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Rod and Staff Reviews

Rod & Staff curriculum is designed to make the child God-conscious. This curriculum not only teaches the Bible but uses many illustrations of how Bible principles can be applied in everyday life. The various courses are comprised of texts, workbooks, and teacher guides. The science text is written from the perspective that evolution is “logically and mathematically impossible.”

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  1. Rod and Staff Review by tonya gomez
    Pros: straightforward
    Cons: potentially boring
    Grades Used: 4

    This is a great curriculum! I purchased the 4th grade math and grammer for my two kids, in 3rd and 4th grade. They are doing it together and it is working. The text is plain and simple, but it is very straightforward, and you do not need to add anything to it. Just pick up the book and go, no planning or preparing, (which is great for us because we use a unit study for History and Science). This could become drab and boring for kids, but, it is what it is and the fun factor is realy up to you. The text is also 100% faith based and God is weaved throughout al the text. Even in the math examples, that is wonderful! Overall, I love this curriculum and I am even considering buying a few of their readers, due to the safe and Godly nature of them!

  2. Rod and Staff Review by Sheri Vincent
    Pros: Inexpensive, Biblical values
    Cons: Boring, repetitive
    Grades Used: K

    I attempted to use R&S for Kindergarten for our daughter because it was recommended by a friend. In the end we abandoned all but the Bible part, and even that wasn’t the best fit for us. The materials were not interesting enough for her and were repetitive, involving too much coloring (which is presented as a skill within itself). Not for us, but a good solid company that I know many have used and enjoyed.

  3. Rod and Staff Review by Donna Bridger
    Pros: Great homeschooling
    Cons: None
    Grades Used: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7&8

    These books are great if you have a child that needs you to go over and over the material. Love them!!

  4. Rod and Staff Review by LaDonna
    Pros: Inexpensive, Easy to Use
    Cons: Lots of Practice
    Grades Used: 2, 3, 5

    We love Rod & Staff Grammar as long as I don’t become legalistic about doing every exerise, worksheet, and activity. This curriculum taught me the grammar that I never learned in my public school education. There are plenty of exercises for my children to do if they need them to master the concept. The explanations in the student book allows my independent learner to accomplish the exercises with no parental help. The lessons are well broken down and some days we can cover more than one lesson.

  5. Rod and Staff Review by Kristina Best
    Pros: Not overly busy
    Cons: To repetitive, boring
    Grades Used: Grade 1

    My son and I got bored with it very fast. It was a lot of repetitive work that made it boring, we ended up changing things around.

  6. Rod and Staff Review by melissa
    Pros: very affordable,pleasant pictures
    Cons: not an independent program
    Grades Used: all

    We mostly use the math books, I enjoy the fact that the story problems support our world views. We got back into rod & staff because it was reccomended by a tutor

  7. Rod and Staff Review by Sandra Lassiter
    Pros: Strong reading foundation; Christian
    Cons: Black& White only; Some pictures are hard to figure out
    Grades Used: 1-2

    I used Rod & Staff curriculum for the first 2 years on each of my children. It gives them a strong foundation in reading which has served them well. My girls (currently grades 4, 5 & 6) all test in reading and vocabulary well above their grade level with the 2 oldest testing post high school from about grade 3 or 4. My one issue is that some of the pictures are hard to figure out. I had to use the Teacher’s Key to figure out what some of them are. This is a Mennonite based curriculum, so some of the items pictured are not what kids today would know. Otherwise I really liked this curriculum.

  8. Rod and Staff Review by Colleen
    Pros: Godly, Christian content. Very easy to use.
    Cons: Black and white, is not as visually appealing.
    Grades Used: preschool thru grade 9

    We are long term Rod and Staff users in every subject. This is your basic go-to curriculum that is set up for one room school teachers, which is perfect for homeschool mothers who are teaching several levels at once.

    I find my children able to much of the work on their own by 5th grade or so as most of what they need to know for each lesson is right in the student books in each subjects.

    Most of the texts are hardcover and reusable. This is a real value in a big family like ours.

    I also really appreculiate that they have a teacher book, a student book, and a test book for most subjects. The answers for the tests are in the teacher book. There aren’t several keys for different things to buy and juggle all the time.

    My children love the spelling because it is a workbook. I know they would appreciate more workbooks to write in instead of seperate paper, but I am of the school of thought that it is actually helpful to have to write out answers in paper.

    I am not really excited about their social studies series, but we like more living books in this department. As a side note, Rod and Staff is a Mennonite publisher. Their doctrinal slant probably shows itself the most in their social studies books than any other subject. By this I mean non resistance to war and non conformity in dress, etc. Not knocking their beliefs, but just including it in my review as I found it.

