Well-Ordered Language 1
- Scholarship Skills
- Course Materials
- About the Title
- About the Instructors
- Technical Requirements
The Well-Ordered Language series presents the study of language in a way that appeals to a child’s inborn curiosity and desire to collect, gather, and order. It teaches grammar in a clear, orderly way, while simultaneously seeking to cultivate a child’s wonder of language by presenting instruction in the context of narrative and language, attractive illustrations, and samples taken from classic children’s literature and poetry. This course is designed for students to actively engage with the grammatical concepts in each lesson, using language skills—reading, writing, speaking and listening—along with physical movement, songs, and chants. Through Well-Ordered Language’s unique, creative, and orderly method of analyzing the grammatical functions of the parts of speech, students will find the mastery of grammar achievable, meaningful, and delightful.
In the first semester, students encounter the following concepts: the four kinds of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory), subjects and predicates, verbs, adjectives, direct objects, subject pronouns, and helping verbs. In the second semester, students are introduced to object pronouns, prepositional phrases (adverbial), introductory prepositional phrases, compound subjects, compound verbs, and compound direct objects. For a closer look at the texts used in this course, please follow these links and click “Look Inside”: Level 1A and Level 1B.
Schedule: This course is designed with young learners’ brains in mind! The course meets 3 times per week for 45–60 minutes, affording adequate instructional time while keeping on-screen sessions to a healthy duration for our youngest learner
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
- This course is designed as an introductory grammar course; no prior grammar instruction is required. Students should be comfortable reading fluently and independently writing sentences (legibly!) by hand.
- The course is geared toward rising 4th–5th graders. When considering whether this course is a good fit for your student, please keep in mind that in addition to readiness for the course content, students should be developmentally prepared to engage in a 4th- to 5th-grade corporate learning environment as well as the online classroom dynamic.
- If your student is outside the target grade range, or if you have further questions about placement, please contact us.
Watch the recent Well Ordered Language Classroom Experience with Alison Johansen
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- With Parent Support
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Spelling at grade-level
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- With Parent Support
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read.
- Be able to read to learn not merely learn to read.
- With Parent Support
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (up to two pages).
- Follow along with teacher-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Follow along with teacher-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
- Be prepared to answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- After the instructor has provided instructions – the student should be able to use Wacom tablet (or other like iPad) to actively solve math problems during class, viewable to the instructor on Ziteboard.
- Well-Ordered Language Level 1A (Revised Student Edition)
- Well-Ordered Language Level 1B (Student Edition)
- Highlighter, pencil, colored pencil
- Optional: Student Whiteboard, Dry Erase Markers and Eraser
Please note: The Well-Ordered Language Level 1 songs and chants will be provided to the students enrolled in this course at no charge.
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
The title of this series was inspired by a passage in a small book by Josef Pieper titled Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power. In the book, Pieper writes,
[T]he well-ordered human existence, including especially its social dimension, is essentially based on the well-ordered language employed. A well-ordered language here does not primarily mean its formal perfection, even though I agree . . . that every correctly placed comma is decisive. No, a language is well ordered when its words express reality with as little omission as possible.
Language is the means by which we make sense of reality. It is the medium by which we perceive truth. Therefore, a well-ordered language—one that best represents reality with as little distortion as possible—would provide the best access to truth. Language education, then, should be focused on developing as complete and accurate an understanding of language as possible.
While the pursuit of truth through language involves careful thinking (logic) and eloquent expression (rhetoric), the youngest students must first acquire a solid foundation in the structure and function of the language itself (grammar). Mirroring the well-ordered nature of language, effective educators employ an approach to language instruction that is itself well-ordered, structured, and disciplined. Critics of a well-organized and disciplined approach often confuse its form with the disposition of those who employ it. The disciplined approach to language study can be employed through intimidation and aggression, but it can just as easily be administered with love and compassion. The disciplined approach—often mischaracterized as “drill-and-kill”—actually respects the humanity of the student because it acknowledges that children learn differently than mature adults do.
For children to feast upon the rich cuisine of that which is good, true, and beautiful, they should first be shown how to taste, savor, and digest what they encounter. Without proper instruction that will cultivate their taste, students may turn from the “feast” in disgust, reject further sustenance, and perhaps never return. By acquiring a well-ordered language, students will also acquire that taste for language that will lead them to the great feast that awaits. To impart this taste is to avoid one of the greatest errors of modern educational theory, which is the assumption that children can learn without first acquiring those tools of learning that we call the language arts.
—Tammy Peters and Daniel Coupland, PhD, with Christopher Perrin, PhD
Josef Pieper, Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), p. 36.
Alison Grace Johansen is teaching Introduction to the Art of Poetry, Formal History of Poetry, Writing & Rhetoric Level 4, and Well-Ordered Language Level 1. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Richmond. She worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for over 13 years before pursuing writing and editing in all forms of media. She hopes to help inspire her students to discover the many ways they can use their own words to express themselves with truth, goodness, and beauty. Alison lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Her dedication to her faith and children influences every part of her life, from teaching Sunday school and writing a children’s picture book, to exploring the beauty of God’s world with her family. If they aren’t birdwatching and enjoying a walk outside, you might find them reading together or playing their favorite instruments: the piano, flute, guitar, ukulele, and drums! You can learn more about Alison in her Scholé Academy video and blog post about fortitude in poetry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Armstrong has a B.S. in English and an M.A. in Student Affairs Administration from Ball State University in Indiana. She is a homeschool mom of two and has been homeschooling her daughters with the support of a classical tutorial since 2014. She has been teaching lower school English and History in the tutorial since 2019 where she enjoys looking for the true, good, and beautiful with her students. After more than twenty years working in Higher Education, she’s looking forward to focusing on educating young students in the fundamentals of the English language and giving them the tools to recognize and create beautiful and true things as they grow. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys reading and discussing literature, creating things from fabric and yarn, and trying to make a garden grow. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Scanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.
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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.