I have the great privilege of introducing you to Tapestry of Grace Primer – a new curriculum tool for your youngest ones from Tapestry of Grace! I am also sharing a review of Marcia Somerville’s book, Love the Journey, at Hodgepodge.
I think the biggest learning curve with homeschooling is finding what works best for your family. Tapestry of Grace is a wonderful homeschooling fit for our family. Our five children, from first grade through high school, are all learning together. We have a child in lower grammar, upper grammar, dialectic and two in the rhetoric level. I, as the homeschool mama, have seen the beauties of this type of classical learning as a family.
But guess what? Now Tapestry of Grace has a resource for families just starting their homeschool journey. Those with their eldest children in kindergarten or first grade. And it is a beautiful tour! Tapestry Primer.
Introducing Tapestry Primer
Tapestry Primer authors Mike and Jessica Somerville are parents of young children as well. “Together, they created Tapestry Primer to help Jessica develop her teaching skills as they sought to introduce their first-grader and preschooler to the joys of learning…It (Tapestry Primer) offers a simple, conversational, hands-on and game-oriented approach to history. It introduces young parents and children to the joys of story-driven learning, integrated humanities studies, and full family education while taking them through the entire sweep of human history in (the parents’ choice of) either one or two school years.”
See, I have had my readers ask me if I would recommend Tapestry of Grace for kindergarten. I have suggested that a concentration on the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) plus a list of good living books was the best type of education for a kindergartener. That is just what Tapestry authors suggest as well in the introductory material of Primer. However, now the Primer offers the tools for just that – good books, how tos, a simple “take you by the hand” leading for not just kindergarteners and first graders – but the focus is also on teaching the parents how to homeschool!
No more “TOG FOG”
When I first started my Tapestry of Grace studies as a homeschool teacher, I set aside an entire summer to slowly get to know this resource. I heard the term TOG Fog used in homeschooling forums to describe the feeling a new homeschooler – or one new to Tapestry – might feel while learning how to use this multi-level resource. Well, had I had the Tapestry Primer, I think I could have skipped that. Because Marcia Somerville’s book is like a homeschool mentor coming alongside and holding your hand. Plus the gentle approach of the Primer Handbook and Guidebook offer the practical of day to day homeschooling. Hands on Activity Guide offers ready made activities for the children.
What is Included in Tapestry Primer?
- Primer Handbook: The core assignments and content of the program. Weekly, parents are given detailed student assignments in history, literature, and geography, as well as suggestions for hands-on learning and memory work. (8.5″ X 11″; loose leaf; 3-hole punched)
- Primer Guidebook: This volume is the equivalent of full Tapestry‘s teacher’s notes for the Handbook. It is meant as supplemental reading each week for teachers who are new to the story of history. Written in a simple style that hits the high points and gives teaching parents the “big picture,” the Guidebook is a “must have” for this program. (softcover; bound. page count still TBD)
- Love the Journey: This book was written as a companion to the Tapestry Primer, but it also stands alone. Marcia Somerville, author of Tapestry of Grace and homeschooling mother of six wrote this book to encourage teaching moms, especially those who are just starting out. (5″ X 8″; softcover, bound, c. 260 pages) (See my review of this wonderful, mentoring resource at Hodgepodge!)
- Primer: Activity Book: This set of 12 coloring and activity book provides follow up seatwork or activities that students can do while listening to you read aloud about history or from literature books. Many illustrations echo those in the companion Big Story Game. (8.5″ X 11″; high-quality paper, softcover, bound)
- Primer: Big Story Game: A set of small tiles with original illustrations will be a fun way for your student to learn his memory work! This optional supplement will grow with your child. There are a variety of games that you can play with your child, or that he can play as Solitaire. This game will not be ready before summer 2014.
- Assignments from real books: We’ve selected beautiful and interesting books that introduce history and great stories to your kids, as well as provide detailed directions for hands-on learning. You may find these in your public library or purchase them from Bookshelf Central.
Days of creation activity – so easy to print, color and enjoy!
Tapestry Primer Mini-Unit Titles
- Mini-Unit 1: Eden to Egypt
- Mini-Unit 2: Tabernacle and Temple
- Mini-Unit 3: Daniel’s Revelation
- Mini-Unit 4: Christ and the Church
- Mini-Unit 5: The Broken Road
- Mini-Unit 6: Recovery and Discovery
- Mini-Unit 7: A New World
- Mini-Unit 8: One Nation
- Mini-Unit 9: Growing Pains
- Mini-Unit 10: A House Divided
- Mini-Unit 11: Engines of Empires
- Mini-Unit 12: A Smaller World
What is the Tapestry Primer Method and World View?
Like Tapestry of Grace, Tapestry Primer is written from a Biblical worldview, maintaining that history is HIS story. The Tapestry Primer follows the classical model of homeschooling.
I have a child in first grade this 2014-2015 homeschool year. Tapestry Primer would be perfect for him! However, since we are already cycling back through our Tapestry studies and we want to all learn the same topics together, he will be joining in our Year 1 studies at the lower grammar level. BUT, if I were just starting out, Tapestry Primer would be a lovely tour of all the learning styles and the fun of Tapestry.
