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Rod & Staff after FLL -- any gotchas?

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Hi, all,


My DD is finishing up First Language Lessons #4.  Love, love, loved everything about these books/workbooks.


Next I'm thinking about going with Rod & Staff.  For anyone who started with FLL, is R&S similar in terms of rigor?  Are the lessons scripted?  (I'm not sure I need them going forward, as I have a strong background in language arts, but I sure did appreciate the FLL scripts on those days over the last couple years when I was too tired to think straight.)


Also, how heavy is the emphasis on Christian theology in R&S?  (I haven't been able to thumb through any of the materials for myself.)  And perhaps most important, were your kiddo(s) able to jump right in after FLL, or was it too difficult/too easy a transition, or...? 


Anything you can tell me about your experience with R&S will be gratefully received!

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My dd went straight from FLL4 to R&S 6 with no problems. She is very strong in grammar, however. I think any student who was successful with FLL4 would be able to transition into R&S 5 with no issues.


I think the two programs are similar in terms of rigor. R&S is not scripted, it is written to the student. It is well written and easy to understand. Concepts are explained thoroughly. There are oral, written, and review exercises to choose from.


Yes, it is very Christian. It is the most Christian curriculum we use, and we are Christians. :D

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Thank you!  This was super helpful.  It's sounding like a good fit.


BTW, I noticed one of your current read-alouds is the Blue Fairy Book.  I love this series!  I ran across a couple (green and red, I believe) at a used bookstore a few years back, and we snap them up every time we one across one.  

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It is not scripted but we almost use it as such. We do the lessons orally, with the occasional assigned worksheet. I have the teacher's book and he has the student book. We start with the oral review in the teacher's book. Then I sort of read him the lesson, adjusting the language to my own needs as I would with any scripted lesson. Then I move to 'class exercises'. There are usually three different sets of exercises. They are usually lettered "A" "B" "C" etc. Sometimes they are just a variation of a theme and sometimes each one is slightly different and is using a different part of the lesson. I look them over and try to pick the questions that are the least religious. Sometimes that means skipping an entire exercise for example, but sometimes it might mean only doing half the questions in each exercise. Then there are...student exercises? Again, there are maybe three different sets of exercises and they are generally just more of the classroom exercises. If any of the class exercises gave him trouble or I really want to hammer a point home, I will then cherry pick from the student exercises.  Often in the student section there are sentences to diagram. I have him do two or three on a white board, picking the least religious.


Except for the diagramming, we do all of this orally and it takes 15 mins. All the answers are in the teacher book and it feels very natural


I buy the workbooks and if there is a worksheet for the exercise, there are many that don't have one, I might only do a few of the class exercises and then assign the worksheet. I usually assign about half, maybe the odds or the evens, from number 10-15 because from 1-9 was all religious. The answers for the worksheets are in the back of the teacher book


It is stunningly religious. We are not Christian and it can be a bit too much sometimes. My son likes it when we replace religious terminology with popular culture references. So, instead of the sentences being about Jesus or God we use Doctor Who references or names from Tolkein or Buffy or Star Trek. It makes the lesson more interesting.


I should add that we don't use the writing or literature exercises in R&S, I have different resources for that, so I can't tell you how those go. But, having read them, they seem pretty standard public school fare only with religious references thrown in.

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Thank you, redsquirrel!  Your critique is so detailed and pertinent--just what I was hoping for.  I'm drawn to the rigor of R&S (I've yet to hear anything negative about that aspect) but was curious about the practical aspects of teaching with it and also the religious focus.  We're neither Christians nor Christianity-phobic.  The primary drawback, for me, is that my kiddo will likely focus on the Christianity aspect to the detriment of the grammar.  "Well, what the heck is *that* all about?  Let's look it up together!" is a hoot and one of the many reasons we home school, but it can also be a prime stalling technique.  (Case in point: This morning while we were doing Latin, she stopped declining "mundus" to ask why anybody would ever need to use the word "worlds," since clearly there's only one Earth.  Which led to a discussion of metaphor, which morphed into a discussion about God, which raised a mention of Galileo, which triggered a dictionary look-up of "universe."  And "Latin" ended with her reading about the horse head nebula in an book on astronomy. Fortunately, I'd had enough coffee to be sure she'd finished most of her Latin before letting everything sort of devolve....  Or involve, I suppose, depending on how you look at it.)


But anyway, if there are options in R&S in terms of exercises and examples--and it sounds like there are--I should be able to hang.  Forewarned is forearmed, as they say!


Thank you again :-)

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Ha!  That's interesting.  We use McGuffey's and the Blue-Backed Speller, and both of these contain lots of references to farm life, too.  They're good for explaining "back in the old days....."  Although with the speller, I usual end up having to go through and delete words that have actually changed or fallen out of the vernacular in the last hundred-or-so years.


When I think Mennonite, I think the "More-with-Less" cookbook, which was put out by the Mennonite community.  Has nothing to do with home schooling, but I wholeheartedly recommend it.  It's a practical cookbook focusing on what I call "Mom" food---lots of easy, cheap casseroles and such--and the recipes are presented in the context of frugality as a social and spiritual discipline.  I got a copy when we were going through a super-broke period, because the focus is on maximizing nutrition and minimizing cost.


And now I'm totally off topic :-)


Thanks for the info...


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We are not religious either but I started R&S 3 with DD late Jan. I don't read out the bible verses and I either tell DD 'Some people belive this but we don't' or we don't pay attention to the overly Christian bits which crop up. It depends on the day ;)

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