Using TOG with my Lower-Grammar Student and a Wee One
When I first purchased TOG, I did so with an eye towards using it with my then twelve year old dialectic-stage daughter. Little did I know that my lower grammar aged son, then four years old, could gain as much from our journey with TOG as my older child. After seeing his older sister devour the literature and history books that Tapestry had to offer, my four year old son decided that he wanted to "do tapestry", too. So, we made him a Tapestry notebook, filled it the grammar assignment sheets and literature worksheets and made weekly trips to the library for our "Tapestry Books". My son found the books to be very engaging. Tapestry's lower-grammar books are colorful, filled with interesting characters and information.
I will never forget the first time I felt that my son was getting one of the larger concepts I wanted him to understand in the worldview strand. For our first year of TOG, we studied Year 1, which is Ancients to the Fall of Rome. One of our favorite literature books was Tutankhamen's Gift. I wanted him to understand that God's judgement on the Egyptians was related to their idolatry. But how do you teach a four year old what idolatry is in a way that they can really understand? Well, as we read the book, my son could clearly understand the concept of idolatry. "Oh, now I get it," he said, "they're worshipping false gods. That's idolatry!" That was one of my favorite TOG moments during our first year.
But it gets even better. Because the book was so well written, he could empathize with young Tutankhamen. My son really liked the character, and we read it over and over again. He understood that the Egyptians were real people who came under the judgement of God. He learned to have empathy for others who are trapped in idolatry. This lesson was important as we talked about the importance of spreading the Gospel in months and years that followed.
If you are a new TOG user with young children, I recommend that you focus on the history/literature and read-alouds strands. Because my son was not a writer when we first started TOG, I would read him the books, or we would read them together (he was an early reader) then do a follow-up activity. Our favorite activities have been the history lapbooks with narration and TOG literature activity sheets. We like lapbooks the best and if you'd like to learn how we use them in our homeschool, see my Tapestry lapbooks page. Everyone is always amazed at how much he has learned, but Tapestry makes it so easy to engage your lower grammar student in the study of history and literature that they love doing it.
Now you may be wondering, how often should you "do" Tapestry? Well, since my son is a lower grammar learner - he's only six - we usually do Tapestry twice a week. Typically, on Monday's we do our history readings for that week and complete two of the lapbook activities. These lapbook activities are always related to what we've just read. We also look at a map to see which part of world we are studying about, but I don't make my son keep a Geography notebook - yet. We'll do that when he's ready for upper grammar work. Then on Wednesday, we read a literature book and finish up our history and lapbook book assignments for that week. That's it!
We usually take about one hour to an hour and a half to complete his assignments since we still do some narration. So that's about 3 hours a week. We do our TOG during little brother's naptime so that we're not interrupted. But we include him in our literature and read aloud time.
The two most beautiful things that have developed due to our use of Tapestry of Grace with the littles are: 1) At the dinner table, my six year old and my fifteen year old can discuss some of the same concepts with their Dad. My six year old recalls the facts, events, and figures that we've studied while my fifteen year old is building connections and synthesizing information. My husband is constantly amazed at how much they are learning and we're both pleased at the Christian worldview that they are building. 2) My six year old is now sharing his favorite TOG books with his two year old brother. Little brother already has an appreciation for well-written, beautiful books.