Jump to content

Menu

Why does MCT bill themselves as a "gifted" curriculum?


Recommended Posts

I've only been using MCT Town series for a month now, and after finishing Grammar Town this week we'll be starting Paragraph Town & Caesar's English next week (we use Poetry concurrent with Grammar). We all are enjoying the program very much, and it's given the kids a fresh enthusiasm for the English language. So far, it's all been a good experience.

 

But why do I see on the MCT yahoo list and website the constant references to it being for gifted children? That's not a label I particularly like (I think it is overused), but I also don't really get it in this case. My daughter is bright & quick and learned to read early and all that, but I don't consider her gifted. My son is ESL and has a few LDs, and doesn't fall under the gifted category except under "solving problems non-verbally" (this is based on his neuropsych testing at age 7 that was given for other reasons).

 

Since both of my kids love the program and are learning and *retaining* a lot, why the "gifted" push? I believe that needlessly puts some parents off. Certainly, my dd is catching on to new things quicker than my son, but he is perfectly capable - he just needs a little more drill to cement it. That is true of ALL curricula that we use; it's just how his brain works.

 

Is there something I'm missing? Does it get dramatically harder with the Voyage levels and up? Will I end up having to split up the kids so as not to hold my dd back, as well as not frustrate my son?

 

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 207
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

It's hard to imagine why you might be put off by a "gifted" label on a curriculum; after all, the meaning of "gifted" in an educational context is that one needs deeper, faster, or more content-filled curriculum. If a curriculum provides that, then it seems obvious to refer to that curriculum by the gifted label. Bear in mind that MCT is himself a teacher, and that the curriculum was written to use in a school context, intended for children who grasp big ideas easily, and will need and benefit from academic-focused language instruction, who often, in the school setting, have the gifted label.

 

Again in a school context, the gifted label helps to determine placement; the Island level is intended for gifted third graders or grade-level fourth graders.

 

In a homeschool setting, with individualized instruction, children might be ready for something at an earlier or later time, and specialized labeling isn't as important. But in the institutional setting of the school, addressing the needs of the students is something that maximizes learning for every student, whether gifted, on grade level, or below grade level. In the educational setting, "gifted" doesn't mean "more than" or "better than," it just means that the student has academic needs that won't be met by grade-level material.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to imagine why you might be put off by a "gifted" label on a curriculum; after all, the meaning of "gifted" in an educational context is that one needs deeper, faster, or more content-filled curriculum. If a curriculum provides that, then it seems obvious to refer to that curriculum by the gifted label. Bear in mind that MCT is himself a teacher, and that the curriculum was written to use in a school context, intended for children who grasp big ideas easily, and will need and benefit from academic-focused language instruction, who often, in the school setting, have the gifted label.

 

Again in a school context, the gifted label helps to determine placement; the Island level is intended for gifted third graders or grade-level fourth graders.

 

In a homeschool setting, with individualized instruction, children might be ready for something at an earlier or later time, and specialized labeling isn't as important. But in the institutional setting of the school, addressing the needs of the students is something that maximizes learning for every student, whether gifted, on grade level, or below grade level. In the educational setting, "gifted" doesn't mean "more than" or "better than," it just means that the student has academic needs that won't be met by grade-level material.

 

I was going to type out an answer, but I couldn't do it better than this! :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to imagine why you might be put off by a "gifted" label on a curriculum; after all, the meaning of "gifted" in an educational context is that one needs deeper, faster, or more content-filled curriculum. If a curriculum provides that, then it seems obvious to refer to that curriculum by the gifted label. Bear in mind that MCT is himself a teacher, and that the curriculum was written to use in a school context, intended for children who grasp big ideas easily, and will need and benefit from academic-focused language instruction, who often, in the school setting, have the gifted label.

 

Again in a school context, the gifted label helps to determine placement; the Island level is intended for gifted third graders or grade-level fourth graders.

 

In a homeschool setting, with individualized instruction, children might be ready for something at an earlier or later time, and specialized labeling isn't as important. But in the institutional setting of the school, addressing the needs of the students is something that maximizes learning for every student, whether gifted, on grade level, or below grade level. In the educational setting, "gifted" doesn't mean "more than" or "better than," it just means that the student has academic needs that won't be met by grade-level material.

 

Very well said.

 

MCT teaches this program for John Hopkins Center For Talented Youth. Students in these prgrams must be classified as gifted as shown by achievement and IQ testing in order to participate. This was his primary audience when writing the series.

Edited by melmichigan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe one of the precepts in the "gifted" label is the belief that a well-explained idea doesn't need to be repeated multiple times with a gifted student. That the reiteration that might benefit a student who is not "gifted" may be detrimental to keeping a child who has already gotten the point engaged.

 

So rather than hammering away at a lesson that's already understood, with a gifted program you move on to other topics, or a take deeper look at the topic at hand.

 

Something like that.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with you in questioning the "gifted" label for MCT materials, but for a different reason. I looked through a copy of the elementary level grammar materials a friend owns. For a curriculum aimed at gifted kids, I didn't think it was very "meaty" in terms of content. I was frankly expecting a lot more rigorous content from something designed for GATE. If anything, it seemed like it covered less than a number of the other grammar programs that do not bill themselves as being for gifted kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with you in questioning the "gifted" label for MCT materials, but for a different reason. I looked through a copy of the elementary level grammar materials a friend owns. For a curriculum aimed at gifted kids, I didn't think it was very "meaty" in terms of content. I was frankly expecting a lot more rigorous content from something designed for GATE. If anything, it seemed like it covered less than a number of the other grammar programs that do not bill themselves as being for gifted kids.

 

You are really getting a lot of mileage out of your peek at one component of a multi-faced program. You could at least take the time to review all the components before passing judgements that MCT is not "meaty", especially when everyone who uses it has exactly the opposite opinion.

 

Just a thought.

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Gifted" in ps seems to encompass every child who is even slightly above average, and a lot of ps these days from my perspective have dumbed-down curriculum, so I guess I don't worry if it says it is for gifted if I am using it at home.

 

Having only perused the Island materials and not used them yet, though, I can see a few areas where they might be considered more for gifted kids. For one, the repetition is not there. For another, the writing assignments seem advanced to me. It seems more assumed that kids will "get" certain things and not have to be instructed step by step.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IME as a student in an excellent gifted-children public school program. . .and as the hs'ing mom of 3 gifted dc. . .

 

Gifted children can be expected to master more depth, more advanced vocab, and more challenge. . . than a "normal" child. . .

 

This is why. . . By definition, gifted children learn *faster* than non-gifted children. I.e., a child with a 150 IQ would cover the same material as an average (IQ 100) child 50% faster. (Google this if you don't believe me!) Thus, the 150 IQ child would cover a "year" of material in 6/9 of a year.

 

This accelerated learning rate allows a gifted child to either accelerate through the material faster. . . or add additional study areas. This is a natural result of the simple DEFINITION of intellectual giftedness -- which is tied to the rate of learning.

 

CAVEAT: Gifted children are usually asynchronous in their gifts. . . So, a child who is gifted in math might not be so in LA. . . Educating a gifted child is challenging in this regard. . . As few assumptions can be made. . . Presumably, an educator of gifted children would ideally modify/choose each subject's materials for each child. . . We are blessed as hs'ers to be able to do this for every child (gifted, challenged, doubly blessed, or "normal") in every subject!!

 

A gifted LA curricula would presumably add depth. . . This is what I am observing in the MCT materials. Typical (good quality) 5th grade LA materials (i.e., Rod & Staff -- of which we are satisfied veteran users) wouldn't include in-depth poetry study, nor would it include significant vocabulary study. Both those study areas are provided in MCT. Since MCT LA has 4 branches of study (grammar, vocab, poetry, writing) instead of two (grammar & writing), the gifted child is covering more ground than they might if simply going through R&S. This is achieved in the same number of hours/week by carefully focusing the curriculum on the most important elements, and discarding/omitting more basic materials (i.e., spelling) and by avoiding repetitive exercises that might be necessary for a more typical non-gifted student to master the material.

 

I would imagine that MCT designed their curriculum to fill the void for gifted children. . . Instead of providing *lots* of review/repeat/rehash that is often provided in "standard" curricula. . . MCT designed their curricula to provide the fundamental elements (i.e., grammar), without gobs of exercises, thus allowing the child to cover other areas of study (poetry, vocab. . .) in the same amount of time as would typically be consumed by a more standard (limited) LA curriculum. It seems to me that MCT has carefully considered the content of their books and provides sufficient review, but in a very condensed, targeted manner.

 

In my limited experience w/ MCT Town. . . I see it doing this. The grammar text provides the fundamental teaching. . . and then leaves it to the teacher to reinforce these fundamentals if needed. The vocab text covers words in depth, not in a rote fashion. . . The poetry text is light-years beyond anything else I've seen. . .

 

So, anyway, MCT is a commercial publisher that presumably aimed to fill a need for gifted educators. It's their *business model*. . .

 

Personally, I have routinely had to adapt the "normal" curricula I have used for my gifted dc by omitting parts, condensing parts, etc. I have always had to "shop" for curricula that are either gifted-friendly (Singapore Math) or easy to condense/modify (R&S English). . . I am very happy to have found a LA curriculum that moves/thinks as fast as my dc do. LOL

 

I wish noone saw "gifted" as a perjorative. I don't understand that.

 

Just like some curricula are easier to use for a remedial/learning disabled/etc student (say IQ = 70) . . . others are aimed for "normal" -- say IQ 100). . . others for gifted children (say IQ = 130). It is intuitive to me that these three broad categories of learners would benefit from different approaches, both in scope and in style. One's goals for learning for an IQ=70 student would presumably be different from one's goals for an IQ=100 or IQ=130 student. . .

 

HTH

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are really getting a lot of mileage out of your peek at one component of a multi-faced program. You could at least take the time to review all the components before passing judgements that MCT is not "meaty", especially when everyone who uses it has exactly the opposite opinion.

 

Just a thought.

 

Bill

 

Actually, there was a mention in a thread maybe a week or two ago saying that the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month. I'll have to see if I can dig up the exact quote.

 

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Crimson Wife's defense, I looked through all the samples posted on the Royal Fireworks site some weeks ago and thought, "Meh." My 100-year-old free grammar book that I downloaded from Google books may not be flashy, but it certainly gets the job done and is much more rigorous than anything else I've looked at for 2nd grade. Whether everyone and their grandmother think that MCT is the best thing evah or not, I wasn't impressed with what I saw. Maybe they don't post their best pages for sample.

 

Tara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are really getting a lot of mileage out of your peek at one component of a multi-faced program. You could at least take the time to review all the components before passing judgements that MCT is not "meaty", especially when everyone who uses it has exactly the opposite opinion.

 

Just a thought.

 

Bill

 

:iagree:

I have learned that many homeschoolers are very judgmental about the term 'gifted'. I never even mention that word or topic with other hs'ers unless I know them well. I wonder if that's some what of some of this backlash against MCT has been about...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Actually, there was a mention in a thread maybe a week or two ago saying that the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month. I'll have to see if I can dig up the exact quote.
This is indeed true, at least of the elementary series. It's not a question of whether they "could" be covered in a month: The grammar and writing components are actually designed to be covered quickly and then applied for the remainder of the year. FWIW MCT doesn't scan well because it's a system, not a bunch of discrete components which are meant to be studied separately. Analysis is done using the whole system and on full sentences throughout the year in the practice books.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have learned that many homeschoolers are very judgmental about the term 'gifted'.

 

I think along with that comes the temptation for lots of parents to claim their child is gifted when they are not. If I had a nickel for every time I was told (or read) "My child is four but is doing 3rd grade work" or "My child is 6 but reads at a 33rd-grade level" I would be far, far wealthier than I am now.

 

I believe that there are kids who can do these things. I don't believe that it's possible for me to have encountered so many of them in my adult life.

 

I was in gifted education when I was in school. I don't think I am gifted. I did well in school, but I don't think that equates to giftedness. I think homeschoolers in general really want to validate what they do and point to their children's strengths as "gifts." My daughter is very bright. I have been pushed by people to label her gifted. I don't think she is, but when you have a chorus of people crowing "Gifted! Gifted!" at you, hey, it'd be pretty easy to succumb, eh? (My mom told me my daughter was gifted when she said her first word at what my mom considered an early age.) I think that too many people misunderstand what "gifted" means.

 

Tara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't looked at MCT much, but I can see where the op is possibly coming from. If one has what they term a normal child (what do you call a child who isn't gifted?) they are not likely to give a program claiming to be for gifted children a second glance. If MCT was marketing itself as a gifted program (I don't even know if it is) then it would be limiting its niche market.

 

On the flip side, if the only thing that makes MCT appropriate for gifted children is that you go through the material faster or start at a different level, how is that much different than any other program out of the market?

 

Perhaps someone can explain better MCT's position for the sake of those who are interested.

 

Is the material geared for gifted children or is it just that the pacing may be better suited for gifted? Do you add various components based on a child's ability? If one has a normal child will they need to tweak, slow down, add review?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if MCT's materials were initially written for gifted kids or not but Royal Fireworks Press is marketing to gifted kids. Also, in the MCT materials, it says the labels or for public school and given the 1:1 nature of the homeschool that kids can often do it earlier than the age ranges given.

