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Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Reviews

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts includes Grammar, Vocabulary, Poetry, and Academic Writing with a heavy emphasis on root words and deep LA content. It is written especially for gifted learners (but usable by all). Lots of author and publisher online support with user forums.

(4 Reviews)


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  1. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Review by Faye T
    Pros: concepts taught in a clear, understandable way; grammar, writing, vocab are cohesive
    Cons: fairly high parent involvement

    Grades Used: 5, 7

    I used the Voyage level with my 7th and advanced 5th grader. We loved it! My kids hate diagramming sentences. They enjoyed the 4-level approach in he grammar book which, in my opinion, shows how the parts of the sentence work together as well as diagramming while incorporating more informaton about the sentence.

    The vocabulary was fabulous! Learning the Latin roots was fun, and it gave them a better grasp on the meanings and usage of the vocabulary.

    The writing portion incorporated the grammar concepts and the vocabulary, making for a cohesive curriculum. My “history buff” son enjoyed the excerpts from historical documents and literature included as examples of certain writing techniques. We all appreciated the humor used throughout the book.

    I did feel that the jump between the elementary/jr. high series and the to the jr. high/high school curriculum was a bit much for my kids at the time, so we did not continue on this year. However, due to the quality of the curriculum, I’m am considering returning to it for the next school year.

    Note for those who are Christians and may be concerned about the worldview:
    It is not a Christian or religious curriculum. For the most part, I felt it was not in contrast to our Biblical worldview, though I remember a couple of times that I disagreed with a statement and discussed it with my children.

  2. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Review by C Annette
    Pros: fun, clear, understandable, inspiring poetics, freedom from worksheets
    Cons: different format may take time to adjust to

    Grades Used: 3 (Island series)

    I agree with the previous reviewers. My only addition would be to say that my daughter enjoys MCTLA and I enjoy it as well. That is a great combo. When I was going through school I felt as though new grammar rules would be unending. While the levels do go into more depth, the “big picture” of grammar is taught from the first level. I LOVE THAT! It gives my kids a chance to feel that they know grammar. I am making adjustments in our co-op involvement so that I can continue to use MCTLA for the Town (level 2) Series. Thank you MCT!
    MCT weaves into his grammar books clever writing that my daughter enjoys trying to figure out. In one book, Sentence Island, she figured out why one character talked in a certain way before I could! As Latin prefixes are taught, they are personified so that the prefix acts like it’s meaning. This is one major reason I love this curriculum. It keeps me and my kids hunting for the deeper meanings.
    And finally, I don’t want to give it up because of the great “couch time” that it provides. I want my LA curriculum to be very interactive… it is language, after all, isn’t it?

  3. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Review by TriciaL
    Pros: unique approach, kids are enjoying and learning, incredible poetics portion
    Cons: might be an adjustment for parent who needs a daily lesson plan to follow

    Grades Used: 4-8

    I can’t say enough good things about this program. I wish I had found it years ago. After using a workbook-style grammar curriculum for years, this was a breath of fresh air. One week after beginning the Island level, my kids commented ‘I finally understand grammar! I see how it fits together.’

    The Grammar portion is presented in such a way that you can see and understand how the parts of grammar work together. Instead of covering each part of grammar on its own, you see the ‘whole’ picture in the 4-level analysis.

    The poetics portion of the program is wonderful. It really opened our eyes to the depth of thought that goes into crafting a good poem. We hadn’t done much with poetry in the past, but really developed an appreciation for it with this curriculum. My son, who prefers math, surprised me by jumping in and writing poems of his own.

    Another surprise was the vocabulary portion. My kids love learning the Latin stems and roots. They are better at understanding new words because they recognize and know the meanings of the roots. It also helps with spelling.

    Although it is sometimes promoted for gifted learners, I have a couple of kids with learning challenges who are thriving with this curriculum. We are on our second level of the program. I’m so thankful to have found it.

  4. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Review by JulieCC
    Pros: inexpensive; great depth and breadth; great online support for users; several strands
    Cons: can be hard for some parent-teachers to learn & teach

    Grades Used: Levels 3-5 (so far)

    My son has used MCTLA for three levels so far. He’s done every strand of grammar, vocabulary, poetry, and writing. We also have “Classics in the Classrom”, “The Sesquipedalin Neologist’s Lexicon”, and the “Self-Evident Truths” series. The posters are on our wish list.

    I love how all the strands tie together and cannot wait for the author’s literature curricula. It’s easy to use the vocabulary words for spelling lists (no formal MCT instruction). Students are exposed to the great classics through examples & exercises. Ceaser’s English also includes Spanish vocabulary to show how it’s tied into Latin roots. The list of root words and stems learned is extensive. The workbooks are fun for both child and student and facilitate Socratic discussion – wonderful for the Classical Method learner/instructor.

    The artwork is enjoyable and so is the humor throughout. There is easy access to both the pubisher and author via the user support forums. Royal Fireworks Press is a great company to purchase from. They have great service and support. They also freely take in input from users for improvements, errata, etc.

    While the MCTLA series is labeled for “gifted/advanced” learners, it can be used by all students, with the suggestion to start at the “Island” level (1).

    Michal Clay Thompson is also a fantastic speaker. Look for him at several homeschooling conventions.

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