Showing posts with label TOG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TOG. Show all posts

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tapestry of Grace, Year 3, Unit Two

We wrapped up another TOG unit last week. This unit took us a bit to get through because of Caleb's surgery and the holidays but that is the joy of homeschooling right? We get to push pause when things come up and we are never behind.

Year 3, Unit Two covered a lot of great topics. It was still heavy with US history but touched on things going on in other parts of the world. I love that nothing happens in isolation when it comes to historical events. Things are ultimately connected together and what happens in one area of the world directly impacts other parts of the world. History truly is a tapestry made up of connected events.

We started off the unit by learning about Texas history (which we loved, bein' Texan's and all). We read about Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and the Battle of the Alamo. We also spent some time on the Indian Removal Act enforced by President Andrew Jackson in the 1830's.

Then we headed overseas to learn about the Victorian Era. We learned about Samuel Morse, the developer of Morse Code. We "made" our names in Morse code by using sequins.



We read about Australia and the Aborigines. We made boomerangs out of cardboard. 



Then we headed back to the US to learn all about the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush. I loved this section so much! Did you know the pioneers traveled over 2,000 miles in covered wagons just to get to Oregon? Did you know it took them 6 months or more to make the journey? It wasn't an easy trip either and I was amazed at the perseverance of these folks to try and find a better life. 

Pioneers often made memory quilts that featured special moments or memories as part of the quilt. The boys made their own version of a memory quilt using paper.



The Oregon Trail eventually led us to the California Gold Rush. For fun, I painted some small rocks gold and mixed them in with assorted rocks. The boys used a foil pie plate to "pan" for gold.



 We wrote a poem about Gold Fever.


We added more states to our growing US map.

And added some Presidents to our timeline.

Another Unit lapbook complete! These lapbooks really serve as a great review at the end of the unit. We cover so much good material over 9 weeks that it is nice to have a quick refresher at the end of the unit.



Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Tapestry of Grace, Year 3, Unit One

We wrapped up our first unit last week. Here are the highlights from the last few weeks of school.

Year 3 picks up right where Year 2 left off. I love the continuity of Tapestry of Grace. Everything just flows together. We are continuing to learn about the early years of the United States.

I bought this book as a supplement to our studies. It came with a map and stickers so we can add states to our map as we learn about them in our studies.


We learned about the 3 branches of government.

We've studied the first 5 presidents of the United States. I bought the Presidents cards in the $1 section at Target. They are perfect for our studies because they list facts about each president on the back. 

We spent some time reading about Lois and Clark and their expedition into new territory.

We started a collage poster. We will be adding to it throughout the year.

We use this book to help us draw the pictures for our collage poster. These are great books, I highly recommend.

We are also working our way through History Pockets. These make for a good review of what we are learning and they offer some fun activities. 

We made a state info card for each state as they became a part of the US. I got the flag stickers here.

Benjamin is working on his own U.S. Presidents book. I love that both boys learn the same things at the same time....just at a different level. I found all of the President coloring pages on the Crayola site


We studied the Star Spangled Banner and made our own flags. Caleb made his out of Legos and Benjamin used construction paper. Did you know the flag of 1812 is the only U.S. flag to have 15 stripes instead of 13?

We completed another lapbook. I still love these. Since our units are about 9 weeks long, the lapbooks serve as a great review at the end of the unit. We didn't just learn early U.S. history but we also studied Napoleon and Simon Bolivar. We also covered some of the big inventions during this time period. 

Working hard.

Love my little lefty.

We use A Reason for Handwriting. Benjamin loves to put his copy work on the fridge. I had to remind him that there are 36 weeks of school and the fridge isn't big enough to display everything.

The boys started a new co-op this year. The co-op/mother's day out that we have done over the last couple of years isn't running anymore but a brand new co-op sprung up within minutes of our house. This one is a true co-op where the parents are the teachers and everyone pitches in. It is every Monday morning for 3 hours. The boys each have 3 classes that they attend during that time.

First day of the new co-op. The boys were a bit nervous but excited too. Luckily they saw some friends from their old co-op at the new co-op.

Benjamin in his Land Animals class.

We also squeezed in some fun nature walks. The boys really enjoyed a nature class on owls. They got to dissect owl pellets in search of bones. The found entire skulls in the pellets. It was really cool.


And we saw an actual Barred Owl in a tree!


