Trail Guide to Learning

Has anyone used this curriculum? I’m thinking about it, but we’re still a few years away from being able to use it. In looking at the curriculum, I noticed that it doesn’t start until grade 3. For those of you who have used this program, any thoughts on what to do if the oldest is not yet in third grade? Would you recommend starting it in an earlier grade with the youngers extension? Would there even be enough programs to get all the way through school if we did that? If not starting it in an earlier grade, which program(s) would you recommend using for K-2nd grades?

Hi there! We are planning to start this either this spring or in the summer for sure. We will be starting with the first level (Paths of Exploration). My kiddos will be either 1st and 3rd grades or 2nd and 4th when we begin. As you have probably seen, they are working on a K-2 extension for the POE level right now. The extension is actually going to be fairly exstensive it looks like with a supplemental language arts program (Learning Language Arts through Literature) included as well. So it really will have quite a bit of add-on it seems for the younger learners.

They currently have the three levels of the American History progrmas for Grades 3-5, 4-6 and 5-7 with extensions for younger learners being developed and older extensions already available for those levels. They also already have one level for middle school World History (Journeys Through the Ancient World) ready and they are developing two more of these levels I think. After that there will be more levels written for high school. I think all of these will have adaptations for younger learners, but they really have suggested that the Journeys level not be started until middle school as it deals with economies, etc. Instead, if you start young with kids in the American History levels (Paths of Exploration, Paths of Settlement, and Paths of Progress) and finish too early to start into the middle school levels, they have suggested that you go back through the American History levels using the Middle School Supplement materials (they offer different readers, more difficult activities, research projects, etc.) and you will essentially be cycling back through topics you haven’t covered for the past 3 years anyway, so it shouldn’t feel too repetitive. Then, by the time you finish cycling back through those on the higher level of learning, you’ll be ready to jump into the middle and high school levels.

They have a Yahoo Group where they have a lot of people post questions and they answer with fantastic information. Here is a link to that group:
I think you’ll find that helpful. I got onto that and just started reading through tons of old posts and learned a lot about the material that way. They also have a Facebook page here:
You might also find that helpful.

While there are some negative reviews to be found about this curriculum, I have found them to be few and far between. And you can also purchase the materials digitally one unit at a time for around $30 I think, so if you just want to give it a go and just buy what you need for one 6-week session and see if it works for you, that’s one way to go (of course you’d need a few books too, but it would be far cheaper than going all in.)

We haven’t started yet, but I am very excited to make the jump over to it. We didn’t start it this fall because I wanted to give my 1st Grader this beginning of and maybe this entire year to really get established in his reading comprehension so that he’d be ready to take on the material (but that was before I realized how much material they were writing for the K-2 younger learners program, but even so, that portion isn’t published yet anyway so we’d still have to wait on that :slight_smile: I have researched this program to the hilt, so if you have any questions I can answer for you, feel free to send them my way and I’ll do what I can to answer them! :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much for your reply! It was very helpful. Assuming the extensions come out early enough, would you recommend starting in with TGTL when my oldest is in 1st grade and just cycling back through again later until he gets to middle school? Otherwise I would feel like it’s a waste of money to buy him a separate curriculum for grades 1 & 2 that wouldn’t get used for the younger kids cuz they’d join in with him when he’s in 3rd. (I feel like that was all a jumble, so I hope my question makes sense.)

It looks like you absolutely could go ahead and start the oldest in 1st grade using the younger extension with each level (the K-2 with POE, the grades 1-3 with POS and the grades 2-4 with POP extensions). Then, what you could actually do is cycle back through doing the actual curriculum at the originally intended grade levels because your oldest would then be ready to do POE at its intended grade level because he would be in 4th grade at that point and POE is intended for grades 3-5. You could purchase the Middle School Supplement at that time (it is around $56 for the curriculum add-on along with all of the additional reader books) so that you would have the additional materials handy if you are looking for a challenge and so that if you fly through the readers, you’d have extra read-alouds to move on to along the same subject material lines (I’ve read that many families do this even if they don’t have middle schoolers doing the material). Then, you’d already have the younger extensions purchased for your younger children to then re-use when your older child is cycling back through the material at the intended level, and they could then possibly all be learning together which is the intent of the program anyway–to allow families to learn together. I hope this response makes sense :slight_smile: I am sure you could also post this question on the Yahoo group and you’ll get some great responses from families who are considering the same thing, and from the writers of this curriculum too! They respond wonderfully on there. But again, I’m happy to answer anything you think I might be able to help with! I have a current 1st and 3rd grader and a 3yo who will not be coming up behind to learn with us for several years yet.

Thanks again. One more quick question… Do you happen to know if the extensions are self sufficient or if we’d need to buy the main curriculum along with the extension?

Btw, I tried to join the yahoo group but no matter what I did the “captcha” would load correctly.

I am almost 100% positive the extensions are not self sufficient–they are supplements to the main curriculum. From what I’ve been reading about the K-2 supplement for POE it looks to be wonderful and very thorough, but you would need to own the curriculum itself in order to use the K-2 extension. I do know you can buy the curriculum used on Homeschool Classifieds though for a fraction of the price! I’m not sure what happened when you tried to join the Yahoo group. It may be something that came up from my having linked to it since I was already logged in there? Maybe if you just search for Yahoo Groups Trail Guide to Learning from scratch and then try to join from there it might work? Or you could contact the company via an e-mail message or a message on their Facebook page and let them know you are having trouble. They have fantastic customer service! They would help you out with getting connected I’m sure. Let me know if you think of any other questions :slight_smile:

We are using TGTL right now with a 4th and 1st grader. I would definitely wait until your oldest is 3rd grade, unless they are done with writing the younger extension by then. Right now all they have are book suggestions. We’ve enjoyed using My Father’s World for the younger grades if you’re looking for something else.

Thank you for your input. I had looked into MFW but dismissed it, but now that I’m looking at Trail Guides, I’ll look through it again. :slight_smile: