Curriculum Review

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town Review

Disclaimer: We received this product for review purposes. As always, we are not required to write a positive review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post may contain affiliated links.

English Language Arts can be one of the most difficult areas of study to teach to our kids. We can easily research for hours on end the multitude of home-based or school-based products available in order to find the right fit for our learner (s).

If you are searching for a solid Language Arts program that is concise, entertaining, intellectually stimulating, encourages open dialogue with plenty of opportunities for big questions/discussions, and offers you the flexibility of pacing or if you have a love of language, as clearly as the author does, and a desire to approach ELA differently than how it’s traditionally taught, then Michael Clay Thompson qualifies.

Royal Fireworks Press is known to be used with ‘Gifted Students’. But, don’t let that labeling scare you. Gifted curriculum, to me, means more parent involvement and if you are already homeschooling your kids, well, we are all up in the learning process anyway. MCT uses a Socratic method in teaching Language Arts, which means plenty of dialogue between you and your kids. The level of parent involvement varies from kid to kid. Aside from the practice textbook, there are no worksheets. If you have a child who likes to listen, read and discuss, MCT curricula are written with that preference in mind.

MCT Language Arts is a full curriculum that covers Grammar, Vocabulary, Writing, Poetics, Practice and Literature. When you purchase the full homeschooling package, an implementation guide is included. The guide is a suggested 30-week lesson plan, using the five textbooks and three readers to cover the year’s lesson. However, on their site, I found a FREE Elementary Curriculum Guide that you might find useful. Not all books are used simultaneously, you will gradually weave in the next book when needed. Follow your child’s lead, build on the suggested schedule, find your own routine/rhythm. Flexibility is key.

This is the review implementation guideline said by Royal Fireworks Press:

  1. Do grammar first.
  2. Begin the vocabulary text after you finish the parts of speech in the grammar book.
  3. Begin the practice book after the entire text of the grammar book is complete.
  4. Begin the writing text once four-level analysis is strong, as seen in the practice sentences.
  5. Begin the poetics text after the writing book is complete to develop expertise in controlling the sounds of sentences.
  6. Extend the curriculum with literature.

Before we jump into Level 2, I would like to speak on Level 1. MCT 1 introduces the full four-level grammar analysis of the parts of speech, parts of a sentence, phrases and clauses.  It covers noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, conjunction, preposition, interjection,  Subject, Predicate, Direct Object, Indirect Object, Subject Complement; prepositional phrases and how to identify clauses.  It also covers sentence writing. It emphasizes the importance of word arrangements to create clear, beautiful sentences that are impactful, but not too wordy. If your child is strong with all of these elements,  then they most likely can begin at Level 2.

Level 2 is suited for ages 9 – 11 or 4th grade and up. It reinforces all grammar and sentence formation found in level 1 with richer vocabulary, denser text, and deeper content. Additionally, it covers prepositional phrases, appositive phrases, verbal phrases, modifiers, infinitives, subject/verb agreement, the four sentence structures, and four sentence purposes. There are short stories throughout the book that emphasize these concepts that my son found to be comedic.

Continuing with the story-style approach, the different kinds of paragraphs, how to organize and write one is explained. However, your child might need help on WHAT to write. Also note, that punctuation, spelling, and capitalization aren’t taught. It’s assumed that you know it.

Caesar’s English (Vocabulary) is richly dense with prefixes, root, and suffixes. Its filled with photos, maps, facts and more that will give you a deep look into ancient languages and how it evolves over time. Literacy History. The level of vocabulary is impressive. The poetry and literature choices are considered classical selections, but it’s a non-issue for us since we read a lot of diverse books anyway.

Let’s be honest and talk price. Looking through a full curriculum before buying it’s a huge luxury for most people. MCT Is considered expensive in the homeschooling world. The MCT Language Art Full Curriculum can easily cost $250. Its a sticker shock, TBH. It may be considered cost-effective if you have multiple kids and you plan to use this with all of them. But if you don’t have multiple kids or straight up don’t want to spend that much, there are options. You can buy the grammar book and/or vocabulary text only. To save a bit more, just buy the Teacher Manual version. It is almost exactly the same as the student book, except in the TM they have boxes with extra information in them to discuss. Please note: you would want to buy both the Student Manual and Teacher Manual of the practice book unless you want to copy down 100 sentences for them to analyze.

For some, the prices might be a non-issue and well worth it. If you are working on a timeline (temporary homeschooling), filling in a gap year, or want the big picture first, this is a comprehensive curriculum that will take you to A – Z within a few short months. You are laying a solid foundation using the grammar book and you can easily incorporate daily practice (aside from the Grammar Town’s practice book) using other curriculums that you may already have. For instance, you can use Bravewriter’s Dart/Arrows, IEW’s Fix-It Grammar and/or Evan Moor grammar books to name a few, all of which I personally use in my home.

Although MCT is written with the gifted students in mind, it is not meant solely for the gifted ones. If you, the parent, are willing to put in the time and effort to learn along with your “non-gifted” child, you can definitely make this curriculum work for you.

I really hope you found my review helpful. Please drop me a line if you have any questions. Also, check out what the other reviewers from Melanated Gold Review Squad thought about MCT.

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