If you are familiar with the Robinson Curriculum, you know it thrives on focusing on the basics Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. It produces amazing results but I think a lot of parents have a hard time letting go of everything else they “should be teaching” like Geography and Foreign Languages.
Maybe you questions or others question you with, “What about how scholars in the earlier centuries emphasized Latin and Greek?
“Children are like sponges and better to teach them a foreign language early”
“Doesn’t your child know all the state’s capitals yet?
Now I may lose some of you with this video and that’s ok. I am simply sharing with you, what Dr. Robinson says in his course of study. My goal is for this to be an encouragement to those of us who are actually following the RC Model. It’s fine if you want to adapt it, but if you want to make a specific dish, you need to follow closely the recipe of the person who made the dish, correct?
So let’s talk about this sort of controversial, hard for some parents ingredient, or more like an omission.
No Geography, no foreign Language.
The more I stick to the true model of RC, the better the kids do, and the more I enjoy the days. So let’s unpack the reasoning behind why these subjects are not normally covered in RC.
The schedule is first math or Science if they completed Calculus, Second Essay, third reading..and nothing else.
This is repeated 6 days a week, twelve months a year, except for the occasional off day and holidays so about 275 days a year let’s say. That’s 20,000 hours between the ages of ⅚-18.
Parents frequently add numerous subjects, for well how do we say it today FOMO Fear of missing out, and there are so many shiny, nice looking curriculums out there on any and every subject, for example, geography and foreign language.
Now in doing so, they actually cause the children to miss very important material. Maybe you think well it’s not subtracting time from anything, we are just adding this in addition to everything else we do.
Here’s where that’s logic is wrong though.
Each added subject subtracts from the mental attention that they have available for the subjects they are already working on.
I’m sure as an adult you can understand this. When you have 6 things on your calendar to do vs 1 thing. How well would you do that one thing cs doing that same one thing, when you have 5 more things on the heel of it. You have the same amount of time, but it does impact your mental capacity to give something your all.
Here’s the reality:
Most added subjects are simply facts and skills that a person can acquire at any age and are learned how? By reading or experience. Can a person learn their capitals at 18, 19, learn a foreign language as an adult? If you want to, yes.
Really think about this.
It is essential that the formal study time, precious during their childhood, be concentrated upon those skills that a person can not easily pick up at a later time. We are talking about the development of skills that will enhance the quality of the entire rest of their lives.
Planning a trip and need to learn the language? Great hope on Duolingo or italkie.
Dr. Robinson cautions though do not try to force a foreign language into a young developing brain that is still struggling just to learn all the nuances of advanced English and the language of Science and Mathematics, which must, must be learned at an early age.
Funny though this thought always seemed to resonate with me, even before I did RC. My well-meaning mom would ask, why haven't you taught them Spanish yet. My reason was always “I’m just trying to teach them English right now” it is not the easiest language!
Now admittedly sure, a bright young child can learn a foreign language in addition to English and mathematics, and give the parents something to brag about at the next co-op meeting.
However, they will come closer to optimum training of their mental capabilities, if they or not burdened with extracurricular material.
I love what Dr. Robinson explained in his course of study, which I always say is worth the price of the curriculum alone.
Homeschooling is a race. It’s not a race between you and other homeschoolers, no.
It is a race between the accumulation of essential mental skills AND the biological development of intellectual abilities.
Even child geniuses develop those mental skills as a function of age.
You can program your children to do all sorts of impressive things beyond their age level, but consider how it can be counterproductive as opposed as that may sound to you. Their intellectual abilities and productive use of them should bot be impeded by academic baggage that..honestly they don’t essentially NEED.
So what about how scholars in earlier centuries emphasized Latin, Greek, and studying the classical philosophers and thinkers of the past.
Hey, I enjoy reading about the Marcus Aurelius, now close to 40. but I would never have my children study the philosophy of the stoics right now.
Keep in mind:
They did this because these were the most complicated and erudite subjects available. The true purpose was to exercise the brains of the students as much as possible so that they could in turn think effectively.
Today, we have many more learned subjects to exercise our students' brains.
After Calculus, on the RC CD’s you have Physics, Chemical Principles, Thermodynamics, and more.
Here’s the reality: No one in our generation will be considered well educated unless they know a great deal of math and true science for example physics and chemistry (not descriptive science) and has solved many quantitative problems in the course of their education.
But I want to leave you with this also:
After the 5-6 hours of self-study each day, the child does go on about recreation, additional reading, and other activities. For example, a few of mine play the Piano and I know all the Robinson kids did as well and they had farming chores. A good variety of extracurricular activities is of great value and can greatly enrich their lives.
I just want to reassure you, it’s ok to not have formal instruction in economics, history, geography, and related subjects. These subjects are taught by the RC book list alone. The exact same way that they will learn about those subjects for the rest of their lives, of which the students are being well prepared with this method.
So how did I do? Did I reassure you, convince you? Comment below!