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

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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, Unit 4

I loved Unit 3 so I was so excited to dive right in to Unit 4. This Unit did not disappoint, it picked up right where we left off in Unit 3. We spent a lot of time reading about Benjamin Franklin, learning about his inventions and his huge involvement in the starting of our country. I really had no idea he played such a huge role. We also spent time on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I loved relearning all of this. I'm certain I studied all this many moons ago when I was in school but it just means so much more now. Plus, I love learning alongside my boys.

For some reason I have very few photos to share. I've noticed that I take more photos of Hallow these days and less and less of the boys! I do have a few to share so here goes.

We attempted to make our own letterpress but it wasn't as successful as I had hoped. I bought alphabet pasta letters so we could spell out words, ink them, and press them on paper. But the pasta came with a very limited selection of letters. We had M, T, H, N, A and I. It is really hard to spell words with just those letters ya'll! Caleb managed to spell MATH with his letters and Benjamin did I AM MN (I am McLelland). This is proof that sometimes crafts just don't work out.

Caleb drew a picture of Washington for the cover of his lapbook. He used the Draw, Write, Now books to do this.

The completed lapbook. 
I love these and plan to use them while the boys are in the grammar levels.

We had one ongoing project throughout the unit. We worked on newspaper articles each week. By the end of the unit we had a newspaper with stories from that time period. We did articles on Boone, Franklin, and Revere. Of course, Caleb had to have a Bird of the Week column. 

We wanted our newspaper to look old so we crumpled it up and soaked it in coffee. I put it in a low temp oven for a few minutes to dry it out.

It came out awesome!

We just had so much fun with this unit, with this whole year really. I love this curriculum and I can't wait to dive into Year 3 in August. 

While this is a TOG post, I do have to share one of my favorite things Benjamin did this year. He did My Father's World for first grade. Each day he had to read a story from his Bible reader and then write a summary about the story. He loves Minecraft right now and his passion for it was reflected in his drawing.

See how the pillars and trees look like Minecraft? So cute. I love that kid.




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, Unit 3

We just wrapped up another TOG unit. This was my favorite unit by far. It covered Colonial Times, so we learned all about the founding of the 13 colonies. We managed to squeeze in a number of activities during our studies.

We learned about the paper art of quilling. Quilling involves spiraling thin strips of paper and then shaping them. Appently this was a popular activity in Colonial Times.

Caleb found it cool but tedious. It requires a good amount of fine motor.

A quill heart.

Benjamin loved quilling and made several shapes. 


We planted seeds in an attempt to grow our own food, just like in CT. Several colonies planted and grew tobacco...we planted cantaloupe seeds. Seemed more appropriate.

Caleb worked on a 13 colonies book throughout the unit. 




For language arts, Caleb had to write a short play with a colonial times theme. 
We chose Legos to act out our play. Clearly Benjamin played a role in this project.

Basically Derick (left) is the leader of a new colony and Dekemunbo (right) is the leader of a local Native American tribe. Derick comes over to make peace and Deke agrees but while they are chatting, a fight breaks out between the two sides...

...and it ends in a blood bath. Only Derick and Deke remain. Clearly this play was written by 2 boys.

Caleb also wrote a fable. It was about a horse and a macaw who go head-to-head in a slam dunk contest. Writing and creating stories is not easy for Caleb so I was tickled at his progress during this unit.


Since cameras weren't invented yet, the colonists relied on silhouettes. The boys thought these were so cool! Obviously they should have been smaller...but oh well.

And of course, we completed another lapbook. Still love the lapbooks.

Benjamin joins in on some of Caleb's activities but also does his own curriculum, My Father's World 1st grade. Benjamin will be a full-time TOGer next year. He's doing well and making progress. Reading is a challenge but he gets better every week so I'm not too worried. 

Only one unit left to finish out this year. I think we will take our time getting through this last unit, take a couple of breaks during, and finish up at the end of June. My plan is to take all of July off and then start back up August 1st. I think I like the year-round approach to homeschooling. It allowed us to take as many breaks as we needed throughout the year. October is always a crazy month so we need time off then. I also like taking all of December off. Plus, we travel throughout the year so it is just nice to spread our school year out instead of trying to follow the public school schedule.



Monday, August 17, 2015

First day pics, homeschool style!

We officially started our 2015-2016 homeschool year today. I can't believe this is my third year to homeschool. Time flies folks.

Us homeschoolers have to take the obligatory first day of school photos too....even when our kids don't want to continue this tradition. I will make them hold up these signs when they are in highschool even if they roll their eyes in the photo.

I'm so excited to see how he grows this year. Last year really laid the foundation for reading and writing so I think he is really going to take off. 


First he turns 10 years old, now he's a 4th grader. Stop it.


Just like last year, I had the boys fill out a "first day" questionnaire. They will do this same questionnaire on the last day of school to see how things have changed.

