Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tapestry of Grace - Traveling through World History

For those of you who don’t know what Tapestry of Grace is let me tell you that is it a homeschool curriculum. It is a plan of study that provides a Christian classical education using the unit study approach with the history of the world as being the core theme. Designed to be used for children in grades K-12, you can go through the world history evey four years as your child grow and becomes more able to do advance assignments.

When I first learned that Tapestry of Grace would be a vendor participating to the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was a bit excited because I was curious to see which differences existed between this curriculum and the history curriculum we were using. Then I learned that we would get access to the new Digital Edition. Right away, I had some reserves since I didn’t see how a curriculum like this could go digital. Even though I respect their decision to go digital, I still have some issues with it.
Tapestry of Grace wanted us to select a specific unit from any year that was available from their digital edition. Consequently, I selected the second unit of the first year because we had already done the subjects covered in the first unit through with the history curriculum we were using before starting the TOS Homeschool Crew. I was also able to select an additional product that could be used to study the unit I had selected.

Year 1 Unit 2 – All Governments Are Established by God
The various governments covered in this unit are Ancient India, Ancient China, Early Greeks, Promised Land, Judges, Samuel and Minor Neighboring Cultures, Rise of Paul and the Philistines, David. There is lots of interesting information for all these.

I was disappointed with the fact that I had to use the digital edition of TOG. I personally like having a book in my hands. I find it easier to use a book while teaching my kids than using the computer. Consequently, I ended up printing the pages I needed. Also, I had to plan in advanced for every weeks we were using TOG because I didn’t own the books suggested. I had to make reservations or asked for transfers from the library and often the books suggested were not available because my library didn’t own it. So there was a bit of disappointment and waiting there.

The TOG is very complete and has a lot of information about the lesson you are teaching. However, I sense that there is too much to deal with at times. I had to prepare in advance to make sure I knew what was going on. There were also some books that I wasn’t at peace with. Yes I want my kids to know that there are different beliefs in the world but going to the point to put a book that has questionable pictures in their hands I was a little bit uneasy. Needless to say I returned the book at the library as soon as I was able to bring it back.. On the other hand, the reading list is complete and covers all the grades. You can easily pick and choose between the suggestions. I could see myself digging in the reading list to make it more interesting for my children while doing another history curriculum.

We learned a lot while doing the unit on all governments are established by God. We were exposed to the Indian and Chinese culture. We traveled on the Great Wall of China and in the Maya culture. It was very informative and interesting. I especially learned some things about the construction of the Great Wall of China. We had a great time reading the book suggested for the lower and upper grammar. My kids being young in age, I wasn’t able to look into the dialectic and rhetoric levels of learning.

Writing Aids
The product I selected to review at the same time as the Year 1 Unit 2 was Writing Aids. Writing Aids is a writing guide for anyone in the family. You can use this product to complement the TOG or just as a standalone. There are many writing assignments for all levels of students going from grades K-12. You will need only one copy of this product for your whole family. This book/CD combination contains many options for writing assignments. The book is mostly written for the teacher ( that’s you and me!). It will give you the important notions you need to know for any writing genre.

I can see myself using this Writing Aids not only for English assignments but for the French ones as well. I could adapt the requirements to any kind of assignment if I need to. The CD contains various subjects like Talking Points, Grading Strategies and Supplements. The Talking Points are a summary of the content of the lesson that the child can use while doing his writing assignment. The Grading Strategies are suggestions for grading most genres of writing assignment. These are tailor-made for the assignment chosen. Finally the Supplements are templates that can be used by the student to guide him/her through the assignment. From the CD you can also access a specific webpage from LampstandPress which gives you samples of student work from various levels.

Writing is a skill that demands practice and having the Writing Aids will provide any homeschooler with tons of ideas to help their student to practice writing. Also grading a writing assignment is not always easy and this wonderful product gives you guidelines to do so depending of the writing assignment you have given to your student. While doing the lessons for TOG, we used some of the Writing Aids for reading comprehension. The guidelines were helpful to identify the various events happening in a book or to clarify the main ideas. My oldest son was the only one using the Writing Aids at this point and he also learned how to properly address an envelope so he can write to his friend in Alberta or send notes to his grand-parents/mamie. Recently, he decided to send a joke to Clubhouse Jr. He addressing wasn’t the most perfect one but he is learning!

I find the TOG Digital Edition quite expensive. One unit is priced at 45$ US while the whole year is 170$US. The Print Edition for the full year would be 225$ US while the printed units are priced at 60$ US each. This is only one year of curriculum – you need to keep in mind that there are four years for TOG which you can recycle every four years as your child grow. Mind you the one advantage I could see for the digital edition would be instantaneous since you don’t need to get the products shipped to you. You would get it directly in your e-mail. However, you will not be able to resell the digital edition once you are done with it. Reselling a curriculum that is expensive permits the family to recover the expense made in the past. With the digital edition this option is not possible unfortunately.

The Writing Aids book is priced at 50$ US and I think it is a product that any homeschool family should own – even if you don’t use TOG. It is complete and gives you plenty of writing assignments for the years to come.

For more information go to .

No comments:

Post a Comment