The Curriculum Choice


Primary Language Lessons 

Being silly during our lesson!

I like to give a little background before I give a review because I think that understanding the circumstances can be helpful to another mom with similar situations. So, here I was homeschooling my two oldest boys and getting ready to begin begin some sort of formal studies with my third son. I was using Shurley Grammar for my older two and knew that I could not teach to three levels of Shurley. So, I wanted something as a light introduction and was beginning to succumb to the thought that grammar should be taught within other subjects. We were writing, speaking and communicating all of the time and I just knew that if I could perfect my grammar that I could teach it sufficiently without a formal grammar program. So, these were my thoughts. But, I couldn’t get rid of the grammar books yet. So, for first grade we just focused on reading, memorizing poetry, with an occasional dictation. Then a dear friend that I admire (in the real world) and I had a meeting, and over dinner and gelatto she mentioned that some of her favorite times homeschooling with her, then, older girls was when they were using Primary Language Lessons. Do you know who you are yet? So, I ran home and ordered a copy.

When it arrived, I didn’t know what to do with it! It was different then anything that I had seen. It has beautiful illustrations, simple-yet-elegant language from days gone by, and….wait! I did recognize something – poetry! Yeah! O.K. I could try this. My third son did not know what to think of this book at first, but it has been a door for conversation. It has lead us through gentle exercises learning grammar through dictation and narration exercises and it adds to our “snuggle time” factor. You can see from the above picture that we actually have fun during our grammar time. 
Written by Brenda

Rod and Staff English: Grades 3, 4, and 5 

Grade 4 English

I am generally a devout Charlotte Mason homeschooler but I do wander off the path sometimes. When it comes to teaching grammar I tend to go the way of classical education. We have been using Rod and Staff English for 3 years now and it has been one of my tried and truly loved curriculums. We started using Rod and Staff when each of the children reached 3rd grade level.

Rod and Staff is a publisher that produces bible-based curriculum for christian schools and homeschoolers. They produce curriculum from preschool to high school levels. They provide full curriculum or you can purchase individual subjects. I have used their English and Math programs. For this review I will only go over their English curriculum.

In third grade the student will study sentence types and structure. There are different types of writing exercises throughout the book. Simple diagramming is taught at this level. There are five parts of speech taught: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs. There are lessons that teach dictionary work, proofreading and communication skills. There are 125 lessons and 5 unit tests.In the fourth grade the student will learn seven parts of speech: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. Diagramming is included in many of the lessons. There are lessons on capitalization, punctuation, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. A typical lesson has an oral drill, a written practice and a review. Composition skills are taught with various types of writing lessons. There are 127 lessons and tests for each chapter.In fifth grade the student will learn all eight parts of speech. The student will learn many new grammar terms. Diagramming is continued to be taught but at a higher lever of skill. There are composition skills taught including outlining, writing a report, writing a friendly letter, poetry skills, and writing stories. There are 119 lessons and tests for each chapter.

 What are the pros? Rod and Staff is an excellent and thorough grammar program. It is above grade level in my opinion. It is easy to teach, an open and go type program. The teacher manuals are easy to use. There is plenty of diagramming practice. It is a strong grammar program. It has a classical approach to teaching grammar.

What are the cons? If you don’t like diagramming or don’t feel it is important, you may not like how much diagramming is taught in many of the lessons. It is above grade level. If you have a student who struggles in grammar you may consider going a grade level down. If you don’t want a program that has any religious content, you may not like the bible references that are throughout the book.

If you are interested in finding more information regarding Rod and Staff curriculum, please click on the link below.
Written by Korey


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