Monday, February 2, 2009

Robinson Curriculum (Part 1) and my RC

Here's what the RC looks like all packaged up. Mine is a little different. My box is square instead of rectangular. It has pages that you can flip through that the CD's slide into. (Similar things are sold at WalMart and other places to store CD's in.) Here is a great summary of the RC by the creator of the RC, Dr. Art Robinson.
The above is how I've put some of them together. A few of the little books, I bound with yarn and poster board covers. The kids thought that was cute! One here was even bound in cardboard. (Younger kids like it when they look more like a real book.) When they get older....and the books get larger, more pages, finer print, etc. I've just put them in the cheap little 3 prong portfolio folders that are like .05 or .10 cents at the beginning of the school year. (The older kids have longer books and sometimes they may take 2 of these (folders) and a few times it took 3.)

Here's Kayanna with one of the little cardboard bound readers.

I have a few of the books in paperback. I've found them at the Goodwill for .59.

I've also added a few books to the collection. Some will be optional, some mandatory.

The upper grades have finer print which equals more words per page.
(That's important as you try to keep check with how many pages per day that they are reading. You want to make sure that they are not day-dreaming, etc.)

This is about a 3rd grade reading book. I think it's one of The Rover Boys. The print is a little bigger. (The RC has a built in way to adjust the print/size of the page.)

The 'books' also have these handy-dandy pockets.
I put the vocabulary exercises in them and as each kid reads through the books, they take their exercises out.

The main vocabulary sheets are stored in here and not too neatly I might add! These have the vocabulary word and the definition. (Each book has it's own set of new vocabulary words.)
(For each book, I have the kids copy the vocabulary words and definitions one day, another day they will use each word in a sentence, when those two things are done then they will work through the vocabulary exercises that are printed from the RC and are usually stored in the pockets of each 'book'.

These buckets were bought at Walmart. As you can see, they have an open side. The tops are also open but have fold down handles and are stackable.
This is actually standing in a closet; they were in the dining area at one time.
These are our printed books. And the top has a portable filing system where grades, assignment sheets, and tests are stored. (Each kid must get an assignment sheet every Monday and fill out every day. They write the Math lesson completed and their scores, the story they are reading and number of pages that they read, as well as check off the vocabulary. (They also have to write down the time they started each subject and the time they finished.) These can be printed free of charge from a link on the RC site. I have also made up an assignment sheet just for Bible and typing.)

These old drawers were taken from an old chest. They match perfectly to a set of bunkbeds we have and slide nicely underneath. That is where each kid keeps his work when not in use. Two kids share one drawer. All pencils,, notebooks, etc are kept in the drawers.
Each child has a math book, answer key, the current book they are reading, their assignment sheet, and 3 to 4 notebooks. One notebook is for math, another is for vocabulary, a third is for their writing, and some of them keep an extra one for their Bible work while others just write their verses in the writing notebook. We buy the spiral notebooks when they go on sale at the beginning of the school year for .05 to .10 cents each. Outside of school work, some of the kids like to keep other notebooks for various things. A couple of the kids like to write made up stories and write their own comics, so how could I say no to that?

These are a suggested addition to the RC that Dr. Robinson recommends. They are older and do not have the biases in them that current books do. They are The World Book of Knowledge and with much prayer, I was able to get this set off ebay for about $15! (He specifically recommends that parents use materials dated from the 50's and earlier.)
The kids also use these books for their written assignments often.
Their writing assignments can be copywork or their own writings. Most of the time I let them make the choice, but there are times that I give specific things.
As per Dr. Robinson, we start our mornings with math. As per Dr. Robinson and the kids personal preference, we use Saxon math books which must be purchased separately once the children have learned basic math facts which are on the RC.
Math lasts for 2 hours.
The rules vary on how much work, slightly. If they are having a tough time, they can slow up to half a lesson. If they are having an easy time getting through the lessons, they do every other problem and work two lessons a day. But most of the time, they just work one lesson a day of approx 30 problems.
(Currently, two of the children are using the same math book so one child has to do reading first.) Then after math, the kids do two hours of reading. Usually they are only reading one book during this time. My oldest is in high school so he is the only exception. He has a couple of subjects that he can switch around.
After math and reading are complete, the children then do their vocabulary. This time can be 15 to 30 minutes.
Then they do their writing assignments as above.
The children then have to write their Bible verses two times each.
Then they take 15 minute turns on the computer doing their Typing assignments.

