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General Reviews from TOG Moms

On this page, you will find gathered links to blog posts that give extensive reviews of the either the entire Tapestry of Grace program or one major aspect of it, written by blogging moms who just love to share about Tapestry. We hope that this collection is especially helpful to newcomers who need a general orientation in the layout and terminology that veterans use when they describe their journeys with Tapestry of Grace on the succeeding pages of this website. Note that blog posts that included pictures are linked via our choice of those graphics.

Leaders and User Awards Commend TOG

Practical Homeschooling Magazine

 
  High School Curriculum
#1 in 2011
#2 in 2012
#2 in 2014
 
  Middle School Curriculum
#2 in 2011
#3 in 2012
#2 in 2014
 
  Elementary School Curriculum
#2 in 2011
Honorable Mention in 2014
 
  History Curriculum
#2 in 2011
#3 in 2014

Cathy Duffy

Nominated for Best Unit Study Curriculum and Best History Curriculum.

One of Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool CurriculumReviewed & included in Cathy Duffy's prestigious 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum



5 Star Homeschool Curriculum Award Winner

Readers voted Tapestry as one of the Top 50 Best Choices for homeschool curriculum in 2013!

Tapestry is a good choice for younger children

Below, we've linked a number of blog posts and/or email letters that relate the benefits that moms of younger children have noted when using Tapestry of Grace. Though this program was originally conceived as an answer to the challenges faced by moms teaching on a wide spread of learning levels, it seems that many younger parents have been grateful to find Tapestry when their children were all in the younger years, or wish that they had!

TOG gives moms confidence and support

Many moms feel confident to teach their kids through the grammar years, but begin to feel out of their depth as Jr. and Sr. High years approach. Tapestry was created with such moms in mind! Our Teacher's Notes are largely devoted to giving you everything you need to teach older students while continuing to nurture their souls and shape their characters by continuing to have them largely in your home. Below, we've collected blog posts and also text-based testimonials and links to other resources that can help you decide if Tapestry is right for your family as your children grow older.


Helpful webinars for parents of older students.

  1. Teaching Grammar and Dialectic Students
  2. Gaining a Vision for Homeschool

Why I wish I'd started when they were younger...

"I would like to make a comment about something that I hear often in connection to moms with little people only and TOG. I'm really starting to wonder if there's a bit of backward thinking going on. TOG is designed to be a K-Mom program, and it has proved to be just that in my home. It's funny - folks always say, 'Teach to the oldest child first.' If I've heard that once, I've heard it a thousand times at homeschool conventions. I've embraced it, but I forgot that *I* was the oldest child in my homeschool.

When my children were all in the early elementary years I was busy during school hours. I was homeschooling three children; sometimes I thought my head was going to pop because I was being pulled in so many directions during our school hours. But looking back on it, my days were not truly filled - at least not like they are now. My children were done with school by early afternoon and wandered off to play on their own. I had time to work, time to plan, time to study. I filled my 'study time' with trying to find the perfect curriculum for the middle years and the high school years. I filled my time trying to mesh fourteen logic-stage history curricula together to make the perfect 'ta-da' program - the one with the perfect schedule that would pull us in the direction of the 'perfect' plan.

Looking back, I spent WAY too much time pouring over catalogs, posting questions on Internet forums, and fretting. Yes, fretting. I should have spent my time working through a rhetoric level program like TOG. Really. It's just not as hard as I thought it would be. I'm currently reading plays by Aeschylus and Tennessee Williams. I'm reading about the history of Ancient Egypt and the Presidency of Eisenhower. Lilies of the Field and The Iliad are on my nightstand along with many others. I'm playing catch-up. I'm having a ball, but I find myself working harder than I probably should be. I'm prepping for our rhetoric-stage run through Year 4 along with prepping for my soon-to-be 9th grader's launch into rhetoric ancients with the Redesign; we will begin in late August.

(Remember the momma with the little people? I thought I was busy then. In addition to all of the literature and the history, I'm currently also learning foreign languages and brushing up on Pre-Calculus and Chemistry and Physics. Granted - there are no more diapers and fewer dirty dishes in the sink. Everyone does their own laundry so that doesn't plague me any more. But it's a different kind of busy now. Boy I wish I could send an email to myself four years ago and tell myself to quit pouring over catalogs and get to steppin' on mastering some of this content. Languages. Math. Science. History. Philosophy. Literature. It would have made a LOT more sense to do some of this then.)

I honestly wish that I had found TOG when my oldest was in fifth grade, and I wish that it had dawned on me that *I* was the oldest student in our homeschool. I needed a 'rhetoric level' run through on the 'big ideas' of Western Civilization and all that is implied between the words 'big' and 'ideas.' TOG would have done that for me in a nicely paced way. The program is designed to meet the needs of the rhetoric-level student FIRST; it is designed with their pace in mind. I just don't know how I missed that!!!

I purchased TOG during my oldest child's sixth grade year. So many people label that year as a tough year to begin TOG with younger kids. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why. I'm supposed to fly through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Exploration, Colonial America, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution in ONE YEAR!??!!! YIKES! Are these people crazy? If you take a look at most children's libraries in America and you REMOVE the books that cover those areas from the shelves there won't be much left! I wanted to USE all of those materials with my kids. Every. Last. One. Pick and choose? No WAY! TOG didn't give me the time to do all that *I* wanted to do in 36 weeks. I was unable to tweak the program; I just didn't have the confidence to do it. My bad. I dropped it, and I picked something else. BUT - and here's the biggest BUT - I dropped it for the 'oldest child' in our homeschool, too. I failed to see that I was sacrificing MY education. I put their education first; it was short-sighted of me.

Am I called to teach my kids? Yes. However, I feel called to lead them all the way through the rhetoric stage. The grammar stage is an interim step and SO is the logic-stage. Those stages are designed to master skills; the content is useful but only to the extent that it develops those age-appropriate skills. Children at those stages are not able to master all of the details of history and literature. No one is going to master all of it. No one. Boy I wish I had realized that. Ultimately? I want to drive this bus all the way through to the finish line. I want to get through the rhetoric stage with this 'stuff.' That's really where we are headed. And here's the rub. I have found that I can not lead my children where I have not been.

Momma's got to pick up the clue-phone first. TOG does a terrific job of helping me to see and understand where we are headed each week. The notes are terrific. The additional products like Pop-Quiz offer a terrific forest-for-the-trees overview. But for me, there is no substitute for actually wading through this material on my own first and letting it simmer down inside for a while. That's what helps me to really 'see.' That's when this momma picks up the clue-phone and has those 'ah-ha' moments. Me first and then my children. I step over the line and then I slowly pull my kids across the same line. Rinse. Repeat.

As we head into the high-school years in the fall, I'm grateful that I have found TOG, and I'm so grateful for the work that Lampstand Press has done in making the History, Literature, and Philosophy pick-up-and-go for me. BUT I'm absolutely sure that my children would ultimately have had a better education if the momma had used TOG exactly as written when my children were younger. If *I* had used the program EXACTLY as written when my kids were younger, and I had realized that the program was designed to take me, the rhetoric-stage student in my house, on a journey through these big ideas FIRST then I truly believe that the benefit that my kids would have received would ultimately outweigh any deficits in their education - if you can even call them deficits. Should my seventh grader SKIP Johnny Tremain? Can you be truly educated if you don't read Johnny Tremain? What if my third grader doesn't remember who Thomas Jefferson is? Doesn't he need to read seventeen books on Jefferson so he NEVER forgets who he is? Maybe - but I suspect that they will ultimately benefit more if their teacher understands the connections between the battle of Marathon and Greek Democracy and has some thoughts about the middle ages, the rise of kings in Europe, and the ideas of John Locke and Thomas Paine. I'm trying to make those connections now. TOG is helping in a HUGE way, but for me, I wish that I had started earlier. We're truckin' on down the road, but I'm hustling.

I wish that someone had told me that it wasn't an either/or proposition. You CAN read books about Jefferson and Johnny even after you have 'finished' that historical period in your history studies. Kids are pretty smart. I spent way too much time lining everything up. I should have spent the time reading and studying on my own. Less planning and organizing curriculum... and fretting. More time educating myself. Here's the rub: my kids remember lots of things, but not as much as I had hoped. No one remembers WHO Charles the Hammer was. I wish I had spent less time trying to figure out how to 'fit' him into the schedule - complete with a coloring page and a timeline figure; my time would have been better spent reading Augustine on my own.

I've switched gears. I'm teaching to the oldest child now. I'm educating myself, and I'm passing out clue-phones right and left.

Oh - and I'm fretting less too. For what it's worth...

Enjoy your little people. Enjoy your journey." - Janice


Read Real-life Stories from Families Using TOG

Below, we offer you many different stories of how families have implemented, struggled with, and been blessed by Tapestry of Grace. The links that are under pictures will take you to blog posts. We also have a series of short text-based testimonials.


We’re in our first full year of using TOG and I just wanted to share with you how much we are loving it.

