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Robinson Homeschool Curriculum

The Robinson self-teaching methodology teaches your children to become independent learners.
Teaches your children to think, solve problems, and assimilate the knowledge out of books.

Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum


Table of Contents


The Robinson Story Homeschool Curriculum Excellence
More Than A Fighting Chance
Homeschooling Problems/Needs
A Tragedy and a New Beginning
How the Robinson Children Fare
Rules and Procedures
More Rules and Procedures
Common Questions & Concerns
Social Skills and Thinking
Current Status and More
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Four Keys to Learning
Independent of Parent Skills
Curriculum Contents List
Math, Phonics, Course of Study
What Our Customers Say
Frequently Asked Questions
The Independent Learner Teach them to Teach Themselves
Learn to Think Scientifically
Taking Away the Crutches
Children Learn by Example
Multiculturalism and Curricula
Motivation by Excellence
The Study of Science
The Future of Homeschooling
Teaching Government Right
College Preparation
Science Taken Seriously
Ann's Corner Teaching Younger Children
The McGuffey Readers
Keeping Organized
A Diet Without Sugar
About Essays
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The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschool Curriculum Excellence

An Excellent K-12 Home School Curriculum
Developed by a scientist and his six children

Home Schooling for Superb Educational ResultsTeach your children to teach themselves and to acquire superior knowledge as did many of America's most outstanding citizens in the days before socialism in education. [MORE...]

V I R T U A L   S E M I N A R

Listen to a speech by Dr. Robinson about homeschooling and more on the Robinson Radio.
[Speech by Art Robinson]

T H E   R O B I N S O N   S T O R Y

We Need Higher Hopes
Read the Robinson family's story and discover how their efforts created a home school that actually needs no teacher and is extraordinary in its effectiveness.
"Ten years ago Laurelee and I decided to educate our children in a homeschool rather than a public school or a private school. The burden of this decision fell most heavily upon Laurelee who took responsibility for the substantial work that we expected this home school to require." [CONTINUED...]
From the original article by Dr. Robinson: Christian Children Must Have More Than A Fighting Chance

F R O M   O U R   C U S T O M E R S

I Love the Robinson Curriculum!
We love Robinson Curriculum?! I've used it for a year, and am sticking with it, especially now that there are so many more CD-ROMs to use. I love it because my girls really are becoming self taught, my 12 year old having literally educated herself this year.   [CONTINUED...]

A  U N I Q U E   A P P R O A C H

The Independent Learner
When you teach something you truly learn it. This is the key to the self-teaching approach of the Robinson Curriculum. In this set of articles Dr. Arthur Robinson explains the benefits of this approach and provides other insights on a variety of topics.

Learning IndependentlyDr. Robinson is a scientist who works on various aspects of fundamental biochemistry, nutrition, and preventive medicine. He is President and Research Professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. His wife Lauralee, who was also a scientist, homeschooled their children until her death in November 1988, when the children were 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, and 16 months. During the past ten years, Dr. Robinson and the children have continued their homeschooling by developing a program entirely based upon self-teaching.  [FIRST ARTICLE...] 

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The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

More Than A Fighting Chance

We Need Higher Hopes

Ten years ago Laurelee and I decided to educate our children in a home school rather than a public school or a private school. The burden of this decision fell most heavily upon Laurelee who took responsibility for the substantial work that we expected this home school to require.

Of special concern to us were the following facts:

1. The social and religious environment in most schools in America has deteriorated to a level of evil such that it is a threat to the spiritual, moral, and mental health of each child who is forced to participate in it.

2. The level of political and secular humanist indoctrination in American public schools has risen so high that it is very difficult for any child attending public school to emerge with an understanding of historical and religious truth.

3. Irrationalism has become the norm throughout American schools. It is therefore very difficult for children who attend those schools to learn how to think rather than to simply believe whatever propaganda is being disseminated at the moment.

4. The academic quality of most schools has deteriorated to the point that American students are literally the world's largest group of dunces. In test after test of academic abilities, American students score last in comparison with students from the other twenty or so advanced countries.

It is, of course, possible for a child to emerge from an American public school with good academic training and a good spiritual and moral outlook. With increasingly rare exceptions, however, students who achieve this do so in spite of the school rather than because of the school. The over all performance of American children who attend public schools is very poor.

Even when American public schools of the past are used as a standard, current schools are an embarrassment. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores have deteriorated so much during recent decades that the tests themselves are now on the verge of being changed. The American educational establishment is determined to change these tests, so that continued comparisons with past performance will not be possible.

Even the SAT tests themselves are being used as tools for social engineering. "Politically Correct" questions are being asked about "socially responsible" reading passages. In some cases the student must give an answer that he knows to be false or misguided in order to please the social engineers who designed the tests.

As a result of these facts, hundreds of thousands of American families have chosen to educate their children at home. Home schooling is rapidly becoming a major force in American society and has become a significant embarrassment to the public school establishment.

Moreover, families who have chosen this path are clearly achieving some of their objectives. In particular, they are succeeding in partially isolating their children from the social and religious decay that is pervasive in American public schools. They are also strengthening their families by keeping children and parents together rather than allowing them to be physically and mentally separated by the State.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschooling Problems/Needs

What is Needed for Homeschooling to Grow

There is a growing possibility that, if the home schooling movement continues to expand, it may become the most important single force that Christians can employ to take America back from the anti-Christian forces that currently control American public life.

In order for this to occur, however, there are some current weaknesses in the home school movement that need to be corrected. Aside from the obvious legal problems and other difficulties that have developed as the public school establishment attempts to protect its decaying monopoly, these include:

1. Home schooling is very difficult for parents whose circumstances prevent at least one dedicated parent from giving a very large percentage of his or her time to the home school. While it is fine to argue that a family should always include one full-time parent in the home with time to teach the children, many families find themselves in circumstances which do not permit this.

2. Many parents themselves lack the education that they so earnestly want for their children.

As a consequence, home schooled children have a difficult time rising above the level of academic achievement of their parents.

This is true of many homes in which both parents are college trained and may even have advanced degrees. A large fraction of college graduates, for example, are not trained to do simple calculus a level of academic achievement easily possible for most properly educated sixteen-year-old children. Even parents holding doctoral degrees in mathematics and science are often poorly educated in literature, history, and the foundations of our civilization.

3. Home schooled children cannot attend college and graduate school without exposure to the same evils in American colleges and universities that were a primary reason for taking the children out of the public schools in the first place. There are very few institutions of higher learning where these evils are not pervasive and even fewer which offer high quality educations in such fields as science and engineering.

4. The average level of academic achievement in Christian home schools at present looks good only when compared with the disastrously poor results currently the norm in public schools. While it is true that SAT scores are a little higher for home schools than for public schools, the average public school child comes from a generally poorer home environment and a school environment that is not conducive to learning.

Our children must be able to think

Some Christians react to these difficulties with various forms of resignation. They hope that more families will find a way to rearrange their lives for home schooling. In their home schools, they emphasize subjects such as spelling and grammar and generally neglect more difficult subjects such as mathematics and science. They hope that by the age of 18 the children will be strong enough to resist the evils that they encounter at the universities, or else they deny the children a higher education and direct them into occupations where that education is not required.

They are comforted by the fact that they have achieved slightly higher educational performance than the public schools while, at the same time, sparing their children the depravities of the secular world for at least part of their formative years. These Christians are dedicated people and are doing their best for their children. I believe, however, that they should be thinking beyond the current home school situation.

In order to take our country back from the secular humanists - back from those who have abandoned the Christian values and disciplines that made America great - back from the evil that is destroying our society, we must do more in our home school movement than we are doing now.

Our children must be not a little better educated when compared with those in the public schools - they must be so much better educated that they are entirely beyond such comparisons.

Our children must be able to think - and to think so much more effectively than their opponents that they are able, in one generation, to become such a superior force in science and engineering and in industry and government that they dominate American society.

Our children must be such shining examples for the home school movement, that the majority of American families demand the same quality for their children - a quality that can only be obtained by becoming Christian families who take responsibility for themselves.

Our children must be such superior performers in America's colleges and universities, that they not only resist the corruption in those institutions - that they destroy, by their example, the corruption itself.

How can this be done?

Interesting rhetoric, you may say, but how can this be done?

I respond, it MUST be done, and, for the remainder of this article, I describe an experiment that indicates the beginnings of a way in which it may possibly be done.

Like most successful experiments, this one reveals only part of the truth and suggests further experiments that may be worthwhile. Also, like a great many experiments that point in a different direction, this one was done by accident. If it ultimately proves to have been worthwhile, then the credit belongs to the Lord - not to the participants.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

A Tragedy and a New Beginning

Laurelee Undertakes The Children's Instruction

As our children reached school age, Laurelee undertook their instruction. A highly educated scientist herself, she understood what they needed to learn, but she had no experience in teaching children. Moreover, she worked virtually full time with me in our civil defense work and our research work; she was still bearing new children and caring for infants; and she was carrying out a significant amount of farm work in addition to the usual household chores.

As an aid to her growing home school (all of our children have been entirely home schooled), Laurelee purchased educational materials and curricula from a wide variety of sources. These she melded into a curriculum along with a large amount of Christian materials that she purchased. (She purchased so many Sunday school materials, that the people at the local Christian bookstore thought that we were operating a church.)

She Created An Entire Twelve Grade Curriculum with One Flaw

Not knowing whether or not these materials would be available to us in the future, she created an entire twelve grade curriculum for each of the six children and obtained all of the necessary materials for that curriculum. These she organized meticulously in the order that they would be used. That curriculum occupies the equivalent of about five large filing cabinets and is in perfect order.

This effort, in degrees that vary according to the resources, education, abilities, and motivations of the parents, is one that is being undertaken today in tens of thousands of home schools across America. It is being made increasingly effective by the growth of many excellent businesses that supply materials and curricula to home schools.

Laurelee's effort was truly outstanding. It allowed for every academic eventuality and it utilized the very best materials available. It even included life insurance on me, so that she would be able to continue the home school in the event of my death. Her plan had only one flaw - a flaw that neither she nor I ever considered.

The plan assumed that she would be alive to teach.

A Class Without A Teacher

When she died suddenly after an illness that lasted less than 24 hours her class contained Zachary, Noah, Arynne, Joshua, Bethany, and Matthew - then ages 12, 10, 9, 7, 7, and 17 months - a class without a teacher.

As I assumed her work including cooking, laundry, and other household tasks, and continued the farm and professional work without her by my side, there was no possibility that I could even read the curriculum that she had so carefully created - much less have the time to teach it to the children.

Friends tried to help, but the problem seemed to be intractable.

What happened then, with the Lord's help, was remarkable.

What happened then, with the Lord's help, was remarkable. Gradually, over the next two years and building upon the environment that their mother and I had already created for them and some rules of study that I provided, the children solved the problem themselves. Not only did they solve it themselves, they created a home school that, in many ways, points toward answers to some of the difficulties enumerated above.

Gradually, with occasional coaching and help from me, they created a home school that actually needs no teacher and is extraordinary in its effectiveness.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

How the Robinson Children Fare

Judging Its Effectiveness

In judging the effectiveness of our home school, I have some experience for comparison.

I, myself, was fortunate to attend one of the finest public schools in Texas, Lamar in Houston, during the late 1950's when public schools in America still retained reasonable standards. I performed well and was admitted to every college to which I applied - including Harvard, MIT, Rice, and Caltech. After graduating from Caltech, I obtained a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at San Diego and was immediately appointed to a faculty position at that University.

There I taught introductory chemistry to 300 students each year and supervised a group of graduate students.

The Children Teach Themselves

I can honestly say that the six Robinson children in our home school were, on average, at least two years ahead of my own abilities at their ages and have a far higher potential for the future than did I. Moreover, by the age of about 15, they were surpassing at least 98% of the college freshmen that I taught at the University of California at San Diego.

