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So, who hasn't liked MCT? Why?


snickelfritz
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I find the amount of love for it to be fascinating and am keeping an eye on the year-long usage results to see if I want to use it next year. :D

 

We have some new curriculum this year that I have definitely developed a :001_tt1: for, so I'm not knocking MCT. I'm just wondering what type of teaching/learning style MCT is a hit for and what type it's a miss for.

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There was a similar thread a few months back....perhaps it's been more like 6 months. You might try to search for it. I think kids who like "just the facts" won't like MCT. Some older kids find the Island level and Town level books babyish.

 

We LOVE MCT so that's all I have to contribute to this thread. :lol:

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I'd say a down side to it (for some people) is that it's not really made for the child to do independently and requires a lot of parent involvement. I can't say that I don't like MCT due to this reason but there are days that I miss using a grammar program that my child could do independently. I do think the benefits of the program outweigh this one con that I've found with it but I do know there are others out there who prefer a more independent approach. :)

 

It is likely easier for an older child to do on their own but I can't imagine turning my child loose on their own with the Island or Town level books.

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There was a similar thread a few months back....perhaps it's been more like 6 months.

 

You mean it's been around that long? I feel like it poofed out of thin air and exploded in popularity.:lol: Probably because I try to only pay attention to what I will be using in the near future. Too overwhelming, otherwise.

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You mean it's been around that long? I feel like it poofed out of thin air and exploded in popularity.:lol: Probably because I try to only pay attention to what I will be using in the near future. Too overwhelming, otherwise.

 

Where have you been? :lol:

 

Maybe she was being a good girl and avoiding the MCT threads lest she get robot-assimilation.gif

 

:smilielol5::smilielol5::smilielol5:

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I love the vocabulary portion and the "story" format but the way he has chosen to organize the grammar portion absolutely drives. me. up. the. wall. :auto:

 

Why oh why couldn't he have just put everything pertaining to a given topic in ONE place, logically organized and easy to find the way FLL is organized? My DD was doing a sentence in Practice Town this morning and got confused about a preposition. I wound up pulling out our old copy of FLL 1/2 because it was faster to do that than trying figure out where in the heck the pertinent information is in MCT.

 

I do feel that the pros outweigh the cons overall.

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I love the vocabulary portion and the "story" format but the way he has chosen to organize the grammar portion absolutely drives. me. up. the. wall. :auto:

 

Why oh why couldn't he have just put everything pertaining to a given topic in ONE place, logically organized and easy to find the way FLL is organized? My DD was doing a sentence in Practice Town this morning and got confused about a preposition. I wound up pulling out our old copy of FLL 1/2 because it was faster to do that than trying figure out where in the heck the pertinent information is in MCT.

 

I do feel that the pros outweigh the cons overall.

 

I agree that the grammar organization is awkward when you want to look something up!!

 

MCT's next book should be a grammar REFERENCE book logically organized. . . Maybe even two levels -- one Voyage level & one Ultimate (through ML3) level.

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The book I used for looking up grammar topics is Warriner's. I believe, I saw MCT recommend this book at the yahoo group. SWB also recommended this book in her Writing in the High School years MP3. A few weeks ago, someone here posted a link to a Classical HSing website and she, the website author, also recommended Warriner's. My friend used this book in high school and had recommended it to me before I even saw the other reviews. It has diagramming in it as well as exercises.

 

here's a link. http://www.amazon.com/English-Composition-Grammar-Complete-Course/dp/0153117362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286892325&sr=8-1

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The book I used for looking up grammar topics is Warriner's. I believe, I saw MCT recommend this book at the yahoo group. SWB also recommended this book in her Writing in the High School years MP3. A few weeks ago, someone here posted a link to a Classical HSing website and she, the website author, also recommended Warriner's. My friend used this book in high school and had recommended it to me before I even saw the other reviews. It has diagramming in it as well as exercises.

 

here's a link. http://www.amazon.com/English-Composition-Grammar-Complete-Course/dp/0153117362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286892325&sr=8-1

 

 

This is a great resource. I have a copy I found at a thrift store. For the price (used) at this Amazon link, it would be a bargain for a very nice grammar reference. You could even teach grammar using this as reference and making up sentences for drill or sentences from your literature. Cheap and easy!

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I spent a lot of time looking at it. Went to a couple of workshops about it, talked to the vendor but in the end went with something else. I personally wanted everything in one place. I also wanted my kids to memorize more classical poetry than the poetry that MCT personally wrote. (Although, I thought that was impressive)

 

I wanted my kids to be able to diagram sentences in a more traditional way. It seemed like a great curriculum but just didn't fit the goals I had in mind. My kids already had a strong background in Grammar and I didn't want to have to re-teach everything to fit the MCT format. Not to mention, it was expensive for three kids.

 

One of my friends who had never seen or heard of MCT until I started researching it, bought it and loves it.

