Inventors, Inventions and Missionaries

November 18th, 2013

Inventors, inventions and missionaries… an eclectic mix of information but a perfect way to celebrate the end of Year 3 Unit 2. Yes, before Thanksgiving our co-op has completed half a year of Tapestry of Grace!

We began our celebration with brunch.

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We then moved to the gym where all the student display boards and grammar-level art projects were set up.

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Next on the agenda.. a scavenger hunt! Our youngest co-op members colored sheets of various missionaries and inventors. After coloring, they were instructed to find a board that featured their character.

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All the “readers” of the group were given a scavenger hunt sheet that featured one question per board. Before our celebration, students sent in three questions of varying levels of difficulty that could be answered by reading their boards. Thus the 3rd-4th graders had a fairly simple question sheet, the 5th-6th graders had a “medium-difficulty” sheet, and the 7th-12th graders had a challenging one. Students had about 30 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt.

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I love this project-based format for end-of-units because all students learn from one another. In the past we’ve done more teacher-directed end-of-units such as skits, songs, recitations, etc. These are fun and meaningful as well, but the organization falls on the adults. Students are truly proud of their display-board projects and enjoy mingling and answering and asking questions of one another. I like that the unit focuses on their projects and accomplishments!

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It’s also just plain impressive to see 30+ boards – all missionaries and inventors of the 19th century – displayed at once! What a century this was!

I love the art the grammar students displayed. Shown here are pinatas, boomerangs, yarn art, spinning tops and log cabins.

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Some particularly fun displays included some “radium” punch served by two Marie Curie models -

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Tea cookies that Lottie Moon served to earn the trust of the Chinese chilren -

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And cotton -

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This end-of-unit began as an “invention fair” only. However, Year 3 church history is full of inspiring missionary stories. Unfortunately, we are unable to devote a whole class period this year at co-op to the discussion of these heroes of our faith. Thus we decided to incorporate their stories at our end-of-unit gatherings. Many of our students chose to focus their research on missionaries. This was perhaps one of my favorites -

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I’ll tell you why… Billy Graham does not enter the “Tapestry scene” until Year 4. However, the young student who made this board wanted to study Billy Graham because his daddy works for Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s ministry. This Daddy is currently traveling the United States visiting churches and telling others about Operation Christmas Child, the shoe-box ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. We are not legalistic at the Boone ToG Co-op. If a student wants to study the missionary who has reached more people with the gospel than any other, he may!

I enjoyed all the boards, but particularly loved reading about two female missionaries. One of the questions on the scavenger hunt was, “What missionary had a physical attribute that helped her relate to the people she ministered to? What was that attribute?” The answer – both Lottie Moon and Amy Carmichael. I found it quite interesting that Lottie Moon, who grew to only be 4’3″, was called to minister to the petite Chinese people. Darked-eyed Amy Carmichael ministered to the brown-eyed people of India. As a young girl, Amy longed for blue eyes, but God had plans for her, and those plans included her brown eyes. They helped the Indian people trust her!

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I love how His Story is told in his-tory! Just like God had a plan for Amy and Lottie, he has a plan for all of us. Will I allow Him to use me even in my weaknesses or areas I’d like to change? These are things I ponder as we wrap up our history studies and change our focus to the holidays ahead. And with Thanksgiving approaching next week, I can’t help but thank the Lord for our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, and all the students and parents in our co-op. Our first half-year of studies has been rich and I am grateful.

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Esther Is 6!

November 12th, 2013

I can’t believe my #6 is 6!

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Since the age of two, Esther has loved frogs. This was one of her favorite toddler toys.

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 And these were her favorite pajamas.

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 Her favorite place to get a treat is Sweet Frog (Frozen Yogurt.)

So, when Esther requested a frog cake for her birthday, the sisters and I were not surprised. We got on Pinterest and planned away. The cake … precious – and easy! (And one of the few things I prepared with the birthday girl’s help.)

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I was blessed not only with help from Sarah and Bethany, but also several other sweet girls. One of my dear friends is out of the country and her children came early this morning. By 9 am, they had prepared lunch, decorated the house, hung the banner (painted by Sarah), organized games, and even baked several mini cakes! I am spoiled when it comes to birthday party helpers, no doubt!

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Some of my favorite decorations are these adorable “apple frogs.” The girls got a little carried away making them.