The oldest, Zachary, had already completed our math and science curriculum at age 16.  (Our curriculum uses the actual freshman and sophomore texts from the best science universities in America.) That October he took the Scholastic Aptitude Tests for the first time (the PSAT). His scores of 750 in math and 730 in verbal for a sum of 1480 (and a NMSQT score of 221) were above the 99.9 percentile among the 1,600,000 students worldwide who took the test. The other children are, for their ages, performing at least as well.

During the our homeschool years, I had spent less than 15 minutes per day (on average) engaged in working as the children's teacher. They taught themselves.

The Children Assume Responsilbilities

Moreover, each one of them, spontaneously and without suggestion or demand from me, took over an essential aspect of our farm and personal lives. They did all work with the cattle and sheep, they did all laundry, cooking, and housework, and they were working beside me as Laurelee used to do in the scientific research and civil defense work that is our ministry and our professional life.

One by one, my tasks just disappeared as the children assumed them.

In general, they prefered to work independently. They tended not to share tasks and did not divided them as one might expect. For example, at 11 years old Joshua was the cook - and already a better cook then than I.  Zachary did all work with the cattle (about 30) and the chickens; Arynne cared for the sheep (about 100); Noah was in charge of all farm and laboratory repairs; and Bethany did the washing and taught Matthew to read. Some tasks were shared such as house cleaning, sheep shearing, and watching over Matthew.

This sort of extracurricular work is especially valuable as reinforcement for the home school.

While self confidence can be built somewhat in sports or other "activities", the self confidence that comes to a child from the knowledge that he is independently carrying on an activity that is essential to the survival of the family is valuable indeed.

It is important, however, not to take advantage of this situation. The development of a young mind takes place in a few short years. A parent must always make certain that the children have more than enough time for their academic studies and for essential recreation. When children show an aptitude for productive work helpful to the parent, there can be a tendency for the parent to let them do too much. This can deprive the children of mental development necessary to their own futures.

This School Is Entirely Self Taught

I generally consider each child's time to be more valuable than my own. If I provide them the time for optimum development and direct them to the necessary tools, then each of them should be able to surpass my own abilities and accomplishments. If they do, then my goals for their academic work will have been fulfilled. Remarkably, they have spontaneously responded with efforts that provide me also with more time for productive work.

Our home is not as neat and clean as some, our spelling (including mine) is not all that could be desired, and our traditions have become somewhat unusual (they leave the Christmas tree and nativity scene up for six months each year - from December through June), but these children know how to work and they know how to think. Their home school is a success.

This school is entirely self taught by each student working alone. It depends upon a set of rules that can be adopted within any home in America. As their parent, my sole essential contribution has been to set the rules under which they live and study.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Rules and Procedures

These Rules Will Achieve Remarkable Results With Any Child

For the remainder of this article I will list those rules and procedures and, for some rules, give a short rationale that may or may not be correct. For those who consider adoption of these procedures, I offer the opinion that they will work in any home and with any children, regardless of ability. Obviously children differ in innate ability. I believe, however, that these rules will achieve remarkable results with any child when compared with other alternatives.

These are not, however, "suggestions." They are rigorous requirements. I know what has happened here. I do not know what would happen in different experiments under different conditions.

If, therefore, these suggestions are all followed in the same way, I expect the same result. There are probably better ways; there are undoubtedly worse ways. I discourage, however, the notion that compromise is always permissible. Below, for example, I state that the home should have no TV and no sugar. I then advocate a self-teaching program that has mathematics and free reading as its basis. It is entirely possible that this self-teaching program would fail in a home that still contains a TV and children who are still in a sugar-influenced mental state.

1. There is no television in our home.

1. There is no television in our home. We do have a VCR that was donated to the civil defense project. As a family we watch a video tape approximately once every six months. Television wastes time, promotes passive, vicarious brain development rather than active thought, and is a source of pernicious social contamination.

2. The children do not eat sugar

2. The children do not eat sugar or honey or foods made with these materials and have never done so at any time in their lives. Though Laurelee and I (both sugar addicts) established this rule, it is now out of my control. Two years ago, when some visitors whom we greatly wished to please came for dinner, they brought sweet rolls and donuts. I suggested to the children that they should eat just one so as not to offend. They all refused. Sugar is not just a threat to the teeth. It has subtle and undesirable effects upon mental attitude and performance. When I occasionally buy cookies for myself, I rarely am able to finish them. The children know all my hiding places and feed them to the chickens. They say that sugar makes me irritable and isn't good for me. The children also do not eat artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Nutrasweet). The mental effects of these substances are unknown. Aspartame may be linked to deleterious mental effects. Why take a chance?

(See A Diet Without Sugar for info on how to cook without sugar. Ed.)

3. Formal school work occupies about five hours each day

3. Formal school work occupies about five hours each day - six days per week - twelve months per year. Sometimes one of them skips his studies for the day as a result of some special activity, and we take an occasional automobile trip. With these diversions, their actual annual school time occupies about ten full months of six day weeks.

4. Those five hours each day are the most productive hours

4. Those five hours each day are the most productive hours - the morning and early afternoon. As soon as they wake - and with time out only for breakfast and milking the cows - they study.

Each has a large desk in the school room. My desk is also in that room. I try to do my own desk work during the same time, since my presence keeps the school room quiet and avoids arguments about noise.

5. The children were taught to read with the phonetic system

5. The five older children were taught to read by Laurelee with the phonetic system - learning the individual sounds of our language. Matthew (five years old) is currently learning to read by phonics. The children are teaching him.

6. The books we accumulated are essential to the curriculum.

6. The teacher-presented materials that Laurelee obtained are not used, but the books that we accumulated, which include a good selection of classics, are essential to the curriculum.

7. Working about 30 math problems first thing every day.

7. Each day, before beginning any other work, each child (except Matthew) works an entire lesson in the Saxon series of mathematics books. This usually involves working about 30 problems.

If the 30 problems seem to be taking much less than two hours each day, we sometimes increase the assignment to two lessons or about 60 problems per day. If the lessons seem to be taking much more than two hours, then we reduce to one-half lesson or about 15 problems per day. This is an excellent series of texts. The children work their way through the entire series at a rate that finishes calculus, the last text in the series, when they are 15 years of age.

They grade their own problems and rework any missed problems. They must tell me if they miss a problem and show the correctly worked solution to me. The younger children tend to make one or two errors each day. As they get older, the error rate drops. The older children make about one error each week. On very rare occasions, perhaps once each month, an older child will actually need help with a problem he or she feels unable to solve.

This emphasis on math with the help of the excellent Saxon series teaches them to think, builds confidence and ability to the point of almost error-free performance, and establishes a basis of knowledge that is essential to later progress in science and engineering.

It is also absolutely essential preparation for the non-quantitative subjects that do not require mathematics. The ability to distinguish the quantitative from the non-quantitative - the truth from error - fact from fiction - is an absolutely essential requirement for effective thinking. Otherwise one will tend to confuse independent, truthful thought with opinions based upon falsehoods and propaganda.

Our society is filled to the brim with public school graduates who imagine that they are independent thinkers when they actually are programmed to believe anything they perceive as fashionable. This cult-like behavior is not limited to graduates in "soft subjects" rather than the sciences.

Many people supposedly educated in the sciences and engineering also practice this ritual of non-thought.

I believe that much of this difficulty stems from poor early education in mathematics and logical thought. It is essential to understand that physical truths are absolute and can be rigorously determined. This must be learned by actually determining absolutes. Mathematical problem solving is an excellent mechanism for doing this. Grim examples of failures in this area are everywhere.

Earlier today, for example, a local bureaucrat telephoned in an effort to get my help in fashioning a community compromise on environmental issues between the solid citizens of this Valley and some pseudoenvironmentalist political agitators who have been disrupting the community recently.

During the discussion I mentioned that the agitators had filed a document with the federal government that contained a graph condemning the local lumber industry for destroying local game fish.

Actually there was no correlation between fish population and timber harvest. The agitators had created a correlation by leaving out about half of the data for the last forty years - the half which proves that their premise is false.

"Oh well," the bureaucrat replied, "we all do that sort of thing."

The horrible fact is that this bureaucrat is not far from the truth. As our population is increasingly made up of people who do not think logically and honestly about facts, our whole society enters a never-never land of irrationality where paganism is equated with Christianity; where lies are equated with truth; and where moral absolutes are equated with moral relativism.

Human affairs are very difficult to understand, since most subjects that concern humans are so complex that they cannot be rigorously understood or expressed with mathematical precision. In order to compensate for this, we combine the truths we do know for certain with good intuitive extrapolations into the areas we seek to understand. The chance that this sort of process will go awry in a well prepared mind is high enough. For a mind that is unprepared to distinguish between logical truths and illogical falsehoods, this process is entirely impossible.

8. Each child writes a one page essay

8. After completing the mathematics work, each child writes a one page essay and gives it to me. The remainder of the five hours is spent in reading history and science texts. Some of the children enjoy writing these essays more than others. At present, some of them write a page every day and some write less frequently.

9. Freshman and sophomore college physics and chemistry

9. Zachary (16 years old) [1994 - Ed.] has a more rigorous curriculum, since he finished calculus about a year ago. He is working his way through freshman and sophomore college physics and chemistry texts in the same way that he previously worked his way through Saxon math. After those years of self-taught math, he has simply gone on to self-taught science - and in the toughest college level texts that I was able to obtain.

His mind has become used to the fact that there is nothing in the well-known sciences that he cannot understand and learn and no problem that, with a proper book, he cannot work correctly.

His error rate is negligible.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

More Rules and Procedures

10. No child is allowed to use a computer until 16 years old.

10. No child is allowed to use a computer until after he or she has completed mathematics all the way through calculus. (At one point Saxon calls for a little use of the hand-held calculator. I permit this, but only on a very few occasions.)

It is important to realize that one cannot insert a calculator or computer into one's brain. Quantitative thought requires mental mathematics. Introduction of machines before the brain has learned to do this work by itself weakens the development of the ability to think.

I recall years ago explaining to the children some ways in which they could recognize a real scientist in contrast to the many imitations they are likely to meet. One thing I mentioned was love of quantitative thought. Real scientists often revel in inventing small problems and calculating solutions mentally with whatever facts are at hand. These things continually dribble into their conversations with occasional efforts to impress each other with the relative vigor of their imaginations or the speed of their mental arithmetic.

The kids listened to all of this with toleration and dutifully participated in my games to see who could mentally calculate our auto gas mileage at each fuel stop to four significant figures in the shortest time.

Then one day Professor Martin Kamen, then 77 years old, visited our home for dinner. Professor Kamen was the discoverer of Carbon 14, the originator of much of the radioactive tracer methodology upon which biochemistry is based, and a major figure in the understanding of photosynthesis. He talks twice as fast as a normal human; yet it is still obvious that his mouth cannot keep up with his brain.

All evening he continued as he has whenever I have seen him over the last 30 years. During the evening he posed and solved numerous small problems involving mental arithmetic. When he had gone off to bed, the children looked at me in awe. "That's exactly the way you told us scientists behaved," they said.

People who can think do so with their brains. Surely their thoughts often lead to problems that require experimental test, and often computers are essential equipment in those experiments. The thinking, however, is done with the brain. The arithmetic ability involved in that thinking must also be in the brain during the thought process.

For almost 30 years I have used advanced computer systems in my research work. Laurelee was, herself, a superb computer systems programmer. When we were involved in university re- search work, our labs were known as among the most highly developed in the world in terms of their computer technology. We used computers as word processors a decade before the general public had access to them.

Nevertheless, we were in total agreement that none of our children would ever use a calculator or computer of any kind until their brains were fully developed in ability for quantitative thought.

