How to Plan Tapestry of Grace for Multiple Ages and Levels

In my continuing series on teaching multiple ages, today I share with you how to plan Tapestry of Grace. Even if you don’t use Tapestry, many of these planning tips can be applied to teaching an age range in general. Join me…
I think the biggest learning curve with Tapestry of Grace is finding what works best for your family. Opening up that year plan full of a wonderful amount of information and a long list of resources can be overwhelming. Give yourself a grace period of settling into a Tapestry of Grace plan that works best for you – and in learning how to use that plan. Be easy on yourself. But, you, as the teacher should always continue discovering how to best use Tapestry for your family.

How in the world do you plan Tapestry of Grace (TOG) for all levels? Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric?

Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can share how I do it. I will share the steps, the thought process I follow – especially now that I am well into teaching all of those levels together.

A basic Tapestry of Grace schedule helps

Make Tapestry of Grace part of your days. Especially with multiple ages, tather than thinking of TOG as something separate to do, you must build in those times naturally. Often we enjoy learning a little more learning with our One More Thing After Lunch, by listening to a Pop Quiz in the car, or even reading at bedtime. Read while younger ones nap. Read while they are up and all over the place playing. Have a busy child work on a lap book while you read aloud.

One basic schedule that helped me (and still does) when we started was:

  • Monday – history core reading
  • Tuesday – literature
  • Wednesday – writing
  • Thursday – geography
  • Friday – arts and activities

This schedule helps me just to sort of mentally check off those subjects. Of course we are likely still doing independent history reading other days too. And tweaking and finishing writing assignments.

Consider learning styles

Scan the offerings and pick the assignments and activities you know your child will learn best from. As long as I gather the supplies and plan for my Middle Girl to create a display board and do as many arts and activities as possible, I know she will learn so much. Lapbooks meet her needs as well. Audio books for my auditory learner, stacks of books for my visual learner.

Tapestry books

Here’s the big one for us. Get as many of the suggested TOG books as possible – for all ages – from the library. Reserve even those from the alternate list, another search on the same topic. Have them available, within sight. You’ll be surprised at how many times those books are picked up and read or how it reminds YOU to read aloud. Having them right there will encourage your children to pick them up.

Just having the books in the house helps us get to the reading. Often I can’t find the ones suggested so I go to the alternate list or even do a general search at the library on the topic. I also look at what books suggested cover all the age range – and lean heavily into those.

Pick read alouds – literature – that will span your age range. Rather than trying to read aloud a selection for each age group, pick one you know will be a core history learning resource. Stick with it. Make it the bedtime reading each night.

Plan Tapestry days for all your ages together

Look at your calendar – mark out Tapestry days. Those days you are staying home all day. Plan the family projects for these days. Or just plan to gather around the couch and enjoy read alouds. Sometimes the best way to accomplish something is just to commit to a full day. A great example of this is the days I marked off for our recent salt dough map of the 13 colonies. A few more planning tips:

  • Use the planner YOU like. That’s the secret of my success. I use those columns of Tapestry plans and make them work for me.
  • Pick one, giant family project to work on along the way or work towards.
  • Add needed supplies to your grocery list. That way you can pick up things for learning while you are already out. No need for special trips.
  • Do a lap book together as a family as review of your unit
  • Make sure to enjoy the movie suggestions too! Especially those appropriate for the whole family. These times open up so much discussion.

Dialectic and Rhetoric

Have a weekly meeting with your older TOGers. One of the beautiful things about Tapestry of Grace is how the assignments grow your children and develop their independent learning styles. Have your older students write in assignments in their planners – or whatever form of assigning you prefer. Keep in touch with your older students throughout the week. Touch base again with another meeting on Friday.

Tapestry of Grace helps to build independent learners. I’ve seen this more and more in my older children. Those wonderful books we’ve enjoyed spark that desire to gain knowledge. My eldest came to me this past week and told me she wanted to read more classics. So, I told her she should pull the Homeschoolers Book of Lists down and take a look at the high school level lists. She did and she reserved a good stack of classics at the library. These are in addition to her regular Tapestry assignments. We aren’t studying the Great Gatsby this year but she finished Fitzgerald last Friday.

Plan to celebrate accomplishments – unit celebration

We have an annual habit of sharing our unit celebration with grandparents at Thanksgiving. The children even throw in the latest piano piece and maybe a short Thanksgiving skit. Celebrating a Good End + New Semester plans and a Thanksgiving Homeschool Celebration.

In summary, remember you can even let some of the reading overflow into the summer. You are not trying to fit every last thing in – enjoy these times of learning together!

