Marcia Somerville
Author of Tapestry of Grace Wife of HSLDA Staff Attorney Scott Somerville


Marcia Somerville, wife of HSLDA Staff Attorney Scott Somerville, is a homeschooling mother of six and the author of the Tapestry of Grace curriculum. Marcia graduated in 1976 from Kent School, a highly acclaimed classics—based prep school; she received her degree in history from Dartmouth College in 1979. A homeschooling mom since her first child began kindergarten, Marcia found herself ready to quit after 10 years. She couldn’t imagine a way to educate all of her children in every subject. After a season of tears and prayer, though, and drawing on her own rigorous high school experience and her Ivy League degree in history, she developed a method that integrated the humanities and social sciences into a four—year survey of world history. At first, she used her idea only with her own children. But after graduating her two oldest sons, she offered to lead other families through the same four—year cycle. Today, thousands of families around the country benefit from Tapestry of Grace. In addition to writing homeschool materials, Marcia enjoys speaking on a variety of topics that encourage and enlighten fellow homeschoolers. Her vision is to mentor homeschool moms in raising up a generation of Christian youth equipped with a deep, apologetics—oriented understanding of the Great Conversation and the ability to contribute to it.



Title:Co—ops Worthy of the Name
Length:1—2 60—minute sessions (each hour includes 20—minute Q&A)
Type:Workshop
Topic:Education
Audience:Parents
Description:Come hear answers to a variety of questions related to co—ops. Marcia Somerville has been leading co—ops for 10 years in various settings, has been involved in other group study contexts, and has helped co—op leaders around the country work through difficult situations. Session 1: In this overview of co—ops, parents new to the idea can get answers to a host of questions: What exactly is a co—op? What makes it different from “drop and shop” resource centers or university model schools? What are the benefits and costs of involving my children in co—ops? Do co—ops benefit younger children? Are older kids going to suffer unless I enroll them? Session 2: Are you thinking, “I have caught the vision and I want to start a co—op. Where do I begin?” From her personal experience, Marcia Somerville details important first steps to starting a co—op, common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and sound principles to build on. She reminds women of the importance of involving their husbands in the first stages of starting a co—op, and explains how co—ops provide opportunities for the sanctification of parents as well as children. Much time is left for questions in this helpful, practical session.

Title:Cravings and Conflict
Length:45-;minute speech, plus Q&A
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:Mothers, Parents
Description:Conflict is a part of life. Homeschooling doesn’t generally make conflicts less frequent; rather, our close proximity to our spouses and children often provides extra temptations. Add in the fact that we really have to accomplish quite a bit every day, and you can have a recipe for constant strife! Conflicts often seem painfully difficult and confusing. However, there’s a simple biblical principle at work in all conflicts. In every case, one or both of the combatants is craving his own way. Marcia speaks from James 4:1 (“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”) and demonstrates that most conflicts can be managed better when those involved admit their cravings and work towards glorifying God by focusing on understanding and seeking to meet the needs of others, rather than selfishly focusing on their own desires. Marcia give practical ways that parents can use these principles with children, and spouses can use them with one another, as families seek to glorify God in the homeschool setting.

Title:Cross—Eyed Parenting
Length:45-minute speech, plus Q&A
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:Mothers, Parents
Description:Though we may start homeschooling with noble goals of discipling our children and leading them onward in godliness, it is easy to quickly grow weary in welldoing. We can become too busy to feed ourselves before attempting to feed our children. We can be deceived into thinking that our successes and failures rest on our own shoulders. We can develop habits of speech and action that are harmful to our children. In short, we are as much in need of sanctification and growth as are our students! Sound familiar? Come learn the releasing truth of how a daily practice of preaching the gospel to ourselves can inform many common situations in our schools and reveal one of homeschooling’s best—kept secrets: we are as much sanctified by the process of homeschooling as are our children!

