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    Can anyone compare and contrast The McGuffey Readers (original and revised), The Progressive Spelling Book, Harvey's Grammar, and Ray's Arithmetic with the Memoria Press equivalent of these? If not, that is fine. Thank you.

    Regarding Ray's vs. Rod and Staff: Rod and Staff has a teacher's manual that is well-laid out, detailed, and easy to teach from. Rod and Staff has student books that are easily written in through fourth grade if you want to; on the other hand there is a heavy emphasis on writing with Rod and Staff. Some people think this is good as it gives them lots of drill practice; others think that handwriting ability shouldn't hold back a student's personal rate of math progression. I did like that Ray's gently introduced the concepts of multiplication and division from the beginning, but I found Ray's almost impossible to teach. However, both are solid, solid arithmetic programs!
    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
    DD (age 10): MP 5
    DD (age 8): MP 2
    DS (age 5): MP K
    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella


      Thank you. I teach with Ray's and really like it as do my kids. I just want to make sure nothing has changed and that I am teaching all that I need to be.


        I spent about an hour at a bookstore looking through Ray's Arithmetic today. I can see how people would find Ray's to be teacher-intensive. A math-inclined child could probably self-pace starting at the 4th-grade reading level.

        It is remarkably similar to Rod & Staff in so many ways.
        • each section has a succinct explanation of the concept
        • a few examples are "worked through" in a step-by-step order
        • they both include mental math (orally-dictated problems)
        • teacher explanation and input for solutions are required
        • orientation toward math for commerce: weights, distance and volume; money: fractions, ratios, percentages; area
        • exhaustive exploration of the 4 basic functions, fractions, decimals.
        • both books wait a while to tackle basic geometry terminology (Abeka, BJU & Horizons math introduce these far earlier)
        I would probably need glasses to use these books for very long. I looked at the McGuffey Readers as well. They make a quick jump from CVC words to multi-syllable words, open and closed syllables, and have an oversimplification of short, long and broad vowels for most words without any explanation. My little guy with glasses would have a hard time with the tiny print. The syllabicated words before each lesson are just thrown in with a picture willy-nilly. This program could be augmented by rewriting the words on a black- or whiteboard with some explanation and phonics flashcard review of basic vowel teams, digraphs and blends. Longer word lists (like in Classical Phonics) would be another great supplement to that program. The MG Reader had an interesting font of cursive, and it lacks a breakdown on stroke mechanics, as are fully elaborated (in both gross motor and fine motor) in NAC, and MGR lacks an exhaustive practice of letter connections with near-point copywork on the same page, which New American Cursive has. My biggest complaint is that it moves quickly.

        MP's First Start Reading is superior in that it trains the student to discriminate aurally the initial, medial and end sounds, builds vocabulary through supplemental activities like mystery bag, question of the week, guided drawing and labeling of a picture that begins with the letter of the week, a systematic roll-out of phonics, beginning with first sounds to get a child reading and build confidence, with an equal emphasis on writing as a means to aid reading. Students gain fluency with rhyming words, word family lists (both beginning and end sounds), daily flashcard recitation with pictures and letters to aid retention (and handy word lists on the reverse), simple sentences, and engaging stories. Optional phonics pages and EPS readers keep eager learners developing their fine motor skills and laughing (those books are cute and funny). There are cute games that can be played as well (from the MPK guide).

        Traditional Spelling is its own post. It is amazing. It is one of the best spelling programs I've used.

        I can see the allure of the tried-and-true, time-tested, vintage books of old. They're pretty affordable, too. I like to think of MP as the new tried-and-true, time-tested books of today.
        Mama of 2, teacher of 3
        Summer: First Start French I
        SY 22/23
        6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim in group, and Koine Greek
        MP2 w/ R&S Arithmetic 3

        Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
        SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


          I used Ray’s for a year or so with my oldest two. I really appreciated finding the eclectic manual of methods mentioned on the ambleside website as it completely changed my understanding of how to teach Ray’s. There is so much prior work assumed before even starting the primer book. That guide available as a pdf also gives teacher guidelines for teaching McGuffy readers, cursive, and Harvey’s grammar. The reprinted books are essentially student books and the one room schoolhouse teacher would have known to some extent how a class was to be run. I found the philosophy of the manual of methods towards early math to be more aligned with Right Start or Singapore than Rod and Staff. Later on there seems to be more topical content similarities with Rod and Staff, but I still see stronger mental math skills being assumed when I look at Ray’s. If you are comfortable with Math and Ray’s is going well, I see no particular reason to switch unless you want laid out lesson plans. Personally, I switched to Right Start because I needed the daily chunks planned out since I had several kids.

          I can’t speak to the other books because EGR and FSR and TS were being written when my older kids were moving through the elementary years. I have used EGR 1 and it was good. However, it does rely on the student doing quite a bit of grammar in their Latin studies while Harvey’s would not make that assumption. Rod and Staff grammar that MP used prior to EGR would be a better comparison. I think the classical writing website has an answer key for Harvey’s. That is a biggie for me and older textbooks.

          MP materials are going to give much more teacher support and daily plans. As much as I love my old books, I find small doses works well for us. I pull out Ray’s for review or McGuffy’s for some oral reading practice as they get older. Still, if what you are using is working for you, I wouldn’t change. I don’t think there is anything you are missing.

          Plans for 2021-2022
          15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
          DD College Freshman
          DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
          DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
          DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin