Tapestry of Grace is another history-centered approach to classical education. It was born when a homeschooling mother, trying desperately to give her six children an excellent education, found herself overwhelmed.
After some thought, prayer, and deliberation, she realized that using what she knew (history) could be a unifying theme for all her children and most of the subjects within her homeschool.
Tapestry of Grace
Tapestry of Grace is the program my family uses combined with elements of The Well-Trained Mind. It’s been a wonderful fit for us. History, literature, writing, fine arts, and worldview/Bible studies for all my children from kindergarten to 12th grade are combined into one plan.
Each week’s plan includes suggested reading assignments for each level, individual projects, group projects, possible movies to watch, and much more.
As you look through the grades and stages below, you’ll notice an overlap. That’s because kids don’t progress from stage to stage evenly. Some are ready early and other kids need another year to mature.
Lower Grammar (K-3rd grade)
Tapestry of Grace breaks the grammar stage into two sections. The first is the lower grammar stage where we have our young children who can’t read.
Phonics, handwriting, and math take priority over history, science, and fine arts. But we don’t want to skip these subjects either. They’re the dessert after the work, the fun to inspire them.
Suggest memory work is provided… specifically people, historical events, and vocabulary the children should know. Literature terminology is gently introduced in preparation for the dialect and rhetoric stages.
Upper Grammar (3rd – 6th grade)
Upper grammar is sometimes called the golden years. The children read well and love stories. You can hand them book after book after book and let them absorb the stories, tales, and knowledge.
On the other hand, they’re not ready for in-depth discussions analyzing and critiquing events. Tapestry of Grace schedules many good books and fun projects for these years and continues the gentle introduction to vocabulary and literary terminology.
Dialectic (6th – 9th grade)
The dialectic stage is when Tapestry of Grace begins assigning accountability and thinking questions to the children. A discussion outline to guide parents through teaching beginning analysis and critiques to their children is included.
Children are expected to think about what they’ve read, analyze it, and consider further ramifications. They are no longer allowed to simply read and absorb information.
The discussion outlines and teacher’s notes are pure gold at this point. The teacher’s notes give you the background information you need to well-versed in what the children are studying.
The discussion outline guides you through the Socratic method of questions and answers. While suggested answers are given, you’re also expected to add to the discussion from the wealth of experience you have.
Rhetoric (9th – 12th grade)
The rhetoric stage is similar to the dialectic stage in many respects with accountability and thinking questions assigned. Teenagers are expected to read, critique, and apply the lessons to their own life. To consider the implications of people’s actions on history.
The discussion format is the same as the dialectic level, but the questions require deeper thinking from the teenagers. They are also to analyze and consider what this means for their own lives. What type of people do they wish to become?
Literature in Tapestry of Grace is thorough with an overview of the Great Books over the 4 years of the Tapestry of Grace cycle. Year 1 begins with students reading literature from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Hebrews. Year 4 includes classics such as Fahrenheit 451, I Robot, and To Kill a Mocking Bird.
Tapestry of Grace suggests a study of Latin but recommends beginning Latin later than the other approaches, closer to 7th grade rather than 3rd grade.
The best feature of Tapestry of Grace for my family is the K-Mom approach. Reading assignments are given for children from kindergarten through the 12 grade. The teacher’s notes summarizing the reading for busy moms are included.
For those families who want more, there are many co-ops around the county. Tapestry of Grace even has a virtual co-op available through the internet.
The history cycle is different from The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. Year 1 is the same. Year 2 races through the time period from the fall of Rome to 1800. Year 3 meanders through 1800-1900. Year 4 studies the time period from 1900-present.
Tapestry of Grace has been a blessing to my family over the last 4 years.
Read more of the 5 Approaches to Classical Education posting this week: