# Rod & Staff Math

### #1

Posted 10 July 2009 - 09:38 AM

All my kids are using Rod & Staff math right now. My oldest just finished R&S 6 last year and I'm really struggling with what to do this coming year. He's not a big fan of math but he does great in it. He likes the fact that the R&S lessons are easy to follow and understand. (We did Singapore for several years and he did great with it but it was harder for me to teach and the lessons just weren't as clear and easy to follow. I wanted R&S for reinforcement of the basics, too.) Anyway, so I'm wondering - do we need another year of R&S (7 or 8) or does R&S 6 provide enough for us to go on the some kind of pre-algebra?

If we move on then that's a whole other "problem" since I'm not sure what to use next. I just bought a used copy of Videotext Algebra (module A) because that's the one I've been leaning towards but of course my ds says he doesn't want to do anything on video. He thinks it will be long and boring and he likes to move quickly when at all possible. (I bought Latina Christiana II cds and I thought he was going to die while trying to sit through them lol! We quit using them.) So he says he really prefers only textbooks but of course at this point I'm taking his opinion with a grain of salt as he hasn't done any upper level maths yet.

I don't want to rush him, although he does well in math. I guess we first need to decide if we will do another year of R&S or if we should move on...

I would very much appreciate any advice! Thank you!

### #2

Posted 10 July 2009 - 09:46 PM

### #3

Posted 10 July 2009 - 10:10 PM

DD used R&S 5,6, & 7. We were barely into R&S 8 (pre-algebra) when I decided to jump ship and start her in Algebra 1. She seemed bored with R&S. At the same time she apparently wasn't ready for Algebra. Plus, honestly I think she missed R&S's format (tried Teaching Textbooks, not enough problems?).

This spring we spent a lot of time reviewing using the Key to Series. She needed the review, but I felt she also needed extra time developmentally. DD recently restarted Teaching Textbooks Algebra and seems to be understanding it better. Time will tell.

Do you already have R&S 8? You could compare the two (7 & 8) and see if you think he's ready for R&S 8. Just be aware that he

*may*not be ready for Algebra 1 when you are.

Good luck!

### #4

Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:59 AM

I switched my younger dc to CLE math which is more advanced than R&S. CLE math includes more algebra (much sooner), geometry, union sets, logical type math problems. I think CLE math does a better job of preparing dc for higher math; R&S spends too much time on basic math for too many years.

### #5

Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:22 AM

Here's a link to a recent thread on R&S. http://www.welltrain...ad.php?t=109764

From this thread, it seems like you would want to go through R&S 8 before algebra. I'm curious about this as well, though and am hoping others will chime in.

Lisa

### #6

Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:26 AM

and he did very well with it. But when it came to standardized tests I was surprised by what was expected that R&S math didn't cover.

I switched my younger dc to CLE math which is more advanced than R&S. CLE math includes more algebra (much sooner), geometry, union sets, logical type math problems. I think CLE math does a better job of preparing dc for higher math; R&S spends too much time on basic math for too many years.

Michelle -

I noticed that you skipped R&S 7 and I'm wondering why? It seems that I've heard others say they did this, but now I can't remember what the reasoning was.

Lisa

### #7

Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:12 AM

They did anywhere from 30 min. to an hour of R&S either before their algebra lesson or after it - I let them decide. They did all their work on a small white board - no pencil and paper. I even let them draw their graphs on their white boards. Messy, but I knew I'd be expecting them to use graph paper in the algebra lessons.

I sat at the table with them, sometimes doing something else, but always ready to check their answers as they called them out, instantly. If they could do anything just by eyeballing it, then they just called out the answers and I checked them as they called them out. (I had the teacher's book set up on a book stand in front of me.)

For the review in the teacher's book, I looked through it and called out things I thought they needed more practice on. For the "Further Study" things, I passed them the teacher's book and let them read it for themselves, asking what it said afterwards. For the tests/quizzes, they did them the same as the text.

When we got to problems which I knew they knew pretty well, I would tell them to estimate the answers aloud and I would immediately tell them the correct answer so they could see how close they had gotten to it. Most of them really enjoyed this part.

