Frequently Asked Tapestry of Grace Questions: A Typical Week

Continuing the series on Frequently Asked Questions, this post is about a typical week with Tapestry.

Once again, if you read the material at the bottom of the blog, or if you aren’t interested in TOG, just disregard 🙂

What does a week look like for your Grammar level children?

Tapestry covers History, Geography, Literature, Fine Arts and Writing. My Lower Grammar children read aloud with me daily, from either a history topic, literature, or both. They choose a topic from our weekly reading and do one writing assignment for the week. They start with a graphic organizer, which allows them to generate some thoughts about what they will write. The next day they dictate their paper to me, from the graphic organizer. They are both just learning to write and spell, and dictating their paper for me to write ensures that their content is much deeper and more thorough.

They typically do one hands on project per week if we can, or one field trip (usually not both). They prepare one or two pages for their notebook (a coloring page or drawing to go with their writing) and sometimes they do the Student Activity Page (typically a writing activity centered around that week’s literature), but not always.

My Grammar level students do the geography component, with some basic map labeling, as well as oral geography, pointing things out on the world map. Frequently, Tapestry incorporates books about the geographical location, as well as fairy tales or folk stories from the region. Sometimes our hands on activity involves cooking food from the countries we are studying.

My time is limited, as is the attention span of my Grammar level children. The bulk of their time is spent on Writing, Reading and Math. Therefore, we typically do not do the vocabulary component of Tapestry, or at the most, we talk about the words orally (instead of writing out dictionary definitions). We also don’t have much time for the Fine Arts component. My children take an art class with other homeschooled children, and I try to take them on a couple of art-related field trips each year.

I know other families who love doing the vocabulary and the fine arts activities. This is the beauty of Tapestry. It can change to fit each individual family’s needs.

My Dialectic level student does lots of reading alone (hundreds of pages every week). He could do less, but he loves to read, and Tapestry has many wonderful suggestions to keep him busy. He usually does about one read aloud with me per month, on a topic that I don’t want him to do alone. For example, last year we did The Great Divorce by CS Lewis and the Hiding Place….I wanted to be able to discuss those thoroughly with him as we went along, so we read them together.

We always do the discussions (this is the best part of TOG, in my opinion). He always does a detailed timeline. There is usually map work every week, sometimes multiple maps for one week which he labels. He never does the vocabulary. If he wasn’t taking a high school level Latin class, perhaps I would prioritize that more. I know the vocabulary component will be a big help as he begins preparing for the SAT’s in a few years.

Typically he writes about something we have studied every week. Occasionally he does hands on activities with his brothers, but not always. He is busier than the little boys, using TOG more to its fullest, but doing much on his own.

About once a month I pick a read aloud for all the boys to listen to, typically something from the Upper Grammar list. He keeps a notebook, as well.

This year we will be studying the Ancients. There is so much Bible in the curriculum. I am excited about that! We are planning to spend more time together in our history and reading, so that all the boys can benefit from reading through the Bible as a family. I am also planning to incorporate a basic wall timeline of Bible history for the younger boys. I am also planning to listen to R. C. Sproul’s Bible overview series From Dust to Glory with my dialectic level student.

How much time are my children working alone, and how much time is spent with me?

I guess that depends on your kids, and on which parts of the program you choose to do.

I do almost all work with my grammar level kids because they don’t read well alone. My rising 3rd grader is just now an emerging reader, and I do have a 30 minute block planned in his school day when he will read silently to himself, as well as another 20 minute block when he will read aloud to me.

I read most of their history and all of their literature aloud to them. They dictate their writing to me and I type/write it for them. I have to help them with their geography, which is oral or me helping them with labeling maps (this is done as copywork, where I label it and they copy the correctly spelled label onto their blank maps).

My Grammar students can do most of their math alone, once they understand the concepts, but almost everything else is teacher intensive.

My Dialectic student, on the other hand, works largely alone. He and I meet for 1 hour in the a.m. to go over work….Mondays it is math, Tuesdays it is new spelling words, Wednesday it is Logic, and so on.

I meet with him 1 time per day in the morning to go over new work for one subject. We also meet again after lunch to touch base on his morning work, and make sure he understands what he needs to do for the afternoon. This time after lunch is also used for any read alouds that he and I do together, and to go over his writing and grammar assignments. We also have one additional time slot together per week for our TOG history discussion, during an afternoon or sometimes in the evening so my husband can be part of it.

Next year we will be doing the Ancients and I want my son to do the Rhetoric Bible and Worldview. This will necessitate a 2nd discussion time….once per week to discuss history and a 2nd discussion for worldview. Obviously, he is a bit young for this rhetoric work, but I think the worldview and Bible material is so rich for the rhetoric level, and I feel he can handle it if we do it together.

This fall, I am planning for him to do some of his writing assignments online with Write Guide. Write Guide is unique in that a teacher will interact with him 5 times per week, but I can set the agenda as to what exactly he will write (what kind of paper/what topic).

This should, theoretically, enable me to follow TOG’s writing plan without having to implement it myself. I have enjoyed teaching writing in the past, but with two LG students needing lots of help from me, plus a preschooler, I am having to find some other helps for my Dialectic student, due to time constraints.

He and I also try to meet on Friday afternoon to look at the week ahead, and start to plan for it.

In a nutshell, I will spend 1 hour per day in the morning to get him going on new things or to have our Worldview discussion, 1 hour per week in the afternoon or evening for history discussion, one hour per day in the afternoon IF we are doing a read aloud (one or two weeks a month). If we are not doing a read-aloud, I still frequently spend 1/2 hour a day with him in the afternoon to go over math he may still be having trouble with, going over grammar, etc. Finally, we spend about 1/2 an hour on Fridays for planning.

This Dialectic level student does the rest alone. He does all timeline, geography, and virtually all reading alone. He prints out all timeline figures before the year begins and files them for later use (to save time during the school year). Once he has learned his new math, spelling and grammar he is able to work on that alone, as well. He does his Latin online, so that is also entirely independent.

So, as you can see, much of this depends on the abilities of your students and what you, as a teacher, choose to cover. When my oldest was in 3rd grade he could do a lot independently. My second son is now entering 3rd grade and he can’t do nearly as much alone. I am trusting that will begin to change over the course of this year.

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