- Reviewed on Saturday, July 13, 2013
- Grades Used: 2,4, & 6th
- Dates used: 2012-present
We used TOG for the first time this past school year. I had done a fair amount of research on which curriculum to choose and I was satisfied with how this program was laid out. We had used SOTW previously and I didn't like how I had to spend a lot of time for prep to find supplemental spines to back up the chapter for the week. I thought that this program offered the best of both worlds, organization and spines already done, which would save me valuable time.
I do agree that the supplemental spines that you might purchase from Bookshelf Central can get pricey. We were in the process of moving and I wanted to not have to worry about them for the first unit. It wound up being expensive. For the next three units, I managed to find practically all of them through the library.
It is a time intensive program. We did a lot of the extra readings and did a few of the books on CD while driving in the car. We spend about one hour a day on this program. We did the lapbooks, which I loved, but the kids didn't. We did the map aids too. Sometimes, I felt that pulling out the world map was just as good as using the map aids.
I do like how one unit focused on art, another unit focused on Ben Franklin and experiments, another unit had a supplemental book where did baked something from colonial America. All of this helped me to switch up the lessons from time to time.
I heavily supplement with videos from the library and Liberty's Kids series with this year.
This program gave us a lot to talk about each week and provided us a very good foundation in history. I did not read all of the teacher's notes after the first unit. We read the books as a family and discussed after. I did have upper grammar and dialectic going at the same time, at one point, and I could not keep up with the reading. My dialectic was having a tough time comprehending the books and understanding the points they were trying to get across, so I dropped her down to upper grammar. With both of these age groups going on, I was having a hard time reading all of the books to discuss with both groups. Therefore, I dropped her down to upper grammar. I think for this year I am going to make her read one of the extra literature books for dialectic. To be honest, if you don't discuss what has been read right after you read it, it seemed to get lost on all of my students.
We will use this program again this year.
- Reviewed on Sunday, April 14, 2013
- Grades Used: 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th
- Dates used: 2013
I have used several curriculum over the years but T.O.G is by far the best fit and the most comprehensive and flexible.
I found that although other shave complained about the teacher having to read the teacher notes and learn stuff and read the younger grades books that this has been what is best. After all the best way to teach is not to hand something to a child to read but to discuss it and share it together.
I found it is very comprehensive and covers history well and other subjects too. I use life of fred maths along side it.
For us we do the week assigned in TOG and then the next week we read extra books from Truthquest history guide that we get from library to cement the facts we learnt the previous week. It is not necassary to do this TOG is pretty comprhensive but we like to do it more slowly and detailed.
I think the DE is very good. For someone from the UK it meant it was affordable whereas before the DE I would not have been able to follow the curriculum.
I found best thing to do was to give my older students a folder with a printout of the reading schedule and student activitys for each week so that they can self manage and then we do the discussion questions on a friday.
The younger grades we work together.
I cant speak highly enough of this curriculum because unlike others the Teachers guide provides good thoughtful discussion guidence to help socratic discussions take place between you and the child. It is very well put together and the technology on the DE is impressive.
- Reviewed on Monday, June 11, 2012
- Grades Used: 5th, 2nd
- Dates used: 2011-2012
We used Year 2. This was our first year using TOG.
I was hesitant to use TOG due to several negative reviews I read. However, it did seem to fit our needs. Taking some of the concerns of other reviewers in hand, I ventured forth to try this curriculum. I'm glad I did.
Some have had issues with the time it takes to organize this curriculum for use. While it did take some time for me, I'm glad I did it. It made my weekly planning go so much more smoothly. Somehow it just fit well with the way I organize and think. I can see how it wouldn't work well for others, though. I found the free videos offered online during checkout to be very helpful in my organization and implementation of the curriculum. They were well worth the time.
I was also concerned about the extra books to purchase. Luckily, I found my local library had many of the titles. Those that they didn't carry I could easily substitue with other titles containing the same topic. If a book was scheduled for 3 weeks or more of study, then I considered purchasing that book depending on what type of book it was - references could be substituted, specific titles could perhaps be swapped with other titels at the library. But, there were some that I felt were worth the purchase and we were able to find most of those books to purchase used.
True, there are not a lot of literature information for the lower grades. I found this a perfect opportunity to have the kids practice narration techniques and hold discussions.
-The units can be purchased individually which was good for us and our tight budget to spread out the cost instead of all at once. Also, I thought it a good idea to purchase one unit at a time our first year in case it really didn't work out for us.
-The free videos offered during purchase (which otherwise cost $) I found to be helpful. They were worth the time to watch.
-Forums are available to ask questions and get advice if you are struggling.
- Warnings the week before if there is any concerning content or words in literature that you may want to know about. So, even if I couldn't pre-read the selections, I could still know if something concerning was coming up.
-Extra resources in the Loom help introduce other pertinent content or good for reviews.
-the lapbook option was a great way to review content at the end of each unit.
-Kind and helpful customer service. I had trouble the first time with downloading some of my information. I was impressed with TOG's customer service and help when I called.
-With the DE version of the curriculum, updates are automatic. So, you will be able to get book update lists, etc., when a book goes out of print.
-The online Loom had lots of great links that were useful for teaching and review.
-Lots to choose from. It can be overwelming at times to pick and choose what to do each week. But, pick and choose you must. Even the author says doing everything listed is too much. But, some weeks it all looks so good!
-Reselling. The author actually endorses and encourages reselling the product. However, only the print version may be resold. If you buy the print + DE or just the DE version, you may not resell it.
-The writing aids, while having some good assignments, does not acutally teach writing.
-The teacher section has a lot of information in it. That's actually a good thing. But, it is suggested that you read this information prior to the week so that you are informed and can lead your students in discussion and review. I am glad I had that information available but I couldn't keep up with the reading ahead of time. It was me, not them.
Overall, TOG is a great curriculum for us. I had two students and each was in a different learning level (upper grammar and lower grammar). I think that's optimal. I can't see that TOG would be worthwhile to a family with only small children, with only one child to teach, or where the children all fit within the same level of learning.
I think I liked this curriculum because it had all the things I most like with a curriculum - a literature based history, lots of resources to choose from (and if you don't use one listed, its OK), the ability to tweak it and not feel like I wated my money on the curriculum, a weekly list of assignments to keep us moving forward, and lots of different methods of teaching to implement. We can easily go from literature based methods one week to doing hands-on learning the next.
Conclusion: We really like TOG and will be continuing with it for the years to come.
- Reviewed on Tuesday, December 6, 2011
- Grades Used: 2,4,6,9
- Dates used: 2012
We used one unit of TOG year 4, with students from second grade to ninth grade. What drew me to this program was the concept of being able to use the same period of history for all of my students.
A lot of information- if you the teacher need a through explanation this may be good for you.
A lot of assigned reading.
Discussion guides for upper level books- nice when you don't have as much time to read as your high school student.
Purchasing options to use one unit- nice if you only want to supplement one period of history for whatever reason.
Requires too much time to organize in exchange for payback.
Feels disjointed. Rather than just work through a book or two, you do a little from here and a little from there.
The book selection did not appeal to my students. Some of them were really overpriced for what they were.
Too much commentary.
I was very glad that I only purchased one unit of this curriculum. To be fair modern history is a difficult subject and this could have some impact on why we didn't care for it, but my students usually love history and they are cheering this week as we finish this unit up.
This curriculum may also be easier to use if you are only using it on one level instead of four.
TOG should consider selling individual discussion guides for literature titles, as these were actually fairly well done.
This curriculum would be good for you if you have a lot of time and little history knowledge. If you have a decent grasp on history; don't think that this curriculum will save you any time.