 

I talked to a friend of mine about MCT. SHe's a teacher. I wrote up one of the stories in Grammar Island and sent her my son's story about adverbs which was modeled on one of MCT's stories. She said that most kids wouldn't GET it. You know the cute stories where the parts of speech are the characters in the story and the adverb is looking for a verb to modify but it first comes upon a noun, then a pronoun etc? And likely b/c they don't teach grammar in our district, at least not at the elementary level.

 

BUT I do think it's all apart of underestimating what kids can do. If you read MCT's book Classics in the Classroom, after having done classics and grammar w/ gifted kids, he was given a basic (ie below grade level) class. he didn't know any other way to teach so he taught them the same way as the gifted class w/ modification. He COULDN"T go as FAST and couldn't cover as much material, but these kids GOT IT! In fact, the Principal sat in on one of his classes and thought it was the gifted kids to hear these kids talk about literature and compare characters across classical books, and language and metaphors and poetry. So I think for HSers in a 1:1 situation following a classical model of education, ignore the gifted label for MCT materials.

 

As far as the materials, what is meaty to some is not meaty enough for others. Isn't it great we have so much choice?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month.

 

Perhaps doing the entire grammar book in a month is part of why the program is labeled for gifted kids? Perhaps same-age non-gifted children couldn't absorb the info in a month?

 

I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is.

 

Well, people keep asking.

I personally don't care if MCT LA is for gifted kids or not. I care that it works for me and my kid.

 

I suspect that in a few months as more people try MCT LA, we'll have more threads about people not liking it, and more used copies of it will pop up on the sale boards.

 

If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

Hum. Samples are only part of the full product and as such have limitiations. A poor sample does not necessarily indicate an inferior product. A great sample does not necessarily indicate the entire product is superior.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to imagine why you might be put off by a "gifted" label on a curriculum; after all, the meaning of "gifted" in an educational context is that one needs deeper, faster, or more content-filled curriculum.

 

I didn't say I was put off, since I am currently using it (and I said we all love it). And already, having only used Grammar Town & Poetry (for one month) I can see what you mean - it is deeper & faster than anything we've used. I'm thrilled with it, but since my son is not gifted and is doing just fine, I wouldn't want people to think "Oh, my kids are average so I can't use MCT". We are getting so much out of it and the kids are truly having a blast during our class time, that I'd love *everybody* to try it! :D (I realize everybody has different learning/teaching styles, but our enthusiasm is running high right now :thumbup: )

 

With that said, we have NOT started the writing or vocab portion (that happens next week), so perhaps the "gifted" label will become apparent to me very soon. :scared:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe one of the precepts in the "gifted" label is the belief that a well-explained idea doesn't need to be repeated multiple times with a gifted student. That the reiteration that might benefit a student who is not "gifted" may be detrimental to keeping a child who has already gotten the point engaged.

 

So rather than hammering away at a lesson that's already understood, with a gifted program you move on to other topics, or a take deeper look at the topic at hand.

 

Something like that.

 

Bill

 

Excellent way of putting it, Bill. Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't looked at MCT much, but I can see where the op is possibly coming from. If one has what they term a normal child (what do you call a child who isn't gifted?) they are not likely to give a program claiming to be for gifted children a second glance. If MCT was marketing itself as a gifted program (I don't even know if it is) then it would be limiting its niche market.

 

On the flip side, if the only thing that makes MCT appropriate for gifted children is that you go through the material faster or start at a different level, how is that much different than any other program out of the market?

 

Perhaps someone can explain better MCT's position for the sake of those who are interested.

 

Is the material geared for gifted children or is it just that the pacing may be better suited for gifted? Do you add various components based on a child's ability? If one has a normal child will they need to tweak, slow down, add review?

 

Daisy, thank you! THAT'S what I was trying to ask and to say. I'd hate for them to limit themselves, because anyone could slow the program down a bit and get just as much out of it. And you are right...many programs are paced differently. TOG is a perfect example: some people take 2 weeks to do one "TOG week". I appreciate you rewording my thoughts! :hurray:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, there was a mention in a thread maybe a week or two ago saying that the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month. I'll have to see if I can dig up the exact quote.

 

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

I don't know if things have changed, but previously you stated that you didn't even bother looking at any of the components (aside from one grammar book, on one level) of MCT because you were not interested in an integrated language arts curriculum, when that's what this is: an integrated language arts curriculum.

