In the Grammar stage, roughly equivalent to grades 1-5, we capture a young child’s innate capacity to memorize and retain information by teaching underlying facts and relationships in each subject. Teaching methods used at this stage of learning include chants, jingles, rhymes, and songs that make facts easier to memorize and remember, as well as learning experiences that nurture curiosity and creativity. During this period, we focus on “the basics;” that is, the fundamental teaching of Holy Scripture, phonetic reading, mathematics, grammar, history, language studies, the arts, and introductory science.
The Grammar School emphasizes the first phase of the Grammar-Logic-Rhetoric progression of the Trivium in the classical model of education. Grades 1 through 5 also feature aspects of Logical and Rhetorical learning, but the focus is on skills which lay a solid foundation for future years.
At this age, students enjoy learning about new things, memorizing, singing, and reading well-crafted stories. The Dominion curriculum and teachers embrace this natural tendency and students are encouraged to explore and gain the knowledge which will benefit them in the next phase of the Trivium, Logic School.
Grammar School Curriculum
Phonics and Spelling
First and second graders continue using both group and individual phonetic reading to solidify their phonetic foundation. At the same time, students learn to apply phonetic rules to spelling words through the Saxon Phonics program.
Students read high quality books from our school reading list at their own pace. Reading fluency is improved through oral reading practice and comprehension is practiced and assessed through narration, the art of telling back what one has heard, read or observed. Each 1st-5th grade class also enjoys several classic novels each year, read aloud by the teacher. Often the book culminates in a party organized by parents where students are encouraged to dress as their favorite character, enjoy foods from the book and other fun activities.
Grammar and Composition
Students learn English grammar, including the conventions of writing (punctuation, capitalization, and so on), parts of speech and the rules of grammar. They learn to apply those in their composition lessons. Using passages and sentences from classic children’s literature, our composition program gives students the opportunity to practice their composition skills while absorbing and imitating the style and grace of great authors. In addition, our upper grammar classes (grades 3-5) begin to study the Progymnasmata, a time-tested tool for writing style.
Dominion students love memorizing poetry and lots of it! Memorizing poetry improves students’ vocabulary, public speaking skills and is just plain fun. Students work to memorize and skillfully present to their classmates and teachers both assigned poems for their grade level and individual poetry selections.
Despite our increasingly digital culture, studies continue to demonstrate the importance of handwriting to better learning. Dominion continues to emphasize penmanship, beginning with D’Nealian style print and moving to cursive instruction by second grade. Grammar school students also continue to develop their handwriting and language skills through the use of copywork. Copywork includes copying sayings, maxims, Scripture, and poetry in the student’s best handwriting, and it is an important step in developing good penmanship, punctuation, and spelling.
First graders study American colonial history, with some emphasis on Georgia history. Second graders begin a chronological study of history based on Veritas Press’s history cards. They start with with the Ancient World, progress through Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, and early modern history (Explorers through 1820). Grammar school students will develop an understanding of world, European, and U.S. history with an emphasis on mastering names, dates, places, and events that lay the foundation for more in-depth analysis and rhetorical expression in the Logic and Rhetoric School years. The study of history comes alive with various hands-on projects such as Dominion’s Living History Day.
Dominion uses the Saxon pedagogy of incremental development: teaching in small increments, providing continual review of those increments, and ongoing cumulative review of what has been learned.
Students explore God’s creation through the study of the natural sciences. Dominion students rotate through the sciences each year, building on their previous study of life science, chemistry, earth science, and physical science. During the grammar school years, students master fundamental concepts and skills which then leads to more in-depth analysis and experimentation in the logic school years.
Students in the Grammar School participate in daily cocurriculars, including drama, art, music. These classes provide broad exposure that supplements in-class learning about the arts. Students also have physical education, which we consider a necessary component of holistic Christian education.
For more information
If you would like more information about Dominion’s Grammar School, please attend an information meeting or download an application. Questions may also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.