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Plan after AAR 4 for rising 5th grader - needing to combine a lot


Ting Tang
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I have four kids. My two bright, quick ones are in 5th and 2nd. My youngest is Kinder. The slow learner is in 4th. He is immature, and everything he does is slow. I do need to combine more and thought about combining he and my 2nd grader next year when they’re in 5th/3rd in grammar/writing/possibly literature next year.  I have thought about us finally reading through all of our MCT Poodle books for fun and working on One True Sentence parts of speech/punctuation from Blackbird & Company concurrently (a more direct, applied but creative approach). They could do an imitation writing program that gives more direction on outline and retelling. The other thought is to have them use Cottage Press Fable & Song— it’s very CM and classical.  It has beauty and copy work in addition to grammar/writing.  They work with the fables they read in a beautiful book. My daughter could do either. I’m not sure about him. I’m leaning towards the more direct approach, but sometimes I wonder if I underestimate his abilities. And I think he would love working with a Fable book, too. Has anyone tried the CM/classical approach with a struggling learner? I suspect autism, but I’m still waiting for an appointment to diagnose. Lead poisoned in utero. Ideally, I’d teach all individually, but it’s getting harder. I feel these two are closest in ability. 

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I think combining them makes some sense, but I do think that if your 5th grader needs more explicit instruction, you might have to use something less creative with thin/them.

If he does have ASD, he will almost assuredly have some language issues—could be narrow or broad. He is at a good age for good language testing (something deeper than CELF, which is multiple guess format!).

Mine with ASD is 2e, and he could do some creative stuff for grammar, but other things had to be more explicit. Eventually we found his language disorder, and he had to go way back to fables and have SLP intervention with Mindwing Concept materials (including the Critical Thinking Triangle as well as the ASD book that goes with it—I think it’s called Making Connections). I noticed that CAP’s fable series seems very compatible with the Mindwing Concepts approach, but Mindwing provided an explicit framework. 

I really think that narrative work with a very explicit framework and external support (like the story braid and icons) would serve your 5th grader well. It would not hurt your 2nd grader at all. I don’t know all of the resources you mentioned. 

Poodle was not available when my kids were little—we started with Island.

If you want something more cozy than explicit that is not teacher heavy for the 2nd grader, the Aesop’s Fable series from Royal Fireworks press is excellent and inexpensive. It’s very sweet. I don’t know if it would be explicit enough for your 5th grader, but it would provide most of LA for your 2nd grader. It’s deeper than it looks and is for gifted kids.

Have you considered Winston Grammar? It’s multi sensory and has explicit external scaffolding (cards).

Gently and from experience…It is not going to get easier to make curriculum work for your slower child. If you actually are underestimating his abilities, it is possible that using explicit materials or intervention materials will provide the support he needs to show his abilities. From personal experience, when those things are needed, they are needed. They provide a broader foundation for future growth and more confidence in your learner. It’s going slower to go faster or steadier later.

 

 

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6 hours ago, kbutton said:

I think combining them makes some sense, but I do think that if your 5th grader needs more explicit instruction, you might have to use something less creative with thin/them.

If he does have ASD, he will almost assuredly have some language issues—could be narrow or broad. He is at a good age for good language testing (something deeper than CELF, which is multiple guess format!).

Mine with ASD is 2e, and he could do some creative stuff for grammar, but other things had to be more explicit. Eventually we found his language disorder, and he had to go way back to fables and have SLP intervention with Mindwing Concept materials (including the Critical Thinking Triangle as well as the ASD book that goes with it—I think it’s called Making Connections). I noticed that CAP’s fable series seems very compatible with the Mindwing Concepts approach, but Mindwing provided an explicit framework. 

I really think that narrative work with a very explicit framework and external support (like the story braid and icons) would serve your 5th grader well. It would not hurt your 2nd grader at all. I don’t know all of the resources you mentioned. 

Poodle was not available when my kids were little—we started with Island.

If you want something more cozy than explicit that is not teacher heavy for the 2nd grader, the Aesop’s Fable series from Royal Fireworks press is excellent and inexpensive. It’s very sweet. I don’t know if it would be explicit enough for your 5th grader, but it would provide most of LA for your 2nd grader. It’s deeper than it looks and is for gifted kids.

Have you considered Winston Grammar? It’s multi sensory and has explicit external scaffolding (cards).

Gently and from experience…It is not going to get easier to make curriculum work for your slower child. If you actually are underestimating his abilities, it is possible that using explicit materials or intervention materials will provide the support he needs to show his abilities. From personal experience, when those things are needed, they are needed. They provide a broader foundation for future growth and more confidence in your learner. It’s going slower to go faster or steadier later.

 

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond and share this information. It is going to be a long while before we can get an evaluation. I had no luck making phone calls privately, so then I got a referral. We’re probably halfway through the waiting period, which is a year. 😞 I suspect mild ASD, but I’m not sure— it could be something else. Maybe it’s just lead poisoning. 😞 He was dismissed from his IEP right before kinder after being in early intervention.  Interestingly enough, he has written great sentences in his spelling curriculum. I did take a look at the autism collection you mentioned, and I can see how that could be helpful, too. So thank you! He actually did use CAP Fable in 3rd. It was mostly done orally and together. It’s classical with a CM flavor, which is Cottage Press. But I think the curriculums I mentioned, BB and maybe imitation writing from Logos Press, might just provide a wee bit more scaffolding. I don’t think it would hurt either of them. I figure we could always do the Fable curriculum a year later, too. But I see how well my daughter does reading wonderful beautiful books that he’d delight in, too. I just wish I knew exactly what is causing his learning challenges. Parting words after his IEP dismissal were, “ he doesn’t have autism— he’s quirky.” 

 

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7 minutes ago, Ting Tang said:

But I think the curriculums I mentioned, BB and maybe imitation writing from Logos Press, might just provide a wee bit more scaffolding.

I wish I had more experience with what you listed. It sounds like you are very intuitive about what you use with him. 

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1 hour ago, kbutton said:

I wish I had more experience with what you listed. It sounds like you are very intuitive about what you use with him. 

I hope I am being intuitive, lol. My husband says to keep whatever it is for him simple.  I just always want to be able to do better than what our local school ever could for him and not end up doing him some kind of disservice.  

 

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15 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

I hope I am being intuitive, lol. My husband says to keep whatever it is for him simple.  I just always want to be able to do better than what our local school ever could for him and not end up doing him some kind of disservice.  

I think as time moves on, it's possible that you might need to use more and more intervention materials or go sideways with instruction (using multiple curriculum options to come at things from multiple angles). He just sounds like that kind of kid. But you can still give him those things in an enriched environment that brings out his very best. 

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I think Kbutton's advice is great. I did not use the materials that you mention, so I cannot comment on them. But I'll add a few thoughts.

I had four kids close in age and did combine them in some things. But there were other subjects that I could not combine.

I think that it's important to make sure you are meeting the intervention needs of the fourth grader, so I would choose a program that will suit HIM and then supplement, if needed, with some more things to pique the interest of your younger child.

I had grand visions of the kind of homeschooling experience that I wanted to provide for my kids, but I had to alter it completely and do things that met their needs, instead. It was sad for me, but was best for them. For example, I wanted to teach them language arts through literature, but they needed direct instruction. I wanted them to love reading as I do, but two of them have reading disabilities -- one dyslexic, and one reading comprehension, and they don't love books. I wanted then to learn from rich discussions, but they found all the talking frustrating and did better with more workbook style instruction.

I guess I am saying that you will need to figure out what they need first, and then see how you can create the environment that you want, to supplement  their needs.

For example, use direct instruction language arts materials. But also read aloud to them the rich literature that you want to share with them. I used to read aloud to all of my kids every day, while they were eating lunch, because it was a time when they were sitting quietly (mostly!) together.

Also, we had quite a few people tell us that DS did not have autism, including a neuropsychologist. He racked up a long list of other diagnoses over the years, and then we finally got the ASD diagnosis when he was 15. We went to a psychologist who worked at an autism school and specialized in ASD, and she said that he clearly met the criteria (wasn't even close). The other evaluators missed it. So I applaud you for getting on the waitlist for an evaluation.

I wonder if you can look around more to see if you can find someone to get him in sooner. I would make sure that the place you are going will do a complete autism screening, along with whatever else they decide to do. The neuropsych that we went to just did a questionnaire screener called the GARS, and that is not sufficient. The gold standard test is the ADOS, but the evaluators should run that alongside other testing -- the ADOS is subjective, and combining it with other testing gives a fuller picture.

