Monday, August 25, 2008

The Robinson Curriculum

***See updates below :-)
I was asked to tell a little about the Robinson Curriculum (RC) since I had linked to it on my sidebar. I found out about this program through friend who discovered the website online. I had been looking for a curriculum that would help me better teach our children, taking in the fact that there were several grade levels, reading levels, and learning styles. RC is basically a collection of Cd's put together by Dr. Robinson, on the Cd's are printable books. The printable books start at a kindergarten level and continue through a 12th grade+ level. By reading these books the children are learning everything they need, inluding their history and science. A quick summary schedule suggested by Dr. Robinson would be: Start the day with Math (he suggests the Saxon Math, which I highly recomend), then go to the writing, then required reading, finishing the *day* with some free reading time. The time for each is set by the parent and decided based on the age of the child. The Saxon Math the only thing not on the Cd's but ordering them through RC will get you a discount.


Dr. Robinson created this program with the help of his 6 children after his wife died. He needed a way to ensure a quality education for his children and be capable of working from home. My summary of what RC is about is incredibly lame compared with the wealth of information and detailed explanations that you will find on his website. He answers tons of questians and gives reasons, explanations, examples and stories all about the how and why. Far better than I can. I studied his site for days.


I can tell you what RC is going to do for me. All my children seem to have different learning styles according the their different personalities, likes and dislikes, and temperament. Some love workbooks and would rather read about and work the pages, while others would rather do something more hands on and write about it. All my children do love to read and be read to. So, instead of trying to wear myself out teaching different styles from several different books, and so forth we have come up with RC. I love the idea that the children are learning to locate info and work through things themselves no longer dependant upon me or a teacher to spoon feed them.

For my older children this year our schedule will be as follows:


Saxon math lesson- about 1 hr

Writing assignment- about 1 hr

Required Reading (from book list) - about 2 1/2 hrs (this includes time to memorize the

vocabulary words from the book)

Free Reading- about 1 hr


The time will increase as they get older and desire more time to write and read. For the younger children that are reading on their own, they will follow the same schedule but with lesser time for each area, again the time will increase with their age and ability.


For pre-reading children, Dr. Robinson suggests that you choose a good phonics program and begin teaching them their reading skills. (He is more detailed on his site.) I am using the Abeka K-4 and K-5 programs, I enjoy all the games and hands-on flashcards, charts and games that help to strengthen the learning making it fun. I make this take as little or as long as I need it too, fitting the curriculum to the needs and time table of my child. Some are slower than others and require more time, but all will be reading at the end of these programs. I also use the on-line program Click-N-Kids (100 lessons) to make reading fun and exciting.


For early math, Dr. Robinson suggests teaching them their numbers. Then using flashcards to teach the adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division tables. Once they can do this they are ready for the Saxon 54 book. Again He is more detailed on his website and flashcards are included on the Cd set.


The best advice I could give about homeschooling, is make learning a way of life. Not a list of things to memorize and copy. Education for us is giving the children the tools they need to learn and find out about anything they will ever desire. The three R's: Reading, (R)Writing, and R'ithmitic, once a child has mastered these tools the *world* is in their hands.


Please, like I stated above, go over the website for a complete understanding of the RC curriculum, how it works, the whys of his methods, etc.... Make it work for you. I don't use, do or agree with absolutely everything in his site but I have made it work for us.


BTW- I have also used and enjoyed the ACE- School of Tomorrow paces, Rod and Staff Publishers, ABEKA, and Bob Jones. Using these in a way that best fit the style of my child.


If there are any questions, you want me to answer specifically just ask, and I will do my best. Goood Luck!!!! Katie
Picture: Our children love to read, and our Daughter wanted a picture of her and her new books last Christmas.


****Update! 7-3-12

Hello!! I have noticed lately that this post is viewed several times a week and I thought I would just give a short update. We will have all 7 of the kids in school this fall and are looking forward to it!! I still don't "play" school, the thought of going back to those days are too ugly! We have a pretty flexible day which works great with Michael's business and the family schedule but for the most part we still follow the school schedule that I wrote in the post years ago. We have just kept adding the kids to our daily routine as they got older and intersted in what the older kids where doing. Our "School" is all day, every day all year long! We never stop teaching our children and they never stop learning, but I know what most people are interested in is the actual "school" part. We do school all year, meaning that the kids work on their math, reading and writing at their own pace continuing through the books and book lists until they have completed them. I have started using the book quizes that come with the Robinson CD's and the ones linked on the RC site. I then began to google the book's title to search for a quiz or test online and have several. This has really helped some of my speed readers to slow down a little. :-) We still follow the basic schedule that was posted above several years ago. We sometimes stop for a week or more to learn or study a subject or topic as a group. We often take days off school to work for Dad, which all the kids love to do and are growing into awesome helpers, they are hard workers and love the time working as a family.  We still use the sources I listed at the end of the post as well as anything other thing I find along the way that I think is intersting. We get a lot of preschool and K-5 books (and sometimes older grades) at the Dollar Tree store, they also have tons of posters, flashcards and other stuff to make school interesting.

