We started using the methods of the Robinson Curriculum in the middle of November. Honestly, I chose this method for several reasons:
- This curriculum was written by a family who had a work at home dad (the mother passed away when some children were already school aged). We are a work at home family and keeping up with school and work and housekeeping can be tough work especially with a baby. So if this curriclum met the needs of a one parent family in which the parent worked at home, I felt sure this was worth trying.
- The academic requirements of this curriclum meet both my needs for structure and MrLivingOurWay's need for his children to have high academic achievement. MrLivingOurWay and I both have a background in teaching but that is about where our academic similarities end. Learning didn't come easy for me and at times I struggled to keep up working quite a bit harder than many of my classmates. I believe that my struggles have made me a better teacher both for my children now and the children of others whom I've taught. I have always thrived on a schedule and so do the FindingOurWays. MrLivingOurWay was considered gifted in school and was always working above grade level with great ease. He is also a very spontaneous kind of person. When we started schooling our own children, MrLivingOurWay always wanted them to be ahead of their grade level while I was just going with their individual pace. About once a month, MrLivingOurWay would complain about his kids not being advanced enough and demand that he take over school. I'd go about other work on this day and hear the FindingOurWays revolting. The next day we'd just continue as if the day before hadn't happened. Now, my 6 year old does her math facts happily saying "If I learn these then Mama is going to skip me into fourth grade.". This statement is true only because the Robinson curriclum recommends starting in Saxon 5/4 which from my research is the 4th grade math book. Our 9 year old happily reads her way through the recommended books lists and knows how many lessons she is expected to complete in math each day.
- The entire curriclum (minus math books) was $200 for a complete education for the entire family. At that price, I figuredit was worth a try. I actually tried out the method before spending the money though. If you do enough research online, you can try before you buy to see if this method will work for your family. Here is a book list for the curriclum.
- I don't like to teach science or history even though they are probably necessary. The Robinson Curriclum exposes students to this through literature until they are in high school and have learned Calculus.
- While, the Robinson Curriculum recommends using Saxon Math, we elected to keep going with Horizons math for this year with our nine year old since she has been doing well in it. At the moment, we plan to allow her to choose whether she continues with Horizons for the remaining two years of Horizons math or goes ahead and makes the switch to Saxon once she is done with her current set of Horizons books.
- Robinson suggests not using electronics such as TV's or Computers. We bought dd a (refurbished) Nook with no back light and encourage her to use it. We download all of her books for free online from Project Gutenberg and I've typed the vocabulary into Study Stack for her to review on flashcards and games. I discourage TV and do try to limit it to 1 hour per day.
- We added site words to the recommended phonics. We also use the computer for free site word flash cards (we prefer the Fry Word List).
- Robinson bans sugar. While I don't encourage overindulgence in it, we do occasionally have sugar.
- I allow my 9 year old to work in her room because then she doesn't have to listen to the lessons that my 6 year old does verbally.
Because the kids know what they are suppsoed to be doing and that they are moving at their own pace, MrLivingOurWay is now able to simply say "Go do your school work."
Then he checks up one them to make sure they are actually doing it. Our 6 year old gets out her McGuffy Reader (which we are currently reading on a tablet to save paper). She reads it to one of us (usually me) out loud preceded by the site words on the side of the page. Then she moves to a math game called Math-It which helps her memorize addition and multiplication facts (not included with with the Robinson curriclum. We purchased it on a high recommendation by friends). Then she reads from 50 words from one of the Fry Word lists and she is done for the day.
Our 9 year old currently does 2 hours of reading and one hour of math. We do one hour of Math because in Horizons this is two lessons for her. Even though the Robinson Curriculum says to start with math, I let her choose so long as it all gets done. This should soon have an hour of writing added to it but we are adding to the school time slowly.
So far, we've been doing this for about 4 1/2 months. I'll have to give an update later about whether it's still working as we are still in the honeymoon phase with this curriculum.