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Esther wanted to decorate cakes for her craft. The girls did a fantastic job. I could not believe that cake- decorating held the attention of these 5-7 year olds for an entire hour!

The finished cakes were as unique as the beautiful girls who made them.

Ava enjoyed helping me gather all the cakes in their decorated boxes.

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We played “Kiss the Frog” which is like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” except the “tails” are “lip prints” aimed at the frog’s mouth. I think the girls enjoyed an opportunity to wear Anna’s stage lipstick!

The children also threw flies into frog buckets.

Esther thoroughly enjoyed her day and is thankful for all who came to celebrate. I am thankful for Sarah, Bethany, Ashlyn, Kayla, Hannah and Emma for making her day so special. I am beyond grateful to God for giving us six years with Esther. She is a gift from him, and we are blessed!

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Purple Crayon Catastrophe

November 9th, 2013

About ten years ago I had a conversation with Bethany that went something like this:

Bethany at 5. She has always liked to accessorize.

Bethany: “Mommy, do people need clothes in Heaven?”

Me: “I don’t think so, Sweetie. Why do you ask?”

Bethany: “Well, I really like my clothes and I want to take them with me when I go to Heaven.”

Bethany’s love for pretty clothing and accessories has only increased over the years, and I must say, she gets it honestly. I “get” this child of mine, truly. So today when I heard a scream coming from the laundry room just three hours before she was to leave on a weekend youth retreat, my heart sank. “Did I do something?” I wondered. It’s not easy being the mom of three teenage girls with varying laundry schedules, rituals, and demands. I wondered if our 18-year old machine “greased” her favorites. Did a sister throw in a black hoodie with her favorite white tee? While I had no idea what awaited me as I entered the laundry room, one thing was certain … Bethany was not happy.

The culprit was, and I mean “was” in the most past tense possible… a purple crayon. The only thing left of the crayon was the wrapper. The rest of it was distributed in spots of varying sizes all over Bethany’s very favorite shirts. Yes, the shirts that she’d carefully selected and planned to wear on her weekend away – ruined.

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The culprit… the crayon that is no more.

Esther, seeing and seizing an opportunity to make a bad situation worse stated, “Bethany, just be glad you didn’t break the washing machine. Your clothes actually don’t matter too much, ya know.” (Did I mention our washing machine is old??)

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Sarah’s spotty camp shirt. Hoping it can be replaced this weekend

Sarah entered the scene and realized her camp T-shirt, a souvenir from one of her favorite weeks of her life, suffered the worst purple-spottiness of the whole load.

Anna and Christina were frantically trying to finish homework so they could enjoy their weekend away and needed quiet. There were some un-quiet requests for me to “Make it all stop!”

I will spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that the Jobe house experienced a wee bit of drama this morning. I know I should expect such tension right before a spiritual retreat. Doesn’t Satan like to attack on Sunday mornings as well?

I may or may not have added to the emotion. Haven’t I instructed these girls of mine to check pockets? Ugh. This was the day I was *supposed* to catch up on school work. We had stuff to do! The kitchen needed attention. I like rooms left clean. And there is always math. Besides, the girls do have other things they can wear, and I’m a believer in natural consequences. They’d just have to deal with it and get back to packing and leave me alone.

I instructed them to separate to cool down because there became a bit of blame-casting. Who *really* threw the clothes in the dryer where the setting-in-of-purple occurred? “Who really cares?” I thought. I told Bethany to google “wax-removal.” I went to my room to pray. And the Lord reminded me of an incident that happened on my wedding day.

A young child had thrown birdseed from a punch cup on me as my groom and I left our reception site. After leaving, we escaped to our new apartment to gather our suitcases before heading off to our honeymoon. I panicked and fought back tears as I noticed little spots all over my dress. Because I borrowed my wedding dress, I spent quite a bit of time selecting the “perfect” going-away dress. Money was scarce, and I got it at a good price, but I could not afford to replace it. I knew in my heart after seeing those spots that my “going-away dress”, after only a 20-minute debut, was truly “gone.” However, I spot-treated it, threw it in the wash, and hoped for the best. Of course, having only been married a few hours, I had not mastered the art of communication with my new husband. I failed to tell him it needed to drip dry. He, being quite eager to leave to make our dinner reservation, put the dress in the dryer once it completed the “gentle” wash cycle.

