Grammar School Overview
In a classical education, the first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not only self-expression and self-discovery, but also the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling and grammar, poetry, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.
Around fifth grade, a child’s mind begins to think more analytically. Middle-school students are less interested in finding out facts than asking, “Why?” The second phase of the classical education, the “Logic Stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships between different fields of knowledge, and to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.
At MGA, our Grammar School encompasses Grammar-stage students as well as the early Logic-stage students. Level K is Kindergarten; Levels A through B are comparable, generally, to grades first through fifth. Because we do not place children by age, and do not automatically move a child to the next level each year, the comparison to traditional ‘grade’ levels is just a general one. Students are placed based on reading level, maturity level, and in consultation with parents.
It is a joy to partner with each and every one of you in the education of your children. MGA is very unique in the sense that we provide structure and access to group centered learning while still allowing each family to maintain a home centered education. Because each family at MGA (most teachers included) are families who have chosen to educate our children at home. We have each probably chosen that path for different reasons, however we have many core values in common. But, the most important component is that we are a partnership. And as with any partnership, it will only work to the benefit of all if we all fulfill our part of the partnership.
Our part, as your child’s teachers: We will provide group and some individual instruction in class on an as needed basis in the core areas of math, language arts, history, and science, as well as exposure to some other subjects that might be more difficult to provide in a home setting, including PE, art, and music. We will provide structure and direction by assigning work to be done at home which will work in conjunction with what is being taught in the classroom. We will provide some optional activities and ideas to help enrich your studies at home. We will provide tools and instruction to help each child develop organizational skills as well as the skills and behaviors needed to function well in a group. We will be a window for you to your child in the classroom by communicating regularly with you on what we do in class and how your child is doing individually.
Your part, as parents: You will check the website weekly for assignments and updates on what is happening in class. You will print out the assignment sheet and any other needed resources provided on the website. You will work with your child to complete any assignments that have been posted and you will check each assignment and have your child make any corrections needed before turning the assignment in by the due date. You will check each assignment off on the assignment sheet AFTER you have checked the work for accuracy and completion. If the assignment is too difficult or too easy for your child, you will make whatever modifications you deem necessary and record those modifications on the assignment sheet before it is turned in. You will help your child develop independence and responsibility by reinforcing the organization methods and routines that we have put in place for each child (i.e. take home folders, homework procedures, materials, etc.). You will be a window for us to your child at home by communicating regularly with us on how things are going at home and on any major changes that may occur that could affect your child in the classroom.
Grammar School Capabilities, by Level
Level A (Grade 1) – Beginning reader students -The child beginning this class can read three-letter words with little struggle. Simple sentence structure will be taught along with phonics instruction.
Level B (Grade 2) – The child beginning this class can easily read long and short vowel words, many sight words and sentences in Level 2 readers or above.
Level C (Grade 3) – The child in this class is reading at 3rd grade level or above, but is still in the stage of absorbing information and experiences.
Level D (Grade 4) – The child in this class is reading at a 4th grade level or above and is beginning to analyze information and experiences.
Level E (Grade 5) – The child in this class is reading at a 5th grade level or above. They are becoming independent in their reading. In level E the students are being expected to assume more individual responsibility for their work and their learning.
For further information about Grammar School (K – 5th), contact Director Susan Riddle (see contact information below).