What Happened When We Switched to Tapestry of Grace
Sometimes life takes a surprising turn.
The Tapestry of Grace Curriculum sponsored this post. In the interest of disclosure, I purchased all 4-year plans of Tapestry of Grace, and I’m in my 7th year of using Tapestry of Grace with my own children. This is my story. All opinions are my own honest opinions.
The summer my oldest was starting 9th grade, I was determined to finally do The Well-Trained Mind right. After studying every chapter pertaining to the rhetoric stage, I ordered the books and mentally prepped myself for high school.
We Struggled to Homeschool
But I worried about my younger kids. A couple of years before I’d separated the kids in history. So now my oldest had just finished the modern era and was ready to restart with the ancients with History of the Ancient World.
Another kid had just finished studying the Fall of Rome. A third was in the middle of the crusades and the fourth was at the Mayflower.
History was driving me crazy! Did I say crazy, I mean absolutely batty. Separating the kids in history wasn’t making life any easier.
And two kids were struggling readers. They loathed the reading assignments their curriculum gave. I had to fight them for every page they read!
I don’t like reading. I won’t read. And you can’t make me read!
So I’d spent the previous year with a baby on the hip, chasing a 1 yo around the house, and begging my preteens to read another page. I thought I was going crazy.
And despite my preparation that summer, I was terrified I would fail my oldest. The resources recommended by The Well-trained Mind didn’t have much hand-holding involved.
Homeschooling four kids with two toddlers in the house is a recipe for disaster!
It was going to be a challenging year.
Finally, I decided to scrap all my plans and tossed it all into the round file a couple of weeks before we started the new school year.
We would use the Tapestry of Grace curriculum instead.
Tapestry of Grace Curriculum
Tapestry of Grace follows a 4-year cycle, but not the one recommended by The Well-Trained Mind. Instead, the cycle is as follows:
- Year 1: Ancients
- Year 2: Fall of Rome – 1800
- Year 3: 1800-1900
- Year 4: 1900-present
As you can see Year 2 of Tapestry of Grace begins at the Fall of Rome and does a sprint through the crusades, the Mayflower, and the Colonial Period before ending in 1800. And let me tell you the year is a sprint! However, I love the extra time to really dig deep into modern history over the next two years.
But Year 2 of Tapestry of Grace was perfect for combining the younger three kids. No child would repeat an entire year of history and by January everyone would be into new material.
I’d have discussion questions and worksheets. And Tapestry includes more than just one or two subjects. Take a look at this list!
- Church History
Everything is planned for me.
But if I was combining the youngest three, why not toss my oldest into the equation and truly make life simple! After all, Tapestry is designed for grades K through Mom, and I’d have the hand-holding I needed.
So that’s what I did. We started Tapestry of Grace Year 2 that fall. And I still have a box of unused high school materials stashed in the basement.
What Happened Next Was Amazing
They say Tapestry of Grace doesn’t work for struggling readers. I’m here to tell you they’re wrong.
Tapestry has the kids reading out of several books each week. So instead of scheduling 20 pages out of one book, the kids had 5 pages to read in 4 different books. It was still 20 pages, but a hidden 20 pages!
The kids looked at 5 pages and felt good. They could read 5 pages!
So my struggling readers stopped fighting the reading assignments. And once the kids started to read regularly, their reading improved. Did I say improved, it skyrocketed!
By Christmas break, we were still on schedule. My oldest was challenged and enjoying the studies. My two struggling readers had blossomed. And my little 3rd grader wasn’t being forgotten in the craziness. I even had time to enjoy being a mom of two sweet and adorable toddlers.
Tapestry of Grace was the answer my homeschool needed!
That Was 7 Years Ago
Since then my two oldest children have graduated high school and headed off to college. They love college life. Tapestry of Grace prepared them well for future studies.
Now I have a 12th grader and a 9th grader at home using Tapestry of Grace at the rhetoric level. And those two little tots have transformed into little 1st and 2nd graders.
Tapestry of Grace continues to be a good fit for my family.
We study literature in the context of history. The teens read All’s Quiet on the Western Front while they studied World War 1. It gave a descriptive and graphic view of life in the trenches.
After reading about the Soviet Revolution, the teens read Animal Farm. They loved matching the characters with the actual historical figures! I listened to their commentary for days. Although my favorite moment was the day my daughter looked up laughing,
Mom, those pigs truly act like PIGS!
We studied the 1920’s and read The Great Gatsby.
At the same time, my little 2nd grader curls up with her lower grammar history books. She read and reread the DK Readers version of The Story of Anne Frank. And we laughed together through You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Secret Agent During World War II.
And as I finished discussing World War 2 with my high school teenagers, I’m grateful yet again for what Tapestry of Grace has brought to my homeschool.
Sanity, order, and an excellent classical education for my children.
Hello! Found you in the blogging homeschoolers FB group. We’re on year 5 of TOG and looking forward to using it for high school. It’s so much easier to keep everyone in the same year of history! I have 7. I read some of the older kids’ books out loud and they absorb a ton of information that way.
Reading the older kids’ books out loud is a great way of keeping everyone on the same page! I love using TOG for high school. It’s guided my kids and given them an excellent education!
Thank you for this blog! It was very encouraging. If it wasn’t for our co-op and audio books we wouldn’t even have history and science. I’m super excited to start ToG year 4 next year.
I am wondering about Civics and Government. Is this included in year 3 or 4?
Government is included in all 4-year plans at the Rhetoric level. Students follow the development of government through the centuries. Civics is folded into the American History lessons. As an example, Year 3 Week 1 includes readings from Our Living Constitution. That same week, the Government elective includes reading and discussing the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. 🙂
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