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Rod and Staff

Grades:1-8     Milestonebooks.com

Rod and Staff is a Mennonite publisher that publishes a traditional mathematics program that emphasizes drill and memorization. Each level of the program includes one student textbook (black and white), two teacher manuals, speed drills, and tests.

The math facts in Rod & Staff are taught as families, which means addition/subtraction facts are studied at the same time, and similarly multiplication/division facts. The materials are very clear and logical and include plenty of exercises, word problems, and review problems of earlier concepts.

You can view sample lessons for each grade level at the Milestonebooks.com website.

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Reviews of Rod and Staff Math

Time: eight years

Your situation: I chose Rod and Staff for my entire curriculum, and I have been very pleased with it. I have home schooled two boys from grade 1, and the arithmetic curriculum was very complete and provided them with a good foundation.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: We switched over to the Christian Light Education math because Rod and Staff only goes up to grade eight. The CLE curriculum is much harder than the Rod and Staff one and we had to repeat grade eight in order to comfortably use the CLE course. The boys were testing a few grade levels beyond their grade level by using Rod and Staff, but the CLE is that much harder.

Any other helpful hints: If you are planning to switch to the CLE math curriculum for high school, then I would suggest doing so after completing grade 7. Your children should take the CLE math diagnostic test to better get an idea of where they fit in their curriculum.

Review left May 17, 2013
Time:  3 years

Our adopted daughter had some vision and processing challenges early on, some of which did not become apparent until a few years down the road. Even when she was in K, I knew that a simple, straightforward curriculum would work best for her, and we were convinced that children really needed to KNOW math facts.

The first two years were hard. R & S had lots of exercises compared to some other books, and our daughter could not even finish the lessons. (She could not grasp the idea of using a number line, patterns, or even the idea of counting on your fingers. We had to do lots of hands-on work.) We even tried other publishers, but I kept coming back, doing only as many problems as we could without burning her out.

Now, in her 3rd year she's in the "big kids" textbook. I've been amazed. She can now complete an entire lesson (she might not WANT to, but she CAN.) We are still working on her addition & subtraction facts, but she has actually done fairly well with multiplication (don't ask me why.) She seems to understand it.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Some people may be put off by the simplicity and "vintage" style of these books, but I've always found them less distracting... and we don't always do ALL the problems. At times I was concerned because R & S did not seem to cover some of the concepts other books did, but after reading the Homeschoolmath.net comments about how disjointed and superficial American math curriculum is, I feel better. Rather than trying to do everything every year (to make kids SEEM more advanced) and doing it poorly, R & S seems to be more focused and strives for mastery.

To me, R & S presents math simply, as I use math on a day-to-day basis on the farm, rather than as elevated-sounding concepts. Making ratio tables and graphing lines is okay, but much more basic is knowing how to quickly calculate the cost of what you're buying and how to balance your checkbook....and lots of people can't do these basic things. It would surprise you.

Any other helpful hints: Only you can decide if this curriculum is right for your child. It is unabashedly Christian, it is demanding (in one way), it has NO bells and whistles and it is serious about math. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and has some cute ideas in the early years. Be sure and get the teacher's book.

Review left March 24, 2011
Time:  4 years

Rod & Staff discontinues math after 8th grade, I need a math program for high school. I love Rod & Staff Math, but I do not like that it ends in the 8th grade.

Renee' Yauger
Review left February 23, 2009
Time:  3 months
Grades:  1

I was using Singapore Math 1A with my twin 7-year old girls, I was sure that math time every day was going to be "cry and meltdown time"... I was exasperated and so were they!!! I came upon Rod and Staff and decided that I loved the simplicity and thoroughness of the program so I bought the Part 2 1st grade Math so as to set my girls up for success in math since they knew alot of the concepts already... Once they got through the "review" of familiar concepts, I was nervous, but lo and behold - we have found the answer to our homeschool prayers! They have taken off and excelled and LOVE math time and so do I! I would caution anyone who is starting out to PLEASE do you and your kids a favor and bypass the fancy "highly reviewed and highly advanced" math programs that are out there for elementary ages and go straight to the tried and true R&S!!!

