Simply Classical Curriculum for Special Needs

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There will be families who are very thankful for the appearance of this curriculum; for years it's seemed as though classical education and special needs might be incompatible. Then comes Cheryl Swope who justdoes it. Not only did she start walking down the classical path with her special needs twins, but she quickly realized that it was the very best possible educational path for them. The combination of systematic repetition, language skills emphasis, gracious implementation and quality content has reaped amazing results, transforming their challenging lives into those with meaningful expressions of beauty and service.

Simply Classical Curriculum, written by Mrs. Swope, is essentially a set of lesson plans coupled with a choice reading list that moves gradually into some of the Memoria Press curriculum products (i.e. First Start Reading and Classical Phonics) as well as other early level curriculum products (i.e. Rod & Staff preschool workbooks). A quick look at these lesson plans might cause you to conclude that it is simply a typical classical program slooooowed way down. You're not exactly wrong, but you're not exactly right either. It's rather that the possibility of slowing way down is built into the lessons. The daily collection of lessons rich in quality literature progress slowly and surely through the process of laying a very solid foundation in classical learning. The plans/program offers 10 key features:

  • The rich, beautiful content of a classical Christian education
  • A slower pace with ample review
  • An emphasis on books with elegant illustrations to cultivate a taste for excellence
  • A multi-sensory presentation of material
  • Oral language components
  • Skills checklists
  • Integration across subjects
  • Themed levels
  • A trivium approach
  • Socratic questioning

Introductory information for each level includes a program overview, readiness assessment, FAQs concerning where to begin, list of read-aloud books, supply list, brief teacher notes, and a week-by-week chart for recitation and memory work. The detailed readiness assessment for each level covers language, cognitive ability, emotional development, fine-motor skills, and gross motor skills and is followed by a set of skills in each area to develop during this level of the program.

Other than making sure you have read-alouds and supplies for the day, prep is practically nil. The four-days-a-week, weekly lesson plans provide a daily checklist with specific tasks in each of several areas such as calendar, alphabet/numbers, and motor skills. In levels B and C, Simply Classical Crafts is incorporated into the arts/crafts tasks. Opening and closing the learning period with prayer is not only encouraged but prompted with suggestions for prayers to learn. There are 34 weeks of plans plus eight weeks of review. 110 - 180 pgs, pb.

The Core Curriculum Packages include the Curriculum Manual (Lesson Plans) plus books/workbooks used throughout the year. The Read Aloud Packages include all the books used as read alouds for the year. The Supply Packages are a collection of school supplies that are needed to complete the program. ~ Janice

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