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What should my son do for Rod and Staff English next year?

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Dear Carrie

What should my son do for Rod and Staff English next year?

We are using Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) Preparing Hearts (PHFHG) guide. My son has blossomed this year! I’m so thankful we made this switch. We love the books, projects, experiments, and Bible. Surprisingly, we both also enjoy Rod and Staff English! It is so clear. My son had no retention with the other grammar program we were using. The oral questions and reviews in Rod and Staff English have really helped. His writing is also improving! I think it’s due to Rod and Staff English‘s writing assignments, as well as PHFHG’s guided written narrations and poetry writing. So, how long do we use Rod and Staff English? My son is using Rod and Staff English 4. What should he do in Creation to Christ? Thanks!


“Ms. Please Help Me Pace My Son’s Rod and Staff English Next Year”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Pace My Son’s Rod and Staff English Next Year,

We recommend Rod and Staff English throughout our guides. Rod and Staff English texts do go through grades 9-10 at this point. However, grades 9-10 are almost entirely based on giving writing instruction and are VERY technical. English 7-8 are about applying grammar to writing, and are also more like what a high school level grammar and writing text would be. The short answer to your question is your son would move on to Rod and Staff English 5 next year, but he would only complete the first half. Below, I will give the long answer that explains this pacing further!

We recommend completing Rod and Staff English 6 by the end of grade 8.

So, we recommend that families teach through Rod and Staff English 6 by the time their child is finished with grade 8. In our Creation to Christ guide, we recommend for one level of grammar (your choice of either Rod and Staff English 4 or 5) to be spread out over two years by doing two lessons a week. After spreading either Level 4 or 5 over two years, the child does the remaining levels of Rod and Staff English at full-speed (four days a week) to complete Rod and Staff 6 by the end of grade 8.

We recommend stretching Rod and Staff English out over two years during grades 4-5 OR during grades 5-6.

The reason for suggesting that one level of Rod and Staff English be stretched out over two years during grades 4-5 OR during grades 5-6 is that it will give the child time to mature into the higher-level thinking skills required to do the upped level of diagramming and writing assignments taught in Rod and Staff 6. It will also give parents a lightened grammar instruction schedule for a couple of years to prevent burnout in teaching grammar year after year, along with matching the more CM-style guidelines for teaching grammar more fully in the middle school years.

We include written narrations, outlining, and creative writing as well.

We include written narration practice, beginning outlining skills, and creative writing practice within our guides. These skills are all in addition to Rod and Staff English. (In this way, we make sure writing requirements are covered in other ways beyond what are included in Rod and Staff English). So, for those families who choose to use an English program other than Rod and Staff, they can still use our writing recommendations as well.

English instruction and writing instruction take time to present, but they are worthy of our time.

While Rod and Staff does take some time to present and is quite rigorous, we have been pleased with the results we’ve seen in our sons. We had previously tried many of the other big name English grammar options out there (FLL, Bob Jones, ABeka, Easy Grammar, and just plain old fun jingles/stories/rhymes, etc.) and had found little retention and more time involved with reteaching than if we’d just presented it ourselves from the beginning. (This sounds like your experience as well!)

We’ve decided that English instruction and writing instruction are going to take time to present and are worthy of our time. No other mode of communication has more impact on how others perceive us than the way we express ourselves (both in speaking and in writing). Students should prepare well to be successful at both. We are also very pleased with the Biblical content and focus of Rod and Staff English, as the ultimate goal in speaking and writing is to glorify our Father in heaven.


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