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The font. I hate the font.

I loved the books when I first started them. THen after a few weeks of using them, they really started to annoy me. I love sitting with my kids and reading, discussing and such, but I needed a bit more. The writing in the lower level at least wasn't structured enough for me. The grammar doesn't have punctuation - that I could find so I had to add that. So after adding writing and a grammar that included punctuation I didn't have time to do the MCt. The vocabulary didn't excite us at all. A higher level of vacab might have been a better fit.

 

This year, I picked it up again to do just the poetry since I needed a poetry unit. I am enjoying the poetry unit as a stand-alone thing. I plan to try the grammar with my youngest after she starts reading fluently.

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I have all elements of Island level and have barely dipped my toes in the water. I need the structure and flow of Shurley for my wee ones. (Just wrote about this in the Shurley post this AM.)

 

We also learn a bit of grammar at CC, tons in WWE 1 & 3, FLL (with dd6) -- and we bring grammar into EVERY element of school. (Grammar Saves Lives! is a FB 'flair' I created a year ago. :))

 

Dd7 loves reading MOTH, GI & SI for fun. Haven't tackled the other pieces yet. Soon. :)

 

We will eventually do CC's Essentials of the English Language which reminds me a bit of MCT & Shurley combined.

 

So much grammar. So little time.

 

Dd 8th is working through WWtW on Quizlet. She tolerates it. I threaten to get her Wordly Wise and then she quits complaining about WWtW. :001_smile: She'd rather learn vocab via lit.

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We purchased the Grammar Island set last year to begin this year. When it arrived, we were both too excited to wait. So, we shelved what we were doing (CLE 3) for a while and dove into MCT. It was a very nice change of pace...a warm snuggly time on the couch. Dd enjoyed the format and absorbed the information. I was very impressed with what she retained, re: the parts of speech, and her ability to work through the 4-step analysis in the Practice Island book. We enjoyed getting started with MotH and BL. I agree the vocab is not spectacular at this level, but it did open up a lot of discussions and fit well with the stories we were reading about in FMR. I did have a little trouble wrapping my mind around how to implement the writing assignments, but we didn't get very deep into Sentence Island before the year was through.

 

What it covers, MCT covers beautifully. My issue was what it didn't cover...some of the nuts and bolts that we had been learning in CLE. Now, I'll again reiterate that we only began SI, so more capitalization, punctuation, etc. could be in there. Also, it would be very easy to add these things in with a supplement, if not. I decided that this year we would finish CLE 3 (we're now on the last week of 309) and then reread Grammar Island and restart Practice Island and some of the supplements. We'll likely spend a six week chunk solely on MCT--rereading GI (this will only take about 3 wks) and then getting solidly back into PI. We'll read through the others, even SI, though I don't plan to use it as our writing program. Then, we will go into CLE 4 while doing a PI sentence a day as well.

 

While I liked using MCT immensely and look forward to getting back into it, I decided I would use MCT in a more supplementary way than as our main grammar. I like the thoroughness of material covered in CLE. I also like the balance that using both gives me--CLE encourages independent work while MCT gives us a more "warm and snuggly on the couch" approach to grammar. Yes, it is expensive as just a supplement, but, since we were too anxious to wait and started it early (dd was working a year ahead in CLE), I'll be getting two years worth of use for one level. Also, in my opinion, it is worth the cost even when used in this manner. Since I have decided on a different path re: writing, I may not purchase the writing books in the future...at least not until the higher level ones.

 

Of course, this is just my experience. I feel MCT as the main grammar with a simple capitalization, punctuation supplement added in would also be sufficient. Different strokes for different folks. :)

Edited by Dawn E
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Of course, this is just my experience. I feel MCT as the main grammar with a simple capitalization, punctuation supplement added in would also be sufficient. Different strokes for different folks. :)

 

Just my 2 cents as this is something we did this morning. ;)

 

We are in Voyage level. Grammar Voyage to be exact.

 

We just got to the Clauses section, and it very neatly and simply explains the proper punctuation according to the type of clauses. If I remember correctly, in Town he only covered the comma/semicolon of a compound and a complex sentence and how to do it with a dependent/independent clause.

 

As the level of clause discussion was not as precise or in depth, in the lower levels... I think that is why he doesn't do as much punctuation as many of you like. He doesn't like to overwhelm with all the possibilities, he only approaches them as they come into context.

 

I would think that any 3rd grader should know when to capitalize, and it does not belong in these books. Sorry.

 

Again, my basic opinion is that I trust that MCT will get to it when something is developmentally appropriate. So far, I have not been disappointed. If he doesn't cover something yet, that doesn't mean it won't be addressed later, and if it is important to me to point out, I do. I am constantly adding to all our curriculum with my own opinions, ideas and input.

 

Now, I am not sure if this belong in a "who hasn't liked MCT" thread. I am sick and on cold medication. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.:D

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Just my 2 cents as this is something we did this morning. ;)

 

We are in Voyage level. Grammar Voyage to be exact.

