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Lampstand Press

Publishers of Tapestry of Grace


Our Story

Lampstand Press was officially founded in 1998, but it really began three years earlier, when a homeschool mother of six named Marcia Somerville was led by her husband, Scott, through the process of writing a curriculum based on a four-year study of the history of the world, that she entitled "History." Marcia originally intended her work for family use, but soon others began expressing interest in the curriculum. As its user base grew, the curriculum was named Tapestry of Grace, and Marcia's pre-existing company, "Books 'N Kids, Inc." marketed it.

God kindly added like minded workers to the editing and production staff of Books 'N Kids. Notable in this story especially were three of Marcia's children (Nathan, Christy, and David) and Dana Caywood, an experienced homeschooling mom from Tennessee with a heart for literature work pages! Together, these workers produced Classic Tapestry of Grace from 2001 to 2005.

By the end of 2005, it was clear to the Somerville family that God had given the homeschooling community a gift in Tapestry of Grace. As stewards, they prayed about its future, and decided that Classic Tapestry of Grace was a good start, but to serve homeschooling families with excellence, we needed to learn from the feedback of families using Tapestry, and improve it significantly. At issue, too, was the fact that many key books listed in Classic Tapestry had gone out of print. There needed to be a better mechanism for renewing the curriculum if it were to be a useful, 12-year product as advertised. The Somerville family committed their time and family finances to seeing through the project of Redesigned Tapestry of Grace in the winter of 2005.

In 2006, Marcia reformed Books 'N Kids as a publishing house, renaming it "Lampstand Press." Over the years, Lampstand Press has grown to be more than just a single-product company. Here are a few highlights:

  • In 2006, Marcia, Dana, and the support staff opened the Lampstand Press Bookshelf which provided carefully selected products that we, as seasoned homeschoolers, can wholeheartedly recommend.
  • We also hosted Lampstand Live - a speaking tour by Marcia and Scott Somerville during which they sought to encourage the spiritual growth of homeschooling parents. The core sessions of these seminars were recorded, and are available at our Store, along with Marcia's speeches from state conventions and "The Foundation Series" of Tapestry Teacher Training webinars.
  • In early 2007, we developed Writing Aids as a help to mothers using Tapestry Writing assignments, and also as our second stand-alone product. We also developed other new products that enhanced and enriched the Tapestry experience, such as Map Aids, Evaluations, and custom-designed lapbooks for each of the four Tapestry year-plans.
  • In December 2008, we started development of Tapestry of Grace Digital Edition, providing an electronic version of the Tapestry of Grace curriculum. Dana Caywood purchased the Lampstand Press Bookshelf and opened Bookshelf Central as a sister store, located in Kingsport, TN. Customer support of both of these initiatives carried Lampstand Press through the turbulent economic times that our nation experienced during 2008-9.
  • In 2009, we also published two more stand alone products: Simon Bolivar: Statesman and Liberator, a biography written by Rebecca Duberstein under Marcia's supervision for upper-grammar students, and South America: the Continent and Its Countries, written and illustrated by Lauren Rohwer and David Somerville for lower-grammar students. These were the first support books for Tapestry that Lampstand Press has authored; we have also reprinted books for supporting the curriculum, and anticipate both writing and reprinting other worthy books in the future.

In late 2009 and early 2010, the Lampstand Press staff refined the DE version of all the Tapestry supplements, creating the four year-plan interfaces that gave users the ability to access all the Tapestry documents they need from one digital location.

By March of 2010, by God's grace alone, all four Redesigned Tapestry year-plans were completed, and were made available in DE format and Print. Our enhanced Store Buying Guide made purchasing Lampstand Press products even easier!

In the summer of 2010, we launched the Lampstand Learning Center, which offers live classes using Tapestry to students worldwide over the Internet.

In the spring of 2014, Marcia released Love the Journey, a book she wrote from her heart to address the specific needs of new homeschoolers, but is also a wonderful resource for experienced parents as well!

