Curriculum

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Morning Time: Depending on age, K-3 will read Bible stories from well-written children’s Bibles or from accessible translations such as NIrV, and will learn poetry and hymns.

4th-6th: Poetry will focus on one poet per term (3 per year) and we will go a bit deeper into Bible study.

Artist/Composer Study: Composer and artist studies will be based on living artist/composer biographies and relevant art and music selections.  Each composer and artist is studied in five-week blocks for continuity and depth of knowledge of the life and work of the artist/composer.  We cover three artists and three composers per year after kindergarten. To complement our study of American history, we focus on American composers and artists. Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, and Benjamin West are some artists we have studied. Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, and John Philip Sousa are some composers we have enjoyed. 

4th-6th: Will continue to study a composer and artist per term, but will branch beyond American artists. Names are forthcoming!

Reading:  Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade each cover a level of All About Reading (AAR), a multi-sensory systematic phonics program. Placement tests can be found on the site. A child who places in Level 4 or is done with phonics instruction and is reading well, can join the 3rd grade reading group, which focuses on building fluency with the appropriate level of Elson reader.

Children in the 3rd grade group will also hone their oral narration skills and will begin writing short narrations by the end of the year.

4th-6th: This class is beginning a 3-year cycle of literature. Children entering this class should meet our placement requirements so that they can fully participate in the more advanced reading. We will be introducing Shakespeare by working (appropriately!) through A MidSummer’s Night’s Dream and well as working through two other literature selections (TBD).

Writing/Spelling/Grammar: Kindergarten and 1st grade use Handwriting Without Tears for introductory writing instruction. Second and third graders do copywork (passages from literature) for the purpose of handwriting practice as well as for intentional exposure to seeing and copying proper spelling and grammar.

All About Spelling Levels 1 and 2 are gently incorporated into the All About Reading Level 2 and 3 groups.

Narration: Charlotte Mason’s approach to grammar and spelling relied heavily on a foundation of reading, hearing, and copying well-written literature for several years. Also essential to language development was narration or ‘telling back’. Children learn the art of listening to increasingly longer passages, and then narrating them. This skill takes time to build and requires the ability to construct sentences and order ideas into language, but does so without tying this to the ability to write and spell. Spelling and writing are learned gently, and by the end of roughly third grade or about age 9, children should have the skills to begin putting their ability to narrate to paper by beginning to write short narrations.

Math: Kuske Math is an excellent, concrete visual method that we use primarily in kindergarten where the children learn to work with numbers and quantity and manipulate the addition and subtraction facts to 10. Check out the visual model at kuskemath.com .

Math in Focus*, a Singapore curriculum, is used as a springboard for 1st-3rd grade classes. However, we integrate the Kuske visual model where appropriate and also apply the Charlotte Mason method wherever we can. The method always seeks to relay an idea to the child, and, in the early years of math, relies heavily on the use of concrete objects and the conceptual understanding of numbers that builds acuity in mental math.

* Math in Focus IS labeled as Common Core, but we pick and choose and eliminate several chapters that are unnecessary or repetitive. We find that the four-group visual model from Kuske math, combined with an understanding of the Charlotte Mason method, allows the books to be used simply as a resource.

4th-6th: This class will bring in independent work for math.

History/Geography: The 4-year American history cycle begins in 1st grade using living books from Beautiful Feet publishers. Each year covers a portion of American history from Explorers through Modern. A ‘spine’ book is recommended for home use that helps tie everything together (a spine is a single book that moves chronologically through history using a collection of stories).

In kindergarten, students will be exposed to significant historical events and people as well as geography through appropriate stories. In Upper Elementary, we recommend, as Charlotte Mason did, introducing a stream of British/European history alongside American.

For geography, we use books from Charlotte Mason Long in 1st grade to begin to understand basic geographic concepts. Second and third graders use Holling C. Hollings books to explore the geography of North America.

4th-6th: In 2019/2020 this class will be finishing up the last part of the American history cycle by reading books about people and events from roughly the early 1900’s through the present. We highly recommend doing at least one day of European history from the same time period at home. The inclusion of formal geography may be limited by the schedule, but will likely begin to explore European history.

Science: Science in Kindergarten through 3rd grade is a mix of nature study outside, drawing and observing plants and animals, and various living books supplemented with creative projects and interest-driven exploration. The essential foundation for later science study is laid in these years by allowing plenty of time and training in observation and delight in creation. Our Field Study adventures outdoors are combined with a more book-based nature study block to give plenty of time to build this foundation.

4th-6th: This class will begin a 3-year rotation of 9 science topics (one per term each year). This year’s topics will be Botany, Geology, and Technology and Engineering.


HOME DAYS

Reading, writing, and math will be the core of home days as well as daily practice of the poetry and hymns from school days to help reinforce what the children are learning at school. We also encourage parents to read either history, literature, or nature stories each day and suggestions will be provided for these readings.

4th-6th: Parents will likely want to do at least one more day of History, and work through more literature, as well as whatever language arts and math are appropriate for their child.