 

We just got to the Clauses section, and it very neatly and simply explains the proper punctuation according to the type of clauses. If I remember correctly, in Town he only covered the comma/semicolon of a compound and a complex sentence and how to do it with a dependent/independent clause.

 

As the level of clause discussion was not as precise or in depth, in the lower levels... I think that is why he doesn't do as much punctuation as many of you like. He doesn't like to overwhelm with all the possibilities, he only approaches them as they come into context.

 

I would think that any 3rd grader should know when to capitalize, and it does not belong in these books. Sorry.

 

Again, my basic opinion is that I trust that MCT will get to it when something is developmentally appropriate. So far, I have not been disappointed. If he doesn't cover something yet, that doesn't mean it won't be addressed later, and if it is important to me to point out, I do. I am constantly adding to all our curriculum with my own opinions, ideas and input.

 

Now, I am not sure if this belong in a "who hasn't liked MCT" thread. I am sick and on cold medication. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.:D

 

:iagree:

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I would think that any 3rd grader should know when to capitalize, and it does not belong in these books. Sorry.

 

 

I am trying to understand exactly what this implies. Do you think it is innate, learned through reading, or something that should have been covered prior to third grade? Otherwise, some instruction needs to take place, and if you choose to use MCT you will need to supplement that...which was my point. I think the materials are great...definitely not trying to anger those who also think they are great.

 

But this does lead into my deeper questioning of MCT...if we are going to trust him to introduce things at an appropriate level. And that question is this...if these materials initially were developed for gifted children's programs, and, as far as I am aware of, there are no exclusively gifted children's classrooms that meet more than one or two days a week, was there an assumption when he developed these materials that they would be in addition to the traditional grammar programs that children were already being instructed in in the classroom during the rest of the week?

Edited by Dawn E
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There are plenty of gifted classrooms that meet daily. I grew up in them. From 4th - 8th grade, I was in exclusively gifted classes in public schools in VA. The only time I saw "regular" kids was when we were walking through the halls to get to lunch or gym, but I was ALWAYS with just the class of gifted kids. In high school, the gifted kids were in the same building as the regular kids, but we still had 100% gifted classes for most subjects. English, Science, Math, History, etc were all in 100% dedicated gifted classes.

 

The only classes I had from 4th-12th grade in which I mixed with regular students were. . . Gym in 7th-10th, Art one year in high school, gourmet cooking one year in high school, creative writing one yr in high school, French 1-3 in high school. Our AP classes were technically "mixed" but back then it was rare that a non-GT kid signed up for AP, so the AP classes in jr & sr year were pretty much 100% the same kids who had been in the GT classes in prior years. That was Fairfax Cty, VA in the 80s. At the time, it was the top ranked public school system in the country. Not sure how it's changed. . .

 

Of course, there are also private schools that are solely for gifted kids. The fact that the private gifted kids' school in NoVA was over 20k/yr per child was one of the factors that helped us commit to hs'ing. :)

 

So, I'd imagine that MCT materials are aimed at classrooms such as those I describe. The meet-once-a-week GT programs would have a hard time implementing something as substantial as MCT LA.

 

ETA: In Fairfax County, the GT classrooms I experienced are now called "Level 4 or Center" classrooms. I attended the Center based ones (with bunches of GT kids drawn from several schools). Now they also have Level 4 "in school" rooms in which one class of GT kids is kept in their local school. They appear to still have the same general system of Centers, with the added local classrooms, plus 3 levels of less intensive GT programming for less "highly gifted" students.

Edited by StephanieZ
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There are plenty of gifted classrooms that meet daily. I grew up in them. From 4th - 8th grade, I was in exclusively gifted classes in public schools in VA. The only time I saw "regular" kids was when we were walking through the halls to get to lunch or gym, but I was ALWAYS with just the class of gifted kids. In high school, the gifted kids were in the same building as the regular kids, but we still had 100% gifted classes for most subjects. English, Science, Math, History, etc were all in 100% dedicated gifted classes.

 

The only classes I had from 4th-12th grade in which I mixed with regular students were. . . Gym in 7th-10th, Art one year in high school, gourmet cooking one year in high school, creative writing one yr in high school, French 1-3 in high school. Our AP classes were technically "mixed" but back then it was rare that a non-GT kid signed up for AP, so the AP classes in jr & sr year were pretty much 100% the same kids who had been in the GT classes in prior years. That was Fairfax Cty, VA in the 80s. At the time, it was the top ranked public school system in the country. Not sure how it's changed. . .

 

Of course, there are also private schools that are solely for gifted kids. The fact that the private gifted kids' school in NoVA was over 20k/yr per child was one of the factors that helped us commit to hs'ing. :)

 

So, I'd imagine that MCT materials are aimed at classrooms such as those I describe. The meet-once-a-week GT programs would have a hard time implementing something as substantial as MCT LA.

