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GS Curriculum & Events

Grammar School Curriculum Overview

 

Grammar School is a time of wonder and excitement as our teachers strive to develop in students a deep love of learning. The curricular emphasis during these years is on learning basic facts and figures during a time when children love to memorize—and when they are best at doing so.

As part of the University-Model, Grammar School students attend classes on campus two days a week on Monday and Wednesday. During School@Home days a parent/co-teacher will follow lesson plans written by the classroom teacher.

Core Curriculum
Our language arts program integrates reading, composition, spelling and speaking in a meaningful way via a multi-sensory approach that combines all of the senses necessary for these activities as links to the brain. For example, reading by itself is primarily a visual task; by teaching writing, a kinesthetic task, and spelling, an auditory task, all of these links to the brain are stimulated and utilized. This multi-sensory approach offers the best environment for all learners.
 
Unique to our school is the combination of two approaches to the instruction of reading. For decades, a “reading war” has been on-going between those in the phonics-based camp and those in the “sight-word” camp. We have chosen not to engage in the battle between the two as we acknowledge that every literate person must employ both methods in order to read effectively. Therefore, beginning in kindergarten, we teach a phonics-based program for the purposes of reading and spelling (see the curriculum listed below) while also inviting students to begin reading in controlled-vocabulary books. Students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade are daily immersed in the reading of quality literature at a level appropriate for each individual student. In this rich setting, students progress at their own pace with remarkable results. The majority of our students are reading two grade levels above average. Students also benefit greatly from exposure to the classics through read alouds by teachers and parents.

The rules of grammar are taught and then integrated into writing as early as possible. Students learn to compose by mimicking the writing of good authors as they are mentored by their professional teachers in the art of drafting, revising and publishing pieces.
 
Our choice of Language Arts curricula includes:
  • Spell to Write and Read by Wanda Sanseri
  • Individualized Reading Program by Dr. Frank Guszak, retired University of Texas professor
  • First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise
  • The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer
  • Handwriting Without Tears
The first four years of math lay the foundation for the high-level abstract thinking required by algebra, trigonometry and calculus that will be encountered in upper grades. In grammar school, the framework for this higher-level thinking is built through input and spiraled review of math facts and concepts. Once our students master a concept on a concrete level, the student will progress to mental arithmetic requiring abstract thinking.
 
We believe that the memorization of math facts—addition, subtraction, multiplication and division—is essential in building a strong foundation and expect this of each student. However, the study of mathematics is more than simply committing to memory a list of facts. It includes memorization, but it also encompasses learning the underlying concepts that are critical to problem solving. Our ultimate goal for math at Veritas Academy is to produce students who understand mathematical concepts, are able to apply this knowledge in real life applications, and enjoy the study of math.
 
Our choice for Math curricula and resources includes:
  • Early Learning Foundations (for grades PreK, K, and 1) by Little Giant Steps
  • Saxon Math (for grades 2, 3, and 4) 
  • Rapid Recall (for grades 2, 3, and 4) by Little Giant Steps
  • A variety of manipulatives including base ten blocks, counters, clocks, measurement tools, etc.
The study of History at Veritas Academy follows a four-year rotational cycle in which the student repeats an historical era, but studies it in a manner that corresponds to his age and stage of development. For example, the history/geography cycle begins with a study of the “Ancients” in first grade, and then continues through Medieval-early Renaissance, Late Renaissance-early Modern and Modern over each of the next three years. The first cycle occurs in the stage of grammar where the focus is on memorization and knowledge of facts. The cycle begins again in fifth grade and again in ninth grade.
 
These cycles correspond to the appropriate stages: the stage of logic emphasizes logical explanatory thinking, while the stage of rhetoric emphasizes understanding of ideas and persuasive expression. In the grammar stage of history, students are briefly introduced to each period of history with attention given to names, dates, and places through fun memorization tactics. In the logic and rhetoric stages, the student repeats the four-year cycle of the grammar years but now begins seeking to find connections between events by using tools like timelines, outlines, and original sources to examine the motives of leaders, relationships between cultures, and the application of morals to human action. Art, music, and geography are coordinated with history so that the student learns about social and cultural developments and how they affected other aspects of the world.
 
Our choice of History curricula and resources includes:
  • The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer
  • America the Beautiful by Charlene Nutgrass
  • A variety of age appropriate historical fiction and reference books
The study of the Sciences follows a roughly corresponding cycle to the history periods. First graders, who are studying the ancients, learn about things that the ancients could see—animal life, the human body, and plants. They make collections, take nature walks, and grow plants. Second graders collect facts about the earth and sky, a study designed to go along with the medieval-early Renaissance period when Copernicus observed the heavens. Third graders work on basic chemistry as their history reading spans the period from 1600 to 1850, the years when the first great chemists lived. In fourth grade, basic physics is introduced as the students study modern times.
 
