As we near spring, I start getting the itch to research homeschool curriculum for the following year. Oh, who am I kidding?
I do this ALL year long – it’s that sick addiction I have to research and the fact that I would rather buy books for my kids than shoes for myself.
Today I want to explore one of our favorites and give you the reasons why we love this product so much.
Please keep in mind that all of my reviews are unbiased. I don’t receive a cut or kickback from anything (that would be nice though), just good old-fashioned hands-on experience. I won’t comment on anything we haven’t used firsthand.
Why We Love Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts?
We started using Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar, Essay, and Practice Voyage, along with Caesar’s English and Building Poems. In fact, it was the Caesar’s English I that sold me further on the language arts program. The Michael Clay Thompson (MCT) language arts curriculum is sold at Royal Fireworks Press.
While I plan to cover the entire curriculum we are using from MCT, today I will touch on one of our favorites: Caesar’s English.
Caesar’s English I – Quality Vocabulary Instruction
There are 20 lessons in Caesar’s English I and we go through one lesson a week. All chapters are cumulative and by the time your child finishes the book, they will know the entire book!
We are just finishing up this book and will be grabbing Caesar’s English II shortly. From grammar review and analogies to Latin stems and word roots, this book has it all. For those of you using a solid Latin curriculum, this is a good supplement.
The vocabulary words are wonderful, full-bodied words that take your child to an entirely new level.
Now, Big Sis loves BIG words! She likes to throw out an occasional, ‘plethora’ or ‘sanguine’ vocabulary word in the kitchen while hanging with Dad or drop a word like ‘abate’ or ‘incredulous’ while at gymnastics practice. While there are some smart cookies on her team, I am sure the occasional raised eyebrow is a common occurrence.
What I really love about MCT Caesar’s is that it takes spelling and vocabulary to an entirely new level. Consistent with Michael Clay Thompson’s beliefs that children should be raised upward and taught at a higher level, rather than dumbing them down with mainstream spelling and literature. I am a firm believer in this learning approach and have seen my own daughter skyrocket in learning, simply because I wasn’t afraid to offer her literature well-above grade level or give the material that stretched her. This is a curriculum that prepares the child for the SAT, ACT, and other nationally recognized college-bound tests.
The Michael Clay Thompson Philosophy for Gifted Learning
Here is where I get really excited. As you may know, for those following my blogging journey, our homeschool is based on academic approaches. We collectively believe as a family that education is critical to the success of our children. Now, education comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. Not a big fan of cookie-cutter learning. This is where MCT fits the bill.
Michael Clay Thompson says that,
“Plato’s dialogues about Socrates have been my primary intellectual influence. That to acknowledge what you do not know is the crucial test of intellectual authenticity. Socratic teaching is a sine qua non for gifted pedagogy.”
He also believes that language is the primary core of all content – our words. MCT says that,
“In my books I build in thinking taxonomies and whole brain approaches, and I try to communicate an enthusiasm about learning that makes over-excitability seem normal and right, which it is.”
There are a wide range of book offerings by MCT and some that I will be purchasing in the near future. The price is very reasonable, with some of the manuals not requiring the teacher edition. For example, I have found that you don’t really need the teacher manual for Caesar’s English or even the Essay Voyage, but if your skills are a little shaky in this arena, you may want to pick up the manual (at least if it’s the first time using his curriculum). He offers homeschooler prices that are extremely affordable.
I will write other reviews of MCT curriculum that we have used and are using, from Grammar to Essay writing. We are pleased with the curriculum as a whole and I have watched my child really be able to define skills that she will need well into her academic studies in college.
My husband has taught at the college level and claims that our rising 5th grader writes better than most of his first-year college students in basic English classes. I attribute a majority of this to the MCT curriculum. It is where she has expanded her vocabulary, learned to extract a sentence into the prominent parts of speech, and is currently learning how to write a 3-page essay in the proper format (all using APA). Again, MCT causes the child to rise up not dumb them down.
There are a variety of levels and recommendations if your child has not been exposed to particular aspects of vocab and writing. I wish we had discovered the curriculum when she was very young, but I plan to make up for it with our littlest one.
How about you? Have you discovered a particular piece of language arts curriculum that is working for your child?
Please share in the comments what is working for you and your family. Also, if you have used MCT, we want to hear about your experience.