Friday, March 20, 2009

Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace is a multi-level, integrated, 4-year classics based Christian curriculum for the whole family.

I have spent many years hearing about TOG but I hadn't ever had opportunity to check out their products. So I don't forget, you can do that now by seeing the samples that they have on their website!

The new Tapestry of Grace is completely digital. When you purchased the digital version you download it straight to your computer. Due to some copyright issues, this is a rather complicated process, but not difficult (I managed with no problems and am not computer literate)! It is my understanding that they have streamlined the process since I did my download so I am sure the issues are being resolved. The TOS crew was able to bring downloading issues to light for them as we were trying out their new product! I am sure that will make the process easier for those who follow.

Anyway, you purchase the Level and Units that you would like to use. We chose Year 3 Unit 2 (begins with John Adams through the pre-Civil War). Although the rest of the program is "there" the security measure only allow you to open what you have purchased. Interesting, huh? Anyway, your unit begins with an overview of the topics that will be covered. Then each week is laid out with the weeks topic and the resources to be used for each "grade" level. Writing assignments, study questions, teachers notes, worksheets (for literature and grammar), beginning geography information and supplements for the literature assignments are included. This is a very thorough curriculum. As far as I can tell, they have covered everything!

There are 4 units in a year and each digital unit costs $45. That makes the total yearly cost for a unit $180. This cost doesn't include the books that they are required to read. There are also supplements for map work, writing and literature at an additional cost for each year/unit. The whole year's worth of Units are available in print for $225.

I found the lesson plans to be difficult to navigate. There are decisions that need to be made by the teacher as to the level children are assigned, what books they are going to read, etc. I just didn't have time to make those decisions so frequently. I also don't have the time to acquire the needed resources (either through purchasing or the library). Although I found the downloading simple I just can't function with lesson plans on my computer; nor can I assume the cost of printing them. I can't justify the cost for "just a teacher's manual" although I do agree that it contains much in the way of background information and teacher's notes. I feel that I couldn't purchase this item and then have to spend more money on the books that are needed for the program.

With that said, I know many people who love TOG. If you are wanting to keep all of your children on the same page historically, then this is going to be a great option for you. Each student learns the same material at his level. For large families, I know that it is very helpful to keep the students together (until this week, my older boys have always been together).

I would encourage you to go to TOG, check out the different samples and run through the download tutorial. Read the other reviews at the TOS Crew blog. Feel free to ask the authors questions about their product. This may be just what YOUR family is looking for.

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