While I love our Tapestry of Grace curriculum, I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I totally overhauled Tapestry. I arranged our year by topics rather than by week (think of the Unit Study concept); I arranged our year into 3 Terms rather than 4 units; and I only did history the first two Terms (our last term branches into more science and biographies of scientists and inventors.) With all of that going down, I wanted to check in and let you all know how our Tapestry changes turned out.
The update is that, this year (drum roll………) our Tapestry changes been a roaring success. Amidst all of this year’s challenges—our ADHD diagnoses, potty training Littlest (for the third and last attempt), and my husband’s second back surgery in roughly a year—homeschool has still happened somehow, and we’ve actually learned quite a bit. In spite of our many challenges, there has been so much to love. And our Tapestry changes were a huge part of that, allowing us the margin for life.
I’ve loved the freedom of studying by topic, moving on when our books are read and our projects are done. It was a little scary to remove the deadlines and assignment dates. There was a fear that we would not get everything done. But what happened was that some topics didn’t take as long as I planned, while others took longer, and in the end it all worked out. And I loved the freedom of never being “behind” in our work.
I loved working in 12-week Terms rather than 9-week Units. It gave me the freedom to plan our breaks when we needed them, and to plan them for as long as I needed them to be. It also gave us margin, the white space to catch up on life when we needed it. For instance, we took the whole month of December off. It was lovely!
And I love feeling like we’ve finished when I need to feel that way. Any homeschooler will admit that February/March is the hardest time of year. It’s burnout time. It’s the time when you are ready to be done; mommy and kids feel it. To have that last term totally different is absolutely a breath of fresh air. And it’s time to get out in the fresh air. The weather is getting beautiful and there’s an itch to be out in it. I’m embracing that itch.
What else has worked well?
Relaxed mornings and hard-core lessons after lunch. Around 10:30 or 11 we meet for our read-aloud and projects, break for lunch, and start on math and language arts after lunch. We finish at 3 or 3:30. On co-op days, karate days, and other busy times, we skip the read-alouds and just tackle our core subjects. Even so, we’ve read everything on our list, completed every project, and finished both Terms on schedule. This schedule has been a life-saver. When mornings are totally over-run with parenting and “character training” (if you know what I mean), I don’t feel behind for dealing with hearts and having those long, unplanned-for conversations.
Our projects fit us perfectly; both kids love it. It’s easy for me to plan for supplies and print what we need. And Praise God! my older kids are finally at the age they can cut their own projects out. Hallelujah!
Not all my changes worked. And the ones that weren’t working were quickly scrapped. But overall, this has been a year of incredible grace as we found the margin we so desperately needed and found the learning pace that fits us.