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If you've looked into homeschool curriculums for even a short while, you've probably encountered the name Rod and Staff. Or, you may have seen the materials at a homeschool curriculum fair, but didn't look closely because the materials looked very simple. On closer look, however, you will see that the publishers want the Rod and Staff homeschool curriculum to be simple to follow, and simple to use.
Rod and Staff Publishers was founded in 1958 as Pilgrim Mennonite Press. Their purpose is to provide Christian homes and schools with Bible based textbooks and literature. Their goal is to use these educational materials to impart truth, without compromising the Word of God (from their 1996 catalog as obtained by www.anabaptists.org).
Rod and Staff is a publishing company, and they've been producing Christian textbooks since 1963. They don't have a website, so if someone claims to be "The official Rod and Staff website," it is not truly affiliated with them. They are sold by many independent dealers, however you can write to them at P.O. Box 3 Highway 172 Crockett, KY 41413-0003 to obtain a catalog, receive a sample packet of periodicals, or just get more information.
A surprising detail about this company is that they don't produce Kindergarten materials, purposely. They believe that Kindergarteners should be learning to follow simple instructions, doing puzzles, reading to them, learning coloring and cutting, and Biblical values and character (www.anabaptists.org). They do offer complete curriculum sets for grades 1 through 12. For the younger learners, they produce simple workbooks that cover early learning skills, like coloring, cutting and recognizing numbers.
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Cost, Pros, and Cons
- The cost of these programs can vary slightly by age. For example a preschool set of workbooks is under $10.00 on some sites. A single preschool workbook (for ages 3, 4 or 5 year olds) is as low as $2.35.
- First grade basic materials include Reading, Phonics and Arithmetic. There is no social studies or science at this age. This basic first grade package on one site was around $130.00.
- A complete first grade set of materials includes vocabulary, math and music flashcards, along with a music workbook, ruled tablets, and an Artpac. These materials, on one site were around $230.00.
- Even with an advanced grade level, such as seventh grade, the prices were running about the same as the first grade price.
- A place I usually look for reviews of materials is www.homeschoolreviews.com. I found many, many positive reviews and very few negatives. Many people were looking for a simpler curriculum, as they had picked harder curriculums in the past and found them too tedious. Many reviewers like the simplicity of the program.
- Many reviewers liked the reading program. They found it easy to follow, and helpful to their children's growth.
- Most people found it very cost effective.
- You can resell the materials, which helps you regain some of the expense of the purchase.
- In our case, the simplicity of the graphics and design of the books, seemed like it would be a hindrance to my particular child's style of learning.
- There are not a lot of elective courses for the older grade levels. Some homeschool curriculums have a wide variety of additional courses, like foreign languages. Rod and Staff does not publish foreign language courses.
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Is Rod And Staff For You?
If you are looking for a program that is Bible-based and cost effective, Rod and Staff may be for you. Before deciding what curriculum to purchase you may want to look through the actual textbooks. A good way to do this is to go to a homeschool currciulum fair, or ask a local homeschooling group if anyone uses Rod and Staff, and could you look at their textbooks. No matter what curriculum you choose, once you find the right fit for your child, one of the most challenging parts of starting homeschooling will be complete!
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Wikimedia commons: "Child with red hair reading,jpeg": Source: Lilla Cabbot Perry