THE OURHOUSE PERSPECTIVE
These are my honest thoughts and opinion, please know that I believe no method is perfect or "the best", - it's about what works for you and your family. I take the time to review and compare homeschooling curriculums to our current approach of the Robinson Curriculum, and how if needed you can transition from other curriculums to RC. It's important to keep in mind there are always adaptations and tools you can use from any curriculum. My goal is to learn from other curriculums and share my perspective with you. I hope these learnings provide a new lens, answers some of yours questions, and give you more confidence in finding the best approach for your family.
is no such thing as perfect
CLASSICAL EDUCATION vs. ROBINSON CURRICULUM
We do have in common classical literature, and also we do have in common that for the younger age, the kids focus on memorization. However, with the Robinson curriculum, we're just focusing on memorizing the math facts, and it ends there versus classical education, also focuses on memorizing Latin or grammar, grammar rules, states, and capitals, so it goes a bit further.
The Robinson curriculum does not use the Trivium, the three-step approach, so that's something to keep in mind. We're just focusing on the basic three R's, and while there's nothing wrong with learning Latin, or learning a lot of these other things or incorporating more poetry and nature study, and classical music study all of these different things, you only have so much time during the day.
And this is meant to be a self-taught curriculum, where they are teaching themselves and removing the teacher. The classical approach has a lot more of an emphasis on a teacher. That is a big difference in the approach, and something you will have to get used to, removing yourself as that teacher.
All right, so let's talk about some tips on how to make the transition more smoothly. Like I said you're only putting an emphasis on memorizing the math facts, in order to get them started on Saxon 54. However, if you really want them to memorize all of these other things, then there's plenty of time to do it. There are a lot of great songs out there you can listen to in the car or that you can listen to while you're preparing a meal together. You can still work on memorizing a history timeline if that's important to you, but just know that the pressure is off, you don't have to do these things. You can if you want to, if your season allows you to, then yes go for it.
Again, there's nothing wrong with any of these things; it's just that you only have so much time during the day, and you're trying to encourage them to learn information on their own. You want to be mindful obviously, of not to overwhelm the child with too much information or burning them out. What you want is for them to have a love of learning. A lot of parents make the mistake in thinking well I can't do the Robinson curriculum because I don't want to just read those books; we want to read other books as well.
It's not an either/or thing, the RC book list is the core order book list, from it you get a lot of literature, poetry, civics, government, and history, that's your required reading. However, feel free to add what other books you want to read, there's plenty of other time during the day. By just focusing on the 3 R's, you're giving yourself time for the rest of the day to learn about what you want to learn about. And that can include poetry, or nature study, or music study.
But again there's not the pressure that you have to check off that box for that day on your curriculum. You can encourage them to learn that information on their own, or if you want to have poetry tea time, or music appreciation time, then you can. There just isn't that pressure that you need to make sure you're getting this done; that you need to make sure you're checking that off on the list. I think with this approach you will also enjoy it more, because there's no pressure.
To summarize this video yes there's a lot of classical literature, and they are memorizing math facts at a young age. You also have time during the rest of the day to focus on whatever else that you want to focus on. However, this does not follow a Trivium three-step process, you are removing yourself as that teacher, and you are focusing on giving them a solid foundation on the 3 R's. That will give you the freedom to explore other interests in a no-pressure way.
CHARLOTTE MASON vs. ROBINSON CURRICULUM
Let's talk about some things that are similar, some things that are very different and some transitional tips when switching over.
Charlotte Mason on the surface may seem to have a lot of similarities, for example favoring living books over textbooks an emphasis on cultivating good study habits and discipline. Perhaps there's a little bit of overlap with narration and copy work,
however it is very different because the Robinson Curriculum emphasizes reading, writing and arithmetic. It has ample time for each one of those subjects, typically two hours for math, one hour for writing, two hours for reading ,so they're spending a lot of time on those basic components which is the foundation of a great education.