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If you are able to offer more details about what your son struggles with, people might chime in with ideas.

You mention, for example, that he can write nice sentences. Can he write a short paragraph? Sometimes kids with autism focus so much on details that they miss the general big picture. So they might be able to write a good sentence, but they can't combine more than one idea into a paragraph with a topic sentence.

Sometimes kids struggle with reading comprehension. There are a lot of elements that go into my DS's comprehension issues. We could discuss reading comprehension in more detail, if that might help you.

 

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4 hours ago, Storygirl said:

If you are able to offer more details about what your son struggles with, people might chime in with ideas.

You mention, for example, that he can write nice sentences. Can he write a short paragraph? Sometimes kids with autism focus so much on details that they miss the general big picture. So they might be able to write a good sentence, but they can't combine more than one idea into a paragraph with a topic sentence.

Sometimes kids struggle with reading comprehension. There are a lot of elements that go into my DS's comprehension issues. We could discuss reading comprehension in more detail, if that might help you.

 

 

4 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I think Kbutton's advice is great. I did not use the materials that you mention, so I cannot comment on them. But I'll add a few thoughts.

I had four kids close in age and did combine them in some things. But there were other subjects that I could not combine.

I think that it's important to make sure you are meeting the intervention needs of the fourth grader, so I would choose a program that will suit HIM and then supplement, if needed, with some more things to pique the interest of your younger child.

I had grand visions of the kind of homeschooling experience that I wanted to provide for my kids, but I had to alter it completely and do things that met their needs, instead. It was sad for me, but was best for them. For example, I wanted to teach them language arts through literature, but they needed direct instruction. I wanted them to love reading as I do, but two of them have reading disabilities -- one dyslexic, and one reading comprehension, and they don't love books. I wanted then to learn from rich discussions, but they found all the talking frustrating and did better with more workbook style instruction.

I guess I am saying that you will need to figure out what they need first, and then see how you can create the environment that you want, to supplement  their needs.

For example, use direct instruction language arts materials. But also read aloud to them the rich literature that you want to share with them. I used to read aloud to all of my kids every day, while they were eating lunch, because it was a time when they were sitting quietly (mostly!) together.

Also, we had quite a few people tell us that DS did not have autism, including a neuropsychologist. He racked up a long list of other diagnoses over the years, and then we finally got the ASD diagnosis when he was 15. We went to a psychologist who worked at an autism school and specialized in ASD, and she said that he clearly met the criteria (wasn't even close). The other evaluators missed it. So I applaud you for getting on the waitlist for an evaluation.

I wonder if you can look around more to see if you can find someone to get him in sooner. I would make sure that the place you are going will do a complete autism screening, along with whatever else they decide to do. The neuropsych that we went to just did a questionnaire screener called the GARS, and that is not sufficient. The gold standard test is the ADOS, but the evaluators should run that alongside other testing -- the ADOS is subjective, and combining it with other testing gives a fuller picture.

Thank you so very much!  Oh yes, I certainly have had grandiose ideas about our perfect homeschool.  I have yet to achieve it, lol.  I am very liberal-artsy so-to-speak, and sometimes I just feel inadequate about meeting this particular son's needs. During the pandemic, I made a few phone calls based on referrals in a local homeschool group and never got a response.  I could try again, but then I wonder if I am reaching out to the right people.  Lead poisoning is an acquired brain injury, and it mimics ASD.  But I think the interventions would be the same anyway.  I also want the diagnosis in case he needs some kind of accomodation, even if that doesn't happen until college.

Anyway, I think the direct materials I found look pretty good.  The imitation writing program is still classical.  Instead of having the student figure out how to divide up a story, it puts little numbers next to the main parts for identification---most of the classical comp programs don't have that.  Sadly, I have not asked him to write any paragraphs. When we first started homeschooling, he was in 2nd, and all I knew was Abeka.  There was creative writing, and he would fill out pages and pages, but so many of his words and thoughts were jostled.  I was glad he enjoyed it, though.  He said today that we don't do any grammar, and he wants to do it.  Yay!  Perhaps I should see what he does with the opportunity to write a paragraph.