So, probably this update wasn't needed since, well, everything is pretty much the same around here. School is fun, and learning is a way of life that doesn't end at 18 yrs or 12th grade.

Again! Good luck and God Bless!! :-) Katie

BTW- Recently a friend of mine recomended the free Homeschool Tracker Download, for the computer to help keep records for school. I Googled and downloaded it and while I'm not totally familiar with all of its functions yet I can tell that this is going to be a great tool for me and my family. :-)


***UPDATE August 8, 2016
Hello Homeschool families!!! Recently I was wondering around the internet and found my self on a Robinson Curriculum Pinterest post and what did I find! A link to my post here! So looking it over and seeing how many people are still looking for RC answers and information I see an update is needed once again! :-) The crazy thing is everything above is practically still same. LOL Just now with different kiddos doing what their older brother and sisters were doing!

Since our last update, my older 2 children have graduated. Our son and daughter both graduated in May of 2015. I had made a list of classes and activities that I and my husband required for graduation. I ordered their diplomas from homeschooldiploma.com and put together a typed transcript for each of them. While in high school they both had enrolled in Faith Bible Institute based in Monroe, LA. In December 2015 they completed the 3 yr course and graduated each with a College Bible Diploma from Faith Bible Institute. Our Son is currently working full time with his Dad, a crew leader in our small portable welding and fencing business. He also has spent time traveling as a hired apprentice for an Insurance adjuster/appraiser, when he returns after a month+ of travel, he is planning on going to school for this to get his certification and license.  He is also spending time as a volunteer firefighter at our local rural fire department, taking many classes for certification in safety, first response, and firefighter training. He is active in the bus ministry and other activities in our church. He will be 20 yrs old this fall and is trusting the Lord with his future. Our Daughter is currently enrolled in an Academy of Cosmetology and is really enjoying it. She plans to graduate with her license next spring. She is a part time Police dispatcher for a local city Police Department. She also has a small cleaning business on the side. She has made Sergeant rank in the local Police Department Explorer program, and is active in our church working in the bus ministry and nursery areas. She has just been asked to take charge of our church library and is excited to begin that new project. She is 18 yrs old this summer, she and her brother are a great blessing to us. They both still pitch in with the homeschool of the younger ones at times which is a great encouragement!

Now, for me and the "5 youngers"!, August 31 is the end of our school year for us. I begin RC schooling when my kids are about 7, before then they are learning as they play. Doing flashcards, workbooks, videos and whatever seems to interest them. They participate in all our history, science or whatever class/book we are doing together. This week we are wrapping up any projects we began for our 2015/16 school year. We have began placing their portfolios of school work (required by state) into a storage box, making room for this next school years folders. We have printed new student work record pages from the RC website and are binding them into new record books for this next year. And of course with all the sales going on who could pass up getting stocked up on new paper, pencils and notebooks. New folders and binders too for any books I print off this year. Our first day of school is the day after Labor Day and we have been kicking off our school year with a field trip vacation for that last few years. Been east to Cape Hetaeras, NC and Williamsburg, Virginia. Been west to Grande Canyon and south Colorado's national parks. So, recently I picked up a state park map while on a field trip and used it to map out a state history fieldtrip vacation around the state thinking this would be great credits for our freshman and junior girls and the younger 3 would love all the camping! Well, everyone was on board until we seen an advertisement for the new Ark Encounter exhibit in Kentucky, soooo we'll see in a few weeks where we go and where we'll stop no one knows! LOL

