We primarily use Tapestry of Grace for our homeschool.
Tapestry of Grace is a four-year cycle, similar to other classical history programs.
- Year 1 – Creation to the Fall of Rome
- Year 2 – Middle Ages, from Byzantium to the New World
- Year 3 – Nineteenth Century, from Napoleon to Teddy Roosevelt
- Year 4 – 1900 to the Present Day
We used Story of the World for our first four year cycle of homeschooling but Liz studied that so comprehensively that we needed something more in-depth after that. We tried compiling our own materials for a year, but I preferred some guidance. ToG uses Story of the World as a spine for upper grammar level.
Each year is divided into four units. Each unit is divided into 9 weeks. Within the units are color-coded study materials and resource lists for the four learning levels – lower grammar, upper grammar (logic), dialectic, and rhetoric.
I like the division of four levels instead of the typical three because it encourages me to include my littles as soon as they are able to sit for read alouds and some seat work. And now, there is even a Primer level (at an additional cost) so even preschoolers can join in the family fun! We previewed it and it wasn’t that great.
I don’t always follow the curriculum outline completely. Often I look at the overview and make a checklist for the unit and we work through that until it’s completed. We utilize the library regularly. We can’t possibly purchase all the recommended books!
The 9-week units last us between 3-12 weeks, depending on the availability of material and interest. There are 36 weeks in each year, four units of nine weeks each.
The subject threads available each week are:
- Fine Arts and Activities
- Church History/Worldview
- Government (high school level and an additional cost)
- Philosophy (high school level and an additional cost)
I am a bit disappointed how sparse the curriculum is for the last unit and a half for year 4. There has been much great literature written and history made during my lifetime and I have to pull it together myself, since there is so little listed in the curriculum that I paid for.
The curriculum is quite biased towards conservative evangelical Christian so I pick and choose what I include and omit (we will not be reading anything by complementarian John Piper nor watching the horrendous Left Behind series or anything by Kirk Cameron), often supplementing so my kids get a more well-rounded idea of real history and world events from all sides.
We actually don’t focus a whole lot on US History. We realize we are just a blip on the timeline. I try to focus on a different region every cycle – Asia, Africa, South America, Russia, etc.
These US History books are eye-opening:
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen
How we study history:
- Living Books
- Church History
- Field Trips
Maps and Geography
Most weeks, the kids have a map to label and color. It helps to visualize where in the world we are studying.
We have large world and USA maps on the wall too, for quick reference. We have several atlases and apps too.
The kids label physical and political maps, even my youngest!
I supplement our map pages with curriculum from Knowledge Quest – printables and geography galore!
This is the first year we’ve completed a big timeline. Tori and I essentially pasted the timeline images (from Story of the World Activity Books) on Index cards. She colored the flags but we left the others black and white. She put them in order and helped hole punch them. I strung them up with yarn in our homeschool classroom.
My Level 3 daughter completes a Book of Centuries page every week as part of her history notebooking.
Great classic literature to accompany our history studies and the time periods we learn.
You can read our ninth grade reading list here (some were family read alouds).
View all my book lists.
The literature thread has core and in-depth options each week. Most are living books that bring history to life through the eyes of real or fictional characters.
Living History Books
I love, love, love the reading lists. So many choices and we want to read them all!
We love biographies and historical fiction.
History assignments are divided into core, in-depth, textbook, and supplement.
You can see our Great Depression Unit Study with our reading lists and activities.
We were ecstatic to read War Dogs about Winston Churchill and then meet a new friend who has the same kind of poodle as Rufus!
We all thoroughly enjoyed The Secret of Priest’s Grotto. It was just a lucky find at the library! Amazing story.
Church History and Worldview
Our evening read alouds are Bible stories, Christian education, and missionary stories.
The whole family gathers and I read about the missionary who corresponds to our history each week.
We read through the Christian Heroes series. Well-written and easy to read and listen to, even for my young son.
We’re moving away from these now and into more progressive Christian biographies and histories.
Arts and Crafts
I fail miserably at arts and crafts.
But I love love love art history.
We study artists and go see art often.
We’ve visited several art museums this year – Stadel in Frankfurt, The Louvre and d’Orsay in Paris, the van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, and Mauritshuis in Amsterdam.
We loved the history and culture in Greece.
We learned about glass and lace making in Venice.
I love Artistic Pursuits which often corresponds to our history timeline.
I vow to do more arts and crafts projects with the kids since they love it so much.
Music History and Appreciation
The kids and I love to listen to music that corresponds to our history time period.
One of our favorite books is The Gift of Music. It’s a great intro to composers.
We look up YouTube videos or search on Spotify for music and often, we notebook about the ones who interest us most.
Liz practices ragtime on the keyboard:
The enrichment thread lists recommended videos that support the topics we learn about that week.
Some films for our history lessons for year 4:
Rough Riders, Titanic, Gallipoli, Lawrence of Arabia, Chariots of Fire, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Life is Beautiful, Schindler’s List, The Pianist, The Book Thief, Unbroken, Farewell My Concubine, Ghandi, Malcolm X, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda and more!
We like PBS and the library if we can’t stream a film on Netflix or Amazon.
I like to teach cinema history when it’s relevant.
Recommendations for field trips, both real and virtual are listed on the website for each unit.
We’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel and see many sites as we study.
We enjoyed seeing Yellowstone National Park a few years ago.
We went camping and learned about Utah.
We have traveled all over Europe for three years and visited many historical sites and museums.
We’re studying Ohio history.
Each week has threads with pages for activities, writing, and notebooking options.
I often gather materials and design themed unit studies for seasons, time periods, and interests.
The Student Activities Pages are an optional purchase and I use those mostly for grammar level. Liz still likes some of the graphic organizers for her history notebooking.
*All the following Tapestry of Grace pages are available as a free sample!*
This is the high school writing assignments page:
This is a Dialectic Level page. She completes the Accountability and Thinking Questions in a journal and we discuss them.
This is the Rhetoric Level accountability and thinking questions. They’re a little more in depth. It all starts to come together!
This is a Rhetoric Level page for church history and government (an optional supplement).
We often read missionary stories (sometimes a different selection than the booklist) and discuss the questions.
This is the Rhetoric Level Literature page. My daughter answers the questions in a journal and we discuss.
You can download high school credits pages for the Rhetoric Level, scope and sequence, and notebooking page templates for free from the website.
I also like to supplement the SAP with printable Notebooking Pages and we often make our own for biographies and topics of interest with the web app:
Supporting links offer great resources for each unit.
Supplements to a year’s curriculum:
- Map Aids $25
- Writing Aids $40-60 (I have never needed this and regret the purchase)
- Lapbooks (options for ready made or pdf files) $15-75
- Evaluations $15 per level per year
- Pop Quiz (for dads) $50 (We never used these)
- Government $15
- Shorter Works (Literature Anthology) $25 (I just bought a Norton’s used)
- Poetics (Literature Handbook) $20-50
- Additional Printed Student Activities Packs $15-35 (great to save printer ink!)
- Primer Level $49.90 (we didn’t care for this)
- Lit Studies $29.95 (we don’t like these plans)
A digital edition of a year plan (updated forever) is $170 and print edition is $295. The digital is constantly updated forever.
Overall, Tapestry of Grace is the most comprehensive program we have seen for classical and Charlotte Mason style homeschooling. We love that it encompasses literature and history and offers so many options and choices.
My eldest just began college and is running the show in her history and English courses, so it’s all been worth it!