Posts filed under ‘tapestry of grace’

a review of Tapestry of Grace: all about using TOG with my little ones

When my oldest was in kindergarten and I was teaching him how to read, I was planning ahead for the future. I knew I wanted a literature based curriculum rather than just a pile of textbooks. I knew I wanted something that was both classical and Christian. As I looked at a few programs that fit this description, I kept coming back to Tapestry of Grace. I thought about it for a year, visited the website every once in awhile, and asked my friend who was already using it a few questions. Then I took the plunge and bought my classic Tapestry which I have since upgraded to the new and improved re-designed.

what I love about Tapestry now that I’ve been using it for 3 years

  • I like that for each week, the book lists for different levels are side by side so I can easily choose a literature book from a higher learning level for my son to read.
  • Elementary is divided into two stages–lower and upper.
  • The books have been ones that I would choose. The staff at Tapestry has done all the footwork for me in tracking down wonderful resources so I don’t have to weed through a bunch of lesser quality books. Tapestry chooses living books instead of twaddle.
  • The student activity pages (SAPs) vary in format so my children get practice in different skills like multiple choice, matching, crossword puzzles, word searches, and short answers. Plus, SAPs are quick and easy to print from my computer using the CD or to photocopy from my year plan. I can put everything for one week (or the whole unit) into a folder for my kids to use.
  • Writing Aids is a wonderful reference book with CD which my children and I will use now through high school. The pre-writing worksheets help in the writing process and the teaching tips are helpful. Even my husband–who is a professional journalist/editor–was impressed with Writing Aids.
  • There is a wonderful online community of other users in the forums and yahoo support groups. I can’t tell you how many great ideas I get from the ladies on the loose threads list (one of the yahoo groups) including planning ideas, sample schedules, making notebooks for each child, and lively discussion about page protectors, plus plenty of fun off-topic things like sharing prayer requests and recipes.
  • mapaids-y1.jpgI am so thankful for the map aids. All the maps for each year are on one CD so I don’t have to go searching for them online or in various atlases. The menu on the CD shows the maps for different levels for each week. All I have to do is click on the maps I want and then print them out and put them in the folder with the activity pages. Very handy!
  • The teacher’s notes contain a “heads-up” of content in certain books that some parents may find inappropriate for their children.

reasons I chose Tapestry for my homeschool

First and most importantly, Tapestry of Grace is a Christian curriculum where the teacher’s notes show the hand of God throughout history.

Secondly, it is based on the classical model of learning, so my children will study the same period of history three times–just at different learning levels. For example, we started with the ancients in 1st grade, then we’ll roll back around to the ancients in 5th and then again in the 9th grade.

Another reason I chose Tapestry is because my children will all be at the same period in history. That appealed to me with my growing family. It makes planning and teaching simpler and more efficient. As the years pass and I’m teaching four or more children, it will definitely be great to have everyone studying the same thing.

I find the design of the curriculum very handy. There are 4 year plans. Each year plan has 4 units. Each unit has 9 weeks which simplifies the 180 day school year. If the year weren’t broken down into units, we wouldn’t have the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing something nearly as often.

benefits of using TOG with lower elementary

A thought bouncing around on various homeschooling forums is that Tapestry is not suited for lower grammar aged kids. I disagree. It is true that the first few years of school, the emphasis in teaching will be in character development and learning to read, print, and do arithmetic.

By using Tapestry with my young children, I am learning how to use this curriculum and I’ll know it better by the time my kids reach middle school and high school– or to use the classical ed terms, the dialectic and rhetoric levels of learning. Plus, the books my kids read from Tapestry’s book lists are delightful and informative.

Story of the World, a very popular homeschooling resource for elementary age children is listed as one of the alternative resources. In other words, SOTW has been broken down week by week with the pages corresponding with the TOG plan.

A lot of moms describe Tapestry as the dessert for younger kids, and the main course for older kids. Because I’m partial to dessert, TOG is just right for me. I’m just trying to get all my dessert in before we’re loaded down with the meat and potatoes and lasagna which I also love, by the way.

Tapestry is not curriculum in a box

Tapestry is a plan. It is a buffet with lots to pick and choose from. I don’t get everything I need in a little box and it doesn’t tell me every move to make. There are no checklists. I like this, probably because I don’t like to be told what to do. (I can just hear my husband and dad nodding in agreement with this comment) Even Marcia Somerville, author of the curriculum, says that she doesn’t do everything.

Because Tapestry is a plan, more resources–mainly books–are needed to use Tapestry. Books can be purchased through TOG or elsewhere, borrowed from the library or from friends, and sometimes I even discover a needed book already on my shelves.