 

I'm sorry that it offends you that the people using MCT rave about how wonderfully well it's working with their children. But I kind of enjoy hearing success stories, and I'm captivated by the previews of the materials I've seen.

 

Why is it a "problem" that a single component might be covered in a month? The point of the program is to introduce an idea, explain it well, and then to apply the idea (and others) in the other portions of the series.

 

That's why it's aimed at "gifted" students and doesn't include the degree of repetition other programs might include. Why is that a "problem"?

 

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll clarify for my posts and my reference. When I discuss gifted I am referring to children who have tested at three deviations from normal or greater on IQ and achievement testing. That is not everyone's definition of "gifted" by any means. Technically the term comes into play with testing results above 140 on most standardized tests. PS's do not follow the same labeling system and gifted can be as low as 125-130 in some districts so I can understand the confusion with "so many gifted".

 

MCT just added to parts of their websites to help homeschoolers with determining levels for all children, not just "gifted" ones. :)

Edited by melmichigan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, there was a mention in a thread maybe a week or two ago saying that the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month. I'll have to see if I can dig up the exact quote.

 

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

You won't need to dig up the quote. It's in the RFWP schedule for the materials. For the record, it took us two months to cover Grammar Voyage. We covered basically the same material at a more advanced level than we did with Easy Grammar 5 which took 180 days of doing 5 pages a day. Some kids (and adults) revel in that kind of repetition. We didn't. We continue to do 4 Practice Voyage sentences a week.

 

However, as you know because you have been on numerous MCT threads, the grammar instruction continues in the vocabulary book, the poetry book, and the writing book. Grammar is the foundation of the MCT program. I sound like a broken record.

 

My experience with MCT has been that those happiest with it are the ones who looked at the previews and said, "Oh yeah, this is it." Immediate connection. Call it love at first sight, if you will. Then there are those like myself who looked at the materials, were intrigued, got it home, and said, "Is this all there is?" Now, after putting in our time using the program and all of its components, we've found a deep satisfaction. Maybe my math/science guy would be excited about words and their beauty if I used R & S. I don't know.

 

I've tried to stay away from these threads. There are several really capable posters that are willing to answer MCT questions in depth. The nose thumbing, and nit picking is wearisome. No one here really claims that MCT is a miracle cure anymore than TOG, R& S, Miquon, Singapore, or Dolciani. Use what works for you. If the preview doesn't turn your crank, than move on and spend the energy actively teaching something that does excite you.

 

I didn't choose MCT because I am under the delusion that Swimmer Dude is gifted. He's most definitely not. I picked MCT because there was a beauty to some of the language used that I had not seen in other programs.

 

I was going to use husbands as an analogy here and talk about peeling back the layers, plumbing the depths, and how first looks aren't everything but that would probably violate several board rules.:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

With that said, we have NOT started the writing or vocab portion (that happens next week), so perhaps the "gifted" label will become apparent to me very soon. :scared:

 

:iagree: We just started the Voyage level here. I'm not blown away by the grammar book, but the vocab and writing books are much different than anything else I've seen for elementary l arts. I think most kids would do just fine with it if they had the benefit of a one-on-one teacher who can move at the right pace for them--but I could see how in a school setting it would be reserved for gifted kids who could keep up with so much material at that age.

 

I'm impressed with it so far, especially the focus on clear essay writing rather than all the dress-ups we've been doing in IEW. I don't know if I'd call myself a 'groupie' but I can see what all the excitement is about.

Edited by homeschoolally
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I didn't choose MCT because I am under the delusion that Swimmer Dude is gifted. He's most definitely not. I picked MCT because there was a beauty to some of the language used that I had not seen in other programs.

 

 

I whole-heartedly agree. (I have to interject that as I type this, I can hear my son & dd discussing "eye rhyme" while they're picking grapefruit.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just for the record, according to the RFWP website:

 

"Homeschooling parents should be aware that although the Royal Fireworks Language Arts Curriculum by Michael Clay Thompson is intended for very gifted students in a school setting, it can be used with most children in a home setting. This is because homeschooling is so productive in developing and nurturing the abilities of children."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I whole-heartedly agree. (I have to interject that as I type this, I can hear my son & dd discussing "eye rhyme" while they're picking grapefruit.)
LOL. My eldest is the self professed Queen of the Near-Rhyme. :D
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've looked all thought the Royal Fireworks Press Language Arts Curriculum catalogue. Isn't until the very last page, does it discuss gifted kids and MCT language arts materials simply stating that the materials have been used in gifted and talented classrooms across the country. Likely b/c since grammar has been taken out of the regular classroom, teachers can use this for their G&T cluster since the kids have mastered grade level material already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, there was a mention in a thread maybe a week or two ago saying that the entire grammar component in MCT could be done in a single month. I'll have to see if I can dig up the exact quote.

