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Rod and Staff Math (6th)

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    Rod and Staff Math (6th)

    I have been a bit unsettled about using Rod and Staff math with my son, who is coming to homeschool from ps 5th. He is a great math student, but was frustrated with the wordy explanations he would have to give on paper for a correctly done problem at school. It sucked the joy out for him. I wondered if R&S would suck the joy out also, since there are so many problems and it looks as though there will be a good deal of review for him.

    My husband, who is an engineer, finally had the chance to look through the R&S 6 book last night. I wanted his opinion since he is so math oriented and has spent his adult life solving real world problems. He gave it a green light....GO!

    Some remarks as he skimmed each lesson:
    "This is practical, useful stuff"
    "I use this (forgot what part exactly) every day in my job"
    " they are building a strong foundation for what is to come"
    " even the word problems teach you something". (Here, he was referring to some cement block ones and rate of weight gain of a hog....all useful stuff). This word problem comment was one *I* had somehow failed to recognize. But, if you start looking at them, there is something other than math to be learned in most.
    "This book is laid out in a straight-forward, logical way"
    "Most people can't do this...this is so important" (he was looking at lesson 40)

    There were many other comments, but these I remember. Now, I am also coming home from teaching in ps with the common core. The folks pushing STEM in my school were NOT math inclined and have never had their livelihood depend on real, practical, problem solving math. They would look at the R&S book and diss it. There are no "projects" "cooperative learning" "21st century skills" "flipped classroom" (insert any buzzword here that you've heard) etc.. They would call it drill and kill. Yet, my husband, whose livelihood has depended on these math skills in a real STEM field gave it a whole-hearted thumbs up.

    Are there topics that I taught last year in ps 6th grade that are definitely not in the R&S book? Sure, but in my district anyway, the kids did not "get it" and were shaky as jello on basic math and number sense. I had to teach inequalities anyway, and never felt good about any of it.

    We are getting our son ready for *life*, not a yearly standardized test.
    With many of us about to embark on a new year, I hope I've given fellow first time R&S math users some peace of mind if there was any doubt.

    You are totally correct, and I loved your post! You have hit the nail on the head as far as the inability of STEM, new math, and Common Core to actually teach math. Rod and Staff is such a breath of fresh air! So glad to hear that your husband approves!

    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    DS, 2


      Great post, Lemonade! Starting R&S with the whole crew this year--5, 3 and K!
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
      DS 12th • HLN, Latin online, DE math/sci - Headed to Hillsdale College next fall
      DD 10th • HLN, Latin online
      DD 7th • HLN & Home
      DS 4th • HLN & Home
      Me • Memoria College, this summer: MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

      Teaching TFL and co-directing @
      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016


        Thank you so much for your post! I am new to MP, and am working with a 1st and 2nd grader for the first time using a curriculum that I didn't put together myself. I have been worried that R&S would be overly repetitive from what we did last year, but seeing it be so successful even by 6th grade really sets my mind at ease. I'm glad to know the information and instruction is applicable in real life situations.

        All the best,
        My boys: JR, Riley, and Jack
        MP 8A, 7A, and MP2


          I concur. We've finished Rod and Staff 6 and I feel she is more than adequately prepared for the huge! College of the Redwoods Pre-algebra.

          I'm very, very happy with our year of shoring up of "gaps" I suspected. I also loved the drill, the mastery of a topic, and the consistent oral review that helped with mathematical reasoning.

          I was worried when we began I should have pushed her a level ahead. Not a concern with Rod and Staff. It was deceptively rigorous for us.