Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year, new project {making Tapestry of Grace student workbooks}

I have now been using my main curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, for 4 years.

Let's have a trumpet fanfare and a big cheer, for making it back to the first year again.

Yup! We're starting that cycle all over again, with my children 4 years older, and new ones joining in this time. THIS is the exciting time I have been looking forward to, when I hopefully hear my children say "Oh YES! I remember doing this before", and spouting some long-stored facts from the recesses of their minds!

She says. Hopefully...

It *IS* one of the wonderful facts about TOG. As it runs in a four year cycle, and you switch your child up through the levels of learning (lower grammar, upper grammar, dialectic and rhetoric - all classical approach), you could end up going through the 4 year cycle about 3 times in their schooling. Each time approaching the information in a more in-depth and applied way. Each time soaking in the information in a more long-lasting manner. Bravo, Tapestry of Grace, for designing it to be so!

This year we are adding in a couple of new approaches, which we haven't used as yet. I do feel it has taken me these first four years to become fully confident and able to implement some of the changes we are making. The first year was a bit of a flounder, being new to the whole concept of a curriculum where I had to do anything other than hand my children their workbooks, all purchased ready to use, and assign them page numbers every day. Thankfully, Tapestry is rather forgiving, and as it is designed to allow each family to make it fit their own schedule and requirements, I have gradually been able to add elements as I feel able.

This year I decided to tackle "paper mania" head on. You know, when you have umpteen pieces of paper floating around (obviously not literally, but on a bad day, it's possible...), and you have to constantly fight the battle of paper migration? Loose papers in the kitchen. Loose papers in the lounge.  Loose papers in the dining room. You get the idea.

As I had purchased my new toy tool, my comb binder, I feel it is good to use it as often as possible. I realised that pre-printing the pages I would need the children to use for TOG, and binding them in advance, would beat trying to file them away  as we go along after they had built up into a Mt Everest sized pile. (Let's be real, people....unless you are super-amazing-organised mother type, who files daily. Or is it just me who doesn't??....own up) If I have them in a work-book, it's neat, tidy, easy to grab for the child, and just plain simpler. No more printing every week through each Unit, just one mega-print once every few months. Additionally, since I feel highly thrilled and satisfied by the sight of freshly bound documents, it's a win-win idea! (Yes, weirdo home-schooling mother...)

This weekend, I DID IT!!! I finished them today, and they are sitting, just WAITING for school to start tomorrow. Full of promise and educational advancement.

I know that it may help some other TOG users to see what I have done, and perhaps inspire others to consider using TOG, so here I am sharing in my accomplishment.  Some of this may mean nada to you - if so, and you are not interested, please return to whatever you were doing before you saw I had posted  a new blog entry!

Right, so what went in, and what didn't make the cut?

Every workbook begins with a lovely cover. Which book is complete WITHOUT a cover?? I wanted a bigger image, but a lovely friend pointed out about how much ink a bigger image uses, and I was thankful for my choice! *grin* (Thanks Beth!)

As you can see, this one will be Joshua's. We are just beginning on Dialectic with him (excited, slightly apprehensive, squeaking noise being made - by him and me, both!!).

Here they all are, lined up ready.

First off, for the oldest 2, I put in the reading list. Then they can mark off WHAT they need to read that week, and also once they have read it.  The younger 2 will refer to the master copy in our book stand, if needed. You can see here, the reading selections are divided by level and by subject. 

Next, I put the Student Activity Pages. These outline all the suggested activities for that week. For Josh, at this higher level, there are also the "Accountability questions" and the "Thinking Questions" on these pages. 

Next, if I have any notebooking pages to add, these go here. I have put them straight after the pages that outline what we can do that week, as I will have them do this activity earlier in the week than the pages which follow. I am not sure if I have ever blogged about our TOG routine.  I shall look, and rectify that if I have not!  As you can see here, the first week is in Egypt, and they will do a notebooking page about the Nile River. 

Next, we have a mapping page. 

Some weeks there is one, some more than one, and some none at all!! This first week of Year 1, there are actually three, as they begin with an overview of world geography, as well as geography of Egypt. 

In addition, Josh will be doing a map overlay project. More of that in another post....

Next, we have the SAP (Student Activity Page) to go with their literature for that week.

Finally, I have included any Evaluation pages. First time through TOG, I did not utilise the Evaluations. Until someone kindly pointed out that they are a super addition as an extra "worksheet", if nothing else! 

So, if there is a worksheet type eval, I have included it. (Some are oral tests)

There we have it! My workbooks!

Oh, yes! I must tell you that I plan for them to write their answers to any essay type questions (and for Josh's thinking and accountability questions) in a shop bought, spiral-bound, notebook. 

(Like this, but a different design)

I didn't want to add pages into their workbooks, as they made need more or less than I provide. This allows a degree of flexibility, and also allows you to have the questions side-by-side with where you write the answers.  We will see how it works out.

I am really happy with them, and just know they are going to be a help both to the children, as well as to me.  Obviously, being a  "first" for us, we will see how it works out, and I can tweak it for unit 2, if need be. 

Over the next few weeks I will also tell you about the other elements I am adding this year. A cumulative map overlay project, having older students being involved in planning, and a timeline. (I still have not decided whether we should do the timeline as a family, or have the children doing it alone... or both!).  

I am really psyched up for starting back tomorrow, but I know it may not go as smoothly as I hope, so I am trying not to put too much pressure on my shoulders! I *DO* know, that, if I am excited about starting back, SOME of that energy is bound to bounce off onto the children and help them to feel motivated, too. 

I hope this helps out others  with their planning. 

Oh, and don't forget to nip over to this post, for a great give-away of the notebooking resource that I am using in my workbooks. 

*DISCLAIMER* - the pages I have shared with you are available as a free sample download of Tapestry of Grace. Please do not violate copyright laws by trying to reproduce these pages, or copy them. If you want to use the curriculum, buy the curriculum! 


  1. I'm duly inspired and impressed! Thanks for taking time to share! I'm sure your kids will like knowing what is on their plate for the day/week, and it will help keep you on track tremendously!

  2. They look great! I am about to plan Unit 3 and I am going to tweak mine based on yours. Duh, on the small picture on the cover! Why didn't I think of that?? Also, I have been removing pages as completed to then file in binders, but yep, we don't file everyday so they pile up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Inspired to give this a try perhaps for next year, so I have time to get a comb binder and prep for the new school year.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I am looking forward to starting the cycle back again too in August and have been thinking about how to do a lot of what you mentioned here. Wishing you the best with your new additions.