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    Rod and Staff math

    Hello Fellow Forum Families,
    Convince me that I should choose R and S math for my third grader next year.
    Hitherto, we have used a variety of materials to learn appropriate objectives. I have used Ruth Beechick's Arithmetic portion of The Three R's as my reference point. I'm just not sure what would be best for math next year. R and S looks monotonous...
    Thanks,
    Jennifer

    #2
    R&S Math

    Ha ha. You're right, it IS monotonous. Sometimes that is okay. But we can adapt it to our needs. I don't assign all of the problems. We use it as a jumping off point to make sure that our children know their math facts and basic word problems. You'll notice that their books are very affordable. Then to make math beautiful, we find other books. "G is for Googol", "Mathematicians are People Too", the "Life of Fred" series, etc...
    Blessings,
    Jude

    Dd 16, Ds 13, Ds 10, Ds 8, Dd 6, Ds 4, Dd 1

    Comment


      #3
      Math...the joy of it all

      Jennifer,
      I don't know if I can convince you or not, but I can tell you why we use Rod and Staff, and why we love it.

      First of all, we use it because we came to it out of desperation. I had put my daughter through Seton, MCP, Math u See, Rightstart, Saxon, and some Life of Fred. Then my son got to try Horizons as well. Finally, when my daughter hit a wall of frustration with Saxon 65, I realized that Rod and Staff had a completely different approach, so it was worth a try.

      We were pleasantly surprised! You do math, for the sake of math, without color (very distracting), a ton of different activities on the same page (also distracting), and to the point of mastery (our goal in any subject). The explanations are clear, there is very little that my children have ever had a question about after just reading the lessons, and there is enough work that they really learn it before they move on.

      Now, they may not learn all the same topics at the same time as other programs, and it may not take an hour of working with manipulatives to do.....but to us those are benefits to the program! The topics that are covered are done so incrementally, thoroughly, and age-appropriately. ( I am remembering projects we did with rightstart that seem so silly now!)

      They learn math skills, and they practice practice practice. Which amazingly, has led my children to the kinds of "math discoveries" that so many programs purport to be able to create. Our kids do it themselves. For example, my second grader "figured out" multiplcation before it was ever introduced because she was so familiar with her addition facts. My sixth grader saw on a shampoo bottle she was taking upstairs that we had gotten "30% free"....and she realized she knew how to figure out how much that was.....so she took the bottle to her desk, sat down and figured i t out. Then she took it upstairs to put away. Her enjoyment came from being so skilled in something that she could apply it herself.

      So I cannot say enough about Rod and Staff. My kids know math. Yes, we do cut down the number of problems they do, as long as they are showing mastery of the concepts. But I have never felt as though there was anything missing or needing to be tweaked, because I know we are focused on the real meat and potatoes of math. That's just my $.02.

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2020-2021
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 8
      DD, 6
      +DS+
      DS, 2

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you

        Thank you, Jude and Sarah. I have another question regarding teacher involvement. How much "teaching" time is needed with R&S? Do the text books include examples or teaching instructions so the student can work independently? Do you follow the teacher's guide or use it as a reference? How long does your child work on math each day? Oops! That's more than one question.
        Thank you!
        Jennifer

        Comment


          #5
          I guess you get to hear back from us first, but here's our run-down:

          Yes, the lessons have examples worked for the student, included in the explanation to the student. The teacher's guide provides additional help in teaching the lesson, additional examples to work with the students, and also the occasional "watch out for your student's doing XXX". Lastly, there is always an oral drill at the very beginning of the teaching notes, which is a really fun drill period I do with each of them every day, and they each enjoy it. It also gives a bit of review of past concepts, and gives me a chance to see that they are retaining what they have been learning.

          Granted, the amount of explanation varies with the level of book, and the complexity of the lesson. Third grade is heavily focused on mastering multiplication and division, so there is not a lot of explanation necessary. As you move on to fourth, fifth...etc., the explanations become more lengthy because the processes become more involved.

          For us, I let the children read and begin their lessons themselves. We have a standing rule that they can do half of the assigned problems from each section, as long as they get all of those half correct. If they miss any, they have to explain to me why they missed (was it carelessness, or confusion?) If even carelessness becomes too much of a problem, I would increase the number of problems done until they showed they were being more careful, and then would allow them to back off again after a long enough time that the carelessness was under control. This does become an issue in third grade, because it is the first year they are copying problems out of the book into a notebook instead of writing in a workbook.

          So, they read and begin the lesson themselves. Then during my time with each of them, they show me their lesson, I ask if they understood it and if they missed any (I do let them correct it themselves), and then we do the oral drill together. That is usually sufficient, and takes about 10 minutes of my time. For them, the length of time it takes varies with the student. My daughter flies through her sixth grade work in 30 minutes, while my 4th grade son takes more like an hour+ simply because he is a slower worker. He understands it, and when motivated, can fly through it as well....but motivation is often lacking! Also, some lessons are longer than others, especially in fifth and sixth, based on what material is being practiced...some lessons are "cake" while others are more meaty.

          The process listed above does get altered if they have a question. If they start reading the lesson, or start doing the problems, and they hit a bit of confusion, they bring it to me right away, and I try to immediately put down what I am doing to address it so they can move on. Often I can look at their book, and reference my teacher's book, to help explain it and bring them to understanding. We have not yet (praise God!) had a lesson which was still a problem after that.