 

I have a hard time articulating what his problems are; he is very literal, fidgety, will go through phases of repetitive sounds.  But his reading is very slow.  Sometimes he will guess at his words, even though we just did a lesson on certain sounds in words.  But he can rattle off the list of the 15 brightest stars from last year!  He loves weather and geography.  I was thinking he had dysgraphia, but his handwriting is so much better this year, so I no longer have that thought.  I don't feel like he mixes things up too much, so I do not think it is dyslexia.  But I do not know if there is a spectrum there, too.  I just want someone to evaluate him and tell me the issue.  But I suspect it is not that easy, either.  Thank you for all of this and the information--I will look into that.

 

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19 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

During the pandemic, I made a few phone calls based on referrals in a local homeschool group and never got a response.  I could try again, but then I wonder if I am reaching out to the right people. 

Are you looking for parent support, how to teach a child with special needs, or a homeschool community? We found that we could get some of that, but a lot of groups preferred to pretend that SN didn't exist and that labels were to be avoided, etc. There was a fair amount of two-facedness about it with some people--they had kids with issues but just pressed on as though their kids were neurotypical. I did find a small community of people to have a very tiny special needs co-op with, and I am still friends with some of the people in it. We really tailored stuff to our kids and didn't worry too much about making ages line up, etc. (some kids were 2e, some had borderline IQ--it was a variety). 

Anyway, it can take time to find the right fit depending on what you need and what local attitudes are like.

19 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

Lead poisoning is an acquired brain injury, and it mimics ASD.  But I think the interventions would be the same anyway.  I also want the diagnosis in case he needs some kind of accomodation, even if that doesn't happen until college.

It can be a bit tricky to find supports for acquired issues, but if you know it's like ASD, then even if they do not feel they can diagnose it, they can definitely word things to indicate that he requires the same kinds of supports so that your documentation is helpful and that he can get the services he needs. It sounds like he does have a lot of the characteristics!

19 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

Sadly, I have not asked him to write any paragraphs. When we first started homeschooling, he was in 2nd, and all I knew was Abeka.  There was creative writing, and he would fill out pages and pages, but so many of his words and thoughts were jostled.  I was glad he enjoyed it, though. 

The Critical Thinking Triangle/Making Connections stuff helps a great deal with this. My son with ASD struggled so badly to write anything, fiction or nonfiction. He was all over the place with his thoughts. He did like learning about literary conventions (Figuratively Speaking was good when he was a little older), short bits of nonfiction that were laser-focused, such as explaining the difference between this or that in grammar, analyzing sentences via MCT (we also did diagramming because my kids are very visual learners), and even sometimes writing poetry (if it had a format, such as a Limerick), and ALL of that made a difference when we finally solved the language piece enough for him to start writing paragraphs. A lot of kids write earlier, but then they have to fix a lot of little things when they write. Oh, one curriculum he did pretty good with while "waiting" to write for real was Wordsmith Apprentice. It has lots of bits and pieces of writing (as Rooted in Language calls it) in a semi-creative way. It also has a fair amount of functional writing and some thinking skills embedded. It also gave us some data on what was really hard for him language-wise when we had later language testing. 

One thing about my son's ASD presentation is that he needs to see things from every angle--he can't just fill it in on his own. So, when we did MCT sentence analysis, he couldn't do it linearly (my younger son did, and it amazed me, lol!). He had to use multiple levels at one time as a check against one another--so, if he wasn't sure if something was a certain part of speech, he might have to see if he could figure out what part of the sentence it was, which helped narrow down which part of speech it could be. It was pretty wild, because it's typically more the other way around--you know parts of speech, and those inform what part of the sentence it is. Anyway, your son may have some really different patterns of thinking, and that's okay! For my son, it often means he understands something about what he's doing in a deeper or different way, in the end, than others do who just glide right through it. He was similar with math, and his first math tutor said he could do things with numbers that she didn't realize were possible because he was working so hard to avoid doing algebra, lol!!! He used logic plus arithmetic, and the steps involved were far more elaborate than just solving the algebra, but his brain was just stuck for a bit. It worked out eventually. 

Anyway, all that to say that doing things differently is a lot of work, but there are ways to integrate it back into moving forward on your own timeline. 

20 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

I have a hard time articulating what his problems are; he is very literal, fidgety, will go through phases of repetitive sounds.  But his reading is very slow.  Sometimes he will guess at his words, even though we just did a lesson on certain sounds in words.  But he can rattle off the list of the 15 brightest stars from last year!

