Rod and Staff Homeschool Curriculum is a comprehensive Christian program that covers most academic subjects for grades one to ten. It is an academically advanced system that incorporates Bible teaching into every subject and places emphasis on Christian values throughout the curriculum.
Rod and Staff Publishers, Inc. was founded in 1958 to address concerns over a general lack of appropriate printed material for Bible-based education. The company was and continues to be a Mennonite publisher, but the curriculum has been successfully used by private schools and homeschoolers of many denominations.
The early elementary language arts program is centered on the Bible Nurture and Reader Series. This instructional method combines the use of phonics and sight words in a series of readers that present stories from the Bible in a child-friendly and age-appropriate way. The readers employ few illustrations, preferring instead to encourage the child to focus on the meaning of the words as a strategy to increase reading comprehension.Materials included in the series include:
- Reading workbooks
- Phonics workbooks
- Printing practice
- Teacher's manual
Lessons from grades five to ten follow a traditional reader and study guide format, with each grade level employing a wide selection of classic poetry, prose, and Bible readings. By grade nine, students are reading works such as Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and How Much Land does a Man Need by Leo Tolstoy.To round out the language arts curriculum, Rod and Staff offers supplementary phonics materials for grades one and two, and spelling and grammar materials for higher levels. The program is academically rigorous and comprehensive, but is well-organized and laid out in an approachable, easy-to-follow format.
Parents who have had difficulty with gimmicky mathematics programs will enjoy the no-nonsense approach Rod and Staff takes to math lessons. With a heavy emphasis on traditional teaching methods, including drill-work, flash cards and regular quizzes, Rod and Staff mathematics is likely similar to the mathematics program you remember doing as a child. Curriculum packages include student workbook, teacher's manual, and optional supplementary flashcards.
Rod and Staff science is based on six-day creation and, through a series of thematic textbooks, aligns current scientific knowledge with Biblical teaching. Beginning in grade two, Rod and Staff science covers botany, zoology, astronomy, and physics at an age-appropriate level, making reference to the Bible as part of the lessons. Upper levels also cover some anatomy and physiology, geology, agronomy and medicine.
If you are planning to teach evolution, either as a scientific principle or as an alternate theory, you will need to add your own supplementary materials to the curriculum.
The social studies program for the Rod and Staff homeschool curriculum explores geography, history, and sociology from a Biblical perspective. In grades two and three students are introduced to basic geographical terms and given an overview of social responsibility and community work. Grades four through eight focus on history and geography, with Bible stories providing a backbone for the curriculum material. Curriculum packages include a student textbook with a comprehensive glossary and supplementary maps, a teacher's manual, and tests for each unit studied.
Bible study is woven throughout every aspect of the Rod and Staff curriculum, but it is treated as an academic subject in its own right as well. The curriculum outlines vocabulary words, passages for memorization and study aides, as well as supplementary materials such as maps and timelines.
Grades five to ten cover the following Bible subjects, to provide an overall comprehensive understanding of the Bible by the end of tenth grade.
- Grade Five: God Chooses a Family - Creation to the Prophet Samuel
- Grade Six: God's Chosen Family as a Nation - Saul to Malachi
- Grade Seven: God Visits His Chosen Family - The Gospels and Acts
- Grade Eight: God's Redeemed Family - Romans to Revelation
- Grade Nine: The Revelation of God - Selected passages that discuss the nature of God
- Grade Ten: The Completion of God's Plan for Man - Selected Passages that discuss the nature of Man, his need for God and his inherent weaknesses.
In addition to core subjects, Rod and Staff offers a number of subjects that could be considered electives. Certain subjects, such as health and penmanship, are presented in a manner that explains to the student how attention to these matters is in keeping with Biblical teachings. Others, such as art, music, and typing, give examples of how the student can further serve God by fruitfully engaging in these pursuits.
Choosing Rod and Staff Homeschool Curriculum
If you are looking for a very affordable, conservative, Christian homeschooling curriculum, Rod and Staff might be a good choice for you. You will not find bells or whistles or hand-holding in this curriculum, but you will find a solid level of Christian values and academics in an accessible format.
Rod and Staff does not have an official website. For more information, a product catalog or for help determining what level might be a good fit for your child, you can contact Rod and Staff Publishers directly at 606-522-4348, or purchase online from Anabaptist Bookstore or Milestone Ministries.