Classical Curriculum for Special Needs

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Based on the excellent classical Christian education provided by Highlands Latin School, our curriculum has been adapted especially for students with significant special learning needs. The complete program, available for ages 2-21, offers 10 key features:

  1. The rich, beautiful content of a classical Christian education designed to promote wisdom, virtue, and eloquence within a Christian context of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation
  2. A slower pace with ample review including optional 8-week extensions of early levels for year-round schooling or for additional practice before embarking on the next level of study
  3. Clean, simple books with elegant illustrations to cultivate a taste for excellence
  4. A multi-sensory presentation of material with visual, auditory, and tactile input wherever beneficial for the student
  5. Oral language components to promote oral language development and reduce the demand for written responses
  6. Skills checklists with recommendations to boost development of pre-academic, social, and motor skills in the early years
  7. Integration across subjects for improved understanding, further repetition, and greater mastery of material
  8. Themed levels to offer fewer subjects per year with greater depth while providing a comprehensive curriculum over time
  9. A “trivium” approach with recitations in the early grammar levels to strengthen memory, analysis in the middle logic levels to develop clear thinking, and opportunities for expression in the upper rhetoric levels to cultivate eloquence
  10. Socratic questioning at every level to promote the pursuit of truth

Ready to get started? Take the placement test below. 

How to Place Your Child with Special Needs

Download and/or print the Readiness Level Assessment(s) below. This will help you identify your child’s current skill level.

Not Yet Reading:
Level A Readiness Assessment
Level B Readiness Assessment
Level C Readiness Assessment

Learning to Read:
Level 1 Readiness Assessment
Level 2 Readiness Assessment
Level 3 Readiness Assessment

Reading Chapter Books:
Level 4 Readiness Assessment
Levels 5-6 Readiness Assessment
Levels 7-8 Readiness Assessment
Levels 9-10 Readiness Assessment
Levels 11-12 Readiness Assessment

How will I know if a level will be too easy?

If your child scores “Yes” in 100% of the Readiness Skills across all categories, give the assessment for the next higher level.

How do I know when a level is “just right”?

When he scores “Yes” or “Emerging” in approximately 75% of each category in the Readiness Skills, teach the level.

How will I know if a level will be too difficult?

If your child scores “No” in more than 25% of the Readiness Skills across most categories, administer the skills assessment from previous levels, until you find a level for which he appears ready. When he scores “Yes” or “Emerging” in approximately 75% of the readiness skills, teach the level.

What if my child does not score 75% at any level?

If he does not yet score 75% even in Level A, begin Level A. When you order Level A, you will receive a list of “Skills to Develop” with suggested activities for each category. Incorporate these activities into your daily schedule.

What if he is weak in only one category?

If he is weak in only one category, you might consider beginning the higher level with concurrent work in his weaker areas. You can adapt for his weaker areas, even as you teach him in his areas of strength. See the assessment and modification chapters in Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child for detailed suggestions. A consultation with a specialist might be helpful to evaluate specific concerns. For example, an occupational therapist (OT) may assist with fine-motor or sensory concerns, a physical therapist (PT) for gross-motor or coordination delays, or a speech and language pathologist (SLP) for speech and language difficulties.

What if he demonstrates clear strengths?

If you notice especially strong skills in a given category, you can provide enrichment activities in these areas to further nurture your child’s abilities and talents. When you order your package, you will find “Skills to Develop” for each level. Emphasize the enjoyable enrichment activities for the corresponding area of your student’s strengths.

My child scores well, but I would like to begin with a lower level.

If you know that your student has gaps in his learning, needs to build confidence, or requires a significantly slower pace, feel free to begin with a lower level. You may wish to increase the pace and then advance him more quickly to the next level when possible.

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Additional Resources

Simply Classical Scope & Sequence and Tips for Transitioning to MP Classical Core

Check out webinars from Cheryl Swope:

Simply Classical: Why and How

Simply Classical: What and When