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Course Descriptions

Learn about our classes 2022-2023:
 

Elementary Classes

  • World Geography
  • Zoology (Apologia)
  • Beginning IEW 
  • Elementary Spanish


Middle School Classes

  • Middle School American Government
  • Middle School IEW
  • Middle School General Science (Apologia) + Lab
  • Middle School Literature
  • Spanish 1
  • Spanish 2 


World Geography
3rd - 5th Grade

In this course, we will learn about the incredible and diverse world God has created as we consider the major geological features of earth (e.g., oceans, major rivers, mountain ranges, and continents) and visit many amazing countries along the way!

This class is designed to be exciting and engaging as we learn about God's world through the places and peoples He created. This will be done through visual presentations and fun activities that will introduce students to not only the awesome landscapes and geological features of the earth but also to the diverse countries and cultures of the world! Every lesson will introduce and focus on one area of the world while also highlighting a particular country in that region. Students will explore the landforms of each country including relevant animals and plant life. We will also cover a bit of the country's history at times; learn the capital; important symbols like its flag; and various aspects of culture including music, dress, food, famous sites and landmarks, and fun facts. We will even learn a couple words in that country's language, which will be a lot of fun! Students will also enjoy learning about the people and what makes each country special and unique! Who's ready for an international adventure exploring God's world?

Homework expectations:
Students will be expected to complete weekly sections (1-2 pages) in their course activity book about the country and region.  This may include, for example, doing simple research about the country of focus for the upcoming lesson or coloring the flag. It is not designed to be rigorous but to encourage students to begin to explore and learn about each country and region.

On the GA’s Materials Exchange Day, students will receive:
-an activity workbook: this is an activity book that students will work through during class and through the week
-a passport to add each country's flag once students have “visited” it throughout the course.

Materials fee per year: TBD (not more than $20)

 

Zoology: Land Animals of the Sixth Day 
3rd - 5th Grade
 
In Zoology, we will explore one of God’s unique creations – land animals! We will study wild animals, livestock, and creatures that creep! The students will also learn about how scientists observe land animals and careers associated with studying land animals. 
 
Get ready for hands-on activities, projects, experiments, slideshow presentations, and video clips to learn about the various animals. We will discover God’s special design for many types of animals including lions, monkeys, snakes, reptiles, spiders, and more! I encourage students to come ready to share their thoughts, ask questions, and further explore special interests they may come across in the curriculum. I will make extension opportunities available for those who want to take it further. 

Textbook: Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by, Jeannie Fulbright (2008 edition)

Homework expectations:
About 20 minutes of reading/listening 
20-30 minutes for reading response and/or hands on activities
Extension activities are not required but encouraged and may take closer to 45 minutes or more each week.

Materials fee per year: $25

 

Beginning IEW: All Things Fun and Fascinating
3rd - 5th Grade

Let your students’ imaginations soar while enjoying writing about fun topics, such as a stinky flower, walking on the moon, the crazy Pecos Bill, and an edible bird nest. They will also learn to write with structure and style! (IEW)

Outside of class, students can expect 30-40 minutes of daily homework using a checklist to write and rewrite papers using the Structure and Style® techniques taught in class. All work, both during and outside of class, is expected to be written entirely by the student. However, the parent may decide if having the student dictate the rough draft, while the parent types, is an option that will lessen the frustration. All final copies will be typed and turned in on Google Classroom. Parents should plan to be available at home as a listener and editor. More about the process will be shared before class starts. Students will keep a notebook of their completed and polished works throughout the year.

Prerequisites:
This beginning level IEW class is for 3rd-5th graders who can write 4-5 sentences independently, who are able to spell fairly well, and who may have been introduced to basic paragraph writing but not necessarily Structure and Style (IEW).

Also helpful but not required:
Have a basic understanding of parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, and -ly adverbs.

Textbook (required): IEW- All Things Fun and Fascinating 

Homework expectations: 2 hours/week

Materials fee per year: $10
 


Elementary Spanish
3rd - 6th Grade

This class will be taught through thematic units that will be 4-5 weeks long. Kids will learn meaningful vocabulary related to each theme through repetitive language, engaging visuals, stories, songs, videos, games, movement, interactive activities, and even crafts all packed into a high energy class that is sure to lay a strong foundation for your child's Spanish learning journey ahead. Upon enrollment, parents will receive access to an online student center which contains materials and resources related to our classes, so that your child can use them to practice and receive additional input between classes. There will be no homework outside of practicing what we did in the previous class to be prepared for the following class, as our main focus will be to actively communicate with each other during class time. 

