I am generally a devout Charlotte Mason homeschooler but I do wander off the path sometimes. When it comes to teaching grammar I tend to go the way of classical education. We have been using Rod and Staff English for 3 years now and it has been one of my tried and truly loved curriculums.
We started using Rod and Staff when each of the children reached 3rd grade level. Rod and Staff is a publisher that produces bible-based curriculum for Christian schools and homeschoolers. They produce curriculum from preschool to high school levels and provide full curriculum or you can purchase individual subjects. I have used their English and Math programs. For this review I will only go over their English curriculum.
Rod and Staff English: Grades 3-5
In third grade the student will study sentence types and structure. There are different types of writing exercises throughout the book. Simple diagramming is taught at this level. There are five parts of speech taught: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs. There are lessons that teach dictionary work, proofreading and communication skills. There are 125 lessons and 5 unit tests.
In the fourth grade the student will learn seven parts of speech: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. Diagramming is included in many of the lessons. There are lessons on capitalization, punctuation, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. A typical lesson has an oral drill, a written practice and a review. Composition skills are taught with various types of writing lessons. There are 127 lessons and tests for each chapter.
In fifth grade the student will learn all eight parts of speech. The student will learn many new grammar terms. Diagramming is continued to be taught but at a higher lever of skill. There are composition skills taught including outlining, writing a report, writing a friendly letter, poetry skills, and writing stories. There are 119 lessons and tests for each chapter.
What are the pros?
Rod and Staff is an excellent and thorough grammar program. It is above grade level in my opinion. It is easy to teach, an open and go type program. The teacher manuals are easy to use. There is plenty of diagramming practice. It is a strong grammar program. It has a classical approach to teaching grammar.
What are the cons?
If you don’t like diagramming or don’t feel it is important, you may not like how much diagramming is taught in many of the lessons. It is above grade level. If you have a student who struggles in grammar you may consider going a grade level down. If you don’t want a program that has any religious content, you may not like the bible references that are throughout the book.
Purchasing Rod and Staff English: Grades 3-5
Milestone Books carries all the Rod and Staff Curriculum. Below you will find the link specifically to the English levels from this review.
Rod and Staff Grade 3 – Beginning Wisely
Rod and Staff Grade 4 – Building with Diligence
Rod and Staff Grade 5 – Following the Plan
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- A Time to Plant: Rod and Staff Reading Series by Adelien Tandian
- Learning Grammar with English Rod and Staff 6 by Adelien Tandian
- Rod and Staff Bible Stories to Read and Bible Picture to Color Review by Tricia
- Rod and Staff Preschool Activity Books Review by Tricia
- Rod and Staff English by Tricia
- Rod and Staff Grammar by Annie Kate
- A Look at Rod and Staff English – by Tonia
- Rod and Staff English – by Kristen