Laurelee did not live long enough to see that point come in any of the children. We both thought it would probably not come until college - at the age of 18.

As a result of the Saxon math and self-teaching work, Zachary finished all of his math through calculus before he was 16. Therefore, at age 16 I gave him his mother's computer - an older 386 model. Although he has done quite well with it and is, therefore, a substantial help to me in our research work, I still worry that I gave it to him too soon. There is a very dangerous temptation to substitute computer manipulations for real thought.

Some people will say that computers are becoming such a pervasive influence in our world that children need to learn how to use them at an early age. Besides the mental development issue, there is a simpler response to this idea. Computer technology is advancing so fast that, long before a child reaches the point in life where he or she really needs to use a computer, the machines will be so different that early practice will have been irrelevant.

Recently Zachary and Noah have been helping a colleague of ours who is a talented electrical engineer. They are repairing the electronic circuitry of some computer equipment that Laurelee and I used here 10 years ago. We need the equipment for a special project. This educational entertainment looks, however, more like archaeology than technology. This equipment is quite valuable in teaching the boys about computer engineering, since the digital logic in older machines is provided by discreet components that are more easily studied than are the components of current machines. These machines are, however, of little use in learning about the programming and utilization of modern computers.

11. They read whatever interests them from our library

11. Since they have no television, the children are prone to spend a substantial part of their non- school hours reading. They read whatever interests them from our library - which Laurelee purged of all books that she thought it best for them to avoid. By recreational reading, the children pick up most of their vocabulary and grammar and most of their knowledge about the world. Regarding current events, they do not listen to the radio, but it has become increasingly difficult to maintain control of my copy of the Wall Street Journal.

12. Each child is asked to write one page each day

12. Each child is asked to write one page each day about any subject that interests him. I read these pages and mark misspelled words and grammatical errors that the child must then correct.

Sometimes I fall many weeks behind with these corrections, but the children just keep writing.

There is an unusual bonus in these short essays. Sometimes the student will write things that he or she would not (and sometimes should not) say to the parent otherwise. These essays have educational value, and they also open a new line of communication with the children.

13. We have a family Bible reading before bed

13. The Bible is not a required part of our formal curriculum. We have a family Bible reading before bed each evening, and we discuss elements of Christianity as they happen to arise in our everyday lives.

Like Isaac Newton, no one in our family ever questions the truth of the Lord's Word as provided to us in the Old and New Testaments of the King James Bible. We only seek to understand these truths by repeated reading. That reading is rarely accompanied by interpretive comment.

Each of us must understand these things for himself and build his own relationship with God.

14. What the Curriculum does not contain

14. This curriculum is important for what it contains and also for what it does not contain. It contains about two hours of math or science problem solving followed by about two hours of directed reading and a short essay each day - all self taught by the student. What it does not contain is also very important.

Although the children take piano lessons and engage in a rich variety of extracurricular activities oriented around our farm and laboratory, their formal curriculum consists of "reading, writing, and arithmetic" and nothing more. It also essentially has no teacher - a fact that I have come to realize can be an advantage.

The brain is never asleep. It continues to work and think 24 hours per day. If a brain gets used to the fact that it will actively work math problems for two hours at the same time each day and that it can understand and work those problems without error, it will also allot a significant part of its time during the other 22 hours to thinking subconsciously about mathematics. In this way understanding and performance are reinforced.

Each additional subject that is added to the curriculum creates a demand upon the brain's 24 hours of time. If an unnecessary subject is added, it wastes not only the curricular school time, but also a fraction of the extracurricular time. It is therefore important to be very careful not to add unnecessary subjects.

Our public schools and also many of our home schools have so many subjects in their curricula that the children's brains do not have time to give adequate attention to the fundamentally important subjects.

In the formative years, it is absolutely essential that children learn how to think and how to learn independently. They have a lifetime to accumulate facts and will do so more effectively if they acquire a correct foundation - not of facts, but of ability to read, think, and evaluate for themselves.

The ability to think is the most important. A very large percentage of our public school graduates lack the ability to think. Most of them can, however, articulate acceptably. When we give the brain a small number of the most important tools to learn and use, we give it an opportunity to learn to think.

Always remember that when you add a subject or activity to a child's schedule, you are subtracting from the time for something else. Is it really more important, for example, for the child to learn a foreign language than it is to learn error-free applied mathematics?

In Summary, the Children Educate Themselves

In summary, in this experiment, I have watched a group of children educate themselves in a far superior manner than I could have done for them if I had spent every waking hour teaching them in the usual manner. I am convinced that, had I done so, their progress would have been far less.

Although I have occasionally helped them with specific questions, that help has been so infrequent that they would have advanced almost as far if I had not helped. Moreover, the level of academic accomplishment that they have achieved is truly extraordinary.

Self-Taught but with Parental Discipline

This is not to say that they are not typical kids. If I had not set the rules and provided the curriculum, they would not have done this work. If I did not keep order and provide a reasonable environment in which they can work, they would cease to advance. When I ask them to do something, they do it - always. It is just not thinkable that it should be otherwise.

If I say quiet down, they do - for a while. Then I may need to say it again more forcefully. If I say spend five hours at their desks, they do - but I need to keep an eye out, or over a period of weeks the time may slide to four hours or whatever level they think credible. They are normal.

Nevertheless, open defiance by refusing to do whatever is asked by the parent is just not tolerable in any home. Perhaps we were lucky. I cannot remember any differences between Laurelee and me concerning discipline. In families where such differences exist, they should never be resolved in front of the child. Parental orders must always be followed - without exception (and without argument or complaint).

Children learn by example and by doing. They do not learn effectively by being lectured to or by vicarious involvement as in television viewing. Our educational method works, and it involves almost no parental time once the school room and curriculum have been provided and the rules have been established.

If I could make one further advance, it would be to provide a reading curriculum that is structured like the Saxon mathematics curriculum. There is an order in which literature should be read just as there is an order in which mathematics should be learned. With the children's help, we are now working on the development of such a literature curriculum. I would like to have it available, while there is still time to help these children with it.

Although this approach to education is unusual today, it is much closer to that utilized by many influential Americans of the past. Many of America's greatest citizens were largely self taught.

The Robinson Curriculum is Conceived

If I could make one further advance, it would be to provide a reading curriculum that is structured like the Saxon mathematics curriculum. There is an order in which literature should be read just as there is an order in which mathematics should be learned. With the children's help, we are now working on the development of such a literature curriculum. I would like to have it available, while there is still time to help these children with it. (Ed. This has now been done and the Robinson Curriculum is the result.)

Although this approach to education is unusual today, it is much closer to that utilized by many influential Americans of the past. Many of America's greatest citizens were largely self taught.

The public schools have not always been with us. Only recently have we had the resources to subject our children to the miracles of modern educational procedures. The principal miracle of the modern American educational system is that it can turn out citizens who are more poorly educated than they would have been if they had worked individually with no school whatever.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Common Questions & Concerns

Steps to an optimum self-teaching home school

I urge every parent to:

a) Remove your child or children from their group school - public or private.

b) Set aside a room in your home with a large desk for each child.

c) Remove all television sets from your home.

d) Remove all sugar and honey from the children's diet. At all meals, provide them with an unlimited amount of the most nutritious food that you can prepare. Avoid, if possible, the boxed and canned substitutes for good nutrition that are widely available. Since many of these substitutes contain sugar, they will not be on your list anyway.

e) Purchase a complete set of the Saxon math series of texts and answers.

f) Obtain the best library you can of literature, history, and introductory science books.

g) Give the children a large breakfast (We eat only two meals each day.), and then consign them to five hours of work as described above - six days per week at least ten months per year.

h) If possible, do your own work in or near the room in which the children are working. Don't talk to them. Just set an example by working hard yourself. This is probably especially important if there are only one or two children in the home. With six children, our school room has internal peer examples of studying that surround each student.

i) After their five hours is complete (no breaks except for the bathroom), go on about your personal lives.

j) When the oldest child is 15, obtain a set of SAT exams at your local bookstore and have the child take one of these tests every three or four months. This introduces test taking. (You may have noticed that our curriculum includes no examinations or tests.)

k) When each child finishes calculus, continue on with a college level physics text and a college level chemistry text on the same schedule as with the Saxon math. Be sure that these texts include lots of problems and an answer book for self-grading.

l) Children who have not yet learned to read require a brief period of special instruction. They must be taught to read by means of phonics. There are several good phonics programs. These consist of various procedures for teaching the sounds of letters and letter combinations and for gradually combining these into words and sentences.

Phonics is Essential

It is absolutely essential that reading be taught by phonics and not by the so-called "look-say" methods currently in vogue in the public schools. If the child is not taught to read correctly, then the entire school program which follows will be so difficult that the child will have a very great disadvantage.

This phonics instruction does require interaction with an instructor for a few weeks. The instructor can be a parent, an older brother or sister, or a hired teacher. After the child can read, then he or she should be encouraged to read several hours each day in books of gradually increasing difficulty in order to build reading skills and confidence. With no TV in the home, this reading will probably be spontaneous as it is in our home.

Without good reading skills, self-instruction is not possible. Moreover, progress in any educational pursuits will be very difficult.

1. Why not just regulate the TV?

Some questions that may be asked about this self-education procedure are:

1. Why not just regulate TV? After all, there are some good programs on TV, and it serves as a convenient babysitter for the toddlers. Moreover, the parents like to watch the evening news and occasional "specials."

a) Children learn by example. If you watch TV, then they will watch TV.

b) Children easily learn well reasoned and truthful absolutes. If TV is mentally harmful, then it is harmful and should be avoided always. How can it be harmful sometimes and not others? Why is it not good for the older children but all right for the younger children?

Children also easily understand that they are different from adults. While sugar and television are not good for adults, moderate amounts of these vices can be considerably less harmful to adults than to children in their formative years.

During a period of rapid brain development and general metabolic development and during a period when the brain is learning fundamental abilities, the diminution of its capabilities through TV and sugar is especially damaging.

c) TV is a passive medium that promotes a vicarious, non-interactive mental attitude. Nothing could be more destructive to the mental process that is required for academic achievement in a home school. The mind is awake and working 24 hours per day. Why spend part of the day teaching the brain good habits and then part of the day teaching it bad habits?

In a home with no TV, the effects of TV are especially easy to observe. Yesterday, for example, our family was visited by a large home school family that lives nearby and also has no TV. A previous visitor had given the children a Laurel and Hardy comedy video tape that they had not yet watched. (As I mentioned, our civil defense project was given a VCR and an old viewing screen with which we watch a video tape once every few months.)

All afternoon and into the evening our home was vibrating with dozens of games, piano playing, competitions, and conversations. The children were excitedly engaged in virtually everything including preparing dinner and doing the evening farm chores. Their brains were receiving exactly the sort of active recreation necessary to reinforce their academic studies.

Then Matthew, our five-year-old, remembered the video tape. He lobbied with everyone for viewing the tape. Finally, enough people succumbed that we turned on the tape. The party, of course, immediately died. No more active interaction - only passive laughing at the screen. Moreover, as Laurel and Hardy went through one of their routines, there was a short segment of can-can dancers that, while ridiculously prudish by 1990's standards, obviously made the mother of the visitors nervous and definitely should not have been shown to the kids.

Most American children are addicted to TV. Their brains spend four hours or more each day learning bad, passive habits from the TV and another few hours (if they are fortunate to have good activities,too) unlearning the bad habits. Then, if there are any hours left, they can make positive progress.

Moreover, when TV is used as a tranquilizer, it can mask other problems that should be solved early in life. Children need to work out the ways in which they interact with other people. Even though their behavior while doing so may be more distracting than their behavior when pacified by a television set, the TV may be retarding this aspect of development which is then undesirably transferred to the classroom instead.

