CLASSICALLY BASED MEMORY WORK
for Students 4 Years - 6th Grade
Elements is primarily grammar stage memory work. It's goal its to cultivate wisdom and virtue by nourishing the child’s soul on truth, goodness, and beauty so that the student is enabled to better know, glorify, and enjoy God.
This program also includes Art and Music and a weekly Science Experiment.
For more information, see the article below.
WHAT IS ELEMENTS?
Elements is a one-day-a-week program for children 4-12 years old (or so). Following the Classical Model, Elements provides a structure of “pegs” for your child to learn as Memory Work, which we will explain further below. Our program also includes an art class, which covers basic Art Theory, as well as Art Appreciation. We are happy to also offer Music Theory and Appreciation. Additionally, we have a Science experiment weekly, which ties into the Science memory work for that week. We wrap up the morning with review games before having lunch and recess together.
There are several benefits to teaching children to memorize well. First of all, it is a skill that will stick with our students for the rest of their lives. Once you know how to memorize well, learning new things is much easier. Memorizing the basic info of any topic is called the “Grammar Stage” of learning. In the Classical model, the Grammar Stage does not refer to language, but rather to the building blocks of any subject. Learning the grammar of a subject means understanding any terms and definitions of that subject. This is the foundation of the Elements Program - the Memory Work. For example, for Math, we teach our students to skip count numbers. We also teach them some basic formulas, like the formula for the Area of a Triangle. In Science, we learn about the grammar of Science. What is the Law of Thermodynamics? What are the parts of the respiratory system? What are the elements on the periodic table? In Geography, we learn to draw the countries and capitals of the world, along with major features. In English, we will learn to parse irregular verbs and the eight parts of a speech. For History, we will learn the timeline of the history of the world, along with brief history statements that coincide with the era we are studying that year. There is much more, but these are a few examples.
Claritas Curriculum has gathered this basic information from the following subjects – Scripture, Latin, English, Math, Science, History, Geography, Timeline, and Hymns. They coordinated this information into four years, or cycles, worth of information. We will go through each of those cycles every year for four years, and then repeat. If a child starts with us at 4 years old, they will go through the cycles twice before completing the program. (However, if your child is older and will only go through one or two cycles before moving on to our Cornerstone program at 12 or 13, the information that we present each year is general and complete enough to help them be prepared for the next phase.) As they repeat the cycles, they deepen their knowledge and cement it in their minds. And, in our experience, children love to go through a cycle the second time and remember what they have studied before.
There is a reason that we give our children all these bits of information while they are young. Children of this age enjoy memorizing – and they are really good at it! It has been our experience (and the experience of the Western World throughout History) that children learn best at this age by memorizing. All this wealth of bits of information may seem random, but it serves a very real purpose.
The second primary purpose of memorizing all these bits of information is to prepare them for the Logic or Dialectic Stage (to be added in the future). When children enter this stage – at about 12-13 years old, they no longer want to memorize bald facts. They want to know “why”. They want to know how each piece relates to the others. Here’s the beauty of this system. If your child has been in our program and has memorized all the information for these four cycles, they have all these “pegs” in place in their minds on which to grasp as they start to grapple with the “whys” of this world.
It is all in preparation for what they will be learning in the high school years (to be added in the future). At that point, as they work on Algebra, they won’t have to pull out a calculator to help them remember 15X15. It will already be in their heads. When they study Anatomy, they will already have those reference points for the different systems of the body. As they study cultures in different parts of the world, they won’t have to pull out a map - they will already have a firm grasp of Geography. As they learn more about the Enlightenment or the Civil Rights Movement, they will already know at what point in the Timeline of History those events happened, and what else was going on in the world at that time. It is at this point that all the bits of information come beautifully together.