Friday, April 10, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Tapestry of Grace DE

"Tapestry of Grace is a homeschool curriculum: a plan of study that helps parents provide a Christian, classical education using a guided unit study approach, with the history of the world as the core organizational theme. From Grades K–12, all students cycle through world history every four years, with all ages studying the same slice of history each week, each at their own learning level. "

"Tapestry covers the humanities: history, church history, literature, geography, fine arts, government, philosophy, and writing & composition. Tapestry does not include a phonics program, science, math, grammar, spelling, or foreign language. Lampstand Press does, however, recommend and sell complementary logic, spelling, and grammar programs." Click here to read more about "What is Tapestry of Grace?"

We were given the opportunity to try the new download digital edition of Tapestry of Grace (TOG). I had heard of TOG from a friend who knew someone who used it. When I looked at it years ago, I thought it looked overwhelming so my explorations ended there. Given the opportunity to review it now, has changed my opinion of it. Here is part of my journey and some info I found helpful. I apologize from the start for all the links to other places. TOG takes some research to appreciate, and it would be too much to put all that info here. If you want to begin exploring on the TOG for yourself, start by clicking here.

The download process was a little complicated, requiring a few steps to complete. Even so, I did not have any difficulty downloading. However, TOG assures me that this process has been shortened into a one step process with instant access.

Some of benefits of the digital version:

  • It is available for Macs and Microsoft operating systems.

  • You can't lose it, because you can always go to your account and re-download if something happens to your hard drive.

  • You can just print out the pages you need or want, or make multiple copies of student pages as needed for your family.

  • Can buy as you go. When you finish up one unit, you can download the next, making it more affordable.

    • To see the TOG DE interface:

      To read more specifics about TOG DE version visit:

      Tapestry of Grace uses a 4 year cycle. This covers all human history over a 4 year period. The idea is that your child would cycle through the curriculum 3 times at a different level throughout his homeschool career. This helps keep the cost down and keeps your family all studying the same topic on their own level. You can also place your child by ability rather then grade level.

      Lower Grammar: Non-fluent reader, Approximately grades K-3, Enjoys learning basic facts
      Upper Grammar: Independent reader, Approximately grades 3-6, Enjoys memorizing concrete, sequential facts
      Dialectic: Reads to learn, Approximately grades 6-9, Enjoys making connections and learning to debate
      Rhetoric: Reads the Great Books, Approximately grades 9-12, Enjoys analyzing and synthesizing ideas and arguments

      Tapestry Year 1 covers the history of the world from the Creation to the Fall of Rome in 450 AD.

      Tapestry Year 2 covers the history of the world from the Fall of Rome in A.D. 450 to the signing of the US Constitution.

      Tapestry Year 3 covers the history of the world during the 1800's.

      Tapestry Year 4 covers the history of the world during the Twentieth Century and into the present.

      Looking over the DE is amazing how much information is provided on it. In fact, to this day every time I open it I find something new. You get access to the LOOM which contains updates, articles, helps, student worksheets and more to go along with the program. To read more about the LOOM and get additional updates visit or What is the Loom? The unit I have - Year 1 Unit 3 - has 470 pages in 9 units plus the Loom. That is a lot of information.

      TOG has an excellent support system with online forums, yahoo groups, and virtual co-ops. My questions have always been answered quickly and completely. To find out more about support available go to:

      TOG is considered a classical curriculum. I asked what that meant to TOG and got a 10 page response. You can read about what they define classical curriculum as by clicking here. This article gives an excellent overview as well, as to what to teach at each level of development. For more about the "Philosophy of TOG" Click Here.

      I started with a little research and decided to dive in for my review. We did a few weeks at the Upper grammar / lower grammar levels. I wish I had seen this article (CLICK HERE) on getting started with TOG before I started, because it would have been a big help. Also available is the Simple Start Guide PDF which is similar to the website information.

      Because my husband is unemployed, I decided to use what we had on hand to complete the readings. I did get several books from the library as well. TOG does not publish a list of books used in the curriculum. You must find them by reading each weeks lesson. You can also visit Bookshelf Central and see what books are used at different levels and for how long. Most books you can substitute what you have at home. However, for the literature selections you generally have to use the book recommended or you will have trouble with the discussion questions. This really only becomes a problem in the Dialectic and Rhetoric levels. They also include an alternate list, with suggestions as well.

      With TOG you are given a weekly plan which you are to use as a "buffet" of items to choose from. You would not do all of them, you couldn't in a week. In the "LOOM" you will find assignment sheets to help with your weekly planning for each level. We picked read alouds, independent readings, and activities to do for the week. There is an excellent article on setting up your week here:

      TOG also offers some optional supplemental materials that go along with the curriculum (click on names to read more or see samples):
      Writing Aids: is a rich writing guide for your homeschool family. This one-time purchase may be used as a standalone, or as a guide through teaching and evaluating all writing assignments in Tapestry on all levels for your student's entire K-12 education! A great review of this product is available from Cathy Duffy's website.
      MapAids: all of your outline maps are in one place. Print as many custom-drawn, learning-level specific outline maps as you need each week, and check your answers with the included teacher's maps.
      Evaluations: A CD containing additional or alternate student evaluations. It can be used as a tool to cement what your student has learned, or as a study resource to prompt more focused learning.
      Pop Quiz: is Tapestry's way of bringing working dads into the fun of multi-level learning: each week, the Pop Quiz audio CD provides a brief summary of your students' weekly topics, and provides age-appropriate questions so that Dad can be a part of your family's educational conversation!
      Lapbooks :are great for your hands-on learner! Flaps, tabs, mini-books and so much more make a regular set of folders and paper burst with historical life. Geared toward lower levels.

      There is a learning curve with this curriculum. You must spend time learning how to implement it. However the excellent teaching notes included in the curriculum make you an "expert" even if you can't keep up with your child's readings. After doing 3 to 4 weeks with this curriculum, I was sold on it. I knew I wanted my children to learn this way. I want them to have a strong grounded in their faith and why they believe. One of the goals of this curriculum is to discuss the events - good and bad - and what the biblical response is. I want my children to be able to learn why the believe what they do and not because their parents believe a certain way. We have always enjoyed learning through real books, but did not feel equipped to teach them unguided. I feel Tapestry of Grace will fill that need with our family.

      My children were equally blessed by this curriculum and agreed they wanted to use it too. After family discussion we decided not finish the current unit we were on (Year 1 Unit 3) and go back to beginning and start from there. We are setting up now and slowing working our way into the program. We are going to spend the rest of the school year an some of the summer working on the first unit and getting into a routine with it. So that we can go full stream ahead next fall with unit 2, Lord willing.

      There are samples available on the website that you can download for 3 weeks of Year 1 Unit 1 and 3 weeks of Year 2 Unit 3.
      You can also order a free kit (plus postage) by clicking here.
      This Humanities map can be downloaded for free from the website. It is an overview of the program following "HIS" highway. Very nicely done. This is only a section of year one. All years can be found on the website.

      Click map to see bigger picture...

      Visit Tapestry of Grace at:

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