An example of this is the tons of percent (increase/decrease) type problems in book 8. I told them to imagine we were at a store flipping through a rack of clothes which were on sale. You aren't going to stand there with a calculator and punch in numbers. You want to be able to estimate

**quickly -**in your head -the approximate price, to decide instantly whether it's a good buy or not. So pretend we're standing in the store and Daddy's past ready to go and we have to speed through them to rush up to the register before Daddy finishes checking out! Now do these problems that way.

One of the reasons I think using R&S as a drill program has worked so well is that it's a very down-to-earth type program. Very concrete. It's fairly easy and boosts confidence; and is a huge relief from the much more abstract math of algebra and above, which require much more mental angst for some dc. It provides a kind of security blanket for dc as they make that transition, because when the other math is just plain hard, they know they can always whiz through that R&S book to relieve the frustration. At least, that's what I've seen in our dc.

Anyway, a couple more things which might help. I didn't put any restrictions on the R&S part of our math. No ending dates, grades, or anything. And we stopped at book 8. The last of our dc is about to finish book 8, but they've been doing algebra along with it for a year (?) or so now. Which means that they will take that 'extra' math time and extend the algebra now. Kind of a sneaky way to increase the time for the upper level maths.

HTH

Kathy

### #8

Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:50 AM

Michelle -

I noticed that you skipped R&S 7 and I'm wondering why? It seems that I've heard others say they did this, but now I can't remember what the reasoning was.

Lisa

I bought R&S math 7 & 8 and looked them over & decided so much was the same that we could safely skip 7 to get to algebra in grade 8. I don't regret that decision BUT I wish we had switched to something other than R&S math MUCH sooner.

DON'T just look at the next level - but look ahead to see if your program will lead you to where you want to go.

### #9

Posted 11 July 2009 - 10:46 AM

I have been very pleased with the firm math foundation built by R&S Math (and English too for that matter). We do standardized testing every year and math is generally the highest scores for my oldest, but my middle son also scores well (just not as high as reading). My oldest qualified for the ACT last year as a 7th grader. He held his own on the math portion considering he hasn't had Algebra I yet.

After R&S math, we will use the 1965 Dolciani series: Modern Algebra I, Modern Geometry, Modern Algebra & Trig Book 2, Modern Introductory Analysis (followed by Calculus of a Singel Variable by Larson--depending on the son).

So, before you decide on whether or not to do another year of R&S, I would first decide where you want to end up when he graduates. If you decide to hold off on Algebra, then I would encourage you to stick to the R&S program that you are using.

If you decide to move on to Algebra, that will present another program in itself. There are so many good programs out there. I requested as many Algebra books via ILL & then bought cheap, used copies of the others I was considering. My DH (a mechanical engineer) sat down with me to look at all of the books. We choose 2 or 3 topics (like slope, factoring, etc.) and read the lessons that explained this concept. It was easy to weed out the ones we definitely did not like, but we ended up with 2 or 3 that had both pros & cons. Eventually, we decided on the Dolciani series. I finally found all of the books for the series, and my oldest will start Modern Algebra Book 1 next school year. I can't wait! We are both excited.

HTH!

### #10

Posted 11 July 2009 - 01:50 PM

As far as where I want them/him to end up- that's a good question! I can't say I have that all figured out but I

*think*I'm leaning towards waiting one more year on Algebra. I think he'd probably do fine with it, but I want to make sure he has a good solid foundation and I just feel like I might be rushing a little. Even if we wait, he could still do Algebra 1 (probably VT ?) in 8th grade which would be fine even if he's mathy, right?

So I

*might*do R&S 7 or 8 this year....or.... I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm considering CLE (for all the kids)! I was doing some reading about it and checking out the website and it looks so appealing. I became a little concerned about how much isn't covered in R&S compared to CLE. I also like the workbook approach and the fact that it seems to be less teacher intensive (at least above grades 1 & 2?). I started having some guilt as I realized I don't do nearly as much with the R&S TMs as I probably should with my kids in the younger grades. It seems like that might not be as much of a problem with CLE. I'm only considering it at this point - and I'm just kind of frustrated with myself b/c I

*thought*I had definitely settled on R&S for the younger grades. My concern with CLE is that it's spiral (right?) and I think I prefer the mastery of R&S....but now I feel like I'm running in circles b/c the fact that CLE covers more in earlier grades is part of what makes it spiral...yes?

