Question for long term users of HOD

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Question for long term users of HOD

Postby Samuel'sMommy » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:34 pm

DH and I have been talking alot about different curriculums and things lately and our goals for homeschooling even though DS is only 3. DH really likes Tapestry of Grace. I do to, but it just looks like a lot of work. He wants us to use HOD for preschool and kindergarten and then switch to TOG from 1st grade on up. His reasoning is that HOD doesn't look "full" enough. I've tried to explain to him that it's a full curriculum and everyone on here has said that it is very meaty when you get in to it. Of course, not having seen the older guides up close, he's skeptical. We are not 100% sure that we will homeschool all the way through 12th grade. We may use public or private school for high school so DH wants to be sure Samuel wouldn't have any trouble going into his correct grade level. I personally love HOD and would love to use it as far as Carrie will go with guides. For those of you that have used HOD for awhile, have your kids down well on standarized testing? Have you found HOD lacking in any of the subjects? Have you added anything to HOD and if so, what and why? One area that DH thought TOG looked really strong in was writing as well as the discussion questions to get the kids thinking and I wasn't sure how HOD would compare in those areas. Thanks in advance for all the help!
Stephanie
Wife to Adam for 19 years
Mom to Samuel (12) and Isaiah (2) through the miracle of adoption
Using and loving RTR!

Loved using LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, & CTC!
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby Jen in Va » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:01 pm

Stephanie,
I will preface this with the fact that I am not a long term user of HOD, however, I was a long term user of TOG and am a former classroom history teacher.

TOG is fairly teacher intensive, and well, student intensive, too, for that matter. It was designed to be multi-level, yes, but if your youngest, or only, would be just in 1st grade when you start, my advice would be to wait until he's at least in the upper elementary level before starting with it--I remember reading simiar advice back in the day on the TOG forum. We used it for the dialectic and rhetoric levels with our older two, and it was great for a while, but we all experienced burnout by the time we had finished our 5th year in TOG. IMO, the strength of TOG lies in the dialectic and rhetoric levels--stages for which is hard to come by a comparable program. The same cannot be said, again, imo, for the lower elementary especially. There are programs out there that cover that stage better--HOD being one of them in my mind.

TOG is a lot of work, a lot of reading. I spent hours finding books to replace the ones in TOG because my library didn't have them all, and I couldn't afford to buy all the spines I needed for TOG. I had to spend several hours over the weekend preparing for the coming week. In this case, more does not necessarily mean better. Even with my background in history, I had a hard time seeing the forest for the trees at times--for me, it lacked a certain flow. At times the topics from week to week just didn't relate well, so it was hard to tie things together for the kids. The beauty of the Charlotte Mason philosophy is that the kids concentrate on fewer quality books instead of a quantity of books and activities. Because we were covering so much in so little time--especially year two which covers a huge time span with tons of things going on--the kids retained very little. I always felt like I was pushing them to read, read, READ! Totally sucked the joy right out of learning.

I do not want to sound like I am bashing TOG--at the time it was a lifesaver for me. I constantly tweaked any history curriculum I bought to get just what I wanted. With TOG, I didn't tweak. I felt like it was perfect when I first saw and purchased it. it was a huge undertaking to write and has tons, TONS of information for the teacher. But because of that, it can be overwhelming to step into it as a fairly new homeschooler, or even a veteran one. I don't know how different things are with the revised version--I assume she's still covering the same time frames in each volume (I owned them all in the classic version), and there are more teacher helps available now (tests and things, I think). But, you have to remember that in 1st grade a child is just 6 years old. Is he really ready to be plunked down for a study of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome? Also, if I recall, I didn't feel like there was enough background in Genesis/creation in the Ancient volume, so we did a study of Genesis: Finding Our Roots (one of the books Carrie is planning on using in the new ancient guide) prior to starting with the TOG ancient stuff. A great book and study, and ironically, one of the best units we studied in TOG.

TOG shines in a co-op situation where you can have kids from multiple age levels discussing a topic. Even with two kids I found the discussions to be challenging, as it really helps to have several kids to be able to bounce things off of. At times one kid may get something that stymies the others, but having that one child to pose questions to often sets the lightbulb off in the minds of the others. With two kids I found that they would look at each other, then at me, and shrug. I think this was often a product of the speed with which we had to go through the information. There just wasn't time for it to be processed before we had to be off on something else.

