Disclosure: Tapestry of Grace sponsored this post. The content is based on my own experiences with Tapestry, and the opinions are 100% my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.
My children and I are now in our 5th year of using Tapestry of Grace, so we are finishing up Year 1 for the second time. Through those 5 years, I’ve had a lot of trial and error experiences with figuring out how to make Tapestry work for us.
If you’re familiar with the Tapestry of Grace curriculum, you know that it provides an enormous buffet of learning for homeschool families – history spines, in-depth history books, literature selections, hands-on activities, vocabulary and people, and more.
There really is a plethora of learning ideas and resources from which to choose.
So the question then becomes:
How do you narrow down what you should focus on each week?
How do you choose what to actually do?
Today I’m sharing how I plan Tapestry of Grace with my kiddos of different ages and stages with examples of what we do each week.
Before I share with you how I plan Tapestry of Grace for my children, I should add this disclaimer:
This is what works for our homeschool in this season of our lives. This is not what Tapestry looked like in the past for us, and I have no doubt it will change and grow into something different in the coming years.
Such is the homeschool life, right? 🙂
So please take what you can from our typical schedule and see what will work for you in your own homeschool.
Let’s get started!
Gather all of your materials
Before planning Tapestry for the week, I gather all of my materials and pile them up with me on our school table.
I pull our books for the week, my plan book, my hard copy of Tapestry (I buy the digital edition and then print), and access to our weekly schedule.
I like to have everything in one spot so I can focus all of my attention on planning this one subject. Since I have options – the “buffet of learning” – it takes me a bit to wade through each week and determine what we will do.
Look at your family’s personal calendar
After gathering my materials, I look at our personal calendar for the week.
Are there activities that will take us out of the home several times during the week? Doctor or dental appointments? Field trips?
On weeks that are heavy with lots of life, I know that we won’t be able to devote as much to our history studies, and that is okay. But it is something that I need to know up front so I don’t over-plan.
When I over-plan, I feel so guilty when we don’t accomplish everything on the list. So I just save myself the heartache by first looking at our personal calendar and planning accordingly.
Read through the entire curriculum for the week
Before I plan anything on paper, I read through the entire week’s plan of Tapestry. Prior to each semester, I print two unit’s worth of content, so I have this already bound and waiting for me.
Also, prior to the semester starting, I’ve already gone through the book list and ordered the books I need, or made notes to myself what I must put on loan from the library.
Since these books are already in my possession, I pick them up from the stack and quickly browse through the pages I’ll assign to each of my children for the week.
I determine if we’re able to tackle a hands-on project, if there are notebooking pages available, if there is a read aloud, what the map work is like for each level, and more.
I make sure I’m familiar with the week, and then I dive right into planning mode.
Plan for your oldest child first
My oldest boy is just finishing up with 5th grade, however, I moved him up to dialectic work this year. He loves history and was ready to be challenged in a new way this year.
We did what I call “dialectic light,” and it worked out beautifully in our situation.
My children are just finishing up 5th grade, 3rd grade, 1st grade, and K4, so my oldest is my only child in the dialectic level. For the first half of the year, my 3rd and 1st graders were in Lower Grammar, and I moved my 3rd grader into Upper Grammar only a few weeks ago. My K4 is just along for the learning ride at this point.
→ New to learning levels? Read about learning levels here.
Because my oldest has more required reading, I make sure he is planned first. I want to ensure he has enough time to tackle the subject, since he will only go through this particular cycle in history 1 more time. My other girls will have more opportunities since they are younger.
This is what a typical week looks like for my Dialectic Light 11-year-old:
Monday: All reading assignments are made. He typically reads the spine books, the in-depth history books, and the literature selection. He’s an avid reader, and enjoys all of this! Some weeks the assignments are heavier than others, so I pick and choose carefully, as not to overwhelm him.
He receives the Accountability Questions and the Thinking Questions (AQ’s and TQ’s) and understands which questions he should answer with me orally and which need to be written on paper. We go over these questions together so he can be on guard for the answers as he reads.
Tuesday: Continues reading and answering AQ’s and TQ’s. He also completes his mapwork, which includes the assignment under the ‘Geography’ section on his weekly sheet. Yes, the extra cost for Map Aids is well worth it!
Wednesday: Finishes up reading as needed, and answers the vocabulary definitions if he’s working on those for the week. Completes notebooking page, if assigned.
Thursday: Prepares for his Conversation that he will have with me on Friday.
Friday: Conversation with mom! I let my son lead the discussion as he tells me all about the AQ’s and TQ’s he has answered throughout the week. We go over each assigned question individually and discuss. We both greatly enjoy this time together! It’s one of our favorite parts of homeschool.
Then plan for each subsequent child and what you will do together as a family
After planning for my oldest, I go right down the line and plan for my three girls.
For my 3rd grader who just moved to Upper Grammar, I assign her independent reading activities, map work, vocabulary, and notebooking pages.
My 3rd grader’s typical Upper Grammar week looks like this:
Monday: Completes independent history reading assignment and map work (her favorite!). I assign 1-3 questions from the Upper Grammar Questions for her to answer orally in a mini-version of a Conversation as I described for my son.
Tuesday: Finishes up independent history reading, if needed. Completes assigned definitions.
Wednesday: Completes independent literature assignment.
Thursday and Friday: Completes notebooking pages and has a mini-Conversation with mom.
As a family, we often do history unit-study style during our morning Power Hour. After our Bible time, we dive right into history that we can work on together.
This family-style learning might involve my reading the Lower Grammar books aloud for all to hear, or having my two older kiddos work on map work with my two younger ones, or doing a hands-on activity.
A note about hands-on activities: I try to choose a hands-on activity that appeals to all of my children. For example, we created mosaics a couple of weeks ago and all of my kiddos absolutely loved it!
There are usually so many wonderful options that it’s not difficult to find one that all would enjoy.
Also, I don’t do a hands-on activity each week, although my children would be thrilled if we did! I aim for 1 activity every 3 weeks. That seems to be a good compromise for our school.
See if there is room for extras
Depending upon the week, I see if we have room for any extra history fun. That might include a field trip, or a history documentary, or the assigned read aloud for the week.
If there is time, we might also add in a hands-on activity on a week I don’t typically have one prepared.
An extra might also include a science experiment or two related to the time period we’re studying. Since we’re at the end of studying the Ancients, there have been many opportunities to do science activities related to the Ancient Greeks and Romans!
One day I had my 1st grader and 5th grader work on making a water clock, as the Ancient Greeks used. They had a ball!
How do you plan Tapestry of Grace for your children?
It’s always interesting to see how other families plan Tapestry of Grace. Please leave us a comment and let us know what Tapestry looks like in your homeschool!
Also, if you have questions about planning Tapestry for your own crew, I’m happy to try and help. Ask away in the comments!