Since first grade, we've used the grammar series from (those are affiliate links -->) Peace Hill Press. First Language Lessons has been a wonderful program for us but, currently, the last book in the series is book 4. So, with 5th grade approaching, we had to find an alternative. Thankfully, the first program we tried is just right for us - Rod & Staff English.
Grammar with Rod & Staff
The English series from Rod & Staff is a blend of grammar and writing lessons (for a complete language arts program you'd want to add reading and spelling as well). It is a solid program with built-in review and easy-to-follow lesson plans.
A look at Following the Plan
The 5th grade set, titled Following the Plan, includes a student book, a teacher's manual, as well as test and worksheet booklets. All you really need are the student and teacher books but I like using the tests because I save the completed tests for our year-end portfolio and the worksheets make for a nice break from the written work.
The teachers manual includes the student book (at a reduced size) with lots of notes for oral review, teaching the lesson, answers for lesson material, as well as answers for the worksheets and tests. I really like the Oral Review section - it provides a nice quick review of previous material.
Lessons are divided into a few different parts:
- Oral Review
- Lesson material
- Oral Drill
- Written Practice
- Review & Practice
- Challenge Exercises
A week with Rod & Staff English
We generally cover 4 lessons a week (there are 10 chapters with 119 total lessons and 10 tests). We run through the Oral Review from the teacher's manual. I have TJ read over the lesson (I'm working towards independence in this subject). I touch on a few points in the lesson to assess her understanding and then we move on to the Oral Drill section. Depending on how she does with those questions, we might work through the Written Practice section orally or write out answers on a white board. If she needs to work on the material, I'll have her do the even or odd numbered problems on paper. For every one she get wrong she'll have to do two more (so she won't just rush through her work). We finish up with the Review and Practice section (which reviews previously learned material), doing the same - orally or on the white board. Some lessons also include a Challenge Exercise section for more practice.
One caution: if you have a pencil-phobic child this might not be the right program for your needs. There is no workbook, just a text. Students are expected to write their answers out on paper.
We really like Rod & Staff English. It's a solid program that doesn't take lots of time. It works well for kids who still want or need parental involvement (though you could certainly use it more independently). I'm happy with our choice and plan to continue using the series through the 8th grade book (which, hopefully, will be plenty of grammar!).