Scholé Spotlight: Pro Gloria Dei
The Pro Gloria Dei Scholé Group is three years old and serves thirteen families in Alabama’s Wiregrass area. Our students range from infants to eleventh graders. One unique aspect of our group is that we have two alternating weekly schedules. We have Class Weeks (a total of eighteen per year) and Enrichment Weeks, during which we do different activities (since we take our breaks on these weeks, we only have fourteen per year).
We begin our day together as a large group, opening with a song of praise and worship, a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a review of our history timeline. After that we break into four classes. This year our classes are the Cowboys (six little boys ranging in age from six to seven!), the Pioneers, the Inventors, and the Engineers. Our class names change each year according to the period of history we are studying. The students rotate between classes throughout the day, attending memory work, science, history narration, and fine arts.
At the beginning of the first class of the day, our students take turns sharing something they are thankful for from the past week, and the class recites the responsory Psalm for the year. At the end of the day, the students share one way they saw God at work in our group that day, and all classes close with the Doxology. During the day there is also a snack period during which the students play drama games and do impromptu speeches that encourage them to practice public speaking in a fun way.
On Enrichment Weeks all the grammar students meet together in one large group for a history enrichment project. After our opening, one of our moms gives a brief presentation on our historical topic, and then we do a fun project related to the time period we are studying. This year our projects have included:
- making a Depression Cake and playing drop the handkerchief (a game popular with children in the Depression),
- practicing cattle roping and designing our own cattle brands,
- panning for “gold,”
- battle reenactments and making cards to send to soldiers from the home front, and
- building our own “transcontinental” railroad using teamwork.
After our history project we break into two groups for math enrichment (for which we use the Crazy Eights math club materials from bedtimemath.org), snack and memory work review games, and handicrafts or nature study, depending on the season. In nature study we have done themed nature walks, hatched butterflies, and gone birdwatching. Handicrafts have included knitting, making circuits, leather stamping, and scrapbooking.
Our upper school class meets each week with two teachers. They do their own math enrichment class, which includes games and studying the contributions of mathematicians from our history time period. In addition, they study history using a spine and source documents; prose literature such as Hamlet, Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, and Tom Sawyer; various poems; and public speaking. They also do map tracing for geography, have short sections of memory work, and keep a book of centuries.
After a fun, informal lunch spent in play and fellowship, upper grammar students and upper school students attend writing classes in the afternoon each week.
While the size of our group is limited due to the space in which we meet, our group is always growing in our understanding of classical education and tweaking our curriculum to reflect that tradition and best meet the needs of our families. Next year we will be adding a middle school program that will transition our growing students from the grammar program to high school studies.
We begin planning each year the fall before, so that we are not burdened with last-minute or summer planning. Under the guidance of a small steering committee, all of our moms contribute to the group by teaching classes, planning where asked, and helping to prepare materials. Our fees each year cover the cost of our supplies, and then all remaining revenue is given to our host church as a love offering. We are truly blessed.
Panning for Gold
Pam Barnhill, a former classroom teacher and mom of three, is the author of Your Morning Basket: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty for Your Homeschool Day and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. Host of the popular Your Morning Basket andHomeschool Snapshots podcasts, she lives with her family in Alabama, where she leads her local Scholé Group and is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a bit of homeschooling advice. She puts her penchant for finding awesome resources and her gift for breaking big tasks into small manageable steps to work at edsnapshots.com.