Tapestry of Grace - We love it!
(Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Tapestry of Grace is an award-winning, multi-level, integrated, 4-year, classics-based, Christian curriculum for the whole family. This curriculum covers the humanities: history, church history, literature, geography, fine arts, government, philosophy, and writing & composition. All you need add is math, science, and perhaps a foreign language.
If you are familiar with The Well-Trained Mind, Tapestry of Grace (TOG) fits perfectly into that Classical style of homeschooling, with each period of history covered in a 4-year cycle repeated throughout the 12 years of school in an increasingly detailed manner.
Learning levels are divided into Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric stages, according to the Classical philosophy.
We started by sampling a unit - Year 3 Unit 3: Nations Uniting and Dividing. The download of the Digital Edition consisted of 3 easy steps, which has now been streamlined even more into a one-step process. TOG is divided into the following sections:
- THREADS consists of the objectives and goals of study for the week, viewed across all levels of the program. Each Learning Level is colour-coded, to make it easy to see at a glance which level you are viewing on the page.
- READING ASSIGNMENTS includes both a primary resource page, and an alternate list in case you can't find the primary resources in the library, or if you want to delve deeper into the subject matter.
- WEEKLY OVERVIEW PAGES is a checklist, which includes all of the assignments for the week, including vocabulary words, things to add to your timeline, and important people to learn about.
- WRITING ASSIGNMENTS include writing assignments from writing paragraphs, to writing plays, for each grade level from Gr. 1 through 12.
- STUDENT ACTIVITY PAGES include worksheets, questions, and assignments for the students, and accountability and thinking questions for older students.
- PAGEANT OF PHILOSOPHY is a fantastic part of Tapestry of Grace that I'm looking forward to working through with my children when they are high school age. Major philosophies through history are explored in play format.
- TEACHER'S NOTES which are absolutely exhaustive, and include excerpts from The World Book Encyclopedia.
Supplements include extra information, maps, and templates for projects.
- THE LOOM is available either online or as a companion CD. I found this to be one of the most important parts of the curriculum, especially the Supporting Links section, which included links for activities and readings that are mentioned in the Assignments and Overview pages.
- POP QUIZ CD We also received the Pop Quiz CD for Year 3 Unit 3. Although designed for the Homeschool Dad to be involved with the kids through summaries and quiz cards, we found it very useful to listen to the CD as a family for an overview of the material we were about to study for the week. The narrator is conversational and easy to listen to for kids and adults alike.
My son being in Grade 4, focused on the Upper Grammar level of the program, with my 5 year old daughter joining in here and there with some Lower Grammar activities and books. Our Unit started with studying "Westerners in Asia". We had a terrific time learning about China and Japan. Both my children enjoyed learning how to write some Chinese characters, sampling some Chinese food, making origami, and reading absorbing books such as "Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy". Even I learned a whole bunch and thoroughly enjoyed myself. We then continued on to learn about the Crimean War, the Civil War, the Plains Indian Wars, and finished the 9 weeks of the Unit by learning about inventors such as Bell, Pasteur, and Edison. I myself found Tapestry of Grace easy to use - I would spend a bit of time each Sunday looking over the coming week and printing out about half a dozen student pages, etc. Unit Celebrations
are one of the best parts of TOG! Instructions and suggestions are included in the Introduction of each Unit for organizing one. In general, the children's work is displayed and presentations are prepared for an audience of their father and/or other family and friends. If you'd like to take a peek of what a Unit Celebration might look like, check out this site: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/teacupsinthegarden/620265/ - I just love what this mother has done with her children - what fun.
Although many people claim that Tapestry of Grace is only for those homeschooling MANY children, I have found it works beautifully for the two that I have and I enjoy learning the same basic subject matter with both children at the same time. I have also found that it helps me keep on task in our homeschool, and keeps subjects like History and Geography from falling off our schedule. Some of the books we've read as a result of Tapestry of Grace are real gems that I know I wouldn't have picked up from the library otherwise. The creator of Tapestry of Grace is a homeschool mom of several children and she suggests that the best time to begin using the curriculum is when your eldest child is in Grade 5.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to review Tapestry of Grace. We have found a curriculum that we'll be using for the rest of our homeschooling years. After sampling the one unit, I went ahead and bought TOG Year 1 in the fall of 2009.
Being a digital product, TOG is non-resaleable and non-returnable, but you can download a free sample of TOG (does not include The Loom) to see what it's all about. In general, the following choices are available for ordering TOG, but do also check the particular year you are ordering, as specials are available for certain ones:
- Individual Unit
- Year Plan
- Year Plan + Print package: (it might not be a bad idea for brand new users of TOG to order the Year in print in addition to the DE unless you're very computer savvy)
- Year Plan + bonuses: - includes Map Aids and two of the following of your choice - Writing Aids, Lapbook Kits, Evaluations (Tests), Pop Quiz
- Pop Quiz: CD set for one Unit OR for the whole Year set of CD's.