          I hope this glimpse into how we do it is helpful to you, and that you will be happy with the choice you make! Keep the questions coming if you have any more!
          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2020-2021
          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
          DS, 16
          DD, 14
          DD, 12
          DD, 10
          DD, 8
          DD, 6
          +DS+
          DS, 2

          Comment


            #6
            Hello Jennifer,

            Though we didn't go through as many programs as Sarah, we did discover a mathematical disaster with our son last year after using RightStart for years, and having a couple of bad homeschooling years. He didn't have his math facts down - so he struggled with all other processes. Plus RightStart bounced around so much that by the time he was starting to understand a concept they moved on to something else. After narrowing my search down to Math-U-See, Singapore, and R&S, I spent hours of searching and reading reviews on the three programs. My husband (thinking I was getting a bit ridiculous) wanted to go with Math-U-See, but ultimately left the choice to me. A few things that won me over to R&S were:

            1. R&S Math was the only math program that had people reviewing who had left the program only to return saying they wished they had just stayed with them.
            2. I can't remember reading one negative review on R&S Math. Maybe there is one out there, I just didn't see it.
            3. Memoria used it; but let me try explain this one. I was very cautious in using MP materials. My son and I have bitterly struggled with grammar and composition until using Institute for Excellence in Writing or IEW (Classical Composition is every bit as good from what I can see). So, after successfully using IEW and through them finding MP, I switched my son to Latin, completely dropping grammar instruction for the year, and then half of the 6th grade curriculum. I used some of their materials for my younger two as well, one of which didn't like the phonics program we had been using. After all this MP had gained credibility with me. Because they seemed to have the Phonics to Latin to Grammar right, I trusted their use of R&S Math. Though we have struggled some with MP's curriculum with my eldest (I think it's more of a work & diligence issue), my younger two are thriving with MP. Ultimately I just wanted to completely switch over to their packaged curriculum, so I decided on R&S Math.

            In the end I started my (then) beginning 7th grader on a 4th grade R&S Math textbook, hammering heavy on the drills. Some of the chapters he was able to test out of, getting through 4th and 5th grade books last school year. We'll work through the summer on the 6th grade text book.

            I switched my younger ones too. They were a bit bummed to leave some of the 'fun' activities in RightStart, but it was too much bouncing around. The monotony is really a method of mastery. And the little ones are constantly drilling one another. Also they seem to be more motivated (generally) when they do well and 'get' the material.

            That said, I really don't 'teach' much. I need to do the oral drills more often, but because it is so repetitive I can let them work on math while I'm working with someone else on Literature or phonics, teaching them when a new concept comes up.

            Blessings!
            Kami

            Comment


              #7
              Kami,
              I so know what you mean about the jumping around...we had that with the spiral approach of Saxon. She would be in tears weekly because she would not have enough time with each concept before it disappeared, only to have it reappear later, and not be able to remember it!

              Also, what you said about coming to trust MP because of finally finding success in a couple of difficult areas is exactly what we felt! This next year we will get to do full curriculums, and I am excited, but even more so, I feel calm....because I know we have finally stopped jumping around. Yay for MP!

              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2020-2021
              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 8
              DD, 6
              +DS+
              DS, 2

              Comment


                #8
                Absolutely!

                That is so true, Sarah. I was referring a friend just this week to MP and I told her that I have thrown all my other catalogs away! My husband is also thrilled that I'm not waffling constantly about what to use or order 'this year' anymore! And we really don't have to supplement either!

                Kami

                Comment


                  #9
                  Bless our dear husbands and how they put up with us!
                  2020-2021
                  16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                  DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 8
                  DD, 6
                  +DS+
                  DS, 2

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I just wanted to completely agree with the sense of peace that comes from finding a curriculum you are confident in. What a relief! We have tried a few and after much internet surfing, and trying this one and then that one, and then piece mealing, I can honestly say I finally feel like I am home! What a blessing Memoria Press and Tanya and company have been to our clan! No more late nights hitting the homeschool review boards and then bombarding my patient husband with the "What do you think about this for next year?" discussion the next day

                    As for Math, we too tried Horizons spiral approach and my oldest was extremely frustrated. I can honestly say that now two years later he is doing well in math, which is not his favorite subject. He is my artist! I give all of the credit to R&S Math. It may be repetitive, but they certainly master the basics and build their math foundation, and my hope and belief is that this will pay off as they graduate into higher math. Neither of my boys have ever complained about the repetitive nature of the program, not even my second guy, who is gifted at math. In fact, I think they kind of enjoy knowing what to expect and having that sort of accomplished feeling of a job well done. They also love drilling their little sister, who I think will be a math genius for all the time the boys spend with her! (She loves the attention!)

                    Of course, this is just my humble opinion, whatever that's worth!

                    Have a blessed day everyone!

                    Kim

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Kami,

                      Just wanted to add, I have tossed all of my other curriculum catalogs away, too! What a great feeling!

                      Kim

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Sarah & Kim,

                        Laughing and rejoicing with you both!

                        Blessings!
                        Kami

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yep...cleared my catalogs out during spring cleaning this year too!

                          Such a great feeling!

                          Cheers,
                          Sarah
                          2020-2021
                          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                          DS, 16
                          DD, 14
                          DD, 12
                          DD, 10
                          DD, 8
                          DD, 6
                          +DS+
                          DS, 2

                          Comment

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