Charlotte Mason Philosophy

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.” Charlotte Mason

Our approach to learning equips students with an understanding of relationships between God, others, themselves, and the world. This process develops more than a mere acceptance of facts but rather an understanding of concepts, principles, and data that promotes genuine thinking. 

Charlotte Mason understood how children learn best, and her philosophy is just as relevant today as it was a century ago. In fact, research has continually proven that her ideas about Living Books, Narration, Recitation, Nature, Picture, and Composer Studies, and Habit Formation are essential to our children's ability to make connections and think critically about God's world.

 

Charlotte Mason Books

We ask all of our families to read at least one of the following books in order to better understand our educational philosophy.  All are available on Amazon, and we have a select few available for purchase in the school office.

Modern Miss Mason by Leah Boden

When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaefer Macaulay

Miss Mason wrote a series of six books herself for anyone who would like to take a deeper dive into the originally published information.  

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Lower
Elementary

KINDERGARTEN, FIRST, AND SECOND GRADE

Our youngest learners attend school Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The shortened school day is by design, as students this age acquire information more effectively when provided additional time to play and process what they've learned.  Using a developmentally appropriate curriculum that nurtures and respects each individual child, we provide a safe community for investigating, observing, and exploring the environment. Our program is rich in all the domains of the developing learner: affective, cognitive, social, physical, and spiritual. Class size is typically 8-10 students per teacher.

Students start the morning with SPARK, a 10 minute outdoor exercise period to get the blood moving and the brains engaged!  They then spend their day in their classrooms, on the playground, in the school garden, or playing on our field.  

Using the Wilson Language program Fundations, students establish a strong foundation of phonemic awareness in a structured literacy approach to language acquisition.  For fine motor development and proper letter formation, students work with Handwriting without Tears as they journal and practice their developing skills.  Using Everyday Mathematics, students work with manipulatives and hands-on activities to develop number sense skills that will serve them well as they establish those critical math skills they can build on for years to come.

At each grade level, students are introduced to key historical figures, social studies themes, science/nature studies, and famous authors, artists, and composers.  Our humanities based approach incorporates all of these elements together naturally in order to help young scholars make those critical connections across subjects.

Once a week, students visit Music class, and on several Fridays a month, children participate in Enrichment Days in which parents teach the class. On these days, the primary emphasis of instruction is one of our social studies or science themes. Teachers are on campus to provide additional support if needed.

DISCOVERY

Discovery classes are available for an additional fee for students in grades K – 2 on Monday – Friday until 3 p.m. and Monday and Friday for 3rd grade until 3 p.m. The mission of Discovery is to provide a safe, enriching, “hands-on” learning environment, taught by certified teachers, which incorporates a variety of STEM and Charlotte Mason practices in a comfortable low key setting. Our vision is that children will experience an afternoon unplugged from our ever busy lifestyles and enjoy creative play while fostering friendships.

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Upper
Elementary

As they bridge the gap between lower and upper elementary, students in third grade attend full days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and half days from 8:30 a.m-12:00 pm on Monday and Friday. All students in grades 4 and 5 attend school for full days from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

THIRD GRADE

Students in third grade receive an overview of the world and its geographical features, culture, inhabitants, and history as they move from continent to continent over the course of the school year. Via personal and group research projects, students learn about the culture, art, music, language, customs, and geography of countries on each continent. Science and social studies naturally intertwine as students learn about rocks and minerals and plant and animal habitats in various locations around the world.

As they wrap up the final year of Fundations phonemic work, students in third grade incorporate vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension strategies as they add novel studies into their reading repertoire.  They also transition to learning cursive using Handwriting without Tears and will put those skills to work as they write opinion, informative, and narrative writing pieces. As they continue on in Everyday Mathematics, they build on their addition and subtraction skills and developed number sense to learn more complex skills like fractions and multiplication/division.

In addition to Music, weekly PE and Art exploratory classes are also included in the schedule. Class size is typically 12-14 students per teacher.

FOURTH GRADE

Our approach for grade 4 is to link the core curriculum of history, literature, fine arts appreciation, language arts, and science to historical time periods. We'll follow the timeline, starting with Ancient Civilizations in 4th grade and carry that through to Modern Day by 8th grade. Students begin to keep a history timeline journal that will follow them throughout the rest of their time at Intown!  Students learn science and discovery through the eyes of the ancients: archaeology, fossils, dinosaurs, simple machines, astronomy, earthquakes, and volcanoes.  They even get to mummify a chicken!

Fourth grade is also the year students start to memorize various pieces through their recitations.  This Charlotte Mason ideal is important to helping students make connections to previous learned material as they explore more complex ideas.  Using novels, short stories, myths, and fables, students read a wide selection of living books and quality material.  They'll also compose opinion, informative, and narrative writing pieces.

Everyday Mathematics concepts become more complex as students take their previous knowledge and apply it to concepts like geometrical plane and solid figures, fractions and decimals, and real-life applications of time, money, measurement, and data analysis.

Their exploratory classes are Music, PE, Art, and Spanish. As many of their historical references as possible are incorporated into these classes. In Music, they'll study ancient Egyptian and Chinese music, and in Art, they'll learn about Greek pottery and Chinese watercolor botanicals. Students  beginning Spanish in 4th and 5th grade will focus on cultures, vocabulary, and basic conversational elements.

Class size for fourth grade is typically 12-14 students per teacher.

FIFTH GRADE

Our 5th graders continue on the newly established 4th grade curriculum in terms of following a timeline, but as they prepare for the transition to Middle School, they do not stay with the same teacher for all classes.  In History, the timeline moves  through the Roman Empire, Vikings, feudalism, knights, and the Crusades.  The novel studies will follow that timeline and include classics like Beowulf and the Tales of King Arthur.

