Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tapestry on a Tuesday {Myth-buster series - Part 1}

Tapestry of Grace author, Marcia Sommerville, is running a "Myth-Buster" series over on the Tapestry of Grace blog.  I thought it would be worth adding my perspective on the different points she raises, and to share my experiences with the issues she is dealing with.  Unlike Marcia, I will deal with more than one per post!

The first two topics she covered were...

"Don't start Tapestry when your kids are too young"


"Grammar level is "drill and kill" - is this true?"

Both of these topics deal with younger ages, so I think they fit well into one post!

When I started Tapestry of Grace, nearly 5 years ago, my "school-age" children were 8, 6, and one who started school that year, aged 4. During that year they turned 9, 7 and 5.   I start my children with "formal" education (ie, structured, sit down school) when they hit 5 years of age. They were all Grammar level students, so the first level of learning.  It made it all quite simple.  One set of books.  One level of teaching goals. Everyone working on the same material.  I didn't have the youngest child do anything that first year.  I have made the decision that until they are reading more independently, and have completed all the phonics based programme that I use - so, working on the fundamental - they don't join in with TOG.

Now, that's not to say they COULDN'T.  Tapestry of Grace is so wonderfully flexible that my younger ones COULD take part, even in a small way. They could have literature books read aloud to them.  They could do lapbooks, or arts and activities. However, I have chosen to keep things REALLY simple with my beginners. They do maths, phonics, and reading, joining in, at their own level, with science, art and music. They will have PLENTY of opportunity to participate with everything else, once they have mastered the basics.

The plain fact, in answer to the myth about NOT starting when they are too young, is that you can start them whenever it suits YOU! You know your own situation.  You know what will suit the dynamics of your own family, and your own children's capabilities.  When we started some children needed more to be read aloud to them, in order to participate, than others did when they joined in.  It totally depended upon the child.  They could potentially start Tapestry of Grace as early as they can listen and understand! Children are like little sponges, and can soak up things in a wonderful way.  However, if we are talking FORMAL schooling, they can start whenever YOU, as the parent, decide it fits the child, and your own schooling routine.

If you only have younger children, and you want a year of doing TOG at warp speed, you can do Primer, which works through the four years in less detail, and in a shorter period of time, specially aimed at younger aged children.  This programme is less designed for a family with multiple aged children, and more at those starting out on their home education journey, with only younger children.  It's a brilliant way to slide into TOG, in a less detailed way.  Hop on over to the TOG website to learn more about this.

The second question puzzled me, to be quite honest.  It implies that someone, from somewhere, has got the impression that TOG drills information into young children, and kills their love of learning.  It puzzled me because it's so far from the truth, it's just CRAZY!!!

If you want a curriculum that goes over and over information, in a repetitive and mind-numbing way, don't pick Tapestry of Grace! Conversely, it's a curriculum that serves to offer you a multitude of ways in which to soak up fascinating information, which NEVER involves drilling facts, dates and information in general. It gently, beautifully, and joyfully seeks to draw your children into a learning process, utilising stunning book titles, oodles of fun, hands-on suggestions, and a variety of learning styles. You can basically find a mode of learning that suits every type of child.  The "booky" type, the "hands on" type, the "inquisitive" type, the "factual" type, the "active" type, the "writing" type - the list could go on.  Due to the wonderful way that Marcia has written the curriculum, you can even pick and choose, from week to week, where you want to place your emphasis on learning. No drilling in sight!  Well, that's not entirely true - if you WANTED to drill facts into your children, I'm sure you could figure out a way, but it isn't anything obvious!

So, there you have it - my take on those two myths.  Given, they are less detailed than Marcia's responses, but she has way more experience and authority on the matter than I do!

If you want to learn more about Tapestry of Grace, and discover why it's such an awesome curriculum, head on over to their website, or throw me any questions you have in the comments below!

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