Your curriculum has arrived and you eagerly open the box. Now you are faced with 4 shrink-wrapped bundles, a couple of CDs, and an extensive website full of dozens of pages of information, instructions, and ... choices! How and where do you start?
Fortunately, there are many generous people on the Together Forums and Yahoogroups who gladly share their methods and ideas with those of us who are organizationally challenged. We have here attempted to distill some of that advice to create a one-stop, step-by-step set up plan that you can follow to the letter (or adjust to suit your preferences) if you just want someone to hold your hand and tell you what to do, so that you can get on to the more enjoyable and satisfying work of actually implementing Tapestry with your family.
You need to make a decision about sheet protectors before you begin. (There are dozens of messages on the TOG Loose Threads yahoogroup concerning the pros and cons of using plastic page protectors; those discussions get pretty hilarious!)
Basically, it boils down to this: to page-protect or not to page-protect?
Okay, you've made your choice. Now place your units in binders, either in sheet protectors or not.
You will need to buy:
Label the folders 1-36 — you can also write the weekly topic on the tab, if you like. (You can find the list of weekly topics on the Loom or on the TOG website home page for each year-plan: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4.)
Place the folders in the file box (or cabinet). You will only be working on Unit 1 at first.
Student Activity Pages: Determine which levels your children will be working in this year, identifying and following the color code associated with each level.* You can either take the pages out of your TOG binder and bring them to the copy center, or use the Loom CD to print them off of your computer. Print off the SAPs (Student Activity Pages) for each child for the first 9 weeks. This will include any charts, worksheets, Discussion Questions, and instructions for projects. File them in the appropriate week's folder.
* Red: Lower Grammar; Gold: Upper Grammar; Green: Dialectic; Blue: Rhetoric
Maps: Find the maps needed for the first 9 weeks, either on your MapAids CD or some other source of outline maps, and print off copies for each of your students. File them in the appropriate week's folder.
* If your student will be making transparency maps this year, you will only need to make copies of the base maps, and place them in paper folders with transparency sheets; the directions for this are found on the Loom.
Blank Student Assignment Sheets: Print off 9 blank weekly assignment sheets for each of your students, enough for Unit 1. You can find these on the Loom, or you can create your own. Place one for each student in each week's folder.
Reading Assignment Pages: if you have several children, you may decide to photocopy the weekly reading assignment pages for each student, and place them in the folders.
Hands-On Projects: As you are browsing each week plan, you may want to make a list of projects you'd like to assign and a list of materials for each one. Place finished materials list in appropriate folders.
Optionally: You may want to create a planning sheet for hands-on projects. Note the name of the project, where the directions are found, and list any supplies needed. Place this sheet in the appropriate week's folder.
Writing Helps: If you are using the TOG Writing component, determine the writing levels of your children. A set of charts called "Writing Levels" is on the Loom to help you. Browse your week-plan writing assignments and print (from the Writing Aids CD) a copy of any graphic organizers, writing supplements, worksheets, or instructions for each child's writing assignments. File these in the week's folder.
Evaluations: If you are using the TOG Evaluations, read the introduction on the disc before you print copies of the quizzes or evaluations for each child and place them in the week's folder.
Additional Resources: Make a list of any additional resources you want to use for each week — videos, websites, articles; file in appropriate folder
Field Trip Info : Write down information about possible field trips for each week
Start by taking weeks 1-3 out of your large Unit 1 binder, and placing them in the smaller Working Binder. Place a pocket page at the front of each Week. Take your weekly folder for Week 1 and move the Evaluations, field trip info, project planning sheet, and additional resources sheet to the pocket folder in front of Week 1. Do the same for Weeks 2 and 3.
Place the tabbed divider pages at the back of the binder. Label them Assignments, Evaluations (if using), Projects, Additional Resources / Field Trips, and Co-op (if you are in a TOG co-op) This is where you will place the sheets when you have finished a week, and keep any Co-op information.
Make a copy of a blank monthly calendar for each month, and place in the front of the binder. Write in any field trips, Co-op days, Unit Celebrations, assignment deadlines, library days, etc.
Keep a copy of your weekly school schedule in front of the calendars.
This would also be a good place to keep a list of library books that you have checked out.
A month before starting school, you will want to:
2–3 weeks before starting school, you will want to:
When you have completed Week 1, you will transfer the Week 1 pages back to the Unit Binder and add Week 4 to the Working Binder. Each week, move the past week's lists and papers from the pocket folder to the tabbed sections at the back of the binder. Place your children's finished assignment sheets in the Assignment section, and any completed quizzes in the Evaluations section.
Label the tabbed dividers in the General binder:
Follow the directions in Writing Aids to label appropriate tabs in Grammar & Composition Notebooks.
Have the students decorate the covers of their binders.
At the start of each week, you will transfer the students' maps, Student Activity Pages, and time line figures from the weekly folder to the appropriate pocket in the General binder. They will use a blank Assignment Sheet to write in their reading assignments and other assignments for the week (except for your youngest students, whom you will need to help). Place these sheets in the Assignments pocket.
Students may want to check off or highlight assignments on their sheet as they complete them — everyone likes being able to check things off a list! At the end of the week, file the completed assignment sheet under the Assignments tab in Mom's Working Binder. Completed worksheets, writing assignments, etc. will be filed together behind the Unit tab in the Student Binder. File maps behind the Maps tab. Have students add time line figures to the their time lines (if they are doing them).
You can add any other tabs or pockets as needed to accommodate the portions of TOG that you are using or not using!
GREAT! You have your materials organized. You are almost ready to jump in and start using Tapestry of Grace.
Organize your books
All families develop unique ways to organize their books. Take time to consider how your children will find, keep track of, and return books quickly and faithfully in your home!
Plan your schedule
While no moms that we know can stick like glue to a printed schedule, the exercise of writing one out can be extremely helpful. It forces you to think through the details of your week, finding a place for everything, even if everything doesn't always go in its place! Some people like this to be much more detailed than others. Below are some resources that may be helpful (choose whichever fits your personal style the best):
You don't have to do every subject every day. Most people schedule their TOG reading for the beginning of the week (maybe even starting over the weekend) , schedule one day for geography, another day for time lines, spread writing throughout the week, and set aside time late in the week for discussions, hands-on projects, or a Co-op.