That Overwhelming Feeling
So, this week, most of our moms started school. Oh, the exhilaration and the terror! I so remember it. In fact, tomorrow I get to start my own school year teaching a Writing class to rhetoric students here in MD. A recent post on the Yahoogroups really tugged at my heart. Rebecca was expressing doubts, frustrations, anxiety, and fear that she had made the wrong decision in buying Tapestry of Grace. Firm in her conviction that she was called to homeschool (and starting with children who had been in public schools and were on three different learning levels) she wisely called out for help from veteran moms (and Tapestry users). The straw that had broken her confidence was that she could not find some minute details within the curriculum. Laurie wrote this beautiful response:
I am starting my fifth year of TOG. I still don’t find everything. Sometimes I don’t find it until weeks later. Oh well. But I still love TOG! Why? Because the basics make sense. I do have a layout of world history, from Creation to the present, laid out with book recommendations on every level imaginable. I have ideas for projects, books, literature, geography, philosophy, Christian Worldview, government, fine arts, etc, for me to pull from. I always miss something in my lesson planning. However my kids and I have learned tons about God’s hand in the history of the world from the beginning of time to the present. We have a depth of understanding I never believed was possible.
My dd started this curriculum at age 12 as a slow learning, poor reading comprehension, pathetic writing skills, and poor speaking skills. After 4 years of higher level thinking skill training and teaching with TOG, she is now an independent learner and teaches me a few things, loves Rhetoric literature and is considering a lit/history major in college, writes cohesively, has good speaking skills, great presence and is able to associate with people comfortably. My son started the program when he was 10. Although he was a deep thinker, he was frustrated with history texts that didn’t go into enough detail, was bored with anthologies and bored with typical read the pages and answer the question format of school. Despite his brilliant depth of thought, he couldn’t remember a single detail he read about, which incredibly frustrated him. Since using TOG for four years, he has a powerful depth of knowledge and understanding and renewed fascination for learning. He is now considering a major in history. How did we do this? Basically by pulling out the aspects of TOG that did make sense to us, focusing on the main format of read, think/discuss, and write. That is the core of the TOG program. No matter any confusion I may have had week by week trying to find a specific page here or there, merely by reading books, working through the AQs and TQs as best we could, doing weekly discussions as outlined in the Teacher Notes and then writing about the topic at hand, my kids grew as I previously mentioned.
If only I knew about TOG when they were grammar students (We started at D level.) At Grammar level I would focus on the 3Rs and use TOG to read books and do a few hands on, point out places of importance on a map and save the bigger stuff for the higher levels.Please do make TOG easier on yourselves by focusing on the parts that do make sense. Ask here for help on the other things. There’s already been lots of great input from the other ladies. But all of us who love TOG learned a long time ago we can’t do it all, but rather to focus on the key points that work for us. None of us school with TOG identically! =)
Beginning any school year is hard. Beginning anything new is hard. It was for me too. I just pulled back and did the basics. As that became easy, I added something new that suddenly made sense. And so on. Even now, I pick and choose from the aspects that work best for my kids. I love TOG because it gives me enough to pick and choose to tailor my own program for my kids. I’d say that the key components are the books for all the levels. The writing and discussion and other written work are key for D and R. Doing a fine arts project makes it fun! The rest is gravy (yum, yum). I hope this helps! =)
Laurie was not the only one to help Rebecca. There were about eight posts that gave wise counsel and helpful advice, speaking both to Rebecca’s heart attitudes and her actual, practical needs to find what she was missing in Tapestry resources. I find the overall exchange inspirational.
- It speaks of our weaknesses–which is why our parenting and our homeschooling must be bathed in prayer. We need a Savior. We can’t do life without Him. Parenting and homeschooling remind us of this truth daily! Aren’t we really glad that they do, when we come to think about it?
- It speaks of the Body of Christ. Through the Internet, we laboring moms have more opportunity than ever to humble ourselves and receive help from our sisters across the fruited plain who are co-laborers. They understand, they have been there, and they can help. Let’s all be willing to bring our weaknesses out into the light where His body can minister to our needs!
- And it speaks of grace to help in a time of need. Rebecca’s sisters answered her discouraged cry with real help and good counsel. They did so quickly. They did so graciously. How kind of God to provide such support for us sinners in our times of need!
Ladies, we’re at the start of a school year, and that’s exciting. But sin never takes a vacation, and the Devil loves to throw obstacles, real and imagined, in our way. He would love to have all of us give up on training and discipling and teaching our children as soon as he possibly can. Let’s not be ignorant of His devices. Let’s grab of our Savior in one hand and our sisters in the other, and walk through this school year giving ourselves grace and space to fail and to grow.Love and prayers to you all!Marcia