Updated 6/20/11 The Robinson Curriculum I feel so blessed to be using this curriculum.

While our background has always been using literature based learning, it had always been parent led and parent directed. As our life circumstances have changed and our family has grown, our needs have changed in our homeschool over time as well. What once was working well enough (although it never felt “perfect”) no longer became workable and was more of a stress point and an area of discontent. Our first year using Robinson felt as if I've stumbled into curriculum perfection. As if this was what we were meant to use all along. In our 7 years, our one year with Robinson is the only time ever I've not felt that “grass might be greener” when reading what fellow homeschoolers are using. There is such a sense of peace to know that, this is it and this is where we are meant to be. I consider us unschoolers in many ways, with a Charlotte Mason influence and a sprinkle of Waldorf. I believe that every moment with my children is a teachable moment. And every moment they spend with me is a lesson. I had looked at the Robinson curriculum previously, just a once over, not really digging deeper and getting past a few things that stood out to me as a “deal breaker”, such as “no sugar” and “no TV”. Those two things that kept me from looking any further. Had I dug deeper I would have learned that, it's very possible to do the Robinson curriculum without setting those rules in place. And I would have fallen in love with this curriculum much sooner and saved myself a lot of trouble, and money, I'm sure. I do not do either of those rules. We do eat organic or at the least use non GMO foods. We only use real sugar, I prefer those to artificial sweeteners. We do not eat a lot of sweets though we do eat them, and do not eat processed foods (this has nothing to do with the curriculum just our own choice). We do allow TV though typically during the week it's rarely on as we are doing other things. But we do enjoy television. If it was a problem I would limit it. We do allow our children to use the computer to email pen-pals and family or do math drills and learning games if they desire. We do not just turn them loose in emails without monitoring them and reading over what is coming in and going out. We have no secrets and all emails are an open book. I also do not do RC exactly as written. We do not do the vocabulary as set up. But we do vocabulary in our own more relaxed Charlotte Mason type of way, just by reading good books and seeing how the words are used. If they have words they do not know or can't figure out, they tell me and I help them find out the meaning. I do not do separate spelling or grammar study, preferring that to come from their reading as well. There is Grammar exposure in the McGuffey books. If I need to add in additional Grammar at some point, I have two books that the kids will read

if needed, one being Grammarland by Nesbit or down the line possibly Professor Klugimkopf's Old Fashioned English Grammar. For spelling, if needed I would use Spelling Wisdom. But a year in we have not needed to cover any extras and “just” reading is going just wonderfully. A lot of folks seem to have issues with the time requirements noted by Dr. Robinson which he has as: • 2 hours math - 1 lesson completed, checked for errors, errors reworked until correct • 1 hour writing - rewrite previous day's essay with corrections, write new essay • 2 hours reading - read from books on list, or other good quality book of parent's choice; study vocabulary words I do not do these time requirements. My children are younger. Dr. Robinson does also say that those are goals that should be worked up to, not jumped right into. I can't say for sure if we will shoot for his time goals or not to be honest down the line. But I know that we are enjoying the flow of things how they are right now. I don't typically time the kids but as of this update. My 9 year old reads about 4 – 6 hours per day (this includes the reading she does in the evening before bed which is about 3 hours). My 7 year old reads a bit less than her, maybe combined about an hour and a half to two hours at this time. My 9 year old adores reading so she does it as much as possible. Seatwork wise (which for us is Math and Writing) they spend about a half hour to 45 minutes on and is done before lunch. Reading during the “school day” which starts with bible, devotions, McGuffey and a spot of reading one of their Robinson books is about a half hour after breakfast. We went to a Robinson math set up in the beginning of June 2010, but did not use his exact flash cards. We stopped our math program, jumping full into learning all facts with flash cards. This had me most nervous but my kids had taken to it very well. I set up a system for using the flash cards based on the method I read at the Vital core blog. Our flash cards can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33087615/Flash-Card-Supply-List-and-Set-Up http://www.scribd.com/doc/32858322/Flash-Card-Schedule ***While I believe strongly that Dr. Robinson's goal of mastering math facts through flash cards is sound. I noticed after at time that for my older daughter this method was not working well for her in regard to retention. Now both the girls use Chrisitian Light Education math which includes a flash card system that is fantastic. And the facts are really being cemented for my oldest who had struggled previously. I also had books that I wanted my kids to read so I added those into the RC list where I think they'd fit reading level wise. Some books like the OZ series, all the Little House books (which Dr. Robinson mentions but does not have on his actual book list), all of the Arthur Scott Bailey books, the entire Sophie May series (he has just some of those on the required reading list), Boxcar Children and some others. I was able to download all the books we don't have already in hard copy