Where Can You Purchase Tapestry Primer?
- Available from the Tapestry of Grace – Lampstand Press website, either in print or digital edition.
- Buy the books at Bookshelf Central.
- Guess what? You can try a FREE Sample Mini-Unit 1! Download it and try it out! There are samples of the Guidebook, the Handbook, the Activity book AND Love the Journey sample chapters. Find them all here (just scroll down and you will see the listing!) I have always said that the very best way to see if Tapestry of Grace is a fit for your family is to download and try the free three-week trial. And you can do that with Primer too. Perfect!
- You will also want to connect with other parents using Primer and that is why there is a Primer forum.
- And, just like the original Tapestry of Grace, there are supporting links for History, Literature and Arts and Activities.
More on Tapestry of Grace
- My review of Love the Journey by Marcia Somerville – Mrs. Somerville’s book is an essential part of the Primer package (or can be purchased separately).
- My full review of Tapestry of Grace
- What I’ve Learned Homeschooling with Tapestry of Grace
Tapestry of Grace has been a blessing in our home for the majority of our homeschooling years. I only wish I had found it earlier! I highly recommend any resources by the Somerville family. What a blessing Tapestry Primer will be for homeschool families. As Mike and Jessica Somerville share in the introductory material of Primer Guidebook:
“If you find yourself wanting more, remember that this is only a survey of the full Tapestry of Grace program, which offers the homeschool family a high-quality humanities education, or can simply guide you with resources that you can use to dig deeper into the fascinating story of which we are all a part. We encourage you to take advantage of it yourself!”
Homeschooling for over fourteen years now, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children from preschool to high school. She is author of art curriculum for all ages and a series of cookbooks at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve (who writes app and technology reviews), are co-owners of Curriculum Choice.
I have always loved the sounds of TOG, but never took the plunge. Now, I don’t know if we could do it. We are traveling indefinitely in our camper as missionaries here in the US and would not be able to check books out from a library, nor do we have space to store a lot of books. I have ages 5-17 yrs that I would be homeschooling, so would need books for every level. Any ideas or do I just need to let this go?
Hi Laurie – I understand your hesitation since you don’t have the room. However, you could do this: Browse the plans/columns for all ages/grades and choose a read aloud that would appeal to you all. I do that anyway. One that we can all read together and enjoy – one that spans the ages. Then, you can pick the books your older ones need and a few for your younger ones. You could do this by unit rather than year. Remember that Tapestry lists every – and I mean every – book possible for your year plan. Plus alternates! Another idea would be to make use of wonderful listing of online learning links on the Tapestry of Grace site.
I’m looking for literature based unit studies and a good bible study for my kindergartner , is this a good program for that? I’ve looked a little into 5 in a row, would you say they are similar but TOG integrates bible,history and geography? Thanks!
Bev – I think that is an accurate assessment! Especially if you are planning on ToG for your future years then this would be the way to go. However if you are purely looking for good literature and activities to complement that then FIAR is a wonderful resource too. I used FIAR because it is an excellent program – and the Primer was not available back then 🙂
Elizabeth :-) says
Hi! I love this post. I have a 2nd and 1st grader and pre-k who we have never studied any history/geography yet. Do you think the primer would be “too young” for my 1st and 2nd graders? I like the idea that the program gives a broad spectrum of history unlike TogG year one is focused to one time period… what are you thoughts? Thank you so much!!!
Elizabeth – I think the Primer would be a wonderful fit for your ages – an overview as you say. Plus it would be a fantastic introduction to Tapestry of Grace and give you an idea of how it will work as your children grow. The fact that we could all learn together is what drew me to Tapestry of Grace.
Elizabeth :-) says
Thank you so much! I have been on the fence for a week, I just placed my order! woohoo! Thanks again!
Elizabeth :-) says
Hiiii- I just got my tapestry of grace primer in the mail today! LOVE IT. Would you mind me asking how do you do the activity books? Do you pick and choose which pages you use during the week? Thanks!!!
Elizabeth – congratulations! I know you are going to love it. Yes, just as you say, I pick and choose the pages to use during the week. Whatever works best for you and your children. You might pick one day as the ‘activity book’ day. (It always helps me to designate a day for a certain part of our learning).
Sarah O. says
I just found the Primer and SO wish it had been around when my oldest was in K! She is going into 5th and I am considering/dreaming about using ToG next year for her. If I did buy Tapestry, I wouldn’t also buy the Primer, correct? If I tell friends about this though, do you know if they will come out with more years?
The Primer is wonderful! But yes, it is for K-1st grade, so if you oldest is going into 5th you would not need it. That is, unless you have a rising K. Tapestry is such a blessing to us all around.
Ronni Liu says
I have a 2nd grader. Would the Primer be a good fit for him or should I buy the regular TOG curriculum?
Hi Ronni – Either would be a good fit. I say it would depend on a few things: Is this your oldest child and you would be using the curriculum with other children in the future? If so, I would say to explore Tapestry of Grace. Is this your first time using Tapestry of Grace? If so, the Primer would be best for you and your child because of the wonderful ‘how to’ teaching resources. Of course, I think either resource is wonderful. But I hope these thoughts help!