So, as for our RC day!? Very much the same, some of our times have changed but still totally going with the self-teaching, reading, writing and arithmetic type homeschooling idea that has been set up by Dr. Robinson.
Our day begins with:
*Math: 1 1/2 hr {11th grade girl (15 yrs old)is in Advanced Mathmatics, 9th grade girl (14 yrs old) is half thru Algebra 1, 7th grade boy (just turned 12) is mostly thru 65, 5th grade girl (10 yrs)  finishing Rod and Staff, is starting 54, and 4th grade boy (8 yrs soon to be 9) is mastering flashcards and finishing some Rod and Staff math workbooks} They all usually get more than 1 lesson done each day. (I use mainly the math flashcards before starting saxon 54, but have found that they all seem to want or need some busy work. Rod and Staff math books I feel compliment the flashcards and are doable with self teaching, builds confidence and is a great step into 54. I use the first and second grade consumable workbooks, 3 rd grade text book then into saxon 54 when ready)

*Writing: 1/2 hr of copying the Proverb of the day (15 verses for older, 10 for younger) + 1/2 hr of creative writing, whatever subject they choose, sometimes book reports or fieldtrip reports. A letter to someone. Write and bind their own short book....whatever. + 1/2 hr of Bible study, writing answers to questions given them in their Wednesday night Bible Study classes at church.

*Reading: 2 1/2 hrs ( RC booklist for older, 1/2 hr of McGuffey reader for younger + 2 hrs of RC booklist for younger)

*In our afternoons at least twice, sometimes 3, we get together and have an oral class of history, science, current events or whatever happens to interest us. I use the Abeka (sometimes Rod and Staff or Bob Jones), science and history readers, taking turns reading out loud with discussions. Sometimes a biography, we've done language classes, sign language videos/books, hunter's safety courses, boater safety/license courses, music theory....also canning in summer, lots of baking and cooking, sewing, wood working and welding. Lots of field trips! PE classes at local YMCA or Homeschool PE getogethers that I plan with other homeschool families. And of course many many hours of drivers ed!! lol

When we first started RC we began with no computers, everything was printed or books purchased. I made my own vocabulary flashcards and flipcharts (still do), printed our books (still do), printed and made our own school records books (still do). Later there were 2 years we moved temporarily and lived in a camper trailer, this is where our laptops became very important. The RC disks have a vocab program and all the books on disk made it very easy to do our school with less paper and books since space was so tight. Well, I do have to admit when we moved back home I tried counting the books that came out of our camper school cabinet and lost count around 300 :-)  Today we still use the laptops sometimes, and the kids do have tablets they use sometimes. The Kindle app on these devices are great tools and almost everyday more and more RC books are available. But, actual physical hold in your hand books are by far mine and the kids' favorite. The kids have when older began free typing classes online, typingweb.com has been one of my favorites.

We still limit sugar and junk food in general, tending to make our own snacks at home. The kids have seen for themselves the way they feel when they eat healthier compared to a day of junk or soda. We don't have a TV, but do on occasion have a family video night. We use a monitor/dvd player for educational videos and classes when needed.

One thing I have recently added to our homeschool is Schoolhouseteachers.com. I haven't been a fan of much online school programs but this seemed to just call out to me and I became a member and introduced it to the kids as a tool that was available if they wanted it. In the afternoons during free time I have been pleased to see several of my kids use this site and begin some geography and history classes all on their own. One daughter told me today she is planning on starting the chemisty course soon. My younger kids were interested in the videos and after watching a couple they then searched online and found the National Geographic site with videos on tigers and other big cats, which was the starting place for a week long group study we did a couple weeks ago on big cats. So far I think this website is going to be a great tool for our kiddos this year. Schoolhouseteachers was recommended by the Old School House magazine which I highly recommend.

I also recommend becoming a member of HSLDA, having this institution fighting on the side lines for homeschool families is a great comfort. Check out their website and get informed. I have not personally had to contact them with a problem of our own but know of several local families who have and all issues have been handled either with a simple call or letter. I know when my daughter enrolled in cosmetology school we did get a little hesitation concerning her diploma, but I assured them that the diploma and transcript was acceptable and that I could have HSLDA give them a call if needed. Apparently the state board of cosmetology agreed because she was enrolled and started school shortly after.

Well!! I've rattled on long enough!! Many blessing to homeschooling families! Make your kids' education fun and make homeschooling your own, doing what is best for you and your family!!
~ Katie

 

11 comments:

Evenspor said...

Thanks. I actually did read the website. I was just looking for a review - how you like it, how lon you've been using it, why you picked it, that kind of thing. I think yo answered most of my questions. :)

9ndhouse- Katie S. said...