 

ETA: In Fairfax County, the GT classrooms I experienced are now called "Level 4 or Center" classrooms. I attended the Center based ones (with bunches of GT kids drawn from several schools). Now they also have Level 4 "in school" rooms in which one class of GT kids is kept in their local school. They appear to still have the same general system of Centers, with the added local classrooms, plus 3 levels of less intensive GT programming for less "highly gifted" students.

 

Our state has always had once a week classes for gifted students--despite the level of giftedness. It was my mistake to make assumptions based on what I know instead of perhaps what is a norm I was not aware of.

 

Still, as much as I like MCT and think Thompson is brilliant in his presentation of grammar concepts, I personally prefer it as a supplement. For me, and for my dd, that works. For others, it works as a stand alone. I wanted to offer an opinion for the OP who was looking for possible downfalls to the program...and, again, only in my opinion, it is lacking things I prefer to teach at this level. Everyone is different regarding the idea of a solid elementary grammar program and many don't even see the need to introduce formal grammar until middle school. We are obviously not all going to agree.

Edited by Dawn E
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Our state has always had once a week classes for gifted students--despite the level of giftedness. It was my mistake to make assumptions based on what I know instead of perhaps what is a norm I was not aware of.

 

My school had nothing for gifted kids. Not once a week, not once a month, certainly not every day. For pretty much my entire elementary career, I was put in a corner with a couple of other kids, handed books, and told to figure it out for myself. I seem to recall in 2nd grade they just flipped the book open halfway through and had us start there. :glare:

 

You know what our state budget for gifted programs is? $0.

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I am trying to understand exactly what this implies. Do you think it is innate, learned through reading, or something that should have been covered prior to third grade? Otherwise, some instruction needs to take place, and if you choose to use MCT you will need to supplement that...which was my point. I think the materials are great...definitely not trying to anger those who also think they are great.

 

 

No, I don't think it is innate. I only think that there is not much to it, and it is not something that belongs in these books, and should mostly be understood by this time... Like a question mark, period and exclamation point.

 

MCT focuses on different things at different times. Some things he assumes have been taught already. I am sure if he wrote a first or second grade book, his capitalization section would be a hoot! He hasn't written a full curriculum though, from K-12. It is a very specific age/grade set. No matter what, you can't please everybody.

 

Don't worry about angering anyone. We are all cool. ;)

 

WendyK, my new friend, Building Language is the least interesting book of all- in my sad, little opinion. Don't let your option of that book be the indicator of the whole series.

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I am trying to understand exactly what this implies. Do you think it is innate, learned through reading, or something that should have been covered prior to third grade? Otherwise, some instruction needs to take place, and if you choose to use MCT you will need to supplement that...which was my point. I think the materials are great...definitely not trying to anger those who also think they are great.

 

But this does lead into my deeper questioning of MCT...if we are going to trust him to introduce things at an appropriate level. And that question is this...if these materials initially were developed for gifted children's programs, and, as far as I am aware of, there are no exclusively gifted children's classrooms that meet more than one or two days a week, was there an assumption when he developed these materials that they would be in addition to the traditional grammar programs that children were already being instructed in in the classroom during the rest of the week?

 

I think that since MCT Island is marketed towards GT 3rd grade or regular 4th, that he does assume that spelling, writing, capitalization, and basic punctuation is understood. I started Island with a profoundly gifted 3rd grader last year. We did (and do) quite a bit more writing than they recommend, but it worked great for us. He was reading at high school level, and writing/spelling at jr. high level at the time. The books seemed surprisingly simple. But it led to much discussion and application that I wouldn't have thought of ahead of time. BL was our least favorite, but again, it did lead to open ended discussion and application.

 

There are a 5-6 full time gifted magnet schools within 2 hours of us (we're in a major metro area). I know at least a couple of them are using this curriculum as their core.

 

So I know I'm an MCT lover on this thread. But I will be the first to admit, it's not the curriculum for everyone. It's teacher intensive, it doesn't have much practice/reinforcement, it presents a whole picture immediately, it doesn't diagram, etc. But for my oldest, it's almost a perfect presentation and I can't really say that about any other curriculum. My kindergartner followed along with Island last year and loved the stories. She's tagging along for Town this year too. But I'm definitely going to come back at it for her when she's writing well on her own. I think coming at it with a child who's really ready to apply all the concepts presented is valuable.

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I think that since MCT Island is marketed towards GT 3rd grade or regular 4th, that he does assume that spelling, writing, capitalization, and basic punctuation is understood. I started Island with a profoundly gifted 3rd grader last year. We did (and do) quite a bit more writing than they recommend, but it worked great for us. He was reading at high school level, and writing/spelling at jr. high level at the time. The books seemed surprisingly simple. But it led to much discussion and application that I wouldn't have thought of ahead of time. BL was our least favorite, but again, it did lead to open ended discussion and application.