The grammar-stage science is a time of discovery leading the student to the logic and rhetoric stages in the middle and high school years when the young scientist digs below the surface of the discoveries made in the earlier grades. As the School of Logic student progresses through the four-year cycle of biology, earth/astronomy, chemistry, and physics again, she begins to think more critically about doing science and begins to practice the scientific method herself through experimentation. She makes connections among the branches of science, between science and history, between the scientific method and the rules of logic.  Once in the upper grades, the rhetoric student will once again pass through a similar four-year cycle as she studies the principles and laws of each science.  Following this plan, she will finish high school with a firm grasp of foundational scientific ideas.
 
Our choice for Science curricula and resources includes:
  • Real Science 4 Kids by Rebecca W. Keller, PhD
  • Archimedes and the Door to Science by Jeanne Bendick
  • A variety of other books relating to specific areas of study
With the foundation of any language being its vocabulary, we seek to expose students to a variety of words as they begin the study of Latin. Students gain this exposure through the use of songs and chants.
 
Our choice for Latin curricula includes:
  • Song School Latin by Classical Academic Press
  • Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney
 
Corresponding Events & Traditions
 

Veritas ROCKS—PreSchool kicks off the Veritas Rocks tradition by learning about the Veritas ROCKS and practicing these standards of behavior.  At the end of the year when other grade level teachers present each student with a specific character trait rock, PreSchool students will receive a “Jesus is my rock” rock that they help create.

 

Feast of Blessings—Students participate in a Turkey in Disguise Family Project each fall when they discuss and create art projects that demonstrate the things for which they are thankful.  PreK students and parents then join together for a feast to build community and discuss our many blessings.

Teddy Bear Picnic—PreK culminates their Teddy Bear Unit by inviting their favorite teddy bears (and parents!) to a family style picnic.  The picnic is traditionally held towards the end of the school year and is a great time to bring our families together. 

 

Thanksgiving Feast—Students choose to research either a Pilgrim or Wampanoag Indian and assemble a presentation based on the lifestyle of these First Thanksgiving participants. Students also have the opportunity to dress the part for their presentation. 

Fairy Tale Presentation—Students dress as a fairy tale character and share information about their character in a brief classroom presentation. Students also participate in a “fairy tale character parade” through the halls of school that day. 

100th Day of School—We celebrate the 100th day of school in style by putting our counting skills to the test! Students count out and bring 100 items to share with their classmates. 

 

Egyptian Feast—After researching and presenting to their class as an ancient Egyptian or Hebrew character, First Grade students enjoy a “feast” of ancient activities which include mummy wrapping, pyramid building, and tasting exotic dishes.

Roman Olympics—After their study of the Romans, students design and construct a chariot (cardboard) to participate in a chariot race and other relays. This eventful afternoon culminates in a traditional medal ceremony.

Mother’s Day Tea—Mothers are honored at our annual Mother’s Day Tea where students serve mothers and spend some uninterrupted time together. 
 

Meteorologist Visit—After their study of weather, students study God’s creation through the lens of a professional meteorologist.

Volcano Experiment—As a part of their study of Earth Science, classes create and erupt volcanoes outside at our sand pit.

Renaissance Festival—After both their study of chivalry & knights and the Renaissance period, students celebrate by dressing as royalty, playing ancient games, and enjoying a feast.

 

Colonial Christmas—After studying the colonial period of the United States, students have the opportunity to dress up in their best colonial garb and practice their best calligraphy, make a pomander, sock doll, or toy boat, and learn how to make homemade butter.

Nutrition Feast—A study of nutrition and healthy eating culminates with the Nutrition Feast where students put to practice what they have learned as they make wise lunch choices and participate in nutrition trivia.

Johnny Texas Day—Students participate in activities just like the character of their book, Johnny Texas, might have done. This includes making some strawberry jam!

 

Cowboy Day—After studying the American cowboy, students put their skills to the test with cow (balloon) wrangling, target practice, and a chuck wagon. 

‘50s Day—Students participate in activities right out of the 1950’s including a sock hop, watching black & white TV shows, and interviewing family members who were alive during the ‘50s!

Poetry Cafe—The Fourth Grade’s study of poetry (both in reading and writing) culminates with the Poetry Café when students recite some of their best poetry to classmates and parents. 

Grammar School Contacts
 
Grammar School Head
Hanna McWhorter
 
Grammar School Academic Dean
Amanda Hurley
 
Grammar School Administrative Assistant
Cindy Baxter
 

Helpful Resources