With the Charlotte Mason method it differs in that it's typically anywhere from five to thirty minutes on a wide range of subjects. There are subjects that the family does together and then there are still individual studies that they must do on their own. Looking at the website on what to order for the curriculum we have first history unit studied with the whole family, then there is history and it goes through a cycle and that also includes geography and Bible. It's also recommended to do enrichment studies as a family together and that includes scripture memory, picture study, music study, hymn study, handcrafts, Art, Shakespeare, foreign language, nature study, poetry literature, something called habits and personal development then you still have individual studies by grade level science, language arts, and math. An example of what a schedule would look like on a typical Monday:
-Five minutes scripture memory
-20 to 30 minutes history
-10 minutes picture study
-math, science, and language arts per student T
Tuesday instead of picture study, music study
-instead of foreign language you do habits
Wednesday instead of picture study or music study you do geography
-instead of habits you do handicrafts or art
-poetry instead of history
Thursdays you do Shakespeare and Bible
Friday add nature study
While all these things are really nice and wonderful it's a lot! It's a lot for Mom to do because here's the biggest difference and a lot of times I've seen Charlotte Mason moms feel frustrated because they're thinking why can't they get through their school day by lunchtime. They're still doing school into the afternoon and they're wondering how did Charlotte Mason do it and accomplish all of this before lunchtime? The answer to that is very simple, she did not have a husband and she did not have children. She was a schoolteacher, she had classrooms of children she didn't also have to nurse a baby, she wasn't in her first or third trimester, she wasn't also switching laundry, she wasn't running errands for a husband. You really have to take that into consideration while this looks really wonderful on paper, how does this translate to real life?
I want to share a quote from Dr. Robinson who discusses this topic of spending small pockets of time on various subjects so you don't feel like you're missing out, and what the end result of that is like.
"So the other thing that I think is important is designing a curriculum, is that it not contain things that it doesn't have to have. Lots of mothers who want the best for their child try to do everything at once. Mothers will have 14 subjects and every time they hear about another subject, oh I don't want my child to be deprived of that, so they add that pretty soon this child spending ten minutes a day on each thing can't really learn much about anything because there's so many things. The mother's trying to develop lessons on all these things, most things they're adding aren't necessary. We tried to teach in in our home school just reading ,writing and arithmetic. Basically math followed by writing followed by reading and in the reading you get history in English and all the other things by a basis of book selection."
As you can see this often leads to mom burnout being overwhelmed, and maybe that's why you're here. Often the Robinson curriculum is the last thing parents try and they find that it is the perfect curriculum that they needed and so you're going back to the basics three RS reading writing and arithmetic. They're still developing good study habits, you're just removing yourself as that teacher who is constantly spoon feeding everybody information. You are free to work with the younger children who need to learn how to read or free's you up to care for your toddlers and babies while the older kids learn how to independently learn.
Let's talk about some transitional tips how to make the switch from Charlotte Mason to the Robinson curriculum. It should be very simple to just implement from the start if you're already used to doing so much of Charlotte Mason. It will feel great
to get it all off of your back and just let them focus on the 3 R's.
A big difference to note, is that yes it's living books and both focus on living books. However with the Robinson Curriculum you're reading one at a time you're not going through several books at once, so you can really read that one book and enjoy it. You might be reading a literature book or a science book, history book, geography but you're just reading one at a time.
What if you really like the foreign language, the picture study, the poetry, the Shakespeare and the nature study? What if you still really
want to do all those things but you're going this route, well it's easy because you're just focusing on the three R's and that's gonna free you up to do other things in a no-pressure way. I talked about this with unit studies, you can listen to hymns while you're cooking or having a meal, you don't have to purchase a curriculum for this. Maybe you want to have tea time and talk about poetry or whatever it is that you're reading, you don't have to purchase a curriculum that you feel like you have to check off the boxes. You can just go outside and enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise and scripture memory is something that again you really don't need a curriculum for, just pick a
chapter that you want to memorize from the Bible or a few verses and just work on them during Bible time in the morning. It's just as simple as it needs to be and I think you will like the fact that you will save a lot of money.
A2 ACCELERATED ACHIEVEMENT vs. ROBINSON CURRICULUM
For several years A2 as promoted as a curriculum similar to the Robinson Curriculum but cheaper and on one disc. However, there does not seem to be an option to purchase it any longer. Some of the things to consider with similar programs is that:
RC stands the test of time, the website will never disappear, nor will they go out of business.
RC has a unique 60 second, zero frustration policy. If at any time you feel frustrated using the Robinson Curriculum for more than 60 seconds, you should give them a call and a real person will answer and help you!
The vocabulary is truly unique to the Robinson Curriculum and superb.
The continual addition of new convenient products to purchase (for example flashcards) and additions to the RC online portion not found anywhere else, help to keep it fresh and innovative, while sticking with the classic path.
A community and mentorship program that is unlike all other curriculums. From phone support, to a growing community of 5,000 families in the official facebook group, there is always a mentor to help, or a friend to bounce ideas and problems with.
Other similar curriculums might come and go, but The Robinson Curriculum stands the test of time.