The dress, which was punch stained and, after drying, small enough to fit a doll, was certainly ruined. I tossed it in the pile of wedding-gift-wrap garbage before leaving for the first dinner of our new marriage.

Today, after I left the laundry-room fiasco and escaped to my room, the Lord reminded me of a precious gift and the ending to my wedding-day story. When Daniel and I returned from our honeymoon, a $100 check awaited me. My mother-in-law heard what happened and wanted to replace my dress. This gift spoke love to me. She cared about something that I felt silly admitting even mattered.

So, today, after a few minutes with the Lord, I left the house and headed to Old Navy, praying as I drove that I could find a blessing for Bethany… and quickly!

I love Jesus. I love how he cares about little things. Bethany lost a tan striped shirt, a true favorite of hers. I found one, slightly different, but very similar for only $7.50. Other casualties of the purple-crayon wash were two flannel button-downs. I found prettier ones that, with my coupons, cost only $10 each. I quickly glanced at the clearance section and spotted a coral cardigan that looked beautiful with the tan-striped shirt. On one of those manequins, a lovely tan scarf that would “tie it all together”caught my eye. It was 35% off.  So, I de-scarfed the dummy, and, in only ten minutes of total shopping time, left Old Navy with all these items for an extremely reasonable price. I have shopped multiple stores on all-day trips with much less success!

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After arriving home, I walked in the front door, glanced upstairs, and saw Bethany working on her soiled items. I eagerly walked up to the laundry room, handed her the bag and received one of those hugs that a mom does not quickly forget. The new clothes… a perfect fit. Another small miracle.

I document this event so that I will remember that the Lord doesn’t always care about those “natural consequences.” He wants me to love and show compassion. He wants for me to always be willing to alter my to-do list – a list I hold onto pretty tightly sometimes. He wants me to leave the drama that is so rampant in this highly hormonal home and ask him for direction. His ways are good.

It’s true that Bethany can’t take her clothes with her to Heaven. She has matured quite a bit since our conversation years ago and knows her stuff has no eternal value. However, a pretty new sweater for this weekend is a symbol.. her mama loves her and her father in Heaven loves her even more.

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HISTORY FAIR!

March 4th, 2013

Today our Tapestry of Grace co-op celebrated the end of Year 2 Unit 3 with a History Fair. By far, this was my favorite end-of-unit we’ve done. Our students worked incredibly hard for nine weeks on display boards of their choosing. From K/1 lower grammars to rhetoric students, the diligence of these students showed!

We began by setting up the boards.

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Then the children stood by their boards while parents walked around and asked questions. Please click on each picture. While I couldn’t capture each board and participant, I captured many and they are all worth seeing in full size! (You have to click and then once the slightly larger image appears, click again.)

Next, our students participated in a scavenger hunt. They had to visit one another’s boards to answer questions. I was so proud of the youngest students for trying. Esther knew that William Penn was on her sister’s board, and she was determined to fill in that blank all by herself!

The scavenger hunt was fun for all and a great way to make sure students read their friends’ boards. Again, click on the thumbnail pictures. They are worth seeing in full view!

The crafts in front added so much the displays. Here are a few:

Check out some of our indians and colonial folks. Are they darling or what??

Our K/1′s demonstrated a waltz and one of our dialectics played a violin piece by Handel:

As I walked around and looked at the boards, I heard much excitement and chatter. Several times I was asked, “Are we going to get to do this again?!!”

YES! I think so.

We ended the day with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I didn’t capture this with pictures, but I think they also are a definite “do-over!”

Developing a Vision for Homeschooling: My story

February 28th, 2013

I began homeschooling twelve years ago. How did my first-born little gap-toothed guinea pig turn into a beautiful 17-year old rising senior?

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As the saying goes, “Some days have been long, but the years have been short!” Throughout the years the Lord has blessed me with mentors and a vision that has carried me through many less-than-ideal homeschooling days. As I am planning and preparing for my oldest’s last year of homeschooling, I’ve been reflecting on God’s goodness over the years and thanking Him for calling us to homeschool.

Years ago, at the beginning of my homeschooling journey, a veteran homeschooling mom and friend, Muriel, graciously accepted an invitation to speak in my home. This dear lady prayed for us and then passed around pictures of her four grown children who all happen to be within ten years of my age. Muriel began homeschooling when it was still illegal in her state. As she shared her story, I was inspired. Back in those days, curriculum offerings were practically non-existant. Most companies refused to sell to homeschoolers. It’s easy to think, “They had so little support. How did they do it?” I’m convinced that while Muriel may not have had many homeschool-specific texts, co-ops or conventions to assist her, she, and so many other pioneer homeschooling parents had something much more valuable. They had something that carried them through the hard days and the stares and the questions and the difficulties of participating in a new counter-cultural educational movement.

