Memoria Press has been creating many of their own products for presenting a classical Christian education for many years. They now have complete grade level packages with lesson plans that incorporate their resources along with some from other publishers for preK through eighth grade. All subjects are covered, including Bible/religion.
Memoria Press resources use recitation, repetition, copywork, and memorization to develop mastery of skills and concepts. Music, and art are incorporated for grades K-3. Literature guides for each level direct students through the study of real books rather than readers. Latin is introduced in second grade. Rod and Staff’s math program is used for most grade levels. Memoria’s Christian Studies program begins in third grade; these books guide students through study of The Golden Children’s Bible. Copybooks used in the early grades include verses from the KJV.
The Spelling Workout program is used for most levels. Nature walks and nature study are an important part of science study for the younger levels. Students in third grade and beyond study other science topics such as the relatively in-depth study of astronomy in fourth grade.
Lesson Plan books each cover a full school year. They have specific teaching instructions in about the first ten pages followed by detailed, daily lesson plans showing what resources to use, which pages to cover, and extra instructions as needed. Check-off boxes can be used if you want this Lesson Plan book to also serve as your record book. Guides have a suggested schedule for how much time to allot to each subject and the order of subjects, but this is followed by a blank schedule for you to customize your own schedule. Appendices at the back of each book include prayers, memory work, and other helps appropriate to each level. They also feature read-aloud book lists, poetry lists and music and art lists showing which selections correlate with each week’s lesson for grades K through 2. Lists of read-aloud books that correlate with lessons are included for grades 3 through 6.
The curriculum is very structured and depends very much on interaction with the teacher. The same curriculum can be used with either class groups or individual students, although things like discussions, public speaking, and some activities might be more enjoyable or profitable with more than one student. On the other hand, it will be easier to oversee and interact with a single child rather than a group.
The Jr. Kindergarten (preK) program teaches number and letter recognition as well as how to write all of them. The program includes other resources such as Richard Scarry's Mother Goose, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, Big Thoughts for Little People, and The Book of Crafts: Jr. Kindergarten.
The kindergarten program assumes that children can count to ten, print their names, and recognize most letters. In this half-day program, kindergartners learn to read, mastering short-vowel words and a basic sight-word vocabulary using Memoria’s First Start Reading course, Classical Phonics, Christian Liberty Press’ Nature Reader K, and EPS Primary Phonics Readers. While science and social studies topics come up within other subject areas, each is given only one dedicated lesson per week. Phonics, math, recitation, and copybook/memory work take place each day. Music, art, read-aloud books, poetry, social studies, and science rotate, sharing a half-hour time slot at the end of each day in the recommended schedule. The priority given to math and phonics is entirely appropriate for kindergarten level.
The first grade program continues to develop phonics and reading skills along with other subjects in a manner similar to that for the kindergarten program. Cursive writing is also introduced at this level. Classic children’s literature begins to play an important role in the curriculum with fifteen read-alouds and the Memoria Press StoryTime Treasures study guides. The program can be completed in about three to four hours per day.
Second grade introduces Latin with Prima Latina and brings in more social studies content within the classic literature selections with books such as The Courage of Sarah Noble and Little House in the Big Woods.
Beginning with third grade, there are two options. Memoria Press found that their original third grade course moved too quickly for many students so they now offer both the "Classical Core" and the "Accelerated Classical Core" options for grades three through eight. Pacing is the primary difference, although those using the Accelerated Classical Core will work through more resources.
Third grade in both Classical Core and Accelerated Classical Core builds the historical foundation for a classical curriculum with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths and a Christian foundation with Christian Studies I. Students also use Memoria's States & Capitals set, Memoria Press's Introduction to Composition and English Grammar Recitation Book One. Classical Core students study animals and living things for science, and study four longer novels this year: Farmer Boy, Charlotte’s Web, A Bear Called Paddington, and Mr. Popper's Penguins. They continue the study of Latin with Latina Christiana I. Those in the Accelerated program will complete most of these courses in one year while others will spread some of the course work out over two years. In the Accelerated program, students work with most of the same resources, but using many of them a year earlier than in the Classical Core program.
Fourth graders in the Classical Core continue with D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths, Latina Christiana I, Christian Studies I, States and Capitals, English Grammar Recitation, and Introduction ot Composition. They also study astronomy, Rod and Staff's fourth grade math, and Classical Composition: The Fable Stage. Fourth grade literature includes the study of Homer Price, Dangerous Journey, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Blue Fairy Book.
Fifth graders move on to the Famous Men of Rome while also using Memoria’s Geography I that covers Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, the primary regions encompassed by the Roman Empire. Geography is studied both historically and as it is today. The Book of Insects, along with its companion workbook introduce students to classification and the insect world as they observe, study, analyze, and sketch, while also answering questions in the workbook. First Form Latin continues the Latin instruction. Fifth grade novels are Heidi, Lassie Come Home, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Sixth grade history progresses to the Famous Men of the Middle Ages. In keeping with the Middle Ages historical emphasis, students read King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Adam of the Road. Geography II also fills in social studies. Students will use Classical Composition: The Chreia/Maxim Stage and they might study either First or Second Form Latin depending upon their progress to this point. Birds are a major topic for science with a number of books and activities, but students also read the fascinating book Exploring the World of Medicine.
For seventh grade, students journey back to Greece with Famous Men of Greece, Horatius at the Bridge, and The Trojan War. They also study U.S. History with a number of resources. Science uses Memoria's Book of Trees set then addresses the larger world of living things with Exploring the World of Biology. For language arts, students use resources such as Rod and Staff English 8, Spelling Workout H, and Classical Composition: Refutation-Confirmation Stage, while also completing some resources used the previous year. For Latin, students might use Third Form Latin or another level. Novels read are Anne of Green Gables, The Trojan War, The Bronze Bow, and The Hobbit.
Eighth graders continue study of the ancient world. However, moving beyond the grammar stage they study history and literature at a deeper level as they tackle the Iliad and the Odyssey along with study sets for Dorothy Mills' Book of the Ancient World and Book of the Ancient Greeks. For literature, students study Poetry and Short Stories: American Literature, Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare,The Wind in the Willows, As You Like It, Treasure Island, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. For language arts they also complete Rod and Staff's English 8 course along with Memoria Press' Classical Composition: Common Topic. Science uses Exploring Planet Earth. For math, students study algebra. Students can continue with Fourth Form Latin or select an appropriate level of Latin if they are newer to the study of Latin.
For the Accelerated program for eighth grade, students can use the same math and Classical Composition courses as for the Classical Core. But for history, they study Book of the Ancients: Romans and The Aeneid. For literature, students study Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Henry V, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as well as the text Poetry, Prose and Drama Book One. For science, they study Exploring the World of Chemistry, Exploring the World of Mathematics, and Exploring the World of Physics. Students also read The Story of Christianity by David Bentley Hart.
Each grade level uses a number of resources beyond those I've listed. You can check their website for more details. You are welcome to pick and choose resources rather than purchasing complete packages so that you can tailor your program to fit each student. You also have the option of either Classical Core or Accelerated packages. For the younger grades, Memoria Press is beginning to offer yet another option for students with special needs, the Simply Classical Curriculum. Levels A through C for ages two through five and Level One for ages five or six are now available with levels two through eight under development.
If you like Memoria Press’ approach to classical education, these grade level packages are a terrific resource that will make your job much easier.