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#170646 - 10/08/13 09:59 AM Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA
Portia Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 669
I get so much out of hearing everyone's experiences. So thought I would put this out there.

We tried EPGY's Language Arts grade 3 over the summer. It was OK. It had a lot of bugs, which did not help it. The hardest part of it for DS6 was the writing sections. They gave an assignment, which in itself was not hard, but gave a VERY restricted word list from which to write the assignment. Many times the word list had a specific theme/tone and if you wanted to write something different, it just did not work. For example, the writing assignment might be something like "Write a narrative paragraph about when you learned to ride a bike." Then the word list would include all these happy words. DS has motor planning issues and learning to ride a bike is not a fun, happy experience for him. So instead of writing to express his thoughts AND meet the requirements, he learned how to figure out what the computer wanted. This is good in a way, but the computer passed/failed the written assignment based on word types. So if you had a few key words, a noun and a verb, it pretty much passed - even if the sentence did not make sense. The end result was my aspiring author doesn't write much anymore.

In Sept, I decided to try Michael Clay Thompson's (MCT) Language Arts program based on the reviews of how much he LOVES language and it shows. WOW! Does it ever show! I picked up the 3rd grade curriculum again as this is really where MCT's program starts. Grammar Island is about as good as one can do with grammar. He breaks it down into categories which make a lot of sense. But after Grammar Island, he takes you on a journey with how to USE language in its best forms. There are 3 books after Grammar Island (which we finished in 5 weeks): Building Language, Music of the Hemispheres, and Sentence Island. Sentence Island reiterates the rules of Grammar Island. There are practice sentences you work on similar to those you did in Grammar Island. But the real beauty of the program is in Building Language and the Music of the Hemispheres.

Building Language begins with an analogy of ancient Roman arches to language. The Romans used stones to build the arch, the arches were used in repeatable patterns to create great structures, remnants of which are still found today... Language is like this too. Words are used in repeatable patters to make language which lasts. This is a wonderful bridge for my little history buff. Then it goes into the stem words from Latin and shows how that is seen not only in English, but Spanish too (he chose Spanish as his example, but it could be applied to other Romantic languages). This is really a vocabulary book, but the journey it takes you on is just... exciting and thought provoking.

The Music of the Hemispheres we just started. It talks about the sounds of letters and how choosing words with certain sounds can create an emotion or promote a thought you wish to convey without actually saying it. Instead of picking words with just meanings, you can pick words with both stated meaning and "sound" meaning. That probably doesn't make sense, but I've never seen language taught like this. It starts a little slow with a review of phonics, which is hard to get little brains through. BUT then you turn the page and see why he did the review and it makes sense. DS6 likes that he uses real poetry in his samples.

This became longer than intended, but I hope it gives a good sense of the program. Others are welcome to share their thoughts as well.

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#170647 - 10/08/13 10:12 AM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
doubtfulguest Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/13
Posts: 413
bookmarking this one for sure! thanks, Portia!
_________________________
Every Sunday it brooded and lay on the floor. Inconveniently close to the drawing-room door.

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#170651 - 10/08/13 10:22 AM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
ashley Offline
Member

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 329
We recently started Grammar Island and we love it. I second all of Portia's recommendations!

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#170652 - 10/08/13 10:25 AM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
Kai Offline
Member

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 386
MCT was a huge hit here as well. By "huge" I mean transformative.

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#170654 - 10/08/13 10:59 AM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
St. Margaret Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 214
I finally scored a bunch of these used and dd and I are really enjoying them, too. She wants the mud trilogy so badly ( if anyone wants to sell them to me!). We're just supplementing with them so I hope they'll stretch a year maybe.

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#170658 - 10/08/13 11:09 AM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
KADmom Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 654
Question:

ds11 is in 7th grade. What book should we begin with to supplement his b&m school? And do we need both the student and the parent books?

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#170666 - 10/08/13 12:12 PM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
HappilyMom Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 417
Wow! Portia if you are recommending, I am ordering. Too many things in common with our kiddos not to. smile

Those of you who have used this program... did you use a package? Any recommendations on what we need? The descriptions sound just phenomenal and spot on where we have been working with Language Arts.

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#170685 - 10/08/13 01:37 PM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: KADmom]
Kai Offline
Member

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 386
Originally Posted By: KADmom
Question:

ds11 is in 7th grade. What book should we begin with to supplement his b&m school? And do we need both the student and the parent books?


For grammar, I'd start with either Grammar Voyage or Magic Lens 1. If he's had some grammar already, then probably go with The Magic Lens. Be sure to get the corresponding practice book as this is where much of the learning takes place. Note that the practice books contain vocabulary from the vocabulary book at the same level, so the practice book for ML1 has vocabulary from The Word Within the Word 1.

For writing, Essay Voyage is where he explains how to write an essay. Advanced Academic Writing 1 is about research papers.

I prefer Caesar's English to The Word Within the Word series. So I'd start with CE 1 rather than WWW1.

And I don't have an opinion on the poetry books as I haven't used them.

All that said, the whimsical, narrative quality of the MCT LA materials is confined to the Island and Town levels. My son was disappointed with Grammar Voyage because it is boring in comparison. In fact, he was so disenchanted with the Voyage materials that I rewrote Essay Voyage omitting all of the references to the voyage and adding different examples of good writing and essays. My son loved that, but it was a whole lot of work.

For the Voyage level you can get away with just the teacher books (for the practice book, you need both student and teacher books, as the teacher book has the answers in it), but for the Magic Lens level you need both the student and teacher books if you want to have answers.

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#170699 - 10/08/13 03:58 PM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
Portia Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 669
Thanks for the perspective for higher grades Kai. I find this happening with our other curricula as well. It works for a while, then it looses its magic somewhere along the way. I hate to hear that this program changes over time, but at least I now know. Any idea when exactly the change in format happens (right after Town?)?

HappilyMom - I bought the whole package - teacher and student manuals. To be honest, the student manuals are not needed. I had read that on the "A Well Trained Mind" forums, but needed to see for myself. The difference between the 2 is that the teacher manual has a few pop up blocks to reiterate points along the way. I usually read them out loud to DS, making his copies irrelevant (at least in Grammar Island, which is the one we've worked completely through). The teacher manuals have answers and extra worksheets in the back in Grammar Island. In others, it talks about how to enrich the experience (true enrichment, not give more of the same). The student would need the Practice book individual. If you go to the website for the books, they offer different package selections to meet different needs.

On "The Well Trained Mind" forum, someone posted a lesson plan, which we follow. Again, we are 3rd grade. I have zero experience with the other grades. It makes it MUCH easier. The pages are a few off (2-3) in some weeks. I think it's an edition issue. But it's easy enough to adjust.

G3online uses this curriculum for the online classes, I believe. I did not do that this year as I was still trying to see where exactly DS was during their enrollment period. I only mention this in case there are some more interested in an online class vs teaching it yourself at home. I don't know anything more about that program, just it exists and may be worthwhile researching. I'm interested in any compare/contrast experiences with this format as well.

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#170700 - 10/08/13 04:49 PM Re: Love, Love, Love Michael Clay Thompson's LA [Re: Portia]
Kai Offline
Member

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 386
Originally Posted By: Portia
Thanks for the perspective for higher grades Kai. I find this happening with our other curricula as well. It works for a while, then it looses its magic somewhere along the way. I hate to hear that this program changes over time, but at least I now know. Any idea when exactly the change in format happens (right after Town?)?


Yes, after Town. Grammar (and Essay) Voyage have a traveling/nautical theme, but there are no characters like Mud or Queequack (was that his name?). After the amazingness of Island and Town, the voyage/nautical theme of Voyage was disappointing and annoying. The Magic Lens is a straight grammar book, which seems less annoying because it's not pretending to be something its not.

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