This term, Gentle Giant and Spunky are taking Tree of Life’s Canadian History course to round out their studies. Normally when we use non-Robinson Curriculum books, we still use a Robinson approach with them. This means that the kids usually read a set amount of pages or chapters per day and complete assignments as directed.
I decided for this course that we would strictly follow TOL’s History syllabus and the timeline allotted to it. This was to give the kids a sense of how other people organize courses.
The first week, the kids completed a mapping assignment, which they both thought was beneath them (although I pointed out the usefulness in being able to have a handy visual reference to which to refer). After that, the syllabus gave them over three weeks to read a portion of the textbook and write the first test. Upon looking at the reading assignment, Spunky was shocked:
Mom, you do realize that they have given us THREE WEEKS to read SEVEN chapters, right? How could it possibly take that long to read that little? I can’t believe my friend used to complain to me about how hard Tree of Life courses are! They’re not hard at all!
I chuckled. The kids are, of course, free to their complete assignments on a shorter timeline if they wish. Spunky and I also had a conversation about Tree of Life courses in general. Her verdict:
- The positive: Tree of Life courses ask just the right amount from the student, ie. not too little or too much.
- The negative: Since Tree of Life courses only ask just the right amount from the student, they don’t necessarily push the student to the best of his abilities.
That is the opinion of one 15-year-old who has taken four parent-graded courses through Tree of Life (Canadian History, Canadian Geography, Old Testament Survey, and New Testament Survey). Her opinion might change by the end of the course.
Have you used Tree of Life in your homeschool? If so, what has been your experience?