Keeping with Everyday Mathematics, students continue their study of fractions and decimals and applying all four operations to those concepts, enhanced word problems, conversions, and algebraic readiness.

Recitation topics include the school theme verse, Matthew 5:3-12, and selections from Cancer, Creed, and Shakespeare. Their exploratory classes are Music, PE, Art, and Spanish, where once again, their historical references are studied across the fine arts. Students  beginning Spanish in 4th and 5th grade will focus on cultures, vocabulary, and basic conversational elements.  Class size for fifth grade is typically 12-14 students per teacher.

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Middle
School

MIDDLE SCHOOL

The Middle School experience provides the opportunity for growth and change. Students will receive lockers, can choose to participate in athletic teams or chapel band, can run for Student Council positions, and experience overnight field trips and retreats.  It's an important time for students to be surrounded by others who can help build them up as they learn who they are in the world, and it's a privilege to pour into them spiritually as they find out more about themselves and who God has created them to be. Middle School students enjoy lunch and some free time outdoors every day.

SIXTH GRADE

Sixth graders experience a fully integrated curriculum based on the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, and all of the wonderful people, works of art and literature, and cultural references of this time period.  They'll study famous works of art by daVinci and Michelangelo, the writings of Shakespeare and Cervantes, and perform a Shakespeare play in their Drama exploratory class as part of our Renaissance Faire! Their novel studies include classics like Don Quixote and The Tempest, and they'll incorporate Shakespearean elements in their recitations as well.

Building on the research skills they learned in elementary school, students will write on a variety of topics across multiple genres.  In math, students begin the Reveal math series and build a solid foundation for the next level of math and problem solving.  Hands-on science experiments in areas like botany and chemical reactions are combined with history-based themes like ocean exploration, navigation, and map skills to create a dynamic and interactive science experience.

Weekly PE, Music, French, and Drama classes round out the schedule.  With an average class size of 16 students, our teachers know each child well and help them build the skills they'll need to advocate for themselves and grow in independence during these critical middle school years.

SEVENTH GRADE

Students in seventh grade experience a full integrated curriculum based on Explorers and Revolution (English, French, and American) during the year, and we place an emphasis on reading quality literature that helps provide more detail and background knowledge on these topics.  Students will write and conduct research on a variety of topics across multiple genres.

In addition to weekly classes in Art, Music, and PE, students will cover French I over the course of seventh and eighth grade.  As we focus on bringing cultural awareness to our students, providing instruction in both Spanish and French over the course of their time at Intown allows our students to have a wide variety of exposure to multiple world languages and the people who speak them.

In Math, students continue on in the Reveal series and take an accelerated course of seventh grade concepts that prepare them to take Algebra in eighth grade.  The Science curriculum focuses on electricity, magnetism, and anatomy, and for the first time, students are introduced to dissection.

With an average class size of 16 students, our teachers know each child well and help them build the skills they'll need to advocate for themselves and grow in independence during these critical middle school years.

EIGHTH GRADE

Students in eighth grade complete their historical timelines by concluding the year in the present day.  Our carefully coordinated humanities program weaves history and novel studies together to provide a complete picture of a time and place in history, and our students continue to write a multitude of pieces that demonstrate their understanding.

As we prepare students to leave Intown and enter high school, we focus on providing them with as many leadership opportunities as possible.  Our Math students complete Algebra I over the course of the year and may take the test to earn a Carnegie unit that applies to their high school transcript.  Those interested may also take the test to earn a Carnegie unit for French I if they decide to pursue French at the next level.

In addition to Music, French, and PE, students have the opportunity to choose Art or Yearbook. With an average class size of 16 students, our teachers will prepare each child to leave Intown confident in who they are as a child of God.

COUNSELING

The word “counsel” is mentioned over 130 times throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.  Proverbs 11:14 tells us that, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  (ESV)  The School Counselor is a member of the care team discipling your child.  As a covenant Christian school, our educators delight in knowing each child’s heart, and the Charlotte Mason principles support parents as the primary educators of their children. It is in this way that we can provide an abundance of counselors for our children. 

At Intown, we partner with parents to facilitate the academic, spiritual, social, and emotional growth of each student. The goal of this program is to instill a Christ-centered, comprehensive, developmental counseling program that addresses academic support, personal and social skills development, and the exploration of natural gifts in order to maximize success and thrive at Intown Community School. We want to equip our students with the tools they need to deal with a variety of challenges from a Christian perspective.  Together with parents, we will surround each child in need of assistance with the love and support necessary to overcome any obstacles.

The objectives of the Intown Counseling Program include:

•  Brief Individual Counseling: Regularly scheduled 10-15 minute meetings to help a child in need.  These are not meant to take the place of outside counseling services but rather are designed to work in tandem with outside counseling to support the child while in school.
•. Proactive Class Counseling: During one devotional period each quarter, Mrs. Washington will visit each homeroom class for a whole group session on whatever topic the teacher feels would be most appropriate for the needs of the group.
•  Small Group Counseling: During lunch periods, Mrs. Washington will work with small groups of students in a proactive manner to discuss a wide variety of topics.

 

Mrs. Washington graduated from Vanderbilt University with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Development and Counseling.  She is also a certified K-12 School Counselor in the state of Georgia.

In addition to creating a program to support our students and staff, she will be offering monthly tips for parents in our Intown Insider newsletter.  Mrs. Washington will also be hosting an optional parent book study in the spring.  

 

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