It is not unusual at all for kids with learning issues to have very splintered skills. Sometimes there are things they can do that they should not be able to do because they can't really do the skills that supposedly form the basis for what they are doing! Other times, they have all the underlying skills, and they don't seem to use them. That's very normal. Brains find a way to compensate sometimes, and at other times, not at all. 

Just describe what you see the best that you can. Keep work samples for his evaluation and try to annotate what you are seeing with post-its or record your thoughts on audio as you go through his work. Those observations will be helpful and important, especially if you choose to get him an IEP or need to apply for DD programs, vocational rehab, etc. down the road.

 

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5 minutes ago, kbutton said:

Are you looking for parent support, how to teach a child with special needs, or a homeschool community? We found that we could get some of that, but a lot of groups preferred to pretend that SN didn't exist and that labels were to be avoided, etc. There was a fair amount of two-facedness about it with some people--they had kids with issues but just pressed on as though their kids were neurotypical. I did find a small community of people to have a very tiny special needs co-op with, and I am still friends with some of the people in it. We really tailored stuff to our kids and didn't worry too much about making ages line up, etc. (some kids were 2e, some had borderline IQ--it was a variety). 

Anyway, it can take time to find the right fit depending on what you need and what local attitudes are like.

It can be a bit tricky to find supports for acquired issues, but if you know it's like ASD, then even if they do not feel they can diagnose it, they can definitely word things to indicate that he requires the same kinds of supports so that your documentation is helpful and that he can get the services he needs. It sounds like he does have a lot of the characteristics!

The Critical Thinking Triangle/Making Connections stuff helps a great deal with this. My son with ASD struggled so badly to write anything, fiction or nonfiction. He was all over the place with his thoughts. He did like learning about literary conventions (Figuratively Speaking was good when he was a little older), short bits of nonfiction that were laser-focused, such as explaining the difference between this or that in grammar, analyzing sentences via MCT (we also did diagramming because my kids are very visual learners), and even sometimes writing poetry (if it had a format, such as a Limerick), and ALL of that made a difference when we finally solved the language piece enough for him to start writing paragraphs. A lot of kids write earlier, but then they have to fix a lot of little things when they write. Oh, one curriculum he did pretty good with while "waiting" to write for real was Wordsmith Apprentice. It has lots of bits and pieces of writing (as Rooted in Language calls it) in a semi-creative way. It also has a fair amount of functional writing and some thinking skills embedded. It also gave us some data on what was really hard for him language-wise when we had later language testing. 

One thing about my son's ASD presentation is that he needs to see things from every angle--he can't just fill it in on his own. So, when we did MCT sentence analysis, he couldn't do it linearly (my younger son did, and it amazed me, lol!). He had to use multiple levels at one time as a check against one another--so, if he wasn't sure if something was a certain part of speech, he might have to see if he could figure out what part of the sentence it was, which helped narrow down which part of speech it could be. It was pretty wild, because it's typically more the other way around--you know parts of speech, and those inform what part of the sentence it is. Anyway, your son may have some really different patterns of thinking, and that's okay! For my son, it often means he understands something about what he's doing in a deeper or different way, in the end, than others do who just glide right through it. He was similar with math, and his first math tutor said he could do things with numbers that she didn't realize were possible because he was working so hard to avoid doing algebra, lol!!! He used logic plus arithmetic, and the steps involved were far more elaborate than just solving the algebra, but his brain was just stuck for a bit. It worked out eventually. 

Anyway, all that to say that doing things differently is a lot of work, but there are ways to integrate it back into moving forward on your own timeline. 

It is not unusual at all for kids with learning issues to have very splintered skills. Sometimes there are things they can do that they should not be able to do because they can't really do the skills that supposedly form the basis for what they are doing! Other times, they have all the underlying skills, and they don't seem to use them. That's very normal. Brains find a way to compensate sometimes, and at other times, not at all. 

Just describe what you see the best that you can. Keep work samples for his evaluation and try to annotate what you are seeing with post-its or record your thoughts on audio as you go through his work. Those observations will be helpful and important, especially if you choose to get him an IEP or need to apply for DD programs, vocational rehab, etc. down the road.