A developing mind deserves the very best possible environment that can be provided to it. Since TV is a negative influence on that environment, no home with children under the age of 18 should have a television set.

d) If there is no TV in the home, it will not be missed and a discipline problem will not arise over its use.

2. Cutting out sugar seems impossible.

2. Cutting out sugar is almost impossible. Why can't we regulate that, too?

a) Sugar, especially when consumed by children with developing minds and bodies, has several deleterious effects - the least of which is tooth decay.

Sugar alters the metabolism in such a way as to increase the probability of diabetes, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and immune deficiencies that can lead to cancer and other fatal illnesses at a later age. Most importantly to a home school, sugar diminishes mental function and increases irritability and mental instability. Most children are able to learn regardless of these effects, but why burden them with this disadvantage?

These points about sugar have been expanded upon in several texts that may be available in your library. I recommend the books: Sweet and Dangerous by John Yudkin, Peter D. Wyden, Inc., 750 Third Ave, New York, NY 10017 (1972); Sugar Blues by William Dufty, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA (1975); and Food, Teens & Behavior by Barbara Reed, Natural Press, PO Box 2107, Manitowoc, WI (1983). These books contain a substantial number of appropriate references to the scientific literature.

b) Moreover, how are you going to teach the child that sugar is bad for him on some occasions and not on others?

This argument may sound good to a parent who wants to rationalize his or her own sugar addiction or who cannot face the possibility that past gifts of sugar to children may not have been wise, but it is unlikely to fool the kids.

c) Remember that we are not talking about naturally occurring amounts of sugar such as those present in fruits, vegetables, and virtually all foods.

In fact, if the children do not eat sugar, their taste receptors will adapt until they find the natural sweetness of food to be just as pleasurable as do the jaded taste receptors of a sugar addict when eating candy or honey.

Joshua (our 11 year old cook) makes his whole wheat bread from flour that he grinds from whole wheat kernels. He makes it entirely without sugar or other sweeteners. He does occasionally add some raisins. Even if, however, he adds no raisins or other fruits, his bread tastes sweet to us.

The problem with sugar is not that it is "refined" or in some other way an unnatural product. The problem is that modern technology has made it inexpensively available in enormous amounts.

 The average American child gets about 20% of his or her calories from sugar - a feat that was almost impossible until the advent of modern technology. Honey and molasses are just as harmful as refined sugar, since they are just alternate ways of eating much larger amounts of sugar than human metabolisms and minds were designed to encounter.

Sugar is entirely a natural product. When it is consumed only in the process of eating whole foods in their natural state, it is difficult to overdose. When it is concentrated by refining or when certain whole foods that contain huge amounts are eaten (such as honey or large amounts of concentrated orange juice or grape juice), it is possible to overdose.

3. I don't want my children to appear "different"

3. I don't want my children to be embarrassed by appearing "different" to other children who do eat candy and watch television.

a) On the contrary, we want our children not only to "appear" different but also to "be" different. The TV and cookie rules are a good place to reinforce this.

When you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you offer a prayer before that meal? Although Jesus clearly warned against prayer in public places for the purpose of pious appearance and approbation, we certainly should not avoid prayer because others are present. Moreover, a discreet prayer followed by a family dinner including quiet and well-behaved children (more likely if they are sugar-free) is a Christian testimony in public. In this event, the children do appear "different."

We want our children to be different. We want them to be different spiritually, academically, socially, mentally and physically from the norms that are currently established in the secular world.

We want them to know that their way is superior to the current way of the world.

The ban on sugar and TV is not only good for the children, it is also a good way of teaching them the virtues of their "differences."

This past Friday, 16-year-old Zachary took a practice SAT test here at home [1994 - Ed.]. His score was 800 (a perfect score) in math and 775 in verbal. While he is unlikely to do that well under the pressures of an actual exam in a room full of public school kids, I complemented him greatly - precisely because this was the most "different" score that he has achieved.

Should I have rather said, "Zachary you will need to miss a few more problems, so that you will not appear different." Or should I let him watch a little selective TV and munch a couple of candy bars before his next exam to make sure that his score is more "normal?"

4. I want to interact with the children in their studies.

4. I want to interact with the children in their studies. Perhaps they could learn alone if their parent could not spare time for them, but I am sure they will be better off with my help. Moreover this is "quality" time that we spend together.

It is hard to imagine a Christian home, with children present 24 hours per day and no time sinks such as television, where there is not as much or more quality child-adult interaction than the family members want or need. This interaction is an important part of learning. Books are certainly not the sole source of knowledge. 

That brain must learn by itself, function by itself, have confidence in itself, and achieve by itself.

However, just as you cannot insert a calculator into a child's brain so that he or she can think quantitatively, you cannot insert yourself into the child's brain as a life-long crutch. That brain must learn by itself, function by itself, have confidence in itself alone, and achieve by itself. You will not always be there to help with the academic answers. Also, if the child learns to depend upon you as a social and spiritual protective peer group, whom will he choose for that purpose when he enters the secular world? The possibilities in today's world are chilling indeed.

If a child receives too much individual attention, he can develop a dependency upon his teacher that is difficult to break. In this case, it is necessary to just let the child spend many unhappy hours alone at his desk. In time he will gradually start to work effectively on his own.

This may seem harsh and unfeeling to say, but you may well be harming a child when you go out of your way to help him with his studies, reward him with candy and TV, and build his self-esteem by not punishing him for misbehavior.

5. My child does not enjoy math and science.

5. My child is not likely to go into science or engineering, so he will not require a lot of mathematics. He does not enjoy math and science.

Our society is now entirely based upon the products of science and engineering. An individual who lacks an understanding of these disciplines is dependent upon those who do. Moreover, at the precollege level, these disciplines are the best way to learn logic and honest thought. An individual who cannot appreciate truth and logical deduction on the basis of first-hand experience is likely to become a drone who can do little else than parrot the statements of those around him. If math and science are learned correctly, they are enjoyable to most people. If they are not learned or are learned incorrectly, then they are not enjoyable.

6. My child is already partly through public schools

6. This all sounds utopian, but what about my child who is already partly through the public schools and needs remedial help? He cannot work on his own and is unwilling to learn in a rigorous environment. I must give him a simplified math program and things that "interest" him to do.

We must never become our children's worst enemy by catering to their problems.

I have never forgotten an experience that I had at the University of California at San Diego, UCSD, concerning the teaching of so-called "disadvantaged" minority students. At the time I was teaching introductory chemistry to a class of 300 first year students. I had selected the best text I could find - one which, if mastered by the student, gave an excellent and complete knowledge of all aspects of this subject. While there had been some complaints that the text was too difficult, the senior faculty had encouraged me to proceed without watering down the course.

One evening I was eating dinner with some graduate students at a restaurant in La Jolla when the door opened and a tough-looking character in a black leather jacket sauntered in and looked critically about the room. Much to my astonishment this fellow walked straight to our table and pulled up a chair. He knew the graduate students. He was a faculty member in the new college for minority students that had recently been formed at UCSD.

This unlikely successor to the traditions of Booker T. Washington then proceeded to treat us to a non-stop "black power" and "third world" extravaganza of rhetoric that left even the students a little restive in their chairs. As you might imagine, I was very quiet.

Finally, however, the discussion turned to academics and I ventured a comment. I stated that I made no distinctions between students in my chemistry course on any basis. I believed that every student must master the same material, so that he would be properly prepared in the subject. If the student, for any reason, was unable to master the material, the student should know that he had failed to do so. The course was always there for a second try.

At this point our new arrival (who was so different from me in every way) turned to me and said, "That's right! I am tutoring two students who are taking your course. It's a tough course, but you are right. Our worst enemies are these white liberal professors that teach watered down courses to our people and turn them into permanent second class citizens."

I doubt that any professor holding to my attitude (or perhaps even to his) would survive long in the academic world of today. In our home schools, however, this must be the way. We must never become our children's worst enemy by catering to their problems.

A public school student, who encounters a high quality, self-teaching home school curriculum for the first time, may sit for weeks staring at material that he or she is convinced is impossible or unreasonable. Let the student sit there. Eventually he will respond. If he does not, then at least you showed him the way to excellence - rather than showing him the way to mediocrity while dishonestly fooling him into thinking otherwise for the transient benefits of false hope and domestic tranquility.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Social Skills and Thinking

Concern: "I want my child to learn social skills."

7. "I want my child to learn social skills. The kids at the public school have problems, but in mixing with them my child will learn to articulate his views and to interact with people."

a) I rarely meet an adult who cannot articulate and relate to others. Yet a great many adults will not or cannot think. There are many people with whom the child will learn to relate, and these skills can, if necessary, be learned at a later time in life after the child has learned to think.

When I attended Caltech, 30 years ago, they accepted about 180 freshman students each year.

As a result of the exceptional academic standards that these young men (there were no girls admitted then) were required to meet, each class contained a large proportion of students who were quiet, studious, and relatively inexperienced in so-called "social skills."

I do not recall any member of my class who managed to emerge as a senior student, four years later, without social skills. These were just picked up as they were needed. On the other hand, had the students not had high academic skills when they arrived at Caltech, they would not have graduated at all. At 18 years of age, they were quite well able to pick up social skills. It was far too late at that age, however, for them to start to learn to think.

Where The Real Lack Of "Social Skills" Occurs

b) Modern "social skills" in children are often almost the opposite. When the children and I occasionally eat at a public restaurant during our automobile trips, sometimes one or two of the other customers (often older people) will pass by our table as they leave and stop to compliment the children on their behavior. This has happened on numerous occasions.

I rarely give instructions to them concerning behavior in public places and, without a mother in our home, their formal table manners in terms of utensil use, posture, and spilling leave quite a lot to be desired. The reason that they are frequently complimented is that they happen to lack some of the "social skills" of their public school counterparts. They don't understand that it is their duty, as well adjusted kids, to tear the restaurant apart. These other customers are so relieved to see a group of six kids quietly eating their dinner that they are moved to say something.

The children are always quiet around people they don't know - for a little while. Then they begin to act like kids - kids who, however, are not skilled in some of the techniques taught at our public schools.

On one of our trips this past year, the children were fortunate to have an opportunity to spend two days visiting the home of a famous scientist and his wife. He is a Nobel Prize winner whose accomplishments in his field of chemistry are unsurpassed. He and his wife raised a large family similar to ours.

It happened that, in an odd event that occurred, another individual who observed the children on that occasion criticized them as too quiet in their demeanor. The scientist told me about this later.

He said, "I kept telling him that children learn by example, but he just didn't believe me."

Two generations ago children were taught to be "seen and not heard." Our civilization has not suffered as a result. What I have learned from these children is that, without the peer group example in our public schools, this sort of behavior actually comes naturally.

The Goal Should Be To Teach Our Children To Think

c) The goal of our home schools should be to teach our children to think - and to think faster and better than we, ourselves do. We should want our children to surpass us in every way.

Often parents think about this in terms of a "better life" for their children - more wealth, more leisure, a larger house, and more "happiness." A truly better life, however, depends more importantly upon a better understanding of the world and a better comprehension of the worldly and spiritual matters taught to us in the Bible.

In order to gain that understanding and that comprehension, our children need above all else to develop their ability to think.

In this article I have related some of the positive experiences that we have had in our home school. It is a home school that has had an unusual history. These experiences lead me to suggest a particular sort of program for home schooling. This program has, I believe, some special advantages over other methods. If you follow this general program, you will, I believe, be astonished by the academic results and also enjoy the enormous benefits of keeping your family together during your best hours each day.

As the children and I have traveled this path, they have demonstrated to me many positive benefits of directed self-education.

In evaluating our experiences, we find that our single greatest unfilled need was for a directed, self-teaching literature curriculum that is designed to meet the criteria that we have found most useful.

