TOG FOG

Have I mentioned that I’m planning to use Tapestry of Grace?  I’m sure I have….probably more than once….and probably more than twice….
I saw Tapestry on a blog button more than two years ago, checked out their site, and knew that this was it; I had to have it!  I love the premise of TOG and I love the set-up, and the organization, and the books, and the projects, and the teacher notes, and the flexibility. 
I bought the DE version of Year 1 over a year ago and have been impatiently waiting to begin using it.  Well, the time has come!  We are starting with TOG Year 1 in the fall. 
I’ve glanced through the DE version many times while waiting but this summer I have begun to really review the week plans.  I was surprised that I was hit with a terrible case of TOG Fog!  For as long as I’ve read about the curriculum and even looked through it, I expected the implementation to be easy.  I had no idea where to start and felt completely overwhelmed. 
Here’s what I’ve done to help combat the TOG Fog:
I downloaded the booklist for LG into Excel, along with the alternate resource list.  I then went through the week plan and wrote the corresponding week plan(s) number in the last column.  I then sorted my booklist by which week each book was first used. 
Next, I color-coded my spreadsheet according to which books I already had (green), which my library system had (blue), and which I would need to buy (red).  When I looked at my highlighted page, I noticed a lot of red.  My library system wasn’t too helpful with the books I would need and I didn’t have an abundance of ancient Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman picture books lying around.  There will be a lot of book-buying happening soon….
I decided to print out the first 7 pages of each week plan.  These pages contain the threads, reading assignments, and weekly overview.  I also printed the LG activity pages for each week.  I placed all of my pages in a binder with numbered dividers.
I needed to decide if I was going to use all the books for each week and if I was going to buy every book for each week.  I went through the printed plan and marked the books I was going to use.  I searched Amazon, checked prices, and read reviews for many of the books.  I decided that I would use almost all of the resources aside from just a couple. 
I started a Word document of a booklist divided by each of the four units.  I listed all the books in order of the week in which the book was first used.  Now, I have a list to keep with me when I’m at a used bookstore or when I order online.
After looking through each week, I noticed that some weeks had very few outside resources.  Some weeks only use the Bible as a resource.  I decided that I would, of course, want to supplement!  I first went through the list of alternate resources and added a few of those to my “buy” list.  I then marked those in the week plan in which I planned to use them. 
I also looked through the Veritas Press, Sonlight, and Heart of Dakota catalogs for other resources.  I added a few books from these programs to the weeks in which I felt we would want more reading.  I wrote those books into my reading assignment pages and added them to my “buy” list. 
I added a new page on my Excel spreadsheet for extra resources and listed all of the books I was planning to add.  As I buy them, I’ll highlight them in green so I know when they have been purchased.  I don’t want to double buy……….I already did that once when trying to plan TOG. 
Next, I went through the week plans again to choose the activities that we are going to do.  I read through the activity pages for each week and reviewed the resources in the activity books (I had already purchased these).  I made two new documents:  one for the activities I thought we would enjoy each week and one for a list of all the supplies we would need for those activities. 
I printed off the Unit 1 lapbook to review.
I also printed off the maps I planned to use for each week (if any) and then printed off a notebook page or coloring page to go with the week.  I used the pages from Notebook Pages.  I plan to make our maps, activity pages, and maps into a comb bound workbook so we don’t lose our pages. 
So, that’s as far as I’ve gotten into my Tapestry.  Our first year will be mostly reading and projects with the lapbooks.  We will use a few of the activity pages provided in the weekplan and will color maps and do some short narrations on the notebook pages.  I plan to read the teacher’s notes the week on a weekly basis and will try to read a few of the Dialectic level books to deepen my understanding of the time period.  I can’t decide if I’ve overplanned or underplanned; I guess we’ll try out our first few weeks and find out!

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