While I waited to be able to use Tapestry with my children, I greedily devoured any blog post I could google on the topic. And in the last two years, I’ve really been blessed with a wealth of terrific advice on getting started. In some small sense, I hardly feel like a rookie. As I click on my DE plans, I hear the myriad voices coaching me through what to look at and which elements to notice. Of course, the “Teacher Training” DVDs helped immensely as well, as Marcia Somerville talked me through the philosophy and set-up of Tapestry.
For one, Tapestry of Grace is not a scripted curriculum (like A Beka or Bob Jones might be), and yet it is much more detailed than many other “unit study” curriculums (that give you a mere skeleton and let you flesh it out with your own research). Tapestry is, as Marcia describes it, a buffet with a variety of choices for learning levels and learning styles. Within each subject (i.e. Ancient Egypt), there will be something for your kinesthetic 1st grader, your very visual 6th grader, and your read/write 11th grader. Make a paddle doll, sculpt a salt map, read this text. And the books! Oh, the books. Most of the book choices would be living books, as in good ole library books, rather than textbooks.
But, as you might imagine, all of those choices for all of the grade levels (split into four learning levels) can be quite daunting. I’d read that in my google search and was prepared for that. And if those choices don’t totally intimidate you, you’ll be a kid in the candy story, like me—bug-eyed and drooling.
The material is extremely easy to navigate (that is the Redesigned plans are; I’ve heard the previous edition was not as user-friendly), and I honestly find myself overwhelmed not by the choices themselves but by having to make the choice. I want to do it all! I want to read it all! And my poor children, I know there’s no way that’s possible—to do it all and still enjoy it. So, I must restrain my gluttonous appetite and content myself with just morsels of this delight.
A budget helps. In other words, my budget keeps me realistic about what we can tackle. Though I want to tackle it all, it really isn’t practical or affordable to do so. So pick and choose I must, beginning with (huge SIGH) the book list.
Thus, after scoping out the entire year and reading the summaries of what we will be covering in each unit, I bring myself back to the reading assignments. And with my curriculum open in one window and my spreadsheet open in another window, I begin the painful task of deciding which books will not make the list [swallow at lump in throat]. I’ll have to get back with you later. This might take me awhile.