We used Tapestry of Grace (Year 1) this last year and it has been wonderful. It provided a structured guideline for history, includes geography, and teaches social studies from a Christian perspective. Over the last year, I realized that I love literature-based homeschooling and that it creates the atmosphere that I want, as I teach all 7 of my children at the same time!
Quick Tapestry of Grace Overview
Starting from creation and up til modern times, you are learning about history through living books. You do read some textbook style books, too. It can be used for every level so all of my kids are included. There are a lot of discussion questions and there are options for writing lessons and more in-depth studies for the upper levels. Right now we do use the discussion questions, but not the writing assignments.
They also offer lapbooks for Lower Grammar. I am hoping to get the lapbooks for year 2 and have my 6 & 7-year-old children do them together this next year. I enjoyed the lapbooks done in previous years with my oldest son and my current Lower Grammar kids enjoy more hands-on activities, so I imagine they would love lapbooks even more so!
Quality Reading Time
This has helped me to make reading aloud to my kids a top priority. I have wonderful memories of my mom reading several books to me and my little brother every night. We begged her to read more and more and she did. I have wanted to give my kids that quality time with me, as well, but I have had the hardest time reading to my kids at bedtime. It is just a very busy time of the day for me with my kids’ medical needs, my husband getting home after a long day at work, supper clean-up, and just getting 7 young kids ready for bed, etc.
So, I have never consistently read bedtime stories to my kids. And, it really needs to be part of our “required” homeschool lessons in order for me to feel like I can sit down and read to my kids without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else (supposedly) more important. I found the “excuse” I needed with ToG.
Find What Works For Your Family
There are many other literature-based homeschooling curriculums out there, but ToG was what appealed to me the most. I plan to purchase ToG Year 2 for the 2016-2017 school year, too. In fact, I have already ordered a lot of the living books for next year, but I still need to purchase the ToG curriculum. It is an investment, but you purchase the 4 years just once to reuse again & again with all grades.
2016-2017 Homeschool Year
I will have 1 child in Dialectic level (6th grade) and 2 in Lower Grammar (1st & 2nd grades), and then 4 preschoolers/special needs kids who will just listen when interested. ToG offers a lot of hands-on learning too and I do hope to work in more of the activities this school year, but those are not a top priority. However, through this literature-based homeschooling method, I am able to incorporate a lot more history and science than we had in previous years. And it provides us with quality reading time every day.
And, as always I will use the curriculum as a tool, not a dictator! I can pick & choose which (or how many) books I will read to my children each day. Though I want to spend some time reading each day, I do not read every single book that ToG suggests for all of the levels I am teaching. It is a balancing act, my friends.
In Other News…
Did you know that I have officially been a “work at home mama” the last 18-months (with regularly paid positions as a writer and virtual assistant)? And while I have been incredibly blessed by the ladies/bloggers I have been working with, as of August, I will be giving those positions up (for now).
And wanting to have plenty of time to read to my kids is part of the reason I am putting a lot of my business stuff on hold. I want to put a lot more time into our homeschooling and just fun stuff, too!
In fact, you may have noticed that I have been quiet here on the blog lately and I didn’t even send out a newsletter for July! I have been purposely staying off of the internet as much as I can. I want to be a wife & mama first and only put time into my online ventures as I have time to. I will still be writing here and doing some reviews and working with companies to bring you great resources, but it will be on a flexible basis without the weekly commitments I have had in addition to this blog.
I have stretched and grown in many ways this last year and a half! I have learned so much and enjoyed earning an income. I have loved working with some amazing ladies and being a *tiny* part of their ministry! However, I am just not cut out to be a “successful” blogger or writer (or virtual assistant, for that matter… though I am probably better at being a VA than being the other two. I really loved the organization and order of my VA tasks, lol)!
In the end, I simply and humbly want to live for the glory of God. He has called me first to be a wife, mom, and homemaker and so I must endeavor to heed His calling! This blog can (and will) be an extension of that “ministry”, but not the main focus. I can’t help but love writing and I don’t think I could last long without that outlet, but I can’t make it into a “business”. I’ll still be your go-to consultant for Lilla Rose and Usborne Books, though. 😉
I will still be sharing homemaking, homeschooling, parenting, and marriage resources as well as insight into our large family, special needs life… so I hope you’ll stick around!
Do you love seeing what curriculum other homeschool families are using? I will be sharing our entire list for the 2016-2017 school year for preschool, 1st, 2nd, and 6th grades soon!