This interview is part of a series called “Tapestry is Everywhere!”, in which we learn from Tapestry users who are applying the curriculum in surprising ways or places. In this article we’ll meet Sue, a parent-teacher who will be homeschooling her two young children with Tapestry’s Primer this year in Singapore!
Sue, I understand that you are a homeschooling native of Singapore?
Yes, I am. My husband is a trainer and consultant and we have two children (ages 6 and 4) whom we homeschool in Singapore.
Tell me about your homeschooled children?
My older son is six, so he’s primarily the one whom I am homeschooling. He has been responding very well to the approach of drilling memory work at the Grammar stage. However, I have also realized that I sometimes also need to give him the context of the facts that he memorizes to help him understand them better. Stories help with this because my children take to them easily.
Why did you decide to use Primer as a complimentary supplement to Classical Conversations?
My son has been challenged to learn how to do his memory work in the Classical Conversations community, which is wonderful! The Classical Conversations model then encourages parents like myself to model what is done at community day and finds ways to teach our children at home. This also includes finding materials that will extend our students’ understanding of the facts that they memorize through our community and help them to remember the grammar better. I thought that Primer’s story-driven and multi-sensory materials would give excellent context and help my students lock information into their long-term memory.
I know you’ve been using our Primer sample for a few weeks now. Has it helped your students with their memory work, the way you hoped it would?
I really think so, yes! The activities and the geography, as well as read aloud time and coloring sheets—in fact the whole multi-sensory approach—brings to life the information my student is memorizing, and connects the pieces together for him as well. It’s all here, and my children are able to grasp it. For instance, my oldest son had memorized the fact that the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers exist before in our community group, but now I think he understands Mesopotamia as the land between the rivers, and about its culture and history.
What are some of the highlights of Primer for you as a Christian educator?
We have greatly enjoyed starting back at the beginning with the Bible. Even though we’ve done it so many times, I feel that it came alive much more this time because it is so much more in-depth. We see so much more how these are real historical people, and also seeing how God weaves together the strands of history. We also loved the activities, doing Noah’s ark and building a ziggurat. Those helped my students to visualize and interact with biblical history.
Has the Guidebook been helpful?
The Guidebook has really helped me to prepare, but more than that it has been a spiritual exercise for me and personally enriching. Starting with geography has really helped as well—I know where things are happening in history. Also, instead of going through so many sources to look for what I need, I have everything and know that my materials are accurate and reliable.
What are some of the things that you’ve learned spiritually?
I think that going back over these early weeks on Egypt and early Mesopotamia and the Exodus reminds me of the whole idea that we as sinful men tend to worship the created rather than the Creator, and that our hearts are so prone to wander. I am newly aware of the irony that we were created in God’s image and yet we choose to worship the things that we create. Also the magnified view of self—the human idea that we can reach God. That was brought to light when we were trying to build a tower of Babel and trying to make it as tall as possible. We did that activity and I just realized that we can never reach God.
What does your husband think of Primer?
My husband is a former history teacher and he has been really happy with Primer. He does the Bible story at night with our children and is involved in some of the activities. I think he is looking forward to what we will learn as our children get further into history.
It is wonderful to see how Tapestry products are being used as a supplement to various other classical programs, and how it has benefited Sue and her children in Singapore!