Dr. Susan Baumert, affectionately known to her students as "Dr. B," teaches Language Arts 1, 2, & 3 at CLRC and is known as a teacher who encourages and motivates students to do their best. Aside from teaching, Susan and her husband homeschool two of their sons and send one to a local classical school in Virginia. Her children have inspired her work in classical education, in the Montessori method, as well as her work in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She uses all her talents and experience while homeschooling and volunteering in her community. She is a certified Montessori instructor and has a love for teaching at all levels. Her classes are now enrolling for the spring semester.
Dr. B's classes take language arts to the next level. Not only are students reading, writing, and studying the basics of language, but they are also engaging in lively discussions, memorizing poetry, and connecting with each other through the traditional art of letter writing. In Language Arts 1, students are just beginning their journey in the study of the English language. They begin by understanding sentences and build their ability to write paragraphs based on writing prompts taken from the literature selections. Students write and edit a paragraph every other week. Their work is based writing targets, and they receive regular feedback from the instructor. Dr. Baumert also gives brief weekly open-book quizzes based on the reading assignments to foster a habit of close reading and aid in reading comprehension. Language Arts 2offers an extension of these methods, as students perfect the structured paragraph, including the thesis statement, transition words, supporting details, and a conclusion.
In Language Arts 3, students begin with the structured paragraph and move on to the five-paragraph essay in the second semester as they prepare to transition to middle and high school literature and composition classes. Dr. Baumert gave us the following highlights from her three language arts classes. Students are thriving and enjoying the stories as they learn to analyze, appreciate, and discuss them.
Students in the first level of Dr. B’s classes started out the semester journeying with Adam of the Road in his search for his father and his lost dog, Nick! The happy ending made all the students feel like they were with him on his adventures. They rejoiced when he had some happy news at the end.
Next they explored the fantastical world of George Macdonald's Princess and the Goblin with Princess Irene and her mystical grandmother as she discovers the power of belief. Both Irene and her friend, Curdie, have opportunities to rescue each other on this exciting adventure.
They are looking forward to more adventures of self-discovery and personal growth in these coming-of-age novels.
Students in Level 2 examine challenging cultural and historical issues through the lens of historical fiction. Students have struggled to understand cultural issues in 15th century Spain, when the slave, Juan de Pareja, was forbidden from painting by the unjust laws that forbade a person of color from participating in the arts. Students questioned the justice of this alongside Juan as he painted in secret and struggled with his conscience about what is right and wrong, just, and unjust.
They then moved to the wilderness of Maine where two young men from different cultures overcame the prejudices that sometimes accompany the “unknown” in others in The Sign of the Beaver.
Students in LA 3 are at the height of their Upper Elementary years, and the course challenges them in new ways. This year, students started the semester by searching for buried treasure alongside Long John Silver, Jim, and the crew. Students found their reading level challenged by the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, in their adventures on Treasure Island.
They are now exploring the world of Wart, Merlyn, and Archimedes, the owl, as they read The Sword in the Stone, the coming-of-age story of King Arthur by T.H. White that details the early childhood experiences that formed the basis of the Arthurian legends.
The Ancient Art of Snail Mail
Students are looking forward to writing letters to another student in the class. They are taking advantage of the long-distance relationships to practice our letter writing and getting to know a friend in the process.
Memorizations and Recitations
All the students have enjoyed choosing a poem to memorize this semester. They will make a recording of themselves reciting the poem from memory and will submit it by the end of the semester. Below, you can watch two orators who have already completed their assignment:
Benji Baumert recites "The Head and the Heart" by John Godfrey Saxe.
Daniel F. recites "It is not the Critic Who Counts" by Theodore Roosevelt.
Story Interpretation Through Art
In addition to writing and editing, students are asked to do artistic interpretations of various scenes from the literature. Below, from top left to right, I, Juan de Pareja drawing by Daniel D., Adam of the Road drawing by Kaiden M.; Adam of the Road drawing by Ivonne D.; The Archimedes Owl (from Sword and the Stone) drawing by Chole B.; Treasure Island drawing by Maja Plecas; The Sign of the Beaver drawing by C.C;. The Princess and the Goblin drawing by Elizabeth K.
How We're Doing Grammar
Different from traditional sentence diagramming, Dr. B uses a method called Four-Part Sentence Analysis to teach Grammar.
Line 1, students identify the Parts of Speech (noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, verb, conjunction, preposition, interjection).
Line 2, they identify the Parts of Sentence (subject, Action Verb Predicate [AVP] or Linking Verb Predicate [LVP], Direct Object [D.O.], Indirect Object [I.O.], Linking Verb Predicate [LVP] and Subject Complement [S.C.]
Line 3 is all about phrases
Line 4 is about clauses and sentence types.
Check out the work completed by two LA 3 students, Suriannica Ng (left) and Felicity S. (right) and in the video below, Dr. B demonstrates.