In the summer of 2014, Lampstand Press offered a new product for new homeschoolers: Tapestry Primer! It was written specifically for families whose oldest child is in Kindergarten or 1st grade, and gives an overview of all of world history.

Today, Lampstand Press continues to expand, providing new products and services to an ever-broadening homeschool audience, including a vibrant online community. By God's grace, Lampstand Press will continue to provide encouragement, educational services, and inspiration to thousands of Christian homeschool families in America and internationally.

Our Statement of Faith and Purpose

At Lampstand Press, we are committed to classical Christian education, based on our commitment to God's glory, our understanding of child development, and a deep appreciation for our cultural heritage.

God's Glory in The Purpose of History

We believe that God created time and space for His own glory, and that He is unfolding history to accomplish His perfect purposes for His people. Our passion for learning is a direct expression of our passion for God, as we seek to love Him with all our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength.

We believe that it honors God for us to learn the truths that He has revealed in Scripture, in nature, and in history, whether such revealed truths fit into our preconceived notions or not. Our reason for studying history is to learn from the experiences of others more about God's character and more about our own frailties and calling. We want God to receive the glory He deserves for all His mighty acts in history.

Our intention in presenting Tapestry of Grace® and other educational products is to remain accurate and biblically oriented.Tapestry's Teacher's Notes and Student Activity Page questions emphasize God's sovereignty in history, frequently noting specific evidences of His work as we understand it. It is our belief that children need to be led in "connecting the dots" of the events of history with both Scripture and a sense of the loving, active presence of God in world events. It is our aim to strengthen in them a sense of both humility and destiny as they view the sweeping majesty of God acting in HIS story.

All men and women sin; no expression of the body of Christ or worldly community has been without sin. God has called us to love sinners and tell them His good news, not judge them for their lost condition. Our position is that if children are taught to view the sins or errors of others with compassion and a biblical interpretation, they will both be warned of their own human tendency to sin, and become compassionate, but accurate, historians. They will be better prepared to glorify God by serving His purposes in their own generation.

God's Glory in Church History

We believe Scripture and church history each help us to understand God's purposes and priorities, so we seek to study the full scope of church history at age-appropriate levels.

We do not know how to be truly unbiased about something as important as our faith, but we think we have been commanded to be honest about our own beliefs, humble about our own wisdom, confident in God's care, and respectful of our brothers and sisters from different persuasions.

We are Protestant, and are therefore most aware of Protestant resources for Church History. Church History readings are broken out in the Reading Assignment Charts as separate entities, so that those who choose to study Church History from a different theological position can easily substitute resources written from their perspective.

Child Development through Classical Education

"Classical education" has two different meanings for Christian home educators. It can mean a "Great Books" curriculum, which hands on the heritage of Western civilization, but it can also refer to a "grammar, dialectic, rhetoric" model of child development and training. We believe in "classical education" in both meanings of the term.

Medieval educators taught students to speak Latin, debate in Latin, and persuade in Latin before they considered them ready for more advanced learning. The three disciplines of "grammar," "dialectic," and "rhetoric" composed the Trivium, which prepared scholars for the rest of the seven "liberal arts." Modern scientists have discovered that these three modes of learning correspond to specific stages of child development. Young children are remarkably good at memorizing facts and learning stories, children near the age of puberty excel at making connections; while youths and adults are best at analyzing and synthesizing.

Age-segregated classrooms have trouble taking full advantage of modern science and of the medieval model because they must serve all the children in the room, whether they are best at memorizing, organizing, or synthesizing information. We believe this is why educational experts keep promoting "higher order thinking skills" at ever-earlier grades. We would rather take advantage of "lower-order" thinking skills while the child still has them. Young children excel at absorbing stories, songs, sounds, vocabulary words and other material at the "grammar level." When the child matures enough to develop "higher order thinking skills," we want him to first organize a rich storehouse of previously-acquired information, and then synthesize in useful and meaningful ways.

