Myth Busters: Is Tapestry really only good for older kids?
This post resulted from a real-time conversation that recently appeared on Facebook. I have only deleted or changed names, expanded abbreviations, and deleted a few posts that got onto sidetracks. Otherwise the thread appears as it did on Facebook. I thought it belonged in this series because it so clearly displays the “telephone game” of disinformation on the Internet, and how things can get garbled when you don’t go to the source!
Amy started it. She wrote: “I will be using Tapestry Primer in the spring, God willing. But someone today told me that Tapestry was excellent in the high school, [and] maybe even middle school years, but not good in the first grades. My sons are very young, [ages] 4 and 6, and it does worry me a bit that this might be true. Anyone using this with young children? I know there are many moms with kids who already graduated but don’t see many young mothers using Tapestry.” [Editor’s note: follow this link to see blog posts and reviews from many young moms using Tapestry!]
Below are the responses she got, bulleted, with names omitted.
- I do LOVE it for my older kiddo, but I sure wish I’d started it sooner. My friend said it well: “It shines in the upper grades, but it is unbeatable no matter the age.”
Amy responded: “That’s what I keep hearing, and it worries me that I could be making the wrong choice for my young children.”
I have found that my choices are best made between the Lord and me. I value the opinions of others, but if the Lord calls you to use it, you’ll sure be blessed by it. My youngest is 10, he was 9 when we started using Tapestry, and I really wish we’d started sooner. I am sad that my oldest only gets to go through the 4 years one time.
- The Primer is written for the early grades, I plan to buy it for my granddaughter (she’s only 9 months now). Her uncles are in their second go thru of Tapestry, I wish I had started them sooner.
- We started Tapestry when my youngest was in the 2nd grade. He LOVED it. We are in our 4th year and it’s still just the right fit for us. He’s exposed to so much and it’s all presented in real book format or hands-on projects so he’s just absorbed so much. I took him out to lunch at the end of our first year, just the two of us, and the kid blew me away when he reviewed the entire year chronologically. We had used a blown up copy of the world map that year and I had circled and labeled the location of each people group we covered. Every time we added a new group we reviewed the ones already on the map. That day at lunch he spontaneously walked me through the whole map from memory and told me details about all the groups. He was able to do it because what he learned and how he learned it was interesting to him. He’s thriving in it still 3-4 years later. I have zero regrets on making the Tapestry of Grace choice and sticking with it.
- Since Primer is new, I haven’t even looked at it. I have only used the full blown Tapestry, but I started when my oldest was in 2nd grade and I loved it for him. I truly think as long as you don’t try to do too much, it is marvelous at all ages.
- I may actually start Tapestry earlier with my little than originally planned. She’s 4 so not now, but in a couple of years maybe.
- We are in our first year of Tapestry and our daughter is in 2nd grade. She LOVES it! I am so glad that God directed my heart toward this curriculum in spite of my fears!
We are finishing up another 1st grade curriculum, even though it’s technically Kindergarten for him (oldest turns 6 in January) but he’s flying through it. I didn’t like it that much except all the Bible stories.
He loves geography and missions. Does Tapestry cover missions? Since someone mentioned people groups? It is one of the reasons the other curriculum drew me, because of their third grade, countries and cultures year. I will be doing that Kindergarten program with my 4 year old and Primer along with him and my oldest, not sure which Language Arts or math yet.
- Amy: I feel that way, very pulled to Tapestry but fearful because of what I hear about the fog and how it’s too much, etc. I love the easiness of the other curriculum and the schedule, but I don’t know…
- I started Tapestry in ’08 with all lower- and upper-grammar students. Now I have someone in every stage. I bought the Primer thinking it would be perfect for my younger children….and it was!! It was not perfect for the mom trying to do Tapestry with everyone else and keep up with the Primer. Honestly, I think you could go either way. If you want to get a good feel for Tapestry and build the foundation, using it with lower grammar might be worth starting there. But if you just want something fun and relaxing to give your children and not feel like you have to do much picking for activities and such, then Primer is the way to go. I don’t think you will go wrong with the Primer. Of all the things I’ve learned over the years of homeschooling, it’s “don’t second guess yourself and go with the original plan.” It’s usually turned out that the naysayers were wrong. I’ve also learned that if you’re praying and seeking the Lord, He’ll give you a check in your spirit when you’re headed the wrong way. I took a break from Tapestry and was considering a different curriculum last year. I got my shopping cart online filled up and was ready to order when I just heard that still small voice telling that Tapestry was where we needed to stay. That’s one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding our school. My kids are thriving on it this year.