Muriel had vision.

And as I listened to her speak more than a decade ago, I wanted vision. I wanted it desperately but the whole concept intimidated me. How was I to answer, “What is your homeschooling vision for your family?” Really, back in those days, with five children under seven years old, I could hardly think past “When is nap time?” Nonetheless, I began to pray for something that would get me through the hard days; something bigger than the curriculum I chose or the conflict-resolution strategy of the day.

While I was an elementary education major, I had never read extensively about home education. Terms like “Classical,” “unit study,” “Charlotte Mason,” and “un-schooling” seemed odd. Don’t all children learn in a desk and with a teacher using a textbook? I began to read every homeschool philosophy book I could get my hands on. I read The Well Trained Mind, and books by Raymond and Dorothy Moore who are credited with being the founders of the modern homeschooling movement. I read The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris and For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Teaching the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson definitely inspired me. The Underground History of American Education and Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto, a New York Teacher of the Year recipient, opened my eyes to the state of public education. Books by Ruth Beechick gave me an overall plan for language and math development in the early years while books by Douglas Wilson and Dorothy Sayers provided an understanding of classical education and teaching to developmental stages.

In addition to reading, I attended my state’s homeschool convention for many years in a row. Unlike many attendees, I didn’t really go to shop for books. I love curriculum and could spend hours pouring over grammar texts, but in those early years of homeschooling, I attended conferences to learn from veteran home educators. I attended sessions by speakers such as Michael and Vicky Farris, Gregg Harris, Sally Clarkson, Scott and Marcia Somerville, Hal and Melanie Young as well as many local teachers.

These authors and speakers certainly influenced me as did many dear friends ahead of me in their homeschooling journeys. I’ll never forget approaching a dear mom at church one day after a service and basically pleading with her to be my friend. She had six beautiful children who listened attentively to the sermon and exhibited the finest of manners while I stole their mommy’s attention for an unreasonable amount of time between services. This sweet mom invited me to her home. Years later, she is still a dear friend I know I can call. In the early years of my homeschooling, I just wanted her to share her wisdom with me. I’m so grateful for her as well as several other dear friends who were willing to encourage me.

So, did all this study help me to develop a plan? Could I map the course of our homeschooling for the next several years? Did I pinpoint my homeschool philosophy? Did I “get it all together?”

No. However, as my husband and I prayed and daily sought to disciple and educate our children, our desire to home-educate became a passion. It became a calling. It became a commitment. We decided that our precious children God gave us, who only would live with us a short while, deserved our whole-hearted efforts. Deuteronomy 6:7 states:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Homeschooling became a tool to help us “teach them diligently.” Our desire became and continues to be to raise our children to love Jesus and follow hard after Christ. We want them to articulate well and think critically through a Biblical worldview. We pray that our children will teach their children and one day, when we are old, we will be blessed by great-grandchildren who love Jesus. This desire, over time, became our passion and our vision.

This fall, as oldest daughter enters her senior year, my youngest will begin kindergarten. Thus, I’m nearly at the half-way point of my homeschooling. As I reflect over the past twelve years of this journey, I’m reminded of another bit of advice from my friend Muriel. As she met with me and the new homeschooling mothers in my home, she encouraged us to give each homeschooling day to God. “Have a plan, but trust Him,” she said. “Sometimes your plans will be hijacked, but at the end of the day, assure yourself that while you many not have completed your list, you did exactly what God had for you.”

It’s easy to become discouraged when our plans fall through. No doubt, we will have good homeschooling days and difficult ones. There will even be some years that are more academic than others. As with life, there will be valleys and mountaintops; laughter and pain. We will make mistakes. We will likely find that as we strive to educate our children, God educates us. Our job is to put one foot in front of the other and look upward.

Are you new to homeschooling? Do you desire vision? What are your goals for your family 5 years, 10 years or 40 years from now?    Have you been at homeschooling awhile and wonder if it’s worth the effort? Dear sister, may I encourage you to pray, read, seek mentors and look to Jesus? If God has called you to homeschool, he will equip you in every way.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Our children in 2003, our 3rd year of homeschooling.

Our children, Christmas 2003, our third year of homeschooling.

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Our family, fall of 2012. By God’s grace, we continue to put one foot in front of the other and look upward.

 

 

 

 

Q and A: Starting a Tapestry of Grace Co-op

February 22nd, 2013

This is a post for my Tapestry of Grace (ToG) friends all over the country who are interested in starting a co-op using this rich curriculum. When my friends and I began our co-op it was difficult to find information on how to start. I googled Tapestry of Grace co-ops and wrote every leader I could with questions. Thankfully, I found a couple of sweet souls willing to correspond by e-mail. I asked one leader if I and our core-team could come visit. We desperately wanted to see a co-op in action! Unfortunately for us, we were unable to do so. Though we lacked the information we desired, our team “got to planning” and two years later, we are so blessed by our thriving group. I hope this post (and subsequent posts, if needed) may make the process a little easier for some of you. Grab a cup of tea and feel free to peek at what we do through my Tapestry posts (in sidebar.) Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Be sure to visit Marcia Somerville’s co-op information. This is a great starting point. Our first year schedule and rules and regulations are uploaded there as well as documents from other Tapestry groups.

Without further ado, here are the first 10 questions I’ve been asked about our co-op:

1. Why did you begin a Tapestry of Grace co-op?

I love ToG and, before starting our co-op, had used it at home for five years. For basic information about Tapestry, please read my posts about its benefits for various levels. It is, in my opinion, the most family-friendly, comprehensive, flexible curriculum on the market. Foundational to its use are Socratic discussions. Students learn by reading. However, discussing themes, ideas, and worldview takes learning to a much higher level. Until my children were in high school, I held most discussions through read-aloud time or casually over our lunch break. I desired more for the high school years. However, because I also had a four children in the dialectic and grammar stages, I knew I could not set aside the 4+ hours a week for these discussions.

Two of my friends, also ToG users, were in the same predicament. We did not want to abandon our curriculum in favor of paid high school classes at another co-op for several reasons. The classes, while reasonable, were about $500/year per class. Also, none of us had drivers which meant the twice-a-week commitment for our older children would take us away from homeschooling our younger ones. We felt strongly that if we pooled our resources (time and talent), we could put together a dynamic discussion group for our rhetoric students using the curriculum we owned.

2. How did the idea transpire to a co-op?

First of all, we prayed about it for several months. There were four of us. Three of us used Tapestry already. We decided to start with just a Dialectic/Rhetoric-level group in a home if that is what the Lord wanted for us. However, as we talked and prayed, we felt strongly that we all preferred our weekly meeting time to benefit all of our children. So, we brainstormed a few other families that might want to join and contacted them personally. We targeted rhetoric and dialectic-level families who also had younger children. Without advertising, we pretty quickly acquired twelve interested families. With these twelve families, we had 36 children which gave us 5-8 in each level – preschool, lower grammar, upper grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.

3. When, where and how often do you meet? 

Once we knew we had enough families to begin a co-op, we prayerfully approached our church staff and graciously were given permission to meet on Mondays from 8:30-1:30. This was the only day available, so we took it!

4. How did you decide what year plan to use?

Three out of four of our “core team” ladies had used Tapestry for several years. Two of them were beginning Year 1. So, the beginning seemed like a very good place to start. :)

5. How are your age groups broken down?

The first year, we had 4, 5 and some 6 year olds in a pre-k/k group; 1st-3rd graders in lower grammar; 4th-6th in upper grammar; 7th-8th in dialectic and 9th-12th in rhetoric. This year, we do not have a preschool. We have a K-1 (lower grammar), 2-3 (lower grammar), 4-5 (upper grammar), 6 (dialectic), 7-8 (dialectic) and 9-12(rhetoric). Next year we will have a preschool. We also plan to separate 9th grade for a hybrid class (rhetoric lit and dialectic history).

6. How do you decide who teaches each class and how are the teachers compensated?

Teachers are not compensated. Each participant must stay the whole day, lead-teach at least one class, assist at least one class and, if needed, additional classes. We determine who teaches each class via Surveymonkey. So far, each teacher has been able to teach where she/he feels most interested/competent. Each class has at least one assistant. If a teacher can’t be at co-op, she makes arrangements with her assistant.