Therefore, the children and I have decided, as a continuing exercise that is a part of their school itself, to start to create one. We wanted this curriculum for our own use as well as for other home schools.

That curriculum is now available here.


The Robinson Story - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Current Status and More

How the Robinson children are faring

An earlier biographical update of the happenings of Art Robinson and his family can be found at

The letter below by Art Robinson was in response to a request as to how the children are faring:

Matthew finished calculus at the age of 14. He is now 16 and working his way quite succesfully through our physics program. (This physics is at the level of Caltech freshman physics.) Matthew is entirely self-taught using the rules in our curriculum.

Zachary has a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

Arynne has a BS in chemistry.

Noah has a doctorate in chemistry from Caltech.

Bethany is studying for a BS in chemistry.

Joshua is studying for a BS in mathematics.

Both Zachary and Noah completed their BS degrees in chemistry with only two years of college work - they skipped the first two years by means of advanced placement exams.

All of the children have performed outstandingly in their academic work.

Noah has been the most remarkable. When he applied to graduate school, he was told by MIT that he was their top ranked applicant. Noah's academic record was especially outstanding. Added to this, his GRE scores were 800, 800, and 770 - two perfect scores and a 99 percentile. The GRE is a sort of SAT taken by those who aspire to graduate school. Scores this high are very rare.

Other than academics, the children are also doing quite well - by our standards. The "World" would think differently.

Best Regards,

Art Robinson

Below are excerpts of letters and articles by Art Robinson to homeschoolers concerning topics of general interest.

Details and Procedures

[To a mother who lives alone with her young daughter and who is thinking about removing here from public school and home schooling - but is worrying about all of the details and procedures.]

10 October 1998

Hi Xxxxxx, ...
An objective look at the products of public schools shows that, in most cases, the school has a net negative influence on the child. You not only can do a much better job, it would be virtually impossible for you to do worse. Realizing that most home school parents have no teaching experience and no special abilities or facilities, you may be interested in the following academic figures: [''Solid Evidence to Support Home Schooling'' by Michael P. Farris, The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 1997, p A18.]

In summarizing the Farris article in my newsletter, Access to Energy, I wrote:

"on a battery of tests in reading, listening, language, math, science, social studies, and study skills, where public school students average, by definition, 50th percentile, home schooled students average between the 80th and 87th percentiles with an overall score of 85th percentile.

"On reading tests, the home schooled whites, hispanics, and blacks all scored at the 87th percentile, while in math home schooled whites were at the 82nd percentile and minorities at the 77th percentile.

"In the tax-financed "public" schools, however, in reading tests whites were 57th, while blacks and hispanics were both at 28th. In math, whites were at the 58th, while hispanics were at the 29th and blacks were at the 24th. Imagine the howls of racism and child abuse that would be heard from the public schools and their unions if these numbers for home schools and public schools were reversed.

"The cost? Public school costs are $5,325 per student year compared with $546 per student year in home schools (excluding, in both cases, the capital costs of the buildings in which the students are taught). Using the 22 CD-ROM self-teaching home school curriculum developed by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, this cost drops to $49 per student year plus the cost of a computer (already present in half of American homes) and requires very little teacher time.

" . . . . . This academic performance is in significant part linked to the infinitely superior social and moral atmosphere of the home.

Why have children, the most precious blessing imaginable, and then turn them over to the state to raise - where their teachers will be a peer group of immature children refereed by disinterested government employees? Don't worry about all of the details. Simply decide that your daughter should not be exposed any longer to the degraded social, moral, and academic environment of a government institution, and then just keep her home. The rest will eventually work out wonderfully for you both regardless of what mechanics (which curriculum, etc.) you decide upon. If I had a seven-year-old daughter, I would not permit her to spend even one single day in a public school.

One added point: If you have your daughter at your side 24 hours per day, seven days per week, you will soon come to realize that your own life as well as hers has become immeasurably enriched. My children were 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, and 18 months when my wife died. While I then adopted a policy of always staying with them or of taking them with me wherever I needed to go - even on several trips across the country, I was especially protective of the baby boy because of his age. I even moved him into bed with me, so that I could watch at night to see that he was O.K. Well, he is still there; we have been virtually inseparable for 10 years; and we both have thrived so much from the experience that most people who know us are astonished. Add to this unusually close relations with all six children and I have had more happiness in the past 10 years than most people dare to even dream about. Now, they are 22, 20, 18, 16, 16, and 11, so, unhappily, I am running out of children - but they are becoming remarkable adults, so I have some great co-workers. To do this, however, both you and the child must know for certain that it is unthinkable that you would turn him (her) over to someone else for even a brief period. [Even before my wife died, we had a policy of always taking the children everywhere - never ever leaving them with anyone else.]

I lead an unusually rigorous life, so the children have been in some very unusual places. ... You have the great blessing of a seven-year-old girl. Keep her so close to you that the idea of having her away for even a few hours at any school - public or Christian - is just too ridiculous to even be considered.



State interference in family life. Languages

It is unfortunate that your state requires a "cover school." Even at the low price you are paying, the cover over 12 years will cost twice as much as the entire cost of teaching materials, etc. for a twelve year period. Maybe you should eventually start your own cover school. It sounds like a lucrative game.

I just returned from three days in California. On the news (there) was a new ruling by the state that all children must complete kindergarten in a state approved institution before they are permitted in the first grade. They keep moving earlier the time at which they contrive to seize the children. Also, while I was gone, a call came from a mother in Nevada who has just had her 10 and 12-year-old children (she has a total of two) seized by a swat team with guns, handcuffs (for her), etc. This stemmed from her taking one of the children to the emergency room (for what turned out to be a false alarm). After they had her children, the state changed the charge to "educational neglect." She now wants to get our curriculum as a low cost way of having better materials to show the state.

Getting her children back will be the hard part. The state receives about $100,000 from the federal government for each child they seize - which then goes to pay the people who seize them and their various associates who "care" for the children. The state of New Jersey made a grab for my children a few years ago when we were vacationing there. We escaped - fortunately, since the "child protective" industry in New Jersey stood to gain over a half-million dollars in federal money by taking them. They had Matthew (then 7) in their clutches for about a day and were after the others. Virtually their entire investigation of me revolved around finding out how much money I had - so that they could determine how hard I would be able to fight them.

A man and six children in a pickup truck (cab type) were just too great a temptation to them. A detective with a gun grilled a scientist we were visiting.- for about two hours (this scientist happens to have the Nobel Prize in Chemistry).. He repeatedly told the scientist that the primary suspicious characteristic of my children was that they were "too quiet." The scientist (who, with his wife, also raised six children) kept telling him that children learn by example, but the guy just would not believe him.

Why not let Xxxxx learn languages in her recreational time? The restriction to solely essential subjects applies only to at-the-desk formal (best hours in the day) study time. This only occupies about five hours. She will be awake for 14-16 hours. With an hour out for meals, she still has 8-10 hours per day. Learn the languages then.

I hope the curriculum meets your expectations. It really works exceptionally well - especially for children who start it at an early age. Never forget, however, the really important part - Keep Your Child OUT of the World. (Get rid of that television altogether. I know one man who took his out on the back porch and shot it. This is extreme, but do you really want to give this trouble to someone else? Destruction of the thing is the best option.)Then she will grow up naturally - and without the impediments and faults that are taught by the world (but are not naturally a part of a developing human being). With usually quite modest amounts of discipline, children grow into wonderful young adults - if they are not distracted. Surely, some manage this anyway regardless of circumstances - but why make it difficult for them and also risk failure?



The New Jersey incident. What motivates bureaucrats.

Art responds to a question about something mentioned in one of his talks.

The New Jersey episode went as follows:

We all traveled together in those days because the children were then ages 7, 12. 12. 14. 16. And 18 and there is only one parent. I still prefer not to have them away (ages now 11-22). All of us speak by telephone every day (usually during an evening Bible reading).

We were then on a trip in a pickup truck (two doors with back seat) and were visiting Dr. R. B. Merrifield, a scientist at Rockefeller University who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for being the first to synthesize an enzyme and for the development of related techniques. Rockefeller University is in New York City and, for the visit, we were all dressed in the best clothes we had with us. The plan was to visit the lab at Rockefeller and then spend the weekend at Dr. Merrifield's home in New Jersey.

Matthew had developed a cough, so Dr. Merrifield suggested that Mrs. Merrifield could make an appointment with a pediatrician. The Merrifield's raised several children, but all were grown, so she just picked a pediatric clinic from the yellow pages. We arrived there after hours at 5:30 p.m., so two women M.D.s and two nurses were on after-hours duty.

Matthew and I went in, while the other five children waited in the truck. After an about one-half hour wait and following the quickest physical exam I have ever seen, one of the pediatricians announced that Matthew appeared to have a very serious, rapidly fatal bacterial infection - which could be stopped only by immediate hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. I called our pediatrician in Oregon, who told me that the disease, while rare, did exist - and he could not, of course, advise about Matthew without seeing him.

So, the other children went on to the Merrifield's, while Matthew, Arynne, and I went to the hospital. (Arynne also had a cough, but wound up sleeping in the pickup that very cold night because the hospital would not allow her inside unless I admitted her.) Curiously, the Dr. did not suggest examination of the other children who had, presumably, been exposed to this dread and contagious illness. The admitting physician at the hospital seemed confused, since she could find nothing wrong with Matthew other than a bad cold - but she dutifully ordered a set of x-rays and administered the IV and an intermittent respirator, while telling me "you have nothing to worry about" and commenting that our Dr. must have "a very low threshold." I was later to learn that the hospital record code number for Matthew designated "admitted for reasons other than a medical emergency."

What I did not know throughout that night at Matthew's bedside was that, when we visited the clinic, one of the staff members noticed the truck and asked the children to talk with her and to get out of the truck. She, being a stranger, they refused to do either. The Dr. then called New Jersey social services and a plan to trap us through hospitalizing Matthew was decided upon. My first warning was when a woman from New Jersey social services appeared in the hospital room late the next morning backed (in the hallway outside) by two men with guns - one detective and one police officer. She repeatedly demanded that I leave the room to meet with them, which I, fortunately, refused to do.

The interrogation of me that followed (in the room with her running back and forth to talk to the men outside) then centered almost exclusively upon our finances. How much money was in my wallet? How much did our home cost? Where did we get the money to buy it? Etc. In retrospect, I believe that their main purpose was to determine whether or not we were wealthy enough to fight them. After a couple of hours, they demanded to see the other children. So, after reaching an agreement that, if I left Matthew's room, I would be permitted to go back in, we drove to the Merrifields - detective, social worker, and me.

Since we refused the social worker's demand to see the children alone, she questioned them in the presence of Mrs. Merrifield and me - while the detective questioned Dr. Merrifield in another room. Before beginning, the social worker gave us a short talk on how good she was with children. After a couple of hours of this, the two conferred and then left. Professor Merrifield told me that the detective said the most suspicious evidence was that the children were "too quiet." Dr. Merrifield said he kept telling the guy that children learn by example, but he wouldn't believe him.

Back at the hospital, they still refused to release Matthew. However, after I agreed to participate in meetings and examinations the next morning, they let him out. We, of course, immediately drove out of the state.

When I asked later for the state records of this episode, I was told that they were sealed. I was not to be allowed to read them.