 

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

OUCH. Good grief. Why do you read the MCT threads if you are so disinterested? Different strokes for different folks. It is just rude to rain on other peoples' parade. Goodness!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just for the record, according to the RFWP website:

 

"Homeschooling parents should be aware that although the Royal Fireworks Language Arts Curriculum by Michael Clay Thompson is intended for very gifted students in a school setting, it can be used with most children in a home setting. This is because homeschooling is so productive in developing and nurturing the abilities of children."

 

I like the sound of that. :tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with you in questioning the "gifted" label for MCT materials, but for a different reason. I looked through a copy of the elementary level grammar materials a friend owns. For a curriculum aimed at gifted kids, I didn't think it was very "meaty" in terms of content. I was frankly expecting a lot more rigorous content from something designed for GATE. If anything, it seemed like it covered less than a number of the other grammar programs that do not bill themselves as being for gifted kids.

 

I was actually pretty slow to warm to the materials myself. Looking at the samples online, I was pretty underwhelmed. And the level of hype itself lately can be rather off-putting! ;) ... But some of the people raving are actually posters whose opinions I've come to respect over the years I've been reading the WTM boards. So I kept going back and looking more...

 

It was only after I read through the pdf "Curriculum Guides" (there's one for elementary and one for secondary, but they're nearly identical) and saw how all of the elements worked together that I *began* to be drawn in. So I looked more closely with the "big picture" in mind.

 

And finally, lol, I decided that the only way to know for sure if this was *really* any good -- or not! -- was to go ahead and get my hands on a *whole* set... I ordered the Town series with my 7yo in mind. Looking at the Island materials *still* doesn't much interest me. And I figured if I ordered something that was too challenging for dd, we could use it a little later on, but if it were too easy, I'd be stuck (as I don't currently have anybody coming along after her).

 

My first thought was that Grammar Town isn't all that challenging. It spends a lot of time on the parts of speech... But the phrases and clauses information *is* stuff that goes beyond what other programs I've used at this age would include. There's a bit more there than first meets the eye.

 

The vocabulary, on the other hand (Caesar's English 1) *is* pretty good, and definitely more than many other grammar programs geared for middle or late elementary. Still, as an element on its own, it doesn't blow me away. But combine it with the Practice sentences (that give near-daily practice parsing sentences according to the pattern of the grammar books and include vocabulary words from the vocabulary program), and things start to get interesting.

 

I haven't had a chance to use Paragraph Town enough to feel confident about my remarks there... Maybe next month. ;)

 

But it was the poetry book that really sold me on the whole. Suddenly kids *are* approaching poetry in ways that they're almost completely denied in other programs. They get to talk about sound and rhyme and meter using sophisticated language and examples, but in very relatable ways. There's no sense that they're being patronized. They read pieces of real poetry and analyze them for sound patterns and rhyme schemes and complex meter patterns and just plain old beauty.

 

And, of course, the grammar and the vocabulary come into play with the poetry book...

 

I now have the complete Town level and the complete Magic Lens 1 (ordered it for my ds for this coming fall) along with Essay Voyage (which I thought I might work through with him before we start Academic Writing 1) and the Voyage-level poetry book. I'm liking what I see for Academic Writing and Poetry and Humanity and Word Within the Word. There really *is* a lot there... I was sort of disappointed that some of the poetry examples repeat from year to year, I was hoping for *more* -- but they do go deeper from year to year and the selections get larger (and there are *more* examples)... Still, definitely one of the best series for drawing kids into poetry and giving them the chance to have conversations that include but go far beyond "I like it" / "I don't like it"...

 

So, yeah, I understand where you're coming from. The samples aren't terribly compelling, to my mind. It works best if you view each level as a whole, not as the individual elements... And there *are* other good programs out there. I'm not planning to drop some of the other things my kids were already doing. But I do think it's good. Aspects of it are *really* good. The way the vocabulary works across the various elements, the fantastic poetry materials... I also ordered Jefferson's Truths to do with the kids next year when we get back around to the Declaration.