The "grammar," "dialectic," and "rhetoric" learning levels are objectively real but have no clear boundary lines, any more than "infancy" or "adulthood" do. We therefore make it easy to select assignments from more than one level at any time. A child may try some "hard" material for a while and then decide to drop back for a bit. We are not afraid that this will result in a lot of malingering. When children play games, they don't "coast" at the easy level. Just as with this type of entertainment, with the right mix of encouragement and opportunity, we expect children to be eager to advance into more challenging work.

Cultural Heritage

The term "classical education" does not just mean an emphasis on the learning levels of the Trivium. It is also routinely used to mean an education in the Great Books of Western civilization, sometimes known as the "Western Canon." Until recently, a "liberal arts education" necessarily included broad and deep exposure to works by Plato, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and others. In the latter half of the twentieth century, this approach has often been derided as "works by dead white males." Since the 1970s, most secular universities have abandoned the goal of passing on any specific cultural content.

While we appreciate the insights of non-Western thinkers and want our students to be able to communicate effectively with people from any culture, we do not believe a "critical" or "multi-cultural" education is the best way to achieve that goal. A child who has no culture of his own is poorly prepared to truly understand a person who is willing to die to preserve his faith or heritage. We believe it is better to be a humble but patriotic citizen of some country than a proud but cynical "citizen of the world."

Because of this, we utilize and recommend many of the Great Books of the Western Canon at the high school level. We try to serve English-speaking students in general and Americans in particular by helping them study the threads of their own history.

Conclusion

Our goal is not to raise students who are puffed up with knowledge, but to help students understand themselves and the world around them clearly enough to realize their individual and our collective need for a Savior. Our sincere hope is that through these pages, we can all grow in our understanding of Jesus Christ, the Lord of history.

So, come, and magnify the Lord with us, and let us exalt His name together!