Several things should be realized. First, most states have passed laws allowing them to receive child abuse money from the federal government. When a child is seized, these programs provide over $100,000 per child which pays the people who seize the child and their retainers in the police dept., child services, foster homes, etc. Our family was worth at least $500,000 to the social services industry of New Jersey. Second, these laws specify that certain professionals - including MDs - are guilty of a serious crime if, knowing about a potential case - they do not report it. Therefore, at the clinic, once one of the staff had raised a question about the children, all of the staff members were at serious personal risk if they did not call the "social services" people. The ruse they then participated in order to snatch Matthew was, of course, highly unethical. It was after hours and the child services people needed time to get their act and paperwork together. Third, Matthew's need for child protection was, as far as I was able to determine, of little interest to these people. If we had been relatively poor and had not been visiting a famous man. I am sure that all six children would have been seized - and I would have been involved in a long fight to get them back. Even if successful, this fight would have devastated our work, since it would have been waged 3,000 miles from home.

At present. There are more than a million allegations of child abuse each year. 80% are dropped - but usually after the children have been seized and interrogated. About 200,000 children are currently incarcerated in locations away from their parents. Federal funding of this now stands at about $3 billion per year. This pays about $100,000 per child for the seizure and institutionalization of 30,000 children per year. States supply similar amounts of money. After the child has been processed and placed in a "foster home," Yearly tax-financed expenditures are less.

Teaching Students to Think

From: Access to Energy: A Pro-Science, Pro-Technology, Pro-Free Enterprise Monthly Newsletter
AUGUST 2000 (Vol. 28, no. 1) Box 1250, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523
Copyright 2012? 2000 by Access to Energy

   Teaching Students to Think

by Dr. Arthur B. Robinson

 We live today largely in a trust-and-parrot society. This fact and the erosion of our government from a republic into a poll-driven democracy is costing us our freedom. Those who would enslave us have gained the trust of our people and have taught them that anything goes so long as the majority approves. This is the tyranny of mob rule, but they do not realize it.

...I have concluded that the teaching of math and science, if done in an appropriate manner, can add greatly to the student's inclination and ability to think.

To be sure, not all Americans have fallen into these traps. We associate ourselves personally with people of similar interests and inclinations to our own, so each of us tends to think of our society as made up of the people we see around us. It is difficult to integrate our observations over 260 million people except by evaluating their aggregate actions. Those actions tell a sorry tale.

 More than half of our economic freedom has disappeared into a federal, state, and local tax system that confiscates over 50% of our earnings. We are surrounded by capricious and irrational controls, such as the massive web of "environmental" regulations, which is largely based upon self-serving political claims rather than reality. Every newspaper and magazine is brim-full of items that a thinking individual would designate for "Stark Raving Mad."

 This is, of course, the key ? a thinking individual. Our people do not think. They simply mimic the claims of others, communicated to them largely through television, and pretend that they are thinking. The media launches a particular propaganda campaign; the pollsters monitor its results; and, when the polls indicate that over 50% of the people now parrot the propaganda, unprincipled politicians act on it.

 We cannot change this entire system overnight or even in one generation, but how do we ensure that those for whom we are personally responsible do not succumb? How can we teach them to think?

 On the basis of our experience with home schooling ? we now have, through our curriculum, about 40,000 students - I have concluded that the teaching of math and science, if done in an appropriate manner, can add greatly to the student's inclination and ability to think. This should begin at an early age.

First, let me assure you that this course of study can be followed successfully by most students.

 Our curriculum requires that, during the first year of school, the student learn to read well and also learn the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables through 12s by instant, rote memory. These tables are learned primarily by flash card exercises after an initial period in which the student learns their conceptual meanings. Most students are ready for this first year at some time between ages 5 and 7, girls being ready a little earlier than boys.

 After this initial year, the student starts with the Saxon 5/4 arith metic book and progresses at his own pace through the nine Saxon books, including calculus. A fixed number of problems are worked each day, with the number metered so that the student fmishes in two or three hours and has an average error rate on the initial attempt of less than 5%. The student grades his own paper and then must find the correct solutions to any missed problems. Most children are capable of finishing calculus between ages 14 and 17.

 A key requirement is that the student never be helped with his math. He is learning problem solving ? not the solutions to problems. If the student says he cannot work a problem, the response is that he will just have to remain at his desk until he figures out the solution. If started early in life, rarely if ever will a problem remain unsolved. In any case, even if there is such a problem, it should remain un solved. Never should it be worked for the student.

 After the student finishes calculus, he begins calculus-based physics and, after that, chemistry. These subjects are handled in the same way. The student reads the text and solves the problems without any help whatever, if he has trouble, he rereads the text and thinks about it until he finds a solution.

 Science is not taught to the student before he finishes mathematics through calculus. It is never taught as facts to be memorized. This precludes early science courses because, until he has the needed math skills, the student is not able to figure out solutions for himself. He is only able to trust and parrot, a habit that is to be avoided.

 First, let me assure you that this course of study can be followed successfully by most students. We have substantial experience that demonstrates this. Math and science problem solving can become, like most other tasks, simply a job that the student knows he can and must complete each day. Helping the student, on the other hand, robs him of the benefits of the more difficult problems and breeds a dependency that removes his confidence in his own thoughts.

 Today, my 13-year-old Matthew is sitting at a desk near the one at which I am writing. He is halfway through Advanced Math, the book before Calculus. Matthew has an unusual string of seven straight days with 100% right answers going. He is trying for an eighth. His perfect scores will undoubtedly soon end, but consider his mind set. Matthew is not a genius. He is an ordinarily bright boy who has, for seven years, been working his math by himself - math that has gradually increased in complexity. He knows that he can assemble a set of facts and deduce a right answer by thinking for himself. He does so every morning except Sunday.

If you want a man to think, put him in a position where he must think, every day.

 Matthew does not know much about "science" at all ? only that encountered in hobbies. He will not know science until he is able to do it by himself ? beginning with calculus problems based upon Newton's laws in introductory physics. Other l3-year-olds are being taught "science." That is to say that they are being taught to trust and parrot facts about science that adults are giving them to memorize. While gaining this skill to mimic what they are told, they are not learning to reason for themselves. They have "help" with their problems and physics books that use no calculus ? instead giving them formulas to memorize because they are unable to derive them.

 If you want a man to think, put him in a position where he must think, every day, for the months and years that he is growing up. if you want him to trust and parrot, give him lots of practice in memorizing things told to him by authorities. The choice is clear and the results are as expected.

 Math and science are not just for scientists and engineers. They are a great blessing which the advance of human knowledge has made available to everyone. Properly incorporated into early education, they can markedly enhance the ability to think and to think with confidence ? a trait that must be maintained in order to preserve freedom.

Teaching Math

"New Report Urges Return to Basics In Teaching Math" by John Herhinger, The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2006, p. A1, reports that even the tax-financed social engineers in the American public schools are becoming nervous about having abandoned the teaching of fundamental mathematics.

American public schools are becoming nervous about having abandoned the teaching of fundamental mathematics.

American students scored 15th in the world in a recent international math exam. The average American score was 504 - not even close behind Singapore in first place with 605 and Japan in fifth place with 570, out of a possible 1,000.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, that worthy organization of 100,00 "educators" who are directly responsible for this debacle, now recommends a return to the teaching of multiplication tables and long division and less use of calculators.

An example of the sort of problem these people have been posing to American students: "To solve a basic division problem, 120 divided by 40, students might cross off groups of circles to 'discover' that the answer is three."

Never having had the disadvantage of control of our home school curriculum by the unionized public school mob, we have always emphasized the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic ? earning the Robinson curriculum first place in Curriculum and Literature in a national poll of the readers of Practical Home Schooling magazine this year, surpassing all other home school curriculums.

"Extreme Juggling: Parents Home-School The Kids While Holding Full-Time Jobs" by Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2006, P. D1, reports that, "Students using the Robinson Curriculum, for example, a program popular among working parents for its emphasis on independent problem-solving, have doubled in five years to an estimated 60,000 students ... "

In our curriculum, after understanding these concepts, students learn their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables by instant rote memory during the first year. Then, typically at the age of 6 or 7, they begin self-teaching math - with a book that is of the ordinary public school level for 4th and 5th graders. Moving along smoothly, a good student can finish calculus at age 14, although many require until 15 or 16. This leaves plenty of time for self-study of chemistry and calculus-based physics after math is completed. All of this is self taught, without teacher intervention.

In public schools, students are taught by inferior methods and all are kept in a holding pattern at a very low level of skill until the poorest students can use their hand calculators. Physics, if it is taught at all, is usually of a non-calculus kind that consists primarily of just plugging numbers into equations that the students do not derive.

Public school students are, of course, just as intelligent as our home schooled students, but without good study habits, a good study environment, and a good course of study, they fall far behind the level of accomplishment that they could have achieved.

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RC Upgrade from 2.0 to 2.2

For Owners of Version 2.0 (1997 - 2002)

Version 2.2 of the Robinson Curriculum is now available as an upgrade for current owners of Version 2.0.  You have Version 2.0 if your CD Disk 1 has "Version 2.0" on the label.  The upgrade consists of a new CD Disk 1.   This Upgrade is compatible with Windows XP.

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  1. A revised Course of Study.
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An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Robinson Radio Online

Firestorm Chat - Homeschooling Alternative

An interview with Art Robinson by Gary North.  Length 1 Hr 18 min.

Firestorm Chat - Homeschooling Alternative

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Vol 19 #8 Copyright 20121999 Dominion Tapes PO Box 1014  Colleyville TX 76034

Art Robinson Interview with John Saxon of Saxon Math

In this rare interview Dr. Robinson speaks with John Saxon, the author of the Saxon Math books we recommend for use with the Robinson Curriculum (RC customers get a 20% discount from OISM on these books).

The interview is full of great insights into what makes this math program so effective and essential to your homeschool.

"Understanding more often than not follows doing rather than precedes it.  If I'm going to teach you how to drive, I don't lecture you on the theory of the internal-combustion engine. I get you behind the wheel of the car and drive around the block." - John Saxon

This interview is the only audio of John Saxon available today and presents a rare and unique opportunity to hear the real story of Saxon Math from the author himself.  The value is further enhanced by Dr. Robinson's insights on how to maximize the benefit of Saxon Math by using it in a self-teaching homeschool using the Robinson methodology.

Art Robinson Interviews John Saxon 16K MP3 Length: 1 Hour 28 min.

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Copyright 20121995 Wave Publications "Where's the Evidence" Series Nov. 1995

The Virtual Robinson Curriculum Seminar

Recently Dr. Robinson spoke in Southfield, MI about homeschooling. The whole evening was captured on tape and is now presented here.

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Self-Teaching and Academic Excellence - 45.0 Min.    MP3  


Questions and Answers:

Homeschooling and social interaction - 3.7 Min.   MP3
Can anyone homeschool? - 2.0 Min. MP3

Where do I start my child in the curriculum? - 2.0 Min. MP3

What about spelling, grammar, and syntax? - 3.5 Min. MP3
What about Latin and Greek? - 2.7 Min.  MP3

What feedback have you had from users? - 2.3 Min. MP3
What is the most common objection you hear? - 1.4 Min MP3
Christianity in the curriculum - 1.3 Min MP3
Academics and faith in the curriculum - 1.7 Min MP3

Books vs. Video and Animation - 2.3  MP3

Vocabulary Flash Cards - 1.7 Min. MP3
Vocabulary and the value of oral learning - 5.0 Min. MP3

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) - 0.7 Min. MP3
Learning differences - 1 Min. MP3
Learning disabilities and math - 2.4 Min. MP3
Dyslexia and other disorders - 0.7 Min. MP3

Printing expense - 2.0 Min. MP3
Cost of printing out books - 1.0 Min. MP3
Screen reading software - 1.3 Min.  MP3
Windows and Mac versions - 1.7 Min. MP3

Motivation and discipline - 2.5 Min. MP3
Sugar and television - 5.5 Min. MP3

The day's schedule and meals - 1.8 min. MP3
Team sports - 1.5 Min.  MP3

Navigating the college mess - 5.3 Min.   MP3

Downloadable files

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Self-Teaching and Academic Excellence - a Zip file - 2.6 MB

Questions and Answers - a Zip file - 3.4 MB

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From the Easy Chair with Sam Blumenfeld

An interview with Sam Blumenfeld by RJ Rushdoony.  Length 51 min.

