Well-Ordered Language Level 1

Term: Yearlong 2018–19, September 4–May 24
Target Grade Levels: Grades 4–5 (see placement details below)
Schedule: 3x / week, 45–60 min.
Price: $595.00

 

Course Sections (Choose One)
Section 1:
 T/Th/F 9:15 a.m. EST with Mrs. Shaltanis
Section 2: T/Th/F 10:30 a.m. EST with Mrs. Shaltanis: COURSE CANCELED

The Well-Ordered Language series presents the study of language in a way that appeals to a child’s inborn curiosity and desire to collect, gather, and order. It teaches grammar in a clear, orderly way, while simultaneously seeking to cultivate a child’s wonder of language by presenting instruction in the context of narrative and language, attractive illustrations, and samples taken from classic children’s literature and poetry. This course is designed for students to actively engage with the grammatical concepts in each lesson, using language skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listening—along with physical movement, songs, and chants. Through Well-Ordered Language’s unique, creative, and orderly method of analyzing the grammatical functions of the parts of speech, students will find the mastery of grammar achievable, meaningful, and delightful.

In the first semester, students encounter the following concepts: the four kinds of sentences (declarative, interrogatory, imperative, and exclamatory), subjects and predicates, verbs, adjectives, direct objects, subject pronouns, and helping verbs. In the second semester, students are introduced to object pronouns, prepositional phrases (adverbial), introductory prepositional phrases, compound subjects, compound verbs, and compound direct objects. For a closer look at the texts used in this course, please follow these links and click “Look Inside”: Level 1A and Level 1B.

Schedule: This course is designed with young learners’ brains in mind! The course meets three times per week for 45–60 minutes, affording adequate instructional time while keeping on-screen sessions to a healthy duration for our youngest learners.

Placement:

  • This course is designed as an introductory grammar course; no prior grammar instruction is required. Students should be comfortable reading fluently and independently writing sentences (legibly!) by hand.
  • The course is geared toward rising 4th–5th graders. When considering whether this course is a good fit for your student, please keep in mind that in addition to readiness for the course content, students should be developmentally prepared to engage in a 4th- to 5th-grade corporate learning environment as well as the online classroom dynamic.
  • If your student is outside the target grade range, or if you have further questions about placement, please contact us.

Syllabus: Download the 2018-19 course syllabus here.

*Required Materials:

Please note: The Well-Ordered Language Level 1 songs and chants will be provided to the students enrolled in this course at no charge.

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Phaedra Shaltanis is a seasoned classical educator with twenty years of experience teaching in the classical tradition. Her experience includes home-educating her four children, teaching in private schools, creating a classical curriculum for young learners, serving as a leader in various programs, and mentoring parents and teachers in classical education. Phaedra cherishes conversations built on God’s truth and strives to engage others through discourse, particularly in the areas of literature and history. She hopes to encourage her students toward a stronger ardor for language as they seek after God and treasure their membership in Christ’s kingdom.
Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebCam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
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To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.

The title of this series was inspired by a passage in a small book by Josef Pieper titled Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power. In the book, Pieper writes,

[T]he well-ordered human existence, including especially its social dimension, is essentially based on the well-ordered language employed. A well-ordered language here does not primarily mean its formal perfection, even though I agree . . . that every correctly placed comma is decisive. No, a language is well ordered when its words express reality with as little omission as possible.[1]

Language is the means by which we make sense of reality. It is the medium by which we perceive truth. Therefore, a well-ordered language—one that best represents reality with as little distortion as possible—would provide the best access to truth. Language education, then, should be focused on developing as complete and accurate an understanding of language as possible.

While the pursuit of truth through language involves careful thinking (logic) and eloquent expression (rhetoric), the youngest students must first acquire a solid foundation in the structure and function of the language itself (grammar). Mirroring the well-ordered nature of language, effective educators employ an approach to language instruction that is itself well-ordered, structured, and disciplined. Critics of a well-organized and disciplined approach often confuse its form with the disposition of those who employ it. The disciplined approach to language study can be employed through intimidation and aggression, but it can just as easily be administered with love and compassion. The disciplined approach—often mischaracterized as “drill-and-kill”—actually respects the humanity of the student because it acknowledges that children learn differently than mature adults do.

For children to feast upon the rich cuisine of that which is good, true, and beautiful, they should first be shown how to taste, savor, and digest what they encounter. Without proper instruction that will cultivate their taste, students may turn from the “feast” in disgust, reject further sustenance, and perhaps never return. By acquiring a well-ordered language, students will also acquire that taste for language that will lead them to the great feast that awaits. To impart this taste is to avoid one of the greatest errors of modern educational theory, which is the assumption that children can learn without first acquiring those tools of learning that we call the language arts.

—Tammy Peters and Daniel Coupland, PhD, with Christopher Perrin, PhD

[1]Josef Pieper, Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), p. 36.

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