7. Do you only use ToG or do you use other curriculum as well?

At the rhetoric level, we only use ToG. Rhetorics discuss literature (1.5 hours) History/Church History/Geography (2 hours), Philosophy (45 min) and Government (45 minutes). That is all they have time to do in our 5-hour day. Dialectics have a little more time, so they have a science class. Upper Grammars have ToG art and science as well as literature, history, geography and lapbooks. Lower grammars listen to Story of the World, take turns reading ToG literature aloud, have a PE time and do lapbooks and science. K/1′s have a music class, science, art, story time, phonics time and Story of the World time. We have used both Apologia and Elemental Science. Elemental Science has been a huge hit for our lower grammar students and we are considering using it for all classes 8th grade and under next year.

Basically, the younger the class, the more time there is in our co-op day for additional classes.

8. Do you use ToG writing?

Absolutely.

Last year I worked two conferences in the ToG booth, and was frequently asked this question. Moms particularly wanted my opinion about Tapestry writing compared to theme-based IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). I am a certified IEW instructor, and I like IEW products. However, I am a huge proponent of ToG writing assignments. We ask all our members to purchase Writing Aids.  Part of the beauty of Tapestry is the multi-faceted learning of which writing is a vital part. Writing about the history and literature solidifies many themes for students. I recommend that moms watch Teaching Writing With Structure and Style videos (an IEW resource) to help them learn key elements of the writing process and gain confidence in teaching. However, it is not necessary nor do I recommend that ToG’s writing assignments be abandoned for another program. Writing Aides contains excellent notes for the teacher, graphic organizers, and grading rubriks. The writing assignments help solidify key concepts of the curriculum. You will want to study grammar. You may want to spend a good semester teaching essay components or supplementing where you see areas of weakness with your student. However, Writing Aids and ToG assignments are excellent. We’ve had great success using them.

9.  How many members of your co-op used Tapestry before joining?

Of our 12 families the first year, 5 used it previously. Only two of the families were on the same year plan. However, those not on Year 1 were willing to adjust for the sake of the co-op.  The second year 11 families returned and 13 families joined. To my knowledge, all our new families had never used ToG. I am very excited about next year because we will have 22 out of 30-ish families with at least one year of Tapestry use under their belts! Exciting!

10. How do you teach moms to use the curriculum?

This is an ongoing process. We begin by requiring interested families to download the free three-week plan from Tapestry, study the website and watch the introductory videos. They then meet with a core-team member. We show them a week’s plan. We show them student notebooks. We answer their questions. The beauty of our co-op is each member contributes something. Thus no one has to do it all. “Many hands make work light” is very true of what we do. Moms are motivated to invest time in learning the curriculum but they do not have to “have it all together” to get started. We require SAPacks (and soon the Map and EvalPacks.) We share ideas during “free” periods at our co-op day. We have a Yahoo forum where we encourage one another as well. There is still a little ToG fog. However, because we meet on a weekly basis, there is regular opportunity for encouragement and mentoring.

… And there you have it. If you have further questions, please ask away in the comments and I’ll happily answer them in another post.

 

 

Year 2 Unit 2 Celebration

December 21st, 2012

Our co-op had a Reformation focus for our Year 2 Unit 2 celebration. The 4th-8th graders replicated the door of St. Mary’s Cathedral where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses. It was interesting to copy them on sentence strips and see exactly what the theses were, and it was impressive to tape all 95 on our big paper, red door!

95 Theses

95 Theses

All but the rhetorics in front of the 95 theses.

After working on our door, we met for presentations. The 6th grade class presented a skit that introduced everyone to Martin Luther.  4th-5th graders recited Psalm 46, the inspiration behind A Mighty Fortress Is Our God  which is known as “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”

Psalm 46

Psalm 46

And then Daniel led us in singing  ”A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. “

Several of the children said they’d never heard this famous hymn! It was a joy to sing it and so meaningful for them to see the connection of Psalm 46 to this great song.

Another special highlight of our presentations came from the 7th/8th graders who worked hard for several weeks on a literature quilt. Each square of their quilt represented a key date, figure, literary term or character from their Unit 2 literature studies. This was certainly an impressive project!

Other presentations included a Reformation Rap, reports and a K/1 science question and answer time.

After our presentations, we gathered for lunch. While our meal was a not “Reformation themed,” our dessert was. After our subs, the children enjoyed their “Diet of Worms.”

