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What Parents Say

Winner of Practical Homeschooling’s Reader Award for best language arts curriculum for multiple years, as well as a repeat winner of Practical Homeschooling’s i-Learn Award

Multi-year winner of a Best Curriculum and Resources on the Planet Award from How To Homeschool

Three-time winner of a Best Middle and High School Homeschool Curriculum and Resources Award from How To Homeschool

Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum Winner from

Cathy Duffy Review

“The five books for each level work together, and literature studies round out the language arts curriculum. Grammar books provide an understanding of the structure of language used throughout all the books. Vocabulary study prepares students to explore a wider variety of literature with understanding. Poetry books feed the imagination for writing and allow students to experience the beauty of aptly chosen words they might have just learned in their vocabulary study. And all of this prepares students to be able to express ideas in their own writing. I suspect that most parents will be inspired by these books, just as I was, since they reveal aspects of language arts that offer beauty and meaning.”  

The MCT Language Arts Curriculum is one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Read the full review here.

What Parents Say:

“Your curriculum is our north star.”

“The books have inspired a fascination with language, opened worlds of understanding….”

“…they encourage depth, sensitivity, and reflection.”

“…my favorite resources.”

“I have never been so excited to start a curriculum….”

“Your curriculum is like nothing else we’ve ever used.”

“…gorgeous beyond words.”

“Your curriculum is our north star, and it will make all the difference in our daughter’s life. What you offer is unique and much needed. We will always be grateful.”

– Jennifer and Peter, homeschooling parents

Read their full letter about the MCT curriculum and how it has helped their profoundly asynchronous child.

“…Michael Clay Thompson cleverly designed his curriculum to show children how fun and easy learning grammar can be…. The grammar portion is terrific! The practice books are a fantastic reinforcement of everything taught in his grammar books. I was gobsmacked the first time my son did a four-level analysis of a sentence! He truly has a deep and thorough understanding of grammar, due in large part to the MCT curriculum….

“The vocabulary portion of the curriculum was well thought-out. It contains Latin stems and classic academic words…. My son has already been able to piece together the meaning of words he doesn’t know using what he does know of Latin stems and classic words….

“MCT lays the foundation for writing and understanding poetry like no other curriculum I have ever come across. I thought I understood poetry well before reading through this curriculum, but I was wrong. What was taught to me in high school and college barely scratches the surface of what this curriculum is teaching my son. How many ten-year-olds do you know who can write an English sonnet or identify trochaic tetrameter?

“…This curriculum surpassed my expectations. I feel my son could write academic papers at Harvard or edit the NY Times if he continues with this curriculum. It is that good!”

– Anna Chambley, writing for the Gifted at Home website

“What I like about this curriculum is that it takes a very deep dive into every corner of language and how it works. It’s also designed to be engaging and to encourage conversation between educator and child during learning. Nothing is dumbed down or oversimplified or worksheet-heavy (all things that make my child melt in her seat and roll around on the floor while making dying cow noises).

“…Many homeschoolers have given this curriculum rave reviews. Overall, it really expects a lot from your child and extends their vocabulary, understanding, and appreciation for language. Heck, I’m looking forward to learning new things while teaching it to my kid, and I write for a living.”

– Homeschooling parent, educator, and writer

“I’m sure you hear this often, but I wanted to tell you that our family loves your curricula. I have ten-year-old twice-exceptional identical twin girls, each with her own learning style. Up until this year, they have hated and struggled with English language arts. But your program is giving our family small wins in battling the ‘I hate school’ department. Royal Fireworks has turned the tide in our homeschool. I am learning so much as well. Grateful for the humor and ease.”

– Nicole

“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 four-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 we 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.”

– Tricia L.

“I want to thank you for sharing your language arts vision through the MCT curriculum. Your books have enriched our homeschool experience and our family beyond the actual content in the curriculum, and for that I am deeply appreciative. For the past six years, my daughters and I have sat together on our couch reading and discussing your books; I count these times as some of my fondest parenting memories and as a gift to our family. The books have inspired a fascination with language, opened worlds of understanding, provoked more Socratic discussions than I can remember, and brought us closer together.

“I recently purchased The Vocabulary of Literature and The Writing of Literature, and I was overwhelmed by how beautiful and meaningful these books are. I was struck again by how fortunate I am to have discovered your program through a Well-Trained Mind forum post many years ago. Even after all of these years, I am still excited about sharing your books with my daughters and now with the ninth grader that I tutor.”

– Lynne Holsapple

“Out of all the curriculum that I reviewed and tried (and tossed out) during our homeschooling years, your series was the only one that I tell everyone they must use. I credit your language arts series for my daughter’s 800 Critical Reading and 800 Writing scores on the upper level SSAT when she was eleven. If your curriculum were taught in every school, the SAT would have to go back to the more difficult Verbal sections from thirty or forty years ago!

Thank you so much for creating this wonderful collection of texts to teach our English language and instill an appreciation for great literature while explaining grammar.

