Heart of Dakota Blog

Pacing for Rod & Staff English for College-Bound Students

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

What pacing for Rod & Staff English should I use for my high school-aged son who will be college-bound?

We tried Heart of Dakota with our oldest son this year. He was our guinea pig. I am happy to say we will be switching all of our six children to (HOD) now! With the website, I figured out placement already. I’m stumped on Rod & Staff English though. I am trying to decide how to continue with Rod & Staff English in the fall. My son did Missions to Modern Marvels and Rod & Staff English 6 for 8th grade. This fall he starts 9th grade. I know I can choose to go at our own pace with Rod & Staff, but I’m not sure if I want to do that. My son will be college-bound. Considering that, should I continue with books 7, 8, 9, and 10 in high school? Should I do all of them, or some of them? Help! Thank you so much!!


“Ms. Please Help with High School Rod & Staff English Pacing”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with High School Rod & Staff English Pacing,”

Rod & Staff is a very rigorous grammar program, but what is even better is that it is also a very full-coverage English program in areas reaching far beyond grammar instruction. So, when comparing the scope and sequence of Rod & Staff 6 to the standards required in the area of English/grammar for middle school, you will find that Rod & Staff 6 covers standards found in most freshman and sophomore English/grammar courses. When looking at the scope and sequence of English 7 and 8, you will see that they cover all needed high school standards (and much beyond that)! This is why we schedule Rod & Staff 7 over 9th and 10th grade, and Rod & Staff 8 over 11th and 12th grade.

Rod & Staff originally only went through English 8.

Rod & Staff originally only went through English 8, until about 15 years ago when they added English 9 and 10. They added these levels later to address the area of writing. Rod & Staff does not use another writing program outside of their English books, but rather has writing integrated within the English. So to address the “upped” level of writing being demanded of high school level students, they needed to add other levels to their English program. Up through Rod & Staff 8, there is still an equally strong focus on grammar and writing, and other skills too. But after Rod & Staff 8, the focus shifts mainly toward writing through application of the learned grammar concepts.

HOD uses a plethora of other writing resources to address writing.

Since our HOD guides use a plethora of other writing resources to address writing, as we already do in the guides from CTC on up, the best balance (when using an HOD guide) will be to follow the progression we’re scheduling for grammar within our guides. Otherwise, you will find your child’s school day to be a very heavy load in the language arts area, but especially in the area of writing!

HOD guides focus on maintaining a good balance. 

While you may easily follow a different grammar route, if desired for your own family, within our HOD guides we are looking for the meshing of all English and writing together, without overloading the student in any particular area. There is also a need to keep the time spent on grammar instruction, for both parent and child, in balance with the rest of the day’s subjects as well. We feel the plan I’ve outlined above, will address all of these needs and still allow families to utilize a very rigorous grammar program all throughout their child’s years (without burning out parent or student).

Rod & Staff prepares a child well for college admission.

One other thing to note is that many high schools across the country right now are not teaching grammar at all in high school. So, the plan above will far exceed what is required for college admission and will prepare a child well for SAT/ACT testing. Much of the ACT/SAT is not distinctly grammar related; rather there are quite a few subtests that are English/language arts related. So, doing Rod & Staff throughout the high school years keeps those skills fresh, while allowing students time to apply their grammar/English knowledge to their writing across the curriculum within the HOD guide.

Students should complete Rod & Staff 8 by the end of high school.

We definitely would not recommend skipping a level of Rod & Staff English, as each level builds well on the previous one. You can see the reasons for completion of Rod & Staff 8 as the goal, as well as the reasons behind the pacing we’ve selected for the HOD guides. We would only recommend completion of Rod & Staff 9 and 10 for those families who are not using any other formal writing program throughout the high school years. This is because those families will need the writing lessons contained within Rod & Staff 9 and 10. Since HOD schedules writing each year of high school, English 9 and 10 will not be needed when using HOD as written.

Our own son is currently using Rod & Staff 7 for high school with great success.

As my own son is currently using English 7, we are finding wonderful application of the concepts from his English lessons throughout his writing time. Rather than grammar being a subject to get through every day, we have time to actually apply what he is learning to his written work. This is truly the goal of his lessons and the goal of Rod & Staff English. From English 7 on up the lessons can get v-e-r-y long. We want to be sure that these are kept in balance with the rest of our day. This allows us to finish what we start by steadily working on the higher levels throughout high school.

Rod & Staff is a Mennonite company, and their students typically complete their schooling by grade 10.

One more interesting side-note to consider is that Rod & Staff is a Mennonite company. The Mennonite students who school with Rod & Staff typically complete their schooling by grade 10. This is why you will notice that Rod & Staff does not have curriculum beyond that grade level. These students also do not usually attend college. So, this shows you what an accelerated time table the publisher is considering when labeling their materials by “grade level.” I appreciate the chance to share what our thinking will be on this, as I know so many of you will be pondering this question for your own students right now too.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Sign up today to get Carrie’s latest Teaching Tips along with the latest news from Heart of Dakota!