 

Oh, I am looking for a diagnosis that can help me know exactly what the issue is; the local online homeschool group had parents posting with experts to contact.  🙂  I'm about to leave the house soon, so I am going to come back to this comment.  

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1 minute ago, Ting Tang said:

Oh, I am looking for a diagnosis that can help me know exactly what the issue is; the local online homeschool group had parents posting with experts to contact.  🙂  I'm about to leave the house soon, so I am going to come back to this comment.  

Oh, that's nice! I am sorry you didn't hear back from them. Our local groups tend to recommend non-experts who will not diagnose but will do vague brain training or other things to make you feel like you are doing something about your kids' struggles, lol!!! Very head in the sand! It's getting better, slowly. 

I would caution that they may not have a precise diagnosis since the cause is acquired. A friend of mine has been through that. That doesn't mean that they can't document it in a way that leads to doors opening for supports, accommodations, or services, but you might have to find someone that understands that what they say can make it easier or harder later with their phrasing. 

Are there lead poisoning support groups that have recommended resources for testing? 

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In our state, children with certain lead levels are automatically eligible for early intervention. Once in early intervention, that probably opens the gateway to an IEP or other services down the road. 

https://ohioearlyintervention.org/local-state-national-resources/ChildhoodLeadExposure

Quote

Childhood lead exposure can have a significant negative effect on children’s development. Beginning July 1, 2019, children with a confirmed blood lead level of five micrograms or greater are automatically eligible for Early Intervention in Ohio. There are many successful interventions available to mitigate the effect on lead on young children.

 

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On 1/24/2023 at 12:35 PM, kbutton said:

In our state, children with certain lead levels are automatically eligible for early intervention. Once in early intervention, that probably opens the gateway to an IEP or other services down the road. 

https://ohioearlyintervention.org/local-state-national-resources/ChildhoodLeadExposure

 

We went through the entire early intervention process and the therapies.  Then he went to a developmental preschool. Afterwards, he was dismissed from his IEP.  At the time, he was 4.  I thought, "hooray, my child is going to be okay!"  Looking back, that was far too young to make such a decision.  Lead poisoning is very misunderstood in general.  I was part of an online support, and the leader had a child diagnosed with ASD as well, but we didn't have any local groups nearby.  Now we know our son better academically and socially (sounds odd, but it's true).  I do hope someone from the state will contact us soon, but the letter said it would take up to a year.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.  Back to MCT, that is interesting that your child didn't do the analysis line by line.  I think that is the beauty of the curriculum, seeing how everything works together!  But I wouldn't want it to overwhelm my son. I thought we could start with Poodle, which only covers the first two levels in a light way.  

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58 minutes ago, Ting Tang said:

I thought we could start with Poodle, which only covers the first two levels in a light way.  

I think it's reasonable to try it. I feel like MCT is not hard, it's just that it's more abstract/big picture. And I've not seen Poodle at all.

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I have read two Poodle books.  While the work for the student is more basic than the Island level, the story line and literary style are convoluted.  It's as though MTC is showing off every literary technique at once (with side-bar definitions) while introducing basic parts of speech. Characters in the first book become aware of being characters in a book and climb over the top of the page.  In the second volume about sentence structure, the characters are rehearsing a play.  Again, "breaking the fourth wall" is part of the story with little transition between the story of the play and the story of the rehearsal.  I think it would be confusing to a very literal child. The Island books may be more advanced, but seem less conceptually and visually cluttered.

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1 hour ago, Alice Lamb said:

I have read two Poodle books.  While the work for the student is more basic than the Island level, the story line and literary style are convoluted.  It's as though MTC is showing off every literary technique at once (with side-bar definitions) while introducing basic parts of speech. Characters in the first book become aware of being characters in a book and climb over the top of the page.  In the second volume about sentence structure, the characters are rehearsing a play.  Again, "breaking the fourth wall" is part of the story with little transition between the story of the play and the story of the rehearsal.  I think it would be confusing to a very literal child. The Island books may be more advanced, but seem less conceptually and visually cluttered.

I agree they are a bit abstract; we're using Town with our oldest, and I see the same.  We did start reading the first book together, and he enjoyed it.  I just stopped to explain everything.  But I do think if I sent him to read it on his own (which is what the author intends), my son would not get much out of it at all.  The sentence curriculum teaches parts of speech in a more direct way, so that would help.

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