By Dr. Arthur Robinson
The goal of the homeschool with respect to the science part of the curriculum should be to give the student three skills:
- Certain basic skills in mathematics and science that are require to think effectively about these subjects.
- Self-confidence that he can, without outside help, think effectively about mathematics and science-self-confidence that is based on real ability.
- A thorough understanding that science is based upon absolute truth and complete honesty about the organization of factual observation of the physical world.
A very effective way for the student to reach these goals is to learn the basic skills and facts by himself from excellent books-entirely without teacher intervention. All children can do this with the very rare exceptions of those with severe mental handicaps. They will not do it, however, unless they are required to do so. Teacher intervention and help destroys self-confidence and encourages a dependence on others that is not compatible with independent thought. Each student must, of course, also be provided with a quiet, distraction-free environment in which to work and a schedule that includes daily self-study of these subjects-preferably six days per week and during the early hours of the day.
These skills cannot be acquired quickly. They are built gradually over a period of years of problem-solving in mathematics and then in science during which the subject matter becomes gradually more complicated in accordance with the child's increasing biological brain development and increasing acquired skills. If a student begins self-study after earlier years of teacher-mediated help, then a period of several months may be required for adjustment. The methodology is simple. Just make sure that the subject matter and the daily lesson goal is correctly matched to the student's ability; require that he complete his lesson each day; and then give him one of the finest gifts you will ever be able to provide him in life-gently but firmly refuse to help.
When this is correctly done, most of the problems often encountered in education disappear. Self-motivation? The self-satisfaction of beginning each day with an intellectual challenge that you know you will be able to meet and overcome by yourself is a powerful self-motivator. Attention wandering and daydreaming? Well, it's his day. If he wants to spend eight hours on an exercise that he could have completed in only one or two hours, then that is his decision-a decision he will learn, by experience, is foolish.
This article is Copyright 20121994 Home Life Inc. Used by permission. Originally published in Practical Homeschooling magazine. PO Box 1190 Fenton, MO 63026, 1-800-346-6322, fax 636-225-0743, email: [email protected], website: http://www.home-school.com. Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years. This publication should be read by every homeschool family.
Posted by Art Robinson on May 26, 2002 at 15:14:45
Every child should study mathematics and science in the most effective way possible. The method we use in the Robinson Curriculum is the most effective and academically superior available.
But, why should children study these subjects? Most of them will not become mathmeticians or scientists. They should study these subjects for the same reason that scholars 200-300 years ago studied the classic literature.
At that time, the classic literature was the highest level of human knowledge. There was no science and very little mathematics. So, in order to train the minds of the students to think, they were required to study the highest level of intellectual knowledge available.
Now, science and math are the highest levels of available rational knowledge. A student's brain and ability to think are developed much more effectively by study of math and science than they are by study of the classics.
This development requires, however, that they really study math and science. Pretend study is not worthwhile. Pretend study - science without math, physics, without calculus, descriptive texts without understanding - must be avoided.
There is no better preparation of a young mind for vitually every occupation and for everyday living than the proper study of math and science. Even morality is enhanced in certain ways because these subjects always concentrate on finding the truth and upon rigorously right answers.
But why should the student home school in these studies? There are two reasons, the second being far more important than the first.
The first is that self-study at home from the best texts, with the most effective methods, allows the student to learn at a far higher rate and with much greater effectiveness. In other words, academic quality can be superior in a home school because the curriculum choice and study method can be far better than those of a public school.
The second, and more important, reason is that home schooling keeps the child at home.
Home schooling is no more than a tool that can be used to keep a child out of the World.
If a young person is kept out of the World, the Lord will raise him (or her). Little else is necessary. The links to the Lord are already built into the child. He will follow those links and will directly help the child. All children receive this help. Parents really need do very little in addition.
If, however, the child is in the World, especially the World of today - which is very rich in evil, he will hear the messages of the World and be continually pressured by his peers to follow them. In effect, the World will distract him from the messages of the Lord and fill his ears and eyes with other things.
So, although academic quality is important, the most important thing is to keep children away from the World - so that the Lord can raise them.
Only God knows what will become of the Robinson children. At the present time, all six of them are extraordinary.
Very frequently, I hear comments to the effect that I have done a wonderful job of raising the children.
These comments are wrong. Actually, I did not raise the children at all. After Laurelee's death, a quiet calm settled over them. They were protected, guided, and raised by the Lord - in just the same way that He endeavors to raise all children.
The only really important thing that I did was to keep them away from the World.
A recent question here related to the best outside courses and experiences for a gifted child. This is a very common question. Parents often seek additional opportunities for their children - in the World. They do not understand that the opportunities are not there.
With a good self-study curriculum of the highest quality - emphasizing the fundamentals of reading, writing, mathematics, and science, the child has all of the academic opportunities he requires.
It is counterproductive to bring in video, audio, or Internet programs linked to the outside World or to place the child in junior college courses, etc.
The Robinson children and the many families that use our curriculum in the most effective way, restrict their study to its contents. They also develop a wide variey of extracurriculur interests - at home.
The most valuable interests are those in which they work with their family -doing work that is essential for the family's survival.
In every action that you consider taking for your child, always ask one question first. Will this activity take my child into the World or it will it help him to stay out of the World? The answer to that question is the most important thing.
In other words, since it is the Lord and not myself who is raising my child, which activity leaves him most free to hear the Lord's voice?
I have not raised six children. I have instead been immeasurably blessed by being allowed to watch the Lord raise six children - and being given a few odds and ends to do to facilitate this.
Use math and science as a tool to develop your child's mind and use home schooling to keep your child out of the World.
Remember also, that the World affects all of the people living in it. Just because an activity is Christian does not mean it is safe. Often Christians are especially vulnerable to Christian activities because their guard is down. The label indicates that the activity is safe.
When our family goes to church, everyone sits together in the main service. This has always been the case - even when the children were small infants. Sunday schools and children's churches are public schools, too.
The Lord is in the child's heart. Do not let anything, regardless of its label - come between the child and the Lord.
Cave Junction May 2002