Title:Elements of Writing Instruction
Length:1—2 60—minute sessions (each session includes a 20—minute Q&A)
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Education
Audience:Parents
Description:No matter what curriculum we choose, there are basic elements in teaching our children to write. By starting with a general, overarching set of goals and principles, we can see clearly where we want to go with writing instruction and thus use our curriculum more effectively. In two sessions, Marcia Somerville simplifies and clarifies the goals parents should adopt when teaching their children to communicate effectively in written form. Session 1: What are the elements of all good writing? What constitutes a well written sentence, paragraph, or essay? How much fiction should my child write? Should my child type on a computer or write by hand? Using PowerPoint slides and simple, straightforward language, Marcia outlines the process, from kindergarten through 12th grade, of teaching any child to write well. Session 2: This session, which focuses on grading writing, can build on the previous one. Using the information she shared in Session 1 about sentences, paragraphs, transitions, reports, and essays, Marcia discusses how to actually grade our students’ writing. The session includes practice in grading writing samples and gives general help about knowing where to start when evaluating our children’s papers.

Title:Gaining a Vision for High School
Length:50 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Education
Audience:Parents
Description:Marcia Somerville explores the issues of homeschooling high school. She addresses common hesitations shared by both veteran homeschoolers and newcomers, and takes a biblical approach to sorting out the conflicting messages and emotions that many parents feel in making this monumental decision. The session is uplifting, non—threatening, and envisioning.

Title:Meeting with God: A Toolbox Approach
Length:30-minute speech, plus Q&A
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Parenting, Spiritual
Audience:Fathers, Mothers, Parents
Description:We teach every other subject; why not also equip our children to have daily, excellent quiet times with God? Marcia Somerville explores a variety of approaches to meeting with God each morning. Her own experience with her six very different children led her to adopt a “toolbox” approach. She taught her children a variety of ways to approach God each day, and then allowed them to choose the tools that worked best in various seasons of their lives: praying the Psalms, chart—based Scripture studies, praying the Lord’s prayer, Kay Arthur’s principle approach, and more. Marcia provides a list of techniques and explains most of them in this highly practical, informative session. She prays that this information will give you the tools you need to lead your children in establishing rich, daily times of meeting with God! (This session builds on, but is not dependent on, “The Nearness of God Is My Good.”)

Title:Teaching with Tapestry of Grace
Length:50 minutes
Type:Workshop
Topic:Education
Audience:Parents
Description:Do you hear “classical ed” and feel simultaneously intimidated and inspired? Marcia Somerville would like to help you with both! Come find out that you truly can deliver a classics—based, apologetics—oriented curriculum to every student in your house—and love the process all the way!

Title:The Nearness of God Is My Good
Length:45-minute speech, plus Q&A
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Encouragement, Spiritual
Audience:Mothers, Parents
Description:For many years, Marcia Somerville failed to enjoy a strong devotional life because she did not really believe that the nearness of God was her greatest good. She also battled with the sin of craven fear. Now, out of her experiences as a homeschool mom, Marcia shares transparently about her struggles in these areas and how God has granted grace and victory. She includes a strong exhortation on the primary importance of a strong devotional life for homeschooling moms, and lists practical steps to establish and deepen it. “Very encouraging” is the most frequent response to this talk!

Title:Tips for Teaching a Houseful
Length:1—2 30—minutes sessions (each hour includes 30—minute Q&A)
Type:General Session, Workshop
Topic:Education
Audience:Mothers
Description:Are you trying to teach junior high or high school students and elementary—age children at the same time, perhaps with one or two toddlers underfoot? Marcia Somerville’s been there and done that—and has many practical tips to share. Session 1: In this first session, Marcia explains some overarching principles that will encourage you to make your home a quiet home as the foundation of your homeschool, look at your children’s development in three areas (academic, social, and emotional), and think of your children’s development in terms of stages, not ages. Following the chronological development of the average large family, this session covers birth—3rd grade. An extended Q&A session allows you to ask questions unique to your own setting. Session 2: In this follow—up session, Marcia continues to follow the development of the typical large family as students are added and age spans widen. This session is full of practical suggestions based on the foundation laid in Session 1 and covers typical situations in families where the oldest students are in grade 4—high school.


If you would like to schedule Marcia Somerville as a speaker for your upcoming event, contact Lampstand Press at 800—705—7487.


Contact Marcia to learn about her requirements: 1 (800) 705—7487


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