We use Tapestry of Grace. But we've always used the library primarily, and haven't bought all the books that go along with the curriculum. That worked fine when we lived in a town with a large library system. We had our local library a few blocks away, and Steve worked by a library that was connected with others in its county. We requested books from any county library, and Steve could pick them up after work at the one by his office. It was such a blessing! We could get all the books we needed (for the most part) without using the Inter Library Loan system very much.
Then we moved here, and we have a smaller library. Steve no longer can easily access a larger system for us, either. The librarians are great, but the selection is limited on some of our history topics. Then, we can only have 3 inter-library loan requests at a time. Which is fine, because using ILL is also a little uncertain. Sometimes the book comes in before you're ready for it, and sometimes it comes in after you needed it. That's just the nature of Inter-Library Loan.
At first we used Paperback Swap to get a lot of our TOG books, especially for the older kids. But it hasn't worked as well for us this year. Many other homeschoolers have discovered it, so the wish list for some of the books has become quite long.
Usually, I scrounge around my resources and the library's resources trying to find books that can work, even if they aren't the suggested resources. Except I've already looked at all the World War 2 books at our library. Some I knew my kids wouldn't read, some we have read ... and I still have several weeks of TOG left on the subject. I think we're just going to have to skip a bunch of weeks and move on to the next topic. And to make matters worse, I really don't feel we covered the war very well at all.
Next, the establishment of Israel and the Cold War. But will we find appropriate books on those topics? Sigh.
This isn't the fault of the curriculum. It isn't the fault of the library. It's just that we had a low-cost system that was working well, and now it's not. We're going to have to invest in buying the books in the future ... or else switch curriculum. We've bought our Tapestry of Grace year plans used, sticking with the classic TOG that was more readily available on the used market. We finally acquired all 4 year plans, and thought we were set.
There really isn't any other curriculum out there that will easily teach all levels of our kids' ages at the same time. (Well, there are some that can be adapted to work for all ages with effort, and there are some that could probably work, but they seem cost prohibitive.) That's the reason I use TOG. It's not because I'm a classical educator, because I'm not. It's not because I feel strongly about teaching history chronologically, because I don't. It's because this covers history and literature for all my kids, and it uses real books instead of textbooks.
In addition to not getting the books we need, I haven't been getting weekly time to plan our lessons, either. I need to fill out assignment charts for each child, so they know what they need to do each day. That hasn't been happening. It seems every weekend has been too hectic and Monday morning rolls around with the planning undone. Then, I have a review to write in the morning, and soon the kids are awake. So instead, I keep telling them what to do each day.
In other words, we've been floundering a bit in our homeschool. Something has to change. I need to be more structured. We need to set aside money to buy more books to use with TOG. I need to implement the activities and projects of TOG more, so we have more opportunities for the children to show what they've learned.
I'm continually reminded that I still have a lot to learn in homeschooling. I haven't yet reached the point that I've got it all figured out. We overcome one obstacle, and another one arises. But we just keep pushing on, keep trying new things, keep trusting God to lead us. I think it's time to get out the rest of my teacher's manuals for Tapestry of Grace Year 4 and pay attention to what books we'll need through the rest of the year. Think and plan ahead ... and come up with a plan for how we'll handle this problem next year, too.
Just imperfect me,