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Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lesson Planner: Weaving a Beautiful Tapestry of Learning (Bible-based Unit Studies)

{Originally printed in the Winter 2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine}

As homeschoolers we are constantly looking for that “perfect curriculum.” Well, after 15 years of homeschooling, I hate to burst your bubble, but it just isn’t there. However! There are those that meet family needs more than others.

Would you be interested in a curriculum that teaches all levels of Social Studies/History/Government, Science, Language Arts, Geography, Writing, Art and even Worldview…AND…it’s based on the Bible? Well, read on, because I have two great unit studies that will interest you!

The Weaver and Tapestry of Grace have become the standards in unit studies. Both are tried and true and have the Bible solidly as their foundation for all of their subjects.

The Weaver

As like so many new homeschoolers, when we began our adventure we were scared, confused and on a very tight budget. A friend of mine told me about this great unit study that had everything I would need for the whole year (except Grammar, Spelling and Math), including worksheets, projects, suggested field trips…and…it was all based on the Bible! As a bonus, it was constructed in such a way that several grade levels could be taught at the same time with assignments then being given according to those levels.

The Weaver (available through Alpha Omega) is constructed of six Volumes, including a preschool program. In completing all six volumes you will have thoroughly examined, and learned from, the entire Bible. The Weaver Interlock is the preschool program. This study sets the pace for the rest of The Weaver by taking the entire school year to cover Genesis 1-10. Using Scripture as it’s base, and according to what your Scripture lesson is for the day, your children will then use that as a springboard for what they will cover in social studies, science, language arts, beginning arithmetic, art, physical education, health and music!

Then your students will move into the Volumes. It must be noted here that you will still benefit from all of The Weaver volumes even if you didn’t start out in preschool with the Interlock program. Each of the Volumes are self-sustaining and can completely stand alone. Also, each original Volume that you purchase is designed for grades K-6. For a substantially smaller price you may purchase supplements for grades 7-12. In that way, if your students range in age/grade ANYWHERE from K-12, you can teach your lessons once and then give them assignments at their own age/grade level! Each Volume covers a whole year’s worth of lessons Bible, science, geology, history, geography, language arts, health and art. Aren’t unit studies great?!

Volume 1 brings us right into some of the most important Doctrinal foundations of the Bible; Genesis 11-50 (ALL Volumes include teacher’s notes). In the process of coving all the base lessons above, in Volume 1 your children will cover such topics as: City, Architecture, Language (these are tied into the Tower of Babel…see how that works?), History, Transportation, Water Cycle, Life Cycle, Character, Insects, Slavery (Life of Moses…), and others. You will find reproducibles and other items included in each Volume.

Volume 2 will usher us in the world of Exodus and the Books of the Law. This Volume will cover areas of Royalty, Families, Deserts, God’s Sovereignty, Miracles, Celebrations, Egyptian Civilization, U.S. History (1600-1790), and more.

Volume 3 follows that up with Joshua, Judges, and Ruth by teaching on the topics of Exploration, Espionage, Communication, Forts, Music, Thinking Skills, Time, Ancient Civilizations, U.S. History (1790-1860), to name a few.

Volume 4 then brings us into the time of the Old Testament Period of Kings and People. Your children will love getting involved in learning about Giants, World Missions, the Civil War, Biology, Captivity, Reconstruction and The Period of Silence between the Old and New Testaments; and more.

Volume 5 caps off this five year study or can stand alone. Volume 5 covers the Life of Christ. In this study of Christ’s life and ministry your students will draw closer to our Lord by learning about Covenants, Government, Ancient Rome, Reproduction, Solar System, the Human Body, Miracle, Biographies, Agriculture, Geology, Map Skills and World and U.S. History (1895-present).

As a bonus, to save you countless trips to the library, Alpha Omega has made so much more available to you by offering resources that can be used with The Weaver. A few of those are the Day by Day which was one of my favorite items. This is basically a daily lesson plan book; everything is totally laid out for you. Wisdom Words was another favorite. This is a step-by-step grammar and composition program for grade K-6. If you purchase this with your first Volume, you won’t need any other grammar/comp program until after sixth grade! Please note that this can be used with or without The Weaver program. There are great resources for spelling, penmanship, reading and other teacher’s helps. Very thorough.

Tapestry of Grace

In the few short years that Tapestry of Grace (TOG), by Lampstand Press, has been available, it is quickly becoming a favorite with many. As you know, it seems that the longer so many of us homeschool, the more eclectic we become. Some of us have favorite methods that we rely on, or return to, over and over again. So, if you are a person who loves the Classic model of learning, but you also love the convenience and ease of using unit studies with your multiple ages of children, then you will feel that Tapestry of Grace was written just for you! And, indeed, it was written by mom, Marsha Somerville, for her own children. After years of success with her own fine family, she decided to publish it for the rest of us.

As in all Classical education, TOG follows the rule of Lower Grammar (K-around 3rd grade), Upper Grammar (around 4th – 6th grade), Dialectic (roughly Jr. high level) and Rhetoric (Sr. high level). Jam-packed with teaching notes, reproducibles and lessons notes, Marsha has left hardly anything out.

As with The Weaver, TOG is designed to cover the entire Bible in a multi-age/grade format; however, TOG covers all of this in four years. Each well noted, well researched unit is laid out in notations of Threads. Contained within each Thread is your basic lesson plan divided up by Historical, Geographical, Literary, Law and Government Studies, Fine Arts/Hands-on, Writing, Church History and Bible Survey, and Worldview Studies. Each of these topics are covered thoroughly. Students, especially older students, need to not only know what the Bible (Truth) says about what we believe, but they also need to know at least a working knowledge of what false faiths and cults believe. For example: TOG, year one, covers the History of Redemption; as part of that Unit 2 is “All Governments are Established by God.” As part of this study it must be understood that between Creation and around 960 BC, God called one nation out of a pagan existence unto himself. As part of the process of learning about those ancient civilizations, your students will also learn about past and present pagan religions so as to not only understand the falsehood of what they believe, but to impress upon them just how much the world needs Jesus as their Savior.

TOG is replete with sidebar notes, tables, worksheets, reading lists and suggested resources. If you have been homeschooling for long, many of these will already be on your shelves. If not, TOG offers outstanding savings on complete or partial resource packages. So, all of us “whole book” learning lovers can get excited about this unit study!

Now, I know what you’re asking, so I’ll tell you more about what each yearly unit consists of. As mentioned above, Year 1 is History of Redemption; covering the units of: The Books of Moses, All Governments are Established by God, Preparing the World for it’s Savior, and In the Fullness of Time.

Year 2 is titled From Ancient to Modern and covers Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, Colonial America, and Age of Revolutions.

Year 3 brings us to The 1800’s. This busy and interesting year covers Napoleon’s World, The Birth of the Modern, Nations Uniting and Dividing, and The Gilded Age. Very exciting.

Year 4 will end in the study by bringing us right into The Twentieth Century. Your students will be amazed at how full that century was! This year covers The Century Opens – WWI, The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, The WWII Era, The Post-WW – the 50’s and 60’s, and The 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and a Look Ahead. This is a fun one to do with our kids because we get to cover some of the craziness – and fashion faux-pas – that we lived through!

And, just like The Weaver, if you wish you may start the study over and re-do the entire study from the viewpoint of your children’s higher grade levels. If you wish, once you have bought these studies, they may well be all you will ever need for your children’s entire school careers!

Contact Information

The Weaver is available through Alpha Omega Publications ~ 1-800-622-3070 or www.aophomeschooling.com.

Tapestry of Grace ~ http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/tog_fast/index.htm or contact Lampstand Press at 1-800-705-7487. You can also find support & get your questions answered by finding TOG on Facebook.

Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

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