If you do decide to go with TOG--constantly remind yourself that you do not have to do everything listed. Pick and choose the things that are most important to you. If you try to do everything available to you, you may wind up burned out.

As to the specifics of your questions at the end of the post--Carrie has chosen quality material for use in math, grammar/writing, science, etc. The former two are the ones that are often used to determine the progress of a child on standardized tests. Rod and Staff--Carrie's grammar choice--is my grammar program of choice, too. Both my older kids used it 2nd-8th grades and have always scored in the upper 90th %tles on Stanford Achievement Tests. Singapore--the math she recommends--is considered the gold standard by many homeschoolers. Copywork is an excellent introduction and preparation for writing compositions, and was used to teach children how to write for hundreds of years prior to the public school movement . Just as artists who are learning to paint copy the masters, children who are learning to write can do the same through copywork.

Lastly, I will leave you with this--of the four ladies in my church who all started using TOG right around the same time (we were all in different years, or we would have combined to form a sort of co-op), three of whom were classroom teachers (two, including myself, were high school history teachers), none of us use TOG today. Some of us made it through five years, one through just one.

Ultimately the decision rests with you and your dh. But I know the huge investment TOG is now, so you need to go in knowing exactly what you are getting yourself in to. Find some people who use TOG--particularly look for someone who uses/used it with an only child and/or who used it with 1st grade being the oldest child. Get their opinions--honest opinions. If you can get your hands on a copy of one of the volumes w/out having to purchase it, do so. Look through it. How does it feel to you? How will it make you feel as the teacher? What about the spines--how many? readily available? cost to get? Amount of work for you and your son?

Sorry this wound up so long..............
Jen
Hsing mom of 3:
DS (20) college, home educated k-12
DD (17) 12th grade (2009-10), home educated
DS (6) Beyond (2009-10, have already started--loving it, btw!)
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby Samuel'sMommy » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:47 pm

Jen, thank you so much for taking the time to respond! You have shared many of the concerns I have about TOG. I agree that it looks awesome and the redesigned looks much better than the classic plans, but it just seems like overkill in some areas. Especially as DS is an only child (and we don't have any plans to have more for awhile) and it seems like TOG is designed to be used best in large families. I'll share your response with DH and see if that helps him feel better about not using it till later on--like maybe for high school.
Stephanie
Wife to Adam for 19 years
Mom to Samuel (12) and Isaiah (2) through the miracle of adoption
Using and loving RTR!

Loved using LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, & CTC!
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby netpea » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:12 pm

Samuel'sMommy wrote:DH and I have been talking alot about different curriculums and things lately and our goals for homeschooling even though DS is only 3. DH really likes Tapestry of Grace. I do to, but it just looks like a lot of work. He wants us to use HOD for preschool and kindergarten and then switch to TOG from 1st grade on up. His reasoning is that HOD doesn't look "full" enough. I've tried to explain to him that it's a full curriculum and everyone on here has said that it is very meaty when you get in to it. Of course, not having seen the older guides up close, he's skeptical. We are not 100% sure that we will homeschool all the way through 12th grade. We may use public or private school for high school so DH wants to be sure Samuel wouldn't have any trouble going into his correct grade level. I personally love HOD and would love to use it as far as Carrie will go with guides. For those of you that have used HOD for awhile, have your kids down well on standarized testing? Have you found HOD lacking in any of the subjects? Have you added anything to HOD and if so, what and why? One area that DH thought TOG looked really strong in was writing as well as the discussion questions to get the kids thinking and I wasn't sure how HOD would compare in those areas. Thanks in advance for all the help!


This will be my 4th year using HOD. My oldest has done LHTH, LHFHG, 1 year of mixed stuff, then back for Beyond, now he will move into Bigger. My son is on track with his peers, ahead in some areas. We don't do any testing as it is not required here. HOD is very full, and Carrie has extra reading built into every program for those who want more. I have only added stuff to HOD to use it up because I already bought it, or because it is something extra, like music or spanish. Singapore math is excellent. With Bigger we move into studied dictation which teaches spelling in context and helps with grammar. The devotionals Carrie has selected have been good. I have not found anything lacking in her work. We did switch and try something else after LHFHG because I thought I should see what else was out there, that year did not go well. HOD fits our family to a T.
netpea
 

Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby water2wine » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:22 am

