Lower School Curriculum
The lower school, collectively called the grammar stage, provides the foundation for all that follows it. It is during these years that children will first encounter many topics and concepts. They will learn facts and information. They will learn to work and manage their time effectively. It is upon these foundations of information and skills that all new instruction will be based, “the known leading to the unknown,” as John Milton Gregory states in his book, The Seven Laws of Teaching. The lower school is comprised of the K-2 (often called the pre-polly or pre-grammar stage) and the 3-5th/6th grades (polly or upper grammar stage).
The pre-polly stage introduces the children to new concepts of language and mathematics. Here the children will learn their numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, etc. They will learn to recognize and put letters together. The children will learn rules for phonics and spelling, and will be increasingly encouraged in their independent reading and learning. The students will formally encounter the rules of the English language in their grammar courses and will learn the parts of speech and how to construct sentences. The teaching methods which are most effective here are singing, chanting, repetition, and games. There are ample opportunities for reviewing old concepts and learning new ones.
During the 3rd-5th grade years, the children will continue building on the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Many of the teaching methods will remain, though they will eventually phase out to be replaced with those more in line with the age and tastes of the students. The students will be asked more discussion and thought-provoking questions which require them to interpret information and draw a conclusion. This helps them transition to the logic stage which follows. The students are required to work more independently and will write longer assignments, solve more difficult math problems, and express themselves more clearly. It is also during these years that Latin begins its formal instruction.
Specific examples of resources are:
- Saxon Math
- A Beka Science
- Saxon Phonics and Spelling (grades K-2)
- Shurley Grammar (grades 2-3)
- Hake Grammar and Writing (grades 4-5)
- Latin for Children (grades 3-5)
- Veritas Press history (grades 3-5)
- Writing Tales by Amy Hastings Olsen (grades 2-3)
- Institute for Excellence in Writing – writing and spelling programs (grades 4-5)