From the Easy Chair - Homeschooling


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From the Education MP3 CD at - used with permission.

RC Audio CD - Hours of listening

All of the files presented here and more are now available on this combination Audio and Data CD.  You get about one hour's worth when you play it on your regular CD player; put it in your computer and you get another 7 hours or so with a super easy-to-use, goof-proof guide to everything. 

One special item is the Preparing for University speech Dr. Robinson gave in February 2004 in Beaver Creek, Oregon, a must-have for parents with older students.

You also get some tracks of Art Robinson talking with some homeschoolers in a relaxed family room setting you won't find anywhere else.

Its great for new users, RC veterans, and newcomers wanting to know what its all about.

It also contains a printable version of this website for your off-line friends.

Let us know if you need more than one as quantity discounts are available.

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 Robinson Curriculum
Audio CD  


An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Superb Educational Results

... with Far Less Teacher Time

They teach themselves to think.

From phonics to physics, these 22 CDs and a set of Saxon math books are all that you need to give your children a superior education. You can use this curriculum to supplement your children's current schooling or as a stand-alone education using the included self-study methods.

The Robinson children teach themselves (as do the 60,000 children now using this system) ­ so well that their 11th and 12th grade work is equivalent to high quality 1st and 2nd year university instruction in science, history, literature, and general education.

They also teach themselves study habits that do not depend upon planned workbooks, teacher interaction, and other aids that will not be available later in life.

They teach themselves to think.

Dr. Robinson has spent less than 15 minutes per day teaching all six children...

Many home schools are limited by the burden of teaching that is placed on parents. Dr. Robinson has spent less than 15 minutes per day teaching all six children ­ ages 6 through 18. Yet, both of his oldest students scored over 1400 on the SAT (over 1500 on the new SAT) and received two years of advanced placement in college. The younger children are doing as well.

Teach your children to teach themselves and to acquire superior knowledge as did many of America's most outstanding citizens in the days before socialism in education.

Give children access to a good study environment and the best books in the English language and then ­ get out of their way! All Curriculum books may be viewed on the computer screen and printed with included software.

This unique curriculum will save you hours of teaching time each day and will give your students an opportunity to develop superior knowledge and life-long study habits.

One caution ­ do not use this curriculum unless you are willing for your children to be academically more learned than you.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Complete 12-Year Education

Most importantly, this curriculum teaches children to think

... give your students an opportunity to develop superior knowledge and superb life-long study habits.

If you could only have one home school resource, this curriculum would be the one. Developed by an outstanding scientist and his six home schooled children with the help of their professional and personal co-workers, the curriculum offers self-taught preparation of children for the modern world. This includes education in math, physical science, history, literature, economics, and general studies.

Most importantly, this curriculum teaches children to think productively and provides them with study procedures that will facilitate learning when they become adults. The curriculum includes a program of self study that requires almost no teacher interaction. This unique curriculum will save you hours of teaching time each day and will give your students an opportunity to develop superior knowledge and superb life-long study habits.

In 1988, Laurelee Robinson, Dr. Robinson's wife, and also a scientist, had accumulated several filing cabinets filled with teacher-based home school materials from many different sources. She was actively schooling their children - Zachary age 12, Noah, age 10, Arynne age 8, Joshua age 6, and Bethany age 6. Matthew, age 16 months, was not yet in school.

Then, in a sudden illness lasting less than 24 hours, Laurelee Robinson died. With responsibility for his wife's work as well as his own, Dr. Robinson was not able to utilize most of the home school materials she had gathered. These materials required a teacher.

In the years that followed, he and the children developed a home school that requires almost no teacher time.

In the years that followed, he and the children developed a home school that requires almost no teacher time. Moreover, this was done using specific, exceptionally high quality books and study methods that he knew would prepare the children for outstanding university performance.

Using techniques that he and his most accomplished colleagues use in their own work, Dr. Robinson's primary goals were to teach the children to think effectively, to learn independently, and to be well prepared with the basic skills and knowledge that must be learned early in life.

Note: All materials are to be printed out and assigned to the students as directed in the Course of Study.  Only the parents are to use the computer (with the exception of a computer based vocabulary drill tester for older students).

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Four Keys to Learning

Environment, Habits, Course of Study, High Quality Books

The keys to this are study environment, study habits, course of study, and high quality books.

The self-teaching home school that the Robinson children developed has been so effective that each of the children is far surpassing Dr. Robinson's own accomplishments at equivalent ages - even though he was, himself, so well prepared that he was accepted by MIT, Harvard, Rice, and CalTech. After graduation from CalTech and then the University of California at San Diego, he was immediately given a faculty position at UCSD and was considered one of the best prepared young scientists of his generation.

Children using this curriculum are able to advance at their own rate ...

Moreover, this teaching program requires almost no teacher interaction. It is not dependent upon the teachers individual education, and it routinely allows the student to acquire skills and knowledge that are beyond those of their parents.

Academic knowledge is in books. Each child must learn to extract and use that knowledge to the greatest extent that his or her abilities permit. This curriculum enables the student to learn these skills with very little teacher help, and it provides the student with 120,000 pages of knowledge from the greatest science, history, literature, economics, reference, and general education books in the English language. These are reinforced by frequent and appropriate examinations.

Home schooling not only provides a superior childhood and family environment, it also has potential to transform American society by building new generations of more capable young adults. Home schooling is, however, often held back by the academic education of the parents or by their lack of time to become home school teachers.

The Robinson Curriculum solves both of these problems. Children using this curriculum are able to advance at their own rate through learning of skills and facts whether or not their parents have this knowledge - and to do so on their own without an active teacher. The Robinson Home School Curriculum Version 2.2 is an extraordinary system of home-education that exceeds, in quality and effectiveness, any other home-school curriculum - and at a very low price.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Independent of Parent Skills

Children Learn Whether Parents Have Skills and Time or Not

This teaching program requires almost no teacher interaction. It is not dependent upon the parent's individual education, and it routinely allows the students to acquire skills and knowledge that are beyond those of the parents.

Books contain knowledge that children need.  Each child must learn to extract and use that knowledge to the greatest extent that his or her abilities permit. This curriculum enables the student to learn these skills with very little teacher help, and it provides the student with 120,000 pages of knowledge from the greatest science, history, literature, economics, reference, and general education books in the English language. These are reinforced by frequent and appropriate examinations.

The Robinson Curriculum solves both these problems.

Home schooling not only provides a superior childhood and family environment, it also has potential to transform American society by building new generations of more capable young adults. Home schooling is, however, often held back by the academic education of the parents or their lack of time to become home school teachers.

The Robinson Curriculum solves both these problems. Children using this curriculum are able to advance at their own rate through learning of skills and facts whether or not their parents have this knowledge - and they do so on their own without an active teacher. The Robinson Home School Curriculum Version 2.2 is an extraordinary system of home education that exceeds, in quality and effectiveness, any other home school curriculum - and at a very low price.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Curriculum Contents List

120,000 Pages of Outstanding Materials

 Robinson Features

  • Books
  • Encyclopedia
  • Dictionary
  • Science Texts
  • Fast Software
  • Special Illustrations 
  • Examinations
  • Language Skills 
  • Phonics & Arithmetic
  • Vocabulary
  • Course of Study

The Robinson Home School Curriculum Version 2.2 includes:

  1. Books: More than 250 very high quality books. Academic knowledge is in books - especially books that are carefully chosen.  See 'Best Books' below.

  2. Encyclopedia: The complete 30,000 page 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica with special on­screen reading software for its use. The 1911 Britannica is generally acknowledged to have been the greatest encyclopedia ever written. Its depth of knowledge and the erudition of its text are remarkable. For the 98% of recorded history that occurred before 1911, this is the most definitive source.

  3. Dictionary: The complete 400,000 word 1913 Webster's Dictionary with special on­screen software for its use. This dictionary contains five times as many words as the original Webster's dictionary and yet preserves the literary beauty of the original work.

  4. Science Texts: All of the required science books and answer keys.  (Current Caltech 101 Science texts.)  Also included are advanced science texts for use by students with unusual ability.

  5. Fast Software: Software that operates very quickly in both the on-screen viewing and printing modes. The on-screen viewing software is the best of its type available anywhere. High quality "scale-to-gray" gives your screen a 300% increase in virtual resolution to look as much like paper as possible. Flying magnifier makes details easy to check out. Maximize mode lets you take full advantage of your screen real estate to display pages by temporarily removing all but the essential page navigation controls.

    Minimum computer requirements are a Windows-compatible 386 or higher with 16 MB RAM and Windows 3.1.  Of course, the curriculum runs faster on a Pentium with Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 or with Windows XP.    Actually, you do not need to own a computer at all - you just need access to a computer with which you can print materials from the CDs as needed.

  6. Special: A large number of woodcut illustrations with special emphasis on early American history and geography. Especially noteworthy are over 1,000 detailed woodcuts of civil war events that were produced before 1890 from sketches by individuals, including many famous figures, who actually participated in the war. Study of this collection of illustrations and the accompanying narrative gives the student a very clear understanding and visualization of the events.

    Also of special interest is a very beautifully illustrated travelogue of the United States published in 1872. This provides an unusual opportunity to see our country ­ both its cities and its wilderness ­ in the era before it was extensively populated and developed.

    Also included is the original King James Version of the Bible - the 1st Issue of the 1st Edition in 1611 (The Great He Bible). This volume is noteworthy for its beauty and historical significance. It is the foundational book of the Curriculum.

  7. Examinations:  Over 50 SAT style examinations with answer keys.   The advanced tests being in essay form.  Tests follow specific books.   Also included are bonus exams for the Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis.
  8. Language Skills:  Penmanship Practice pages by Bethany Robinson,  extensive Grammar Text written especially for the Robinson Curriculum  by Jane Orient with Primer,  Main Course and Reading Passages, Answers to the Grammar Exercises and Basic American English Spelling.
  9. Phonics & Arithmetic:  Printable flash cards for phonics and arithmetic (all that is required before Saxon 54). These flash cards are easily made with any computer printer.  (See books 503 and 504 in the Books list.)

  10. Vocabulary:  This 6,400 word vocabulary program assures that the student's reading produces an active vocabulary (words used spontaneously in writing and speaking) rather than a passive vocabulary (words understood, but not actively used).

    a. Vocabulary list in flashcard format with word ­ definition and word ­ sentence for each of the 150 books in the core read order.  On average, about two­-thirds of the words and sentences in each list are actually drawn from the books themselves.  The other third are drawn from previous SAT exams. 

    b. The flash cards also appear in a second iteration with book numbers printed on each card and both Sentence and Definition appearing on the same card.  The format is more traditional.  (See book 502 in the Books list.)

    c. The curriculum also includes a complete set of printable Vocabulary Exercises.  Each book has its own set, or sets of exercises.  Each of the words for that book are represented in every exercise and these include:

    - Vocabulary List - a list of the words and definitions
    - Word Find - containing the vocabulary words as clues
    - Crossword Puzzle - with clues to words across and down
    - Word Find - containing definitions as clues 
    - Matching Game - matching words with definitions

    d. For the older student there is an on­screen vocabulary exerciser that tracks the student's progress and adjusts his lessons to emphasize those words with which he is having the most difficulty.

