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WG (Winston Grammar) vs. MCT (Michael Clay Thompson) comparisons and differences

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For those more knowledgeable about WG (Winston Grammar) and MCT (Michael Clay Thompson), I would like to know how the two programs may be comparable and different in regards to grammar.  I've read many threads, and looked at as many samples online as possible, and I'm waffling betwixt the two.  What I like about both is the parsing of sentences as opposed to diagramming.  I super like the four ways of looking at a sentence by MCT, and wonder if maybe I could just get one book from MCT which explains it in depth, and then use that way of analysis along with WG?  If so, which book from MCT would be most beneficial to get?  The other aspect of MCT which I like is that it is a complete language arts curriculum, unfortunately WG is not.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thank you in advance.

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No personal experience with MCT, but I can give feedback on WG.


WG worked well for both DSs here, each with distinctly different learning styles/brain dominance -- DS#1 is auditory-sequential, DS#2 is visual-spatial. That may also be in part because we used a number of supplements, and I also slightly adapted the way we did WG (as I did with just about everything ;) ). In my post (#5) in the past thread "Talk to me about Winston Grammar, please", I explained how I adapted/used WG.


I don't know how time-intensive MCT is, but if it is not time-intensive, but one idea is to consider using both, with MCT as your LA spine, and WG as a grammar supplement. We usually knocked out WG in about 10-15 min/day, just 3x/week. So, you could do a unit in MCT, and then a unit in WG. Or do MCT 3x/week and then do WG 2x/week. Or, do a complete level of MCT and if you finish early with some weeks left in the year, then fill in with WG...


You may also find that your student really "clicks" with one program over another, or really dislike one program, so that may also help you decide ;).


Below is an adaptation of a past review I did on Winston, in case it helps. BEST of luck in deciding! Warmest regards, Lori D.


- easy to use
- can do Winston just 3x/week
- good choice for a "non-workbook" learner

- teaches parsing rather than diagramming

- does not cover grammar mechanics (capitalization, punctuation, etc.)

My Review

Comes in 3 levels; each level is designed for 1 school year. (We did each level of Winston for 2 years, with the first year getting about 2/3 into the program before the student hit a mental "roadblock", then doing the entire program the following year, with student having no problem.) Winston Word Works is set up a bit differently -- more "workbook-like" -- and we did not care for it as much.


- Winston Basic (gr. 4-5) = 8 parts of speech; 2 parts of a sentence; 7 noun functions

- Winston Word Works (gr. 5-7) = instruction and practice in word usages (example: who vs. whom)
- Winston Advanced (gr. 7-8) = 4 sentence types; tricky modifiers (gerunds, participles, infinitives); clauses


We used Winston from 3rd-8th grade, usually doing it on the white board or orally in 10-15 min/day, 3x a week, and then another 10 min/day 3x/week on a supplement.


Winston is a more hands-on approach, using cards with key words/pictures to help the student remember the key concepts. Can be done orally, or the student can mark the workbook pages with arrows, underlines, and key words, etc. (We did it on the whiteboard.) The student is not expected to rewrite the sentences.

Winston uses cards with clues on them to help students identify the parts of speech, which the student then uses for labeling the practice sentences. We adapted the program and instead of the cards, after going over the teaching info for the lesson (2 minutes) I wrote just 4 sentences on the whiteboard and DS used different colors of markers on the whiteboard and used arrows, circles, underlines, etc. to visually show connections on the practice sentences (5 minutes). We then did 4 more sentences on each of the next 2 days, so a lesson would only take 30 minutes spread over 1 week. If DS didn't get it, we repeated the lesson, the following week. There are additional Winston workbooks available for more practice.



Past Threads:

MCT Grammar only?

Is MCT a complete language arts program(is it lacking in mechanics/practice?)

MCT language arts help… I am starting today)

Can someone explain MCT Grammar and Writing to me

MCT Grammar Island use (scheduling and how do you use it)

[if you] tried MCT Grammar Island and didn't like it


Winston Grammar: pros and cons

Winston Grammar

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Winston Grammar is the one and only product that my normally compliant older dd refused to do after about 10 lessons.


Because it is *only* grammar, it would not be something that I'd compare with MCT. I'd compare it to, say, Easy Grammar, which is also only grammar (well, and punctuation and capitalization). The reading level is purposely kept to a low level so that all children can do it, regardless of reading level, which is supposed to be a good thing but which actually makes a dry subject even more so.


I'm not a fan of diagramming, so I guess that would be a plus for WG, but IMHO it's the *only* plus.


I have no experience with MCT; it just seems to me that it would be better to compare it with a more comprehensive product, KWIM?

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MCT is not only grammar. They do word roots and vocabulary, writing skills, poetry, and grammar. It is very appealing to kids who are overwhelmed easy. My youngest has thrived on it. He was shutting down and not retaining anything with FLL. My oldest two have done great with FLL. I used Winston Grammar when I was younger. Unless it has changed drastically, it is just a grammar program, much like Easy Grammar (as Ellie said). It gets the job done.

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