Homeschooling Memoirs | Part 3

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.

Footnotes :

(1.) (https://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/rc/homeschool-curriculum-excellence/ )

(2.) http://rosegate.dreamhosters.com/rc-books.html

(3.) https://wimpykid.com

(4.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_Boys

(5.) In nearly every volume, much effort is devoted either to recovering stolen property, rescuing the helpless, or obstructing the schemes of lawbreakers.

(6.) https://orisonorchards.com/7-saxon-math-answers-homeschool/

3 Comments

  1. “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.”
    This can definitely be a struggle. A friend of mine is attempting to “fast track” her education, and I’m glad I advised her to alternate outlining and essay-writing, because I can imagine the stretch this would take on your writing ability; not to mention that your desire to write could plummet dramatically.

    And I concur – the deterioration in literature is really horrible. Little Women and The Hardy Boys may not be as thrilling as the “Divergent” series, but the morals promoted are much cleaner, deeper, and more wholesome. I’ll take my chances on “social backwardness” if modern reading material translates to a diet of shallow, self-centered, complacency.

    On an advertising image in a store the other day, a male model posed next to a sign reading “Man of Leisure”. I commented to my family that that’s exactly the opposite of what is attractive. Popular culture, and the negligence of parents and guardians in encouraging honest hard work and good morals, are greatly to blame for the social deterioration and twisting of wholesome values. Children instilled with popular opinion and coddled with lenience, will not grow up to be strong young men and women like those who have contributed to true greatness in the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent points!

      Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult not to succumb to mass-mindedness.

      Carl Jung, In one of his last essays, pointed out that “resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.”

      I found this proposition very insightful. Especially considering that, in our time, many allow themselves to be guided by peer pressure rather than the voice of conscience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good quote! And yes, peer pressure remains an issue, even for those who know the superiority of their individuality as opposed to those with the “follower” mindset. It’s hard to feel that someone who isn’t behaving logically or morally is getting the better end of the deal than you are, or, is at least not reaping the consequences. Yet. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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