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Thread: K-Mom and TOG with Little People Only

  1. #1
    First of all, let me say that I think you have done a terrific job with your Go to Egypt Marketing Product. Very nice! Very nice! I've tried to find a similar way to "explain" it to others but obviously didn't have the permission to link my comments to the pages as you have done. Very nice!

    I would like to make a comment about something that I hear often in connection to moms with little people only and TOG. I'm really starting to wonder if there's a bit of backward thinking going on. TOG is designed to be a K-Mom program, and it has proved to be just that in my home. It's funny - folks always say, "Teach to the oldest child first." If I've heard that once, I've heard it a thousand times at homeschool conventions. I've embraced it, but I forgot that *I* was the oldest child in my homeschool. When my children were all in the early elementary years I was busy during school hours. I was homeschooling three children; sometimes I thought my head was going to pop because I was being pulled in so many directions during our school hours. But looking back on it, my days were not truly filled - at least not like they are now. My children were done with school by early afternoon and wandered off to play on their own. I had time to work, time to plan, time to study. I filled my "study time" with trying to find the perfect curriculum for the middle years and the high school years. I filled my time trying to mesh fourteen logic-stage history curriculums together to make the perfect ta-da program - the one with the perfect schedule that would pull us in the direction of the "perfect" plan. Looking back, I spent WAY too much time pouring over catalogs, posting questions on internet forums, and fretting. Yes, fretting. I should have spent my time working through a rhetoric level program like TOG. Really. It's just not as hard as I thought it would be. I'm currectly reading plays by Aeschylus and Tennessee Williams. I'm reading about the history of Ancient Egypt and the Presidency of Eisenhower. Lilies of the Field and The Iliad are on my nightstand along with many others. I'm playing catch-up. I'm having a ball, but I find myself working harder than I probably should be. I'm prepping for our rhetoric-stage run through year four along with prepping for my soon-to-be 9th grader's launch into rhetoric ancients with the redesign; we will begin in late August. (Remember the momma with the little people? I thought I was busy then. In addition to all of the literature and the history, I'm currently also learning foreign languages and brushing up on Pre-Calculus and Chemistry and Physics. Granted - there are no more diapers and fewer dirty dishes in the sink. Everyone does their own laundry so that doesn't plague me any more. But it's a different kind of busy now. Boy I wish I could send an email to myself four years ago and tell myself to quit pouring over catalogs and get to steppin' on mastering some of this content. Languages. Math. Science. History. Philosophy. Literature. It would have made a LOT more sense to do some of this then.)

    I honestly wish that I had found TOG when my oldest was in fifth grade, AND I wish that it had dawned on me that *I* was the oldest student in our homeschool. I needed a "rhetoric level" run through on the "big ideas" of Western Civilization and all that is implied between the words "big" and "ideas." TOG would have done that for me in a nicely paced way. The program is designed to meet the needs of the rhetoric-level student FIRST; it is designed with their pace in mind. I just don't know how I missed that!!! I purchased TOG during my oldest child's sixth grade year. So many people label that year as a tough year to begin TOG with younger kids. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why. I'm supposed to fly through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Exploration, Colonial America, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution in ONE YEAR!??!!! YIKES! Are these people crazy? If you take a look at most children's libraries in America and you REMOVE the books that cover those areas from the shelves there won't be much left! I wanted to USE all of those materials with my kids. Every. Last. One. Pick and choose? No WAY! TOG didn't give me the time to do all that *I* wanted to do in 36 weeks. I was unable to tweak the program; I just didn't have the confidence to do it. My bad. I dropped it, and I picked something else. BUT - and here's the biggest BUT - I dropped it for the "oldest child" in our homeschool too. I failed to see that I was sacrificing MY education. I put their education first; it was short-sighted of me.