"With the help available on the forum and from the Foundational Sessions DVD’s we were able to get up and running very smoothly. Lesson planning is so much easier than I’ve ever had it before, even with high school level lessons. My son is getting an excellent grounding in bible, writing, critical thinking, literature and art. The history lessons are interesting and memorable because he is getting a full picture of the events, people and lessons of history as part of God’s overall plan. We are having insightful and meaningful discussion of philosophy and history thanks to the wealth of teacher’s notes. I could not be happier with the quality of education using TOG." - Anonymous


Half-way through and loving Tapestry of Grace

"We're in our first full year of using TOG and I just wanted to share with you how much we are loving it. With the help available on the forum and from the Foundational Sessions DVD's we were able to get up and running very smoothly. Lesson planning is so much easier than I've ever had it before, even with high school level lessons. My son is getting an excellent grounding in bible, writing, critical thinking, literature and art. The history lessons are interesting and memorable because he is getting a full picture of the events, people and lessons of history as part of God's overall plan. We are having insightful and meaningful discussion of philosophy and history thanks to the wealth of teacher's notes. I could not be happier with the quality of education using TOG. Thanks for all your hard work." - Susan


Writing Aids has been a real help!

"My son was a very reluctant writer last year in 3rd grade. He cried just writing a few sentences. Forget doing paragraphs! We switched from a traditional program to Tapestry of Grace this year, and are using Writing Aids. He has already written a paragraph about Life on Noah's Ark, Life in Ancient Sumeria, and the Burial Customs of Ancient Egypt. The last two weeks, he has written a 5 paragraph report on Jewish Holidays, doing the research himself from his history/literature.

"I really didn't think he could do it, but he did a paragraph a day. I just want to sing the praises of this writing program. Breaking it up into little pieces each day has really helped, but I think the biggest benefit is the fact that he is writing about what he's already been reading about all week. Thanks so much for this program, and I encourage all new Tapestry of Grace users to give it a try!" - Anonymous


Parents and Students Share Their Experiences

The homeschooling journey is not undertaken lightly. It can be a long and sometimes weary trek, especially if you're unsure of the final outcome. Here, we've gathered (many unsolicited) testimonials of the good experiences of families that have persevered with Tapestry of Grace. In a few cases, we've also heard from graduated students who share their memories and/or how Tapestry studies prepared them for college and/or life.

We welcome your submissions on how Tapestry has prepared you for college and/or life after high school.
Please send your submissions to alumni@tapestryofgrace.com.

A Journey That Prepared Me: Matt Spanier

Read Matt's story on Marcia's blog.





Poetics Goes to College with Anna!

Read Anna's story on Marcia's blog.





Tapestry Alumni and Herodotus Scholar

Read Ben's story on Marcia's blog.





Tapestry grad is off to PHC!

"We'll be graduating our oldest in a few weeks. I can't believe how fast this time has gone. We have used Tapestry from the beginning of our homeschool journey back in 2003 and I want to thank you all for the wonderful education my son has received through the curriculum. He was accepted at a number of colleges, some that are not easy to get into, and time after time we were told how impressed the admissions department was with the depth of his education, especially history and literature. In August he will begin what we pray will be a wonderful four years at Patrick Henry College as a history major. A little mommy brag alert, but also a TOG brag alert: Ben received the Herodotus Scholarship at PHC. So thank you Marcia, Dana, Christy, et al, we love you and appreciate you and will keep praying for your efforts." - Karen


An amusing aside...

"Here's an amusing aside—two 11th grade students from our rhetoric co-op (my son and another young lady) were on separate college visits in which they sat in on a class (not the same college). The female student was sitting in a literature class when the professor asked something about poetry (I can't remember exactly what). None of the college students knew the answer, so she timidly raised her hand and provided the answer since it was something we had learned from TOG. For my son, he was sitting in a New Testament class when the teacher brought up allusion, and he had to explain it to the students while my son sat in the back and smiled, knowing the term already from TOG. They had fun reporting these incidents back to the rest of the kids in co-op!"


My professors built on the base my parents laid using TOG

"I did have an excellent education in college, but I'll tell you a secret—I had an even better education in TOG. Really! My college professors were WONDERFUL, but they just deepened and broadened what was already there. I truly feel that if I had never gone to college, I still would have rich education, a mind awake, a rounded soul, and an ability to tackle new areas of study as they come my way through life. I think that this knowledge helped me not to fret over grades in college or gorge myself on information (though I certainly had a feast!), but just to enjoy every minute of it.

"Because of that, I remain aware of the great debt that I owe my parents for their patient, wise, enthusiastic, and balanced instruction in high school. They helped me to become a complete person before I ever went to college, and kept me from treating higher education as the be-all and end-all. I fear that many kids think that their education doesn't matter until they get to college, and I'm so glad I didn't have that mentality! I know I'm a far richer person for it. I still think of my parents as my best teachers, even if they didn't know as much information as my college professors. Information is just information: I'm grateful for it, but it was my parents who taught me how to love God and learn." - C.J. Somerville