Hard decision! They are both great curricula. I have used Rod & Staff grades 2 and 3 and am really pleased with the quality of instruction, the thorough review, and the amount of practice provided in this program. When I first ordered my 4th grade curriculum from Memoria Press, I substituted R&S grade 5 (because I already own grade 4) for Grammar Recitation. Once I received my lesson plans and was about to begin the year, I panicked. Okay, panicked is too strong of a word. But I was definitely worried that I had made a bad choice. While I love R&S, I really, really, really wanted the simplicity of just following the plan as is and not substituting! After all, that was partly why I went this route with a package curriculum in the first place. I finally relented, returned the books, and got Grammar Recitation in its place.
Here I’m going to compare the 2 levels I have on hand that would usually be used the same year: Rod & Staff English 4 and Grammar Recitation Workbook 2. (Click here for a more detailed review of English Grammar Recitation.)
|Rod and Staff English||Grammar Recitation|
|Content||Covers subjects and predicates, sentences, all parts of speech except interjections, capitalization, punctuation and dictionary use||Covers capitalization, punctuation, sentences, verbs (and briefly reviews nouns and adjectives); verb tenses and usage are covered much more thoroughly in a way that will help with Latin studies|
|Instruction||Detailed instruction is written to the student in each day’s lesson, with abundant examples.||Instruction is up to the teacher while introducing the grammar questions for the week’s lesson and there is only 1 example|
|Writing||Oral and written exercises are included daily. There is also a significant number of writing lessons, such as developing paragraphs, writing a story, format of a friendly letter.||Other than copying the questions, answers and examples, there is not a significant amount of writing. Most exercises require circling, labeling or filling in diagrams. Some lessons do require sentences to be written out. There are no writing lessons.|
|Time Required||Doing the program as laid out in the teacher guide would take at least 15-30 minutes a day, depending on how fast the student writes and how much time is spent on oral review and instruction.||Reviewing the recitation and completing the lesson can be done in 10 minutes a day or less.|
|Review||Lessons begin with an Oral Review from the teacher guide, and usually include some written review as well. Material is reviewed often, not daily.||Recitations are reviewed daily within the lesson’s unit and frequently after that.|
In my opinion, Rod & Staff English is best if:
- You want writing and grammar combined in your English.
- You have the time to spend to make grammar more of a focal subject.
- You want clear, implicit directions with lots of teaching helps and examples available.
- Your student would benefit from more practice with each topic.
On the other hand, you may choose Grammar Recitation if:
- You are using MP lesson plans and want the ease of not substituting.
- You want grammar to reinforce the grammar learned in Latin lessons.
- You already have a separate writing program.
- You are somewhat comfortable teaching without a ton of helps available.
- You only want to spend a little time each day on grammar.
In case you are curious about how I feel about our choice (and I’ll just assume you are…)
Sometimes I feel nostalgic and sad that we’re not using our much beloved English program anymore. I do kind of miss the instruction, the extra worksheets, and all the practice and examples that each lesson has. But, I used to wish the topics didn’t change from day to day, and I like the way EGR stays on the same topic all week long, with no new instruction until the next week. I also like the simplicity of use and layout in EGR, since I am a minimalist at heart. And as Latin gets tougher and tougher, I’m glad that we’ll be reinforcing the same grammar concepts in our English lessons as well. All in all, I’m happy with our switch!
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