and put them on our kindles. Here is the booklist I put together which is a mesh of my choices and Dr. Robinson's: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32889503/Booklist-B This is the one my younger daughter was starting with: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32862699/Our-booklist-A-Robinson-Curriculum A nice substitute for the Billy and Blaze books as a free option for E-readers is Beatrix Potter's series: http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Beatrix%20potter%20AND %20mediatype%3Atexts (they have nice pictures even on the kindle) I have found all the books for RC to download in the following places: -http://www.mobileread.com/ -http://manybooks.net// -http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page -http://www.archive.org/details/texts -http://books.google.com/ -http://users.gobigwest.com/rosegate/HSbooks.html#sites RC has allowed me to use aspects of homeschooling that are so appealing to me: 1. Student directed learning 2. Quality books 3. Very inexpensive (in some cases can be free depending on how you access the books) 4. Really frees up our time to focus on family, which for us is the heart of why we homeschool. Even though my children are young, they really have embraced learning in this way. Their workbox set up allows them to work independently. They were also doing piano and typing (both RC in flair since they are self learning each of these). *We have put a pause on the piano and typing as of this update. They now have daily planners with a checklist of what to do each day. But this was the form they had used prior to that to keep track of what to do each day: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32955018/Workboxes-using-Robinson I have read a few places where some homeschoolers worry that this curriculum leaves the child hanging out to dry and detached from the parent. For us this could not be further from the truth. Our family interactions have not changed. We craft, cook, sit and talk, enjoy time together as we always have. And I don't have to let other things slide so that we can get through a pile of required books for me to read to the kids. I try to read to them each night before bed or my older daughter jumps in and beats me to this (she really loves reading), just for the joy and fun of it. If I can't do the read aloud I don't have that guilt that I used to feel. We do a family prayer and bible time that is about a half hour. All the kids read something to us. My 9 year old reads us Jesus Calling for Kids, my 7 year old reads

us the bible, my 4 year old recites something that he memorized and my 2 year old follows along and does the same as my 4 year old. I have had some comment to me “I could never do this” to my children. As if I'm doing something horrible by schooling in this way. Actually what I'm doing is setting my kids free to obtain knowledge. I no longer have to keep them at my pace or the pace of other siblings and no longer spoon feeding them all their subjects. I see this as a gift I give to them, and to our family as a whole. I've talked to a lot of folks who would like to use Robinson but have no idea where to begin. For those with younger children not yet reading on their own: I love many of the books in Sonlight's Core A and B and the selections of Before Five and A Row and some of the Five In a Row books as well. Or there is a great list of books provided here: http://www.bjupress.com/resources/pdfs/reading/booklists-early-childhood.pdf and of course Dr. R has a list as well: http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p97.htm For children who are ready to learn to read: I'd add in gentle phonics. I adore Explode the Code for phonics, starting with the Primers A,B and C. The Explode the Code books do a fantastic job of getting a child reading and reading well. We used them with Bob books once my children have been able to understand blending. So far I've used this series to teach my older two to read. There are many phonics programs but I love the self directed aspect of Explode the Code. Once you get your kids reading on their own that's where you plug them into the Robinson list. Pg 1 How to get started with Robinson: Personally I do not feel you need the CD's to be able to use Robinson. The curriculum is not the bread and butter for Dr. R or I would of course say “yes you need it!!”. If you will print the books, it might be easier to have them all on CD, though they can be printed free from the internet, or saved to a hard drive or flash drive. We use either the hard copy of books we've purchased or books on our Kindles (E-readers) so having the books on CD is not paramount to me. I feel that in comparing CD 1 from the older 2.0 version and what is available on Dr. Robinson's website that he explains his how and why's very well on the website, in my opinion at least : ). I learned the most about how folks used Robinson in the Robinson yahoo group files section. So it's personal preference on if you want the CD's or not really. I have them, looked them over once and that's been it as far as the CD's go. I didn't purchase them though and they were gifted to me. My favorite RC booklist and the one I have opted to build and add my own book selections to is: http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/booklevel.htm

