Another question for Carrie

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Another question for Carrie

Postby blessedmomof4 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:09 pm

I was just wondering if you were planning on using the next level of Rod & Staff for English in your upcoming curriculum. My girls are learning well with the grade 2 book, though they don't find it very interesting.
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Postby Carrie » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:36 pm

blessedmomof4,

We do plan to use Rod and Staff 3 in "Preparing Hearts...", and it has taken us awhile to arrive at the decision to use Rod and Staff in the early years for grammar and writing. We have been through many of the big names in grammar and used several of them for more than a year each. Yet, none of the programs we were using seemed to "stick" or have any impact on my son's writing.

In the past few years, I really wanted to go the Charlotte Mason route for delayed formal grammar (after getting on board with CM with narration, dictation, and copywork). But, I found this left me without a way to communicate to my sons about how to improve their writing. For example, if I'd say, "You don't have a complete sentence here, because you're missing the subject", they'd look at me without any comprehension. I couldn't explain how to add more detail by using adjectives or adverbs or explain why something was a run-on sentence that needed punctuating. I finally settled on the fact that for my family, grammar needed to be taught for the purpose of learning to write better.

When we discovered Rod and Staff English, it was as if a lightbulb finally went on with my oldest son. He finally understood why we were learning grammar. I loved the straight-forward, clear explanations. For me the Godly tone of the books was a huge added benefit. It gave an entirely different feel to our grammar lessons.

I can see that Rod and Staff is not flashy and some kiddos may miss the "bells and whistles" of other grammar programs. Since we'd already tried the bells and whistles and tried making it fun, we found that instead we really needed the no-nonsense lessons that systematically built one upon the other. I also found I loved the no prep., open and go, short lessons with built-in review.

One barrier we've found to Rod and Staff is the amount of practice and writing (if you follow their plans). We modify this by doing much of each lesson orally and only writing one of the sets of exercises on paper. Using this approach with my oldest son, the lessons take around 10-15 minutes to present with another 5-10 minutes for my son to do the written portion.

I hope this helps answer your questions. We're still weighing how far we'll go with Rod and Staff in our guides. The advanced scope and sequence of Rod and Staff would make going through level 6 more than enough grammar through the 8th grade. So, we certainly won't go beyond English 6.

Blessings,
Carrie
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Postby blessedmomof4 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:14 am

Thanks very much for your reply. I also appreciate the godly content and the ready-to-go lessons. With my younger daughter in grade 3, I do not make her do all the written work on paper, sometimes she does most orally or a little on the white board (somehow not writing in a notebook seems to help her focus better sometimes). My older daughter in grade 4 actually enjoys copying things out (she copies pages from books for fun!), so she can be done with almost all the written work in a short amount of time.
I actually look forward to continuing with Rod and Staff, so I hope it will "grow" on them :D
Edit-I'm actually using grade 3 with my eighth-grader who has never had a firm grasp of the parts of speech (I used to use LLATL with her, but the grammar part never "stuck"!) She's finally "getting it" :idea:
Lourdes
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Postby Carrie » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:36 pm

Lourdes,

Isn't it funny how different children can be! Mine are so different too. It sounds like your older daughter had a similar experience in grammar as my oldest son. Rod and Staff isn't flashy, but it does explain concepts very clearly. I was so relieved to see the lightbulbs finally go on in this area. My kids may never love it, but they do get it.

Blessings,
Carrie
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