Category Archives: Curriculum

Year 4: The “Plots and Plans”

kids at the pond in our back yard

I do love the hopefulness of a brand new school year! I’ve been reading in earnest, boning up on the history topics we’re planning to cover this year. We’ve decided to split Tapestry Year 2 into two years. There’s just so much to cover, and it’s such an interesting period. We rushed through the first time. I felt breathless by the time we got to the revolutions!

Here are some of the resources I’m intending to use:


Still gathering and planning for Sarah, 4th grade.


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Filed under Curriculum, homeschooling

Week One

Salt Dough Map

We wrapped up our first week. I’m hooked. I only wish we’d begun a couple of years ago.

That said, it wasn’t all smooth. A day did not go by when the kids were not brought to tears several times in frustration. We’re all having to get used to new roles, new ways of relating to one another. It was hard on Sarah at first. Momma was acting like someone else — a teacher! She wanted to crawl into my lap at the end of the first day,  to get back, I suppose,  to the “old” Mommy. Caleb was unnerved when I asked him to decorate his history notebook cover with pictures of Egypt . He just burst into tears. It threw me until we talked it out. He wanted to know exactly what we were about to study (my boy likes structure). Once I showed him the outline (See, Momma has a plan. Sort of.), he relaxed a bit.

Tim is taking his part in stride, of course, just as I knew he would. He spends 7:30-8:15 teaching math, science, and Bible study, often overlapping all three subjects. Creation, numbers, fonts, numerals, Newton, Galileo, ancient beliefs about the shape of the earth, why God created the sun, moon, and stars (see fourth day in Genesis), multiplication tables, oh, and how air conditioners work (it’s HOT this week in Tennessee!). Yeah. And that’s just week one. He’s a natural at pulling it all together and making connections without breaking a sweat. I’m learning a lot in that hour right along with the kids. This is what you get when you’re married to a rocket scientist. I love watching him share his passions with our kids.

I’m using the Tapestry of Grace curriculum for history, geography, government, and Bible/ church history. It’s literature- based, so we are busy reading, reading, reading (Thank goodness for the library or we’d be spending thousands!). Eventually I’d like to add Latin, but I’m going to wait a few months while we get used to things. After just a week, though, I can appreciate the resiliency of my children and the closeness of our family. Both have fostered the transition much more easily than I’d have imagined. BRAG WARNING: My kids are awesome! They are happily reading, and occasional tears aside, are really trying to do what they are asked. Caleb is learning cursive and I was surprised to see how beautifully he writes.

I love the grammar book I’m using with Sarah Mae. It’s First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. I’m not quite as satisfied with Caleb’s book, but I think we’ll be fine. I’ll probably just create my own as we go anyway. I’m feeling as though I’m on solid ground when we enter that particular territory. It’s good to finally use that dusty old college degree in English!
We are studying ancient Egypt for three weeks or so. Do you know the five-step process in mummification? I do! I’ve learned more in a week than I think I learned in all of middle school. We finished the week creating salt dough maps in order to learn the different geographical features. They will take a few days to complete, but what fun!

One thing I did not expect was how homeschooling would lighten my attitude toward housework. Now I just want to get it done and out of the way so we can get to the good stuff. Somehow everything involving the running of our household seems more intentional, more purposeful.

It’s a whole new world for the Bratcher family!

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Filed under Curriculum, Starting Out