Tapestry of Grace for The Teacher

Last summer I hosted a Tapestry Tea in my home. Now that this school year is winding up this is the question I am getting…

But I feel overwhelmed by Tapestry of Grace. How do I make it work?

Never have we ever done all of the subjects each week. Tapestry is truly a smorgasbord. When I open that week plan, I zone in on the learning levels for my children and ignore the rest. Even then, depending on the week, we may choose to only tackle the core history assignment. Other weeks, as we are wrapping up a unit, we may concentrate more on the arts and activities, doing assignments and larger projects together as a family.

The beauty of Tapestry is you are given all the resources you need. You can tweak it. But for Mamas that don’t relish this type of freedom, you may need to lean into the lesson plans fully. But I urge you, when you feel overwhelmed, place it all in His capable hands. This is a daily reminder for me as well.

We never finish up each and every assignment for the week.

This curriculum serves you and your needs, matching the season of your life. There is so much to choose from! You don’t have to check it all off. Yet, that is also one of the beautiful benefits of Tapestry. You can tailor it by topic for your family, changing it to your children’s needs, matching the books you already have on your shelf. Dig deep or skim the surface. Rich learning either way.

How I have grown as a homeschool teacher as my children have grown.

A friend remarked to me, “But you are a seasoned scheduler. You know how to relax and handle several children.” Maybe sometimes. But really it’s because of continuing education. It’s because I have grown as a homeschool mom. This reformed box-checker has realized that providing an environment of learning is huge. Tapestry provides those woven threads in our home. Pulling us together to learn, offering learning on each child’s level.

Sometimes homeschooling is more about the teacher learning than the children. We all know our own children best. Here’s a sample timeline of what has worked and currently works for us.

  • When we started with Tapestry – One Upper Grammar student, one Lower Grammar and preschoolers. We stuck to read alouds. We focused on one Tapestry subject a day (Monday – history reading, Tuesday – geography, Wednesday – Writing, Thursday – Literature/Church History, Friday – Arts and Activities)
  • As the children grew, we suddenly had Upper Grammar students transitioning into Dialectic. But guess what I noticed? Tapestry of Grace builds independent learning. So, with a little guidance and Tapestry notebooks all set up, these older students were able to accomplish a great deal on their own.

  • Dialectic students and I started having Tapestry meetings at the start of the week, just to go over assignments, expectations and to talk about what we were learning. Then, those Friday arts and activities times gave us a chance to talk over the books we were reading, the timeline of history we were studying. The writing assignments we had talked about and decided upon on our Writing Wednesdays were due on Fridays as well.
  • As the youngest students grew from preschool into Lower and Upper Grammar, they were used to learning together through read alouds and our activity times together. Having all those Tapestry books in the house, it didn’t feel like school. The children were used to books being within reach and enjoyed them.
  • Guess what? I’m still learning. My two eldest children are just 20 months apart. My eldest will officially be a high schooler in a few short months. But already these older two children have been enjoying Rhetoric level studies and books. Because I know how they learn best. I’ve learned their learning styles.
  • And I’m continuing my education. For encouragement, I turn to those who have gone before me on this high school journey. If you, too, are heading into the high school years with Tapestry, I suggest you draw from the experience of Barb-Harmony Art Mom. She has shared and continues to share her Charlotte Mason high school with Tapestry of Grace. I am also blessed with real-life friends in my homeschool group. A few have shared specific posts about high school at Habits for a Happy Home. I am also collecting resources on my Pinterest homeschooling high school board. I have to keep learning.
  • Yet, I’m prepared. Tapestry of Grace has high school learning planned out for me. It’s there. I just have to step alongside to be sure our state requirements are being met and map out the extras.

Tapestry Makes Great Use of Learning Styles

A portion of my Tapestry of Grace review I’ll share here…Tapestry addresses all our different learning styles:

  • Hands on projects: I have one child that particularly flourishes when she gets to do a book report on a display board. Woven throughout Tapestry assignments are art and activity projects for individual students as well as for the whole family. The lapbook supplements are wonderful for those that enjoy hands on learning as well.
  • Auditory learners – can listen to audio books for literature and history studies. Many of these we borrow from the library.
  • Independent learning – My eldest likes to load up her books and tuck herself off in a corner. There are plenty of opportunities for those that work best on their own – which is the aim for the transition from dialectic (roughly middle school) to rhetoric (high school).

High school with Tapestry and a range of children in every level. That’s what’s next for me as a teacher. I wish I could say to you, here is how you do it. But I can only give examples of what works for us. How we’ve used Tapestry of Grace as a tool for learning in our home. Tapestry of Grace gives you all the resources you need. You need only make this tool work best for you and your family.

I can also offer one easy button. This:

We should make plans, counting on God to direct us. Proverbs 16:9

Need more Tapestry? Please see Our Tapestry of Grace Index.

Do you have Tapestry of Grace questions?

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. Wanda Burkhalter says:

    Hello!

    I homeschool a fifth grade young lady that attends my church.

    I taught intellectually gifted for 30 years and I love reading about others ideas.
    Sharing is vital in all of life’s adventures…certainly education!

  2. HI Tricia.

    I appreciate your website.
    I have struggled with how to homeschool my children for years. I settled for the christian video curriculum because it was structured and “taught” my children all of the subjects. I love the concept of TOG and have friends who love it but…they are very organized and disciplined…I am not. I get overwhelmed at all of the choices and would struggle with what to do on a daily basis. How would I overcome this especially with children ranging from 4 to 10 yrs old?

    Do you ever second guess yourself with whether their education is significant or academically meaningful?

    Thank you.

    Leanne

    • Leanne – I absolutely love Tapestry of Grace for the real learning it offers. The books! Of course I have those second guessing moments. We all do! But then I have a meaningful conversation with my eight-year-old over something she brought up that she learned reading about Abraham Lincoln. And homeschooling is validated yet again. But what is truly the heart of it all is the relationships we’ve built being together and learning together (yes, I’m still continuing my education!). My best advice – if you want to see if Tapestry of Grace will fit for you and your family – is to give the free trial a go. Download it, try it out now. Or over the summer. I have shared sample schedules and how ToG works best for my family. But you truly just have to try it yourself to see how it works best for you. Reserve the pile of books at the library and pick one to read aloud together. Pick one of the arts or hands on activities to do. You don’t have to do each and every thing. ToG offers MORE than you will ever be able to do. If you zone in on the assignments for your ages – you will find your groove. Of course the three Rs are first and then ToG after that… I hope I’ve been of some help! Here’s the link to the free samples: http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/sample/

  3. Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience
    With TOP! This Fall will be my 2nd year homeschooling. We will have
    A 3rd and 1st grader, pre-k and toddler. I really like the idea of a unit study but am also
    A bit anxious about jumping into something new:-/
    What curriculum do you recommend
    For the subjects TOP doesn’t cover (math, science and grammar)? Are the map extras and writing aids
    And all the extras necessary? Feeling overwhelmed! Thank you!!!!

    • Laura – my best advice is to head over to the Tapestry of Grace website, download and try the free three week trial. I did that over one summer – at an easy pace, just trying things out. And it helped me to see how it would work for our family. Remember that the lower grammar years the main focus should be reading, writing and arithmetic. History, science, nature walks, art at this age are all the wonderful icing on the cake.

      For math, science and grammar I have my recommendations listed here: http://www.hodgepodge.me/tag/curriculum-2013-2014/ But basically we go with Saxon Math through 3rd grade. We start Rod and Staff English in 2nd grade. A Reason for Handwriting for K and up. Spelling Workout in 1st or 2nd grade. We did not start a formal science program until 3rd grade and love Answers in Genesis: God’s Design For… series which is a unit study approach for the whole family. Easy, read aloud approach. We have also found a love for Apologia’s Exploring Creation series too! Before 3rd grade we enjoyed nature studies and continue those even now.

      Are the extras – map and writing aids – necessary? My first year with Tapestry of Grace I did not have the extras and found that I could hop on the Tapestry site and browse the resource links for maps and graphic organizers for writing.

      Take some time to get to know Tapestry – try out that free trial. Give yourself some ‘easing into it’ time this summer. You will know if it is right for you! And congratulations on heading into a second year of homeschooling!!

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