I have found it’s best to buy the year plan first–and I like the bundle package with the “extras.” I look it over for awhile and then decide what additional books I will need to purchase after checking to see what my library has available.

Tapestry of Grace saves me money over other curriculum

Instead of having to buy 12 separate years of curriculum, I will only need to buy four with Tapestry. The year plan is everything I need to teach all my children from kindergarten through high school. And it’s so much more than just history. By using the chronological study of history as a guide, Tapestry integrates church history, literature, writing, fine arts, and geography, all with a biblical worldview. Plus, Tapestry offers government for high school.

Where else can I get everything I need to teach all my children these five core subject for such a low price? A year plan costs $225. And I’ll be coming back to it again and again. I don’t think I’ll ever sell my Tapestry, but for those who do, it has a great resale value.

Plus, Tapestry sells so much more than their year plans at the bookshelf. One of the main differences in the redesigned curriculum and the “old” classic is in the book lists. There are fewer book choices in the re-design. All of the “primary” resources are on one page and so it is so easy. These are all books that are in print and they can be purchased directly from Tapestry. On the opposite page is a chart of books called alternative resources. These are great books, some of them are out of print and they are not sold at Tapestry’s bookshelf.

Tapestry’s website is growing and improving

In the four years that I’ve been using TOG’s website, it keeps getting better and better. A new design was just launched and it has made finding things easier. My absolute favorite section of the website is the power search tool at the bookshelf. This is a search engine that allows me to pull up all the books used for each level in each unit or I can narrow the search by subject if desired. I print the list of books so I can have it for easy reference. Plus, I can save the books that I want to buy to a planning list at the bookshelf.


looking ahead to the future

Although I am enjoying the grammar years, I do look forward to the dialectic stage that is coming soon with my oldest son when he will start making connections and we will have discussions, guided by the teacher’s notes. The worksheets for him will be deeper and require a lot of thought. I don’t even want to think about the rhetoric stage and high school yet! It seems so far away, but it will be here before I know it and Tapestry will serve us well as my children prepare for life after high school.

try Tapestry of Grace for free

gotoegype-thumb.jpgsail.jpgYou can download a 3 week sample of TOG or request a CD. You can choose between Ancient Egypt or Colonial America or if you can’t decide, try them both! These sample mini units contain everything that Tapestry has to offer.

Don’t be overwhelmed if you print off all these pages from your computer. Remember this is absolutely everything that Tapestry has to offer for all grades. Unless you have children in all 4 learning levels, you won’t need all the information.

The samples include all the “extras” as well as the weekly plans contained in a unit. You’ll be able to see the map aids, pop quiz, evaluations, writing aids and lap books.

So try it, ask questions on the forum or in the yahoo groups.


April 28, 2008 at 10:51 pm 7 comments

a weekend getaway in Dallas with 30 other women


I just had a most fantastic weekend with 30 other homeschool moms who I had never met before. Pam describes the get together so eloquently when she writes about our Dallas adventure:

The tone of the weekend was so loving, warm, accepting, welcoming. It was like we had known and loved each other for a long time but had just never seen each other’s faces. Which, in fact, is exactly true!

As I look at pictures from the weekend, especially all 800 of Marsha’s pictures, all I see are happy faces. We had a blast. We laughed all weekend and just had fun fun fun. I think my favorite collection of candid pictures is at Gilda’s blog when we’re meeting in front of Big Buck restaurant Saturday night. The pictures are full of smiling faces, a few tears and lots of hugs. Gilda writes

I got to meet some of my dearest friends for the first time. Here we all are–familiar strangers. Notice how we realize who each other is. We all have name tags and as we read the tags we are finally able to put faces to the names we have known for so long.

some of my favorite parts

(in no particular order)