– Erin

“My mother is a college English professor, and after spending a few days working through the books with my eight-year-old son this year, she said he knows grammar better than most of her students. We are truly enjoying this program, and especially Music of the Hemispheres...a gem of a book!

– Kristin Thompson

“I want to take a moment to thank you for creating this curriculum. My daughter and I have just completed Grammar Voyage and will be moving on to Practice Voyage today. Your curriculum is like nothing else we’ve ever used. It is fun and interesting. The tone of the lessons is like a pleasant conversation rather than a dry lecture. I have recommended it to everyone in my homeschooling community. Some of the women in my book club are homeschooling mothers, and they have asked me to bring the books with me after hearing me talk about them.

“Another thing that I have been very impressed with is your customer service. I have called your company with a question twice. Both times I have spoken with people who knew the curriculum well and seemed receptive and interested in feedback. I look forward to continuing on with the next level. Keep up the great work!”

– Kristen V.

“MCT’s books are gorgeous beyond words. I had to let our daughter play with them for a while before she’d even allow us to dive into them. She spent about an hour before our first lesson just trying to imitate the artwork in Grammar Island. It’s hard to imagine a child falling in love with a grammar book, but there it is. We have started learning Latin separately, so the fact that the books dwell so much on the roots of language is a huge plus. It’s interdisciplinary in an effortless way.

“One of the design aspects of these books that I think is excellent is the lack of clutter on the pages. It’s something I would have not thought too much about that before we started using MCT. The friendly fonts and uncrowded pages make it so easy for kids to read the text themselves (again, effortlessly interdisciplinary—they are practicing their reading while they study other subjects) and to feel like they are making easy progress, which builds their self-esteem and makes them want to keep going. I wish there were books for other subjects with these design features and conversational tone.

“…We plan to stick with this program across future years. Our daughter would have a fit if we switched to something else.”

– Parent writing on the Mama of Letters website

“I fell in love with these books. I am not exaggerating when I say they are beautiful. These books incorporate beautiful artwork and large, easy-on-the-eyes fonts. I think using a beautiful textbook makes a world of difference when trying to teach youngsters….

“This year I bought part of Level 2 because I have ditched the [curriculum we were using], and I’m going to continue on with MCT…. As for my younger son, we are going back and rereading the Island Level this year… (And I should mention that he loved the Mud Trilogy, which he read this past year.)”

– Shelli, writing for Mama of Letters

“Michael Clay Thompson’s language arts curriculum is the sort of treat we homeschool moms and dads enjoy as much as our kids. In my experience, too few people know about this gem of a resource….

“Thompson is no ordinary teacher, and this is not your run-of-the mill curriculum. Seeking to introduce students to English language arts in its highest forms, Thompson writes eloquently, with frequent literary references. My eleven-year-old son has noticed, ‘This is like taking a class with a professor.’

“…Thompson endorses the Socratic method of teaching—asking probing questions that encourage students to unearth answers themselves. Throughout the teaching manuals, he provides tips for parents that encourage lively, organic discourse and critical thinking skills.

“…At first glance, the slim texts might appear to lack substance. However, upon closer inspection, most students will find the content on these pages to be generous, dense, and rich with detail.”

– Rebecca Pickens, writing for home/school/life Magazine

“We are loving Royal Fireworks Press! Their MCT language arts packages have been such a refreshing curriculum in our home! With their out-of-the-box way of teaching concepts to children, the concepts come alive in story form, making it relatable, valuable, and tangible. By not shying away from sophisticated concepts, this curriculum teaches young children rich, beefed-up education in a way that they can understand.

“I love the quirky, inviting, and easy way they present grammar in Grammar Island. My kiddos are still young, so we are taking grammar slow and are just scratching the surface that Level 1 has to offer, but it’s been such a fun way to break the ice and introduce them to the parts of speech.

“Thank you, Royal Fireworks, for providing these resources and for all you do. This kind of learning is so incredibly needed!”

– Homeschooling parent

“WOW! These books are really amazing…. Since MCT is written with gifted children in mind, there is basically no ‘drill and kill’ involved.”

– Jennifer Bardsley, homeschooler and former kindergarten teacher

“Today I pulled out Practice Town, and my son immediately exclaimed, ‘Oh good!’ I asked him why, and he told me that he just really likes it. The other day when I pulled out Caesar’s English, he said, ‘ Caesar’s English! My favorite!’ We started with Level 1 and are working through Level 2. The love is still going strong, so I know we have a winner! This is from a boy who is a very reluctant reader/writer, and grammar was never a subject that got him excited. Ever. I used to hear groans instead of seeing the current smiles.”

– J.G.

“Our family has benefited immensely from your grammar and writing program. Thank you for articulating methods for constructing and grading essays in a way the average layman can apply. Thank you! Thank you!”

– Lori H.

“Thank you for such an astonishing language arts program. I literally had tears (of joy) in my eyes the first time I looked at one of your books!”

– Mary DeLia, homeschooling parent and poet

“Michael’s love of language and learning is evident in all his material, and I continue to have moments of sheer delight as we progress through his curriculum.”

