Opinions for English curriculum

Hi! I’m trying to figure out what to do for our English curriculum next year. This is my 4th year homeschooling and currently I have a daughter in 4th grade and my son is in 7th grade. We are using Rod & Staff for English right now. This is our 2nd year using it. It is a great curriculum but sometimes it seems a little intense. My kids loved it at first but now they dread doing english. I have been researching for a while and I was looking into BJU press. I just wanted to hear some other peoples opinions. We also use Writeshop junior for writing. We love that as well but I like the fact that BJU has writing incorporated in english. We will finish out the year with the Rod & Staff. I know it’s a little early in the year to already be asking about next year but we buy our curriculum with our tax return so I need to have a plan of what to buy. I will be going to a homeschool convention for the first time in March and I’m really looking forward to seeing everything. It will def help being able to see the curriculum in person. I would love to hear any opinions y’all may have.


We used BJU this year and I have been every happy with it. We are switching to IEW next year because I feel like my girls have grasped the grammar concepts well enough to move on to focusing more on just writing. I will probably do a year or two of BJU with my little guy (kindergarten) when the time comes for him to start grammar.

English has been the hardest subject for me to find a curriculum I really love. This is my third year homeschooling, and so far I’ve tried Shurley, Spectrum, Epi Kardia, MCP, and one more I can’t remember. About 6 weeks into this year, we switched to BJU and I think we’ve finally found one to settle down with!

My older two kids are in 3rd and 4th grades. We do English together, using the 4th grade curriculum. We discuss the lesson together, then they each do a worksheet. It’s been working great for us. I also really like how BJU alternates chapters between writing skills and grammar skills.

Which convention are you going to? I’ve never been to one, but I really want to go to the GHC this year in Ohio!

I’m planning to go the GHC in Texas. I’m excited to go cause I’ve never been to one before. I looked to see what companies will be there and BJU is one of them. I’m excited to actually look through the curriculum before buying. Do you thing the writing is enough? I’ve heard from some people that the writing might not be up to par.

We tried Rod & Staff and my kids hated it, so we went back to BJU English and we’re doing well. I actually use IEW for writing, so we skip the writing assignments in the BJU English book and just do the IEW lessons instead for that portion. But it’s kind of personal preference, I just didn’t think BJU writing was enough. IEW is much more helpful with forming good paragraphs and use of colorful words to help improve writing skills.

Thank you for your reply Erica. I’m really thinking about switching but I’m kinda holding out till the conference to make a final decision. I just hate switching all the time. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I know thats not true and its the beauty of homeschooling, being able to find something that works, but I can’t help but feel that way. I’ve gotta do something different for math too. My son is just struggling with Saxon. But thats a whole different post. I’m just so glad to have this community to be able to talk about my doubts and realize I’m not the only one.

We use Rod & Staff too, this our second year. It is time consuming as I have 3 kiddos, soon to be 4 all at different levels. I love how thorough it is, but I agree that it is intense. Being new to homeschool last year, it had taken me a while to realize that they do not have to do every exercise. So this year has gone much smoother as I rarely assign everything for the lesson. And I have found they love it when I let them right them answers on the whiteboard so I throw that in sometimes too.

I may be looking into BJU too, but not sure. I really do like Rod & Staff. The only thing that interests me about it is that we tried the spelling for my 6th grader (BJU) this year and he really likes it.

Best of luck. Have fun at the conference! We were hoping to go to that one, but just don’t have the funds as we live in WI. Sounds like a great one to go to!!!

I have read many wonderful reviews about Rod & Staff’s English. It seems like a very strong and solid curriculum. I currently use their Spelling and I’m impressed.

I actually used A Beka the first few years for Language Arts, eventually switching to Climbing to Good English and now we are going to switch to R&S. I don’t actually like switching around.

I would have continued with CTGE; It is a very good program and it works really well for us. My decision to switch to R&S English is that I want more Biblical influence in my children’s curriculum. And I want a strong influence. I want them to be extremely familiar with the Bible, the stories and verses, and the people in it, and to believe it. I want them to think of it not as an addition to life, but as their lives. After thinking about it from this perspective, I also took a good look at the Scope and Sequence from both curriculums. I found that indeed we will get what I am looking for with Rod & Staff, especially if using their Bible curriculum as well. I also noticed the different kind of writing assignments they are to do, and the “helps” they will be using, like not only dictionary (which is strongly emphasized in CTGE) but also the Concordance, a Bible dictionary, etc.

My suggestion to choosing curriculum is to study the Scope and Sequence and make comparisons. Decide and/or remind yourself of what it is that you want your children to have to work through/on everyday, what kind of accomplishments you want for them, and influence as well because everything is an influence one way or another, and look for a curriculum that will fit the bill. Of course I am aware that we can always add these things to any curriculum but sometimes that only makes for more work than a child can or should have to do.

Hope this helps in anyway!


Rod and Staff is a great program. I do love the Biblical influence that the curriculum has. It was the whole reason I decided to use the program. My kids love that part of it too. However, the work can be just a bit much sometimes. The reason I’m looking into BJU is I think I will get the same biblical influence I want without all the intense work. I do want my kids to be smart and sometimes hard work is great for them cause they can learn a lot from it, but how much is too much. That’s what I seem to be struggling with the most.

Have you checked out Essentials in Writing? It is a video curriculum similar to Math-U-See that includes grammar and writing for 1st-12th grades. They have video samples for every grade on their website: http://essentialsinwriting.com. I’m planning on starting that next year with my daughter who’ll be in 2nd grade for sure. She loves video lessons.

For my 4th grader I’m debating between Essentials in Writing and the new Apologia Language Arts Curriculum Writers in Residence. It is targeted at 4th-8th Grades. Leaning towards Apologia but want to look it over at Convention. It includes interviews and mentor texts from Christian authors, which is a feature I think my oldest will really like.

We’ve been doing Learning Language Arts Through Literature and though we like some features, it just isn’t for us. My oldest daughter isn’t retaining and applying what she’s learned very well. It is also very light on writing so I have to supplement that. There is very little literature used. I use separate spelling and handwriting that I feel do a much better job of teaching those subjects for our kids. In trying to be an all-in-one I feel like they might do all things but not very thoroughly. All the skipping around they do is challenging for my child who has a hard time switching gears, so all the gear switching detracts from her retention. If your child “gets it” easily when it comes to language arts, doesn’t need much practice and likes copy work, it might be great for you.

Forgot to link To Writers in Residence if you want to check it out: http://www.apologia.com/248-writers-in-residence-