Tapestry of Grace can be overwhelming to someone just starting out on the journey. There are ways of keeping your weeks light and custom fit to your family and its unique focus. Using notebook pages in our homeschool high school has helped our family stay on track and to keep from being buried by the possibilities offered in the Tapestry of Grace plans.
I am a firm believer in the process of real learning: read, ask questions, read some more, write about it, and then discuss it. Of course this is a learned process and I certainly never expected it from my children when they were younger but now that they are in high school I definitely expect them to be able to work this way. It makes them own their knowledge.
Over the years I have depended less and less on the Tapestry of Grace blue activity pages and charts. I realized that by having my boys use those preplanned questions, hoping for the “correct” answer, I was cheating them of being part of the process of finding out what is most important. Using notebook pages gives them a little freedom to ask themselves questions and then share in their written narration just what they discovered about their reading for the week. We meet on Fridays to discuss their week’s work and I read their notebook pages to see what they are gleaning from their studies.More often than not, they surpass my expectations. If I think they have missed something important, we discuss it at that time.
Steps To Determine What Notebook Pages to Offer Each Week
At the beginning of each school year I sit down to decide which subjects we will need notebook pages for as we work through our courses. This is a step you will use even if you don’t use Tapestry of Grace. Some subjects we keep notebook pages for include the following: History, Biographies, Literature/Authors/Literary Terms, Geography, Artists/Composers, Presidents, Timeline, Bible/Religions, Government. Since we do not have quizzes at all and very few tests in our high school courses, I use the notebook pages as a personalized record of each boys’ work each term.
If you are trying to incorporate the two ideas (TOG and notebooking) together, I have listed below my process for choosing notebook pages on a weekly basis
If you are using Tapestry of Grace, pull out your weekly plan and first read your purple Teaching Objectives page for your level. I use a highlighter to remind myself which are the topics we will be emphasizing this week. (This is where a lot of families get overwhelmed…pick one or two things to dig into and don’t try to cover everything in one year. Ideally you will cover this material at least one more time before your child graduates.)
Next, turn to the first yellow Overview page and skim through the material there and highlight any additional ideas you wish to emphasize. I look at the people and timeline lists and make sure we are going to hit the highlights.
At this point you are ready to decide on notebook pages for the week. I have all the tables of contents pages from every notebook set I own printed and filed in a binder for reference. I pull my binder out and turn to the appropriate categories. I choose one or two pages for each topic I have highlighted from my Tapestry of Grace plans.You can see my notes written with dry erase markers on the sheet protectors. I marked the week number for the pages we used from this set.
You can see this is not a complicated process if you keep it simple.
- If we are finishing a literature book, I make sure to print out an author biography page to complete for that book.
- My boys love maps so using geography pages that go along with our history setting is a welcome topic. Sometimes we complete the page from the history time period and then do a separate page for a more modern look at the nation. (For example, Ancient Babylon and then also Iraq)
- If you open your Tapestry of Grace plans and realize they cover something that you do not know anything about, turn over to the appropriate pages in the Teacher’s Notes and read the information. This should give you a pretty good idea of what needs to be included in your week. (The page numbers are in the gray bar for each subject on the purple Teaching Objectives pages.)
- We use notebook pages to keep written narrations from the week’s reading. These notebook pages many times then become the basis for more formal writing assignment like this one on King Solomon.
- Sometimes there is not a premade notebook page that fits a topic we have in mind. Most sets of notebook pages come with a blank customizable page at the end of the set. You can also purchase a set of basic notebook pages that you can add images or sketches to for a perfect fit.
If you would like to see some more of our high school notebook pages, you can click over to my Notebooking for High School page on Squidoo. You can also click the notebooking tab at the top of my blog if you want more details for many, many sets of pages we have used over the years.
Hope you found this information helpful….I wish I would have had a better system when I started using notebook pages.
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