Our Staff

Marcia Somerville
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  • Speaking information
    Marcia's speech topics
    • Beyond Books: Variety & Customization in Our Teaching Methods
      • Length: 45-60 minutes
      • Type: Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • As a homeschooler, you actually have the opportunity to give a more varied and broad education to your child than do traditional schools. Why? Reading is not the only way that we learn! In fact, some students learn better by hearing, or doing. In our homeschools, we can custom design our teaching methods to the ways that our kids learn best! Do you know how you learn best? We tend to teach from what's easiest for us, and thus get stuck in teaching ruts without even realizing it. How do you know what kind of learner your child is? And, once you do know, how do you teach to that kind of learning? These are questions that Marcia will answer in this information-packed session that will expand the possibilities for instruction that only a homeschool can offer!
    • Co-ops: What They Are & How to Build Them
      • Length: 1–2 60-minute sessions (each hour includes 10-minute Q&A)
      • Type: Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • Come hear answers to a variety of questions related to co-ops. Marcia Somerville has been leading co-ops for over 16 years in various settings, has been involved in other group study contexts, and has helped co-op leaders around the country work through difficult situations.
      • Session 1: In this overview of co-ops, parents new to the idea can get answers to a host of questions: What exactly is a co-op? What makes it different from "drop and shop" resource centers or university model schools? What are the benefits and costs of involving my children in co-ops? Do co-ops benefit younger children? Are older kids going to suffer unless I enroll them?
      • Session 2: Are you thinking, "I have caught the vision and I want to start a co-op. Where do I begin?" From her personal experience, Marcia Somerville details important first steps to starting a co-op, common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and sound principles to build on. She reminds women of the importance of involving their husbands in the first stages of starting a co-op, and explains how co-ops provide opportunities for the sanctification of parents as well as children. Much time is left for questions in this helpful, practical session.
    • Cravings and Conflict
      • Length: 45-minute speech, plus Q&A
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Encouragement, Parenting, Spiritual
      • Audience: Mothers, Parents
      • Conflict is a part of life. Homeschooling doesn't generally make conflicts less frequent; rather, our close proximity to our spouses and children often provides extra temptations. Add in the fact that we really have to accomplish quite a bit every day, and you can have a recipe for constant strife! Conflicts often seem painfully difficult and confusing. However, there's a simple biblical principle at work in all conflicts. In every case, one or both of the combatants is craving his own way. Marcia speaks from James 4:1 ("What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?") and demonstrates that most conflicts can be managed better when those involved admit their cravings and work towards glorifying God by focusing on understanding and seeking to meet the needs of others, rather than selfishly focusing on their own desires. Marcia give practical ways that parents can use these principles with children, and spouses can use them with one another, as families seek to glorify God in the homeschool setting.
    • Cross-Eyed Parenting
      • Length: 45-minute speech, plus Q&A
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Parenting, Spiritual
      • Audience: Mothers, Parents
      • Though we may start homeschooling with noble goals of discipling our children and leading them onward in godliness, it is easy to quickly grow weary in welldoing. We can become too busy to feed ourselves before attempting to feed our children. We can be deceived into thinking that our successes and failures rest on our own shoulders. We can develop habits of speech and action that are harmful to our children. In short, we are as much in need of sanctification and growth as are our students! Sound familiar? Come learn the releasing truth of how a daily practice of preaching the gospel to ourselves can inform many common situations in our schools and reveal one of homeschooling's best-kept secrets: we are as much sanctified by the process of homeschooling as are our children!
    • Elements of Writing Instruction
      • Length: 1–2 60-minute sessions
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • No matter what curriculum we choose, there are basic elements in teaching our children to write. By starting with a general, overarching set of goals and principles, we can see clearly where we want to go with writing instruction and thus use our curriculum more effectively. In two sessions, Marcia Somerville simplifies and clarifies the goals parents should adopt when teaching their children to communicate effectively in written form.
      • Session 1: What are the elements of all good writing? What constitutes a well written sentence, paragraph, or essay? How much fiction should my child write? Should my child type on a computer or write by hand? Using PowerPoint slides and simple, straightforward language, Marcia outlines the process, from kindergarten through 12th grade, of teaching any child to write well.
      • Session 2: This session, which focuses on grading writing, builds on the previous one, and cannot be given as a standalone. Using the information she shared in Session 1 about sentences, paragraphs, transitions, reports, and essays, Marcia discusses how to actually grade our students' writing. The session includes practice in grading writing samples and gives general help about knowing where to start when evaluating our children's papers.
      • NOTE: Session 1 can be given alone in any given convention, but Session 2 builds on Session 1 and can't be given without Session 1 preceding it. Also, handouts are an essential part of this session; the conference must assume responsibility for providing handouts for audience members.
    • Embracing Humility: Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves and Our Teenagers
      • Length: 45-60 minutes
      • Type: General, Workshop
      • Topic: Spiritual, Parenting
      • Audience: Parents
      • Many parents do not know how to win their teenagers' hearts. Often, they are unprepared for the changes that puberty brings, and they can feel threatened or disrespected when their youths begin to question their faith and things they see in the family and the world. Parents can react by becoming overprotective, authoritarian, fearful, or permissive. How do you gain your child's trust so that you may help him through this crucial phase of life? A big key is gospel-generated humility. From her experience as a mother who has successfully raised six young adults, Marcia will share wisdom that she has gained.
