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In Their Sandals and R & S English… a winning combination!

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From Our House to Yours

In Their Sandals and Rod & Staff English… a winning combination in USI!

In Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History I (USI), the English III credit includes a combination of literature, grammar, composition, and vocabulary. Today, I want to take a closer look at the composition and grammar parts of the credit. In USI, the creative writing course In Their Sandals is alternated with the first half of the grammar course Rod and Staff English 8. So, students use each of these resources two times each week. Two of our sons have used these resources now, and I am happy to say we have found them to be a winning combination!

What makes these two resources such a winning combination?

Now, you must be wondering what makes these two resources such a winning combination! Well, this combination works well because the first half of R & S English 8 covers expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive paragraphs; outlining; writing compositions; proofreading; researching; note-taking; and developing oral and written reports. When it comes to clear-cut, systematic writing that can be applied to oral/written assignments for virtually any school subject, R & S English cannot be beat!

However, In Their Sandals fills another need by beautifully by taking students step-by-step through the writing process and teaching elements of literature and composition along the way. Students are expertly guided to write in various styles and in different points of view. They learn how to take notes and to write from those notes. Likewise, they learn to summarize narrative stories from varying viewpoints, as well as summarize using multiple references. They conduct research for reports, epistolary writing, and creative writing, as well work through the writing process of researching, prewriting, outlining a lot, developing descriptions, and writing, applying, and revising.  Not only does In Their Sandals address often neglected areas of writing, it also pairs beautifully with Starr Meade’s New Testament Survey, which is used for the Bible credit in USI.

My Son’s Latest In Their Sandals Writing Piece

My son, Riley, handed in his latest In Their Sandals writing piece to me recently. I confess, I did very little to help with this. In fact, he was pretty much solo on this, other than me spot checking his work along the way. Well, all I can say is I was in tears by the time I was done reading! Happy tears! In this writing piece, Riley became Joseph and wrote journal entries on his brothers’ betraying him by selling him to the Egyptians as a slave. He really put his heart into this, and I truly felt like I was reading Joseph’s journal! As I finished, I thought how glad I am Riley is having a Christian education – the kind where God is welcome and present in a very real way every day!

In Closing

So, this is why these two resources are such a winning combination! Both are Christian. But, one tugs at your heart, and the other makes sharing what’s on your heart transfer well to paper. Though there are some errors, and I gave some leeway due to this being a journal, I thought he did a great job overall! I still gave him an “A+” – I am the teacher, right?!? Thanks Heart of Dakota for keeping Christ front and center! Thanks also for building strong writers! May our children take what they’ve learned and go out and change the world – for His glory!

In Christ,



This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Eve

    Love this! And I am so pleased that R&S w/ composition is the topic because I have a few questions about this topic& the path we should be on . I have decided on HOD’s HS plan for LA. My daughter is going to be in 6th grade in Sept. I just purchased R&S 5 for her because HOD suggested that if we are new to R&S to start there . Based on the future plan to go 1/2 pace each year after this with the Comp. suggestions from HOD , which guides would you suggest? I thought for 6 th we would only use R&S to get used to the format & because it has plenty of writing . Is this wise? Afterwards we would use 1/2 of 6 w/ the Midieval writing … What would you suggest for 8th grade so we are on track for the HS guides? My daughter has excelled in LA using CLE thus far. There isn’t the same type of writing instruction that is why we are making a switch . Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Eve! R & S English is considered at least one year advanced. R & S English 5 is an advanced grammar course and is considered an integral level (see link http://heartofdakota.com/drawn-into-recommendations.php#followplan). Some 6th graders do fine using R & S English 5, and other 6th graders who have not had as much formal grammar/diagramming do better using R & S English 4. If HOD helped place your daughter in R & S English 5, she should be fine!

      Either way, the overreaching goal is for students to complete R & S English 6 by the end of Grade 8. So, your daughter can do all of R & S English 5 for her 6th grade year, the first half of R &S English 6 for her 7th grade year, and the last half of R & S English 6 for her 8th grade year. This will put her on track to do the first half of R & S English 7 for 9th grade high school.

      We’d recommend using both R & S English and whatever writing program is included in the HOD guide you are using. This balance of grammar, formal writing, and creative writing prepares students best for high school level English credits. Hope this helps!

      In Christ,

      1. Eve

        Yes, thank you , this is all incredibly helpful ! We will use this plan moving forward !
        Much appreciation !

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