In this video, classical education expert and author of The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer describes the first period of a classical education: the grammar stage. She explains how parents and educators can optimize their teaching to reflect the unique strengths and weaknesses of grammar stage students.
(Scroll Below for an Overview of the Video)
How Do We Teach Grammar Stage Students?
In the grammar stage, a student’s strength is their capacity to absorb information easily. Oftentimes for young children (1st through 4th grade), memorization is fun! Your task at this stage is to give students the raw materials that they will eventually use to recognize patterns and begin to think critically. Conduct nature studies, tell them stories about the past, drill math facts – stimulate their burgeoning curiosity with new facts and information. They enjoy learning new things!
In the grammar stage, a student’s weakness is that they still have not developed the capacity for abstract thought. When students are young, they simply do not have enough life experience or information in their brains to form patterns. One common pitfall of the grammar stage is to push students to do work they are not developmentally ready for. During this stage, that is okay. Students do not need to form value judgements or develop their own opinions. They simply need to absorb information.
How We Teach Subjects in the Grammar Stage:
- Reading: lay a foundation of phonics and establish the habits of reading
- Spelling and Grammar: study of rules, basic usage, mechanics
- Mathematics: basic math facts and concepts (arithmetic)
- History: focus on stories and biographies
- Literature: “what happened?”
- Writing: summaries
- Science: nature study, exploring the scientific disciplines
Grammar school kids crave stability, routine, and repetition. Until they see the patterns of life repeat over and over again – the world is scary and unpredictable. So young children do not mind repeating things or memorizing things. Take advantage of this golden time to teach your children information about the world that they will carry with them forever.