The first day of school is always a nail biter. I never really know how it's going to go. Let's face it, I've let these kids vegetate the last few weeks. There has been a lot of video games, television, and other mindless entertainment. We've just been lazy and having fun. So I kinda threw them back into a routine today without a lot of warning. Surprisingly, they did great! We got off to a great start this morning and both boys had all of their work done by lunch. Truly a perfect homeschool day. 

Given their awesomeness and complete cooperation this morning...they got a sweet treat this afternoon. They deserved it.

I got the "first day of grade" signs here.
I got the "first day of" questionnaire here

And for those of you who are interested, here are our homeschool curriculum choices for this year:

I loved, loved, loved TOG last year and have no plans to switch. This will be Caleb's main curriculum. I will pull Benjamin in on some of the activities and lessons as well.

Essentials in Writing
I discovered this complete grammar and writing curriculum at a homeschool conference last spring. I loved it. It is a DVD driven curriculum with a workbook.

This is their first grade curriculum. By the end of this year Benjamin should be a solid reader and writer. This will be my last year to use MFW as Benjamin will be using TOG full time next year. 

I'll be doing this with Benjamin because MFW doesn't seem to address grammar directly and I love the ease of FLL. I used Level 1 and Level 2 with Caleb and had great success. 

No changes here, Caleb is doing Gamma and Benjamin is doing Alpha. 

Noeo Science: Chemistry (by Logo Press)
We did Noeo biology last year and enjoyed it. This curriculum has a Charlotte Mason approach with reading and daily notebooking. There are also experiments, which the boys love. I like the simplicity of this curriculum. 

That pretty much covers our core subjects. We will continue to do plenty of nature walks this year as well. The boys will also do a monthly book club and the one day a week co-op/Mother's Day Out they did last year. 

I feel excited and blessed! I can't wait to see what our school year brings. 


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tapestry of Grace: Year One, Unit 3

We just wrapped up Unit 3 of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. You can read about Unit 1 and Unit 2 as well. This unit walked us through Ancient Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and into Ancient Greece.

Fun fact: The ancient Assyrians actually invented wheels with spokes. They figured out that having spokes made the wheels lighter and faster. Caleb thought it was so cool that he could thank the ancient Assyrians for the spokes on his wheelchair wheels!

Here are a few of the activities we did over the last 9 weeks.

We learned that ancient armies would create banners or flags that they would carry into battle. We made our own flags. 

From left to right: I made our official homeschool flag for "McLelland Academy". The boys thought this was awesome. Caleb made the middle flag and Benjamin did the one on the right.

We learned about ancient relief carvings and made our own using bars of soap.


We studied Babylon and the Ishtar Gate. King Nebuchadnezzar was behind this amazing architectural construction. It was fascinating to learn about.  We made our own, much smaller version of the Ishtar gate using clay.


Finished Ishtar gates. Benjamin's is blue, Caleb's is orange.

We spent some time on the book of Esther while we learned about the Persian Empire. We learned the history behind the Jewish celebration of Purim and we attempted to make Hamantashen which is a traditional dessert served during this holiday. They are supposed to look like this:


Our's looked like this:

Nailed it!

Despite the appearance, they actually tasted pretty good. Don't judge a book by it's cover people. And don't judge a cookie just because it's insides are running out.

We also made our version of the "Cyrus Cylinder". The original Cyrus cylinder tells how King Cyrus captured Babylon and let all the captives return to their homeland. It was basically a declaration by the King.

Benjamin's Declaration: "I, Benjamin McLelland, declare that everyone must be creative with Legos. You must practice building everyday with Legos. No instructions allowed. You must be creative in a certain way."

Caleb's Declaration: "I, Caleb McLelland, am the bird  man. I love birds and you should too! You should do what the bird man says!"

Love it.

We made our own seals. These would have been dipped in wax and then used to seal important documents.

Once we got to Ancient Greece we started learning about famous mathematicians like Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Eratosthenes. We made our own Platonic bodies.


We also explored the concepts of geometry by making a Stomachion.

First we created a grid and drew shapes. The shapes were then colored and cut out.

The shapes could then be arranged to create pictures.

The boys used Legos to build a labyrinth. They had to see if they could get a marble through the maze.


We learned about Greek theater.
Comedy and Tragedy masks.


Astrology was very important to the ancient Greeks. They were able to chart more than 800 stars during that time. They even designed a planetarium. We made our own constellarium (a smaller version of a planetarium) using a toilet paper role and black construction paper.

And we completed another lapbook!


I continue to love this curriculum. We only have one more unit left and we will have officially survived our first year of Tapestry of Grace! I will definitely continue with this curriculum next year. I have absolutely loved it. I love learning history in the light of God's plan. It's been amazing to read and really study how history just lines up perfectly with the Bible. The two are not separate. I've learned so much...and I think the boys have too. 



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