 

 

One issue, though, is that since MCT has opened up to the homeschool market, not everyone using it is teaching a profoundly gifted or even gifted child. (ETA: I think a lot of people are beginning in 3rd and earlier despite the recommendations). Consequently it can't be assumed that it is a complete program for those who may not have the expected skills. Programs like WT1, intended to begin at 3rd grade, spend a lot of time on skills like punctuation and capitalization, because at this age most students need practice in building that knowledge.

 

I happen to be teaching a gifted student who started GI last year in 2nd grade easily...probably could have much earlier. Even though she gets it and the deeper nuances are great...I prefer the balance I get between using MCT and a traditional program. This way I can have my cake and eat it to. Is this way for everyone? Nope. But it is an alternative that some may prefer.

Edited by Dawn E
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I am loving this thread! This discussion is very helpful to me.

 

Now for my question... Those of you who have used MCT -- is it really enough to get the lower-priced basic homeschool package rather than the complete set? I was doubting my purchase (for next year) of the basic package. Has anyone bought the basic package and then regretted not getting the complete package?

 

The lower priced one is fine for the lower 3 levels (Island, Town, and Voyage). You'd want the complete package for the last 3.

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First, I want to go on record that I love MCT for the most part. However, there are a few deficiencies that I see.

 

It is not a complete language arts program. There is no instruction on capitalization and very little on punctuation. These things need to be taught separately and it is easy to forget to do it systematically if it's not in the program.

 

There is very little emphasis on what modifiers are modifying (at least in the first three levels).

 

There is no diagramming.

 

It is very difficult to schedule.

 

It isn't transparent in the sense that it is very difficult to flip through the books and get an idea of how it would play out day to day.

 

The pictures don't thrill me.

 

It is extremely expensive.

 

If your child struggles with writing, MCT isn't going to be too helpful without some major input from you.

 

I can't stand most of the assignments and am always modifying them.

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This is going to sound shallow and lame...but I dismissed the curriculum as soon as I saw the font and design used on the sample pages for grammar island.

 

I think it's a stupid font and I hate it, lol. From a design standpoint I also despise the page layout.

 

So there..I told you it was shallow and lame, but these are things I just cannot get past :) .

Edited by ShutterBug
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I was "meh" on the MCT line until I saw him speak at a convention, and then I thought he was so bloody brilliant that I had to try some of the books.

 

Grammar: still pretty "meh" on this. I do like the idea of the 4-level analysis (and we have used it), love the practice sentences and his commentary, don't like the actual grammar books at the lower levels. I do have The Magic Lens, which may be worth reading for myself and then discussing, but below that, the actual grammar books don't grab us. At all. And the time required doesn't have the payoff that the vocab does for us, so just not worth it.

 

Ceasar's English: my 5th grader is passionately in love with this! she loooooves reading through it, pinning down the nuances of words, discussing the quotes, the whole nine yards. And she isn't even my word girl, I was pretty surprised. I didn't buy Word within a Word for my older dd, b/c I thought it looked utterly confusing and nothing like CE, so I can't speak to that one.

 

Essay Voyage: we haven't used this yet, I have been reading over it and really am not in love with the look/feel of it, but I think it may require that group reading/discussion to really take off. I'm going to try and tackle that soon.

 

Poetics: haven't started this either, shame on me! I think it will be enjoyable in much the same way CE is, though.

 

And I actually have several more that we haven't used yet, but that look great (Classics in the Classroom, the ones on Jefferson and Lincoln, oh he has much of my money). As others have stated, these are not books you hand to the kids to get their language arts done. They are teacher and time intensive, and you really can't slot them into a time frame very well (well, you CAN, but you'll be cutting some great discussions short).

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This is going to sound shallow and lame...but I dismissed the curriculum as soon as I saw the font and design used on the sample pages for grammar island.

 

I think it's a stupid font and I hate it, lol. From a design standpoint I also despise the page layout.

 

So there..I told you it was shallow and lame, but these are things I just cannot get past :) .

 

I have font issues too. However, Grammar Island is the only book, that uses that particular font... you are talking about the kid-like crayon-y font, right? After that I think he abandons that. I really can't remember. Check out a sample page from just about any other book.

 

There are certain books that I can't stand or use due to font, but if the content is good, I try to suck it up. Also, as far as page layout, Island level books are horizontal, while all the other levels are vertical. Just thought you should know.

 

But heck, if you hate it, you hate it. ;)

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So far we are midway through Building Language. Thus far this is my only experience with it. I want to love it. I'm not even liking it. I don't think it is challenging enough. There is almost nothing on each page and I find that irritating. Maybe I have no imagination, but I don't know what to DO with the book. It is possible that the level was not a good fit because we have already spent a lot of time on Latin, Latin stems, and German. Plus we have covered Roman history. So maybe this really is too elementary or we have beaten the basics covered in this book to death already.

