Question: Does Grammar of Grace offer co-ops?
We love doing Grammar of Grace together with other families! Our family did it alone in the beginning, and my hope and prayer for a few years was the God would lead other families to join us so we could have fellowship and accountability… Still, we were blown away when He began bringing those friends to us. And, gearing up for our fourth year with our group, we are still thankful and amazed that we get to do this together with other Christian families. It is such a blessing!!
Even so, Grammar of Grace takes a different approach toward that end than other curriculums I’ve heard about… But if you’re familiar with Grammar of Grace, what else would you expect?
Some curriculums have a formal structure for implementing their curriculum in local co-ops. On the other hand, a lot of curriculums don’t offer any helps for assisting families who want to set up a local group around that curriculum, and parents who want to follow that curriculum with others must figure out a way to do it on their own.
Grammar of Grace offers helps for families who want to use our materials together with other local families, but without a formal structure. We believe local folks can best decide what will work well for their group, and we don’t believe we ought to charge folks money for setting up a local group.
How does that play out?
We think that by working together, local families can encourage each other and make the load a little lighter, especially when we’re using a curriculum that is so different from what most of us are used to.
Grammar of Grace is a new curriculum, so there aren’t a lot of groups of us out there, yet. But my local group is committed to sharing the lesson plans, handouts, logistical plans, and everything else we’ve developed with anyone who would like to use them. We want to do whatever we can do to help others get groups started.
We call what we do Wisdom’s Way.
Once a week, our Wisdom’s Way group meets to use Grammar of Grace together. Here’s what that looks like.
First, we meet for Assembly, where we pray, sing our Theme Song (a version of Psalm 90), let the children and mothers share what they remember from the past week’s Bible Reading assignments, and make any announcements that need to be made. We get that done in a quick 15 minutes. (We move fast all day.)
After that, we have New Lessons time, where we drill the new memory lessons for the week together. 30 minutes.
The next class of our WW day is Hymn Singing class. 30 minutes.
I know this sounds odd, so I’ll go into a little more detail on this one.
We invited one of the local pastors who loves music and singing (his Bachelor’s was in Vocal Music at a Christian school, before he went to seminary)—who I was confident would only teach sound doctrine to our families whenever it arose—to teach a 30-minute Hymn Singing class for our children, each week. We have been very thankful for this pastor’s service, from the beginning of our Wisdom’s Way group. (My degrees are in music, so I could have handled this adequately, but having a man, and even more a pastor, influencing the children each week is a wonderful blessing to our families, especially to our boys!)
As for Hymn Singing as one of our core classes: Many co-ops value science experiments or art class, and those things aren’t bad! But Colossians 3:16 commands Christians to speak to one another in psalms, and in hymns, and in spiritual songs, “singing with a grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Singing ought to be a required subject in a Christian curriculum; indeed, in Noah Webster’s work as a teacher, singing was one of the subjects students he taught his students. Science and art are great extras; singing is core in a Christian education.
The next class we have is a big mix, and you’ll find more details on the Wisdom’s Way pages on the website, but the long and the short of it is that we cover four subjects during this session, in different 6-week segments: Art, Classical Music, Geography, and Science. 30 minutes.
After that, we have Biblical Languages class—Greek or Hebrew, on alternate years. On Greek years, the students use our own Koine for Kids; and on Hebrew years, the students study Shalom Alef Bet! (Contact us to order bulk quantities of Koine for Kids; orders of 10 or more of a single title are half-off. For Shalom Alef Bet!, I can’t offer any discounts, but I can offer two helps for when you get started—first, study the Hebrew Teacher’s Guide in Grammar of Grace—it’s all of the things I wish someone had taught me while I struggled through trying to figure out Hebrew basics for my children; second, you can call their publisher directly, and they will help you with any questions you might have.) We cover 3 pages in class each, week, and get through the whole workbook by the end of the year. 30 minutes.
Next up is Oral Interpretation, where the children practice reciting things they have memorized, or public speaking, to their classmates. 30 minutes.
The last class of our morning is Memory Lesson Review, where the children review their last 6 weeks’ memory lessons. 30 minutes.
We have a sack lunch at 12:30 each week.
Later Knowledge students follow a slightly different schedule; they break into separate classes halfway through the morning, and also stay for a couple of hours after lunch, to go over their weekly schoolwork with their fellow 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Year class students.
That’s the basic overview of what our group does at our Wisdom’s Way, each week.
Is that a mandate?
Our local Wisdom’s Way group shares everything we have to everyone who wants it, for free! And we hope that, in time, other WW groups might also share their ideas and resources. You may use the name, you may use our schedule, you may use the handouts and materials we gather for class prep, etc.
I post everything I have on grammarofgrace.com. The notes we use for teaching all of the different classes, the schedule we follow each week, and the extra materials we use for our classes are all posted. We figure that if a local group likes some things about our schedule, or some of the things we teach in, say, Astronomy class, they can use them. But if they don’t want to have Astronomy class, or would rather teach different stuff in it, we want them to feel free to use their best judgment with their own children! We hope that we offer good helps for folks who want them, without forcing mandates on folks who might have different (and even better!) ideas! God makes us all with different gifts; and we truly trust that he is going to guide a lot of us differently, and that that is a good thing.
So yes, Grammar of Grace offers and encourages co-ops! And yes, we have helps… but the helps may not be not as comprehensive as some other big-name homeschool curriculums our there, because we don’t have top-down controls on what people would like to do, nor paid staff developing things, nor thousands of tutors across America doing it (yet… we hope!).
Wisdom’s Way Resources
- If you’re thinking of encouraging a few friends to join you in using Grammar of Grace, start by reading our Wisdom’s Way page; it casts the vision and might be a good link to share.
- The resources we have posted for basic Wisdom’s Way, for Cycle 1, are on this page.
- The main page we have set up for WW resources is here, but please note that some of the links/pages are just placeholders right now. Still, you’ll find a wealth of ideas here, from our Theme Song (which you should totally use), to examples about how we plan each week, to Oral Interpretation plans, and so much more.
- If you are starting a WW group in your area, we would love to list your group on grammarofgrace.com. We can list it on the WW page (scroll down), and you can also have a simple webpage like this. Contact us if you would like one or both of these things.
We are continually working to add videos and also to add to the above pages.
Finally, you are also welcome to contact us for further individual help.
Are there other people using Grammar of Grace in my area?
So, yes, we have lots of helps so people can start Wisdom’s Way groups, if they’d like! And if people want to use Grammar of Grace with other families and not call it Wisdom’s Way, that’s great too! We offer help, and not mandates.
As for finding local folks… Grammar of Grace core curriculum was just published 18 months ago, and we have been amazed and blessed to see it go all over the United States (and beyond)! But we’re still really new, so when I look at the Grammar of Grace map, it seems like our folks are really spread out all over the place, but there aren’t a whole lot of people who are close to each other. (We think that is better, though, because God is planting us across a broad area…)
Below is an anonymized map of families using Grammar of Grace or our supplemental materials, in answer to the all of the requests we get from people wanting to find other Grammar of Grace families near them. Every family is listed by city only (not specific address), and labeled with a number.
Here’s how to use it: Zoom around to see if there are any families near you. Click on a balloon for more information; if one family lives in that town, you’ll see the anonymized number for that family; if there are more than one families there, you’ll see more than one number. If you would like to get in touch with any of the families you see listed near you, contact us with the number(s) of the families you would like to contact. We will then approach those families and ask for their permission to share their contact information with you, and go from there. (You can also click the fullscreen button to see a bigger view.)
We will work to keep this map updated, so check back! (Current as of 7/5/2021.)
I hope that helps! Since we’re new and little, we definitely don’t have the kind of infrastructure some of the big name curriculums have, and we don’t want to, in some ways; but we do want to support you guys as best we can!
Thanks for dropping by; please keep us in prayer!