Our town started this really fun community activity. You paint rocks, hide them, post clues, and go searching for rocks. The boys were so excited to find 3 rocks on our nature walk. We painted some today that we plan to hide this week.


So that is a quick recap of the last few weeks. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How I plan Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace can be a very intimidating curriculum at first glance and it does have a learning curve. But once you have a unit or two under your belt, planning is a breeze. After completing two years of TOG, I have perfected a system of planning that works great for me. I thought I would share it here in case it could help some other folks considering or using TOG.

When you purchase a year of  TOG you have the option to buy the printed version, the digital edition or both. I like to have both the digital and print. I like having the actual paper in my hand instead of on a screen but the digital version is nice for easy printing and can be updated easily if needed. There is no right or wrong, it is just whatever works for you.

A year of TOG comes in 4 separate units. The first thing I do when I get my new year of curriculum is do a happy dance and then put each unit into its own binder. 1 1/2 inch binders work great for me.

Some folks like to plan for the whole year but that overwhelms me greatly so I focus on one unit at a time. Because TOG cycles through history, I know we will come to each year at least 2 or 3 more times. For this reason, I like to protect the pages. I go through the Unit we will be studying and pull out the pages that are relevant to my boys. TOG separates things by learning levels, Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Benjamin is Lower Grammar and Caleb is Upper Grammar with some overlap in between. So I only pull out the pages that are for Lower and Upper Grammar, I ignore the rest.

TOG color codes the pages so you know which pages are for your child's learning level. After I pull out the pages for my boys, I also pull out the teacher's notes for me. I do this for each week of the Unit. Each week is about 60 pages but I can reduce it to about 30 after I pull out the pages I need. I then put each page in a sheet protector. It is a tedious process but it works for me. I like the sheet protectors for several reasons. First, it keeps the pages clean and perfect so they hold up over time. Second, it allows me to take notes using a dry erase marker directly on the sheet protector.

After I sheet protect all the pages from that Unit, I start printing out the Reading Assignments for that unit. I use this to check for books at my library. I look at the Lower and Upper Grammar books recommended for each week and check to see if my library has that book or a very similar book. I also check Amazon to purchase only those books that I can't get from my library and that are used for several weeks or more. I do not buy books that I will only use for one week. TOG also has Bookshelf Central where they sell every single book that is recommended for that year. This is handy when a book is out of print and/or your library doesn't have it. I usually compare the TOG price against Amazon before I make a purchase. There is a lot of wiggle room with Lower and Upper Grammar. It is okay if you can't find or buy all the recommended books. I have learned that finding a similar book works just as well for these lower grades. TOG also gives you a list of alternate reading resources that can be used if you can't find the recommended books. I usually try to get 3 weeks of books at a time from my library.

The next thing I do is print out the Planning Aids for the unit. This is a relatively new service that TOG offers and it is awesome. If planning TOG scares you to death, then Planning Aids is the answer. Planning Aids can be purchases separately for a very small price and they will lay out a schedule for you so you don't have to worry about planning each day. The work is already done. I use the Planning Aids as a basic guideline. They do save me some time when planning our week.

Left-the recommended reading assignments for the Unit. Again, I only look at the books for Lower and Upper Grammar. Right-the Planning Aids for Lower and Upper Grammar.

While I don't plan for the entire year right off the bat, I do get some things organized for the whole year.
I number 36 file folders to cover each week of our school year. As I plan each week, I put everything we need (maps, worksheets, lapbook inserts, math, etc) in the corresponding folder.

I also get the Lapbooks separated by week and put in the numbered folders.


All of the Lapbook pieces separated and ready to go into the folders. This just saves me time throughout the year and it is one less thing that has to be done. I love the Lapbooks and highly recommend them, especially for the lower grades. 

I also print out any maps that we will need for geography during the unit and put them in the appropriate weekly folder. I make copies of any student worksheets we may need as well. Again, I only do this for one unit at a time.

They each have their own binder for the entire year. Everything goes in here. I have dividers for math, science, literature, handwriting, geography, etc. I used to do separate binders for different subjects but that just got ridiculous. One big binder it is! It works perfect and takes up less space.

I have Monday-Friday pocket dividers in each binder.  That way they can open it up to the "Monday" divider and pull out their assignments for that day.

I use Homeschool Planet for planning. I love it (although it also had a learning curve and took some time set up). It costs about $6 a month. You can try it for 30 days for free.  On the left is Caleb's plan for the whole week. This is for me so I have a visual of our week and I can mark things off as we do them. On the right is his daily assignments. These are for him. He can quickly see what needs to be done for that day.

