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Grade 1          Classical Education

Grade 2          Charlotte Mason

Grade 3          History & Geography

Grade 4          Science & Nature

Grade 5          Literature & Reading

Grade 6          Imagination & Play

Grade 7          Languages

Grade 8          Where's the Queen?


     A classical education is based on the ancient pattern called the trivium.  The trivium is made up of three stages which correlate to the natural developmental stages of children.  The ultimate goal of this type of education is to develop students who think logically and who express themselves convincingly.  Below are the defining characteristics of each stage and notes on how The Tanglewood Curriculum compares to a strict classical approach.
1.  The focus of this stage is learning the grammar, or, the set of elementary principles in a field of study.  For example, the grammar of science would include the facts of nature; the grammar of math would include the multiplication tables; and the grammar of history would include the kings and queens of England.
The Tanglewood Curriculum provides a wide exposure to every area of knowledge during the early years.  Our goal is to give the student a solid and well-rounded foundation in the fundamentals while also furnishing him with the opportunity to build relationships with his subjects. As Charlotte Mason said, "Upon the knowledge of these great matters--History, Literature, Nature, Science, Art-- the Mind feeds and grows."
2.  The grammar stage takes advantage of the child's natural ability to memorize information.  Rote memorization, usually done with the help of chants and drills, is utilized extensively.  Some common lists for memory might be: the famous pharaohs of Egypt, the states and capitals, the U.S. presidents, Latin verb conjugations, etc.
Students using The Tanglewood Curriculum build an extensive reservoir of facts using  memory lists such as those given above, in addition to building relationships with the bodies of knowledge.  For example, a Tanglewood first grader will learn to identify six trees by actually looking at the leaves, seeds, bark, shape of the tree, etc. and matching it in their field guide rather than just learning the names of trees from a book (no live tree).
3.  During this stage, education is based on the learning of facts.  The focus is on "what is" rather than the "why" or the "how" of something. 
In addition to focusing on "what is," The Tanglewood Curriculum also considers the "why" and "how" of subjects in all stages of the trivium, acknowledging that even at a young age certain seeds of understanding will be planted. 
1.  Dialectics is the practice of examining ideas or opinions logically, often by the method of questions and answers, so as to determine their validity.  Therefore the dialectic stage coincides with the middle school years when children begin to think more analytically and independently. 
(The Tanglewood Curriculum for 7th and 8th grades is due out in the Fall of 2004.)
2.  The study of logic is applied to all subjects, each subject having its own system of logic.  For example, in science there is the development and testing of hypotheses.  In writing, there is the logic of paragraph construction.  In math, there is the logic of algebra.  The logic of history answers "why" a certain event happened.
3.  In order to refine their growing skills in logic, the students are required to give written and oral arguments.
1.  Rhetoric is the art or science of using words effectively in writing and speaking.
2.  The student learns how to present his argument clearly and concisely as well as creatively, elegantly, and persuasively.   The rhetoric stage emphasizes the creative synthesis and expression of knowledge.
3.  Extensive research, writing, and oratory are required during this phase of a classical education.
4.  During this stage, the student begins to specialize in the branches of knowledge that attract him.
Like most classical schools, The Tanglewood School Curriculum:
1.  follows the timeline of history - beginning with the ancients and chronologically progressing to modern times
2.  utilizes the best literature available
3.  establishes high academic standards
4.  requires students to build an extensive reservoir of facts during the grammar stage
Unlike most classical schools, The Tanglewood School Curriculum:
1.  utilizes self-discovery of facts in addition to rote memorization
2.  emphasizes the importance of free play and outdoor play in the development of imagination
3.  answers the "why" and "how" of subjects in all stages of the trivium, acknowledging that even at a young age certain seeds of understanding will be planted


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