 

 

.

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

I refused to jump into this pond having been burned laying out lots of $ before for underwhelming curric and so I borrowed three books from a friend, and I will wholly admit that her 6th grader is VERY gifted in language. Amazingly so. She blew through the books in two weeks (that was all he did) and they were like review to him. I swiped them, and though my son is no where near her son, he was well beyond the books.

 

I really think that it's all the style, but the content is the same as other homeschooling currics out there. I WILL SAY that I did not see the poetry (she didn't purchase those) and having looked at the books online I Do think I would like them.

Edited by justamouse
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This is going to sound shallow and lame...but I dismissed the curriculum as soon as I saw the font and design used on the sample pages for grammar island.

 

I think it's a stupid font and I hate it, lol. From a design standpoint I also despise the page layout.

 

So there..I told you it was shallow and lame, but these are things I just cannot get past :) .

:iagree:

Finally. At least we're not alone.

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I would think that any 3rd grader should know when to capitalize, and it does not belong in these books. Sorry.

 

Again, my basic opinion is that I trust that MCT will get to it when something is developmentally appropriate. So far, I have not been disappointed. If he doesn't cover something yet, that doesn't mean it won't be addressed later, and if it is important to me to point out, I do. I am constantly adding to all our curriculum with my own opinions, ideas and input.

 

 

 

My 3rd grader knew when to capitalize and choose to write without capitals anyway. She's also firmly in the Cormac McCarthy school of punctuation - she feels that a well-written sentence doesn't need any punctuation. I like to reinforce the standard punctuation and capitalization rules with her as often as possible. And I'd like it to be in my grammar book.

 

She also hates lessons wrapped in a story when they could just be simply explained so she can get on with the rest of her life. It frustrates her instead of educating her.

Edited by Karen in CO
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I am on my second year of MCT--we're only a few weeks in. After listening to SWB's writing lectures and reading through the logic stage section of WTM, I am feeling mildly dissatisfied with MCT. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why, but I'll make a stab at it.

 

No diagramming. I have read that diagramming comes up in the secondary books, but I get the impression that it's not formally taught. I'm not really sure where I stand on the diagramming issue. If I had any clue how to do it, I'd be happy to add some diagramming on the whiteboard when we do the practice sentences. But I'm totally clueless. And I don't want to spend any more money on a program that teaches it after spending $$$ on MCT.

 

Maybe this will change as we get further into the series, but I don't feel like writing is taught as systematically as I'd like. We skipped nearly all the writing assignments in Sentence Island. They made me cringe--"Write a dialog about 2 characters, Axe and Link. One can only use linking verbs. The only can only use action verbs." My dd generally likes creative writing. But this was too open ended for her. Personally, I detest creative writing. :tongue_smilie: The writing assignments in Paragraph Town look better, so we'll see how it goes.

 

He spends a lot of time in the grammar book talking about pronouns, but skips through phrases pretty quickly. In poetry (MoTH), it seemed like he spent a lot of time on rhyming, but then only a couple of pages on meter. It seems odd to me to spend more time on familir subject, and almost none on unfamiliar ones. Maybe he sees the unfamiliar ones as less important, and less deserving of attention? But my dc need to spend more time reviewing the meaning of trochaic foot if they are going to learn what that means. Figuring out rhyme schemes is easy. They've been doing that (informally) since they were 4yo.

 

I'm getting annoyed with MCT's assertion that having separate student books are essential to the student's experience. I bought a complete Town package. There is absolutely no difference in the Teacher and Student books for Grammar Town. The TM has a little section in the back telling you why it's important to study grammar. :glare: The poetry book, OTOH has all kinds of notes in the the text of the TM. I'll be glad to have a separate student book for that. I wish they would be more upfront about which books really require separate student books, but the official policy is that having all the books is ideal. Of course it's ideal for the classroom, but not so much for homeschoolers.

 

I know everyone says they love the Caesar's English books, but they seem disjointed and random to me. Again, we've only done one lesson in CE1, so maybe they'll grow on me. Also, it seems a little bit redundant to study Latin stems when you're already studying Latin. I know the focus of CE is totally different from what we are studying in LL, but it just seems like a bit much for me.

 

Which leads us into...it's really teacher intensive. Sitting and reading on the couch doesn't bother me at all. Having to read through the book ahead of time, and then look through the teacher section to see if there are any assignments, and then figure out which ones to use, and when to use them, and how far we should be reading each day...that's teacher intensive. I wish he had homeschool manuals that incorporated the teacher section into the text of the book. I'd love it if there was a bar at the bottom that said, "Now write a paragraph about..." or even, "Do lesson 3 on p. 136 in the teacher section." I feel like I'm paying way too much money to receive so little guidance about how to implement this series.

