Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tapestry on Tuesday {all about reading lists & a book review thrown in for free!}

Today, I want to tell you a little bit about the weekly reading lists on Tapestry of Grace, and how they work.

First, I would say this -  the books have been carefully chosen to grasp the interest and abilities of the age of child they are directed at.  Most of them are pretty easy to get your hands on, and it is only very rarely that I have not been able to find them in the UK. They are often award-winning books, particularly the picture books they choose for literature selections for grammar stage children.  I will carry on reviewing various ones that are particularly wonderful as I work through the next 4 years.

Every week there is a reading list that looks something like the one below.

As you can see, there are 5 main areas covered in the reading list.  History Core, History In-Depth, Literature, Arts & Activities and Worldview.  There are various sub-categories, but I will only cover the ones I have actually used.

Tapestry of Grace curriculum has its roots in history, so needless to say the reading list majors on that area.  They choose books that not cover history simply, but in  many interesting ways, with lots of fascinating information and lovely illustrations.  There are two categories for History - Core, and In-Depth.  The core books are ones that I always try and get my hands on, as they are the meat of the week's studies.  The In-Depth ones are simply adding and expanding on the information found in the core books.

I am going to give you Week 4 as an example, as we have just recently finished that particular week, and it includes the book I will review below!

As I mentioned in a previous post about TOG, these lists are broken up by learning level, and by topic.

The first category is History Core.  These books cover what TOG calls the "main message" for that week.  You will see that this week covers Creation through to Noah. For the Lower Grammar students the main book is the BIBLE!  Being a Christian curriculum, they use the Bible wherever they can, as an important book to be referred to.  You will see that the Upper Grammar level also has a Bible Atlas and Companion to use. There are often great books like this which add in extra geographical or cultural information which may help the child to understand an era more fully.  Joshua as a lovely one that he is using, for Dialectic.  These Bible Atlases help to picture the travels of these Old Testament characters, and brings a deeper understanding of how they lived their lives.

Then, there is the History In-Depth.  These books tend to take up one or two elements from the history that week and take a deeper look at them - the  "secondary message".  You can see Lower Grammar focuses more on creation, and Upper Grammar on Noah.  The book you see listed for Dialectic is the one I will review in a moment.  A brilliant book!

It's worth noting that for Dialectic students, their Thinking and Accountability questions will draw from BOTH of the history categories, so it's worth trying to track down all these books, if possible.  If you don't, you may need to tweak what you expect your student to answer that week.

Following this, there is often a suggested read-aloud. This is not essential to use, ut will enrich the topic studied that week.  The book you see for this week is the one I reviewed recently.  We use it through Year 1.  That often happens with books - they are used more than one week.

Next, we have the literature selection for that week.  Again, Lower Grammar were focussing on Creation, Upper Grammar on Noah.  I will tell you a funny story about this. Beth read her Upper Grammar selection and came to me saying "Mum, they have got the details of this ALL wrong!"  When she hit her Student Activity Page she realised she was to compare and contrast the three accounts of the story of Noah, deciding which things were covered in the reading selection, and which
h things were not, or which things were not true! THEN she realised why she was asked to read it! It was great to see that she knew the true account and what was error. Needless to say she found the activity page a breeze!

As you see, Joshua's selection included something about "magic". TOG is really great at having children read about subjects, and then get them to place them alongside what the scriptures say and analyse why they are right or wrong in God's eyes. You cannot escape the fact that many eras of history include people who were involved in wrong behaviour and acts, so the older children, in particular, analyse these topics against the through of the Bible.

The next category is "Art/Acitivities".  If there is anything relevant for that week, to aid you in doing these kind of topics with your children, it will be listed here.  This particular week there was nothing to list, but I will show you one that does have them.

The picture above shows Week 5.

Many of the books in that category are also multi-week books that are used over and over again, filled with great idea of fun activities to do, relevant to that week and period of history.

So, back to week 4 again, and the final category - Worldview.  This topic allows the child to see Bible and Church History, as well as how other religions developed throughout history - looking at them alongside the truth of God's Word, analysing why they are wrong, and being aware of how these religions operate today and how we can pray for countries where these religions are prominent.

You will see for this week that there are Bible passages included, as I mentioned earlier.  I sometimes pop it on as an Audio Bible, and they listen to it as a "read aloud", whilst they are doing jobs in the kitchen, or colouring in the dining room.  Similarly, there are often books on the way thought the four years that you can find as Audio books.  It's a great way for a reluctant reader to be helped out with their reading for that week, or if you have a busy week with driving around that you have to do, they can listen to their literature assignments as you travel! It's worth keeping an eye out for Audio books as an option.

Finally, I wanted to share another book with you.

This is a book that is listed for Dialectic level students. However, it would be a lovely "table book" for the whole family, or as a read aloud.

This book could be used for Bible studies, or for science.  It picks up on various topics throughout the Bible covering the topic of the natural world. They range from rain to fire, lions to locusts earthquakes to lightning.  

For each topic, it first of all gives a page of factual and fascinating information about the topic covered.  The second page of the double page spread tells us something about how we should look upon it in light of the scriptures, and how God views it.  

The book also includes beautiful photography to tie in with each subject.

I love how it weaves facts in with God's Word, highlighting God's greatness and power.  There is also a focal scripture passage to show us where scripture speaks of the subject.

Again, it's a lovely book selected y the writers of the curriculum, which allows the children to learn in a factual, yet striking and captivating, way.

The book is published by New Leaf Press, and available from many online retailers, including Amazon.

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