McRuffy Language Arts

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  • Reviewed on Saturday, October 1, 2016
  • Grades Used: 1st Grade
  • Dates used: August 2016-September 2016
In Kindergarten we used Saxon for math & english/spelling/grammar. While Saxon is a good program, it can get boring to a tactile learner. I liked that the lessons were laid out for daily use but I felt like I had to cut some of the "filler" out. I liked the manipulatives that were included with Saxon but wanted more since there was not a lot of hands on learning material. With the recommendation of another educator we gave McRuffy a try.

McRuffy is a great program for children who need a good balance of hands on learning mixed with worksheet learning. My son however, strongly dislikes a lot of worksheet work. He thrives on a lot of visual, real-life, hands-on learning. If your child is a highly tactile learner, I would not recommend this curriculum for your child.

I noticed some errors with the curriculum but nothing major. I also thought that some of the required materials weren't always explained so I found myself digging through the manipulatives and enhancement materials trying to figure out what I was suppose to be using.

Overall, the program is pretty user friendly. There isn't a lot of prior planning needed on the part of the instructor. The curriculum is designed well for a homeschool specific use. Most lessons are fairly short & to the point. With the newest version, the workbook & even teaching manual, pictures are in color which is much more captivating that the previous black & white version.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, April 9, 2013
  • Grades Used: k-1
  • Dates used: 2011-2013
I have used this program for k and grade 1. The phonics portion of this program is the best in my opinion. There aren' t many sight words because most word are taught through phonics. Which I felt will produce stronger readers. It is a very affordable curriculum including phonics, grammar, spelling, handwriting, creative writing, and readers. My dc are reading and spelling well. There are areas in my opinion which require supplement. I have added sight words to our spelling list. Sight words are taught and my dc can read sight words but struggle with spelling them because some break the phonics rules. So, I have added them to the spelling list. K12reader a free spelling site has a list of dolch and fry sight words. Though creative writing is introduced in grade 1 there is litte instruction on how to teach it. It is basically 1 page that explains the writing process.This was not enough for us. We will be adding Essentials in writing as a supplement for grade 2. I recommend Mcruffy. My dc are doing well with it but I would look into a writing supplement because that is the one area where it is weak. I also use a free supplement found at for extra grammar practice here and there. I just wanted to add that phonics is taught k- 2 so if you are using Mcruffy for 3rd grade and have a struggling reader you may want to use Mcruffy' s supplement book that covers k-2 phonics to catch up. If you have used Mcruffy k-2 your dc will likely be reading very well by the end of grade 2.My dc are half way through grade one and our breaking down big words with ease. I have only used the se version and have only found one typo in grade 1.


  • Reviewed on Monday, April 8, 2013
  • Grades Used: 3rd grade
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
I homeschool my grandson using McRuffy Language Arts Grade 3. I have mixed opinions about the program. There are many good things about the program: It is complete, containing reading, spelling, language/grammar, cursive writing, and writing. Considering it covers these areas, the price is not out-of-line with other programs.

However, there are also negatives. My biggest complaint is concerning the reading book. There are many spelling errors, incorrect homophones used, and (at least in my book) a page's writing is partially covered by the picture and is not readable. If a child struggles with reading, it is difficult to allow him to read out of a reader that has several errors.

Another complaint is the grammar portion of the program. In my opinion, grammar is not covered as deeply as it should be. It seems to be a hit and miss kind of presentation - jumping around without solidifying a skill.

Also, McRuffy offers quarterly testing. This may be fine for some, but I prefer to test more frequently so I can see which area may need more work. A positive point to make is that for 3 or 4 lessons before the quarterly exam, there is a review of the material that will be on the test. (Spelling is tested every 5 lessons.)

Finally, while it does cover writing, it is not a true composition unit. Once a week, composition is touched upon. Very little explanation is offered.

Since I have a granddaughter in a public school who is the same age, I am able to look at her books and papers to make sure we are staying on standard with the public schools in our area. My grandson will eventually be returning to public school so this is important to us. I have found that we are extremely behind in both composition and grammar.

Before I purchased this curriculum, I did read the reviews which is why I am posting this one. I believe this program will work well for homeschoolers who are using a method other than traditional teaching, but for those who are attempting to align with state standards, etc, this is probably not the best choice. I am not saying, "Don't buy it", but make sure it is going to fit it with your needs and expectations.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, July 5, 2012
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
My son and I both LOVED it!!! I chose it because it seemed affordable, colorful, and simple to use. I loved the fact that it was an "all in one" language arts curriculum. We spent JUST the right amount of time on each reader (my son didn't get bored but reading it several times REALLY helped his fluency). The lessons are simple and in my experience required little to no advanced preparation on my part. ;-)

This was my first year homeschooling and McRuffy DEFINITELY made my first experience a GREAT one!! We are looking forward to starting McRuffy language arts 2nd grade in the fall!!!