"Too Expensive," or A Tale of Language Art Curriculums

Language arts includes many components: spelling, vocabulary, grammar, poetry, composition, and literature. I'm deliberately excluding reference works (anthologies, dictionaries, thesauri), literature, and spelling from the following comparisons. This is specifically focused on two years of language arts materials, for fifth and sixth grades.

The Well-Trained Mind Recommended Line Up
Rod & Staff English 5 "Following the Plan" Set: $45.10
Rod & Staff English 6 "Progressing with Courage" Set: $46.20
Vocabulary from Classical Roots A: $9.50
Vocabulary from Classical Roots A Single Test: $3.75
Vocabulary from Classical Roots B: $9.50
Vocabulary from Classical Roots B Single Test: $3.75
Vocabulary from Classical Roots C: $9.50
Vocabulary from Classical Roots C Single Test: $3.75
Writing Strands 5: $20.00 and Writing Strands 6: $20.00
Wordsmith Apprentice: $16.00 and Wordsmith: $16.00 and Wordsmith Teacher's Guide: $7.00
poetry appears to be folded into literature study; it should be noted that WTM does recommend both IEW and Classical Writing as possible writing programs (not comprehensive language arts programs) in addition to the two options listed above
Total Cost for Two Years' Language Arts Instruction: $171.05 or $170.05

Classical Writing Line Up
Homer: $37.95
Poetry for Beginners: $34.95
Harvey's Elementary Grammar and Composition: $11.99
Harvey's Elementary Grammar and Composition Teacher's Answer Key: $5.99
Harvey's Elementary Grammar Student Workbook Part I: $15.95
Harvey's Elementary Grammar Answer Key Part I: $13.95
Homer Student Workbook A: $29.95
Homer Instructor's Guide A: $18.95
Poetry for Beginners Student Workbook A: $21.95
Poetry for Beginners Instructor's Guide A: $17.95
Homer Student Workbook B: $29.95
Homer Instructor's Guide B: $18.95
Poetry for Beginners Student Workbook B: $21.95
Poetry for Beginners Instructor's Guide B: $17.95
Total Cost for Two Years' Language Arts Instruction: $298.38

Michael Clay Thompson Line Up
Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package: $170.00 or Level 2 Basic Homeschool Package: $105.00
Level 3 Complete Homeschool Package: $170.00 or Level 3 Basic Homeschool Package: $105.00
Total Cost for Two Years' Language Arts Instruction: $340 or $210

Fix It! Grammar and Editing Made Easy with the Classics: $30.00
The Grammar of Poetry Student Text: $20.00
The Grammar of Poetry Teacher's Key: $10.00
Teaching Writing: Structure and Style/Student Writing Intensive Combo Pack Level A: $239.00 plus Student Writing Intensive Level B: $99.00
Teaching Writing: Structure and Style: $169.00 plus Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons (Teacher/Student Combo): $49.00 plus Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons (Teacher/Student Combo): $49.00
some vocabulary is in the history-based writing lessons, but there is no separate level-appropriate vocabulary resource or text; most will find it necessary to add additional grammar instruction. I fully admit I don't know as much about IEW overall as I do the other two; if I've made any sort of error here, please let me know!
Total Cost for Two Years' Language Arts Instruction (minus vocabulary): $398 OR $327

If the cheapest options are chosen, then, the order would be as follows: $170.05 WTM-Recommended; $210.00 MCT; $298.38 Classical Writing; $327.00 IEW. If the most expensive options are chosen, the order changes only slightly: $171.05 WTM-Recommended; $298.38 Classical Writing; $340.00 MCT; $398.00 IEW. There are a lot of variables to this, and I don't purport for this to be an exact science. I was, however, trying to make a point. There are a lot of people who are claiming MCT is "too expensive" to even consider, yet they keep other options on their metaphorical table, options which are just as or more expensive. These were the most common or easily called to mind of comprehensive language arts curriculums; if any reader has another suggestion of one to add, please comment and let me know! I'd love to edit the post and include new ones.


Daisy said...

This is awesome! You should link to it on WTM. People spend a FORTUNE on history (which is completely unnecessary) but then gripe about the cost of Language Arts? Crazy.

dbmamaz said...

I guess if you guys are classical, you really do get all that done? I dont get the full MCT package because we are laid back. Ok, its my first year, actualy, and i started with WWW and magic lens, but dropped back to just paragraph town as a review. But my question is, do you really need to do it all, and do it all in 1 year? MCT only has 6 years of curriculum, i believe, so you could spread them out.

Saille said...

What a useful post! I think we're likely to do MCT, teacher's manuals only, and eschew the Island level vocabulary program as something that's thoroughly covered by our Latin. Since I only need it for one kid this year, that leaves me with a total of:

131.29 (NYS taxes)

If I trust my own abilities and buy student books *instead of* the teacher's manuals, I can take that down to:


Since most of these books don't need to be written in, I can use them for all three kids, which means that the cost per child, with money allotted for one copy of Practice Island per child, is around $50.

Gretchen said...

Saille--do the student books have the writing assignments in the back, though? Except for the practice books, the teachers manuals (at least for Island, which is what I have so far) aren't really about giving the answers, but they have extra ideas for discussion, pointers on what to emphasize when you talk to the kids, and then all the assignments.

Saille said...

When I looked at my friend's copies, I spent most of my time immersing myself in the student manual from my kids' point of view. 131.29 it is, then.

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