- I understand reading the negative comments and getting “cold feet.” We actually only bought Year 1, Unit 1, on DE to begin with because I was so fearful I couldn’t do it. Just remember that you don’t have to do everything! Pick the activities that work for you and your family. For instance, I started out wanting to do geography. I quickly discovered we didn’t have time for that this year. So, I chucked it! And guess what? The Tapestry police didn’t come banging on my door! We will try again next year when I don’t have an overly needy toddler and my teenager can drive himself home from football practice!
- The “fog” leaves quickly. There are so many helps online and so much support, now planning is a breeze. It’s like anything that you have to learn from scratch. It soon becomes your own.
- I have been using Tapestry for almost 10 years. I bought it knowing I would get to teach my children each year three times before graduation. I have been thrilled with it. It is as bookish or as hands on as you need it to be. I tailor it to fit our needs each year. For example, I don’t love the worksheets that go with the books in the lower-grammar level, so I don’t use them! For my younger ones, I supplement the hands on stuff–I look for appropriate crafts on Pinterest, and I make a huge binder with weekly dividers for a craft activity for every week of Tapestry. I read them the literature books and we do the time line. As they get older I add in more–vocabulary, writing, geography, worldview, etc. It really is a wonderful buffet of a curriculum. My children are now 23 (graduated), 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 1. I will be happily using Tapestry for many more years!
- Amy, my oldest 5 children began Tapestry in upper grammar or dialectic stages, and I am so sad that they did not reap benefits of the lower grammar years. My youngest daughter has done Tapestry lower *light* since she was 4. She is 7 now. I am absolutely blown away at how much she knows and loves school. Our Tapestry days are the highlight of her week. Just yesterday she asked me, “Mommy, remember Florence Nightingale from last year? Was she a nurse in World War 1 or 2… I don’t’ remember hearing about her lately but I know she was a nurse in a war.” What a fun opportunity to remind her a little about the Crimean War and Florence Nightingale’s time! After a brief refresher she said, “Wow – Just think how much worse the big wars would have been if she didn’t show people how to take care of wounded soldiers. It’s too bad she died before she could help in more wars.” … I realize this is simplistic, but such “AHA” moments happen weekly for this little 7 year old. She is learning so much and it is a JOY to be her teacher. Another fun story from this week: My father-in-law read her Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, a sweet story about a relief pilot in Berlin after World War 2. My father-in-law grinned huge and delighted in that story because he was stationed in Germany and remembers living it! PRECIOUS times! Thankful for these lower grammar years with #6… wish I’d discovered Tapestry when my oldest was younger!
- Unfortunately, I heard those same explanations of Tapestry when my girls were in the Grammar stage. I really didn’t grasp how Tapestry defines the grammar stage versus other Classical programs. I ended up only using Tapestry one year, but knew I would come back to it as my girls got older. That is something I really regret. I wish I had paid more attention to how Tapestry defined itself. Tapestry’s goal for the early years is to cultivate a love of learning. – hat in the buffet of choices they offer you focus on the ice cream and instead of oodles of memory work that you focus on building up a familiarity with a variety of areas. Definitely check out the Myth Buster series that Marcia has been posting. Also, Tapestry offers Advisors who can help you walk through how Tapestry works – explain the philosophy and mechanics.
- We’ve used Tapestry of Grace since my oldest was in 1st grade. Even my preschoolers have loved it. I plan to implement the lower grammar content with my 3 year-old daughter in the fall. She’s currently doing some projects related to our topics and loves them! I’m planning to add in the reading. We’ve used Tapestry for 10 years and have a rhetoric, dialectic, and upper-grammar student now. It just looks very different now than it did then. I would not change a thing were I to go back! Love it!
- We started Tapestry when my kids were 5, 7, 9 & 11. I can’t tell you how many times my youngest – now 16 years old – has fondly remembered those days of “little-kid Tapestry” (and – I must admit – sometimes calls that the time “when I liked history.”) They are her favorite school memories. I don’t know whether I would have chosen to buy it when my oldest child was in first grade, but now that it’s digital, it will never become outdated!! There’s plenty of Tapestry fun for littles, just make sure you major on the basic 3-R’s and use Tapestry as the icing on the cake. So you may be getting a little less use out of it at this age than you possibly can, but you’ll be ramping up and getting used to it so you can effectively use it later as more of a main stage part of your curriculum.
Amy responded to all of these messages this way, “Thank you all, this is encouraging.”
A related post (Marcia herself says, “Don’t start until they’re older!”) was the first in this Myth Busters series! You may be interested to read it as well.
Would you like to add your experiences with Tapestry to this post? Feel encouraged to hit the “comment” button in order to do so! We’d love to hear from you.