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HeidiKC

Michael Clay Thompson advice

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I'm trying to decide what to do for 6th grade writing, and have been looking at MCT. It kind of blows my mind. I'm not sure if I don't really get it or if it's awesome! Probably both. Anyway, after spending about an hour reading through it all, I'm now thinking that maybe I should use the whole LA program rather than just the writing portion. But if we do that, I'm not at all sure what level to go with. So if anyone could make suggestions, I'd love that. I'm also wondering if it's a bad idea to mix the components from a couple different levels.

 

I think we should probably do Town or Voyage - please correct me if you think that's wrong!

 

  • Grammar - we are currently doing Rod & Staff 5, so I think that doing Grammar Town next year would be nothing new at all and potentially too easy as far as the grammar book. It seems like Voyage would be a better fit.
  • Vocabulary - currently doing Vocabulary from Classical Roots 5. The MCT vocabulary books look pretty advanced to me. I guess it isn't really the words, but it isn't super-simple like VFCR but has difficult reading passages. I suppose Caesar I would be a slightly better fit here, not sure.
  • Writing - omigosh, my son HATES to write. I mean the physical part of it. He actually likes creative writing, and on his own has written stories (heavily influenced by "Redwall", which is pretty adorable). When we do Rod and Staff, we do as much of it orally as we can since he takes so long to write it out (mostly due to messing around/;becoming distracted), and he hates it. This is good and bad. Good because it is less tedious for him. Bad because it requires more of my time to go through each question with him. Anyway, we are using IEW SWI this year. He is doing ok, likes it ok. He LOVES to read, reads all the time and at a fairly high level. The writing is the one where I am most unsure. It seems like it's a big jump from Town to Voyage, and that he might be in between. I like the idea of Voyage more, and think he's ready to do essays rather than paragraphs. But I don't want him to struggle.
  • Poetry - we haven't done much of this, other than memorizing poems and a few poetry lessons from the English book. I already have the MCT Town level poetry book - Building Poems. It sure would be nice to just use that and not have to buy an additional poetry book.

Has anyone combined books from different levels, such as Town and Voyage? 

 

So I'm really unsure what level to go with. I like the idea of Voyage, but part of what is really holding me back is all the excerpts and articles and things. WOW, they seem really advanced. It seems like they will be hard for him to understand, and likely bore him. He isn't gifted (I see that the curriculum is a good fit for gifted kids), but he's pretty bright. What do people's kids think about these? 

 

I should mention that next year will be my last year homeschooling him, so if we choose Town we are unlikely to ever get to Voyage. I sure wish we could do Voyage, but want to choose the right level for him.

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One other question! I also have a 7th grader (finishing 7th grade) at school who really needs some writing instruction. I want to start this after school and through the summer (and into next year 8th grade). So it needs to be pretty painless. His grammar is awful, so I'm thinking of doing Easy Grammar with him (it looks like he can do it on his own mostly). Do you think I could jump into MCT Voyage with him for writing? I really hate to start him on paragraph, since I don't think I'll get him to agree to more than one course. So if we do Town, that'll likely be the end of it. His ideas and organization are fairly decent, it's mostly his sentence structure/grammar/word choice that is problematic.

 

THANK YOU for reading through all this and offering any advice.

 

Heidi

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We loved MCT.  BUT we mostly just read the writing books.  Didn't care for the assignments and there weren't very many of them.  So I had to supplement with other things.  I didn't mind that, but just so you know it's probably not going to entirely meet your needs with writing.

 

I would probably start with Town.  Town was a very fun/cool series.  We didn't like Voyage as much.  There is a lot more writing with Voyage, but if you don't have a strong writer it won't work out.  The assignments are difficult. 

 

I had a kid who physically hated to write.  I let him type stuff.  That helped a lot. 

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Thank you - very helpful. Good to know.  Not many assignments, and they are difficult....hmmmm.

 

I am also thinking about letting him type stuff. Good idea.

 

 

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Not answering your original question, but my son (who hates the physical part of writing and is not strong at typing yet) uses speech-to-text technology to "write" his assignments. He does have to go back in and edit, but it allows him to really tell his entire story, without getting stunted in word count because his hands are tired.

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I adore essay voyage - love it! But the assignments are so-so. Island and town level are more like a narrative story in the writing book. Voyage is not.

 

Basically, my dd is 11, just about finished essay voyage and we haven't done the assignments. She's a fairly natural writer and does writing in other subjects using SWB's approach.

Now, when essay voyage is finished, I will use the time to set more writing assignments to practice the concepts she's learned, in the context of other content subjects (so, history essays etc)

 

Essay voyage will definitely help on word choice and grammar, it has sections in each chapter 'a correct word, correct punctuation'

 

I agree with typing.

 

And we're often across a couple of levels, doesn't matter too much. The vocabulary is matched in other books in the same level, but not a huge problem.

 

I would think that after R&S 5 you would be fine to go into voyage.

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I seem to be one of the few that likes the MCT writing. I will say that the assignments in Town get difficult quickly, and by about 1/3 of the way through the lessons, most assignments are multi-paragraph. My daughter is working ahead of level, but her academic writing wasn't ready for that jump, so we needed to shelve the book for a while.

 

Caesar's English includes grammar in each chapter, in addition to what is in Grammar Town. You could start with only doing the grammar in CE. If it's too easy, add in Grammar Voyage. Too difficult, get Grammar Town. If the right level, and a sufficient amount, just do what is in CE.

 

We haven't combined levels yet, but will be doing so in the upcoming year. After finishing Island level, I bought all of Town. The grammar and vocabulary were a great level for DD, and she greatly enjoyed them this past year. The writing was a bit much for her, and we just never quite fit in the poetry. So next year, I hope to do the writing and poetry from Town, and probably the vocabulary from Voyage.

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