Leaving Michael Clay Thompson – For Now
As you can see from the title I am sharing some thoughtsand our real life experienced using the Michael Cay Thompson Language Arts Curriculum. I will also share why we are choosing not to use it this year. I wont structure this post like most of my curriculum reviews because its really not a review. Im sharing our experience and my disappointment in having to drop this curriculum this year.
MCT is well thought out, colorful with out being distracting, and just the right amount of rigorous. We ordered only the teachers manual which other reviews said would suffice and they were correct! We did get the practice book for obvious reasons and that worked well.
The curriculum uses great visual illustrations. It has wonderful stories to reinforce old and new concepts. Stories along with color coded words to indicated types of words already taught.
This curriculum kept my childs attention, while teaching rigoruos concepts. I was v8thery impressed with the layout right out of the box.
MCT In Use
I was so excited to use MCT last year. We did use it for a little while but it quickly moved from a priority to the bottom of the list. Now like I said we only used the first levels grammar and vocabulary curriculum lines.
Looking at the grammar “in a vaccuum” the curriculum is great but in real life, in our homeschool, it took up alot of time for a small subject. Everything that is good about this curriculum was what was fighting against us. The stories, the colorful pictures, the practice sentences. I realized in the vast amount of subjects that “Languge Arts” covers grammar can be such a easy thing to teach. We literally have years and years to teach grammar. Grammar is grammar, it doesnt change.
The curriculum is attention catching yes but when you get past the basics and to the knitty gritty it gets intense. So for us it wasnt as simple as reading the book and moving on.
Another thing that made it more difficult for my learner to like it was that it was out of context. To be fair we like to use literature based curriculum. Most of our language arts work is based in a story we are reading. This works well because it gives the assignments purpose and meaning.
With MCT although there are practice sentences and they have a theme (sea and sea animals) they arent part of an actaul story. The sentences were kind of meaningless to my learner. but as we know most grammar workborks are like this but if your child isnt into grammar already this fact isnt going to help.
We also used the first book in their vocabulary curriculum line. I am really trying to decide if we are going to use it this year. I am feeling the same about it in that it takes alot of time for something I feel can be presented in a few minutes a day. The presentation is grand and wonderful but to me vocab is learned more by intertwining in everyday use than in the inital exposure. It looks like the Vocaulary line makes up for this in later levels though. For this inital level im not sure its worth the time it takes for the amount of information that will be retained.
I have two kids and almost all of their curriculum is teacher intensive so I have to be wise with our time.
What We Are Using Now
Im jumping into Blossom and Root Language arts this year and this will cover grammar. If your not familiar with blossom and root , its a literature based curriculum. We read a story and as much language arts concept possible are covered using this book.
Im hoping this curriculum will work because instead of intense study on only one thing and then moving on it sprinkles throughout the year, reviewing it over and over while adding new things as well. I find with subjects that arent necesarily passion subjects (subjects my learner is really into learning) this approach works best.
I am so disappointed that we are putting down this curriculum this year. I really wanted it to work. It didnt necessarily disappoint, it just didnt work in our homeschool for one year.
This curriculum is advertised for the gifted learner and I think thats exactly what it is. I just couldnt justify the time it took when my learner is still working on things like writing and spelling. If she was proficient in these things and all other LA subjects then It would have been excellent. That makes me think we may pick this curriculum up again in later years.
I dont feel like we used enough of this curriculum for me to give a full review but I wanted to share our experience in using it in hopes it would help someone in trying to decide whether to use MCT. I know its hard jumping into a new curriculum, check out this post going into if its worth it to make a change in your curriculum, no matter the subject.
You can also cheeck out what we are up to over on our Instagram.