We hope our students don’t quickly forget that at the “Diet of Worms” Luther defended his 95 theses!

After we ate, we enjoyed looking at some projects completed this unit including our Coats of Arms, a Castle, a display board of South America and many lap books.

It’s hard to believe we are already half-way done with Year 2! We’ve learned so much and have had a great time doing so. While we’re all looking forward to our Christmas break, we look forward to Unit 3.

A Week of Tapestry Geography

August 23rd, 2012

Before I begin… a little disclaimer. Geography has not traditionally been a huge priority in our homeschool. While my son, Nathan, excels at this subject, his sisters and his mother do not. About two years ago, Bethany begged me to teach her geography and I felt like a terrible failure. “Mom, it’s embarrassing how little I know. Nathan knows the whole world and I can’t even find Texas!” she wailed in exasperation. After looking up where Texas was, I showed her. (Just kidding but I am about that bad.) That was a wake up call. Jobe Academy needed to take geography a little more seriously.

Our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, integrates geography with history, Bible and literature, government and philosophy studies. It is wonderful. Each week there are maps to print and a list of geography terms and countries, rivers, mountain ranges, etc for students to find. It made sense to start with our own curriculum. (Yes, I ignored that little section of our curriculum for several years just because I wanted to get to the “good” stuff… the writing, history and lit!)

Tapestry has an impressive geography project recommended in the curriculum that involves base maps and transparencies. For several years I’ve dreamed of doing it. I probably will some day. However, for lack of time and organization, I have not as of yet. Instead, I simply asked the children to label their maps using a globe, the terms, their printed maps from our Map Aids CD-Rom, and their mother who was armed with the answer key. This technique was a step ahead of where we’d been. However, the children really didn’t retain much. Also, for my youngest school-aged child, the writing was tiresome.

Over this past summer, I came across a fantastic resource – the Tapestry of Grace Yahoo groups. In each year’s files, someone kindly donated documents containing all the geography terms for each week of the curriculum. They are designed to be printed on clear mailing labels so that grammar students can peel and stick instead of write, write, write. I’ve adapted the use of these documents and now have a geography plan that my children are really enjoying.

At the start of each unit, I print on white card stock, laminate, cut out, and then magnetize (with magnetic tape) the geography terms.

On the first day of our Tapestry studies, I have the children locate the geography terms using our globe and several Atlases I’ve accumulated. The Atlas of World History is a resource on my wish-list, but usually, the books I own suffice. My older children write on their printed maps. My 5th grader uses the labels. We use magnets to adhere her weekly map to a magnetic board and then she puts each magnetized label where it belongs. I am still armed with the answer key but I have found that it is very worthwhile to have a few good history Atlases. You never know, the children may actually read all the facts about the maps they are studying!

Printed map from the Map-Aids Cd-Rom. The children keep these in their notebooks for easy reference.

After the first day of “work, (finding and labeling,)” geography gets fun. I set up all the terms for the week on my giant magnetic whiteboard along with the a large map from Geography Matters. I can not recommend their “Whole Kit and Kaboodle” maps enough – 26 large, laminated maps for $50. This, of course, is not a mandatory Tapestry of Grace resource. However, I like the fact that it gives my children another perspective of the places they are studying. If you don’t have these maps, you can certainly continue to use the printed maps from Map Aids. A neat place to label these smaller maps would be your refrigerator. Just hang it eye-level for your child and ask for several labels to be placed on the map before each meal or snack :)

The children enjoy this activity. After putting the labels on the big map a few times, they like to “see who’s fastest!” They are challenged to go to the answer keys if they can’t figure out where one of the labels goes. Here is our completed map for Year 2, Week 2. (You may click any picture to see it enlarged.)

If the children need help, I just let them look at my laptop with the answer key for the week. After a time or two, they usually can label the map from memory.

Actually, not the same week’s plan… but an answer key for another week.

I store the labels in envelopes labeled for each week and put them in a small accordion file.

And that is it! You could test at the end of the week by just asking them to point to the locations. Of course, you could print another map from Map Aids and require pencil labeling, if you like. Or you can skip the test and ask them to do the magnetic “puzzle” one more time without looking at the key.

Today Sarah, who is now about the age Bethany was when we had our geography lesson on Texas, excitedly exclaimed, “My history book just mentioned Italy, Corsica and Sicily, and I know EXACTLY where those places are!” After this fun discovery, she ran to the map just to confirm her new knowledge and yes, she was right! (For a 5th grader, that is all the “test” I need!)

