Celebrating Progress: Tapestry of Grace Unit Parties

Tapestry of Grace unit parties

I love celebrating progress in our homeschool. I love to throw a party! So one of the highlights of our homeschool year are our unit celebrations.

I use “unit celebrations” loosely. Our curriculum recommends celebrating after each 9 week unit. But I honestly can’t pull off more than 2 parties a year. So we usually celebrate midyear and end of year. It’s less work for me and yet still creates those special memories that I love about homeschooling.

5 reasons for celebrating progress with a “unit” party

  • a chance to review and recap: This is our cumulative review, but so much more fun than the pressure of a big exam. We have some kind of game that reviews all the content we’ve covered so far; the kids study diligently for these games because their rival opponent—is Dad!

    (file folder game from Homeschool in the Woods Time traveler pack)
    (file folder game from Homeschool in the Woods Time traveler pack)
  • a chance to include Dad: Our “unit” parties are a highlight for my husband as well. It’s a great time for him to interact with the kids and what they are learning, gives him an opportunity to see all that we’ve done, and allows him the platform to praise their accomplishments. And the trivia game is serious business. Dad reviews the questions for about 5-10 minutes before the game begins, and then—it’s on: the kids against Dad! (or youngest child + Dad against the olders) Sometimes, team names are chosen, and that is usually hilarious, too. One thing about a household of creative, out-going, ADHD family is that drama and humor abounds! My family is flat-out funny. I love them!celebrating progress unit party
  • a chance to positively report progress: I hand out report cards at the party. The kids see them at the same time Dad does. As part of the report card, I include not just their grades but a summary of some of the character they’ve shown and an area for progress. Dad looks over the report with the child, reads the character report outloud, and praises and affirms that child.
  • a chance to display and perform: The kids are often in charge of the program for the evening, though I do offer a few suggestions. Notebooks with the kids projects are usually on display, and then the kids have an opportunity to perform something they’ve worked on: a puppet show, a song, a speech from a President, a poem, a report, etc.
  • a chance to create memories: Over the years, we’ve made some really terrific memories. We remember ancient history four years ago because of the huge poster-sized map my son colored and dramatically re-enacted Scipio and Hannibal with his plastic army men. We remember wrapping plastic cups in aluminum foil to make goblets for our Medieval Feast. We remember singing “Get your Kicks on Route 66” and our hobo dinner in the garage. And we will never forget our hippy party, perhaps our all-time favorite!

The kids are already asking about this term’s party and making big plans: an ancient history Headbanz game, a puppet show, some poetry (“Ozymandias”), and maybe some Christmas cookies. It’s the kind of thing that allows me to look back on all the hard work and struggles of the last few months and say, “This. This is why I homeschool. This makes it all worth while!”

Unit Celebration: the Middle Ages

Tapestry of Grace unit celebration

We’ve wrapped up about 10 weeks of knights, castles, vikings, Black Death, and Joan of Arc. And we’ve kicked off our year with our first fun-filled unit celebration. Our Tapestry of Grace curriculum (see my affiliate link in the side bar) recommends closing out each unit with a party, a celebration of all that the kids have learned. And while, yes, this means more work for Mommy, it also is a way for Daddy to connect with what the kids are learning and for all of us to reflect on exactly what we did accomplish over those hours and days and weeks.

What do we do?

While some families make costumes and reenact dramas, that’s just not our style. Of course, my kids would love to dress up. But I don’t sew. And if I tried to sew, they probably wouldn’t want to wear the result. So, we celebrate in other ways:

  • displays,
  • a trivia game with Dad,
  • and a home video of all their recitations.

Tapestry of Grace unit celebration


My history backdrop, a huge fold-out timeline, produced by Answers in Genesis called Big Book of History.
My history backdrop, a huge fold-out timeline, produced by Answers in Genesis called Big Book of History.

Tapestry of Grace unit celebration

We set up displays of history and art projects, science, and for this celebration, latin. We’ve been using Song School Latin, and Middlest wanted to create a diorama from the vocab she’s been learning. The kids notebooks are also on display.

Tapestry of Grace board game review

Next, we play a game of trivia with the facts the kids have been learning. Daddy gets to look over the questions briefly before the game (which is all he needs; he’s awesome like that). This year, I’ve made a board game for our review, and it worked so well! It took the pressure off of the questions themselves, and allowed everyone to have a good time. The score was fun, but not the ultimate factor. In fact, it was so much fun, the kids were ready to play a second round!

Our homemade goblets, foil hot-glued to solo cups.
Our homemade goblets, foil hot-glued to solo cups.
Homemade Mead
Homemade Mead


Tapestry of Grace unit celebration

We enjoyed a meal of rotisserie chicken and green beans with bread, and the kids begged me to make “mead” (the unfermented version with water, orange slices, and honey). It was an authentic as we wanted to get. Oh, and the kids did decide to eat with their fingers, in true medieval style.

Tapestry of Grace unit celebration

We finished the night off with a home video I put together of the kids reciting their timeline (Creation to Joan of Arc, woo-hoo!) and some catechism songs we’ve been working on. This was so much fun, especially because I let my kids be themselves in the videos with only a few interventions. My only requirement was that they be clear and understandable. So my hams really hammed it up. We laughed and laughed together.

It really was a celebration. And in spite of the extra work, it was well worth it to see what it is that we really do get done in a day’s work.

The end at last

Homeschool Mother's Journal

Well, we did it! We finished up first grade and kindergarten—final report cards and all.

Even though we have not yet had our official end, our end of the year celebration, Oldest finished his last first grade math lesson and test last week, and we’ve absolutely, totally felt like summer-time ever since.

Right now, all of our “school” has been preparing for our unit celebration and end of the year party—reviewing flashcards for our trivia game and completing projects for display and presentations. It’s been a fun way to review and wrap up the year, very unstructured and unschool-ish.

Middlest is working on some Roman paper dolls, and together we made a very simple diorama for her to place her dolls in.

Roman Paper Dolls and Diorama

Roman Paper Dolls and diorama

Oldest decided he wanted to tell the story of the Punic Wars. He’s really gotten into the Hannibal and Scipio conflict. So we made an over-sized map (the one he’s been studying with magnets) and he’s setting up the battle with medieval men, legos, and toy elephants. It’s going to be an action-packed retelling.

Punic Wars Map and Presentation

Meanwhile, I’ve already been super busy planning the next year. Our state’s book fair is today (Eek! Today!!! I’m so excited), so I’ve been tweaking spreadsheets and comparison charts that I’ve been working on for months now. I go to a book fair with lists, prices, and diagrams all ready.

I’ve also gotten to a few household projects that have been looming over me for awhile, like going through all the winter clothes and outgrown items.

It’s been a more relaxed, yet very productive kind of week. But next week is a different story. Next week, I’m going to be like Moley from Wind in the Willows. I’ll say “Hang it” with all the projects; let’s go outside!