  • descending the stairs at the Texan Gaylord (not the hotel we were staying at) and being greeted with open arms as I met these ladies for the first time
  • laughter, just constant laughter
  • Shortly after arriving, Dody telling me that ladies had been giving her socks. “Hmm, Really?” I said.
  • Dody later telling me that she got another pair of socks. Again I said, “Hmm, really?”
  • Me wondering what Dody was thinking about the whole sock business. It would all come out soon enough. I needed to keep my mouth shut, so I just kept saying, “hmm. really?” I’m not sure how many times we had this little exchange. It was several.
  • the macadamia crusted chicken with rosetto and asparagus I had at the steak house
  • keeping the big secret
  • Pam’s arrival after flying standby
  • roommates
  • henna.jpgthe butterfly henna I got on my ankle before the trip. If you’re not familiar with henna, this picture was taken right after my henna was painted. After a few hours, the “paint” chips off and a light colored stain is left on the skin that lasts anywhere from 2-6 weeks.
  • brunch at Gilda’s
  • name tags made by Marsha (logo above is from our name tags)
  • just sitting around yakking away
  • Becca wearing her bathrobe for the moderator picture
  • singing and worship
  • a devotional by Kat
  • a sweet reminder from Corrine that we were all there because of the Lord
  • and who knew Dody could sing? Wow.
  • the best chocolate corner ever (a real chocolate corner instead of a cyber one)
  • Hawaiian coffee–man, that coffee was good!
  • chocolate covered berries from Alaska
  • the smell of lavender bath salts (my favorite scent!) in the gift baskets
  • hiding away during elf
  • the absolutely perfect fabric Marsha had found for the scrapbook covers
  • the hotel van drivers (gentleman) who shuttled us wherever we wanted to go
  • announcement.jpga beautiful lei made especially for me (Mel and her family made each lady a lei, all a little bit different)
  • the whoops and laughter from everyone when I told Dody I thought she needed a hankie because we were about to bless her socks off
  • the look on Dody’s face when I said that
    • and the highlight of the weekend: blessing dody’s socks off

      filming.jpgthe joy
      the anticipation
      we had done it
      Dody had no idea what was coming
      A GPS for her new job as a realtor
      a scrapbook with pages from lots of ladies from TLT, many of whom were not in Dallas
      another scrapbook with signature blocks made with the fabrics ladies had contributed for the quilt and the beautiful friendship quilt.

      You can watch all the fun filled, laughter-infested joyful videos from the blessing gathered all in one place at Marsha’s blog. And you can read about it in great detail and look at photos at Laurie’s blog.

      who we are

      the Tapestry of Grace loose threads group
      TLT for short
      1400 women
      a curriculum support group that gets crazy off topic
      secret sisters and recipe exchanges
      homeschooling help
      discussions about page protectors and labeling books with dots
      (I’m part of the anti-page protector, dotless sect)
      but most of all the TLT is a place for prayer and encouragement
      these ladies have really helped me the past 2 years

      the planning

      it was small at first, about four ladies from Texas
      who just wanted to meet in person
      but then more ladies wanted to join the fun in Texas
      they’d be driving across state lines
      first Oklahoma which wasn’t so far
      but then announcements started rolling in
      plane tickets were being bought
      ladies would be coming from Michigan, Washington, Florida
      flying across the ocean from Alaska and Hawaii
      how many states in all? did anyone figure it out?
      this Kentucky girl really wanted to go
      at first my husband said no
      but that was when I asked if the six of us could go and make it into a family vacation
      a few weeks later, I asked again
      I asked if I could fly there for the weekend by myself and the answer was yes
      woohoo Dallas, here I come

      the secret

      Meanwhile, even before this Texas trip took shape, a bunch of ladies were planning a surprise for Dody, the owner and main moderator of our list who was stepping down from that position. Some of them got together and formed a new group called “bless Dody’s socks off” and then invited all members of the TLT list to join–everyone except Dody, that is. We wanted to bless Dody in some way because she had been such a blessing to us. You already know the rest of the story. God was certainly in the details of this gathering of ladies.

      If you’ve been blogging about our Dallas trip, feel free to let me know. My intention was to have everyone’s posts who wanted to be included. Just leave a comment with the link(s.)

    March 15, 2008 at 4:25 pm 3 comments

    the anti-page protector club


    March 4, 2008 at 5:58 pm 5 comments

    Tapestry of Grace earns Educational Excellence awards

    eeaward1st.pngCongratulations to Tapestry of Grace for an award winning curriculum.The results for the homeschooler educational excellence choice awards are in at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine .TOG has placed in every single category or subject that TOG offers. WOW.

    A quick rundown of the awards:

    First Place
    o Best Unit Study Products
    o Best Classical Resources

    Second Place
    o Best Overall Homeschool Company
    o Friendliest Homeschool Company
    o Best History Products
    o Best Geography Products
    o Best Literature Products
    o Best Writing Composition Products

    Third Place
    o Best Bible Curriculum
    o Best Resource Book

    February 25, 2008 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

    we started school today…

    We started back to school today. We’re going to spend the next four weeks studying Ancient Rome before heading to Nebraska.  Then when we come back, we’ll do school “full-time” again, whatever that means.

    Alex wanted to know if he could start reading history while I was making his omelet. Alright! That’s the attitude I like to see. Mary loved painting with Caleb, but she didn’t like her 30 minute roomtime. She cried for the first half of it.  She used to play in her room by herself with no problem, but today she decided to act like the most persecuted female.

