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MCT question


Momof2littles
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We started this year with the full Island package, when Ariel would be in third grade based on her age.

 

It is not similar to FLL or WWE. At all.

 

I prefer MCT with WWE. FLL drove me crazy. WWE covers writing in a different way than MCT, and I feel they complement each other well.

 

We used WWE levels 1 & 2, and added Galore Park Junior English in second grade. Prior to that, we focused on learning to read with phonics.

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I would start with Island level in 3rd grade, or 2nd semester of 2nd. I did Island with my 2nd and 4th grader this year. My 4th had completed thru a comprehensive 4th grade LA curric by the end of her 2nd grade year (accelerated) and her sis had never even covered what a noun was. I wanted to do them together and chose to start because: (1) I didn't want to wait any longer with my eldest, and (2) my 7yo dd was a strong reader and starting to write/journal substantially, so it seemed like the appropriate time for her.

 

You really, really, really do NOT have to do ANY grammar before MCT. Really. I mean, if you want to do madlibs for fun, but the whole point is that MCT is such a lovely introduction and so different -- once you spoil it with the usual drone, it's just sad. All the way through Grammar Island (the first book), every. single. day. my older dd would say that she wish SHE had gotten to learn grammar that way, or on a few occasions that it wasn't fair her sister hadn't had to suffer through the traditional "a noun is" and "underline the subject and circle the verb in the next 25 sentences" like she had.

 

So again, I think that timing is key. IMO, kids really don't need to know the names of things to learn to write. I learned the hard way with my first who could write beautifully but hated it (and I spent a year undoing the damage of a "good thorough writing program"): at first reading and writing is just about mastering reading and handwriting, then as they become prolific free-readers, I have them do some light writing (write a sentence for a story I read and draw a picture sort of thing), then journal daily. Once they start coming to me sharing their 1-2 pages of creative writing/stories (usually with terrible spelling and grammatical errors), it's time to start formal spelling and grammar (MCT).

 

IOW, I have come to believe that kids learn what and when things become relevant. The MCT books are completely different from other grammar programs. The Island level books (except Practice Island) are discussion books -- there are no "assignments". THey are sit on the couch and read together and talk books. We did them ever day for 5min and they were the highlight of our day. I found it worked best when I only read 1-2 pages and stopped, leaving them wanting more. It also gave them time to think about what we had read. Afterwards my dds would go and *on their own initiative* write in their journals and play with words or sentences, especially from Sentence Island. They would sit at the dinner table and see who could come up with the funniest broken sentence, by putting the prep phrase in the wrong place, for example. Once you finish Grammar Island, as you work thru the other books (poetics, writing, vocab) you start doing sentences out of the Practice Island book. I just do 1-2 a day (I copy it onto our chalkboard) for them to analyze. THis keeps their grammar skills up.

 

Worth mentioning that there is little writing assignments in Island, much more in Town (that I can see, will be starting that soon). But then, how many book reports do you need to write in elementary school? How many do you want to read? I like that MCT takes the time to really teach what makes a good sentence FIRST.

 

You really only need the Teaching Manuals. I find it works best for us to sit together on the couch and I read it, or they read next to me, so they don't need their own book. It also helps slow down the reading rate and encourage discussion. MCT mentions that we read faster than we can think, so I think it helps with that, too.

 

As always, YMMV. :)

Edited by ChandlerMom
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I would start with Island level in 3rd grade, or 2nd semester of 2nd. I did Island with my 2nd and 4th grader this year. My 4th had completed thru a comprehensive 4th grade LA curric by the end of her 2nd grade year (accelerated) and her sis had never even covered what a noun was. I wanted to do them together and chose to start because: (1) I didn't want to wait any longer with my eldest, and (2) my 7yo dd was a strong reader and starting to write/journal substantially, so it seemed like the appropriate time for her.

 

You really, really, really do NOT have to do ANY grammar before MCT. Really. I mean, if you want to do madlibs for fun, but the whole point is that MCT is such a lovely introduction and so different -- once you spoil it with the usual drone, it's just sad. All the way through Grammar Island (the first book), every. single. day. my older dd would say that she wish SHE had gotten to learn grammar that way, or on a few occasions that it wasn't fair her sister hadn't had to suffer through the traditional "a noun is" and "underline the subject and circle the verb in the next 25 sentences" like she had.

