Thread: Lower Grammar, Learn about the witness of Saint Valentine by reading Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda. Upper Grammar, review as needed the first five chapters of Trial and Triumph. Read or re-read about Monica and her famous son, Augustine of Hippo, who lived through and wrote about the dissolution of the Roman Empire.

Here's a look at the reading selections that TOG has for this week starting with Lower Grammar, each book has pages indicated to read. Keep in mind that these are just the books, there are other activities mentioned for the week, remember the geography activities mentioned above.

History Core: The Usborne Internet Linked Medieval World
Suggested Read-Aloud: Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Literature: Brigid's Cloak (TOG provides a worksheet for this book)
Worldview/Church History: Saint Valentine
Textbook: none listed
History Supplement:
The Middle Ages by Jane Shuter
Arts & Activities: A Coloring Book of the Middle Ages
Enrichment: Geography From A to Z

History Core: The Story of the Middle Ages by Samuel Harding
Suggested Read-Aloud: Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Literature: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (worksheet provided)
Worldview/Church History: Trial and Triumph
Textbook: The Story of the World Vol. 2. First 3 chapters certain sections only
History Supplement: none listed
Arts & Activities: Life in Celtic Times
Enrichment: Where Am I?

There just is no comparison between SOTW and TOG. One could say that the workload in SOTW is better suited for a 2-3 day study of history and TOG seems like it would require more time over the period of a week. There is so much more to TOG than what I have mentioned here but comparing one to the other on Sunday night before we were about to start, it made me wonder whether I should just abandon the lessons I created or modify them somehow. The geography mentioned in TOG, I'm covering this year in Earth Science. I will say that I don't think there's a correct answer to this, it just depends on the individual, the children involved and how the homeschool operates and what is valued. Whenever I start thinking about this SOTW, TOG the pros/cons of each program and what we value and what we should do- I get overwhelmed. Honestly, Sunday night I felt so inadequate with the lesson I had prepared but I know that I have the books and I can modify them at any time.

I shared Lower and Upper Grammar because Camille is sort of caught in the middle of these, we'd pull assignments from both at this time and I plan on doing that when we use TOG for 3rd grade. I just have to make the decision to use TOG now or stay with what we have. My intentions are to fold in TOG as much as possible but keep the SOTW formula we are used to until I figure out how we're going to use TOG in our homeschool without feeling overwhelmed or allowing the curriculum to be in control. I am a firm believer in making the curriculum we use tools instead of a master we serve.



LisaWA said...

Jessica my cyber friend! Try not to feel this way! Your plans are great and perfect for you and Camille! It worked last year for you, correct? You had a grand year and your daughter learned a lot from her wonderful mum!

I’m not going to tell you to keep your plan, or tell you to toss it. I won’t encourage either….. but do want to mention and remind you that all that work you put into your schedule was perfect! You did a wonderful job!

Camille is young and you will come back through this all again. Your boy will still be in grammar level when you get back to it right? Won’t he be about 7? 8? You will experience this wonderful curriculum!

I admire you so much….. what ever you decide to do…. stick to it and tell yourself its fine. No matter what it is. Because it is fine! Either route! ok…. Both paths you have in front of you will be worth the trip…. Especially the one you mapped out already.

Have a great day my cyber friend!

Jenny L. said...

I can definitely see how involved TOG is. It is impressive to say the least. I also love that you can pick and choose just how involved you want to be. I also did not know that TOG has SOTW listed as a supplemental resource. TOG is something I am going to seriously consider.
Thank you for taking the time to note these things. I think that it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Been there, done that. Keep up the good work!

Kristy said...

It sounds like TOG is extremely complicated. I've taken a look at the TOG website and it seems to me that they are trying to do too much. This in my opinion is never a good idea since it almost always results in doing nothing particularly well. I feel that the map work and any answering of natural questions that come up when we study SOTW is more than enough for geography at my son's young age. If you try to talk to a youngster about different mountain ranges and so forth that weren't even in the lesson, you lose the interest. I just really feel that the way SOTW is laid out in an intense study of one specific area/event for each section or chapter makes it much more easy to plan and be prepared for, not to mention more interesting for the child. Also, I feel that a curriculum that leaves you feeling inadequate and overwhelmed is a bad curriculum, no matter how large the mountains of material they contain. Just my two cents. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it! Re-read what Charlotte Mason says about the over prepared teacher connecting all the dots for the children and killing their joy and enthusiasm. Good luck, it will all work out!

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

Well said, Kristy! The amount in TOG has seemed overwhelming to me in the past, thus I have felt like it will be overwhelming for my kids at this point. We're looking at it for maybe 4th grade, or starting it at the beginning of the rotation in 5th grade. I am impressed with the amount of things they have planned, but for now we'll keep adjusting our SOTW to fit our family. Any time I'm tempted to begin incorporating it before 4th grade, I look at the sample lesson plans they have up on their website :) Thanks so much for your insight on this.

Kathy D.

Trivium Academy said...

I just wanted to say something about TOG- we'll use it more fuller at the dialectic and rhetoric stages (middle & high school). Using it in 3rd grade will consist of picking what will work for us best. Our TOG year will probably look very different from most TOG users.

I'm still in the stage of figuring things out and at the beginning of our 2nd grade year with all the problems that it entails (behavior, insecurity about whether the decisions made about curriculum were correct, etc.)

I hope that if you're not a TOG user that you don't assume everyone using TOG is using it the same. It is one of those programs that can be used a million different ways.