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Thread: When to start TOG with young children??

  1. #1

    When to start TOG with young children??

    I am new to homeschooling, and considering starting TOG in the fall...I have 6yo, and 4 1/2 yo, and little one will be 2 this fall. So, with a 1st grader and preschooler, will it be worth starting TOG now...or wait till next year when I will have one in 2nd grade, and one K? Thought of starting with something else easier to handle for first year, since we are new to this, or is it worth starting now with the 1st grader. Also, thinking ahead for when the little one is ready for school as well....any thoughts greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    I am still fairly new at this, but thought I would put in my 2 cents. This year was our first year with TOG. When I started researching, I fell in love with TOG but had concerns that match yours. This fall we started TOG with my 1st grader (6), and K'r (5). I also had a 3 yr old, 18 month old and was 36 weeks pregnant when we began. We had used another literature based curriculum for our first year homeschooling, which we loved, but I wanted more. Many people advised me to wait until my kiddos were older. Especially with so many little ones at home. Can I just share how much the Lord has blessed our decision not to wait? We have loved our first year with TOG. I love starting early because once I was willing to put my type A, box-checking self aside, I was really able to appreciate the breadth of what TOG has to offer. I am not overwhelmed in the least. On the contrary, I feel such a freedom knowing that we will cycle through this material several more times. I have room to grow and learn right along with my kiddos. If me miss something this go around, no big deal, we will catch it next time. As a family we have all jumped into learning together. My 2 and 3 year olds got wrapped up in TP as "mummies" by their older brothers, and crawl under our kitchen table "cave" pretending they are David hiding from King Saul. It really is up to you. I think the investment into years of learning is worth starting early. Just pace yourself and don't gorge yourself the first time up to the TOG "buffet"! TOG is totally do-able with littles at home as long as you set the pace around your traditional Three R's.
    Blessings to you as you decide!

  3. #3
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    Let me detail some of the reasons folks might be cautious. They don't mean don't start, but you should consider each of them.

    Tapestry is a big and often overwhelming program. You have 3 very young children and this is the your first year of home schooling. Sometimes it is overwhelming just to teach a child to read, do some simple math, and write while caring for two younger siblings and keeping your home in order and getting healthy meals on the table. This combination may produce some bad results: you decide you aren't cut out to home school, or you decide to give up on Tapestry because it is "too much for you." Both of these could be mistakes caused by not waiting.

    Tapestry is a select as you go program, but if you do this without thinking and continue to select less and less each year, you may gut the program without realizing you are doing it. So because of the point above you may drop certain areas (art, geography, history in depth, etc.) That is fine for a season, but if you don't seriously step back prior to beginning each year and analyze those choices you may slowly remove a lot of what Tapestry has to offer, not because you've really decided you don't want those components but because of point one above.

    Let me illustrate with what I think has help me be a better teacher in this program: Marcia encourages new moms to read the R level lit. This is a lot of reading! In your case, I would say, you can break it in half, and read some this time through and some in four years. BUT it will be hard to do that this time through, and I have doubts that if you stop doing this "perk" if you will try again. Similarly, you may find yourself not reading the yellow pages on history each week because of your time limitations. If you continue to do these two things, you will take away a wonderful component of the program.

    Next, you maybe tempted later on to push through the learning levels too quickly. I see this happening especially at the move up to D and R. Those levels require more than just reading and comprehension skills, they require maturity and critical thinking skills. This temptation will be very strong with children who are strong readers because they will find all the levels (until R) "too easy" or "babyish" as they get older. That's because the books are chosen not by numbers of pages, etc but for factual information.

