Tapestry of Grace
Publisher: Lampstand Press
This is one of my 101 Top Picks!
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Tapestry of Grace
[Note: the following is excerpted from the complete review that is published only in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Currriculum.]
Tapestry of Grace (TOG) is a unit study curriculum that covers most of the major subject areas for students in grades K through 12. Some features that make it especially appealing are Christian worldview studies incorporated throughout the curriculum, a chronological approach to history as the basic organizing theme, and a classical education approach based on the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric stages of learning that allow all of your children to learn the same subjects at the same time but at their own level.
Subject areas covered include history, writing, literature, fine arts, geography, church history including missions (more extensively covered than I recall seeing in most other curricula with the exception of My Father’s World), and Bible. You will need to use other resources for phonics, English grammar, math, foreign languages, and science.
Like many other unit studies, while TOG uses many books, it also includes multi-sensory learning options to address different learning styles and interests. These range from reading, writing, and simple art projects through costumed reenactments.
TOG covers the same general topics for all students simultaneously, but instruction and activities are divided into four levels of learning reflecting the classical Trivium (with the Grammar stage divided into two sections). The divisions are: Lower Grammar (K-3), Upper Grammar (grades 3-6 with a purposeful overlap here to address the reality that young students at the same ages rarely progress at the same rate), Dialectic (grades 6-9), and Rhetoric (grades 9-12)....
The lengthy resource lists in each level of TOG (referred to as Year-Plans) list all recommended books by category, with very informative annotations for most that will help you decide which will be most useful for your children. (Note: TOG has a sister store, Bookshelf Central, that sells all of the core books they recommend.)
There are four Year-Plans in TOG, and the idea is that you will progress through each Year-Plan at one level of difficulty for each child (lower grammar, upper grammar, etc.), then begin to go through each again in the fifth year, advancing children to the next level. You can see that the youngest children might go through each Year-Plan three times. A possible alternative is to take two years to cover a Year-Plan of TOG if you are starting with younger children. (The flexibility of this program is one of its major assets!)
Year One: The History of Redemption covers Creation through the fall of Rome. Year Two studies the medieval world through the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Year Three: The 1800s addresses both American and European history. Year Four: The Twentieth Century covers world history, although U.S. history is a major component.
TOG is available in either digital editions (DE) or print editions. Whichever edition they choose, customers may print or reproduce all the pages they wish for their family....
The Loom, which is accessed via a CD or online, is a crucial component of TOG....
TOG also offers a few optional items that are very helpful: [Evaluations, Pop Quiz, Writing Aids, and Map Aids.]
A free, three-week TOG sample is available at the publisher’s website so you can try it out before you buy anything—and with their digital delivery system, you can wait until you finish the first three weeks before you pay for and download the rest of your unit. The weekly topics covered by each Year-Plan and the resources used are listed on the TOG website along with other information about the curriculum.
Like most extensive unit study programs, TOG requires a significant amount of parent or teacher preparation and presentation, and large blocks of time should be dedicated over the summer to plan and prepare for each school year. Keep in mind that most parents and teachers will be getting a great deal of education of their own as they work through TOG!
Overall, I think TOG’s use of classical education methods combined with the chronological approach helps overcome one of the weaknesses of some unit studies—that children read good books and participate in fun activities but sometimes fail to make connections between topics studied and their chronological relationships. In addition, the worldview threads provide themes for discussions (ideally, directed by parents using Socratic methods) and activities that help children make important connections and understand the significance of what they are learning. TOG comes from a Reformed Protestant viewpoint, but it respectfully tries to include Orthodox and Catholic views as it explores Church history. Consequently, TOG should be easier for those of the latter religious persuasions to adapt than many other unit studies might be.
Note: Those whose oldest children are in kindergarten through second grade might consider using Tapestry of Grace Primer, a gentler introduction to unit study.
Printed edition: $295 per Year Plan or $80 each for individual units
Digital editions: $170 each or $45 each for individual units
Both Print and Digital editions: $315 per Year Plan
Learning Styles: all
Suitable for: one-on-one or group plus independent work
Audience ages: grades K-12
Need for parent/teacher instruction: moderate to high
Prep time needed: moderate to high
Need for Teacher's Manual: the teacher manuals are the core books for the program
Educational Approach: multi-sensory unit study
Religious perspective: Protestant but with fair treatment and inclusion of Catholicism and Orthodoxy
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