Adjusting Tapestry of Grace to be More Charlotte Mason Friendly

Several people emailed me to ask how I take Tapestry of Grace and make it more Charlotte Mason friendly. I think there are two ways that I go about adjusting the assignments as planned out in the units so that I feel like we are getting the meat of the plan but not being overwhelmed by it. Here are the steps I took to adjust the rhetoric stage plans for year two. I trimmed and cut them to fit our homeschool goals.

1. Eliminate books.

Tapestry of Grace actually has made the first step easy for year two as far as literature goes. In the Loom, there is a document that is offered to explain the literature program titled “Using Tapestry’s Rhetoric Level Literature“. I printed this document out and after reading through it, I used pages 33-35 (Appendix D) to go about trimming our literature. We cut all the green and blue literature from the plan and this gave us the breathing space to lengthen the time spent reading the remaining literature without compromising the coverage of the time period.

For our history reading, I am trying to stick closely to the core suggestions without adding in the selections in the in-depth box. I occasionally find a book that I think is exceptional from the in-depth suggestions and we will add it into our study. We are finding that the core readings are a sufficient source for completing the accountability questions in the rhetoric stage. I occasionally need to share some points from the teacher’s notes but for the most part, the boys find the core reading to be adequate.

2. Split the books between assigned formal reading and free reading.

After trimming away the excess literature, I went back through the plans and looked at the alternate suggestions for literature to find any books we have not already covered in our homeschooling. These are books in addition to the core literature plan. I made a reading list for each boy with books that they are to read outside of school time in the evenings, over the weekends, or during any weeks off for breaks like winter break. They will not be required to complete any literature assignments for these books except the occasional oral narration to their dad or to me as they go along.


Narration and Not Worksheets

I would think that these two suggestions would help any level of Tapestry of Grace to become more Charlotte Mason friendly. I have never required the boys to fill in worksheets along with their TOG literature. We strictly stick with oral and written narration as a way to follow up our reading. I usually complete the reading with them so this is a great way to have a discussion of any of the more formal ideas planned out in the teacher’s guide.

If you have any more questions about how to trim and cut, you are welcome to email me at [email protected]

Need Some Inspiration: Try An Idea Portfolio

Make an Idea Portfolio for Drawing

Moms, this is an easy project to do while you watch a movie or sit in the car waiting at a music lesson. Just grab a magazine or two, rip out the images you are interested in, and then categorize them. I always went through the magazines before I recycled them and pulled out the images and then filed them away for future use.

I found that over the years it is easy to make an idea portfolio as you go about your everyday activities. These ideas can be used for drawings or paintings when you need something to get you started.
Some of our best ideas come from magazines. I subscribe to National Wildlife magazine and that is always full of photographs of animals of all kinds. I look for photos that might interest my boys in their artwork and if I find something that I think will work, I rip it out and put it in my idea portfolio.
You need to take the stack of ripped out pages and as soon as possible, file them in the expanding file
or you will have a huge pile sitting around cluttering up your workspace. This is a great project for your children to do on a cold winter day. We always get inspired while doing this project and the art supplies will immediately come out. I label the pockets of the expanding file with categories (see the list below).
More inspiration can be found in calendars of all kinds. I try to pick up a few calendars when they go on clearance to put with our art supplies. I look for ones with landscapes, paintings from famous artists, animals, still-lifes, or flowers. They can be used as inspiration when your child can not think of something to draw or paint.

Magazines: Birds and Blooms, Sunset magazine, Ranger Rick, Country Living. I always let relatives know that we would welcome old magazines.

Greeting cards are a great source of ideas. I try to save cards that the boys or I might like to use as a basic idea in our artwork. This idea is suggested in Mona Brooke’s Drawing with Children book.

I use an accordion type file to store all the pages that I have collected. I try to categorize them by subject so it is easier when the boys are looking for a specific theme for their drawings.

Some categories for your art portfolio files:

  • Animals with fur: cats, dogs, horses, bears, etc
  • Animals with texture: elephants, reptiles, etc.
  • Birds
  • Flowers
  • Trees
  • Buildings
  • Seasons: Spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • Water
  • Clouds
  • Mountains
  • Still Life
  • People: children, adults, groups
  • Historical
  • Boats

Your children need good ideas to spark their own creativity. A steady diet of worthy inspiration is worth the time it takes to put the idea portfolio together.

The Easy Spanish!-Charlotte Mason Spanish?

We are just about ready to finish The Easy Spanish or El Espanol Facil! Level I.
I don’t remember where I found the link in the first place but what attracted me to the program was that it described itself as using Charlotte Mason’s ideas for teaching.

I was interested at that point because we had tried a more textbook approach and we started using Rosetta Stone Spanish and neither of those options felt like it was a good fit all by itself.

I pulled up the website and watched the introductory video that is on the front page of the Spanish explanation. It seemed like something we could use in our family so I ordered the Spanish program. I received a spiral bound textbook with two audio CDs.

The textbook is arranged in lessons with corresponding lessons on the CD. The textbook is very well organized so my teenagers can work independently and have their own level of activities. I can see how this program would work with younger students as well. The lessons are written on multiple levels so this plan could be used in a family with children in different grade levels. Their website suggests that with younger children you work through the lessons at a slower pace and take 2-3 years to complete this level. Older students (teens) she suggests 1-2 years depending on how much time each week you take for Spanish.

Each lesson starts with a story that weaves English and Spanish together. You can read it in the text and listen along with the CD. After the story, the CD pronounces the vocabulary and leaves time for your child to respond. There is always a follow-up activity and there is always a time during the week when your child will narrate back in Spanish the general idea of the story from the lesson. There is a special notebook activity that is really a year-long project to have the child tell all about themself in Spanish. All the notebook pages are included. The program includes scripture memorization as part of each lesson. Most lessons have cultural notes that teach deeper about the culture presented in the story. Geography is also a part of this Spanish program.

If your children are older, there is a specific part of the lesson for independent learners. My boys have been working with these assignments all year and I think it has helped them progress more than anything else. The high school age child is also encouraged to start a journal in Spanish. This was difficult at first but as you build vocabulary, it gets easier.

One of the CDs also contains Spanish songs to sing along with the lessons.

The student is given a weekly assignment sheet where he can check off each particular aspect of the lesson each day. I found this to be a great tool for me to use with my boys, helping them to become more independent.

Link to a sample lesson on their website
Lesson Two
Table of Contents

I highly recommend that you go to their homepage and watch the introductory video. I found it very helpful to understand just what was included in the program and an overview of how it words.
The Easy Spanish -Video

So, of all the Spanish programs we have tried so far, this is the best I have found as far as learning practical vocabulary and encouraging the boys to actually have conversations. Using the independent, CM, and journal activities has helped them with their vocabulary and verb work.

Our Spanish course is a combination of The Easy Spanish! and Rosetta Stone Spanish at this point in time. We use The Easy Spanish! everyday of the week, about twenty minutes per day. Rosetta Stone assignments are usually three days a week, 15-20 minutes a day. We have a wonderful notebook of Spanish materials and resources after using The Easy Spanish!

Here are some examples of our notebook pages.

This is an example of my youngest child’s journal work with vocabulary from the lesson.

Here is a collage that my son made after learning about Mexico City.

If you are looking for a Spanish program for your family and you want it to have a Charlotte Mason flair, this program is worth looking into.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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