I have not used HOD for years (although I will use all they write I can promise you that :wink: ) but I have spent many painstaking hours looking at TOG. I considered it for high school and at one point for elementary. It looks like a good program and there are lots of things about it that are attractive in the redesign program. What really helped me decide where we were headed for the long haul was sitting down and really taking a long hard look at what are truly our long term homeschooling goals. What matters to us in the end and what I feel God will hold me accountable for in the end. TOG is classical minded and HOD is CM minded. For me what I realized was the classical model satisfies the whispers in my ears of "is it enough", "do you really think your kids will go to college", "are you sure they will be normal", "are you sure they can test with their piers":roll: add in all the other stuff that other people say to you and fear type questions. What I realized is that HOD answers other questions like did I give them a well rounded education that will help them find their true call, will I have covered what God asked of me when I need to give an account to Him, am I teaching them the true nature of Christ or did I sacrifice that just to have every single fact, and did I teach them a Christian world view or was I more worried about teaching a worldly world view along the way.

I am not saying that TOG would not be the choice that would allow that. But what I realized for me and looking honestly in the philosophy and methodology it was leaning more away rather than toward what I wanted for my kids. Where HOD hit what I knew in the end was essential dead on while it still allowed the flexibility to add the things I never would have the time to add to TOG. It allows me to be attentive to what God leads me to teach my kids specifically for who they are while the base of what I know I must teach and what in my heart ultimately matters most as well. And as far as do I think they will test well, go to college and be competitive in the world. I know the answer is yes (and yes we are strongly college minded :D ). And will I have done that in a way that still keeps their heart with God only time will tell but I am confident that answer is yes as well. Not only did HOD teach them but it allowed me the time and flexibility where I could teach to them as God showed me. If I had chosen the classical method I feel I would have had to sacrifice that. And I do not want to be one of those families who taught Latin, violin, sand script, and all those other very intellectual things that are not wrong in themselves but along the way I lost the pulse of my child's heart commitment to the Lord and they went onto the world only to fall away. What a tragedy that would be. Not saying TOG could not give you that connection too but I felt for us with all the work it put on me and them I would have to work much harder at keeping their heart along the way and I am not sure I have that in me especially for the elementary years.

So not really experienced but just spent a lot of time pondering the very same thing you are and just wanted to share my conclusion. Hope you find peace on the path God has for your family and that becomes clear to you as well. I know how hard these decisions are to make. :D
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
~Six lovies from God~4 by blessing of adoption
-MTMM (HS), Rev to Rev, CTC, DITHR
We LOVED LHFHG/Beyond/Bigger/Preparing/CTC/RTR/Rev to Rev (HS)
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby my3sons » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:19 pm

I've used all of HOD's programs right from the start, with the exception of one year when I got ahead of Carrie's writing. :shock: Our one year away from HOD reminded me of the many reasons I love HOD so much! :lol: I think standardized testing is not always such a good measure of how successful students are actually going to do "out there in the real world". I used to teach public school and give standardized tests every year (for 7 years), and my thesis for my master's was on improving standardized test scores within the focal area of writing. After many years of studying test scores, I can tell you that the best judge of how a student is doing overall is just your own judgment as his/her teacher - especially in homeschooling where you spend year after year with your same precious "students"! However, I'll now sheepishly get off my soapbox to say that I too got all worried about how my ds would do on his standardized test this year. :oops: As I said, I've only ever used HOD with my dc (except for one year quite early on in homeschooling). Only one of my sons is old enough yet for standardized testing, which is required by our state. My son's standardized test score was a composite of 99%. He scored 98%-99% on everything with the exception of spelling, in which he scored 91%. I expected this to be his lowest score because he was about 2 months premature and had speech therapy for 2+ years - spelling is one of his more challenging areas, so I was thrilled with his score of 91% in that anyway. I think test scores can be a bit confusing, so just to explain what those percents actually mean, the composite score means he scored better than 99% of the children taking the test, and worse than 1% of the children taking the test. My son is going into fourth grade now, and he'll be using Preparing... this coming year. WOO-HOO! I was thrilled, but again, if my other dc score just average, I'll be happy with that too. Many amazing people were average, or below average, students according to scores (i.e. Albert Einstein). Also, I will say this since Carrie won't (since she is the author), all of her dc have scored a composite score of the 99% percentile every year on standardized testing, and I'm quite sure her children have always used HOD! :wink: :lol: :wink:

