Oops, I did it again. I bought yet another grammar program. Now, my grammar shelf, the spot on my bookshelves where all my other Grammar programs live, it’s looking tighter than ever. But who can blame me? I suffer from one of those illnesses that plague some of us homeschooling moms; curriculitis.
Now you are wondering what curriculutis is, and if you are suffering from it too, but I will leave that for another time. The fact is that I have it and you are about to benefit from it!
This time my illness took me to the extraordinary Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts program (also known as MCT), and I am thrilled to share all about it with you.
This program is so extraordinary indeed that I binge-read the whole thing in five days, something I have never done before. And, why would anyone binge-read a Grammar program anyhow? And, what sort of grammar program can be so simple and interesting that someone would keep reading and reading? Let that sink in!
But if you can take my word for it, you would have done the same because this program is heavenly, is unique, is open-and-go, and you and your child will love it. This program is binge-read worthy.
But without further ado, here’s what you want to know.
The Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts program is all-encompassing.
It includes grammar at its core, grammar practice, sentence analysis, poetry, Latin roots-based vocabulary, and writing. These skills are all in a narrative style that will captivate any audience. Written by Michael Clay and published by Fireworks Press, it was created for gifted learners and is now available to anyone.
The grammar portion of the program, Grammar Island, is a seamless narrative with simple visuals that teaches you the core of written language: the parts of speech, the elements of a sentence, phrases, and clauses. You will learn to analyze any sentence using these four components but not isolated from each other. No! You will learn how they all work together to make written language easy to understand. The brilliance in which Michael Clay conveys a concept In Grammar Island is unparalleled and fascinating.
Once, there was a colorful adjective named Brown. Brown was lonely, and he went everywhere looking for a nice noun to modify. Brown saw Sky and asked, “hello, Sky. Can I modify you?” “No,” said Sky. “I already have blue.” Then Brown found the noun Grass, who was long here and short there. “Hello, Grass,” said Brown. “Can I modify you?” “I hope not,” said Grass. “Go away!” Brown was very sad. But then, over in a corner, Brown saw the noun Dog, who had two other adjectives, Fuzzy and Little, already modifying him. “Hello,” said Brown. “Can I modify you?” “Sure,” said Dog, as Fuzzy and Little stuck close to him. And away went the Dog- Little, Fuzzy and Brown.
Practice Island – Practice Books
The practice book contains a series of sentences to be analyzed using the four components mentioned above. You can go at any pace you want. You can analyze one sentence per day, a couple a week, or many at a time. You set your pace according to your goals for your students.
Music of Hemispheres – Poetry
The poetry book, called The Music of the Hemispheres, teaches you “technical things about the sound of words” and “cracks open the door, giving you a peek inside the huge world of creative life that poets live in.” In this narrative style book, you will learn about Rhyme, Alliteration, Meter, Stanza, Similes, and metaphors. It will be a unique journey into the poetry world in a fun and engaging manner. You will come out the other side very knowledgeable about all things poetry, and you will not be bored for a second.
Building Language – Vocabulary
The Building Language book is a book about Roman history, and how Latin roots affect all other modern languages, yes, that includes English too! You will learn “the secret of words” and lots of useful vocabulary that will, for sure, enrich the study of language arts in general. This book, in my opinion, is not to be missed.
Sentence Island – Writing
The Sentence Island book is the writing component of the program. To quote Michael Clay himself, “the strategy of Sentence Island is to start your writers off right by focusing on the true essence of writing: The Sentence. No amount of practice with paragraphs or essays will matter if students cannot write sentences.” I don’t know about you, but I think there is no further explanation required. When I first read that statement, I felt my world turning upside-down. I felt the need to backtrack and make sure that we were writing sentences that are “right: balanced, in agreement, with everything where it should be and meaning what it should mean.” Now, that is what I call revolutionary!
But you might have other questions like, what ages does this program cover? How do I know what to do and when? When should I start the program? How much does it cost? Let’s answer them one at a time.
First, what ages does this program cover?
The Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts program has several levels, the one I am talking about in this article is the first level, the Island Level. In my opinion, based on my experience with my own kids, I think advanced third graders and for sure fourth graders will understand and enjoy this program. I would also say that if you would like to use this first level with a middle schooler who has not had previous grammar instruction, you can too. Perhaps, you can use it at a faster pace. I mean, I am an adult, and I enjoyed it very much, to the point of reading all the books in less than a week! Now, that’s what I call a great program; when an adult can gain lots from it but at the same time be so simple as to help a child understand a concept.
How do I know what to do and when?
The program also comes with a weekly schedule for a total of 28 weeks of instruction. There is no guessing on what you should do next. However, you can adjust the program to slow it down a bit or go faster according to your goals for your students.
When should you start?
I believe you should start this program now! If you are struggling with grammar, this would be a burst of fresh air. This is a fun and engaging curriculum that will take the mysticism and fear out of Grammar, poetry, and writing in general. It will leave you feeling like you can understand grammar, teach it, enjoy it, and use it every time you put words into paper or keyboard for that matter!
What about the price point?
This program is on the upper end in price. The basic level package for level 1 is $150. It includes both the teacher and student manuals for the Grammar and practice components and only the teacher manual for the poetry, vocabulary and writing portions of the program. Then, there is the complete package, which costs $205 and includes both the student and teacher manuals for all the components of the program. I chose to buy the complete package.
Are you interested in the Michael Clay Thomas Grammar Program? Check it out today!
Marcela was born in Santa Marta, Colombia, a beautiful town in the Caribbean which was the first Spanish settlement in the Americas, and is currently one of the largest ports in the continent. She was Classically Educated in an all girls school and graduated high school when she was 17 years old. She moved to the United States in 2001 to attend college and met the love of her life just 3 short weeks after she arrived. She has been married to her husband, Jeremy, for 16 years. They have 5 beautiful children; Laya, Samuel, Matthew, Joseph and Noah.
She attended Travis Technical Institute and earned a degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Later, she attended Polk Community College for an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She currently lives on a 40 acre ranch in Georgia and has homeschooled her children for the past 8 years. As a native Spanish speaker, she has taught Spanish at several co-ops. In her spare time, she enjoys reading non-fiction, photography, weightlifting, and researching and curating her own classical curriculum for her students. She teaches Spanish for True North Homeschool Academy.