Upper Elementary

In the Upper Elementary school, the Grammar stage is continued; but instead of focusing on broad, foundational knowledge, our focus shifts to deep knowledge.  For instance, in Science, students continue their encounter with natural wonder and beauty in Nature Study, but they also spend time in a focused study of Physics, Biology, and Earth Science.  History and Literature are linked, and tell a coherent story of Western Civilization. From the ancient worlds of Egypt and Mesopotamia through the American Civil War, students read historical narratives alongside historical fiction, forming a backdrop of characters, scenes, clothing, and ideas from our forerunners.

Language Arts

Students in the Upper Elementary continue to hone their wordcraft through penmanship and spelling practice, but they also take a deep dive into the mechanics of language using Michael Clay Thompson’s grammar, writing, vocabulary, and poetics curricula.  Students learn the art of the sentence, paragraph, and essay as they master foundational principles of parts of speech, phrases, clauses, and coherence.  They are also introduced to stylistic techniques and practices.

4th Grade

  • Sentence Island by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Grammar Island by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Building Language by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Music of the Hemispheres by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Sequential Spelling 4
  • Pentime Cursive 4

5th Grade

  • Paragraph Town by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Grammar Town by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Caesar’s English I by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Building Poems by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Sequential Spelling 5
  • Pentime Cursive 5

6th Grade

  • Essay Voyage by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Grammar Voyage by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Caesar’s English II by Michael Clay Thompson
  • A World of Poetryby Michael Clay Thompson
  • Sequential Spelling 6
  • Pentime Cursive 6

History & Literature

The story of Western Civilization is a rich and compelling one.  In the combined History and Literature curriculum of the Upper Elementary, formal history readings provide a scene while individual books of fiction provide characters, clothing, props, and dialogue. Together, the students gain a vision of the past.  In addition to their readings in History and Literature, students also complete art projects, draw and label maps, learn geography, prepare feasts, and even perform short plays or puppet shows related to their year’s historical era.

4th Grade

  • The Story of Civilization I: The Ancient World by Philip Campbell
  • Historical selections from the Old Testament
  • Famous Men of Greece by John Henry Haaren
  • Famous Men of Rome by John Henry Haaren
  • Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • God King by Joanne Williamson
  • Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
  • Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Julius Caesar retold by Leon Garfield

5th Grade

  • The Story of Civilization II: The Medieval World by Philip Campbell
  • Book of Norse Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
  • Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  • Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
  • Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
  • Thomas Aquinas by Mary Fabian Windeatt
  • Joan of Arc by Susan Helen Wallace

6th Grade

  • The Story of Civilization III: The Making of the Modern World by Philip Campbell
  • The Story of Civilization IV: The History of the United States by Philip Campbell
  • The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente
  • The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
  • Freedom Train: the Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling
  • Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
  • Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
  • Thomas More by Susan Helen Wallace
  • Teresa of Avila by Susan Helen Wallace


Students continue to visit Joyful Child Atrium for their work with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Level III Atrium.  This level emphasises the unfolding mystery of God’s redeeming work in the universe as they ask the question “What is the kingdom of God and my place in it?”


In the Upper Elementary years, students begin a more focused and formal study of Science, as they delve into the topics of general Physics, Earth Science, and Biology.  A formal approach to the scientific method is introduced and implemented at this stage, as students create models, gather and interpret data, and form further questions for investigation.

4th Grade

  • REAL Science Odyssey: Earth & Environment I

5th Grade

  • REAL Science Odyssey: Physics I

6th Grade

  • REAL Science Odyssey: Biology II

Nature Study

Students continue their weekly trips to a nearby park in order to adventure in the natural world.  They observe and collect specimens, take notes, sketch, and–perhaps–take a moment to splash in the creek.  Although these times may be leisurely, they form both a first-hand knowledge of the immediate cosmos, but also the important habit of quiet, careful, and close observation.  Finally, students are taught to reflect; they are afforded the time and space to simply contemplate and wonder in moments of quiet.


Continuing in the Math Mammoth Curriculum, students in Grade 4 practice their skills in multi-digit multiplication as they unpack how the system works.  They use their skills to learn about time, temperature, length, weight, and volume, and unit conversion before moving on to long division in word problems, geometric concepts of perimeter, area, angles, and finally fractions and decimals.  In Grade 5, special focus is given to mastering fractions and decimals, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions.  Students are introduced to large numbers and calculators, problem solving, bar models, graphing, and more advanced geometry. Finally, in Grade 6, students deepen their previously studied topics, but are also introduced to expressions and equations as they prepare for further algebraic studies.

Fine Arts

Art: Students study great artists and architecture from their time period, but also complete a focused artist study.  Students imitate the studied artist by creating a reproduction of an important work.

Music:  All students participate in the music program, as they learn musical notation and scales, and practice their voices on classical, folk, and liturgical songs.

Drama:  A drama club is offered as an elective, where students learn stage presence, projection, and the art of adopting a character on stage.