As far as TOG, I agree with what has been said already. I would caution anyone about using a teacher-intensive program - it will always become stressful and cumbersome eventually, and that just leads to burnout for both the teacher and the student. I think you will find HOD to be more than enough - academically AND spiritually. Don't be fooled by the simple looking format of the box style plans in the guides. Just because the plans are spaciously laid out, and words are specifically chosen to make directions easy to follow, does not mean that the learning or material is any less meaty. I taught 2nd., 3rd., 4th., and 6th. grade as well as college level students over the years, and the depth of the HOD guides is impressive. In Bigger..., last year, my ds learned to do some very difficult things that could not have been learned had they not been broken down into manageable segments. Not to mention, HE can do them. HE learned the skills. In programs that are teacher intensive, I personally would worry about how much I was doing and how much (or little) HE would end up really being able to do. In my opinion, "teacher intensive" can often unfortunately equal "teacher doing most of the work with student watching more as a bystander".

In regard to writing, I think HOD is right on track. Learning to write from excellent models is the first step to good writing, which is why the copywork of classical poems is so important for dc to do first. Next, comes using your own words to tell back what was shared by the excellent model of writing, though phrases from the original writing may be "borrowed" as well. This is taught first in oral narrations, then in guided notebooking, then in semi-guided written narrations, and later as independent written narrations. Creative writing is done after that, but copywork, dictation, and oral/written narrations should still be taught along with the creative writing, so that the excellent model of writing is still always being brought to mind for students to glean new techniques and styles from. This is the path HOD is following for writing within its guides, and I've found it to be a solid and insightful path for my ds who is anything but a "natural" writer (imagine your most logical, math-minded child, and that is my ds :D ).

Finally, I LOVE the discussion questions in HOD. They are chosen carefully according to Bloom's Taxonomy, and they do an excellent job of teaching literary analysis and higher-level comprehension. Again, don't be fooled by the fewer questions in HOD. Fewer questions that are well-chosen, do the job better than many questions that become overly redundant and eventually end up "picking" apart the story. Imagine, if you will, yourself reading a book written in a wonderfully narrative style. Imagine the excitement of reading this book and how you want to share that with someone (a.k.a your child wanting to share with you). Now imagine discussing 3-5 well thought-out questions, and taking your time to thoroughly answer them in an enjoyable conversational way that is still academically based. Sounds wonderful, right? Now, break from that thought, and imagine yourself having to answer 15 questions about your book, write a story about it,look up vocabulary words from it, write a list of spelling words from it, and also have to work through several activities based on your reading... it starts to lose its "shine", doesn't it? HOD provides enough depth without taking away the "shine".

I think it is exciting to talk about the future of your homeschooling, and it's wonderful that your dh enjoys that and is an active partner in it with you. I guess I'd say start with HOD and let it convince you itself... I know it will. Once you start, it's tough to stop... it's a bit addictive, I might add! :lol: :lol: :lol: You don't have to know what you're doing for sure later on right now. Believe me, I am a long-term planner at heart too, and I've made countless charts, tables, and spreadsheets for things to come that have never actually come to pass. Enjoy HOD now, and let it convince you what to do next! The Lord is leading you to start with HOD, and that's enough peace for now. I can't wait to hear more from you here at the boards! Welcome to you and your husband, and we're glad you are here! :o

In Christ,
Julie :D
Have enjoyed LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, CTC, RTR, RevtoRev, MTMM, DITHOR, WG, WH, USI, USII
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby Samuel'sMommy » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:07 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses! Everyone seems to confirm what I have been thinking about TOG and how much work it would be for me. Now to just convince my hubby! I think it's easy for him to pick what looks best because he just looks at the outcomes and what the kids are learning and doesn't take into consideration how much work it involves for me in planning and implementing. :D He already seems impressed by what Samuel is learning in LHTH and we've only done a couple of weeks so hopefully he'll continue to be impressed and let me stick with HOD throughout!
Stephanie
Wife to Adam for 19 years
Mom to Samuel (12) and Isaiah (2) through the miracle of adoption
Using and loving RTR!

Loved using LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, & CTC!
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Re: Question for long term users of HOD

Postby stellar » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:34 pm

I agree the TOG is good for younger students if you are folding them in with older students. The strength with TOG is for the older students. Perhaps your husband would let you use HOD now and TOG when they are older? Then you can take it as it comes. I have used HOD for a few years and I am very thankful for the programs. I also have used lots of others but HOD is my favorite, I hope to use it the whole way through! All I can say is pray and trust your husband. His heart is in God's hands.

Kari :)
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