    So as you think about starting, I would encourage you to go ahead and get your full value out of Tapestry, but to do so with your eyes open to the pitfalls, especially that big and overwhelming part. If things are out of control, you can put Tapestry aside for NOW, and use something easier, but remember these warnings and as your children age and you gain experience at this new task, consider bringing Tapestry back.
    Last edited by Pat; 03-07-2013 at 06:53 AM.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  4. #4
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    Let me echo the other posters' feedback. We started Tapestry when my oldest was in 3rd grade and my younger two still toddlers. Things went very well because "school time" was devoted to just the oldest. I still had plenty of time and energy left for the important "work" of playing with my youngers. By the time the 2nd child was ready to learn to read, the oldest was in 5th grade -- the perfect age in Tapestry for just turning her loose to do her reading, some questions, maps,etc. independently. Our together time was focused on writing instruction, science, and a few other non-Tapestry things. Because big sis talked about so many cool things she read about and did projects from, I did some read alouds and easier projects with the younger two just for fun. I can't emphasize enough the need to focus on those early skills with youngers. Even now, while my oldest is 9th grade, the middle one is 4th grade, and the youngest is 3rd grade, my mornings are pretty much devoted to working with the younger two on math, writing, Spanish, science, language usage skills, etc. They can both do their Tapestry reading independently and well. Then, after lunch, I devote an hour or two to the oldest to work on Latin, writing, do discussions, science labs, whatever. My days are quite full!

    If you can discipline yourself to really, truly, honestly just cherry pick lighter grammar age assignments from Tapestry, go for it. Make lots of dress up clothes and accessories to go with the readings. Play with salt dough. Make food from cultures studied. But reserve your time and energy for teaching reading, math, basic writing skills (Tapestry level 1 assignments are lots of fun!). My advice about reading the R lit assignments is to wait until your next rotation to do some of them. I tried when I had only youngers and couldn't find enough uninteruppted time to focus and digest. But as my oldest got to the D level, I was able to do some more indepth reading. Now, on our 3rd rotation as my oldest is now an R student, I'm reading the rest of the R lit I missed on our 2nd pass. Of course, my dd still has more insights into the lit than I do -- thank goodness for the Tapestry cheat sheets, er, teacher notes!

    Enjoy!
    Monica
    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

  5. #5
    Thank you for your replies..it is helpful to know what works for other families....
    However, there seems to be alot said about all the work, and to be very cautious with the program..I would like to know what are the benefits of such an intense program??...Do the younger children really benefit from starting wherever you are in the program with the oldest??..also, does the program give importance to the Bible and the of following Christ? These things are important for our family, and would like to know what positives TOG may have brought to others who have young children...just wanting to start our homeschooling on a positive note! ...appreciate any thoughts!

  6. #6
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    First, it is more intense on you than your children. They'll mostly be listening to history. However if you want to discuss God's hand in history, you will need to look over the older levels (D and R) discussions to get at some points (some are included in the yellow pages).

    Second, Tapestry does not try to be a Bible or any kind of Christian growth sort of program. It includes deep reflection on God's story in history, but you will want to buy an additional program (or my recommendation, just read the Bible and talk about it with your children when they are LG). Year 1 will do that for you, but after that you'll want something else, as I note reading the Bible is the way to go.

    I have seen tremendous fruit from my oldest now 16 this year. He has a youngish small group leader who has occasionally used ideas and materials that might have been okay with older believers but are confusing for teens. My son has proved himself to be a real Berean during this year, unafraid to ask while everyone else is nodding along, where is this in the Bible? This is his sixth year in Tapestry and I do think part of that skill comes from the program.

    But I'm honest to admit that part also came from the years before we began Tapestry when we simply filled his ears with God's word daily.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  7. #7
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    We are just beginning our Tapestry journey with a first grader, doing Year 2 this year. The responders above gave good feedback regarding TOG. One thing we have found working through this lower grammar level moving through medieval times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and now into the colonial period is how sensitive our daughter is to the issues affecting the people she learns about. When we read about church fathers (some of whom became martyrs), she would compare them to what she'd learned through our family devotions about the early church. Right now she's making connections between the behavior of European kings and the kings of Israel and Judah, which is where we are in our Bible reading. I also noticed, although we did not at this level get deeply into the often shameful treatment of Native Americans as settlers moved West, that she has begun to inquire about how these people groups interacted. It is a perfect opportunity to broach some of those subjects as she begins to grapple with historical events and themes. We also make it a point to try to pray about things as we make these sorts of connections. For one thing, we aim to interceed for cultures around the world (in fact next year we'd like to incorporate Jill Johnstone's book _You Can Change the World_ which is an older version of _Window on the World_). I hope these experiences help you gauge how Tapestry might work for your family.

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