Saturday, June 25, 2016

Tapestry of Grace INCREASES in value throughout the years!

After 8 years of using Tapestry of Grace, I am so thrilled that I chose this classical education and curriculum for my family.  It has been a perfect fit because it is SO FLEXIBLE to work in any situation.  I will use the life of our children to try to accurately paint the picture for you to see this amazing curriculum.

STARTING OUT:  ages 3, 5, & 7 LG
As a newer homeschool mom, I also had young kids being raised in a foreign country of South Africa.  One destructive diaper girl, and two learners.  I didn't want to use two different year plans with a different company (because they were far apart in their knowledge, that I had to select two different programs).  I LOVED having my kids learn the same things at different levels.  One of the key values that bring our homeschool under one roof (and allows me to not be overwhelmed with too many read alouds).  Also, since I was now schooling a bouncy boy, I needed something with more hands on interactive learning.  Tapestry is FULL of activities that work and are not just useless fill in the worksheets that are just a waste of paper and time.  Since, I still had a toddler and needed to teach when we could (nap times), a co-op was not in my ability to execute.  I needed time to maintain bodily functions.

On the MOVE:  4, 6, 8 Lower Grammar (LG)
Tapestry of Grace was the perfect fit for our traveling missionary family in the USA.  Since most of the weeks there are recommendations for field trips and experimental learning.  We enjoyed not only studying about the Native Americans, but we went to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. We took along the read alouds and had some books and used a journal for the expanded learning.  We could easily add on books from the local library.  In later years, the digital version also was EXTREMELY handy for asking questions at coffee shops and other places while traveling on my IPHONE.

NEEDING OTHERS:  5, 7, 9 LG & Upper Grammar (UG)
God brought together four families in South Africa to have an interactive and varied co-op.  We mostly had all Lower Grammar (LG) and Upper Grammar (UG) students with a few babies in arms. This South African group of talented ladies transformed the mere suggestions into fantastical lessons of learning.  We had Asian Night, Medieval Feast, and Dutch Shadow Puppets with sound effects.  Each week we had shared teaching responsibility and deep friendships from one another.

Transitions:  6, 8, 10  LG/UG
My children didn't follow the normal learning curve, so I really appreciated that it is EASY to go up or even down on the reading levels without the pressure from the other students.  So, each week you can adjust the reading level or amount because Tapestry has the 4 levels of learning.  I remember that even on busy weeks, I can edit the weeks to just the basics if we had too much going on but they kept on learning.

Shakey Middle School:  7, 9, 11 LG/UG/Dialectic (D)
Going into a new level, I was unprepared for the easy of transition into the middle school and more discussion based learning.  I loved having the weekly conversation of "What did you learn?" and allowing the older student to bridge the learning of other cultures into "what should I believe?" It was crazy to dive into a section of Tapestry that I never needed but found out that I loved the History and Literature discussion questions.  Surprisingly, the younger students would often pipe up in the discussion because they were studying the same topic.

Added the first High School student 10, 12, 14 UG/D/Rhetoric (RH)
Adding the scary Rhetoric (high school level), gave me even MORE appreciation for all those teaching notes.  I was able to lead a discussion with the co-op with high schoolers without me reading the books at all.  Also, we took advantage of the Tapestry University on-line writing class to add another element that I hadn't used before.  We were active in a co-op,  we had the older kids join in during the dramas, and helped teach the younger students.

This Past Year:  11, 13, 15 D/RH
In the summer, I took a Tapestry University class called Teacher Training Online on teaching Literature (I am a math brain).  It was such an encouraging class that included a yearlong dialogue with the teacher during the tough years of Tapestry year 2 (medieval literature including Paradise Lost, Dante's Inferno, and Shakespeare).  I felt equipped and loved my three students experience reading these books.

Overall, I appreciate most that Tapestry exposes the students to real life situations and books from all different worldviews.  It doesn't avoid "unchristian" like attitudes, but allows the transparent discussion to evaluate and discern truth.  I love having one intense year in Ancient History including the Bible.  There is much more to love in this program, but I find that as my children grow, the value INCREASES as more of the curriculum is utilized.  I would choose Tapestry again and hope you find the value in this spectacular program.