 

Anyway, I'm glad I kept going back and looking, even though it wasn't immediately obvious what was all that great about it. (And a few little things still irk me! lol...) And I still don't find Island all that appealing, personally... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is indeed true, at least of the elementary series. It's not a question of whether they "could" be covered in a month: The grammar and writing components are actually designed to be covered quickly and then applied for the remainder of the year. FWIW MCT doesn't scan well because it's a system, not a bunch of discrete components which are meant to be studied separately. Analysis is done using the whole system and on full sentences throughout the year in the practice books.

 

 

Precisely this. It's a system of well-integrate language arts aspects that fit together beautifully, teaching concepts both independently and contextually. Spending 10 minutes looking at one book is like spending 10 minutes feeling the elephant's tail and using that as your sole basis of describing the elephant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two of my dc fall into a gifted range if based on IQ. I don't know about the third. However, I positively detest the term "gifted." :001_huh: And that in and of itself, even though I was terribly tempted by MCT, made me reconsider buying the program. Silly perhaps, but nonetheless, true.

 

Why do I not like the term gifted? Well, I guess that's not what this thread is about, so I will just slink away now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think along with that comes the temptation for lots of parents to claim their child is gifted when they are not. If I had a nickel for every time I was told (or read) "My child is four but is doing 3rd grade work" or "My child is 6 but reads at a 33rd-grade level" I would be far, far wealthier than I am now.

 

I think that too many people misunderstand what "gifted" means.

 

I just stumbled onto this thread today -- I normally hang out on the accelerated learners board. Yes, I'm a parent of "gifted" children. I don't much like the word either, but it's what people use so I guess we're stuck with it.

 

The disdain that some people have for the "gifted" has come through loud and clear in this thread, and I just want to say that it's not exactly a walk in the park having kids like this. It would be nice if people could be a little more understanding (and less threatened) by these very real neurological differences.

 

You wouldn't speak so dismissively to a parent whose child's IQ was 40 points below normal. You would respect that they are dealing with real issues and challenges and are having to differentiate the way they teach such children. Honestly, it's the same thing when you go 40 points the other way. These kids have real issues and challenges too.

 

Yes, they are quick learners, but they often have a whole host of other negative baggage -- sensory processing disorders, extreme over-excitabilities and sensitivities, obsessive compulsive disorder, debilitating perfectionism, and an intensity that can be almost overwhelming at times. If you read the gifted e-loops sometimes, you'd find that parents aren't usually comparing curriculum notes -- they are lamenting all of the very difficult issues they have to deal with with these children. Many a time I've seen someone write, "Why can't my child just be normal?"

 

These kids are neurologically different. I'm not talking about kids who are a little bit brighter than the norm, but those who are approaching genius level (about 140 and up). Their brains are different and they need a different approach to education. Many don't get that in school, probably because people don't understand how their needs are different, and gifted underachievers make up a large percentage of the drop-out population as a result.

 

So, someone has tried to find a way to reach these kids, and I would argue that MCT has done a bang up job of it. Coincidentally, I just reviewed Grammar Island on my blog a couple of days ago because it has been so perfect for us.

 

Maybe it isn't for you and yours. So be it. It's attitudes like the ones I'm seeing here that make so many families with gifted kids hide their lights under a bushel. Most families I know who have truly gifted kids are VERY quiet about it, because they know how others will accuse them of being pushy parents or unduly boastful. Ask yourself if it's doing your country any favors to have the brightest bulbs dimmed by such attitudes.

 

So, Tara, I agree with you that a lot of people misunderstand what "gifted" means.

 

Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. :cursing:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

The difference, frankly, is that the MCT groupies have actually *used* the program, whereas if I remember correctly, you have only scanned a single component of one level of the program.

 

The MCT materials do not "scan" well. I had a set of Island level materials as well as a set of the first middle school level sitting on the shelf for a year because I couldn't figure out how to implement them by simply scanning (something that has become incredibly easy for me with most other materials). When in desperation I implemented them with both of my children earlier this year, I felt like I was stepping off a cliff planning-wise, but it became apparent very, very quickly that the magic of the MCT materials is in how they facilitate an interaction about language, an interaction that is very powerful.

 

But you can't see that without actually *using* the materials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

The disdain that some people have for the "gifted" has come through loud and clear in this thread,

 

So, Tara, I agree with you that a lot of people misunderstand what "gifted" means.

 

 

 

I read Tara's post to mean that people show misunderstanding because they apply it incorrectly....than so many children are labeled with it, it becomes a meaningless term. Correct me if I'm wrong, Tara.