  9. Rod and Staff Review by Catherine
    Pros: Easy to use, Scripturally accurate, inexpensive, interesting!
    Cons: We wish it went through high school and was geared toward college
    Grades Used: 1-8 various subjects

    We have used Rod and Staff for various subjects in various grade levels according to the needs of our family. The Teacher’s Manuals are very well laid out in all their subjects, not confusing or distracting, and not much prep time involved. Their teachers helps are quite helpful as well. The books are attractive and bound well so they don’t fall apart easily though most are not consumable.

    The phonics was very thorough and the nurture readers gr. 1-4 were Biblically accurate and grounded my children well in the Scriptures. Once it got into grades 5-9 the reading is separate from the Bible curriculum and, although my older daughter liked the curriculum at this level and begged to go back whenever we tried another publisher, my younger son struggled with the different vocabulary of the farmlife in some of the stories he was not accustomed to with city living. Therefore we had to seek another reading program for my son. I really wish R&S would have kept the Bible inter-connected with reading through gr.9 or 10 instead of separating them.

    We are still using the English program every year and it is very advanced. The textbook has oral and written exercises and then follows with the worksheets. Each unit has a review exam. Not every lesson has a worksheet though. The lessons, though advanced are easy to teach for me and easy to understand for my children and they always catch onto the concepts by the end of each lesson.

    My daughter has used Spelling gr. 2-6 and will continue next year. She loves it and does well with it.

    If you have a child with ADD, R&S is good because the illustrations are black and white and it is a mastery program, rather than spiralling, so it is easier for a child to stay on task without distractions. There are also speed drills and black lines as well as exams available. However I must say that after the 5th grade we did not prefer the speed drills as much as the earlier grades. I recommend their flash cards rather than the cheap ones you’ll find at a discount store because they cover all the problems rather than just a few.

    The science curriculum is very accurate. But my kids sometimes would get bored with just a textbook curriculum so I did add some fun experiements from another book like Kitchen Science or Cooking with Science now and then just to keep things more fun.

    The history is also very accurate, though as some other people noted, the Mennonites teach pacifism. To me this is not a problem because I just explain that to my children so they know the differences in ideas between what some denominations teach about these ideas. The books also concentrate on Canadian history along with their American history and it includes missions and some church history, as ABeka history does and that was a nice addition. Their Social Studies in gr 2 and 3 was wonderful. If you want to study missions and other cultures, use gr.2 R&S Social Studies
    because it works perfectly, especially if you buy their missionary stories book to go with it. It inspired our family to start a missionary fund that we kept going afterward.

    I would keep using this program through high school but the Mennonites that publish it do not believe in higher education because they think it distracts from God and so they focus more on work training at that age level. I wish that, for the sake of non-Mennonite homeschooling families, they would publish higher grade levels regardless so that those children finishing high school and also college bound students would have the benefit of their Scripturally accurate program.

  10. Rod and Staff Review by Debby Caskey
    Pros: Modest, Bible-based, fun rhymes in grade preschool and Kindergarten, lots of practice, affordable
    Cons: I don't really have any cons, I just moved on because I found different curriculum that I felt would fit my children's needs better in higher grades
    Grades Used: Preschool through Third

    I used their math for K-3 for one child. He needed lots of practice. I bought their reading books which are always very modest and Christian-based. You never have to worry about Rod and Staff having undesirable pictures or stories. Teaches …work ethic and happy obedience. I loved their Preschool and Kindergarten spelling, reading, and math. Cute little rhymes to teach them their letters and numbers. I used the K curriculum for five children. If the parents wish, they can ask to have R & S send them the books, just so they can review them. That’s what I did and ended up paying for them and using them.

  11. Rod and Staff Review by Kim Bowlin
    Pros: thorough, practical, low cost
    Cons: disagreed with doctrines as we moved up in grades, science and some history dry/dull
    Grades Used: Pre-K through 5th

    We have used Rod & Staff for all subjects except math from Pre-K through 5th grade with our special needs twins. We used math through 2nd grade, but found we needed more hands-on math that moved at a slower pace.

    I LOVE their reading, English and spelling – very thorough and complete, line-upon-line/precept-upon-precept. We did quite a bit of the English work orally or on the white board. Their reading books have wonderful stories that include many life lessons and I don’t have to worry about anything being inappropriate when assigning books to be read.

    My boys find the reading in science to be a bit dull and I supplement the units with experiments and hands-on activities. However, it is a Biblical science that teaches from a literal 7-day creation standard, which I appreciate!

    We used their social studies through (I think) 3rd grade. Their early social studies focuses on community, cultures, and geography told through stories about children from the various communities and cultures. We all loved this! Once it began to teach actual history, we stopped using it because of doctrinal differences having to do with pacifism and Mennonite history.

    I also love their supplemental helps – maps, charts, posters, stickers, and flashcards. They have a book called “Handbook for Creative Teaching” that is AMAZING! It has taken me most of my homeschooling years so far to wade through it (because it is enormous and comprehensive), and have found most of the information to be tremendously helpful. Specifically there is a section about teaching children with special needs/learning differences that is amazing! They teach teaching with simplicity, which is a message that cannot be taught enough.

    From a planning perspective, it is simple to plan and easy to use. All of the teacher’s books have additional information for me and most contain the student text, which makes it easy for us to all three work together from our favorite comfy seats in the living room. It is intended for a traditional 36-week year. As a family who homeschools year-round, this gives us extra time to slow down when we encounter struggles.

    It is also quite affordable. I have purchased many of my textbooks and teacher’s guides secondhand, then order all of the workbooks and test booklets new directly from Rod and Staff. They have sales throughout the year – 10% and 15% off, so I always try to take advantage of those times.

    Overall, I know my sons have benefited well from Rod & Staff. It has been a huge blessing to their education.

  12. Rod and Staff Review by DeAnna Parker
    Pros: Easy to use, follow and teach
    Grades Used: 5

    started the year with Abeka, was not working for my son at all. Came across Rod and Staff English, thought it looked pretty easy to use and teach. Well, was I right! My son immediately began to do much better with his English skills. Night and day difference. Have recommended it to all my homeschool friends. Will use it for the next school year too!

  13. Rod and Staff Review by Shannon McCumber

    I highly recommend Rod and Staff for English ! I have been using it for 3 years now . The concepts are easy to teach and easy to understand .( Since we have been using R&S English the kids have been 1-2 grades ahead ) You get hard back books that are a great price !
    I thought math was too easy unless your child is struggeling .
    The reading is great . You can purchase workbooks to go along with the readers but doing the worksheets were a little tedious .
    We have used the Science (3rd -5th)and we were pleased . There are daily experiments with everyday household items . It is an easy Curr. to use .

    We have been homeschooling for 9 years . We have tried many curriculums . Rod and Staff has been a great fit for English and elementary Science .

  14. Rod and Staff Review by Penny
    Pros: Cost affordable, science has fire safety, Biblically based
    Grades Used: 4 and 7

    I liked science 7, it contained a unit on fire safety, which was required in PA. I could not find fire safety in any other science curriculum.

  15. Rod and Staff Review by Linda McCoy
    Pros: hardback texts reusable (great value), nondistracting format, thorough, Biblical
    Grades Used: English 2, 3, 4, 5, Spelling 2, Health 2, Soc St 2, 3, Science 3, 5, Reading 2, 4

    These books are written by one group of Mennonites, not Amish. We have used the Reading 2 (including Phonics 2) and 4 as Bible while using something else for reading. I love the way most of the TMs have reduced-size student pages, either with answers overprinted, or with answers and teacher helps in the margins and at the bottom. This makes it very “open and go”. Tests are usually reproduced in reduced-size with answers in the back of the TM, and worksheets are too. All their books are “chapter” format, also referred to as “mastery”, but there is plenty of review as well, both within a grade level and from year to year.

    I’ve found the English at grade 2 to be a little bit below level, but grade 3 and 4 are just about right for grade level. Grade 5 begins to move up toward advanced a little, and 6 and up are definitely advanced for grade level. Grade 8 would do for high school, and 9/10 are more like early-college level, IMO. It’s very easy to do much of the English orally, and the written exercises are “reduced writing” very often too — this makes it easier for students who have difficulty copying out large amounts of material into a notebook. By “reduced writing” I mean that the instructions might say to pick out a word or some words, a phrase, or the punctuation marks only to write on paper, rather than copying the whole sentence.

    I have only used the second grade of Spelling, which would be just fine for a real second grader, but I was using it for an older student with learning issues and it wasn’t quite enough for him.

    The 2nd grade social studies is in a workbook that is an introduction to world geography, starting in Canada, then the US, then Mexico, then moving on to other parts of the world. It is about right for 2nd grade, but it definitely needs updating. I have also used the 5th grade social studies and found it good for an introduction to history and geography of North America (Canada and US) but some may wish to incorporate living books alongside for more depth. The mapping exercises included are very good.

    2nd grade Health, Manners & Safety is also very first-and-second grade appropriate.

