Recognizing the value of small classes, OCCLC maintains small classes throughout all grades. Grades are combined if there are not enough students to fill a grade. For combined grades, material is rotated to avoid unnecessary repetition. OCCLC strives to offer core courses at the same time (e.g. math). Although students may be part of a combination class, they would attend their appropriate math level.
Phonics and Reading
Phonics is the system of letter-sound association taught to children for the purposes of learning to read and spell. Phonics is most effective when taught systematically, thoroughly, intensively, and in a logical and time-tested sequence. The children will learn correct pencil grip, manuscript form, consonant and short vowel sounds, three-letter word formation, consonant blends and long vowels/silent e.
Common words which do not fit into any word family are introduced after students learn to blend three-letter words. Teaching students to read in kindergarten using stories with a high percentage of phonetic words.
Phonics and spelling continue in 1st and 2nd grades using the Core Skills Phonics series and the Traditional Spelling program. In 1st grade students continue to develop reading comprehension with whole books, which captivate and motivate children and are preferred over basal readers.
Teachers monitor student reading skills through daily oral reading. First graders read children’s classics such as Little Bear, Caps For Sale, The Story About Ping, and Billy and Blaze. Second graders read The Courage of Sarah Noble, Little House in the Big Woods, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Spelling, penmanship, composition, and vocabulary lessons for each grade
A rich language experience, provided both at home and in school, is an important factor in reading success. Students memorize poems and Scripture and enjoy children’s classics read by teachers and parents during read-aloud time.
Spelling and Printing
Students develop the visual memory for accurate spelling by a systematic study of phonics, word families, and spelling rules taught in Traditional Spelling, and by a lifetime of seeing, reading, and writing words correctly. It is very important to reduce opportunities for children to write or see misspelled words
Copybook is an exercise consisting of copying sayings, maxims, Scripture, and poetry in the student’s best handwriting. Copybook is an important step in developing good penmanship, punctuation, and spelling. Habits of good penmanship are instilled early and required at every grade level by every teacher.
The discipline of neat and legible handwriting is an aid to spelling and instills the value of accurate, careful work – an important academic skill that carries over into every aspect of learning. In the 1st and 2nd grades students continue to practice manuscript while also beginning cursive script. Cursive is required for written work in grades 3 and up.
Our teachers work to help students form and maintain a proper pencil grip. Correct pencil grip reduces hand fatigue and as a consequence also reduces resistance to written work in general. The copybooks include diagrams to illustrate a correct pencil grip.
Next to the alphabet, arithmetic is the most useful tool students will ever possess. It should not be rushed over in a hurry to get to higher mathematics. Many modern textbooks do not observe the distinction between arithmetic and mathematics. Algebra topics are included in texts as early as kindergarten and obscure the necessary arithmetic skills for each grade. The energy and effort of students are dissipated over a variety of topics, many of which are too abstract for students to understand. Insufficient time is given to basic skills, and students do not experience the satisfaction of mastery learning, nor are they adequately prepared for higher math. A failure to master basics is the cause of the glass ceiling that most students reach in their mathematics education.
Immediate recall of addition and subtraction facts through 18 is the focus in primary school. Number formation, counting, time, calendar, measurement, and money are the initial skills of K-2. In 2nd grade the students also begin multiplication with the 1x, 2x, 5x, and 10x facts. Students learn number sense by skip-counting, games, and drills, all of which make math time enjoyable.
Geography, History and Science
Read-Aloud books provide a rich language experience for students and the reading is accompanied by teacher-led oral questions and discussion. Students learn new and interesting words and delight in rhyme and word play. They learn about holidays, history, geography, science and more. Select read-aloud books, which are beautiful in both art and language, were chosen after extensive research and reading.
Christian Studies, Music and Art
In Christian Studies students read or listen to Bible stories and memorize Scripture verses and prayers. In music appreciation, a well-known composer and piece of music are introduced periodically. Students draw and color in their composition books, illustrating copybook verses, poems, and composition lessons. In art appreciation, an artist and art masterwork are introduced periodically to students.
Students have Physical Education once a week providing approximately 30 minutes of exercise as well as opportunities to play childhood games. The teacher works to develop basic motor and motion skills, such as running, skipping, running backwards, and flexibility, as well as sportsmanship and team play.