 

I think that's it. I adored MCT last year. I clicked with it immediately. But now, I'm having this weird sense that I need to supplement some areas, and reduce redundancy in others. <sigh> I'm never going to happy with anything. :tongue_smilie:

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Okay people, excuse me, but I have to say something here. Every time one of these threads comes up, it gets flooded with people who DO love MCT. It also turns into something pretty insulting to those of us who answer that we don't love it with some implicit allegation that our kids aren't smart enough to benefit from it. We answer these threads trying to be helpful to people who are evaluating this product then get swamped with stories of how perfect it is.

 

Even gifted kids may not think it is the best thing in the world.

 

The love of MCT isn't some litmus test for intelligence.

:)

 

I'm going to go finish my coffee now.

Edited by Karen in CO
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I am on my second year of MCT--we're only a few weeks in. After listening to SWB's writing lectures and reading through the logic stage section of WTM, I am feeling mildly dissatisfied with MCT. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why, but I'll make a stab at it.

 

No diagramming. I have read that diagramming comes up in the secondary books, but I get the impression that it's not formally taught. I'm not really sure where I stand on the diagramming issue. If I had any clue how to do it, I'd be happy to add some diagramming on the whiteboard when we do the practice sentences. But I'm totally clueless. And I don't want to spend any more money on a program that teaches it after spending $$$ on MCT.

I'm thinking it might be easier to add in 4 level analysis to a program that teaches diagramming than the other way around.

 

Maybe this will change as we get further into the series, but I don't feel like writing is taught as systematically as I'd like. We skipped nearly all the writing assignments in Sentence Island. They made me cringe--"Write a dialog about 2 characters, Axe and Link. One can only use linking verbs. The only can only use action verbs." My dd generally likes creative writing. But this was too open ended for her. Personally, I detest creative writing. :tongue_smilie: The writing assignments in Paragraph Town look better, so we'll see how it goes. I also really dislike most of the writing assignments in SI. Can you give a few examples of the assignments in Town?

 

He spends a lot of time in the grammar book talking about pronouns, but skips through phrases pretty quickly. And in Practice Island a possessive pronoun comes up but it was never explained beforehand. In poetry (MoTH), it seemed like he spent a lot of time on rhyming, but then only a couple of pages on meter. It seems odd to me to spend more time on familir subject, and almost none on unfamiliar ones. Maybe he sees the unfamiliar ones as less important, and less deserving of attention? But my dc need to spend more time reviewing the meaning of trochaic foot if they are going to learn what that means. Figuring out rhyme schemes is easy. They've been doing that (informally) since they were 4yo.

 

I'm getting annoyed with MCT's assertion that having separate student books are essential to the student's experience. I bought a complete Town package. There is absolutely no difference in the Teacher and Student books for Grammar Town. The TM has a little section in the back telling you why it's important to study grammar. :glare: The poetry book, OTOH has all kinds of notes in the the text of the TM. I'll be glad to have a separate student book for that. I wish they would be more upfront about which books really require separate student books, but the official policy is that having all the books is ideal. Of course it's ideal for the classroom, but not so much for homeschoolers.

 

I know everyone says they love the Caesar's English books, but they seem disjointed and random to me. Again, we've only done one lesson in CE1, so maybe they'll grow on me. Also, it seems a little bit redundant to study Latin stems when you're already studying Latin. I know the focus of CE is totally different from what we are studying in LL, but it just seems like a bit much for me. My DS is in a Latin class taught by a close friend of mine who was a classics major. I'm wondering if I really need CE if he is taking that class - they're covering a new root every week.

 

Which leads us into...it's really teacher intensive. Sitting and reading on the couch doesn't bother me at all. Having to read through the book ahead of time, and then look through the teacher section to see if there are any assignments, and then figure out which ones to use, and when to use them, and how far we should be reading each day...that's teacher intensive. I wish he had homeschool manuals that incorporated the teacher section into the text of the book. I'd love it if there was a bar at the bottom that said, "Now write a paragraph about..." or even, "Do lesson 3 on p. 136 in the teacher section." I feel like I'm paying way too much money to receive so little guidance about how to implement this series. I agree!

 

I think that's it. I adored MCT last year. I clicked with it immediately. But now, I'm having this weird sense that I need to supplement some areas, and reduce redundancy in others. I tend to have overkill on LA because I can't seem to find a cohesive and thorough program that I like enough to stick with on a long term basis. <sigh> I'm never going to happy with anything. :tongue_smilie:

 

My DS is almost 8 and very accelerated/probably gifted. He's completed Grammar Island, 1/3 Practice Island, 1/2 Sentence Island, started Building Languages, and we haven't started Music of the Hemispheres yet.

I have many of the same frustrations that you do.

Some days I love it and other days I don't.

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My kids hated the grammar books - the storylines drove them crazy and I don't think they learned a lot. My 11 yo ds even begged me to go back to R&S because he said he actually learned something with that curriculum. None of us liked the writing assignments - they were too open ended and didn't have enough instruction for my child who doesn't like writing.

