Sometimes it seems like curricula create confusion. Brightly colored texts, songs, jingles, computer programs, and educational games can all be useful learning tools, but perhaps we think that learning always has to be fun and exciting. Do all the extras really help, or could they actually be a detriment?
Simple, systematic, and effective. These are all words that describe Rod & Staff’s English curriculum. Rod & Staff is a Mennonite company, and the unhurried simplicity of the Mennonite lifestyle shines through in their curriculum. Scripture, family, community, and agriculture are prominent themes in the exercises included in the texts.
Rod & Staff teaches:
- Parts of Speech (Each part of speech is studied separately)
- Reference Books
The text is written with excellent explanations and examples. It can be read to the student by the teacher, or read independently by the student.
Beginning in 2nd grade, with texts available through 10th grade, each year of Rod & Staff English builds on the skills learned in the previous one. The format of each text is similar. There is a short lesson which is found in both the student and teacher texts. Following the lesson, there is first a section of oral drill, then written exercises. The exercises progress from simple to more challenging.By simple, I do not mean it is not a rigorous program. We have currently completed years 3 through 6 of the program, and I have already seen topics that I don’t remember studying in school.
Its simple instruction and systematic review make Rod & Staff a very effective grammar program. One of my favorite features of Rod & Staff English is its use of sentence diagramming. The process of dissecting a sentence and rearranging it is wonderful for gaining understanding of the sentence structure. In addition to a student text and a teacher text, optional workbooks and tests are available. The worksheets allow for extra practice if necessary, and the tests are a great assessment if desired.
Not only is Rod & Staff effective at teaching English, it is also a cost-effective program. The exercises are written on separate paper, making the texts entirely non-consumable. Included throughout each text are writing lessons and practice, so no additional composition program is necessary. Each entire year set can be purchased for under $50.
I have been extremely pleased with my students’ understanding of English grammar after using Rod & Staff. I highly recommend it. Being a Mennonite company, Rod & Staff does not have an official website. Free catalogs are available by calling 606-522-4348.
Written by Kristen, Neo-Classical Mom of 4