LAST RODEO NOTE: My last kid just completed KGRD in 2020. There will be no further updates to these pages unless you find me a friend who wants to do it.
Classical Education is a totally different educational worldview. Truth, goodness, and beauty are facets of the same diamond; they condition us to love all that is wise and good, to love God. Ugliness (like some modern art, music, and historical facts), however influential and “important” to the world, is irrelevant and counter-productive to Classical Education’s aims.
Many “Classical Curriculum” providers use classical education methods to fill the child’s mind with exhaustive “important, influential” ugly material. The children can parrot reams of misery. Good for them. MoDG preserves your child’s innocence about the ugliness of the world. It encourages you to form him in goodness, truth, and beauty. Once properly formed, he will have the right natural reaction to the ugliness of the world. And, he can memorize all those exhaustive ugly facts and artists in a weekend.
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. For actionable Do-Aheads for KGRD, CLICK HERE.
- 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: cards, rosary, lacing, etc. Some from the older syllabi crafts are no longer available. Check the bookstore or school site for replacement suggestions. (Doing something with ordered instructions is the goal. Replace crafts at will, as long as there are ordered instructions.)
- You may use Kindergarten Art or “Child-Sized Masterpieces.” I prefer the new book to the old cumbersome cards. It’s so convenient. 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).
- Throughout MoDG, Language Arts often appears as art and religion. This year, it’s in religion. Retelling is a beginning form of composition. The emphasis is on “Sequencing.” Stories can be incomplete, start in the wrongs spot, whatever. This year we want to encourage them to retell whatever events they choose in order.
- Phonics: This year uses 100EZ. The lesson plans teach the following phonograms: c,d,f,l,m,n,r,s,t,th,w, short a-i-o-u, and LONG e. Notice there’s no short “e” or “b”. At a certain point, the lesson plans tell you to have them read an easy reader. Independent reading is impossible unless your child is already “snowballing” on sight words. See THIS POST for team reading instructions.
- Writing: We write 2-3 times a week. The old syllabi use Picard’s series. I have it as an ebook, so sometimes I still use it. The new syllabi use “Writing Our Catholic Faith.” The Catholic version isn’t in color. The secular version is identical in the skills practice, but it’s in color. The sentences aren’t as cute, though. Regardless, the rumor is that Laura only added a handwriting book because parents wanted it. If you like a different series, say Handwriting Without Tears, just divide the book by 32 weeks and go for it.
- 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.) Used to we did the Jemison 36 hymns. We used youtube if I didn’t already know the tune. Now there’s a second choice: soundcloud links paired with a school hymnal. I have old choir books here, so I don’t need the book, but we really dig the new hymn selections. (FYI, the “music” in the suggested schedule is not this 30-second daily hymn practice, it’s unassigned classical music appreciation.)
- There is no specifically assigned classical music, though it seems from Teaching Tips (and many other resources) that the Berquists played it before bedtime. That’s why “music” is in your suggested schedule in the evening. (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.)
Abeka K has a manual, but nobody seems to use it. (I have cheat sheets you can use in lieu of the manual if you want more support.) Saxon K has a manual and everyone seems to use it. If you do the OLD Golden Step Ahead MoDG plans this year, next year will be a shock. Abeka math (and Saxon) is advanced. Here’s the scope and sequence. However, it won’t really start to bite you until about halfway through 1st grade when both curricula assume a lot of memorization has already happened.
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 outside is really hard.”)
Read Aloud has it’s own lists in the syllabus. There is no specific ORDER (except liturgical) to the selections or requirement to complete the list. This will save you money. You don’t have to own hardly any of it. As long as a friend or library has it, it doesn’t matter when you read it. And it’s clear from school resources that the Berquist parents just divided the kids into “bigs and littles” for bedtime reading, and didn’t rigidly stratify by year, like EVER. (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 the section or selection intros. It’s a QUICK classical worldview orientation. Plenty of Aristotle.)
*LAST RODEO NOTE: Many of the books on these lists are out of print. But DO NOT kill yourself trying to find them. The old versions aren’t THAT amazing. There are plenty of substitutes with same words and better illustrations. I spent tons of time and money hunting down every single one and ended up not loving them.
The Golden Children’s Bible is a bit difficult. That is on purpose. (It’s a “stretch” text for their ears. Kids are very focused on language in their early years. Now is a great time to get them fluent in difficult patterns: Bible talk, poetry, that weird fairy tale old English talk, etc. No worries about not completely internalizing the stories, they will come back again and again over the years. From other school sources, it appears that this book was a regular Berquist 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.)
LAST RODEO NOTE: We are 0 for 5 on this text. We crap out every year around Joseph. I tried to love this text, but I failed every time.
The new syllabi use Kindergarten Science. I highly recommend it, if you need suggestions and accountability, like I do. This year you are supposed to be taking the kids out for regular, weekly nature experiences. It’s not about content as much as building wonder, however, without a workbook and a checklist to prod me on, casual KGRD science evaporates.
SOCIAL STUDIES (Optional):
The new syllabi use Kindergarten Social Studies. It meets state standards, if you need that. Otherwise, it’s just a paragraph a week about a national building or landmark or symbol. Used to, Laura discouraged officially teaching science or social studies this early; her grown kids have made different choices. Additionally, Laura recommends moving from Known to Unknown. These books also run afoul of that principle. But it’s certainly not going to HURT anyone to use them. Do what you like.