19 Apr 2012
In case you were wondering what I was on about yesterday with my “MCT loot”, MCT stands for Michael Clay Thompson, author of an amazing language arts curriculum sold by Royal Fireworks Press. I’ve mention MCT before in my chatter about the books Building Language and Music of the Hemispheres (the poetry book). Building Language teaches children Latin stems, Dd and I are about half way through that book. The second book in the Latin stems series is Caersar’s English I. I just had the brand new Classical Education edition delivered yesterday and let me tell you, it is so BEAUTIFUL.
If you don’t have children and you’re starting to wonder why you should read this post lol, maybe you don’t want to. BUT, I don’t know….maybe you do. These books are so amazing. I think ANY adult who loves language would get a kick out of them and learn quite a bit.
MCT’s belief is that we should not dumb down language for children and the books certainly reflect that. I believe CE-1 is aimed at gifted 4rth graders or 5th grade students. The vocab in the books though, ranges from 4rth grade words like: Vivid and Vex to SAT or at least high school level words like: Prodigious and Superannuated.
Since I read a ton, I am pretty familiar with most of the vocab in Caesar’s English but I’ll completely admit, I can easily decipher in context but that is not the same as internalizing these words and using them in every day conversation. The lessons in CE are not your standard open the workbook and fill out the answers. It is 99% Socratic discussion. It is about sitting together, child and teacher, going over each part of the book slowly and talking about it in depth.
Each chapter is a lesson in either 5 Latin stems or 5 vocab words (the book alternates). The stems or vocab are taught with historical context, through poetry, and, my favorite, via quotes from classic literature. It is so cool to flip through the book and see quote after quote from my favorite books and favorite authors. Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, etc, etc. I flipped through the book briefly with my dd and she found the quotes exciting as well. Whenever she came across a familiar author she had to run to the bookshelf and pull out her Kid’s classic version of that author and present it with an “ahhhhhh” like an angel descending from heaven sound effect lol.
Here is a list of the info and exercises included in each chapter of Caesar’s English classic edition.
5 Latin Stems- with detailed definition and 3 sample words each including the stem
Non-Fiction words- more advanced vocab using the 5 stems
Caesar’s Analogies- Classic this is to that, as this is to that. 2 analogies for students to solve
Caesar’s Spanish- the 5 stems in use in Spanish. Illustrates similarities between Spanish and English
Caesar’s Word Search- Classic word search. The only consumable, must be filled in in the student book exercise.
Caesar’s Grammer- Sentences to diagram with the parts of speech, includes stems in action
Poem- with historical Roman focus. Facing page includes the same poem in Spanish with stem words in bold.
Essay- on Roman history with facing map
Classic Words: 5 vocab words varied in difficulty
Quotes from Classic Literature- 4 to 5 classic lit excerpts PER vocab word.
Who is that Writer- Biographical info on one of the authors featured.
Caesar’s Math- Roman numerals explained with exercises to translate Roman numerals into numbers and vice versa.
Word Search—see above
Spanish- Vocab list shown in Latin:English:Spanish
Caesar’s Synonyms- 5 synonyms for each vocab word given, discuss the differences.
Caesar’s Rewrites- Rewrite the classic lit quote in simplified language.
Caesar’s Antonyms- Student must decide and explain their antonym of choice for each word.
Caesar’s Analogies-Poem-Historical Essay- Sentence Diagramming (same as above)
Review stems and classic words
In later chapters and through out:
Even more advanced vocab that contains stems.
Caesar’s Paragraphs- Student asked to write a historical essay on Rome that includes vocab. Requires research.
Also through out the books are beautiful black and white photographs of Roman ruins and Roman art. The sculpture photos in particular are amazing. Although only in black and white, the contrast is just perfect to bring out the “folds” in the stone fabric and facial expressions.
So! What I plan to use these books for right away is for a family vocabulary challenge. I’m going to choose a word or stem each week and write it on a large dry erase board in our kitchen. I’ll include the Word of the Week’s definition, stems or etymology, use it in a sentence, probably also underline the phonemes/phonics. Then the challenge is that each member of the family has to use the word as many times as possible during the week. Whoever comes up with the most or cleverest sentence wins. No real prizes but a big cheer from everybody.
I plan to read the books in their entirety and am looking forward to it! I mentioned I’m a words nerd already, right? After I’ve gone through them I’ll decide which bits to share with dd now and which to save for the future. I imagine we will be using Caesar’s English for several years. Here is the link to the Caesar’s English curriculum if you want to check it out.
Now I find, the more I learn about word stems, the more I want to learn Latin!