I started the Robinson curriculum roughly five years ago, at the age of 11 years old. Transitioning to it from the Ron Paul curriculum was certainly turbulent. This was mostly because the content of Robinson curriculum (1.) was to be entirely self-taught, something that I had initially suspected would be more than I could manage. But, fortunately, human beings have a remarkable capacity to adapt. And years later, after much consistency and struggle, I still have no regrets about the educational direction that I took.
So, what is the Robinson curriculum? Roughly speaking, it’s comprised of reading, writing, and mathematics. Reading, is required for at least two hours per/day, and students choose from a collection of works (2.) which mostly predate the last century. This was decided because, according to one of the creators of the curriculum (Art Robinson), such books “tend to have better vocabulary and sentence structure along with superior moral content.” This assertion seems valid if we juxtapose a volume of the notorious Diary of a Wimpy Kid series with something like, say, The Rover Boys. The former is largely about an aimless, prematurely cynical/sarcastic, gaming addict and academic failure. While the latter, by contrast, is about the heroic activities of three competent, responsible, and courageous brothers (5.) Overall, the quality deterioration in literature is really almost unmistakable.
Regarding writing, the curriculum suggests penning an essay per/day, or at least 500 words. I did this for quite a while, however, after exploring alternative approaches to writing I decided to alter that component of the curriculum. It wasn’t obvious to me how my ability to write would somehow improve if I was generating more content than time allowed me to sufficiently revise.
For mathematics, students are required to complete a lesson per/day (or more, depending usually on age and capacity) from the Saxon Math series (6.). It is centered around what has been termed “incremental development.” Basically, each day, students spend the first part of their math sessions familiarizing themselves with a new concept (for example, trigonometric ratios). Then, they complete a problem set – which generally consists of 30 problems – some of which are related to the recently introduced concept but many of which will only pertain to those previously learned. Interestingly, this creates a kind of balance between the integration of new concepts and the maintenance and improvement of those formerly learned.
In my next post I will discuss some of the other parts of this curriculum, particularly those associated with technology, diet, and socialization.
(5.) In nearly every volume, much effort is devoted either to recovering stolen property, rescuing the helpless, or obstructing the schemes of lawbreakers.