I love that books were given levels to help guide me along (though it does not mean grade levels!!). I plugged in other books I wanted to add in where I thought they'd fit best reading level wise. But I have no issue when my kids wish to jump around. I let them choose what they'd like to read from the list. If you plan to add books to Robinson, you might want to glance over your own shelves first and see if there are books you feel you don't want your children missing . Then plug them into your Robinson list. Or hand them a book and ask them to start reading and you are starting your Robinson journey right then and there! : ) It really is that simple to begin. You can feel confident packing away the text books or other materials you had used before and really just enjoy the simplicity. Just add in flash cards and have your kids writing daily (copywork for younger kids or learning to form letters) and you are all set. Where to start your children reading is more a personal choice. But often times starting at the beginning, is great since there are so many fantastic books in the beginning of the list that is sure to make them fall in love with Robinson. You might not wish to use the early level McGuffey books for a older child starting RC and prefer to use the level which is best suited to them. The levels of the McGuffey Readers basically they go like this: Primer Grade 2 1st Reader Grade 3 2nd Reader Grade 4 3rd Reader Grade 5 4th Reader Grade 6 5th Reader either grade 7th or 8th And then 6th Reader either 8th or 9th Of course make adaptions for your own children's needs. Getting Started: Read over Dr. Robinon's site. He talks about the learning environment here: http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p999.htm http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p993.htm http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p59.htm Math: For those that do not know their math facts, you'll want to start them on getting those facts down. All other concepts come up in Saxon 54 math (so don't worry about time, money, measurement, as it's all there). Once they have their facts mastered of all four operations and they are reading on their own, they start with Saxon 54 (or other math of your choosing). Dr. Robionson's preference was Saxon but you know your family and children best and there are so many great programs. I personally love Math-u-see. My Children are using Christian Light Education Math by request. This is a self directed program and works so well and still addresses the facts like Dr. R stresses. Writing: http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p1096.htm

I cannot say enough how easy it is to get started using Robinson. For me in the beginning I wanted to fine tune my booklist which for me is what really was time consuming and overwhelming. I'm glad I did that because we have tons of great books. But I realize now I could have just printed the booklist and had my kids dive in, simple as that. Then added books while they were already working through the list. My added books came from the books on Yesterday's Classic's / Baldwin Project website. Any of those that caught my interest or I thought would be of interest to my kids I download from archive.org or Gutenberg if they were available there. I would also encourage anyone who is interested in Robinson to take a look at Sue Patrick's workbox system. Her method blends so well with Robinson. Even children as young as two or three are able to work independently if given the right materials to do so. Of course I'm not talking seat work or busy work. But things that are educational and fun and that a child can do alone. I've had my son who is four using workboxes since age two (when he wishes to “do school” like his sisters). He enjoys lots of hands on items, file folder games, Starfall (we do allow him to use the computer for this in our school room). And my 2 year old daughter also has her own workbox items. I am always available via the email for any who would like to chat Robinson via this link: http://kontactr.com/user/fourshopping If you have looked at the RC and got scared off, I'd encourage you to visit the yahoo group and read over their files. Any questions I still had were answered there. I was most interested to see what folks with children similar to mine in ages did and how they began. It's great to see how using this mindset of schooling looks for others, and very encouraging as well. It's also interesting to see that no two Robinson families school the same. If you have never looked at Robinson, then you are in for a huge treat! And I hope you will love this way of homeschooling your children as much as I do. And that it will enrich your family life as it has done for my family. Happy Homeschooling! ~Melissa~

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