You will need basic materials such as pencils, paper, glue, etc. for when we are guided through crafts as well as access to a printer, as I will regularly send out emails with printables to complete together in class. You will also occasionally be asked to provide additional items - most of which will be readily accessible to you at home - to enhance the class experience for certain themes. 

Materials fee per year: None

 

Middle School American Government
6th - 8th Grade

In this deep dive, your student will gain practical understanding of the principles of US government procedures. We will begin with what led our founding fathers to establish a democratic republic, covering a little bit of philosophy and looking at historical examples from which they pulled inspiration, to help get a better idea of the framework and background for the government that we have today. Then, we will dive into how our government works with the three branches of government.  We will consider the legislative branch first, and what better way to cover such a topic than by having students engage in a government simulation! Students will write bills, defend them before their classmates (using proper Robert's Rules of Order along with speech and debate coaching), and then everyone will vote. After covering the legislative branch, we will head into the executive branch and explore how our election process works (electoral college, state elections vs federal elections, etc.). Here, the students will run a mini-simulated campaign: plan out an election strategy as well as work on campaign materials (slogans, posters, speech writing, etc.). Lastly, we will cover the judicial branch, working through the Constitution and some pivotal cases in American history: Brown vs Board of Education and Marbury v. Madison. As part of these studies, the students will engage in a simulation where they will act as lawyers in a fictional supreme court case. This fun, interactive class will help your students engage in complex concepts, walking away with a working knowledge of how our government is designed to work and how to be a better citizen.  
 
This class will also work on proper note-taking (a skill that is pivotal) by having students take notes in class and turn them in at the end of each class to be reviewed. This will be graded based on participation, but I will give good feedback on how your student could improve in his/her note-taking skills
 
Books: 
TBD

Homework expectations:
Note-taking during class
Preparation for simulations (writing bills, campaign materials, etc) 
Occasional reading assignments

Materials fee per year: $10



Middle School IEW: Medieval History
6th - 8th Grade

Knights, Vikings, monarchs, and famous people of the Middle Ages come to life! This theme-based writing curriculum allows students to experience world history through cultural literature and the study of famous people and events while learning to write with the Structure and Style® writing method. Offering a full year of instruction for students in grades 6–8, these lessons cover all nine IEW Units. Vocabulary cards, literature suggestions, and access to helpful PDF downloads are also included. (IEW)

Building upon the basics of Level A at an advanced pace, students will have weekly writing assignments (45 min.-1 hour per day) to practice new Structure & Style methods. These homework assignments will consist of making outlines and writing and revising papers using techniques learned in class. Students will keep a notebook of their completed and polished works throughout the year.

Parents should plan to be available at home as both a listener and editor. All parents are required to buy a Structure & Style Overview DVD ($10) prior to our first class.

Prerequisites:
Must have completed at least one year of intensive IEW instruction, i.e. Intro to IEW Level A
Must have the ability to have all papers typed for the teacher each week (recommend a typing program like www.typing.com, but occasional help from a parent is fine too)

Textbook: IEW Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons

Materials fee per year: None



Middle School General Science (Apologia) + Lab
6th - 8th Grade

Middle School Science 1 day online ($350 per year)
Middle School Science 1 day online + 1 day in-person labs ($450 per year)

This course explores the scientific method, experiment design, simple machines, geology, archeology, and biology, with a large focus on Earth Science. There will be slide presentations, hands-on activities, experiments, and video clips to cover the material using as many senses as possible. The class will be taught in an interactive way that encourages the students to answer questions and share thoughts throughout our class time. For each module there are usually two or more labs, and the student will choose one lab to write up a report. Templates are provided in the student notebook. Some labs will be done at home, and the teacher will demonstrate some labs in class as well. 

Each Module includes several “Explore More” activities. If your child learns best with hands-on activities, there are additional materials for those enrichment activities.

I tentatively plan to offer an additional day of in-person labs/review activities every week as long as meeting rooms are available at a library (Cascades or Ashburn) or the class size is appropriate to meet at my home outdoors. In order to participate in the additional labs, students would need to purchase materials to do the enrichment activities and pay the increased class fee covering two days per week ($450 per year).

