What is Tapestry of Grace?
Tapestry of Grace is a Christian, classical, history-focused, multi-disciplinary, unit-study curriculum for the entire family.
Christ is the central focus of this curriculum. Tapestry of Grace presents the history of the world showing that history truly is His Story. Christ, His coming, and His sovereignty are woven throughout the threads of this comprehensive curriculum. I should mention however, that the curriculum makes use of many secular resources.
Tapestry of Grace uses the classical model of the Trivium for instruction.The assignments are divided into Grammar (Lower and Upper), Dialectic, and Rhetoric levels. In the dialectic and rhetoric levels there is an emphasis on reading many of the "classic" works.
Tapestry studies the history of the world chronologically and all the other subjects are studied within their historical context.
Tapestry of Grace includes assignments in history, literature, Bible, worldview, geography, government, philosophy, art appreciation, hands-on activities, and composition.
Each year of Tapestry of Grace (there are 4 total) is broken down into 4 units. These units are history related and within each unit are assignments in the before-mentioned disciplines.
For All Ages
Tapestry of Grace can be used for all your school-aged children at once. Not only that, but there are extensive teacher’s notes for mom to learn as well. They even have a special summary CD for dads called the Pop Quiz.(not included in the year plans) The unit celebrations are intended to be shared with the entire family, or even extended family and friends.
How does Tapestry of Grace work?
There are four different year plans in Tapestry of Grace.
Year 1: The History of Redemption: From Creation to the Fall of Rome
Year 2: Between Ancient and Modern: From Byzantium to the United States Constitution
Year 3: The 19th Century: From Napoleon to Teddy Roosevelt
Year 4: The 20th Century: From Teddy Roosevelt to September 11th (Coming soon)
The program is designed so that a student completes each year plan and then begins the rotation again, studying the same topics again at a higher level. It is not necessary to begin at Year 1.
Each year plan has four units with nine weeks per unit. The introduction of each unit begins with a summary of the history included in the unit, and an explanation of how the unit fits in with previous history studies. It outlines the scope of the unit and provides some general information about the topics that will be studied. Also included are ideas for a unit celebration. These unit celebrations provide an opportunity for a compilation of everything studied in the unit to be displayed and presented. Unit 1 of each year plan also contains a guide to help users get started with Tapestry.
Following the unit introduction are the week plans. There are nine weeks in each unit, for a total of 36 weeks of study in each year plan. Each week’s plan is divided into several sections.
- Threads – These are the weekly learning objectives for each of the subjects studied in Tapestry of Grace. The objectives are divided by subject and level. (1 – 2 pages)
- Reading Assignments – These sheets give the assigned readings for all the threads and levels for the entire week. The scheduling of the reading is flexible, and will vary between families and from week to week within a family. There is one page of primary resources and one page for alternate and extra resources. The alternate resources provide additional flexibility to the program. (2 pages)
- Weekly Overview – These pages include vocabulary words, people to know, time-line dates, activities, and geography activities for the week. (2 pages)
- Writing Assignments – There are 12 different levels of composition assignments. These assignments are usually related to the history lessons that week. (3 pages)
- Student Activity Pages – These pages are designed to be used by the student. They contain questions about the history and Bible reading for the week, as well as geography assignments and suggested activities. There are often separate literature assignment sheets. These are usually about 2-3 pages for both the lower grammar and upper grammar sections, and longer for the dialectic and rhetoric levels. These pages are conveniently color-coded in the corners by level for easy identification.(Length varies – Year 3 Unit 1 Week 1 has 14 pages)
- Teacher’s Notes – This section is usually the longest section of the week. It contains articles with background information for the topics studied in the week. In addition, it contains the answers to the literature worksheets and the discussion questions. One of the most impressive portions of this section, and perhaps of the entire curriculum, are the discussion outlines to be used with dialectic and rhetoric students. (Length varies – Y3U1Wk1 -14 pages)
- Glance into next week – This handy page lists things the parent should be aware of in the upcoming reading assignments. It sometimes includes budget-stretching suggestions for combining students of different levels into one text. (1 page)
What do I like the most about Tapestry of Grace?
