Moving On: Part 2

When I posted that our family was moving away from Sonlight, you all offered a lot of  suggestions for history curriculum.  Now I have some follow up questions.

Tapestry of Grace

TOG has been our second choice curriculum for several years and we were actually able to borrow one of the years and use it for a month or so.  Here are my hesitations. 1). Lesson planning, book selection for all levels seems overwhelming.  2.)  I was less than enthusiastic about several of their book selections that I’m familiar with and so wasn’t sure about the suggestions that I wasn’t familiar with.  (edited to clarify: I was disappointed in the quality of literature that they selected.)

My questions for you:

  • How do your younger children enjoy and fit in with TOG?  Do they enjoy discussing what they are learning with the older children?  How much are all the children able to do together?
  • How long do you think it will take me each week to lesson plan for ALL levels?
  • Do your children look forward to reading the TOG selections?   What do you think of the literature quality?

Heart of Dakota

  • Will  HOD allow all of our school age kids (Kindergarten to 8th grade) to study the same topics at the same time?

My Father’s World

I’ve heard so many positive comments about this program and I have two questions.

  • Ditto on the above question about multi-level teaching with this program.  We want to study the same topics/time periods with all of our school age children.
  • I can’t use the library because I would bankrupt our family with late fees.  Is the program still doable?

Truth Quest

I’d love more info.

  • Planning time?
  • Using it with multi-levels (K-8th)
  • Can I effectively use Truth Quest without using the library?
  • What about the quality of suggestions?
  • Is there any plan or is it just a book list?

Ambliside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason

We have enjoyed and used the history and literature suggestions from both of these in addition to our Sonlight books. We are still currently using several of their recommendations, so if you’re curriculum shopping, you should check out these sites.

So let’s talk history…

Other posts in this series:

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85 Responses to Moving On: Part 2
  1. Beth West
    November 19, 2010 | 5:46 pm

    Regarding TOG, we tried it and I had several concerns:
    1. Although they talk about being able to substitute books, the LP’s are so synced with their selections, that it gets to the point you’re asking what you’re paying for if you make alternate selections.
    2. We find it cost prohibitive.
    3. I had to do so much lesson planning that I again kept wondering why I was paying for their curriculum.
    4. I like hard copies of everything. They switched over to electronic format right after we began and although you could still order it in hard copy, I got the feeling this was being discouraged and when I did order a hard copy, the paper quality was not good.

    All of that said, there were a lot of things I did like, especially the notes on all of the different subjects. If I could get nicely printed hard copies, had much more generous shelf space here and could afford it, I would love to have all 4 years available for notes and references as I put together our curriculum.


  2. April
    November 19, 2010 | 5:49 pm

    Thank you for your lovely blog. Our family uses TOG and love it! At first it is not easy to use. They call it the TOG fog! BUT once past that TOG is really is easy to use. We have a 6th, 5th, 2nd, K, preschooler (3) and newborn!

    What I have found works for us is to print all the maps at the beginning of the year and I think I will attempt to print all of the Student Activity Pages in the beginning. So far I have only printed them for each unit. When you have your weekly meeting you can hand them their list and decide together or allow them to choose what they will do. When you decide on a system the planning is very simple!

    The book list can be exported in excel and you can make notes, delete columns you do not need etc… so it becomes part of your planning. The children are always studying the same time period, although the book selections are different. I do NOT purchase all the books and still we love the program. TOG allows me to decide what will happen–they simply give me the ideas and information to make it happen! I am gaining a wonderful education also!

    Let us know what your family decides on.



  3. melinda
    November 20, 2010 | 6:01 am

    Hi Kimberly. I’m a new reader. I have been really encouraged by some of your posts. We seem to have a similar styles and it’s nice to read about how you execute that style.

    I have 2 boys just 5 and 8 but I wanted to chime in because I use MFW and I love it. Not everything of course. I keep thinking other curriculums may be better for us and I go and search and borrow to look over other options and I keep coming back. We have done K, 1st, (which can be substituted easily by any phonics program and sitting in with what the older kids are doing); and we have done Adventures and Countries and Cultures. I do think you need to add supplemental books to this program. They have such GREAT picture book and read aloud recommendations. You may have many from your years of Sonlight. They tell you which ones not to miss and they seem to supply the hard to get ones. They also note in the book list if something has questionable material in it. I got a note from them in our copy of Honey for a Child’s Heart (comes with 1st gr) saying they don’t necessarily agree with certain recommendations in the book and why. I find this REALLY helpful.

    I also want to add that if you’d rather stick with a 4 year cycle you can just cut out the Countries and Cultures year and just make sure the kids learn geography and climate throughout the rest of your history cycle. (If my kids were older I would have opted to do that but I didn’t want to introduce ancient history, with all the gods and goddesses, too young).

    I hope this was helpful. :)


  4. Tami
    November 21, 2010 | 12:10 pm

    I’ve really been enjoying reading your posts (and the comments) on curriculum. I’ve been thinking about moving to TOG and was digging though their forums to answer some of my logistical questions. Anyway, I came across a post I thought you might find useful/interesting:

    Those who combine TOG with Sonlight books


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you for that link Tami!


  5. melinda
    November 23, 2010 | 9:07 pm

    So not that you need yet, another suggestion, but here’s what we have started…
    I am using The Story of the World as our spine and read aloud. I do wish this added more religion/Bible, but I also do so many different things that are religious based, and it is all entered into our timelines. We are studing the Medieval Times, and I am also using the IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) History based study guide for my oldest. Along with that we will be adding plenty of readings, both independent and together. I am also using Classical Conversations, for some ideas, family spelling and dictation along with their memory suggestions. Veritas Press I am hoping to purchase their timeline cards to incorporate more Bible into our Spine. I use the suggested projects and ideas, geography and reading suggestions in the Story of the World Supplement. I can cater to all or individual children as I feel it is needed. I am still considering where I want to go with Grammar. I also hope to start adding in FIAR for a preschool/younger children time.Just because I love it and hope to have that time with my younger ones too. It’s hard homeschooling and being Mama to a large crowd sometimes, I want to do so much, but I honestly am only one person, and do need to be Mama too!
    I hope to post another blog post about this soon… will see, it seems my blogging days are coming shorter and shorter as of the new baby!


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    November 24, 2010 | 7:16 am

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  9. Stephanie
    March 29, 2011 | 9:29 pm

    I am curious if you have decided what you are leaning towards.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Stephanie. I posted about our history choice here, The History Mystery Revealed.


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