I love teaching. I always have. At one point, I wanted to go to college for education but the Lord had other plans for me. So, homeschooling for me, is like a dream come true. I get to play teacher everyday.
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I’m a nerd to the core and like to study things that other people probably find repulsive. Penny pinching tricks excite me, organizing ideas inspire me, and teaching methods enlighten me. But there are days where little ones are up all night with a horrific cough or when laundry is so backed up, you have to resort to Febreze ( am I the only one?). And these are the days I have to remind myself the one of many benefits of homeschooling….I can do whatever I want.
I came across a curriculum called the Robinson Curriculum. It was quite intriguing. Art Robinson was a scientist who’s wife suddenly died, leaving him with 6 kids to raise. The couple were passionate about homeschooling their children so Mr. Robinson continued that passion even though he had no spouse to teach the kids. I couldn’t imagine! I found the background story to be quite inspiring. If this single father of 6 kids could homeschool while still maintaining a professional career, then I have no excuse.
This is the curriculum in a nutshell…
The Robinson Curriculum is a CD-ROM set that is comprised with all the books and material needed to educate children from 1st-12th grade. I think its around $200 total. You have to print off the books so a good printer is needed. Many of the books are actually free from the public domain. I however, was not as interested in the material as much as the method.
This is what he did…
- Focused on the 3 R’s
- Eliminated sugar from the children’s diet- Mr. Robinson believed that sugar causes hyperactivity and lack of concentration…amen to that!
- No T.V.- He believed T.V. decreased concentration as well and causes the brain to be in dormant mode
- Basic phonics guide to teach reading (there are lots of these books for a fraction of the cost of complicated phonics curriculum such as: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Phonics Pathways , The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading)
- Each child studied independently
- 2 hours of Saxon math everyday for 4th grade and up, k-3rd studied math facts everyday until memorized.
- 1 essay everyday- length increases with age, littles did copy work
- 2-3 hours of reading- this is where all the subjects come in, spelling words and vocabulary are pulled from the reading to study
That’s it! There was little need for Mr. Robinson to teach. After teaching the child to read fluently, all he did was check the essays and math work. Now, I am not a slave to curriculum (no one should be) so of course I don’t follow the Robinson Curriculum nor do I own it but I love picking up ideas. I was excited about the independent learning aspect of this. I believe it is so important to teach kids how to study and learn on their own.
This is a life skill that seems to be dwindling. Not to mention, independent studies decrease burnout for mommy! I also love how the kids have plenty of time to master something before they move on. The curriculum doesn’t emphasize on grade levels. Mr. Robinson gave his kids material to go through. Once they completed the material, he gave them more advanced materials.
So how do I implement this? What have I done differently since coming across this idea? Well, this method came at the perfect time. My daughter is at an average first grade reading level. She knows quite a few words independently but her fluency was lacking. I decided to have her start reading ALOT more. We originally did a McGuffey lesson a day or another little print out from Good & Beautiful Language Arts. Now, I have her read at least an hour total a day maybe more. Her fluency improved dramatically!
I also have implemented math facts on a daily basis. We still use our EasyPeasy Math workbook but found that my daughter was still taking forever to complete basic addition facts. Without knowing basic math facts, its hard for students to move on to more complex concepts. We practice math facts in many different ways to keep it lighthearted. She is getting faster at completing them everyday. Her progress is encouraging to me because math is not her favorite subject.
When my other 3 littles are napping, my daughter is studying on her own. She has a reader, a notebook with math facts and copy work to complete before she is allowed to come out of her room (occasionally I have worksheets for her but the notebook saves me on printer ink). I have her give me a oral narration of what she read and check her work. Since doing this, I have seen a sense of confidence in my daughter that I have never seen before. She feels accomplished. She feels like she has a say in her education and often asks me if she can read in the evening before bed, on her own accord!
Here are a few of her notebook pages. Again, she also does other worksheets or workbooks but the notebook is our favorite.
This looks like a lot of work but it’s really not. It took her about an hour to complete the notebook and a few other worksheets and then 30 minutes of independent reading. When we first started this, she complained of her hand hurting from all the writing. I told her to read in between pages. This seemed to help. Now that we have been doing this for a month, her hand muscles have gained strength, and now she has no issues. I hope this helps some of you burnt out mommies out there. You don’t have to hover over your child the whole day. You don’t have to do complicated in depth lessons. Children are much brighter than we give them credit for. Happy Learning!
UPDATE: (08-06-2018) Since this article, I became distracted by other flashier curricula and kind of forgot about this method until recently. I still have yet to purchase the CD-ROMs because I honestly don’t have the $195 right now and forking out that much money for a curriculum freaks me out. But, after trying other things, I am convinced that this curriculum will serve us well and plan on purchasing it next semester. I have gone back to having my daughter follow the Robinson Curriculum model (Math first, copy-work/grammar next then reading for an hour-1.5 hours) and have already seen drastic improvements. I already bought her the EasyPeasy workbook but I had her stop using it for now so we can get at least her addition and subtraction math facts memorized first. I plan on starting on the Robinson Curriculum book list for now until I can afford to get the CD-ROMs. And try to pull vocabulary words on my own. (I can’t wait to get the curriculum, it will be way easier!)