Placement: Transitioning into Self-Teaching
Dr. Robinson has created a curriculum or educational program that truly is not based on ‘grades.’ The child is advancing through a series of math books, daily writing, studying, and reading a course of prechosen literature at an individual pace. Lets look at how you would place your child in each of the three main areas of the curriculum.
By Current Reading: The literature to be read is put in an order from simple to advanced levels and you can choose where to begin by using your own judgment as you view the books on the screen (based on your knowledge of your child’s age and reading ability). I would not worry about starting an older child too early in the reading selections as most of the books are appropriate, interesting, enjoyable to read at any age. However you also do not want to run out of time to finish. Thus an older child should work on mastering the vocabulary from the beginning on as this will make a big difference on SAT exams.
By Vocabulary: If you desire a more objective way of placing the student in the Read Order you might use the vocabulary flash cards to determine their reading comprehension level. Each book in the core read order has a corresponding vocabulary. Choose a place in the read order and if they do 80% or better on the first pass through the vocabulary flash cards (Words and Definitions) they can skip ahead in their reading. If they get less than 80% correct you should skip back. Keep on testing till you find their level. (They should master all the vocabulary words regardless of where they start.)
The vocabulary flash cards are found at the bottom of the Books list (new style) and under the “Vocabulary” tab (old style) in the Robinson Curriculum program. In the Vocabulary tab set “Include Previous Number of Books” to zero, choose the book whose vocabulary you want to test them on and click on the “Print Flash Cards” tab on the bottom of the window.
Math: For math, Saxon Publishers have available math placement tests. Or, if you have them available, use the tests that come with each textbook.
Writing: You may give children under ten years of age copybook writing to do until they are comfortable writing a page each day. You may have them copy out something from the Curriculum or whatever else you feel they would benefit from. Then begin requiring original compositions on a topic and in the writing format of their choice.
Transitioning: Depending on the child and the kind of educational methodology they are used to it can take 3-6 months, on average, for a student to be completely adjusted to self-teaching for 5 hours a day. Because most of us were taught with a teacher at the front of the room the concept of self-teaching is foreign to us. This is why it is crucial to read and reread the Course of Study documents. The ideas and the self-teaching methodology do not necessarily all soak in on the first pass through the material. As you grow in your understanding you will find it easier to manage your children’s education to benefit most from this curriculum.
Testing and Tracking
Math: Your students should work their Saxon Math problems each day and then check their answers in the Answer Key. Make sure that they keep a graph of their error rate as instructed in the Course of Study: Math and Science document. A user contributed math score graph template is available.
Writing: Since they will be writing a full page every day that you will mark for errors, every day is a test of their writing skills. Vocabulary: For every book in the required reading section, Vocabulary Exercises and Flashcards are available (see the bottom of the Books list). The exercises are made up of crossword puzzles, word finding and matching games, and word/definition lists along with answer keys. An onscreen vocabulary drill tester is also available (click on the Vocabulary tab).
Reading: Since the reading in the Robinson Curriculum is from a selection of the best books in the English language, the books are highly engaging and easily hold a child’s interest. There are SAT style exams, with answer keys, for every 4th or 5th book in the curriculum. These are accessed through the Examinations tab of the Robinson Curriculum program. The purpose of these exams to measure your students’ reading and comprehension skills and to familiarize them with this style of exam.
Some RC users have also created tests for various books. These can be accessed through the Robinson Forums (see the Parental Contributions section).
Simple Tracking: To help you keep track of their progress, we have created the RC Weekly Assignment Record. It helps you to know the students’ position in their Math, Writing, Reading, and Vocabulary.
Complex Free Tracking: For online lesson scheduling and automated GPA transcripts with the option to backup your data locally see: www.homeschoolskedtrack.com
Complex Paid Tracking: For complex tracking and reporting, as required by some states, you may wish to use the Homeschool Tracker, a $5 per month program from www.homeschooltracker.com