Rachel kindly allowed us to interview her about her experience homeschooling, and learning through the whole book, classical education that Tapestry provides. Rachel and her family have done Tapestry since she was in first grade, and have used a variety of learning methods, via an online co-op, the Lampstand Learning Center, and a local co-op that her mom helps run. I love that although Rachel hasn’t settled on all her future plans, she sees the value that her homeschool high school education gave her. I also love her advice to both homeschool students and their parents!This interview has been edited lightly for clarity
Rachel, what are your future plans?
Currently my future plans are rather loose. I am, however, planning on attending college in the fall and furthering my education. I made the decision to attend college so that I can further my education, as well as provide myself with the opportunity to grow and procure achievements to help with my future after school (such as a degree).
How has Tapestry helped you in your education?
Tapestry has helped in my education in the way that it is set up. The format encourages critical thinking and reading skills to develop. Those skills are useful in all areas of schooling and life. I don’t have a chosen major or field as of yet, but the format of Tapestry promotes skills and techniques for learning that go beyond simply history and literature.
What are some of your favorite aspects of Tapestry?
I enjoy the discussion aspect a lot. If there is a specific area I’m struggling to retain or grasp information on, the interactive discussions usually help to cement it. I also like that the literature curriculum goes side by side with the history portion. Knowing the historical, political, and contextual background of a certain work really enriches the experience of reading and studying it.
What have you learned the most through your Tapestry studies? How has it shaped your worldview?
I have learned how to read and think critically, and to develop my own thoughts and ideas as well as being able to present them in a comprehensive manner. I wouldn’t say Tapestry has shaped my worldview, but it has shown me how to be more aware of it and how to analyze other’s worldviews.
What was your favorite subject or time period you studied in Tapestry?
Year 4 [Modern History] in both history and literature. The history is captivating and the literature is all so consistently rich and enjoyable.
Did you have a favorite historical figure or anybody who was particularly inspiring?
No particular historical figure, but I really loved and have been inspired by some of the authors I’ve been exposed to through Tapestry. Writers and poets such as George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, William Wordsworth, William Blake, and more.
What are some of your other outside interests? How did you fit that in while keeping up with your school?
Well, fortunately, I am an avid reader, so when I don’t have time during the semester to read books of my choosing, I am still getting a taste of new genres and works through literature class. I also enjoy cooking and baking as well as playing ukulele and guitar. It can be hard finding time to do those things during the school week, but they make a great break from the perpetual assignments.The Woods Family
What advice or encouragement would you want to give to homeschooled students?
Make the most of it and put in an effort. In homeschooling (I’ve found) if you don’t have the self-accountability, motivation, and follow through, you’ll get nothing done. Also, more Tapestry specific, don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have the answer. If your teacher asks something and it totally isn’t clicking, instead of just rambling and making up answers (I have been there), simply say “I don’t know” and make an effort to listen and understand the answer. You’re allowed to not know the right answer, but don’t use that as an excuse to come to class unprepared. Genuinely try your hardest to find answers and explanations and to learn. You can only get out of it what you put in, so work hard.
What advice or encouragement would you give to homeschooling parents?
Help your student, but don’t hand them the answers. Help them to understand the concepts and to reach the answer through their own effort. Give them advice, the materials, and the tools, but not the final product. That said, some days are harder than others. Be discerning and don’t excuse them from too much, but be gracious.