Thank you Evenspor! I really have to say that I have been studying your school site (sporschool.blogsite.com) for several weeks now. I have never heard of Montessori and practically nothing about Charlotte Mason. I'm still not sure what it is all about but I am really getting excited, I feel I'm getting closer to how we were meant to be learning. In your post- Pulling Things Together...again, you wrote, "Does anyone else feel occasionally like they are floundering around trying to find the perfect fit in their preschool/homeschool?" I say YES,YES!! I had never heard of unschooling until last winter. I just knew that after a very long day of trying to get my kids to "conform" to the curriculum, I HAD to find something else. I purchased the Homeschooling Ideas tape from the No Greater Joy website and cried. I'm the bully mentioned there. We changed what we were doing right then, and the last half of school was much better last year. So, I am completly new to a lot of the things you seem to be getting the hang of, thanks for all the great posts and info on your school blog. I jumped over to the Lapaz family's site from yours and I loved it!! Most of my kids still love to sit down and do some worksheets and book lessons, maybe to have something in their portfolios required by the State! Well anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to you! I felt rather inadequate posting on curriculum, when I am just getting my feet wet on "unschooling"! I do think RC will help us a lot, adding in some other unit studies and hands on style learning and whatever. We will *start* school next tues. and we are all looking forward to it!! Thank you!! I would love to read more on the methods and curriculum you use. :-)

Evenspor said...

LaPaz is a great site to learn about unschooling and montessori, especially since you have older kids. The rest of the montessori blogs I visit focus on kids around 2-3 years old. That's my best resource for ideas - visiting a lot of other blogs.

We really are just experimenting with a lot of different things lately. I'll do a post at Walk Beside Me on what I've tried and learned so far.

Nikki said...

Thank you for your comment and your prayers!

crazy4chai said...

Hey Life with 9nd House! Thanks for your comment on my blog the other day....I never imagined there were actually people out there reading it!!!! HaHA....Well, have a great Labor Day and God Bless!

Brad and Lisa said...

Thank you so much for praying for our little girl...you've got such an adorable family, how do you do it with 7 children? I think 1 is hard enough! I'm in awe!

Jolinar of Malkshur said...

I've been homeschooling my kids for 5 years, now (oldest is 10) and just switched to the RC last November. Somehow or other, I still periodically get worried that my kids aren't learning enough and that if I wound up having to put them in public school they'd be so far behind they'd have to do remedial education, kwim? What I'm wondering is how your kids are doing academically using RC. Are they learning everything they need to know? Do you add things to RC? It doesn't help my insecurities that my older daughter is reading delayed and is probably academically behind because of this (we think she may be dyslexic, but she hasn't been tested). I'm on the Facebook RC group, but I don't like posting my insecurities about our homeschooling on there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing how your homeschooling is going and the updates!
I recently found the Robinson Curriculum and we are going to give it a try
this year. We started with Charlotte Mason method but I needed something where
the children could be more self sufficient.

Unknown said...

Can you tell me what your highshoolers did for science and what you put on their transcript?

Stephanie said...

Can you tell me what your high schoolers did for science and what you put on their transcripts?

9ndhouse- Katie said...

Hello! Sure!, we live on a farm and have many activities that can be used for animal science. They read many books that go toward this as well. I have Abeka science books and use them as a group class/course with oral reading and discussion. For Biology I added the Abeka Biology student reader to their (my high schoolers) reading list, then group time together with all the kids a couple times a week. Labs and dissection specimens were ordered online. This covered enough hrs for biology. Several of the RC books can be recorded for science (do an online search for RC booklist by grade and subject), and books 200 through 208 are science textbooks (11th/12th gr. level). This covered what I labeled General Science. So for my two graduates, their transcripts had Animal Science, Biology w/ labs, and General Science as the 3 required science credits and had 1 credit applied to each one. I have a 9th grader who is 15, she has really enjoyed schoolhouseteachers.com and is taking the Chemistry course online. This is new for us this year, a tool added as an option if they want to use it. She really seems to enjoy the membership. I have looked the course over and will give her credit on her transcript for this course. Basically what I have done and see many other families doing as well is picking the subjects they are interested in and using the RC books that fit in that subject plus any other books they add to it to get the number of hours required for a credit. "Last I checked" for my state, 120 hrs of instruction equals 1 credit. Suggesting 150 to 180 hrs for a Lab Science. Usually a full credit is given to a full year course, a single semester would generally get .5 credit. Hope this helps! :-)