Should I switch my kids from Easy Grammar to R & S English?

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie

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Dear Carrie

Should I switch my kids from Easy Grammar to R & S English?
I am a mom to nine. We’re getting ready to start our second year with Heart of Dakota (HOD)! Two are graduated already. My 18-year-old is doing U.S. History II, and my 16-year-old is doing World Geography. Our 14-year-old with learning delays is doing well in CTC. My 11-year-old with learning delays is enjoying Bigger Hearts with my 9-year-old. Our 6-year-old is beginning Little Hearts soon. My 2-year-old is our chief meddler adored by us all! This is our second year using HOD mostly only for history and science. For other subjects, we just continued using the resources we had already been using before finding HOD. As the year went by I began to realize that using the guides for more of the other subjects would greatly simplify things! So that leads me to my question… should I switch my kids from Easy Grammar to R & S English?
Helpful Background Info When Considering a Switch in Grammar
Easy Grammar doesn’t require much of my teaching time, and I have a lot of kids! However, I understand R & S teaches important additional writing skills. My 10-year-old will be moving into Preparing. She excels with grammar and spelling and language arts in general. I’m thinking Level 4 for her, if we switch from Easy Grammar. My 13-year-old struggles a lot with grammar. Easy Grammar is the first grammar course he has had some success with. But, he struggles with writing as well. This makes me wonder if he may benefit from making a switch. I have no idea what level he would be in… probably no higher than Level 4. However, he’ll be in Resurrection to Reformation and in 8th grade. If he uses Level 4 this year, what will I do for him next year when he is in high school?

My 15-year-old-son also struggles with language arts. (Both he and the 13-year-old deal with some dyslexia.) But, for some reason he really “gets” grammar and actually does pretty well with it. He used Missions to Modern Marvels last year for his freshman year. He’ll be using World Geography (WG) next year for 10th grade. As you know the WG  guide schedules R & S 7. However, I’m assuming that he should not start there, since he is new to R & S. How far back should he go? I’m concerned if he goes back too far, I won’t be able to give high school credit for it. Would it be better to just keep him moving in Easy Grammar? Sorry this is so long. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Decide If I Should Switch to R & S English”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Decide If I Should Switch to R & S English,”

In looking at your precious teaching time and the amount of kiddos that you have in your household, I want to be fair in my advice to you. Honestly, using Rod and Staff for English may result in more teaching time for you. However, I have become such a believer in the way that English is approached in the Rod and Staff English books that I would venture to say that it is some of the best time spent in teaching.

R & S English truly ties together virtually all skills related to the English language.

This is because Rod and Staff is so much more than a grammar program. It is the whole English umbrella of skills (i.e. grammar, composition, outlining, notetaking, speaking, dictionary skills, using a thesaurus, poetry, prefixes, suffixes, etc.). It truly ties together all skills related to the English language. In doing so, it has a direct impact on how kiddos present themselves (both in spoken and written form). On top of that it is the most God-honoring text I have ever seen!

I would focus on switching my oldest child to R & S first.

With that being said, I think I would focus on switching my oldest child to Rod and Staff first. This will not be an easy transition, as Rod and Staff assignments require more work to complete. However, if you keep in mind that you are trying to do 2/3 of the assignment orally or on a whiteboard, with only one exercise to do on paper each day, it will go better. The reason I would start with your oldest child is because I think it is such a good program that all kiddos should have some of it prior to graduation. It truly will be of benefit to them lifelong no matter what their previous grammar experience has been.

I would start with half of R & S English 5 or 6.

I would start your oldest in either Rod and Staff English 5 or English 6. Do half this year and half next year. Don’t worry about the grammar being enough. When combined with the literature and composition in the high school guides it is one part of the overall credit. When you list it for your transcript, just list the title, not the level of the book.

I would consider combining your 10 and 13 year-olds in R &S English 4.

Next, depending on how the 10 and 13 year old would feel about being together, you could consider combining them in Rod and Staff English 4. If the combining is not a go, then I would keep your younger child in Easy Grammar and switch the 13-year-old to English 4. Again, do much of it orally or on a whiteboard, only writing one exercise on paper each day. Of course, you may wish to stay with Easy Grammar instead. It is definitely up to you the route to take with this. I did use Easy Grammar with my oldest son for only one year, and we did not find nearly the retention or carryover with that program that we have found with Rod and Staff, but your experience may vary.

Blessings,
Carrie

Response from “Ms. Please Help Decide If I Should Switch to R & S English”

Carrie, thank you for understanding my situation. You’ve had so much going on lately. I want you to know I really appreciate that you took the time to give me such a thoughtful and empathetic answer to my question. Each of the skills you list here are ones that my kids do need to practice and grow in. I’m really liking your advice to switch my 15-year-old now, and add in the others as I can. Thank you so much for helping me come up with a plan that is doable in my real life! I’m hoping to be able to switch the others soon after we get into the swing of things with the 15-year-old.

Gratefully,

“Ms. Please Help Decide If I Should Switch to R & S English”

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