- Multi-level teaching – I love being able to teach all my children at once. Right now, it is not as hard to do, because my youngest is only 2-1/2 and not in school. But as I look ahead, I see the value in being able to have the entire family studying the same history topics when my children are in, for example, 9th, 7th, 5th, and 1st grades,
- Non-consumable and reusable – Tapestry of Grace is more than the typical non-consumable curriculum that can be passed down to younger siblings. It can be reused by the same students, as well as being passed down to younger siblings. I can conceivably use each of the Tapestry of Grace year plans four times!
- Unit-study approach – I love how so many subjects are covered in Tapestry of Grace. I love to add in projects and writing assignments that go with our history studies. Also, understanding the Bible in its historical context is invaluable.
- Flexibility – There are so many ideas and resources listed each week, that it would be impossible to do them all, so I can pick which ones are best for my family. I have the ability to schedule the reading as well. Many of the suggested books are available from the library and often there are easy substitutions for those that are not.
- Product Support – The customer support at Tapestry of Grace is excellent. They have promptly answered questions and provided help. There is a user’s forum at the Tapestry website, as well as very active Yahoo groups for general and year specific support.
What are some specific topics?
I received Year 3 Unit 1 Digital Edition to review. In addition I received the corresponding Map Aids. The unit is entitled Napoleon’s World. The 9 weeks are:
- When John Adams was President
- Napoleon: The Man and His Career
- Early Industrial Revolution
- Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase
- Jefferson and the Supreme Court
- Madison and the War of 1812
- Reshaping Europe and South America
- South America in Transition
- Monroe and the American Hemisphere
I love the literature selections for this unit. One of my very favorite books, Pride and Prejudice is studied for four weeks of the unit by the rhetoric students. One of the dialectic books is Frankenstein and the Swiss Family Robinson is included for upper grammar. You can search and see the recommended books for any of the units or the entire year plan at www.bookshelfcentral.com. The searches are quick and easy. You can even copy the results to a spreadsheet so you can sort them by level or subject.
There are some great activity suggestions for this unit. Lower Grammar Students can write with a quill pen, make a water wheel out of Legos, make a silhouette, and practice counting money. Upper Grammar students spend much of the unit on an invention product and learning about the branches of American government, including preparing a Supreme Court scrapbook. Dialectic and Rhetoric students make a display board with major Napoleonic figures and an inventor project, as well as building models of the Supreme Court Building and the Arc de Triumph. All levels listen to violin music, learn how to cook food from South America, study the Star Spangled Banner, and learn proper etiquette concerning the American flag.
The Map Aids are a tremendous time saver. They include black-line maps specific for each week. You don’t have to worry about finding maps, just print them out and go.
What about the Digital Edition?
I have been using a print copy of Tapestry for this school year. The unit that I received to review was the digital edition (DE). The download was easy. I find the DE easy to navigate and it has a very convenient search feature that allows you to use your computer to search instead of flipping through hundreds of pages trying to find something you know is in there. I like the fact that the DE saves space. Each unit of Tapestry of Grace fills up a 2" binder. Storing 16 total binders for all the year plans might have been a problem. One important thing to note is that the digital license does NOT allow the DE version to be resold. I personally find the DE a very convenient format for Tapestry of Grace. I would not print out very many of the pages so I don’t think that increased printing costs will be an issue for us.
How much does Tapestry of Grace Cost?
- One year plan – printed = $225 + shipping
- One year plan – digital = $170
- One year plan – digital + print = $270 + shipping
- One year bonus bundle – digital = $250
- One year bonus bundle – print only = $295 + shipping
* Bonus bundles include entire unit, the Loom, and Map Aids, plus your choice of a bonus option (Writing Aids, Complete year lapbook kits, complete year evaluations, or complete year Pop Quiz) and a bonus item (one level of evaluations, one unit lapbook kit, or one unit Pop Quiz.)
The units are also available individually.
- One unit digital = $45
- One unit digital + printed = $76.40 + shipping
- One unit printed = $60 + shipping
The stand-alone printed versions are not currently available for all the year plans. Be sure to check the store for the unit you are interested in to see what is available.
Bookshelf Central provides the resource books for Tapestry of Grace plus suggested grammar and spelling curricula. The books are also available from major book retailers. In addition, many of the books are available through the library or can purchased used.
I love Tapestry of Grace for my family and plan to use it for a very long time! I think it provides the framework to provide my children with an excellent understanding of history and God’s sovereign hand in history. If Tapestry of Grace sounds like something your family would like, be sure to go to their website to download their free samples. You can see the layout of the program and try out the digital version for yourself.