 

As for the "loud and clear", I think your ears are too sensitive. The disdain is for the poor parents (and their wretched children) who just can't be normal or average, or what ever term you wish to apply, and have to fluff themselves up by calling their merely bright-eyed kid "gifted". And the marketers who prey upon them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, Tara, I agree with you that a lot of people misunderstand what "gifted" means.

 

 

 

I think you completely misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was talking about how people label their bright kids gifted when they are not truly gifted. I *know* that truly gifted kids are different.

 

Tara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you completely misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was talking about how people label their bright kids gifted when they are not truly gifted. I *know* that truly gifted kids are different.

 

Maybe so, and for that I apologize. I picked your quote to respond to, but it wasn't the only one that got my hackles up a little tonight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I keep bringing it up being underwhelmed by my preview of the materials because I'm sick of hearing all the MCT groupies going on and on ad nauseum about how wonderful the program supposedly is. If it really was all that it's hyped to be, that ought to be apparent upon a preview of the materials. It's not.

 

This was another such post.

 

If it doesn't work for you, don't use it. I can't tell you how many times I have bought things that parents of typical children raved about, only to find that it didn't meet our needs. MCT's program does meet our needs, and it is one of very few things that does. You can understand that parents like myself might be quite elated by that.

 

I'm sure it wouldn't be a great fit for everyone. The humour is subtle, the tasks asked of the child generally require higher-order thinking, there is no drill, and it requires a parent who is willing to sit with the child and discuss the materials (with little assistance from a teacher's guide -- unlike FLL which actually scripts out the discussion).

 

If those aren't things you are comfortable with, I can see how you would be disappointed in the materials.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think along with that comes the temptation for lots of parents to claim their child is gifted when they are not. If I had a nickel for every time I was told (or read) "My child is four but is doing 3rd grade work" or "My child is 6 but reads at a 33rd-grade level" I would be far, far wealthier than I am now.

 

I agree. I was in a mom's group and at one of our meetings we were discussing the topic of gifted children. Every mother in that room (11 of them) claimed to have a gifted child and could give 'evidence' as to why her dear children were gifted. They were talking as if being gifted was the norm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MCT materials do not "scan" well. I had a set of Island level materials as well as a set of the first middle school level sitting on the shelf for a year because I couldn't figure out how to implement them by simply scanning (something that has become incredibly easy for me with most other materials). When in desperation I implemented them with both of my children earlier this year, I felt like I was stepping off a cliff planning-wise, but it became apparent very, very quickly that the magic of the MCT materials is in how they facilitate an interaction about language, an interaction that is very powerful.

 

But you can't see that without actually *using* the materials.

 

I just wanted to re-state this, because it is truly the beauty of the program. It is all about you and your child having a discussion about language, and the program allows you to structure that discussion in a Socratic way. So while a typical grammar program might contain an exahustive list of every term imaginable, and exercises that relate specifically to that term, the MCT materials are more about discussing the pattern language of, well, language.

 

Complaining that you looked through the samples or looked through a friend's material and didn't see what the fuss was about is like complaining that you don't see the difference between Singapore Mathematics and a dollar-store math skills drill--after all, they are both full of addition and subtraction problems! It's when you are actually using the materials and going back and forth about how to break numbers down for mental math and what that means about how the idea of numbers work in base ten that you see the difference.

 

So if you don't want to use the program, fine, that's the beauty of homeschooling, but there's no need to complain about others discussing it and using it. It just makes you look foolish, frankly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if things have changed, but previously you stated that you didn't even bother looking at any of the components (aside from one grammar book, on one level) of MCT because you were not interested in an integrated language arts curriculum, when that's what this is: an integrated language arts curriculum.

 

 

No, I did not just glance at the online sample or just at one level. I looked at all 3 levels of the elementary MCT grammar in person. I probably wouldn't have been so disappointed if it wasn't marketed as GATE and hyped so much in g&t circles. It struck me as a cute format but pretty light on content.

 

I actually would consider using it with my 2nd, who is gifted in math & science but only average verbally. I don't need to worry so much with him about finding a program "meaty" enough to keep him from finishing the whole darn thing in a couple of days on his own "just for fun" :tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hi

 

I found this thread while researching about MCT. I'm considering this for a 7 yr old (nephew), though I dont think gifted would find this program more equip for him. I'm glad to find out that its not necessarily for "gifted"(based on IQ testing) kids only. Your discussions have been enlightening. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...