“The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children." G K Chesterton

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homeschool Planning 2011-2012: What I Bought, Part 3

My biggest purchase this year and the one I am most excited about it is the Michael Clay Thompson material from Royal Fireworks Press.  I looked and looked at these materials last year but then decided I could not afford them but this year I decided to take the plunge.

Since Alex will be doing Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing I only bought The Music of the Hemispheres for him. I only purchased the Teacher's Edition. I totally ignored the grade recommendations and just used the samples online to decide where to start. Alex will be in 6th grade. Even though many people are using this book with younger children and I have discussed poetry with my children in depth for years, I still feel that discussing iambs and trochees is a stretch for younger students. Throughout all the MCT materials I am smitten with the literary selections.  I will add a post of how this all works out for Alex later.  There is a good chance I will use this book in Morning Time rather than just hand it to Alex.

For Andrew, 9th grade, I bought the 3rd level basic package.
Grammar Voyage TM
Caesars's English TM
Essay Voyage TM  (This means I have two different essay programs (Winning with Writing) to try with Andrew and we will probably not finish either which is fine by me. He will continue to write daily reading journals.)
The World of Poetry, TM  Once again I will probably use this for MT.
Practice Voyage, TM and Students

For Emily, 12th Grade, I bought a mix, mostly level 6.
Poetry, Plato and the Problem of Truth, TM
The Word Within The Word, Vol. 3 Home School Edition
The Magic Lens, Vol. 3 Home School Edition
4Practice, Vol. 3 Student's and TM
Academic Writing, Vol. 1 (This is level 4)

These materials are quite expensive and not what I usually go for but the literary quality seems superb. Just looking through the books makes me excited for the children. They SEEM like the perfect combination of structure to beauty, BUT I am not speaking from experience on these things yet.

MCT does not have the students doing each of these books all year long so it is not like you have a bunch of workbooks to do each day. Instead you begin with the grammar books adding in each of the levels over time. Here is a sample of that progression.

To dovetail these posts I will put up what I think next year will look like for each of my students in a future post.


  1. Cindy,
    These posts are always so helpful. Thank you!

  2. M-girl begs to do Music of the Hemispheres ... I occasionally give in. She absolutely loves it and has learned a ton from it. I've learned a ton from it. I don't think you can go wrong with it. Great book! The teacher edition is totally the way to go, too. It's the only MCT we use as we use First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease, but it is very fun. My big problem is what do I get for next after it?

  3. Cindy, can you tell me why you've chosen the first Grammar & Writing program with your youngest but then are using the Royal Fireworks books for the older ones? Is it because the Royal Fireworks ones don't extend down far enough?

    Thanks for telling us about these books. I'm seriously considering them for next year.

  4. Another question if you don't mind: Can you compare The Lost Tools of Writing with the Writing books from Royal Fireworks? I believe you've used LTOW before - will you continue with it in addition to these books or will you use these ones exclusively?

    1. It has taken me a long time to truly appreciate The Lost Tools of Writing but now that I do, I think it is excellent on many levels. I have seen it bear fruit in my children even though my efforts to teach through it were halting. Alex did participate on a small scale when I did it with the older kids but I am waiting for a couple of years to walk him through it for real. When I do Andrew will likely participate again because of the practice in answering and thinking of questions which is invaluable. But LTOW only takes up one year or two.

  5. Just when I thought I'd never again be tempted to buy a new curriculum. I look forward to hearing more as my last student is a lover of poetry and literature.

  6. Oh my, how could I possibly pass up a book entitled "Poetry, Plato, and Beauty"? I don't know whether I should thank you or not. I was so determined not to be enticed by any new curriculum this year. ;)

    Would you, by any chance, be willing to bring "Music of the Hemispheres" to Circe? I'd love to look at it. I won't have money to buy anything until after Circe anyway. As soon as I earn something, it goes to pay bills so I have yet to save for next year's books.


    1. I will try to remember to bring it, Joy. Maybe we should all bring cool things to look over late at night.

    2. That would be so fun. I'm not sure if I have anything cool. I'm pretty boring, but I'll try to think of something good. :)

  7. 'Cindy, can you tell me why you've chosen the first Grammar & Writing program with your youngest but then are using the Royal Fireworks books for the older ones?"

    I have always shied away from formal writing programs with my younger children and even with my older ones. Alex is already writing a narration a day and I felt I wanted to keep the direction in grammar that we already had been doing. MCT takes a different approach to grammar. I didn't think Alex needed to do any formal essay writing moving towards academic writing. And he can always still complete the entire MCT series in the future if I decide I like it enough.