Homework expectations (how much homework can a student expect weekly):
Students can anticipate spending about 45 minutes per day/four days a week on this class. The student notebook will help them stay organized with note-taking pages, “On Your Own” questions, as well as Lab report pages for the experiments. Each module will include a test to check for comprehension of the material covered.

Materials
Apologia General Science 3rd Edition Basic Set (2019 publication)
Student Textbook by Sherri Seligson (ISBN 978-1-946506-57-3) 
Solutions and Test Manual with test booklet (ISBN 978-1-946506-28-3) 
Student Notebook by Vicki Dincher (ISBN 978-1-946506-30-6) 

In addition to materials provided by the teacher, parents will need to provide some materials from home. Announcements will be made in Google Classroom a week in advance to gather materials prior to class.

Materials fee per year: $30; additional $15 for enrichment activities



Middle School Literature: Fearful Symmetry
6th - 8th Grade

The goal of this course is to set the groundwork for becoming a mature reader. This will be a school year of moving past simply reading for entertainment or to learn basic facts. Instead, students will be guided in digging deeper and developing their analytical skills; they will ask questions about their reading, challenge ideas they disagree with, and have their ideas equally challenged back. Mortimer Adler, the famous author of How to Read a Book, said the final level of reading is “syntopical reading.” This is reading books of similar topics and comparing, contrasting, and assessing their ideas. Ultimately, that is what we will do in our class.

Our theme this school year is based on a phrase from William Blake’s famous poem, “The Tyger.” “Fearful symmetry” is how Blake describes a majestic tiger walking through the forest. This phrase makes reference to the animal being both a terrifying beast and a beautiful creature. Blake goes on to ponder how this fearsome animal was made by the same God who created the gentle lamb. 

Our books and short stories will feature people and creatures living through frightful, grim, and unjust situations. With the foundation that all pain has a purpose and all things are God-ordained (Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:28), we will search for the purpose and beauty in our characters’ difficult circumstances.

In addition to reading novels, autobiographies, and short stories, students will explore poetry and learn about a broad variety of literary devices and terms.

Homework expectations:
1. Read up to 50 pages a week.
2. Be prepared to participate in class discussions and share your ideas. 
3. Occasionally look up definitions of words and literary devices related to our reading. 
4. Create a final project based around our reading for the year.

Note: This is a sample of our anticipated books and short stories. A final list will be posted soon.
Be sure all books are unabridged versions of the original text.

Books:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
Pinocchio
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)
The Big Wave
The Hobbit
Bambi (Felix Salten)
The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)

Short stories:
The Ugly Duckling (Hans Christian Andersen)
The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
The Story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50)

Materials fee per year: None



Spanish 1 
Grades 7th - 10th (6th with approval)

This class is designed for students who are new to the study of a language. Level One will introduce students to listening, reading, speaking, and writing as well as the study of Latino culture. 

Listening and reading are the language skills that students acquire first, so active participation is essential. 

The classroom methodology is based upon the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)/CI (Comprehensible Input) method. Each student must have access to a computer at home in order to complete the online assignments. In addition to the class, 2-3 hours of homework will be assigned each week. In class there will be homework review, presentation of new material, and fun, interactive exercises. Students will read at least one short novel.

**Please note that this class will meet 2 times per week.

Homework expectations:
In the first semester there will be about 1 hour of homework per week. This will increase as students build their skills.

There is no textbook, but we will read 1 or 2 novels.

Materials fee per year: $15

 

Spanish 2: 
Grades 7th-10th (Prerequisite Spanish 1) 

Spanish 2 builds on previously learned concepts and continues to challenge the student in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture. 

This class requires active participation and focused attention. Each student must have access to a computer at home in order to complete the online assignments. In addition to the class, about three hours of homework will be assigned each week. In class there will be homework review, presentation of new material, and fun, interactive exercises all presented with comprehensible input.

**Please note that this class will meet 2 times per week.

Homework:
2-3 hours per week to include reading, listening activities, vocabulary practice, and some writing.

There is no textbook, but we will read 1 or 2 novels.

Students may use their notebook from Level 1 and continue adding items, or they may begin a new one.

Materials fee per year: $25

 

 

 

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