Tapestry of Grace Review
Product: Tapestry of Grace
Subject: Unit Study
Levels Used: lower grammer (1st grade)
Dates Used: Sept. 08-present
Tapestry of Grace is a hands-on, history based curriculum written with a biblical foundation. Although my daughter is considered a first grader by her age, she is above the first grade in reading, composition and other areas as well. Tapestry of Grace has fit these needs. Each year is designed to teach at 4 levels of learning, which are very broad. When my daughter exceeds at a level, in, lets say writing, I can easily give her an assignment on the next level by referring to the writing assignment pages and looking at the assignments in the next level up.
The heart of Tapestry of Grace is History, however, it also includes composition, fine arts, geography, Literature and for upper levels, government, bible survey, philosophy as well as the preceding subjects. It is a 4-year program which is repeated and is in more depth when the child returns to it again. It is designed to allow me to begin in whichever year I choose and it not effect the stage my child is in. For example, my now 3-year old son will be joining us using Tapestry when he is a Kindergartener (age 5). My daughter will be in Year 3 of the Tapestry program at that time, however, my son can easily join in without be affected by missing anything from previous years. After all, he will learn it eventually. Year 1 will begin for him at age 7 and my daughter will begin her second time with year one at age 10. But she will have a deeper understanding and learn at a level that is more in depth then the first time it was introduced (at 6 years of age).
Also, this makes it much easier to teach multiple children at multiple levels. They are doing the same assignments on the same topics, only at different levels. It is nice to not have to buy and re-buy new workbooks for each child in your homeschool. In this curriculum, there are no workbooks. We teach from living books and some textbooks. There are a few worksheets included to accompany some book suggestions, but that is the extent of it. There are weekly writing assignments to characterize the content that further expound on the narration of the material understood by the child. There are also weekly hands-on projects, an ongoing time-line project (older students), mapwork and other in-depth means of learning and retaining what is presented each week. Each of these are taught precisely and carefully. There are plenty of resources available for us, the teachers to present the content AND to learn what we present. Tapestry of Grace provides me with many of these and offers suggestions for others.
There are many things I love about Tapestry of Grace and I will share a few of them here.
First, I love that it is hands-on. Before using Tapestry of Grace, my daughter was working from workbooks, and at a fast rate, I assure you! She could sit at the table with a workbook which was to be completed in two weeks time, and have it finished (correctly) in about an hour. My daughter loves to work with her hands doing crafts, painting, drawing, writing stories, using manipulatives, etc. The workbooks weren't enough of a challenge and pretty much stifled the learning process for her. Tapestry of Grace opened up a whole new world for both of us. It works as a giant unit study! It's wonderful!
Secondly, I love that Tapestry of Grace has four levels of learning to enable me to teach multiple children with ease. Even now, trying to gather things for my 3-year old to do (as a preschooler) is a challenge because of having to care for 2 younger siblings. There are not enough hours in the day to prepare so much! And what would I do when all my children become school age? This is beautifully laid out in an order that I will be able to teach each child side by side and not have to prepare 4 different lesson plans.
Lastly, I love how all the information is put there right for you and the planning is all done. Now, this doesn't necessarily take away the time needed to read and understand the material I will be presenting or teaching. But it has all the footwork done for me. Any books that I will need are listed, along with supplements, writing assignments are there and explained, etc. Sometimes they offer so much to do in a week, I need to pick what's best for us and just leave the rest! That's what they encourage me, the teacher, to do; especially working with a younger child. They don't expect, (nor encourage) that our young children will master all the material right now. The focus for our young children is reading, writing, and math, and hands-on fun!
Now, usually with every great product, there is at least one aspect of it that doesn't make it "the perfect fit". The one downside to this curriculum is that it does not include the base subjects of math, science, or grammar. These are parts of the curriculum that I needed to supplement, however, it was not hard to do. Tapestry of Grace gives great suggestions on the best programs for these subjects.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with this curriculum thus far.