More Tapestry and Planning Resources for You

We have had a couple rounds of sickness at our house this month. But we’ve managed to enjoy spurts of learning, reading, playing, walking, painting…

Many thanks to our Friday hostesses!

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I hope my hodgepodge way of planning has been helpful. What are your planning tips for teaching multiple ages?

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children – preschoolers to high schoolers. 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. I am going to sit down with this post and really go through it later ~ looks like I could gain a lot from your wisdom with this, Tricia. As my kids grow we are needing to change and Tapestry of Grace is always on my short list of things to look at!

    Thanks for linking with CF!

  2. Good advise from an experienced (and successful) teacher. We use many of the same methods, and I never realized it.
    Sorry to hear that sickness has made the rounds at your house. Hope all are feeling good and strong very soon!
    All Things Beautiful recently posted..Our Homeschool Weekly Report, November 9-15, week 11My Profile

  3. We use Tapestry of Grace and I love it! You are right in that it did take a little bit of time to find our groove, but once we found it we have not slowed down!! The kids love the reading and all the activities!!
    Kay @C2C recently posted..HMJ: The Renaissance and Early ExplorationMy Profile

  4. Great post. We use TOG and I just love it!!
    Mary recently posted..Third Grade – Art of the Full Time WeekMy Profile

  5. What a great picture of TOG learning! You did a great job showing how all the aspects fit together and how you make it work in your family. I love that you can customize the learning to whatever level the children are ready for…or interested in.

    :)
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom recently posted..Nurturing a Project Learning EnvironmentMy Profile

  6. Yes, yes, yes! Wonderful post, girl!

    We use Sonlight Curriculum with multiple ages, and I do many of these same things. This is a very useful post to someone who is trying to wrap their brain around how to make literature-based learning work in a multi-age family.

    Thanks for linking it up to HomeSchool HIgh! {Yes, I’m super late.} :)
    Connie, the daisyhead recently posted..Apologia Biology Labs~ Module 6 {HomeSchool High Link-Up}My Profile

  7. Hi!! We will begin using TOG next year, but I have already begun to plan for Unit 1 of Year 2 that we will begin in the fall. I have not come across any movie suggestions!! Am I totally missing something??? I have not seen anything listed in the curriculum specifically!! Can you point me in the right direction???
    Kellye recently posted..How The Shopping Goes Around Here!!My Profile

    • Hi Kellye, You are one smart gal to be planning and getting acquainted with TOG now for the fall! As far as movies, they are not included in every single week and it is according to the year plan and level. I’ve noticed more suggestions in the alternate resources for the older levels. So, maybe scan all the columns and see what might apply to your family. That’s what I do!
      Hodgepodgemom recently posted..How to Savor Parenting: Three StepsMy Profile

  8. Thank you so much for your reply!!!! Planning is one my favorite things to do, so Im not sure how smart I am, but I know I am excited!!!! I am going to scan the columns now!!! Thanks again!! I cannot wait to begin!!!

    Kellye

  9. We are using Tapestry and now that I have a LG, UG, and D student, I am finding out just how good it is for multiple ages and levels. The older kids can do so much on their own, and it’s fun for us all to compare readings and activities over meals.
    Jeremy recently posted..Number Line Addition Game with DiceMy Profile

  10. I’ve been holding on the Y1U1 for almost 4 years!!! I’ve been scared and a whiny baby about diving into it! I pulled it all out (well…the resources that I started gathering 4 years ago) and am mentally preparing for our Fall start up.
    I think that I’ve proven to NOT be good at “winging” it in our education choices. I’ve been fly by the seat of my pants long enough to know what isn’t working for our family. Diligence is what I’ve lacked and I wont take it anymore!
    Thank you for this post and the showing that even though it does take planning, it doesn’t have to be hard!
    Kela Nellums recently posted..Running to Meet HimMy Profile

    • Kela – someday I want to meet you in person and hug your neck. Anytime I see you online I just love what you have to say. Yes, sometimes we have to just get over it and jump in. I tell you that is the very best way of ‘trying on’ TOG. I suggest you do that. Even take a total detour in what you are doing now this spring. Or over the summer. And try it. It really doesn’t have to be hard. Reserving those books at the library happens about once a month. The weekly ‘meetings’ help us stay somewhat on track. (I still love the schedule of one year of TOG spread out over two years). Anyway, I go on. We just had an awesome couple of Tapestry days and I am smiling about it – and your comment. Stay in touch and let me know what you think when you dig in deeper.

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