Tag Archives: homeschool

Meet a Homeschool Graduate: Rachel

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!Read an encouraging story about the benefits a highschool senior sees from being homeschooled.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.

Meet Rachel, a homeschooled high school senior who talks about things she benefitted from in homeschooling.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.Meet the Woods family, who have used Tapestry for many years with their children.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.

The Geography Guessing Game

Here in our home, we love simple games that you can play while everyone finishes dinner. It allows us to linger together around the table and our girls love any challenge where they might be able to stump Daddy! We have developed different guessing games that are wonderful to play on long car trips or while waiting at the dentist office. It makes learning fun, rather than seat work.
We love playing games as a family, and simple guessing games are one of our favorites!

When they were little we played a game with our girls that we coined, “The Animal Guessing Game”. One person would think of an animal and everyone would have to figure out which one it was. The girls learned basic animal categories, like mammal and reptile, and loved the challenge of coming up with something that would take a long time to guess.

We have enjoyed this game so much, so we have expanded it as the girls have gotten older and have started them on the “Geography Guessing Game”. As you would expect, this game is much more challenging for everyone, including the adults! The other day at dinner, I asked that we please allow the globe at the table. I needed help figuring out some of these places!

We start by allowing one person to pick a place that they want everyone to guess. It can be any land-form, city, country or body of water. We allow them to pick anything they can think of that is a place on the globe. So far we have not narrowed the field any closer than that, but over time it would be fun to focus on the areas that we are learning about in our Tapestry studies. Mike almost stumped me last time when he picked a place that he said was connected to a large body of water. I forgot the Nile River dumps into the Mediterranean Sea!

We help our girls to narrow down the possible places to guess by teaching them to start by asking the broad questions. This also allows us to teach them basic geography categories.

Here is a graphic that will help explain how we narrow down the place on the map: We love playing games as a family, and simple guessing games are one of our favorites!

It is a wonderfully simple game that promotes learning about places and having fun as a family!

These are some other questions we have helped the kids come up with as they are trying to solve the place a person is thinking about:

  • Is it on a continent?
  • Is it an island?
  • Is it man made or God made? (i.e. city or land-form)
  • Is it a mountain?
  • Does it border an ocean?
  • Does it have four seasons?
  • Is it hot and sandy?
  • Is it mostly ice?
  • Did explorers travel to it or around it?
  • Does it have mountains around it?
  • Have we ever been there?
  • Would we have to fly on an airplane to get there?
  • Is it something we learned about recently in history?

Not only do these questions help the game, but they help the kids think about all the details of the place they are guessing. Instead of geography being purely about looking at a map, it becomes a fun framework to play with as kids have to evaluate a globe and guess what someone else is thinking. For the person who has the place in their head, they have to know enough to answer any question posed to them! It allows them to show their knowledge about a place on a map, which still keeping the family stumped.

We are enjoying playing this game together. I am learning so much myself by having to remember all the countries, and water ways. We hope you enjoy playing this game with your family!

Check out how we include geography with our history studies in our three week sample here!

Poetics: A Wonderful Literary Analysis Textbook

“Poetics” used to mean simply “literature.” Aristotle used the word as a title for his book about the history and basic working principles of literature. Aristotle’s book became a classic in his time and ever since, but so much has been added to literature that it is no longer a complete guide for modern students. Poetics is a wonderful Literary handbook for highschool

We searched for years to find a single text that would combine good lists, examples, and explanations of literary analysis tools with a history of the important literary periods. We felt that this would add so much to our Tapestry Literature curriculum. Since we could not find one that fit those things, we asked one of our Tapestry literature authors, Christina Somerville, to write a new Poetics for the modern Christian student.

Because we care so much about worldview studies, we also got permission to include James W. Sire’s descriptions of the basic historical worldviews (from his book, The Universe Next Door) in Poetics. Our literary handbook describes and explains literature-shaping worldviews like Buddhism and Hinduism, Deism, Naturalism (also called Atheism), Existentialism, and more. Poetics is a wonderful Literary handbook for highschool

Poetics covers the whole history of Western literature from ancient to modern. Because it is so comprehensive, our Poetics has proven a useful resource for all of the following standard course titles:

  • World Literature I
  • World Literature II
  • British Literature I
  • British Literature II
  • American Literature

We hear many stories about how Poetics has helped students to understand the difference between truth and artistry, to become interested in literature, to recognize worldview beliefs in stories, and to love the Bible as a work of artistic truth. We are so glad that so many students have benefited from using this volume!

Poetics is a wonderful Literary handbook for highschool