Sunday, November 06, 2011

Week 9: Unit One Down, Three to Go!

Our TOG kids with Jim Weiss
Today our Tapestry of Grace group wrapped up our first unit of Year three. We have been working on lap books all week that sum up what we've been covering this unit, and when I look back over the past two months, I am stunned at how much we've covered! I have never been able to work this efficiently, and I am sure that it is a combination of several things: 1. the little boxes that lay out for me each week how much of what is to be read, knowing full well that if my kids don't get it done, it's double the work next week, 2. the accountability of knowing that four other families are really counting on us coming to co-op prepared, and 3. a desire and hunger on the part of my kids not to miss anything, because they love the material being covered. On Thursday we went to hear Jim Weiss (the narrator of Story of the World) perform his stories from American history. He started with Thomas Jefferson and ended with stories of "Women in Blue and Gray." In essence he summed up our entire unit 1 and introduced an upcoming one! What great timing. The kids sat for about 2.5 hours, completely captivated by the stories and his voice. It was great to see him in person.
This week we primarily covered the basics of math and phonics and worked on finishing any remaining reading and putting together the lap-books. Molly (6) completed one on the Lewis and Clark expedition and Matty (10) completed one on "Thomas Jefferson's World." Both turned out very well. At co-op we had an in-depth discussion of The Swiss Family Robinson. For craft, Every mom arrived equipped with hot glue guns and craft sticks, and the kids created boats and rafts that we will test at the unit celebration to see if they are seaworthy.

As I write this, it is Saturday evening. My kids are downstairs with Dad pitching a tent in the basement for a "camp-in" because it is too cold to camp outside. We will all watch the movie Rio together, then the guys are going to have some "guy time" tonight, watching Spiderman and then sleeping in the tent together. The girls are going to have some girl time snuggling down in Mom and Dad's room, turning on the fireplace, and chatting.

(Sunday morning) The down time was well-earned. Matty pushed through the fact that he needed to complete his lap book for our unit celebration on a Saturday, and I worked all day on a dog costume for Molly. She is going to the unit celebration dressed as Meriwether Lewis's dog, "Seaman," a Newfoundland. Both kids were absolutely captivated by his story. Matty is going dressed as Lewis, and he has commissioned his buddy to go as Clark. In all honesty I have not touched a sewing machine since I was about 15 or 16, but it all came back to me and I stitched together a very cute furry vest, tail and ears for my girl.

I wasn't quite sure how we would get it all done because at times the to-do list of things was quite steep, but in all honesty, I think I have found yet another strength of the TOG curriculum--the quarterly assessment and celebration factor. I had always worked on more of a semester-basis in years passed, and while it was effective, and I enjoyed that finishing process and wrapping things up for the holidays, I believe this way will afford us the opportunity to get more done, simply by keeping us "wrapping things up" on a more regular basis. The list of "pros" keeps growing for Tapestry of Grace!

On a personal level I am finding myself very challenged by the book I am currently reading: Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin. I will write a more in-depth review of this when I finish, but for now I will just say that I cannot recommend this book enough. Stay tuned for more...


  1. I love the idea of having accountability to a group of like minded families. Sounds perfect to me. Enjoyed reading about all you have done.

  2. What a wonderful week. Jim Weiss is a wonderful! I got to experience him this year at our homeschool book fair.


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