Intro to KGRD

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This is a general subject-by-subject overview.  After taking the Primary Stage course from the school (highly recommended) I have added in my personal understanding of the “goals” for each subject in italics and parentheses.  Laura is best at the methodology explanations, found in the afore mentioned course and what I tripped over in the early years is CONTENT.  So, I will talk about that mostly.

For actionable Do-Aheads for KGRD, CLICK HERE.

ART:  There is a LOT of drawing.  42 illustrations!  (Helps the child with pencil skills but is primarily a beginning form of retelling.) Also, the list of crafts are super cute this year. (Doing something with ordered instructions is the goal. Replace crafts at will, as long as there are ordered instructions.) We begin using “Child Sized Masterpieces.”  We use this series K-7.  We might use it farther.  I haven’t taught beyond 8GRD yet.  The point is for the child to really concentrate on the pictures and examine them at length.   Our curriculum calls it “close observation.”  Charlotte Mason calls it “really looking.” Whatever you call it, the names of the artists are much less important than the ability and facility with close observation.  That, and we want beauty to “do its work” on the child’s heart.

“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture” (Mason, Vol. 1, p. 309).

LANGUAGE ARTS:  The Language Arts focus this year is “Sequencing.”  In fact, everything is about sequencing. Crafts, math, music, everything.  Don’t correct much of anything except poor order.

READING:  This year also begins 100EZ.  I don’t use this text anymore, so I’m not going to say a lot about it except that many of our school resources suggest that you do “no more than 20 minutes” a day, rather than the prescribed number of lessons.  I found that totally confusing.  If we got a bunch of tasks done one day, I would skip it for days, since none is certainly “less than 20 minutes.”  Bad idea.  Work at least 5 minutes M-TH, even if you are really far ahead.

WRITING:  The handwriting book this year is in a series that will be continued through 2GRD cursive. If you can’t find it without paying extra shipping, there’s a version without the CAatholic clipart.

LATIN/MUSIC: Music is where you find the Latin this year.  (Vocal training is especially helpful in teaching order and sequence of mind.  Also, this music is some of our greatest hymns in English and Latin.) That lady’s voice is not my children’s definition of “beautiful” so maybe pull some from the suggested latin music sites. Also, the “music” in the suggested schedule is not this 30 second daily hymn practice.  Just put this in the same session as your poetry stanza. I listen to the hymn on youtube and then sing it each day with the child.  (Grew up Church of Christ; acapella singing is in the blood.)

EVENING MUSIC: There is no specifically assigned classical music, though it seem from Teaching Tips (and many other resources) that it was playing before bedtime.  That’s why “music” is in your suggested schedule in the evening.  It’s not the one minute hymn. (Music moves the heart.  When you’re upset, it can calm you.  Affection for truly beautiful, emotion ordering music is important.  A child that doesn’t love helpful music will inevitably love only ugly music.)

MATH: Abeka K.  If you do the original MoDG plans this year, next year will be a shock.  Abeka math is advanced.  The Abeka teacher’s manuals are always overkill, but without them you have no idea what memory work is expected. Here’s a cheat sheet so you can skip the manual.

POETRY:  Robert Louis Stevenson.  These poems show up for review every year, even into middle school.  (Again this exercises his memory, but more importantly, like music, poetry moves the heart. “Bed in Summer” is much more moving than the statement.  “Going to bed when it’s light out side is really hard.”)

READING:  Read Aloud has it’s own lists in the syllabus.  If you have more than one child going, again let me recommend either Teaching Tips or the Writing Manual.  They have identical long 0articles about Language Arts, read aloud, and how to slowly build Read Alone stamina. There are unique grade level reading lists provided for fiction K-3GRD and religion K-2GRD, but it is clear from the resources mentioned that the Berquist parents just divided the kids into “bigs and littles” for bedtime reading, and didn’t rigidly stratify by year. (Filling the child’s mind with stories of heroic virtue.  If you want a really good quick and dirty explanation of the how and why of virtue literacy, read the intro to Book of Virtues, and read the intro to each section in the Book of Virtues, and the paragraphs just preceding each selection.  It’s a QUICK classical worldview orientation. Plenty of Aristotle.)

RELIGION:  The Golden Children’s Bible is a bit difficult.  That is on purpose.  It’s a “stretch” text for their language patterns.  No worries about not completely internalizing the stories, they will come back again and again over the years.  This is not a “sit and listen” book for us. It’s a lay on the tummy together and stare at the pictures. This is a heavy year for blank book entries.  Also, in the articles mentioned above, it appears that this book was a regular family read aloud through the years.  Right up there with Narnia.  (Beautiful language.  I heard some mention of there being a problem with the Isaac story, but otherwise faithful. We do not love this book yet, but we keep trying.)

SCIENCE:  This year you are supposed to be taking the kids out for regular, weekly nature experiences.  See Teaching Tips for examples of how this is done. It’s not about content as much as building wonder. Loving creation.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Camila July 25, 2016

Where can I get Teaching Tips or the Writing Manual? Also, I use MOG but I don’t have online access I just use book “designing your own classical curriculum”, I also have some old (10yrold) syllabi that a friend gave me…where do you get craft suggestions and literature list for K and 2nd grade? I try to follow the book but from reading what you do, I feel I’m leaving tons of things out!


2 admin July 27, 2016

Email me and I’ll lay all this out for you. As long as you teach people to read and the +/- math facts, it’s really hard to screw up K-2. Promise. The MoDG difference in K-2 is that they DON’T pummel the kids. No 140 point timelines and such. The syllabi “hold us back” from ruining school for them more than cramming in as much as you can. It’s much simpler than it looks on paper. Promise. ivorysoap76 at gmail dot com.


3 Kim February 17, 2016

I am not a huge fan of 100 Easy Lessons either for our 6 year old. Do you have any recommendations of what reading/phonics program you like for Kindergarten/First Grade?


4 admin February 18, 2016

It depends. I can give you the cost-effective option, the efficient option (not the same, BTW), the mommy-newbie-friendly option, etc. Tell me where you are in your world, and I can blab all kinds of stuff. What’s the priority? We use Recipe for Reading, but I’m not sure I would recommend it to you until I know your situation.


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