Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rod and Staff - Fifth Grade English Curriculum {a review}

We are working out way through the fifth grade book of the Rod and Staff Building Christian English series, Follow the Plan. Rod and Staff is a Mennonite publishing company.  They do not have a website, but samples of this book, can be found here.

This is an excellent program with an elegant blend of writing and grammar.
It does not teach English for English sake, it teaches that English for the sake of clear communication with a clear and Godly focus.

I Like:
  • The logical progression.  One concept builds on another.  For example, first they talk about sentences, then they tackle paragraphs.
  • Diagramming sentences.  There is a lot of debate over the value of diagramming sentences.  Personally, I think that it helps to make sense of what a sentence is and how it functions.  This book starts in the first chapter with simple diagrams. 
  • The teacher manual.  It is a build out from the student book, so I can look at the same page as Zippy, but with extra material (purpose of the lesson, answers, and oral review) beside the student text. 
  • Multi-sensory approach.  There is almost equal emphasis on oral and written work.  This ensures that the brain is working in different ways to process the information. 
  • The Godly focus.  This is definitely written from a Christian point of view. With biblical references sprinkled throughout the work as well as the teaching material.  My absolute favorite thing so far in the book is a question at the beginning of a lesson: "Why did God make sentences?"
  • Tests. The tests test what is taught and are well written.  
The only thing that I found lacking in this book is the lack of review at the very beginning.  It took us a fairly long time to work through the first chapter because there were a lot of assumptions made about prior knowledge.  I am sure, had we worked through the previous books, this would not be an issue, but because we are jumping in from a completely different place it was a bit of a struggle.

I would definitely recommend this English curriculum.

{Linked up: Happy Housewife Homeschool Curriculum Review}

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