Ok, so maybe I'm making progress but still not quite sure what I'm going to do. Maybe this post belongs on the K-8 board at this point b/c now I'm kind of back to asking about K-8 math (I could x-post if that's allowed?).

Thanks for any additional input on this!

### #11

Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:03 PM

I know I am late to this thread, but I am just catching up after being at the CHEA of CA convention all weekend - lots of fun!

I don't know anything about CLE, but I do know about Rod and Staff Math 8. After using Singapore Math in 5th and 6th grades, I assumed we would be able to just find our groove with NEM 1 in 7th grade. However, such was not the case - math, a strong subject normally, was taking hours and consuming way too much of our time and energy. I determined that he was not ready for algebra 1 yet, and we switched to R & S 8 for prealgebra. It worked beautifully for us, giving my son lots of great practice in fundamental skills and an opportunity to work with American measures. Its concreteness was just what we needed that year, and the practical word problems with percents and ratios, etc., along with another year of maturity, prepared him well to be successful with algebra.

Hope this is helpful!

Blessings,

April

### #12

Posted 14 July 2009 - 06:19 AM

Hello!

I know I am late to this thread, but I am just catching up after being at the CHEA of CA convention all weekend - lots of fun!

I don't know anything about CLE, but I do know about Rod and Staff Math 8. After using Singapore Math in 5th and 6th grades, I assumed we would be able to just find our groove with NEM 1 in 7th grade. However, such was not the case - math, a strong subject normally, was taking hours and consuming way too much of our time and energy. I determined that he was not ready for algebra 1 yet, and we switched to R & S 8 for prealgebra. It worked beautifully for us, giving my son lots of great practice in fundamental skills and an opportunity to work with American measures. Its concreteness was just what we needed that year, and the practical word problems with percents and ratios, etc., along with another year of maturity, prepared him well to be successful with algebra.

Hope this is helpful!

Blessings,

April

April, what algebra program did you use?

Lisa

### #13

Posted 15 July 2009 - 01:37 PM

*am*still trying to decide what to do with my K-er but other than that, we're all decided! Whew!

### #14

Posted 15 July 2009 - 05:07 PM

High School math has been a bit of a jumble for us, I'm afraid to say. My older ds completed Teaching textbooks Alg 1 in 8th grade and TT Alg 2 in 9th grade. I absolutely love the layout of the program, but I was concerned about the unconvetional topic coverage in Alg 2 (their Pre Cal course was not yet available) for my young engineer. In 10th grade, we worked through Intro to Geometry from The Art of Problem Solving. This is a rigorous and challenging progam; all their courses are designed for students who might be interested in entering math competitions. The boy knew his geometry after completing that book! But, it was time consuming, as all challenging math programs are (especially for a student who likes to ponder and make sure that he really "gets it."). In 11th grade, ds began Chalkdust Pre Cal. He didn't begin work until the 2nd quarter of the year, so he was behind from the beginning, if that makes sense. The CD Pre Cal book (by Larson) begins with Chapter P - a review of what should have been previously learned material. Obviously, a substantial amount of time had passed since ds had worked with higher algebra, but even so, much of chapter P was new material for him, and he worked through it diligently before moving on to chapter 1 and following. Our plan was for him to continue working on math over the summer and into the school year until the course was completed - probably by the end of the first semester. That is still our target completion date; however, ds is working this summer at NASA (cool internship with a residential component, so he isn't here at night to do math...), He is applying his math skills rather than working on his precal. A good trade-off, I think. It was our plan for him to start Calculus 2nd semester of his senior year, but that may not happen. We shall see!

So, that is my math story for older ds. The story for younger ds is still being written - he is working through AoPS Geometry this summer to make up for plan changes during the school year. We will get through it, but not with the same thoroughness as with older ds, unfortunately. YOUnger ds completed both TT Alg 1 and 2 in 7th and 8th grades, but we need to do alg 2 again now that he is a bit older. This son doesn't plan an engineering career, so we may do TT Alg 2 again followed by their Pre Cal program, or he may work his way through the Intro to Alg and Intermediate Alg books from AoPS (definitely a very rigorous option) I really want him to be prepared for whatever he wants to do, without utterly crushing him with math, which is not his favorite subject. Sigh. This would be easier if he were just like his brother! But, there is value in variety!!

Hope this has been interesting and perhaps even helpful!

Blessings,

April