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Grammar Stage: Classical Model of Education

In this article I wanted to discuss the Grammar Stage, Grammar stage is the first stage of the Classical Model of education, which is based on the Trivium: a three-part process of training the mind.

This stage typically encompasses children ages 6-10 and focuses on absorbing information and memorizing the foundational elements of language, math, history, and science.

At this age, children's brains are wired to absorb a lot of information, which makes it the ideal stage to instill facts, foundational concepts, and basic skills that will serve as the building blocks for subsequent learning stages.

As psychologist Jean Piaget noted, children in this age range are in the 'concrete operational stage' of development, where they begin to think logically about concrete events. This supports the Classical Model's approach to teaching foundational concepts at this stage.

Reference: The reference for the information on Jean Piaget's 'concrete operational stage' can be found in his theory of cognitive development.

Piaget, J. (1963). The origins of intelligence in children. New York, NY: Norton & Co

Curriculum Planning

  • Language Arts:

    • Phonics: Begin with phonics to teach the child the sounds of letters and letter combinations.

    • Spelling and Vocabulary: Start with simple words and gradually progress to more complex ones.

    • Reading: Begin with simple texts and gradually move on to more complex literature.

    • Grammar: Introduce basic grammar concepts such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.

    • Writing: Start with teaching the child how to form letters, then move on to words, sentences, and paragraphs.

  • Mathematics:

    • Start with teaching numbers and basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).

    • Gradually introduce other concepts such as geometry, time, money, etc.

  • History:

    • Begin with the history of your own country and gradually introduce world history.

  • Science:

    • Start with basic concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences.

  • Foreign Language:

    • It is beneficial to start a foreign language at this age as children are more receptive to language learning.

  • Arts and Music:

    • Introduce the basics of drawing, painting, and music.

  • Physical Education:

    • Include activities that help in the physical development of the child.

Teaching Methods

  • Repetition:

    • Repetition is key at this stage. Children need to repeat information several times to commit it to memory.

  • Use of Visual Aids:

    • Visual aids such as flashcards, pictures, and diagrams can be very helpful.

  • Storytelling:

    • Telling stories is a great way to teach history and other subjects.

  • Hands-on Activities:

    • Engage the child in hands-on activities such as experiments, crafts, and physical activities.

  • Games:

    • Use educational games to make learning fun.

"Dorothy Sayers, a pioneer of classical education, emphasized the importance of teaching children the foundational concepts at this stage. She stated that children in the 'poll-parrot' stage are naturally adept at memorization and enjoy the process of learning and reciting facts."

The reference for Dorothy Sayers' thoughts on classical education and the 'poll-parrot' stage can be found in her essay:

Sayers, D. (1947). The Lost Tools of Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tips for Success

  • Establish a Routine:

    • Having a daily routine helps the child know what to expect and helps to establish good habits.

  • Be Flexible:

    • While it is important to have a plan, it is also important to be flexible and make adjustments as needed.

  • Make Learning Fun:

    • Use games, activities, and other resources to make learning enjoyable for the child.

  • Provide a Supportive Environment:

    • Create a positive and supportive learning environment.

  • Regular Review:

    • Regularly review the material to ensure the child has understood and retained the information.

In conclusion, the Grammar Stage is a crucial period in a child's education. It is the time to lay the foundation for all future learning.

With careful planning, a supportive environment, and engaging teaching methods, homeschooling in the Grammar Stage can be a rewarding and successful experience for both the parent and the child.

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