    Am I called to teach my kids? Yes. However, I feel called to lead them all the way through the rhetoric stage. The grammar stage is an interim step and SO is the logic-stage. Those stages are designed to master skills; the content is useful but only to the extent that it develops those age-appropriate skills. Children at those stages are not able to master all of the details of history and literature. No one is going to master all of it. No one. Boy I wish I had realized that. Ultimately? I want to drive this bus all the way through to the finish line. I want to get through the rhetoric stage with this "stuff." That's really where we are headed. And here's the rub. I have found that I can not lead my children where I have not been. Momma's got to pick up the clue-phone first. TOG does a terrific job of helping me to see and understand where we are headed each week. The notes are terrific. The additional products like Pop-Quiz offer a terrific forest-for-the-trees overview. But for me, there is no substitute for actually wading through this material on my own first and letting it simmer down inside for a while. That's what helps me to really "see." That's when this momma picks up the clue-phone and has those "ah-ha" moments. Me first and then my children. I step over the line and then I slowly pull my kids across the same line. Rinse. Repeat. As we head into the high-school years in the fall, I'm grateful that I have found TOG, and I'm so grateful for the work that Lampstand Press has done in making the History, Literature, and Philosophy pick-up-and-go for me. BUT I'm absolutely sure that my children would ultimately have had a better education if the momma had used TOG exactly as written when my children were younger. If *I* had used the program EXACTLY as written when my kids were younger, and I had realized that the program was designed to take me, the rhetoric-stage student in my house, on a journey through these big ideas FIRST then I truly believe that the benefit that my kids would have received would ultimately outweigh any deficits in their education - if you can even call them deficits. Should my seventh grader SKIP Johnny Tremain? Can you be truly educated if you don't read Johnny Tremain? What if my third grader doesn't remember who Thomas Jefferson is? Doesn't he need to read seventeen books on Jefferson so he NEVER forgets who he is? Maybe - but I suspect that they will ultimately benefit more if their teacher understands the connections between the battle of Marathon and Greek Democracy and has some thoughts about the middle ages, the rise of kings in Europe, and the ideas of John Locke and Thomas Paine. I'm trying to make those connections now. TOG is helping in a HUGE way, but for me, I wish that I had started earlier. We're truckin' on down the road, but I'm hustling.

    I wish that someone had told me that it wasn't an either/or proposition. You CAN read books about Jefferson and Johnny even after you have "finished" that historical period in your history studies. Kids are pretty smart. I spent way too much time lining everything up. I should have spent the time reading and studying on my own. Less planning and organizing curriculum... and fretting. More time educating myself. Here's the rub: my kids remember lots of things, but not as much as I had hoped. No one remembers WHO Charles the Hammer was. I wish I had spent less time trying to figure out how to "fit" him into the schedule - complete with a coloring page and a timeline figure; my time would have been better spent reading Augustine on my own.

    I've switched gears. I'm teaching to the oldest child now. I'm educating myself, and I'm passing out clue-phones right and left.

    Oh - and I'm fretting less too.
    For what it's worth...

    Enjoy your little people
    Enjoy your journey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Yes, yes and yes! I heartily agree with you Janice! In hindsight, I would do the same. How can I add to what you have poured out? I spend hours reading and learning. This is the education I had always wanted for myself and my kids! The Bible has taken on new meaning this year, as we have learned the context of its surroundings. If anyone were to ask me how young to start TOG, I would say in K years. Focus on the 3Rs, enjoy some TOG books and projects, and read some upper level books and give yourself an education. Don't fret over perfection in the wee ones. They are developing; hence, the classical model. I have 2 kids with Sensory Integration Disorder. I fretted for years if they would ever "get it." This year, our first with TOG (and a few other new classical curriculums), at ages 11 and 13, they are growing exponentially (physically, mentally, spiritually)! Relax, enjoy, and learn in your free time. Well, at least I think that is fun! lol I have told my husband I am sad that my kids are halfway done with school. I'm ready for more kids! I don't want the fun to stop! lol

  3. #3

    Thank you very much for your posts. I have a first grader and a soon to be 4 yr old and hope to have more. So I guess that puts me in the catagory of TOG with Little People Only.

    We are in Year 1 and this is our first year with TOG. Thank you for putting into perspective the value of the program for myself. My kids have enjoyed TOG and they have learned alot, but sometimes I see all that we could be doing and feel like we aren't using it to the fullest. But we shouldn't be using it to the fullest because they are so young. I should be using it to the fullest. I have learned so much and I see now that this is the perfect time for me to pursue my education to the fullest.

    thanks again.
    Mom to Turkey Lips D, Lizard Legs UG, Tinker Bell 4, and Bellie 2.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Where the wind comes sweeping \'cross the plains!

    I am going to print out your post and keep it with me to show to all the people who ask me if they should "just wait" to start Tapestry since it was really written to the high school level. I usually tell them that I wish it had been available when I first started, but I'm not sure they believe me.

    Thanks for being eloquent for me,

    Michelle in OK

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I ABSOLUTELY wish that TOG had been available when my oldest was in 1st grade. So many years ago, 1992.....

    I am using it this year with 4 students. I absolutely LOVE it that I'm using it with my little girls and that I will be able to start my baby with it when she starts school. It's true that *I* am the oldest student in our family, and I'm learning so much. I'm learning things in history that I should have learned way back when I was (an A student) in high school. I'm making connections now that never ocurred to me when I was a child. Must be why my mother (who was a ps teacher for 30 years) says, "Education is wasted on the young." I hope to make that less true for my own children, but I can see that they miss connections even with TOG. But, they are learning so much more than they ever did with anything else we ever used. I wish there was a TOG for Science, because I've never found anything that lays out science studies in such a wonderful way as TOG does for history/literature, etc. I think TOG is PERFECT for those with littles only. I can't tell you how much I wish now that I'd had it THEN!!
    ~*~ Shellie ~*~
    mom of:
    Rachel 22, college girl
    Tara 20, college girl
    Zak 17, high schooler
    Josh 15, high schooler
    Megan 9, fourth grader
    Darcy Kate 7, third grader
    Precious little Lily, 3 years old!
    Baby Benjamin, born January 7, 2009

  6. #6

    So as I start next year with a 7th, 5th and K to do redesigned year one, you would recommend that I read the rhetoric level material in addition to the dialectic? I'm a little confused about what you are saying we should do. I would be studying the dialectic along with them anyway, right?