– Dana I.

“I find that the Michael Clay Thompson books are so useful that I go back year after year for review and to get new ideas even after we’ve finished a book. It would be impossible to put a price on what we’ve gained from the series. I only wish all the materials I’ve bought over the years were as useful as MCT!”

– Elizabeth Pyle Ross, homeschooling parent

“We have been enjoying the Michael Clay Thompson books so much. The children laugh out loud when we read Poodle Knows What?, and we have learned a great deal together this way. My ten-year-old son is enjoying Grammar Island as well…. I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for creating and printing such wonderful books! Looking forward to enjoying language arts together for many more years!”

– Ine, mom of two and teacher

“The interest in words and what they mean has really shot up in our household…. Thank you for not dumbing down.”

– Julie

“I haven’t bothered with much language arts with my son because so many materials make me nervous, and I can’t bear putting my son through that. And then came Michael Clay Thompson with his wonderful materials, and the scales fell from my eyes, and now we are a family of language lovers. We cuddle up on the couch and read them together like bedtime stories….”

– Homeschooling parent

“These are my personal favorite resources for grammar, vocabulary, and etymology (word roots), as well as introductory studies of poetry and philosophy….”

– Julie Shepherd Knapp, owner of the Homeschool Diner resources website

“We have found these Michael Clay Thompson books to be our favorite things to read together. We have so few books written for the erudite learner that we simply enjoy them.”

– Miriam, homeschooling parent

“I just received Paragraph Town, Essay Town, and the corresponding workbooks. I have never been so excited to start a curriculum, probably because I can see many areas where I can learn with my daughter. I also bought Classics in the Classroom. I am astounded at Thompson’s ideas. I have thought for a very long time that we should be approaching literature education in a different manner, and Classics in the Classroom seems to be the way to go. I promised my daughter that we wouldn’t start something new until this summer, but I don’t know if we can wait. She has already read the first three chapters of Paragraph Town in anticipation!”

– Britta S.

“I find the materials extremely rich and imaginative. The language is just such a treat. Thanks, Michael, for your work and dedication to providing appropriate and beautifully crafted materials for our special students.”

– Connie Bernard, B.A., English Literature

“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 the flexibility of pacing, or if you have a love of language, as clearly as the author does, and a desire to approach language arts differently than how it’s traditionally taught, then Michael Clay Thompson qualifies…. MCT uses a Socratic method in teaching language arts, which means plenty of dialogue between you and your kids…. 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.”

– Mama Q, writing for Homelife with Us

“This curriculum, though composed for gifted children, is indeed FOR CHILDREN. The accompanying novels [for Level 1] are about a main character named Mud the Fish who has adventures with animals on Sentence Island. The story is absolutely captivating—even for the parent.”

– Homeschooling parent writing on the Mama’s Sweet Baby website

“I think what makes this a gifted curriculum, and not merely a speeded-up curriculum, is not just more stuff at a faster pace—the books encourage depth, sensitivity, and reflection as well.”

– Shaun Strummer, Ph.D., English, editor and homeschooling parent

“We’ve made lots of changes to our homeschool year, one of those changes being the way we approach language arts. Grammar Island is not only a book filled with beautiful artwork, but it’s written in such an incredible way that I truly believe anyone can learn grammar.”

– Meg

“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…

“MCT weaves into his grammar books clever writing that my daughter enjoys trying to figure out. In 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 its 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.”

– C. Annette

“I used the Voyage Level with my seventh grader and my advanced fifth grader. We loved it! My kids hate diagramming sentences. They enjoyed the four-level approach in the grammar book, which, in my opinion, shows how the parts of the sentence work together as well as diagramming while incorporating more information 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.”

– Faye T.

“When I came upon your materials, it was like finding Paradise. …[Our] seven-year-old cried she was laughing so hard at the end of The Rescue at Fragment Crag.”

– Homeschooling parents

“I love how all the strands tie together…. Students are exposed to the great classics through examples and exercises…. The workbooks are fun for both student and instructor and facilitate Socratic discussion. The artwork is enjoyable, and so is the humor throughout.

“Royal Fireworks Press is a great company to purchase from. They have great service and support.”

– Julie C. C.

“We have been very pleased with this curriculum. It is challenging without being overwhelming.”

– Julie

“My seven-year-olds absolutely adore the Poodle series! We are reading it through for a second time this year. They skip-run to the shelf to get all of our books out and giggle maniacally while we read together. There is an additional level of hilarity owing to the fact that I’ve always called them ‘my chickens.’ They’ve always responded with, ‘We are not chickens!’ This second time around, the blaring siren of joyful comprehension crashes like waves around them. They call out, ‘Assonance!’ ‘Alliteration!’ ‘That’s all of them in one paragraph, Mommy!’ Are they ready for Island Level? Surely. There is so much joy still grumbledee-rumbling around the saga of Poodle and What? that we’ll do it again! Mud is going to rock their socks off.”

– @BrynjaLives, The Valhalla Conservatory

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