(I will be doing a part two and show you a little about how I print the books, how I teach the younger two, and some other things!)
*********Update: this lady has put together a very nice list of all things RC plus many freebies that will work right alongside the RC.*******


Christopher Engelsma said...

Saxon math is soooo good. your children will thank you. I think another EXCELLENT addition to your library are the books by Jacob Abbott. here is a link:"Jacob+Abbott"&as_brr=1&source=gbs_authrefine_t

there are kajillions of AWESOME books here as well.

Donna said...

I love Gutenberg!
J.A. books look great, thank U for the link!

I will look at the other link too.
Thank U!

Joy said...

I am really liking what I see! So is the curriculum a literature based curriculum? I like that he uses old author those you can trust tried and true!

Donna said...

Yes Joy!
Lots and lots of classics.
Most books were written before like 1910 too.

Scarletpilgrimage said...

So Hi! I stumbled upon your blog while researching the Robinson curriculum. I appreciate your review and was wondering what you think of it now that two years have passed since you posted this. I'm struggling and need help. We did Classical Conversations and I enjoyed it, but it was expensive and I'm in need of help b/c help doesn't come much around here. Any thoughts? I'd be ever so grateful!

My name is Lori. :)

Donna said...

Hello Lori,

Do I Still Love My Robinson Curriculum?

The answer is YES! And we've used it for over 5 years now and will continue to use it for probably 9 more!

Would you love it? I don't know. :-)

I would say it depends.

When you're on a frugal budget- the RC cannot be beat. You will need Saxon math books but all literature is on the CDs for you to print. We could not have made it without it because our budget has been so tight, and getting tighter, and our library is nearly half an hour's drive.

With the RC, I buy printing paper, toner ink, 3 pronged folders with pockets, notebooks and pencils each year - that's it.(Maybe $30 to $40 a year for all 6 kids.)
Once you've taught basic math facts and phonics- you're set with the RC and Saxon books.

My children have learned to love reading because of it. They've read way more books than I ever did as a child. They've found authors on the RC that they like and we've went to Gutenberg and printed more in the series for free. (Such as the Arthur Scott Bailey books called Tuck Me In Tales... and Horatio Alger...and G.A. Henty...and the Tom Swift books...and the Rover boys...:-) But this curriculum did just what I had hoped for- gave them a love for learning and reading good books! (When we first started, they were going through them so fast that I was almost constantly printing! They gobbled up the books!)

Also, 3 of my older ones were tested some years ago now. 2 of them scored 2 years above their grade level and 1 was in the 50th percentile. (Which means he was where 50% of kids his age are..the other 50% would be above or below him.) Not bad results, huh? :-)

Does it have flaws? Well, some may want more science and bells and whistles and textbooks...but I think that's mostly unnecessary in the early years. But the one flaw it does have is that in high school, some umbrellas will require textbooks. I'm with one right now that does not require textbooks to graduate. The RC is a 3Rs curriculum. Everything is learned through 'real' books rather than textbooks. You can add to it, but it is certainly solid on its own up until high school. RC is also 'self-teaching' and does not require lots of hands-on time once the children learn the routine. I found that to be a wonderful thing as well, for many reasons. I had to teach phonics to my younger children...and the older ones learned that they can discipline themselves and they can learn anything they want on their own.

Here are some links to paste and copy that might help you some:
RC book list
(there's also vocabulary worksheets to print, a vocabulary 'game', a few other books, and a new book that deals with English using the RC books, and a speller helper book...also phonics flashcards and math fact flash cards)

Here's a site that this lady has put together that's a lot like RC, except she uses mostly free materials from the internet. I often use it after my children have read all the books on their level, or want to learn more about history and the like..or just have a special interest. Notice her tab "Full Curriculum"? You can click that and look at the "book list" for each grade. She has done a wonderful job.

You can often find RC on ebay for about $100.
RC also has a scholarship program that you could look into if you feel you needed to do that.

Happy to answer anymore questions that you might have!

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