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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Initial Thoughts on TOG DE

Admittedly, I am a paper kinda girl. I just love to curl up on a soft surface with a soft blanket and a firm back support. The smell of an old book thrills me to the bone! Buuuuut, since I am coming into year 4 of TOG, I thought having the DE would be nice since it was on sale in January. I did it. I bought the Tapestry of Grace/Digital Edition: Year 4 and with the creative minds of The Hive, I decided to go back in a TOG time machine and print it on colored paper (like TOG Classical) so I could still enjoy the feeling, sound and smell of paper. The results are quite pleasing. Not only do I have a Rainbow Tapestry of Grace, all pretty and colorful, but I also have saved money on my printing. KEEP IN MIND: my expense and time are for ALL 4 levels of TOG. I printed the entire year 4.

Materials:
1 toner cartridge (a little bit left) $70
3 reams white paper $7 (bought it onsale at Office Depot, $23 for 10 reams of 500)
1 Astrobrights Wausau paper at Office Depot $13.99
1 Xerox Pastel Paper at Office Depot $11.99
used up some pink paper I already had in my possession. I bought it for our Latin notebooks.
TOTAL COST: $103

Time: 6 hours
Well, there are couple of things to consider. I did have to get used to the set up of DE. Essentially, think about opening the Documents folder on your computer. You know how you have: Documents, Picture, Downloads, Fill in the blank for the names of your "folders."? Well, the set-up is the same. LockLizard opens up a screen similar to Adobe or your Documents Viewing Window in Microsoft. You can click on - or + to open or close the line of folders under the Units. Then you can further click on the areas of TOG:

Year 4 Week 1
opens:
  • Threads
  • Reading Assignments
  • Weekly Overview
  • Writing Assignments
  • Student Activities
  • Pageant of Philosophy
  • Teacher's Notes
  • Glance
  • Supplements
Once in LockLizard, you can click on any of the sections and the actual page of TOG will pop up in full for your viewing (bulletted here, but in real life they look like a computer page as mentioned above) .  Each Week can be opened at the same time, then you can navigate from week to week. What I determined best was to insert the colored paper and then go backwards from Unit 4, Week 36 and print out the pages one color at a time. In other words, I used my pretty paper to coordinate with TOGs color coding and printed all the Supplements at once, all the Teacher's Notes at once, all the Writing Aids at once, et. al. This gave me the time machine effect of colored paper, already sorted.

A time saver I notices: there is a pattern. Threads are always 3 pages; Reading Assignments 2, Weekly Overview 2; Writing Assignments 3; etc. Once you see the pattern, you don't need to click through every page (Over 600 per unit). You can simply click on Teacher's Notes, then click on the next section (either Supplements or the next weeks Threads) to see where the Teacher's Notes ends. It takes very little time. You print week by week. It sounds like more work than it is and if you had the DE in front of you, I'm sure it would also make more sense.

Now, an interesting perk here is each level is initially separated for you, so if you like to print copies for your students, as I do, you can much more quickly print it all out from your copy. You won't need to go back and print; you won't need to sort through an additional time. In fact, if you want to, you can print out the entire year's worth of SAP (Student Activity Pages) in one session and hand it to your dc like a workbook! This will save me a TON of time. In the Redesigned Paper Edition, I'd have to take the pages from my materials, pull out the levels one at a time, then copy them. Not so this year! I'll slip them in the copier and in a matter of minutes, everybody's SAP, Overviews, and Reading Lists will be ready to hole punch and place in their 3-ring binders. If you chose, you could easily make it into a bounded workbook, too. What a great time saver for the large family instructor! This alone, in all honestly, makes the DE a wonderful product.

Although I printed it all out, I do see some ways that other may save additional money. Remember, my total for printing is larger than yours might be because I have students in all 4 levels of TOG. If you only have 2 levels, then by all means, only print out those levels. I suspect, this can be a very inexpensive option for many families. It is also a nice space saving method. I admit, I was thinking....Digital! Yuck! Give me my paper! But I can say, with assurance, that I like the DE much more than I thought I might.

If you are still paper hungry, you can buy the print version, too, but plan on doubling your core curriculum budget ($170 DE, $277 paper, $297 both). TOG is def. worth every penny. There is even an option to buy pre-printed SAP (click on + ADD SAP to see the options and prices ranging from $8-$23). They'll come in shrinkwrap at whatever level you order. If I had the budget, I would definitely take advantage of this service. The cost is comparable to a student workbook from other programs and varies by black and white, color, and learning levels.Of course, if I had the budget, I'd be only posting about liking the DE and not about printing it out :)

All that to say, I am happy with this option of TOG. As usual, it's another part of the tasty buffet. Use what you need or like and leave the rest for the rest of us! YOU choose. YOU'RE in charge of YOUR school. I love the flexibility and as usual....the content brings a sigh of relief. It's SO nice knowing I have everything I need for history for 7 children in one little place; the support and community is exemplary; it's everything I want or need; I'm now set for life! I own all 4 years! HIP HIP HOORAY!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me or send me a message. I'm happy to help. AND, when you check out, if you'll remember me and use my email address as your affiliate, I'd be grateful. Hope this review helps.

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