This spring we jumped in to Tapestry of Grace. It is a curriculum that I've been looking forward to using for a long time. It integrates history, literature, writing, geography, and Bible together. We were able to get a used copy of year one a few years back, but since it covers the ancients, and we had just done that, we were waiting for a new four year cycle. (We do things in cycles so that the kids get to see all of history and science two or three times [generally three, but with the off year we had, we'll have a missed cycle or double up at some point] by graduation.) With Nate in kindergarten this year, we took a year to do unit studies, but we got to the end of the units I had planned and the more I looked at Tapestry and read about how one can't do everything on the lists, I though we might be best served to start next year's curriculum this spring, so we can take the time we need to do other things as they come up--the days the kids had play practice, for instance, cut a large chunk out of the regular school day. This way we won't be rushed. It let us see how this is going to work for us and iron out any bumps now.
It has had it's share of adjustments, but I do really love it. Since Kate is in what our state considers middle grades next year, I started her at the dialectic level. It is challenging her to have to go a step further, do more on her own, set her schedule a bit more independently, but I think it is a good change. Gabby is in upper grammar and Nate in lower grammar. At times, when I've found a book hard to locate, we've done a little switching around of things, particularly since Kate is just on the edge, and could have been placed in either level.
I've (obviously) not worked through this at the rhetoric (high school) level yet, but we have the first seven weeks in, and I will give it a thumbs up. One of the program goals is to have an end of unit celebration. We're getting to the end of that first unit (9 weeks, in this case) and thinking about ways to share what the kids have learned. I'll have to take some photographs then. We have had some fun activities and some papers that the girls have written that will be fun to share. Nate's been doing drawings of the people and a few places that we've studied too, learning to caption them, since he's just beginning to write. I'm sure that our celebration will involve cultural foods too. These guys like to work in the kitchen!
Ellie was not quick to speak. There were always plenty of voices occupying the air, so she tended to prefer to sit with you, be carried in your arms, make her presence physically felt. Of course, she's grown, and so has her vocabulary. Some of her favorite things to say lately are: