Southern Maryland Chapter – Catholic Schoolhouse

Grammar Stage

This stage is broken into two groups: children in first through third grades, and fourth through sixth grades.  This helps to ensure that, while they may benefit from doing similar activities, these activities are taught in a way that acknowledges the different intellectual curiosities, motor skill development, and attention span of children.  Our older scholars in the Grammar Stage will begin to lay the groundwork for the Dialectic Stage, and will delve into concepts in a deeper level, appropriate to their abilities.

Once the children split into their age level groups, scholars in the Grammar Stage would start with reviewing timeline cards.  For families who wish to purchase the curriculum to use outside of the Thursday morning program, timeline cards are cards with images on one side and several paragraphs about the time period on the reverse.  Children are exposed to one card a day, with a total of five cards in a school week.  For example, the first week of Catholic Schoolhouse has Renaissance of the 14th-17th centuries, Ivan the Great of Russia, the Medici family, Tudor England, and Dias sails the Cape of Good Hope in 1488.  

Our timeline cards are a springboard for looking up more information and doing an activity at home (e.g., finding the Cape of Good Hope on a map, and follow the sailing route Dias took, or taking the time to make some hard tack and reflect on what life may have been like on an explorer’s ship).  Even if you choose not to purchase the timeline cards, it is still interesting information about which to learn and talk.

Scholars in the Grammar Stage will offer presentations.  Tutors may assign a particularly important topic from the Tour Guide on which your child may present.  This may also be a time for the children to bring in or talk about something they have been doing outside of Thursday mornings that is really interesting to them; perhaps your family went on a trip, or perhaps you did a special activity for a feast day for a saint that your child would like to share with classmates.

Our scholars in the Grammar Stage will spend time learning memory work.  There are CDs which have a catchy song to teach an educational concept.  Each week they cover religion, math, science, Latin, language arts, history, and geography.  This will be the first time that any of the children hear the songs for the week, but for those who purchase the CDs and want to do memory work at home, they will listen to the CDs at the breakfast table, in car rides, or other times.  The theory is that, at this stage, children absorb information like sponges, and they particularly are good at memorizing information done through songs or chants.  They can then apply this information learned in more meaningful ways as they get older.

The group will then go to either Art or Science.  The art relates to the specific history time period that has been practiced through the timeline cards.  They will learn the history of how art was done then, and learn the techniques to recreate it.  They will then complete an art project.  For example, they may recreate cave art or pottery.

The group will then return to their homeroom to do a focus activity which relates to what they are studying in the tour guide for the week.  For example, they may create a ship’s log similar to those used during the Era of Exploration.  The may complete a “lap book” which is a personalized file folder book detailing certain scientific concepts.  They may create maps to relate to the geography of where they are studying.  They may complete an activity related to the liturgical calendar to help them gain a greater appreciation of a saint, holiday, or season.

Their group will then go to either Art or Science, depending on what class they did earlier in the day.  Science concepts studied this year, by quarter, will be Ecology, Earth Science, Forces & Motion, and Nutrition & Health.  Children will complete a hands-on lab relating to the topic being studied.