    • Gaining a Vision for Teaching High School
      • Length: 45-60 minutes (flexible; may include Q & A)
      • Type: General, Workshop
      • Topic: Vision casting, Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • Marcia Somerville explores the issues of homeschooling high school. She addresses common hesitations shared by both veteran homeschoolers and newcomers, and takes a biblical approach to sorting out the conflicting messages and emotions that many parents feel in making this monumental decision. The session is uplifting, non-threatening, and envisioning.
    • Love is Patient
      • Length: 45-60 minutes
      • Type: General, Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • "I wish someone had told me, back when we were slogging along, that God's main purpose for me in homeschooling was to learn to love." So said a friend of Marcia as they reflected together on what younger homeschooling moms most need to know. This outburst, coupled with counseling courses that Marcia Somerville was currently taking, inspired her to write a series of blog posts following the structure of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to refresh homeschooling moms with gospel-centered truths about the main reasons that we do what we do.
    • Meeting with God: A Toolbox Approach
      • Length: 45 minute session, plus Q & A if time allows
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Parenting, Spiritual
      • Audience: Parents
      • We home educators teach academic subjects systematically; why not similarly equip our children to have daily, excellent quiet times with God? Marcia Somerville explores a variety of approaches to meeting with God each morning. Her own experience with her six very different children led her to adopt a "toolbox" approach. She taught her children a variety of ways to approach God each day, and then allowed them to choose the tools that worked best in various seasons of their lives: praying the Psalms, chart-based Scripture studies, praying the Lord's prayer, Kay Arthur's Principle Approach, and more. Marcia provides a list of techniques and explains most of them in this highly practical, informative session. She prays that this information will give you the tools you need to lead your children in establishing rich, daily times of meeting with God!
      • NOTE: This session builds on, but is not dependent on, "The Nearness of God Is My Good." If both are chosen for the same conference, please place this after "Nearness."
    • Teaching with Tapestery of Grace™
      • Length: 45-60 minutes (longer is better)
      • Type: Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • Do you hear about "Classical Education" and feel simultaneously intimidated and inspired? Marcia Somerville would like to help you with both! Come find out that you truly can deliver a classics-based, apologetics-oriented education to every student in your house — and love the process all the way! Tapestry of Grace, an award-winning, humanities curriculum puts you and your students of all ages on the same weekly topics so that you have time to be the teacher, not just the administrator of your school. More than a vendor workshop, this session will explain what sets classical education apart, how to build independent learners while holding meaty discussions that shape their Christian worldviews, and more.
    • The Nearness of God is My Good
      • Length: 60 minutes (can be shortened to 50)
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Parenting, Spiritual
      • Audience: Mothers, Parents
      • For many years, Marcia Somerville failed to enjoy a strong devotional life because she did not really believe that the nearness of God was her greatest good. She also battled with the sin of craven fear. Now, out of her experiences as a homeschool mom, Marcia shares transparently about her struggles in these areas and how God has granted grace and victory. She includes a strong exhortation on the primary importance of a strong devotional life for homeschooling moms, and lists practical steps to establish and deepen it. "Very encouraging" is the most frequent response to this talk!
    • Tips for Teaching a Houseful
      • Length: 50-60 minutes is ideal
      • Type: General Session, Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Mothers
      • Are you trying to teach elementary, junior high, and/or high school students at the same time, perhaps with one or two toddlers underfoot? With six grown children graduated successfully graduated from her homeschool, Marcia Somerville's been there and done that—and has many practical tips to share. Marcia explains some overarching principles that will encourage you to make a quiet home as the foundation of your homeschool. She'll help you to look at your children's development in three areas (academic, social, and emotional) and think of your children's development in terms of stages, not ages. Following the chronological development of the average large family, this session covers the full range: birth to 12th grade.
    • Working With the Stages of Learning (Not Against Them)
      • Length: 45-60 minutes
      • Type: General, Workshop
      • Topic: Education
      • Audience: Parents
      • Understanding the basic stages of learning that your child passes through as his brain develops gives you a better opportunity to teach effectively. Some curricula will rush children into lessons for which their bodies and brains are not ready. This can cause needless frustration and waste hours of your precious teaching time. Other times, we think we need to give our kids lessons earlier than we do. Again, waiting works with their bodies for maximum efficiency and greater enjoyment for both teachers and students. Marcia will explain these stages in simple terms and then highlight the best teaching strategies for each one. As a bonus, she'll throw in some parenting tips for each stage as well!
    • To see the full details of any speech, just click on the title. For a printable list, click here.
    • If you would like to schedule Marcia Somerville as a speaker for your upcoming event, and would like more information about her availability and travel requirements, please contact Lampstand Press at 1-800-705-7487. (International 301-963-0808)
    • (Hide Speech Topics List)
  • Marcia Somerville
  • President of Lampstand, Founder and Author, Speaker.
  • Marcia's Story
    Marcia Somerville, wife of Scott Somerville, is a homeschooling mother of six and the author of the Tapestry of Grace curriculum.
    (More)
Dana Caywood
  • Dana Caywood
  • Vice President

