I have really enjoyed the first 2 units of year 3. Nicely presented, and the lit. has been great. A wonderful introduction for my eldest 2, who will start TOG R lit next Feb. We have learned a great deal and were just identifying an archetype while watching a movie last night! The spines were great and the discussions, well, that's the icing on the cake. Amazing. Truly. We've grown so much in our Socratic Discussions. I started D when my boys were in grades 5/6 and now that we're entering 8/9 they are wonderful at picking up the pieces, making connections, answering the questions, and actively participating in discussion. It's been grand.
Something I have enjoyed with multiple dc in D was assigning different questions to each of them, so they can each play a part in discussion with pride and confidence. It turns out, that most of the time they can answer all of the questions, anyways, but when they get the chance to articulate a particular point, it has been magical. I heart TOG!
We, at least half of us, have enjoyed TOG more thoroughly by spacing out the schedule. We complete 2-TOG weeks in 3-calendar weeks. That means we only finish 3 units per year, but it gives 2 of my students, who are just a little slower, the chance to get deep and enjoy, instead of rush and burn through a week at a time. I have also found their retention is greater.
I expect a D student to outline and summarize either a spine or in-depth, ala WTM guidelines, in addition to the writing we complete.
I have thusfar been able to give them explanations for lit terms, give them a vocab list, and with their reading, they are understanding without too much depth of study. That will surely change in R lit.
I do use the Evaluations and love them. If they can answer the questions, they do fine on the exam. The Evaluations stretch them to really look at a big picture of say, a presidency and require a student to know about the president personally, his term, accomplishments, political history, family life, and then the discussion takes it a step further by having the dc decide their opinion on a matter. For example, Andrew Jackson and his life, presidency and their thoughts on Indian Removal. We had an amazing discussion on slavery, human rights, and of course, were able to connect our faith in the process. It was amazing how something so wretched was used to teach us the goodness of God and the not-so-goodness of man. Good stuff!
They are required to write up a paragraph for each famous person listed in TOG, which is no biggie. There is actually a People Glossary (on the Loom?) and a Vocab. glossary (also on the Loom?). That makes my life easier.
I started letting them see my outline last semester. I tend to outline what I want to lecture about, then discuss and fill in blanks from my understanding. I wanted them to practice taking lecture notes, so using my outline gave them a nice start, then they wrote in extra information. To my joy, most of what I wanted to touch on, they already knew b/c of the reading. I'm encouraged about high school and college as a result!
I like to have the Book Basket, ala Sonlight, in the house too. That way, should they desire to dig deeper, they can. Two of five are avid readers and typically enter the basket. Of the other 3, I'm still training one in reading and the other two would rather read non-school books for pleasure :)
Let's see...projects. I like to complete family projects sometimes, so when TOG leans toward such, I give each student a part and they complete it together. I have used this to teach them to plan as a group, meet group expectations, and have meetings to wrap up. It's been a nice cooperative experience. There are also plenty of projects they can work on throughout a unit (display boards, sewing, cooking), so we generally do those too and save them for a Unit Study with Friends. If you can, do the Unit Study. It seems to give some encouragement to my dc, a way to share joyfully, and a great reason to have friends and food...just for fun!