His daily plan goes with his assignments in the divider folder for that day.

Benjamin has the same system in his binder.

Because I plan my units ahead of time and I have the numbered weekly folders, I can just pull that weeks folder and put the assignments in the boy's binders. The upfront planning before the Unit does take time but my weekly planning is drastically reduced because I put in the time beforehand. I usually take about an hour each weekend to read the Teacher's notes for the upcoming week and make sure we have everything we need for the week ahead. It makes for a much smoother year.

So that is how I plan with Tapestry of Grace. It is a system that has worked for me the past two years. If you have any specific TOG questions, feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer them. I am passionate about this curriculum and I am happy to share our experience.

TOG has several resources on their site to help you learn more about the curriculum and some strategies for planning. 

Some helpful links:


TOG Year Three Pinterest Board (I just started this one)

There are also Facebook pages for each year of TOG. These are great resources and I highly recommend them. 




Friday, June 24, 2016

Why I love Tapestry of Grace

Since we just wrapped up our second year of Tapestry of Grace, I thought I would share why I love this curriculum so much. I remember when I first started researching TOG, I scoured the internet looking for blogs and reviews from real moms that were successfully and happily using this somewhat intimidating curriculum. It seemed like real, personal reviews were hard to come by...so I want to share mine.  And here is why I love Tapestry of Grace.


1. History is presented as a series of interconnected events.

Tapestry of Grace submerges you into history. Year One of TOG begins at the beginning, with Creation and then moves forward through the Ancient World, all the way to Modern Times in Year Four. No event is studied in isolation. As you study history you see how everything is connected and how the events in one part of the world can and do impact the events in another part of the world.

(While studying the Ancient World we made a Ziggurat)

2. The curriculum can be (and is intended to be) used for multiple grade levels.

This is a benefit that I am just beginning to appreciate. I've pulled Benjamin into many activities over the last two years but TOG wasn't his main curriculum in kindergarten or first grade When we start Year 3 in August, Caleb will be in Upper Grammar and Benjamin in Lower Grammar. Even though their learning levels are different, they will be studying the same things. We will all learn alongside each other.

(Shields and daggers, weapons of ancient warfare)

3. The hand of God is all over history.

This is probably my favorite thing about TOG. We tend to view historical events outside of God. We don't see the forest for the trees. When you pull back and look at the whole picture and how events are connected, you can see how God orchestrates His purpose. TOG does a great job of pointing that out. A quick example would be the invention of the printing press during the Renaissance. The printing press helped power the Reformation, which led to the people standing up against the misuse of power in the church, which ultimately lead to the spreading of the Gospel. I love learning history in the light of God's plan. It's amazing to learn and study how history just lines up perfectly with the Bible. The two are not separate.

(Priestly turbans and breastplates)

4. Freedom to plan what I want.

It's ironic because the freedom to choose and plan my own schedule was the thing that scared me the most about TOG and now I love it. TOG does a great job of giving you a huge buffet of activities and books to choose from. I get to decide what we do and don't do based on the choices I'm given. I love that.
(We made Shofars while studying Jewish holidays)

5. Books!

TOG is rich with books. Good books. I love that we are exposed to so many books that I would never think to check-out on my own. We read together every single day. We read great historical fiction, non-fiction, and biographies.

(Roman soldiers carried a standard into battle)

6. TOG covers numerous subjects and areas of study

While TOG is not a complete curriculum by itself, it does cover a number of subjects. With TOG we cover history, geography (as it applies to the events we are studying), literature, worldview, vocabulary, and writing/composition (if you get the optional Writing Aids supplement). I still have to add science and math but that is about it. I love that everything is tied together in TOG. If we are studying the 13 colonies (history) then we are also working on a map of those colonies (geography) and we are working on a newspaper with articles that cover some of the main events of that era (writing/composition) and we are reading a fiction book that takes place during this time period (literature). Everything makes sense together. 

(A Viking longship)


So there you have it, you now know why I love Tapestry of Grace. If you want to know more about our journey with TOG you can click here to see every blog post I have written about this curriculum.

Stay tuned because I'm working on a "How I plan with Tapestry of Grace" post now. I know that planning TOG scares a lot of people off so I want to share the system that works for me. Look for that post in the next few weeks.
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