  • What I do:
    Manage projects, oversee employees, review products, implement policies.
  • Birthday:
    December 20
  • Secret Skill:
    I have no secret skills. All of my skills have been made public.
  • Dislikes:
    Steaks with gristle. That so many Americans buy cheap products from Asia. Clothing styles for teen girls.
  • Loves working here because...
    I love working with fellow Christians, laboring together to further God's kingdom!
Heather Melton
  • Heather Melton
  • Customer Support Supervisor

  • What I do:
    I help customers with manual orders, upgrade forms, affiliate credits, and questions about the Tapestry of Grace curriculum or website.
  • Birthday:
    March 20
  • Secret Skill:
    Organization - I can be a bit obsessive sometimes.
  • Dislikes:
    Negativity, sweet tea, cold weather, and traffic.
  • Loves working here because...
    It's a great working environment! Everyone is fun, friendly, and helpful!
James Caywood
  • James Caywood
  • Operations Manager

  • What I do:
    Order management, creation and shipping, vendor and service provider relations, oversee maintenance on all software and hardware, building maintenance and general supervision.
  • Birthday:
    June 5
  • Secret Skill:
    I am known to tickle a few ivories.
  • Dislikes:
    When people feel that they can't be themselves, Bees, Not having something to do. I have to be busy.
  • Loves working here because...
    I can work in an environment where I can practice the commands which God has given us.
Kendra Mehl
  • Sharon Land
  • Product Support Representative

  • What I do:
    I help customers who have questions about our products and how to use them. I do upgrade forms, orders, and help Dana with any special projects that she may have. I assist Dana in finding replacement books for ones that have gone out of print, as well as make sure the questions and answers match in the Student Activity Pages.
  • Birthday:
    April 2
  • Secret Skill:
    Knitting
  • Dislikes:
    People who are always negative, feeling alone, and cold weather.
  • Loves working here because...
    I love being able to work with fellow Christians every day. I’m a better person by working here and showing the generosity that this company has always shown me. I'm challenged each day to help others, be a witness, and make this more than a job. It’s truly a ministry!
Alex Holt
  • Alex Holt
  • Technical Director

  • What I do:
    It's my job to know as much as possible about the technology we use so we can serve you better! I also make edits to the website, maintain our office's technical equipment, and answer all your tech-related questions by phone, email, and tickets!
  • Birthday:
    May 3
  • Secret Skill:
    Button-pushing! I have a natural affinity for it.
  • Dislikes:
    Large crowds, bad drivers, awkward situations.
  • Loves working here because...
    I get to work with fun, Christian people who share my beliefs and values, and I get to help some of the most appreciative and grateful people I've ever met!
Christy Somerville
  • Christy Somerville
  • Staff Author

  • What I do:
    Revise and develop the Tapestry literature track and supplements; answer questions about literature, and sometimes record seminars to help busy moms teach it!
  • Birthday:
    December 1
  • Secret Skill:
    Horseback riding.
  • Dislikes:
    Anything that's gone bad in the fridge. Miscommunications. Typos. Miserably hot July days.
  • Loves working here because...
    Working here involves my favorite God, my favorite people, and my favorite activity: finding specific ways to bless others.  What's not to love?

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Telephone

  • 1 (800) 705 7487
  • 1 (877) 621 7021
  • 10-4pm Eastern Time, M-F

Mailing Address

  • Lampstand Press
  • 1135 N. Eastman Road
  • Kingsport, TN 37664