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Tapestry of Grace – One Last Post With Gratitude


tapestry of grace gratitude post

What would my life have been like without Tapestry of Grace? I can’t even imagine what our school would have been like to school through high school without the guidance and instruction provided in the year plans from Tapestry of Grace. It gave me the ability to offer high quality customized learning for my boys as they worked through each year. Nothing I have ever seen has fit our family as well as Tapestry of Grace.

I felt inclined to create one last post with my list of things to be grateful for with Tapestry of Grace.


1. Quality book choices:

This has made my life so much easier! Before Tapestry of Grace, I was trying to follow a classical style of homeschooling all on my own and was very overwhelmed. With the Tapestry of Grace book lists, I was able to create top-notch reading lists for my boys with amazing teacher’s notes and discussion ideas. Even if I didn’t read every single selection, I felt confident to discuss the books after going over the teacher’s notes. For sure, the books planned in Tapestry of Grace include all the books I would have chosen if I had to build this list from scratch…and then some!

2. Ability to choose from a variety of books:

Some years we stuck strictly with the core selections and some years we supplemented with the alternate and in-depth selections. I was able to go deeper and wider with topics and time periods my boys were interested in learning more about. Even when we didn’t have the exact book from the book list, I was able to substitute books from our home library and our public library which saved me money. We even added in some of the literature selections as audio books which built great family memories of listening together with the whole family.

tapestry of grace research project board

3. More ideas to include than we could ever accomplish:

The activities, timeline ideas, art projects, maps, and unit celebration ideas were so complete and thorough that we were always wanting to do more than just the basics. But, we could just stick to the basics when needed and still feel we were accomplishing more than enough. Our studies were more memorable because Tapestry of Grace led us to some wonderful projects and themes to research on our own.

tapestry of grace writing research ideas

4. Writing and research ideas:

This was such a great help for me in planning. I could choose topics and projects that fit our style and interests using the skills we were building in the IEW programs. I didn’t use their Writing Aids because it came out after we had already started with IEW.

5. A real sense of chronological world history:

I love that we could delve deeply into Bible history and the Bible as part of Year One plans. This wove together our family study and a more academic study of the times and countries that influenced God’s people in the Bible. The year plans helped us to tie world history to United States history. We read the history, studied the literature, learned about the artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, and composers as we worked through each time period. It was rich and complete.

6. Continuity:

My boys were better students because our method of study didn’t change from year to year. They learned to use Tapestry of Grace and then implemented that knowledge with ease as we studied each year.  Consistently high quality books made them eager for each new selection and they knew if they didn’t like a book that there was a reason we were reading it as we tied each one to the next. The reading was not always easy but because they just kept moving forward we were able to stick out a particularly dry or deep book selection in literature or history.

7. Teacher’s Notes:

This is my favorite part of Tapestry of Grace. I mentioned in number one above that this made it easier for me if I didn’t personally read a book that the boys did. On top of that, the notes were great references as we had our weekly discussions or if all else failed we could read the notes together as a jumping off spot for additional discussion. High school is fast paced and there are so many things to cover…the teacher’s notes in Tapestry of Grace made my job easier and more enjoyable. I also felt confident to offer book selections that I might have skipped because of content and difficulty. Year Two in the Rhetoric Level is tough but with the notes and additional materials we made it through the rough spots with more understanding and more of a sense of accomplishing something.

A Perfect Fit For Our Family

Tapestry of Grace fit our family’s style of homeschooling which originally was strictly Classical but changed into a more Charlotte Mason and Project Based Learning style. All of these methods can easily be used with Tapestry of Grace. I highly recommend this product and have been an affiliate for many years because of our love of these plans.

Tapestry of Grace- How to Pick Topics: Read this post and the follow-up post for some detailed explanation showing how we used the TOG history plans in high school.

I also have a page that has all my important Tapestry of Grace posts listed by title:

Tapestry of Grace on Harmony Art Mom


Language Arts in Our High School Plans

Language Arts at Harmony Art Mom

The up-coming High School Home Education Blog Carnival is featuring the topic of language arts. As I combed through my past entries looking for something to contribute, I realized that I have written quite a bit about our language arts but over on The Curriculum Choice. What  a great opportunity for me to gather all that I have written and share a bit here on my Harmony Art Mom blog for all of you to enjoy and as a resource for future readers.

Language Arts at the Harmony Fine Arts Academy

[Where I  have been home educating my four children for the last fifteen years. Currently I am home schooling my youngest high school age son….the very last one! We use an eclectic style of homeschooling, flavored with a Classical/Charlotte Mason style to emphasis the arts and sciences.]

Spelling Power – “Now that my boys are finished with Spelling Power and in high school I rarely need to correct their spelling. If they happen to misspell a word, I can usually point it out to them and have them correct it. The rules learned in Spelling Power have trained them well enough to get even complicated spellings correct or at least really close so they can look it up in the dictionary.”

English From The Roots Up – “We used the cards each week to drill the roots into our memory. We played simple games with the cards if we had some extra time during the week. We studied five minutes a day, four days a week.”

Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization – “Our children are constantly surrounded by slang, sloppy speech, and improper grammar. This program strives to provide food for the ears of our young ones and help them build up their natural ability to memorize.”

Take Five! For Language Arts – “There is an index at the back of the book categorizing the prompts by language arts skills involved and I found that to be very helpful. For example, if I was looking for a prompt that used persuasive writing, I could scroll to that section and read down the list of prompts working on that genre of writing.”

Daily Grams- Jr. High  and Sr. High Level – “I liked using Daily GRAMS as a way to spot check any trouble areas my sons might have and then to review briefly as they came up.”

High School – Can You Mess It Up?


What if I mess up high school

Question from a Reader:

I am reaching high school and wish I could start all over again. My boys, especially the 14 year old, have had a rocky ride and its mostly my fault. How can I reclaim the Charlotte mason /classical approach with teens when they don’t like to read- and one just wants to do the least to get through? I am so sad at where we have ended up…. I don’t want mess up high school and the textbook is looking good only because all the information is in one place. What if I mess up again and don’t teach what they need to prepare them for college? I’m supposed to be a homeschool mentor and I haven’t taken any of my own advice! Help!

High School – What If I Mess Up?

High school gives you the time to slowly give the power of learning to your children, transitioning into the mentor you mentioned in your question. This takes time. The process is gradual and for each child it happens at a different pace. If you do your best to offer the opportunity for your children to learn at their level and try to always allow room for personality and tastes, you won’t “mess up”.

Offer living books with real information.

There are wonderful free resources online to guide your choices like Ambleside Online. You can also read the book The Well-Trained Mind and glean even more wonderful resources for high school.

  • I tried to vary the style and format of the books I offered for history and literature. A tough Shakespeare choice would be followed by a biography or a lighter piece of historical fiction. You could also try using audio books if your child has trouble keeping up with the reading required in high school.
  • As they worked through the high school years, the amount of pages read each term would increase….I always tried to keep tabs on how they were progressing through a book and adjust my plans accordingly. If they got hung up on a particular book selection, we would discuss what the problem was. Sometimes it was vocabulary, sometimes it was just plain too hard for the moment and we would put it aside or skip it altogether, and sometimes it was just a lack of interest. I tried to allow for all those issues on a case by case basis.

Use a text or video courses in high school when it is the best choice.

Most of us use texts for math and science because they are appropriate for high school aged students. You can supplement your science with living books if you want to enrich those textbook experiences. Make the text work for you and if your child is not really into reading to start with, choose a text that has an audio version or a DVD course where they can pop in a DVD and watch a lecture before narrating things back in writing or orally.

High School Level Courses We Have Used

Require follow-up narration in written or oral form-high school level

Learning to read well and follow up with either written or oral narration is the cornerstone of our family’s high school experience. Doing just this one thing will customize your child’s learning. There is no real need for testing in most subjects if you are following up every reading with some sort of narration. Narration is a way for your child to share with you in some way what they took away from their reading.  Want more details? Try this entry: Narration: Helping Your Child Get More Out of Their Reading.

Narration Ideas That We Have Used in High School

  • Notebooking pages! – This has been the best and most effective tool in our high school years for my boys to customize and document their learning. The simple act of having a page that pulls all their thoughts together has made a huge difference in the attitude of my boys when it comes to follow-up narration. It isn’t quite a blank page but isn’t a fill-in-the blank cookie cutter workbook page either. Of interest: Notebook Pages in a Charlotte Mason High School.
  • Timeline – Keeping an on-going timeline that connects all subjects together has led to many light bulb moments in our high school years. Adding entries for science discoveries and famous scientists, historical events and famous people, art and music high points, and anything else of interest has made the timeline a treasured resource and valuable as a tool to see how all their subjects inter-connect. More ideas for a timeline notebook: Book of Centuries.
  • Discussion – Our weekly meetings are the jewels of our week. After all the work is done, Fridays are the moment when the boys can shine. They pull out books, papers, sketches, and projects to share with me as a way to tie up the end of the week and prepare for the next week.  Keep your questions open-ended. See more on our Friday meetings: Friday Discussions-What Do We Talk About?

Teach them to write using an approach that works for your family.

We used the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). As time went by with our boys, they gradually applied their writing skills to higher and higher levels of writing…essays, summaries, reviews, and research projects allowed them to share what they found interesting about a topic. This was a process that started in middle school and continued step by step in high school.  I learned that if my boys had something interesting to write about they didn’t complain as much about the actual writing. We also used our notebooking pages to ramp up their writing: How To Use Notebook Pages to Write an Essay.

Make Sure To Allow Some Interest-Driven Learning (Project Learning)

This idea alone reshaped the face of our high school learning. The moment I realized we could offer interest-driven courses that allowed my boys to hold the reins of their own learning and direct the depth and scope of their own learning….our high school experience soared.  I outlined our experiences here: Nurturing a Project Learning Environment.

Don’t Just Prepare Them For College

In the end, your job in high school is to not just to prepare them for college. Your role is to offer quality courses in a manner that fits your child’s learning style, allowing time for them to explore interests while still in your home. With a little planning, choosing the best materials you can find and giving the freedom to learn at their own will not mess up.

High school is just another stage of maturing into the self-educating adult we all want our children to become as they grow up and out of the home. We can help them learn to think and to apply any information and skills they need to accomplish their individual goals.

Please visit and share with us at the CM blog carnival! We'd love to have you! I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].





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