 

However, we still are using the Practice books - I like the 4 level analysis better than traditional diagramming. And I'm still trying out the poetry book and CE1 (only because I've paid for them and I figure I should at least give them a shot).

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Some kids HAVE been taught this since 1st grade and are reminded daily. Yet as a 5th grader will write a sentence missing capitalization and punctuation and not be able to notice what's wrong when proofreading. For these kids it takes years and years of overteaching.

 

However, they also need material advanced and interesting enough to stimulate them.

 

My 3rd grader knew when to capitalize and choose to write without capitals anyway. She's also firmly in the Cormac McCarthy school of punctuation - she feels that a well-written sentence doesn't need any punctuation. I like to reinforce the standard punctuation and capitalization rules with her as often as possible. And I'd like it to be in my grammar book.

 

 

This was my point and much better said by both. I have to think it is more of the norm for children to need reinforcement of these facts, at least in 3rd grade. I'm glad my dd is not alone in this. She sounds a lot like your dd in this area Karen. :) At this stage she needs practice and lots of reminding. It's not that she doesn't know the stuff, but there is still the need for it to be in our grammar and writing instruction.

Edited by Dawn E
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I probably shouldn't even post on this thread, as I have not used MCT, but have looked at the samples online. Like everyone else, I got a bit drawn into it after hearing how wonderful it was. The thing that stopped me dead in my tracks was the thought of paying so much for an elementary grammar program, knowing that I would have to buy successive levels. I just couldn't see the sense in it----JMHO.

 

We've just finished our grammar lesson for today, using Sheldon's Primary Language Lessons, a vintage text which is free online at Google books. The lesson was on modified subjects and predicates, but I introduced a twist by slipping in a diagramming lesson. That at once engaged my child, and he considered it very fun and asked for more. So of course I was thrilled to go over several more sentences, each time working methodically through them. Lesson done! (I will add here that the Sheldon's lessons also include writing assignments, which we have a great deal of fun with as well.)

 

I do have a copy of the Warriner's Complete Course that I picked up at thrift store for 50 cents, so for the cost of some ink and paper (which is minimal for me), I have grammar covered and it is turning into a fun subject. It is possible to cover grammar in a fun way without a great outlay of money. A dry-erase board and markers will serve you well.

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The cost is a bit off-putting and it's one reason I want to know the negatives about the program. I do have 2 kiddos to use it with, so the non-consumables will be well used. I don't mind it being teacher intensive. Too much flipping in different books might be a problem. I don't need it exactly spelled out day-by-day (I LOVE AAS), but I do need a plan. And I don't want to buy a sledgehammer if a mallet will work.

 

My issue is that grammar/writing/etc... are not my strong suits. I'd rather teach calculus. I can wing it for myself, but I don't usually know WHY something is right.

 

Diagramming...um yeah. I think I did that once. Or twice. Winging a grammar lesson by adding in diagramming and making the lesson fun......um.....let's get back to finding a complete program.

 

Anyway.....

 

It's not time to buy, so I'll just keep an eye out for how the reviews change in the next few months.

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I just got the program last week, so this is just my initial comments.

 

I am a person who loves to buy curriculum, and has to see something so many people are raving about. I had a little extra money this year and decided to go for it. I bought the Island level, which is probably below my son's abilities, but I have his younger brother coming up and I wanted to start at the beginning of the program so went with this level.

 

What I think we'll get out of it: it looks wonderful for feeding my son's love of language. He has always been advanced in language arts and has been studying Latin for a while. He loves grammar, etc. This looks like a very engaging new way of looking at language and grammar, of seeing words in a new way. We haven't started the poetry part yet but it sounds/looks like the best component.

 

What I don't expect to get out of it: I want a lot more writing instruction than this program will provide. I am undecided on grammar, but think we may want to continue with diagramming in addition to the four-level analysis in this program. Since we do Latin the vocab book won't be a huge benefit but we'll go through it just for fun.

 

I think this program will be great for us, but more of a complement to our "real" LA program of Writing Tales and FLL or other grammar, plus studying Latin. I think the poetry is the main componenent that will stand alone. I could see if we were more on the "unschooling" spectrum this could be it for us, but coming from the classical WTM perspective I like a bit more formal work on these topics.

 

Maybe I'll have a different perspective in a few months after using the program a bit more.

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Diagramming...um yeah. I think I did that once. Or twice. Winging a grammar lesson by adding in diagramming and making the lesson fun......um.....let's get back to finding a complete program.

 

 

 

I'm sorry, I was only trying to be helpful and show that it's possible to cover grammar much less expensively. I believe this is how 8 Fills the Heart covers grammar in her homeschool. Her posts about how to teach grammar are very helpful to me.

 

Have you considered Rod and Staff? It's inexpensive and thorough.

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