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Simple concepts, repetition with mastery in mind

Review left September 19, 2008
Time:  1 year

Your situation: I tried various math programs during my 2 years of homeschooling (Saxon, MUS, MEP, Abeka). I finally came across Rod and Staff Math. I have never seen my son excited to do math, until now. I love the simplicity of it. It teaches for mastery of the concept. My 5yr old son is beginning Math 1 and is loving the worksheets and is enjoying math. He asks to do math every day, sometimes more.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I love the fact that there are not color pictures to distract my boys. There is enough practice and drill that if they need to take more than one day they can. The teacher manuals are easy to follow, and provide information to teach math in an enjoyable way. It teaches the kids to understand why they are doing a specific step. The blacklines are wonderful for extra practice or just for fun then they ask to do math for the 3rd time that day.

Any other helpful hints: This math program is written by a Christian company, however we are not Christian. There are scriptures at the bottom of the book, and word problems that use Bible references. However if you do the odd problems you can avoid most of them (they seem to be only the even numbered problems). I just look through and pick the ones without Bible references.

I would recommend getting the Teachers Manuel and the blackline masters, as well as the speed drills.

They are inexpensive and a very good curriculum for math.

Review left July 8, 2008
Time:  I have just got the books and used it for two days so far

This is my 2nd year in homeschooling my children. I have decided to change to Rod and Staff Curriculumn this year, boy am I glad I did. I thank the Lord Jesus for leading me to these books.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I like the book because it is very thorough in teaching math. It is alot of hands on, you are more involved with your children other than them just writing in math books and thats it. It gives you step by step instructions in the teachers manuel on how to teach a lesson. My children say that they enjoy school better this year since I got the Rod and Staff math books and many other books through Rod and Staff.

Any other helpful hints: For those of you who are considering the Rod and Staff books. I definitely would recommend the Rod and Staff curriculum for those who are looking for good thorough teaching and hands on experience with your children. These are definitely the books to get. The people are Rod and Staff company are very very helpful when it comes to ordering the books. I wish I had used this curriculum when I had first started homeschooling. All I can say is just be yourself and let your teaching talent come out.

Paula Nelson
Grade levels used:  the 3rd grade

I have a 10 yr old daughter that was diagnosed with asperger syndrome and she struggles with math, well let me rephrase that she memorizes math when she can but she doesn't get the concept of it. so i am trying to find something better for her needs.

i love rod and staff but the reason i am looking for something else is i don't think my daughter is ready for some of the things they will be doing in the 4th grade but i could be wrong so i am just looking into different ones, but i ALWAYS go back to rod and staff i love them!

well, they are repetitive which i think is good for my daughter. the teacher books are great also very helpful. simple, plain and just very good to me!

Grade levels used:  1
Time: 1 year

My husband and I are homeschooling our oldest son.
We loved Grade 1 Math. The math facts are taught in families with plenty of practice. Skip counting, grouping, fractions, word problems, measurements, place value, temperature, money -- everything is covered. The only extra that I've introduced is odd and even. And my son loves Rod and Staff math, too. He actually asks to do blacklines for fun. He'll be finished with Grade 1 before the year is up so we'll begin Grade 2. The book also lines up with what Kentucky's program of studies. I can't enough good about the curriculum and it is very inexpensive.

Just go with it. You should order the hardbound instructor's guide, two math work books, flash cards and the blacklines for a good basic kit. The folks at Rod and Staff are very helpful and the catalogue lays out all the basic components.

Melissa Bowman
Grade levels used:  1-6
Time: 5 years

Rod & Staff is clear, simple math explained well. My children finished one-and-a-half to two books per calendar year in grades 1-4, and continue to do well. After finishing the 5th year curriculum, one child took the Saxon math placement test, and placed in the Saxon 87 book. A Rod & Staff lesson can be completed independently in 15-30 minutes. The teacher's edition is full of valuable ideas to expand lessons if desired. However, the lessons themselves serve well. This isn't bells-and-whistles math. It is a program that teaches. Rod & Staff also offers blackline worksheets, which would aid other curricula in providing additional practice where practice is limited or inefficient.

Grade levels used:  All
Time: 2004

During my 17 years of homeschooling my five children, it's evident that I possess a global, random learning style (which has its strengths and challenges). This past year I decided to try Miquon after much research into various programs. Miquon seemed tailor-made to my learning style. After using Miquon, I have changed my mind. . . I need a more structured program to use as a springboard for bringing in some of my own ideas. I decided on Rod and Staff because I found it to be the most thorough and logical. Addition/subtraction and multiplication/division are taught in pairs which makes perfect sense to me. There is the right amount of review which can be shortened if not needed. I would pay 3 times the amount for this program. . . wish I had found it first.

Merri Larsen

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