Thursday, April 19, 2012

Midwest Parent Educators Conference

This weekend I have the honor of representing Tapestry of Grace at the Midwest Parent Educators Conference.  If you happen to be there, please stop by and say hello!  If you can't make it, check out the Tapestry of Grace page here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tapestry of Grace Review

What it is: A classical curriculum for studying History, Bible, and the humanities. 

How we use it: This year (our 1st with TOG), we are using the hybrid (print and digital edition) version of Year 1 including the Lapbooks, Pop Quiz and Map Aids.  Our children are ages 12, 8 and 6 (times 2).  They fall into the Dialectic, Upper Grammar and Lower Grammar levels.  We recently adopted one of our  6-year-olds. He speaks very little English and mostly listens to our conversations and read-alouds at this point.

Why we chose it:  I wanted a curriculum that we could do together rather than having each child studying something different for each subject.  With this in mind, I wanted something that challenged all of our kids, especially the older ones and incorporated our religious beliefs throughout the lessons.  While at a homeschool conference, we ran across the TOG booth and my husband was immediately drawn to this curriculum that offered him the opportunity to be involved in our daily lessons and met all of my desires.

What I think about it:  It took me longer than I expected to fully own this curriculum.  I wasn’t overwhelmed at first because I didn’t realize all that was available to me.  I simply copied the student pages, printed the maps, assigned the reading and discussed the materials with my kids throughout the week.   After a few weeks, I began to dig and find the plethora of resources available on the loom and through the Tapestry of Grace Yahoo groups.  This wealth of information did overwhelm me and it took me another few weeks to remember the first rule of teaching: you don’t have to do it all and, actually, you and your children will go crazy if you try. 

Now that we are near the end of the third unit, I am thoroughly enjoying teaching with Tapestry of Grace.  Our entire family is learning a great deal of history and putting pieces together to connect the random knowledge we have learned until now.  I would also say that more learning is taking place with this curriculum that presents material chronologically and woven across the disciplines.  I have learned a few tidbits along the way (probably enough worthy of another post).  Every Friday, I set aside some time to place holds on library books for our studies 2 weeks out.  This gives our library enough time to get the books from other branches if needed and I can go in the following Friday to pick up the books.  I also use Netflix and supplement with movies (very good for our English learner).

I have also used this curriculum to develop other skills.  My oldest daughter likes to act and my middle daughter has speech problems.  They work through the Pageant of Philosophy (with help) and perform it for the younger two.  To improve our culinary skills, we often prepare a meal appropriate for that week’s lessons.  In addition, my oldest daughter teaches one of the art activities each week to her siblings. 

What my kids think about it:  They enjoy the history and appreciate that they learn from literature and a variety of sources rather than a textbook.  They also enjoy the ability to do their assignments together. Although they didn’t mention this when asked, I often overhear the older kids yelling such things as “Hey did you know….” or “Wow, this is cool!” as they read their assignments.  That speaks volumes. 

What my husband thinks about it:  He thoroughly enjoys listening to the Pop Quiz and sharing the teaching with me.  However, he listens to the CDs in the car and often has to go back to listen again so he can write down Scripture references.  He would like a resource that offers notes to coordinate with the Pop Quiz information.  Also, there are weeks when I take the lessons in one direction the Pop Quiz takes him in a completely different direction.  He would like for me to know, in general, what he will be hearing on the Pop Quiz so the kids can be better prepared for their discussions with him.

The bottom line:  We will definitely be continuing with Tapestry of Grace next year (and the next few years after that).  This is a curriculum that meets the needs of our family and everyone enjoys it.  In my dream world, they would add science and character supplements (hint, hint).

Just last week, the two older kids finished their 4-week writing project: writing and performing a play. They poured their hearts into this play, complete with costumes, light effects, props and their two younger siblings acting.
Check it out for yourself at

Time4Learning Upcoming Review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning's online education program for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience! Find out how to write your own curriculum review.