The Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
I would add that those who don’t know history misunderstand the present. After all, without perspective, we don’t have a clear view of who we are.
King Solomon put it another way. He said:….
“What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (ESV)
Of the history of our faith, the author of Hebrews says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
When my husband and I decided (abruptly and without much time to plan) to homeschool, we knew we wanted them to have a rigorous education. And I didn’t want to use textbooks and workbooks as the primary source of learning. I wanted to use books. I wanted to read aloud. I wanted to spend the few short years they’d be at home building relationship, memories, and learning together. I wanted epic field trips and coffee shop literature sessions.
Enter Tapestry of Grace. Oh, how I love Tapestry! (Don’t tell anyone, but Bible Road Trip is loosely organized the way it is due to my love of Tapestry!)
Tapestry of Grace is a classical Christian curriculum that takes your children (Kindergarten through grade 12) through the entire scope of history in four years. Then you go through history again at a deeper level with a new focus. It’s a repeating spiral. Because of the way Tapestry is set up, you only need to purchase each of the four years once for all your children for their entire homeschool career. Tapestry of Grace uses real books to educate your kids (and by high school, the “Great Books”), so there aren’t a bunch of textbooks and workbooks.
Here’s what Tapestry of Grace covers each week in a unit-study style:
- In-Depth History (like biographies, war accounts, etc)
- Family Read-Alouds
- Fine Arts & Craft Activities
- Church History (In Year One, this includes much of the Bible.)
- Enrichment (Such as movies and books that pertain to the week’s theme or time period.)
At the high school level, you’ll find additional elective subjects:
Unless you just go to Tapestry’s Bookshelf Central and purchase all the books for the year, Tapestry of Grace requires some planning. I usually spend a few days each spring planning the next year. I choose books I want to use based on what’ s available at the library, what I want to own (during the Reformation unit, I just buy all the books so they’ll be what I want), and adding in/substituting books I really want to use. For substitutions I use Christine Miller’s All Through the Ages book index (what a fabulous resource!).
We’ve used Tapestry through all four years of the curriculum with our boys now, and we plan to go through high school with them. I love the program enough that I plan to use it with our nieces as well from kindergarten to high school. I’m thrilled with it, actually.
Here’s what we add to Tapestry of Grace:
- Bible (Bible is only covered in Year One, and only as history. We use Bible Road Trip, of course.)
- Theology (for our older kids)
- Handwriting, grammar, spelling (I add a complete Language Arts program (not literature, but all else). I find I need the structure of something a little more rigorous in the writing arena. However, we use Tapestry’s writing program as well.)
You can check out our curriculum list for the coming year here.
One of my favorite aspects of Tapestry of Grace is the flexibility. I’m (ahem) opinionated about the resources I want to use. I have specific things I’d like to teach. Tapestry’s structure helps me stay on track, but the flexibility allows me to add and subtract as I’d like. I can substitute resources, plan detours, etc.
For example, next year the boys will be doing Year One again at a Dialectic level (a classical education designation). I added in history focused on scientific developments. I also added theology books in the worldview category, and a bunch of resources on archaeology and science from Master Books. In the first four years of the program I added many Christian biographies. I’m continuing that in the coming years. You can read about some of the modifications I made in my first Tapestry review.
I am so pleased with Tapestry of Grace. I feel my boys (and soon the girls) are receiving a well-rounded, rigorously academic education, and I’m free to customize that education as I please. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Tapestry of Grace’s website. I haven’t received anything to review from Lampstand Press–I just love the curriculum and thought you may want to know about it.
Don’t forget to read my review for Marcia Somerville’s Love the Journey, a primer for new homeschoolers.
Other curriculum reviewed on Thinking Kids
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner (Master Books)
- Tapestry of Grace (Lampstand Press)
- All Through the Ages: History Through Literature Guide by Christine Miller (2001)
- Koine Greek Language Resources for Kindergarten to High School
- Bible Road Trip
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.