The CLAA Petty School program is intended to help students who find the CLAA’s Latin Grammar and Arithmetic courses too difficult to begin directly.
Students have successfully entered into the study of the CLAA’s Latin Grammar I course as young as 5 and 6 years old (with the help of parents). If those first lessons prove too difficult for students, we recommend beginning with the CLAA’s Petty School courses, which introduce the same concepts found in the first lessons of the core courses.
Please note that these courses are not to be confused with modern “pre-school” or elementary English reading courses. They are only intended to provide an easier entrance for students who need it.
Petty School Reading
The first part of Lesson Grammar is Orthography, through which children study the letters and sounds of the Latin language. This is covered in one lesson in Latin Grammar, which may prove to be too difficult for some students. The Petty School Reading course breaks that first Grammar lesson down into an entire year of lessons, allowing students to ease their way into Latin Grammar I.
In addition, however, to learning the Latin letters and sounds we continue in this course through the historical development of English letters and sounds, moving from classical Latin to ecclesiastical Latin, then into Old and Middle English and, finally, modern (American) English.
Remember: The CLAA’s Petty School Reading course is NOT intended to teach children to read English. For this, we offer a separate English Reading Program.
Petty School Writing
Many are questioning the value of handwriting today because of the computer and the importance of typing in modern society. This is an important question, and we believe very strongly that every child should be started on a typing program as early as possible and learn to use a computer skillfully. However, this kind of pragmatic thinking is shallow and unexamined. Anyone who wishes to deny the value of handwriting should also deny the value of riding a bicycle, going to a concert, planting a kitchen garden or visiting a friend to talk. After all, none of these things are necessary with modern technology.
Beyond mere communication, there are many secondary benefits of handwriting. Students improve their reading skills by carefully forming letters and learning the details of their shapes and parts. Students learn basic drawing skills by imitating examples and satisfying standards of accuracy and beauty.
Most of all, we must be careful to avoid the reckless temptation to deny our children skills we take for granted. This is one of the errors of recent generations that has negatively affected all areas of life. Our children must learn to write by hand.
Petty School Arithmetic
In education, we begin with the basic skills and principles upon which more complex learning may be pursued. This order leads children from the simplest lessons to the most complex arts.
Modern programs, because of their impatience and pride, cannot allow students to progress one step at a time, but must cram into their first lessons bits and pieces of every topic, which leads to the delay of the most important skills. Instead of learning to read and write all numbers, or memorizing basic math facts, students are introduced to measuring, using money, identifying shapes, etc..
Ultimately, what happens is the more difficult (and important) skills get pushed aside because the student ends up in a mess, and information-learning takes over. Rather than using the time to master the basic skills and principles of Arithmetic, students play with interesting, but unnecessary studies that make for fun workbooks, but don’t move a child forward in learning mathematics. In the CLAA we seek to restore priorities to early Arithmetical studies.