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Rod and staff vs.....???

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    Rod and staff vs.....???

    Does anyone have any experience with Rays Arithmetic? Looking through Rod and Staff and it looks very repetitive and dry. Or does anyone have any experience with Charlotte mason math from simply Charlotte mason? Can someone sway me to Rod and Staff? That is the one curriculum choice that I’m having trouble with. Thank you in advance!

    #2
    Re: Rod and staff vs.....???

    Hi there!

    I did use Ray's in my first year of homeschooling... 16 years ago. Keep in mind that there weren't as many choices back then, ha, ha. Ray's took A LOT of massaging to get right: amount of work for the day, little in the way of teaching helps, etc. It is definitely doable (!), especially if you are not afraid of math (hey, some moms are). I was sucked down the Charlotte Mason rabbit hole back then, imagining sketching by the pond, nature studies, etc. It was a lot of work to organize and execute a Charlotte Mason homeschool. Again, not impossible, but huge energy on mom's part. Nothing is really "open and go", and this can become problematic around, let's say, February.

    You didn't mention the age of your kids, so it is difficult to suggest an alternate program.

    As for R&S math... I am a recent convert, coming to it lately. Frankly, "dry and boring" is code for "arithmetic mastery", make no mistake. The flashy textbooks with puzzles, games, and sidebars can be very distracting to some students, and not in a good way. We used Horizons workbooks back in the day, and looking back, they were only OK. I remember when Life of Fred debuted: too gimmicky. Now, there are some people that choose the hands-on type math (Math U See). We never did, but I can see the appeal. Even those books are B&W, if I recall.

    The R&S books are written in simple language. They move the student in small, incremental steps through arithmetic mastery. EVERY kid who goes through R&S, if they complete the daily lessons, will master their math facts, which is huge. With Common Core math in public schools, kids today are *not* mastering their facts. R&S math is based on solid teaching.

    Math is probably the most substituted piece of the curriculum around here. Don't feel badly if you decide to sub it out. On the other hand, you might decide to try it for a year. I promise you your child won't slide backwards in math if you do try it. Best case, you decide you like it. It's very inexpensive, all things considered (it's so cheap, I let my child write in the student book like it's a workbook).



    Good luck!

    Jen
    DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

    DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

    DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

    DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

    All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

    Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

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      #3
      Re: Rod and staff vs.....???

      I didn't want to use Rod and Staff, either. I am a full convert now.

      I used Singapore with my older two before discovering Memoria Press. One of them is naturally good at memorizing and math and did quite well with it. When he went back to public school in Junior High he was the only kid in his class who didn't have to pull out a calculator to do basic math functions. This wasn't a function of Singapore really, more a function of him. The other not so much, but schooling just generally didn't work out too well for him.

      With my youngest, I started him with Singapore. I already owned it, right?

      He is able to easily grasp math concepts, but memorizing things is his Achilles Heel. Plus, the Singapore books are very visually busy and he needs less clutter. We switched last year. There were many tears and much complaining (which means he was actually having to work at it even though he understood the concepts being covered.)

      The thing I have come to love with R&S is that it looks so plain, but if you fully follow the script in the teacher's book (and it is 100% written out for you) then every lesson includes board work, oral work, and in the younger grades manipulatives/visual aides. The actual work can be a bit much, but it tells you that it is good to do certain parts of it in class together so the independent written work is less than it looks at first glance.

      I know a lot of people hand their child the book and assignment, and if you have a lot of children in different grades you'd have to do it that way, but I think you would be missing out on all the stuff that takes R&S from being a good program to a great one.

      I only have the one in school, so I do have the luxury of time. We work through the assignments as scripted. He is in 4th grade math. Math takes at least an hour a day, probably 30-40 minutes of that is hands on for me. That includes flashcards, skip counting, writing things on the board, going over those things including him writing some things on the board, teaching anything new, going over part of the work in his book, speed drills, and using any manipulatives needed (not many in 4th grade). Then I write the problems I want him to do on the board and I get a break for 20-30 minutes. I adjust the problems assigned as needed so he has no more than that amount of work. He has special needs and can't handle more independent work than that.

      R&S is like the math you would have gotten with our grandparents or great-grandparents. It's not flashy, but if you do the whole program you will have an incredibly solid grounding in math that will let you move on to college level math with ease.
      Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

      Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
      Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
      Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

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