Weaving a Beautiful Tapestry of Learning
By Kim Wolf
As homeschoolers we are constantly looking for that “perfect curriculum.” Well, after 15 years of homeschooling, I hate to burst your bubble, but it just isn’t there! However, some meet family needs more than others.
Would you be interested in a curriculum that teaches all levels of social studies, history, government, science, language arts, geography, writing, art, and even worldview–and it’s based on the Bible? Well, read on, because I have two great unit studies that will interest you!
The Weaver and Tapestry of Grace have become the standards in unit studies. Both are tried and true and have the Bible solidly as their foundation for all of their subjects.
Like so many new homeschoolers, when we began our adventure we were scared, confused, and on a very tight budget. A friend of mine told me about this great unit study that had everything I would need for the whole year (except grammar, spelling, and math), including worksheets, projects, and suggested field trips–and it was all based on the Bible! As a bonus, it was constructed in such a way that several grade levels could be taught at the same time with assignments then being given according to those levels.
The Weaver (available through Alpha Omega) is constructed of six volumes, including a preschool program. In completing all six volumes you will have thoroughly examined and learned from the entire Bible. The Weaver Interlock is the preschool program. This study sets the pace for the rest of The Weaver by taking the entire school year to cover Genesis 1-10. The Scripture lesson for the day is both the biblical base and springboard for what you will cover in social studies, science, language arts, beginning arithmetic, art, physical education, health, and music!
Then your students will move into the regular volumes. It must be noted here that you will still benefit from all of The Weaver volumes even if you didn’t start out in preschool with the Interlock program. Each volume is self-sustaining and can completely stand alone. Also, each original volume you purchase is designed for kindergarten through grade 6. For a substantially lower price you may purchase supplements for grades 7-12. In that way, if your students range in grade anywhere from kindergarten through grade 12, you can teach your lessons once and then give your children assignments at their own level! Each volume covers a whole year’s worth of lessons in Bible, science, geology, history, geography, language arts, health, and art. Aren’t unit studies great?!
Volume 1 brings us right into some of the most important doctrinal foundations of the Bible–Genesis 11-50 (all volumes include teacher’s notes). In the process of covering all the base lessons above, in Volume 1 your children will cover such topics as city, architecture, language (these are tied into the Tower of Babel–see how that works?), history, transportation, water cycle, life cycle, character, insects, slavery (connected with the study of the life of Moses), and others. You will find reproducible and other items included in each volume.
Volume 2 ushers us into the world of Exodus and the Books of the Law. This volume covers the areas of royalty, families, deserts, God’s sovereignty, miracles, celebrations, Egyptian civilization, U.S. history (1600-1790), and more.
Volume 3 follows that up with Joshua, Judges, and Ruth by teaching on the topics of exploration, espionage, communication, forts, music, thinking skills, time, ancient civilizations, and U.S. history (1790-1860), to name a few.
Volume 4 brings us into the time of the Old Testament Period of Kings and People. Your children will love getting involved in learning about giants, world missions, the Civil War, biology, captivity, Reconstruction, the period of silence between the Old and New Testaments, and more.
Volume 5 caps off this five-year study or can stand alone. In this study of Christ’s life and ministry, your students will draw closer to our Lord by learning about covenants, government, ancient Rome, reproduction, solar system, the human body, miracles, biographies, agriculture, geology, map skills, and world and U.S. history (1895-present).
As a bonus, to save you countless trips to the library, Alpha Omega has made so much more available to you by offering resources that can be used with The Weaver. One of those is the Day by Day, which was one of my favorite items. This is basically a daily lesson plan book; everything is totally laid out for you. Wisdom Words was another favorite. This is a step-by-step grammar and composition program for kindergarten through sixth grade. If you purchase this with Volume 1, you won’t need any other grammar or composition program until after sixth grade! Please note that this can be used with or without The Weaver program. Great resources for spelling, penmanship, and reading are provided, as well as other teacher’s helps. The program is very thorough.
Tapestry of Grace
In the few short years that Tapestry of Grace (TOG) from Lampstand Press has been available, it has quickly become a favorite with many. As you know, it seems that the longer many of us homeschool the more eclectic we become. Some of us have favorite methods that we rely on or return to over and over again. If you love the classical model of learning but you also love the convenience and ease of using unit studies with your multiple ages of children, then you will feel that Tapestry of Grace was written just for you! And, indeed, it was written by homeschooling mom Marsha Somerville for her own children. After years of success with her own fine family, she decided to publish it for the rest of us.
As in all classical education, TOG follows the levels of lower grammar (from kindergarten to around third grade), upper grammar (from around fourth grade to about sixth grade), dialectic (roughly junior high level), and rhetoric (senior high level). Jam-packed with teaching notes, reproducibles, and lessons notes, Tapestry of Grace leaves hardly anything out.
As with The Weaver, TOG is designed to cover the entire Bible in a multi-age/grade format; however, TOG covers all of this in four years. Each well-notated, well-researched unit is laid out in “Threads.” Contained within each Thread is a basic lesson plan divided up by historical, geographical, literary, law and government, fine arts/hands-on, writing, church history and Bible survey, and worldview studies. Each of these topics is covered thoroughly. Students, especially older students, need to know not only what the Bible (Truth) says about what we believe, but they also need to know at least a working knowledge of what false faiths and cults believe. For example, TOG, year one, covers the History of Redemption; part of Unit 2 is a section titled “All Governments Are Established by God.” As part of this study it must be understood that between Creation and around 960 BC, God called one nation out of a pagan existence unto Himself. As part of the process of learning about those ancient civilizations, your students will also learn about past and present pagan religions in order not only to understand the falsehood of what they believe but also to impress upon our students just how much the world needs Jesus as their Savior.
TOG is replete with sidebar notes, tables, worksheets, reading lists, and suggested resources. If you have been homeschooling for long, many of these will already be on your shelves. If not, TOG offers outstanding savings on complete or partial resource packages. So all of us “whole book” learning lovers can get excited about this unit study!
Now I know what you’re asking, so I’ll tell you more about what each yearly unit consists of. As mentioned above, Year 1 is History of Redemption, covering the units “The Books of Moses,” “All Governments Are Established by God,” “Preparing the World for Its Savior,” and “In the Fullness of Time.”
Year 2 is titled “From Ancient to Modern” and contains “Middle Ages,” “Renaissance and Reformation,” “Colonial America,” and “Age of Revolutions.”
Year 3 introduces the 1800s. This busy and interesting year covers “Napoleon’s World,” “The Birth of the Modern,” “Nations Uniting and Dividing,” and “The Gilded Age.” Very exciting.
Year 4 brings us into the twentieth century. Your students will be amazed at how full that century was! This year covers “The Century Opens–World War I,” “The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression,” “The World War II Era,” “The Post-World War–the ’50s and ’60s,” and “The ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and a Look Ahead.” This is a fun one to do with our kids, because we get to cover some of the craziness–and fashion faux pas–that we lived through!
And, just like The Weaver, if you wish, you may start the study over and redo the entire study from the viewpoint of your children’s higher grade levels. If you wish, once you have bought these studies, they may well be all you will ever need for your children’s entire school careers!
The Weaver is available through Alpha Omega Publications at 1-800-622-3070 or www.aophomeschooling.com.
Tapestry of Grace can be located at www.tapestryofgrace.com/tog_fast/index.htm or by contacting Lampstand Press at 1-800-705-7487.