    Then when it came time for Alex to do a literature worksheet about a book whose main character is a girl, Alex suddenly became the most persecuted boy in the world. He was embarrassed to write about a girl. I called in reinforcement and his dad reminded him that he enjoyed reading all the Little House on the Prairie books.  That was different. He likes the Bible stories about girls and women. That’s different too.  Ah well, after a little chat on the phone with his dad, Alex buckled down and answered his questions and pretty quickly too.

    I’m also going to have Alex write a fable this month. He was able to explain to me what a fable is since he’s read Aesop’s fables. But he didn’t like the idea of having to write his own. I told him he didn’t have to write anything today; we would just talk about it. I wanted him to decide what animals he was going to make his story about. He resisted at first. I kept suggesting animals, most of which were lizards since reptiles are his specialty. Then he said, how about a porcupine? I thought that was a fabulous idea and told him so.  I didn’t even have to prompt him for what came next.

    The porcupine and the eagle. The moral of the story is that proudness leads to destruction. The eagle was proud and thought that he could eat the porcupine.  Is that a good idea? Well, am I allowed to have the same moral that’s in some other stories?

    I told him it was fine. Then I secretly wondered if he has read a fable about an eagle and a porcupine. I searched on google and didn’t come up with anything, so I’m mostly convinced that it his original idea.


    Mary got a splinter today in her foot. She also did a somersault off the dining room bench and landed on her nose. I think it was more traumatic for Alex and Caleb than it was for Mary. Don’t get me wrong. Mary hollered quite loud and long, which contributed to the boys’ fears. Alex thought we should call his dad and Caleb started to cry too.  I kept reassuring Caleb that Mary was alright. He kept saying he knew that she was alright, but he was scared. He kept telling me to clean up the blood.  I told him I would wipe the blood off the floor when I was done holding Mary. I pray that Caleb will someday not be so afraid when he sees blood. It’s something he needs to work through. I wish I could carry this burden for him.


    Jackson is a quick mover! No more scootching for him. He crawls. When he wants to go somewhere, he goes without hesitation. He could be our fastest crawler. He also goes exploring, out of sight. I don’t remember the other four kids doing that at such a young age. His favorite places to go are in the closet behind the pantry where he pulls all the bottles of salad dressing off the bottom shelf. He also likes to roam into the boys’ room where he either goes to the closet if the doors are open or he heads for the army men all set up in the corner of the room and he unsets them.  The third place he goes is my bathroom and he opens the bottom drawer and pulls everything out.

    July 23, 2007 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

    try Tapestry of Grace for free

    You can either request a CD or you can download the mini unit right now and explore everything that Tapestry has to offer. Also, please note that all the “extras” are not essential to using the curriculum. Although very helpful and nice to have, the map aids, write aids, and evaluations are not crucial components to being successful with Tapestry of Grace. The loom CD with reproducible student pages comes with each year plan.

    Tapestry of Grace can save you money in your homeschool

    The more children you have and the earlier you start them in the four year Tapestry rotation, the more money you’ll save over the years. You only have to buy each year plan once. Each unit contains all the reading assignments and teacher’s notes that you will need for all your children no matter how old they are or what stage of learning they are in. The Write Aids is a product purchased once that corresponds with all four year plans.

    The 3 week Go To Egypt mini unit that you can get for free shows everything that Tapestry has to offer (even more than I have written about here!) Go see for yourself, why this classical Christian curriculum written for all ages could be just what you’re looking for to use in your homeschool.

    read how using the firefox browser made my homeschool planning easy

    read my kids love math u see and so do I 

    July 22, 2007 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

    the best tasting spaghetti sauce

    classico.jpgI just discovered a product that makes my spaghetti and pizza sauces better than ever. Sun-dried tomato pesto by Classico.

    Here’s my sauce recipe for spaghetti or lasagne.

    1 pound ground sausage
    1 pound ground chuck or beef
    1 medium size sweet onion, chopped
    several garlic cloves, crushed
    Three 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
    6 oz can of tomato paste
    10 oz jar of sun-dried tomato pesto by Classico
    salt and pepper to taste
    rosemary, thyme, basil to taste
    brown sugar to taste

    Brown the sausage and beef together. When it’s almost done, add onion and cook until meats are brown and onion is soft. Remove the grease and add the crushed garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and pesto and stir until well blended. Sprinkle spices and sugar. Let simmer for at least an hour, stirring every once in awhile. Let the steam escape so the sauce will reduce.

    recipe for the best tasting pizza sauce

    15 oz can of tomato sauce
    3 tablespoons of Classico pesto sauce

    June 20, 2007 at 1:30 am 2 comments

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