  7. #7
    I'm just so tickled that you posted this. I've been doing some thinking and reading lately, and trying to decide how to go about reading the classics. I've considered all sorts of options and things, but the best option is simply this: I'm going to go through TOG as if I was a student, and do so alongside what my LG kids are learning!!!

    (And I'm gonna figure out what on earth I need for learning greek, which I've always wanted to learn.)

    Thanks again for your post!

  8. #8

    *I* have found that the best thing for me to do is read the teacher's notes (but not the discussion scripts) and then read the rhetoric level materials with the rhetoric SAP (the questions) in hand. (For history, government, and World View) Then I ponder. Then I read the answers in the teacher's notes. I try to stay a week ahead of my kids. Sometimes I don't finish - no biggie. I just read either the teacher's notes or the assignment and move on. Nearly everything that my kids are trying to master is covered in the rhetoric plan - and MORE. If I "get" the rhetoric level material, then teaching the logic stage on down is a piece of cake.

    Regarding the literature: I am trying to read most of the rhetoric lit; it doesn't always happen, but I'm still reaching for it. I am also trying to plow through at least 1/2 of what each of my kids is reading so I can have a really in-depth discussion. It doesn't always happen; sadly many book discussions are lead by a momma who has just read the flap copy of the book. Once again - no biggie. We are learning, and we're truckin' on down the road. (Another reason that I'm enjoying TOG - it keeps me moving - looking forward with anticipation rather than glancing behind and wondering what we've missed... or might have done better.)

    I think the biggest thing that has helped me is to see what I HAVE accomplished, not what I've missed - the things (topics, people, events, wonderment) I've had to hop over in order to keep moving and not get bogged down. All's well. AND the biggest reason I LOVE TOG is that the Teacher's Notes are terrific! They help me to KEEP MOVING!

    It is possible to lead a rhetoric stage student down a path that you haven't been if you are armed with TOG. But I'm a planner and an idealist. I still have time - my oldest is only 13 - I WANT to (REALLY WANT TO) go there myself first. I'm reaching for it, but I'm hustling. I wish that I had started reaching earlier; the material's not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I just don't know why I thought that the word "Great" in "The Great Books" meant hard or tough or DIFFICULT. I'm finding out that it just means "big" as in "There's more to digest here than is usually found in a book this size." I'm finding that I want to sit and think about the plays "The Persians" and "The Glass Menagerie" LONGER than my "schedule" is allowing. (I thought I HATED reading drama; who would have thought...) AND after I think and wonder and question, I want to re-read them and think some more. I will. I guess I wish that I had just started earlier. Less curriculum planning and SHOPPING and more actual reading and learning. What I "wanted" was there in front of me the whole time; I just couldn't see it. These books aren't really tougher. Just bigger!

    I wish I had gotten out of the gate earlier; I spent too much time trying to pick the right horsie. :-)

    For what it's worth.
    Enjoy your little people.
    Enjoy your journey.

  9. #9

    I just had to tell you what an awesome post this was. You have no idea how this has helped me. I think those thoughts ALL the time and I so appreciate your hindsight. You have greatly inspired me!


  10. #10
    Originally posted by Janice in NJ:

    For what it's worth.
    Enjoy your little people.
    Enjoy your journey.
    I'm trying to enjoy the little one, but actually find them easier and more enjoyable the older they get. The books don't scare me. I read most of them in high school or college as an English major. Plus I read really fast. That said. I have never used a curriculum as written (Sonlight) but have always added to it. I always read all of the books before we ever started the year. I've already read most of the books from unit one for TOG in preparation. I just wasn't sure I could read through dialectic and rhetoric. Plus, unlike Sonlight where I just read ahead to make sure I know, in TOG I will have to discuss and therefore will need to read the material a lot closer to the discussion. I doubt I will remember Hittite Warrior if I don't reread it next fall. In a way it will remind me of college. I got a secondary teaching degree with English and history as my subjects. My roomates said I never studied. I just read. (Grin) One semester I had one history class that read 6 novels, another one that read 5, a Shakespeare class that did a different play every week, and a Romantic poet class with tons of reading and then an educational philosophy class. I learned to read fast and with a highlighter in hand so I could go back and make notes on the important themes, ideas or facts for tests. Thanks for the encouragement Janice. I, too, am always looking for the best mousetrap. I can't wait to start ToG in July!!!

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