We use a variety of curricula, Memoria Press being one we use frequently. It is a classical Christian curriculum and their Latin is the best of all that is out there. We have enjoyed it greatly. Their composition, logic, grammar, and literature is also exceptional. In 8th+ we use Apologia Science for its conservative Christian worldview. For whichever classes you enroll in you will receive a book list. You can order through Excelsior or find the items on your own. We try to keep the book list small. In many classes all they will need is a notebook. In Apologia science classes it is imperative to have the newest editions (as the older editions are completely different).
The Role of Excelsior in Your Homeschool
Excelsior exists to provide accountability (in the form of moving through the curriculum together and “done-for-you” checklist lesson plans) as well as community, to provide fun and engaging classroom time where students will learn to love and enjoy their subjects and make lifelong friends.
Excelsior serves to empower parents to be the primary teachers (which is the state of Arizona’s definition of homeschooling). We usually won’t use class time to proctor tests (we leave that to the parents at home if they desire). All assignments are optional and suggested, we leave that to the parent’s discretion. If a student demonstrates mastery in that week’s lesson, perhaps they do not need to do the homework assignment and that is the parent’s prerogative to choose what serves their child’s time best. We give no grades at Excelsior (with the exception of Composition, students may turn their final drafts into their teacher for their critiques and a grade).
It is important to note, there are some subjects we won’t cover altogether and we leave them for you to do at home (such as Math – we play Math facts games in Primary School and then in the Grammar and Upper Schools we leave Math for home). In other subjects you will primarily be the instructor (such as Composition – we will teach the first two days, but either you, or the DVD video instructor, will teach the remaining days. The students are expected to come ready and have completed the assignments the previous week so that they can continue on. And there are some subjects that we cover completely at Excelsior and require no at home time.
Preschool through 2nd Grade is what we call our Primary School. It is such an enriching, beautiful time as they are learning basic phonic skills and math skills, with the 2nd graders even beginning to touch on latin. In all these grades we also spend time focusing on beautiful enrichment such as studying famous works of art, listening to classical music, excellent picture book read-alouds, poetry, science, history, and more!
We typically don’t refer to students by “grade” but refer to the classical model of students working in levels based on their abilities. No two students will learn the same or at the same time. Some 5 years olds are ready for first grade work, and some 7 year olds are having difficulties in reading or addition facts would benefit from starting in Level A (the first level). Neither is wrong – where you are at is where you are at. Often the students who need to go back to the beginning will progress so quickly, like a snowball rolling down a hill, they will move through the material at a much faster pace and soon be at par for their “grade” level, far quicker than if they continued to struggle through it with much frustration.
You will be given a lesson plan checklist that takes you through the curriculum week by week. Our fervent desire is to serve and bless the families at co-op. We achieve this goal by completing an entire day of instruction in all core subjects. And the best part is we do it together, in community (and we have a lot of fun!)
Primary School Schedule
|Students arrive and assemble for Morning Assembly
|All Excelsior Gathers to: Pray, Pledge, Hymn, Announcements, Birthdays, Manners Lesson, Dismissed to Lessons
|Bible Lesson (we cycle through the Children’s Bible in 3 years)
|Bible Memory Verse (recite old, learn new)
|Literature Picture book
|Show N Tell Latin Picture Words and Play Rhymes
|Level A Phonics (Intro to Reading)
|Level 1 Phonics and Reading
|Level 2 Chapter Book Phonics and Reading
|Intro to Spelling
|Spelling Level 1
|Spelling Level 2
|Math Facts Game time (Level A)
|Math Facts Game time (Level 1)
|Math Facts Game time (Level 2)
|Music class (All Primary School Choir, learning songs to sing and perform, as well as basic introduction to pitch, scale, tone, rhythm)
|Science (experiment) or History Read Alouds
|Gather for closing prayer and Doxology hymn, lunch/recess
|Art and Composer Study + Craft(they study a beautiful historical work of art, listen to a classical music piece) and do a work of art or craft of their own.
Unsure if your child is ready for kindergarten? We are in no rush at Excelsior Read this article to assess