I switched from Singapore to Saxon to Rod and Staff. I plan on staying. R&S Math seems to have all the things I liked in Singapore and Saxon without all the drawbacks. For example, Singapore does a wonderful job with concrete to abstract teaching. R&S does this too, but instead of using base 10 blocks for the concrete, they simply use real life examples. I also liked Singapore’s mental math, R&S Math has that built into the teacher’s manual, a bit more slowly, but it does get taught. They also have the drill and review that Singapore is missing.

I liked the review in Saxon, but realized my kids did better with a mastery approach. They need the big picture in order to memorize the details, and Saxon never seemed to give the big picture. Instead of breezing through the Saxon review section in order to over learn, my kids were re-learning every concept every day. Rod and Staff builds on one concept at a time in a logical sequence till my kids really get it. Then they continue to review the concept, but at that point it really is just easy review.

At first, I was concerned about R&S Math’s slower scope and sequence, but my children have been easily completing the texts a year ahead of schedule, and I plan on following advice to simply skip 7th grade. Eighth grade has pre-algebra integrated, so my kids will still be ready for Algebra in 8th grade. I was concerned about test scores until I read Highland’s Latin School (makers of Memoria Press) uses Rod and Staff and they score in the top 2% of the nation.

Other things I like, Rod and Staff has lots of story problems and real life math such as finding interest rates, etc…They also do the best job at teaching fractions I’ve seen. Saxon was taking my kids almost and hour and a half everyday, Rod and Staff takes about 45 minutes. After my children had been using Rod and Staff for a few months I began to see a difference in their attitude toward math. Of course, they would still rather play out side than do math, but they have started integrating math into their play. At the grocery store they will calculate prices for fun, because it has become so easy for them.

Things I change: I plan on adding a little more pre-algebra with the last book with Kahn’s Academy (free online). And I only have my kids do the odd problems after the 3rd grade book. This is a lot less tweaking than I’ve had to do with other programs.

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compelledbymel

said:Thanks for your review. I am planning on homeschooling when my kiddos get older and I’m keeping a list of curriculum to look at so I can make the best decisions. I have heard of Singapore and Saxon. I hadn’t heard of R&S.

Sarah Laughing

said:I’m glad it was helpful. Thanks for stopping by. : )

Michelle

said:My children have used Rod & Staff from the very beginning of their educations. We started with their A-B-C Series, then moved on to the Grade 1 books. I can say hands down this is a great curriculum. We tried adding other programs (like Math-U-See and Saxon) over the summer months, thinking maybe something even better might be out there, or to just supplement our school year, but we all, including the children had constant complaints about the other curriculum.

As for moving at a slower pace, I don’t think that they do. All of the curriculum are set up differently, but sooner or later they even out in a manner of speaking. We decided this year to try Saxon since Rod & Staff haven’t come out with their Algebra program yet. It is due out any time, if I remember correctly. My children took the Saxon placement tests and they all tested out a year or 2 ahead, meaning they could skip 1-2 years of the Saxon math books. R&S has given such a great foundation that we have regretted the Saxon decision from almost the first day and have one by one had every child stop their Saxon book and switch back to R&S.

And as for annual testing, my children test very high in every area that we have used Rod & Staff books.

I just thought some might like to hear another “Yay!” for Rod & Staff. I know this was written a while ago, but I was encouraged to read it and refresh myself. Thank you.

Sally

said:Did you mean you would do rod and staff 6 and then skip all of 7 and then on to 8th grade rod and staff?

Brandie

said:Hi Sally, I have changed math curriculum since this was written! I still used and loved Rod and Staff through the fourth grade level for all five of my kids (starting First Grade in K), but then I switch to Saxon. I think the early years of Rod and Staff actually prepare a kid for upper level Saxon better than Saxon itself does.

My oldest, who used Rod and Staff all the way to Algebra, did skip Grade 7 and went to 8, and that worked fine as far as arithmetic went. He struggled applying his math to high school science and Algebra, though. Not because of skipping 7, but because Rod and Staff really focuses on business math, and instead of teaching Algebraic thinking, they have them jut draw pictures and keep it concrete. I still used Rod and Staff through the fourth grade level for all five of my kids, and it was a wonderful foundation. Their mental arithmetic powers and understanding of base ten and fractions were amazing. Than I switched to Saxon to get that vocabulary, geometry, metric and science in there. My other kids have transitioned more easily into science and Algebra because of the switch. Hindsight is 20/20. I should probably take this review down.