    I like the science very much. The textbooks are attractive, and would give a good foundation in science topics (including life, health, earth/space, physical science, and chemistry) for a non-college-bound student through high school. Or, a student could complete all of them, then still have time to focus on one or two lab sciences (from another publisher) for the last year or two of high school, as desired. Most have been fairly recently updated, except grades 8 and up, which are in process. There is also an older 5th-6th grade set concerned entirely with life science and the study of various representative organisms. In grades 3 and 5, there are comprehension questions with every lesson, and various activities and projects to choose from for each lesson and chapter, that can be completed with readily available materials. There are chapter reviews daily, or the comprehension questions can be graded as a quiz, and brief vocabulary quizzes which could be used as quiz or review orally.

  16. Rod and Staff Review by jennifer
    Pros: very thorough
    Cons: not visually appealing
    Grades Used: Preschool - 6th

    I highly recommend the preschool workbooks, even though some of the pictures are not representitive of our families lifestyle (they are Amish pictures). We have also really been happy with the “Spelling by sound and structure” series, and the English books as well.

  17. Rod and Staff Review by Ruth Stroup
    Pros: Biblical stories
    Cons: a lot of worksheets
    Grades Used: 2nd

    My son found this curriculum to be too overwhelming. We didn’t find that it worked well for us. It was very laid out so that there was very little prep time which was a plus. I liked the fact that he was using Bible stories to become better at reading. I cut down on the amount of worksheets he had to do and it still took him more time than I felt we should be spending on just the reading curriculum. We decided to look for a different curriculum.

  18. Rod and Staff Review by Cheri Burt
    Pros: Easy; Inexpensive
    Grades Used: 2nd

    I was looking for a spelling program that was simple and without frills for my son. Rod & Staff has covered that completely. It is a simple lists of 12 words with easily completed lessons for two days a week. They suggest a pretest and post test. My son would freak to be tested on something ahead of time so we opt out of the pretest and do extra games online or together to learn the spelling words.

  19. Rod and Staff Review by Bonita
    Pros: excellent coverage of material in Godly manner
    Cons: black and white textbook
    Grades Used: 3rd-5th

    These books are advanced for their grade level. You may need to use the book for the grade lower than your child’s age until they are used to using this publisher’s material. They are excellent in the coverage of all concepts of grammar plus some research and creative writing assignments.

  20. Rod and Staff Review by Suzanne
    Pros: easy to use, daily review of previous concepts
    Grades Used: 2nd-6th

    I have been pleased with using Rod & Staff English. I enjoy how the chapters are divided into nouns, verbs… The lessons are quick. I can do most of the work orally or at the dry erase board. I have learned a lot by teaching this curriculum to my daughter.

  21. Rod and Staff Review by Lisa
    Grades Used: 2nd

    I used the 2nd grade spelling with my daughter, and we both really liked it. It was easy to use, and she enjoyed doing the work pages each week. I did find I had to drill her on the words, as the spelling book alone was not enough to thoroughly learn the spelling words. I liked how the book broke down the words and used synonyms, opposites and other ways to reinforce the words. This book was an excellent base for her, and she has become an excellent speller.

  22. Rod and Staff Review by Heather
    Pros: biblical,plain and simple to use
    Grades Used: 2,3,4

    We started using the spelling for the third grade. My daughter asked for the fourth grade one because she liked doing the third grade book. we also got the second grade for my son this year and he is doing well with it. We also have the fourth grade reading books. Very good biblical foundation in all of their books.Have also used nature,health and social studies.

  23. Rod and Staff Review by Robyn
    Pros: ease of use, thourough, non consumable
    Cons: the style is simple and plain
    Grades Used: 3rd and 4th

    After trying many different grammar curriculum, I finally settled on Rod and Staff English. It is our first time using grades 3 and 4. I’m appreciating the abundance of practice with each new skill learned. It’s easy to adapt the lessons to give my children more or less practice as needed. I like the fact it’s non-consumable. I also like having writing exercises within the book that I can choose to assign or not. I do believe studying grammar is important, but I don’t want it to be overwhelming. Rod and Staff is a perfect fit. Very comprehensive, yet easy to implement.

  24. Rod and Staff Review by vicki shepard
    Pros: Good foundation to build a Biblical world view on. Introduces the child to God in a matter of fact way.
    Cons: Can be a little dry. After 4th grade, the personal beliefs, such as pacifism, enter into curriculum.
    Grades Used: 1,2,3

    We are using R & S Language Arts and enjoy it. They are very structued and build concept upon concept well. The readers all have good, moral stories in them that deal with the everyday dilemas children seem to get into. My DD loves me to read these stories to her. I like them because they show a good, strong traditional family structure and they also show children working or “choring” as part of everyday life. Simple things are taught to be appreciated.

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