Saturday, July 24, 2010

Planning Year 3 Part 2:The Secret of the Pop Quiz-for Mom

I don't know how many of the TOG(Tapestry of Grace) families purchase the Pop Quizzes. I am just putting in a huge plug for them. They are awesome!!! Not just for the Dad's to listen to so that they know what is going on and can ask discussion questions at supper or when they are hanging out, but also for busy Mom's to listen to if they don't have time to read the TN's(Teacher Notes) Background information. I learned that sweet, sweet lesson last year and have loved them for me. I listened one morning while I was working in the kitchen, our day was packed and I didn't know how I was going to get ready for discussion the next day. It was great! After listening to the weeks recording, I had an excellent idea of where things were going and what was happening. I then, later, did have time to read the Background info and it was almost verbatim to the Pop Quiz. I have also had the kids listen to the Pop Quiz in the mornings after they have their readings all done, sometimes they pick up new things from the discs too and discussion happens over breakfast with the new ideas.

For this year's planning, since I am having to mesh the D and R level together, I have looked through the Threads, and through the reading assignments to get an idea on the amount of reading at each level for each week. I had allergy shots this last Thursday, a 2 hour drive one way, so I popped the CD in and got through the first 6 or 7 weeks of the first Unit. That really helped me to see what the different levels were and how I need to mesh them together for more cohesion. A2 was in the back seat, because he needed his shot also, and he was listening in for some of it. He thought it sounded like we were going to have an interesting year.

Today I'm going to go through all the books on our shelves, which compared to some of you is a drop in the bucket, looking for ones that repeat for this year and culling the ones that don't. Those will be getting sold and then I'll sit down again and look at the way the weeks go to decide which books I'll end up needing. I can write on my pages, thanks to the DE part, so that I know for sure what I'm assigning each week for reading. I will actually be highlighting that material. I know right now that the D level spends more time on Napoleon than the R level so the different weeks that it is in R level, I'm going to have to read both to see how that can be moved around to fit at the same time(overlap) with the D level at the appropriate time frame of D studies.

That is the next step in my process. Hope this helps you to see where I'm head too. Try out the Pop Quiz CD's I bet you'll love them too.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prepping for Year 3 of Tapestry using DE

I am sitting here printing things out in order to plan for Tapestry Year 3 and thought, I probably should blog about this as I go. So far nothing has been the same in preparing from year to year. This year would have been, until the Lord brought to my mind that A1 has never studied this time in European History and parts of the American History we will cover. It also was brought to my attention, God is so good, that A2 will not be getting this time period of history again either as he is a freshman this fall. Enter panic into my thought process. "A1 needs to get the facts and things that are at the Dialectic Level, but still needs the synthises of putting it all together and making the bigger picture connections of how history is still affecting us today and cementing her beliefs about it. A2 needs both of these too. If I have them do all of both levels they will hate me, school and life.(Thinking like a teenager here)" Enter sanity in the form of my TLT friends who are filled with wisdom and love to share and help. After gleaning from them, my year just got a bit more complicated, however, the kids year should end up with just the right balance of both. I will be weaving the two levels together according to what is being taught in both each week. We've always done both discussions together so that won't be new, however, assigning reading and work from both levels without overwhelming them will be new. So I'm going to write down how I'm doing this for future reference, since I'll probably have to do the same thing next year, and to help anyone else coming along after me through this.

Since I have the DE(digital version) and I have to move so much between levels on the threads and reading levels I am starting by printing both of these things out so I can mark them up. To be most economical about it I am printing the Threads into a book by printing back to back. I am also doing it in gray scale with black only ink. While I love color, it isn't essential to my planning as I'll be highlighting the final way I'm wandering through Tapestry this year. (There will be a brief pause while I finish this up and decide if I'm using color for the next step or not.)

Actually, I digress. I next printed in gray scale, black ink only, the Unit Introduction notes for the year as well. Between reading these, looking through the threads, and listening to the Pop Quiz CD's when they get here, I should have an excellent idea on where to weave at. If I'm not sure for the week, then I'll read the Teacher Notes(TN's and background) for the week in question off of the DE screen on the computer.

I know some are wondering why I didn't just get the print version or the print/DE version. Here is the logic behind this. I don't need it all. I only need some things. I probably could have gotten by without printing the Unit Intro's, but I wanted to be able to take this to bed and read there and it is easier to read paper in bed then off a laptop. I love the DE version for the search-ability. I think this year instead of printing the kids Student Activity Pages, I'm going to put them on a flash drive either edited to word or have them do that so that they can type their answers on their computers. If they need them printed then they can do it. That is my thoughts on that part of it. A1 uses her laptop for everything and A2 likes to use his too. He is all about not wasting paper so that might work well for him too.

To print color or no color that is the question, whether 'tis nobler or...oops, not Shakespeare, but color it is. The kids may have to refer to these charts in case something goes weird with the whole workbox system we are also going to try this fall.

So all of those things are printed and I've actually read the Unit Intro's for the whole year. It is going to be an exciting year. Today I'm going to start through the threads, highlighting the things that I feel are most important for them to get. To start I'm going to use yellow for things I think we should do and then go back and refine with blue so that everything we are going to do will be in green. Then, I'll coordinate that with the reading assignments for the week and start checking to see which books we have.

I might be busy for a few days or so, but this is where it is starting. Somewhere during this I really need to get the rest of the painting finished around here too.

Have a great day everyone!