 

So again, I think that timing is key. IMO, kids really don't need to know the names of things to learn to write. I learned the hard way with my first who could write beautifully but hated it (and I spent a year undoing the damage of a "good thorough writing program"): at first reading and writing is just about mastering reading and handwriting, then as they become prolific free-readers, I have them do some light writing (write a sentence for a story I read and draw a picture sort of thing), then journal daily. Once they start coming to me sharing their 1-2 pages of creative writing/stories (usually with terrible spelling and grammatical errors), it's time to start formal spelling and grammar (MCT).

 

IOW, I have come to believe that kids learn what and when things become relevant. The MCT books are completely different from other grammar programs. The Island level books (except Practice Island) are discussion books -- there are no "assignments". THey are sit on the couch and read together and talk books. We did them ever day for 5min and they were the highlight of our day. I found it worked best when I only read 1-2 pages and stopped, leaving them wanting more. It also gave them time to think about what we had read. Afterwards my dds would go and *on their own initiative* write in their journals and play with words or sentences, especially from Sentence Island. They would sit at the dinner table and see who could come up with the funniest broken sentence, by putting the prep phrase in the wrong place, for example. Once you finish Grammar Island, as you work thru the other books (poetics, writing, vocab) you start doing sentences out of the Practice Island book. I just do 1-2 a day (I copy it onto our chalkboard) for them to analyze. THis keeps their grammar skills up.

 

Worth mentioning that there is little writing assignments in Island, much more in Town (that I can see, will be starting that soon). But then, how many book reports do you need to write in elementary school? How many do you want to read? I like that MCT takes the time to really teach what makes a good sentence FIRST.

 

You really only need the Teaching Manuals. I find it works best for us to sit together on the couch and I read it, or they read next to me, so they don't need their own book. It also helps slow down the reading rate and encourage discussion. MCT mentions that we read faster than we can think, so I think it helps with that, too.

 

As always, YMMV. :)

 

Thanks for your input. This answers a lot of my questions and helps with my internal dilemmas!! I feel the need to start formal grammar and writing in 1st grade b/c of my background--certified public school teacher! :(

 

I definitely like the looks of MCT and would rather start later than sooner. :)

 

I think I need to :chillpill: and just follow my gut!! Ha! Easier said than done!

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Whether to wait until 3rd to start "island" is totally a YMMV thing. Personally, I think "island" is pretty light except for the poetry and my kids would be beyond it if I waited until 3rd. My DS is in the middle of it now and it's at the perfect level for him. If you want to hear others' experiences with starting "island" young, check out this thread.

 

However, be aware that the writing takes some pretty big leaps from "island'" to "town" to "voyage". So if you start MCT early, you may not be able to follow immediately on from one level to the next. This is no biggie for me personally, but something to keep in mind.

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Having just done a 7yo and a 9yo side by side (we shortly after their b'days), I would say that the 7yo "got it", esp the grammar, but the 9yo certainly understood the deeper messages MCT layers in there.

 

MCT is a very gentle program, but it is also extremely deep. Even at the Island level there were many things I learned about grammar that I didn't even know I didn't know, and I got 4.0s in both my (required) college english writing classes! :lol:

 

So, you can use them earlier and it will be wonderful, but I have the suspicious I'll be pulling at least Sentence Island out again in 6mo with my younger, not because she doesn't have retention, but because there is another level she can get from it that was readily apparent to my older child.

 

The technical part (what is what) was trivially easy for my older child, who although having had grammar, the order of content is different than in a traditional program, so she has studied stuff that hasn't come up yet in MCT like verb tenses but hadn't covered roles of words in a sentence, like direct/indirect objects of prep phrases. I think just being older and having read and written more made that easier for her whereas my 7yo still struggles a bit with identifying "then" as an adverb when it starts a sentence and is far away from the verb it is modifying.

 

The SI writing was easy for both, the poetics my younger daughter is more naturally suited for, so kept up, although the terminology was more of a strain at her age.

 

So, just more reason for why I recommend holding off until they are older, watching for when they show signs that they are truly ready. Or start early if you just absolutely cannot stand to wait any longer. LOL

 

My younger dd would have been best off waiting until she turned 8yo (start of 3rd) but in our situation, she did gain so much from working with her sister, and she did love it so. It has been wonderful, even so. Now what to do with Town is another story.

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I'm using Island with my slightly advanced 2nd grader right now, and it's a great fit. We're both loving it so far, and he really does get it. We've finished Grammar Island and just got started on Sentence and Practice Island. I'm planning to add in Building Language soon and hold off on Music of the Hemispheres until the spring. It's the only part of the Island level that I think would be over his head right now.

 

He hasn't used a writing or grammar curriculum before, but loves to write and we've worked on mechanics a bit, which aren't covered in Grammar Island.

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