And Bethany, by the way, no longer complains that she can’t find Texas. I think that today she beat her siblings on the speed test :)

 

To access the geography labels, go to the Tapestry Yahoo year plan group (whatever year you are studying.) Each year has a sidebar called “files.” Click in the files and then click on “geography.” You will need to join the group first.

Year 1     Year 2     Year 3     Year 4

 

 

 

 

Easter

April 9th, 2012

Anna danced at all three of our Resurrection Day worship services. This is the first time I’d not seen her dance as she practiced. “I think you’ll like it, Mom,” she told me the night before. I did. Her expression of worship was beautiful.

Verse 1:
Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of your great name
All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of your great name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of your great name

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name

Verse 2:
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of your great name

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name

Bridge:
Redeemer, My Healer, Almighty
My savior, Defender, You are My King

Chorus:
Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise your great name

The “Why” Stage

March 16th, 2012

Three lovely dialectic friends

“Why?”

… This is a question we often think of toddlers asking. However, believe it or not, it is more typically asked by students in 6th-9th grades. Yes, junior high, or the dialectic stage, is a season full of questions. Even compliant upper-grammar children often turn into questioning, reactive, argumentative dialectics. And guess what?…

That’s normal!

This is because young teens are in the “logic” stage of development. It’s a season characterized by questioning E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

When I say dialectics are argumentative, I don’t mean they are necessarily disrespectful. They’ve simply learned to use reasoning skills and ask questions. They want to know why.

My dialectic daughter still loves those "hands-on" activities. Here, she is an Egyptian.

Dialectics are a mixed group. I have two dialectic-aged students who are twins! My son loves philosophy and geography while my daughter’s favorite subject is writing. My daughter organizes her schoolwork. Her notebook is impeccable. She writes her own lists and pays close attention to detail. My son… not so much, but he is a math whiz. However, as different as they are, they both ask “why” on a daily basis.

Even today, I heard this question coming from my son – “Mom, why do atheists say they aren’t religious? Isn’t atheism a kind of a religion in itself?” When studying the Greeks, this same child observed, “We tend to think of the Greeks as unintelligent, or at least I do because they really believed in all these crazy gods and goddesses. However, they weren’t dumb… They actually had to have been quite smart to have made up reasons for all they questioned.” Such comments are examples of “connections” being made through their studies. Dialectics have moved beyond reporting “facts” to reasoning and questioning material they’ve studied.

For moms, this new season of questioning can be exhausting. We miss the “just-give-the-facts” grammar stage! However,  it is our job to answer the dialectic “whys.” It’s time to teach more than just the facts.

Our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace (ToG), understands dialectic-aged students. Tapestry’s well-written thinking questions in the curriculum encourage dialectics to make connections and reason. Taking students back in history, the literature brings history to life, also promoting reasoning, analytical thought of the time period being studied.

In addition to the outstanding thinking questions and excellent literature selections, I appreciate the versatility of the ToG plans. Mom can truly customize ToG to the ability level of each child. At the beginning of this year, my 9th grader transitioned to rhetoric-level work by participating in rhetoric literature and dialectic history. My 7th grade son enjoys philosophy. Because

My son is a "just-the-facts" dialectic.

I wanted him to participate in Tapestry’s Padgeant of Philosophy readings and discussions from year 1, I let him join the rhetorics for this one class. At times, I’ve moved my upper grammars up to dialectic literature and kept them reading easier history texts until they matured. ToG reading selections are truly customizable, and for the dialectic-aged student, I find this extremely beneficial.

Not only is the reading customizable, but the writing assignments are too. I’ve found writing abilities to vary quite a bit with dialectic students. Some are ready to write research papers. Others need to keep working on tight paragraph construction. Again, I appreciate the versatility of the ToG curriculum. There are twelve levels of writing and mom, the teacher, can pick a level and move up or down as needed to meet individual needs.

Dialectics are definitely a fun group to teach. They’re silly and they’re serious. They are children one moment and adults the next. They giggle and they philosophize. They come  extra-small and extra-tall. They like “hands-on” and they prefer “just the facts.” Yet they all ask “why?” a hundred times a day.

Thankfully, Tapestry of Grace helps me answer some of the whys… at least the ones related to their history and literature studies!