Tapestry of Grace - Great but not for everyone
(Woodinville WA USA)
Product: Tapestry of Grace Year 1
Subject: Unit study
Levels Used: Lower Grammar and Upper Grammar
Dates Used: 2009-present (I perused it for over a year before diving in)
I was so excited about Tapestry that I pulled it out to show my good friend. She expressed a desire to have all her kids studying the same point in history so I suggested she look at my books. Her first comment upon seeing the teacher's notes was "You mean I have to read all that every week? I don't want to learn it all again. I just want my kids to do it."
One thing you have to understand about this curriculum that is really crucial before buying is that the author meant for you to use this tool to disciple your children. You are intended to be the teacher of your children, not the administrator of the school. This is not something you can open up Monday morning, turn to page 1, and start teaching.
The author says in her opening notes to the parents that in order to teach and not administrate, you must first learn. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Which means you've got to get into the teacher notes, flip through the books your child will be reading, and really understand the week's history before you can be an effective teacher of that history. There are plenty of helps along the way but you do have to take seriously the responsibility to be that teacher before you hit Monday morning. Otherwise you will be frustrated, feel completely lost in the curriculum, and be ready to quit. In the introduction, it's mentioned you're looking at about 2 hrs. of planning per week and I've certainly found that to be true.
All that being said, I'm thrilled with Tapestry of Grace. I have always loved being a teacher, not just handing out worksheets and grading worksheets so this is right up my alley. I won't restate all the wonderful things about Tapestry that have already been said. They are all very true but please, do understand if you're looking at this curriculum that you're looking at an investment of time. It is not overwhelming once you get the hang of how the curriculum flows and how to pick and choose for your family. The time spent is well worth the effort when it comes to the lasting impact on your children. But if you're like my friend and don't want to learn it all again and would rather spend your time cleaning your house, look elsewhere. This one isn't for you.
If you're not sure, take advantage of the three week sample on the website.
Dislikes: I do think they could improve the geography section a bit. They haven't listed specific sources for the map work you are to do week to week. The students activity sheets list out the different things they are to label on their maps. The teacher prints out the maps but then you're kind of in the dark. Mostly Tapestry has recommended three different atlas books for the students to look through but you never quite know if you'll find what you're looking for or not or how many you'll have to page through to find it.
Most people in the younger grades let their children just copy the teacher's map from the Map Aids disc to avoid frustrations. From what I understand, this is a difficulty with the ancient history and isn't so bad with the later history.
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