    This is followed by the answer keys to all the exercises. (See book 501 and 503 in the Books list.)
  11. Course of Study:   A 100 page discourse by Dr. Art Robinson discussing all the aspects of a self-teaching homeschool which also incorporates the experiences of the many families who have found this to be most effective in their own homes.  12 sections in all:  Overview, Introduction, Self-Teaching, Study Environment, Science and Mathematics, Vocabulary, Examinations, Oral Learning, Books, Books to Buy, Ordering and Registration, Newsletter Vol. lll, No.12.  This is essential reading ... and rereading.   It takes a concentrated effort to get on a different track for our children and deprogram ourselves from an institutional model of dependent learning.   

With over 14 gigabytes of information on 22 CD-ROMs conveniently organized in a durable metal case and accessed with simple, user-friendly software, it can be honestly said that there is not now any home school curriculum for sale anywhere that provides as high a quality home school education as does this Robinson Home School Curriculum Version 2.2.

The Best Books by the Best Authors

Sample Books:

? McGuffey's Readers
? The Rover Boys
? Hans Brinker
? Little Women
? Robinson Crusoe
? Heidi
? Up From Slavery
? Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
? Treasure Island
? Economics in One Lesson
? The Federalist Papers
? The Enterprising Americans

Sample Authors:

? Daniel Defoe
? Rudyard Kipling
? Longfellow
? Horatio Alger, Jr.
? Murray Rothbard
? John Bunyan
? Jules Verne
? Arthur Conan Doyle
? Charles Dickens
? William Shakespeare
? John Calvin
? John Locke
? Isaac Newton

Following is a small sampling of the books and authors that are a part of the Robinson Curriculum.

The Life of George Washington by Josephine Pollard. "The main purpose of the work [is] to give to its young readers a distinct and vivid idea of the exalted character and priceless services of Washington." Other books by Pollard: Our Hero General Grant, Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the New World, The Bible for Young People

Original Children's Classics: Bobbsey Twins (11 volumes); Tom Swift adventures (8 volumes); 26 Horatio Alger volumes; Five Little Peppers and How They Grew; Heidi; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms; The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades by G.A. Henty

History: Life of George Washington by Washington Irving; War Between the States by Alexander Stephens; The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis; The Life of Stonewall Jackson by R.L. Dabney; Picturesque America: A Delineation by Pen and Pencil, 2 volumes edited by William Cullen Bryant

Economics: The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Geography: The Heart of the Antartic; My African Journey by Winston Churchill

Autobiographies, firsthand accounts: Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant; Diaries of George Washington; The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; David Crockett's Autobiography; The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt; Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman; Lincoln's Speeches and Letters; The Soldier in Our Civil War, a unique collectors two-volume account by those who fought, including some 1,000 illustrations by artists who were present at the events.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Math, Phonics, Course of Study

20% Discount on Saxon Math Books

Mathematics is a key element in early education. Not only is mathematics the language of science, mathematics also teaches mental discipline and rigorous rational reasoning.

The Robinson Curriculum uses Saxon math books and a unique study method that markedly enhances their effectiveness and the student's progress.

Everything required for 12 years of home-education is on these 22 CD-ROMs with the exception of nine Saxon math books - starting with Saxon 54 and extending through Saxon Calculus. A coupon allowing purchase of these books at a 20% discount from the ordinary retail price comes with each set of 22 CDs. Each student usually finishes these books by age 14 to 16, so about one book per year is needed, depending on the student's individual rate of progress. (Ed. To know where to start older children, you can click here to find the free Saxon Math placement exams.)

The curriculum is not divided by "grade" levels.

The curriculum is not divided by "grade" levels. Each student simply moves up a seamless road of knowledge at whatever rate of progress his abilities and study habits permit. We omit grade levels because they have become a means by which student achievement is normed to public school academic levels. These schools have, however, fallen very far behind the academic levels that were common even in the public schools of earlier generations. Children should not be deprived of the chance for a superb education by subjecting them to the failed standards of public schools.

Phonics and then Self-Teaching

...with some teacher help in learning phonics and understanding arithmetic, the student is ready for self-teaching.

During the first year of school, each student learns to read by phonics and practices reading with a great many books until reading becomes both easy and enjoyable. The CDs contain phonics flash cards, a large number of books that are both fun to read and appropriate to this first year of education, sets of vocabulary flash card exams for each book, and reading comprehension exams for some of the books. The student also learns all of the arithmetic tables by means of flash cards, so that he knows these tables perfectly. When this year has been completed, with some teacher help in learning phonics and understanding arithmetic, the student is ready for self-teaching.

...each school day consists of math ... followed by writing, followed by reading.

Thereafter, each school day consists of math (or science when the appropriate math has been completed), followed by writing, followed by reading. The only teacher interaction required is in marking errors in the daily writing assignment. Students spend five to six hours in class each day. We advocate that this be done six days per week, ten to eleven months per year. This schedule is, of course, dependent upon family habits. The more study, the greater progress.

Course of Study

The "Course of Study," a book-length document on the CDs, explains every aspect of using this curriculum in extensive detail. It gives many hints and helpful procedures covering all aspects of the learning process. The keys to academic success are good study habits and excellent study materials. The Course of Study emphasizes the means by which students can acquire good study habits. The 22 CD-ROMs provide excellent study material for students of all ages - including materials extending all the way from those for beginning students to materials so academically difficult that even the most advanced and brilliant students will still be challenged.

History, English, literature, economics, geography ... are taught during the reading period each day...

History, English, literature, economics, geography, and all other subjects except for math, science, and writing are taught during the reading period each day. These are taught from actual books rather than text books. For example, the War Between the States is studied by reading autobiographies of the most famous individuals who fought on both sides of the war - supplemented by illustrations produced by artists who were actually present during the pictures events.

The books for these subjects are mixed together and presented to the student in a specific, carefully determined reading order, so that the vocabulary, sentence structure, and content of the books gradually becomes more difficult as the student's abilities increase. Each book is followed by a vocabulary exercise in a flash card format to ensure that the vocabulary from each book becomes an active part of the student's vocabulary. The CDs also provide extensive reading comprehension examinations for many of the books. These tests are in the format of the Scholastic Aptitude Tests that the student will be required to take for college entrance.

Outstanding Results

The Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum is in use by 60,000 students throughout the United States and in many other countries.

Parents are often astonished by the remarkable progress of their children 

Results have been uniformly outstanding. Students using this curriculum achieve high academic performance and a much greater enjoyment of learning than is otherwise the case.

Parents are often astonished by the remarkable progress of their children with this program, even thought the cost in curriculum expense and teacher time is remarkably low. There is no comparable home school program available from any other source.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

What Our Customers Say

I love Robinson Curriculum!

I love the Robinson Curriculum! I've used it for a year, and am sticking with it, especially now that there are so many more CD-ROMs to use. I love it because my girls really are becoming self taught, my 12 year old having literally educated herself this year. There are subjects that she knows better than I do. How could I expect to teach her those subjects? So, I turn to those who can teach her, and their written word makes it possible for them to reach even beyond the grave to continue the influence that helped shape the people I've learned to respect and accept as mentors. PJA

I can definitely see using this curriculum through high school

She is gaining confidence and is actually enjoying it!

I love the Robinson curriculum. We are in our third year of homeschooling, with "older" children who were accustomed to testing and quizzes and spoon-fed material. Math was miserable for the high-schooler and me until this year (we started RC on 8/4/97). She is gaining confidence and is actually enjoying it! My 11-year-old giggled at some of the antiquated phrases ("Oh, pooh!" said one of the Rover boys in book No. 16), but he is learning and developing an interest in history for the first time. I can definitely see us continuing this curriculum through high school for both of them. FSW

He is actually doing more work than he did in public school...

The ability to work at his own level and speed has made the difference for our son

This is our first year of homeschooling our sixth grader. The Robinson curriculum was recommended by a friend in our church. The ability to work at his own level and speed has made the difference for our son. He is actually doing more work than he did in public school and is enjoying the work. I know it sounds too good to be true, I thought the same thing. But through prayer and a step of faith, I have found that the Lord will be faithful. SBB

Six reasons we love the Robinson Curriculum

I only purchased it recently and have not yet gathered all the materials, but I'm working on that.


  1. My girls really like first person accounts of history instead of the "canned" materials. They report getting a "feel" for the major events instead of just date and places.

  2. Literature selections are all really good. I may add a few more from Shakespeare (my personal favorite) and a few more minority authors (one of my college minors); but only because I have the books in my personal library. I am collecting books from several used book stores in the greater Houston area and hope to only print a few. There are even some internet bookstores that specialize in the out of print selections.

  3. Science is introduced as a comprehensive part of the whole program, gradually at first but then in concentration after math is completed.

  4. Saxon math is really good. Although I tend to switch between several math curriculums - usually Saxon and BJU - I believe that the girls are getting a good math background -- better than I have.

  5. Writing every day is important. Before Robinson, I already assigned writing at least several times a week to promote both spelling and grammar (I tend not to teach them independently) as part of the communication process.

  6. Finally, the plan is simple to implement. Math takes 2 hours, Writing takes 1 hour, and Reading takes 2 more hours. That's it. I often add some other extracurricular projects -- art, lab science, music -- but only after the basics are complete.

As I said, I am only a beginner at this program; but I hope this helps some.

In Christ, Regina PLG

Robinson has got it right...

...and I do love this curriculum!

And at this point, there is no other curriculum I would personally recommend to homeschoolers.

We are beginning our 9th year of homeschooling and I have studied or tried everything available for home education. (Although, I must admit, since beginning Robinson's materials a year ago, I quit doing that!) We would always come back to the self-teaching method even after purchasing other materials. And at this point, there is no other curriculum I would personally recommend to homeschoolers.

The self-teaching and the books are what sold me on this. The structure is _thoroughly_ simple. This program/method would work for anyone & I've heard that it does -- even for people whose children were labeled with "learning disorders" (most likely teaching disorders).

The no-sugar, no-tv, no-computer aspects are good things, but I would say it is not necessary to have all of these in place in order to succeed with the RC. Unless you are already in complete agreement with your spouse over these issues, they should be considered goals & not necessities.

We have five children (one is only two years old) and the older four are thriving in their studies. For those who say that certain "subjects" are not covered with Robinson, they mean as separate subjects. Included in the reading is a wealth of information on many things! BHS

Wow! What a change!

We just started using the RC JUST this week. In just a few short days there is such a change in the atmosphere in our home. The kids and I are so much more relaxed and they are enjoying their reading so much more. I was dumbfounded when I saw my youngest (10yo) with such a short attention span. But thinking about it, that was exactly what he was being taught by using the "canned" curriculums-20 minutes here, 10 minutes on this etc. My 15yo was balking at this new way of learning. On Tuesday he commented that he thinks he's really going to like this. He said he wasn't nearly so stressed out. Now I can hardly get him to do any of his chores because he's holed up somewhere reading. I as a mom, can hardly wait to see what changes are in store for us after using this a year.

The boys cringed when I told them they were going to write a paper everyday. By the third day they were talking about what to write next week. My oldest is writing a story. Hallelujah! He's the one that has been allergic to his pencil. ha

So if anyone is wondering if this bet. We have an extensive library here at home. They are now fighting over who gets to read what first. You have to love those kinds of fights.

Thank you Mr. Robinson!


Response to a critique of the Curriculum

I wanted to give you my opinion, as a user of the curriculum since September.
It is costing me approximately $2.50 to print a book, which is very reasonable (I have a new Epson Stylus C60 printer, which cost me less than $100, and I have been able to buy ink cartridges for $4.50 to $8.00 apiece).
My computer was purchased in 1997 but has had some upgrades. My memory is maxed out at 64 MB. While I have had a few instances of freezing up while printing, generally things have gone smoothly. There is no delay at all in viewing pages.  Once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to print all odd/all even pages. I have printed 17 books so far.
I use the 3-ring binding system. My 9-year-old son has had no complaints at all about books in this form.
Before starting the Robinson Curriculum, my son had read one chapter book in his life. Since starting in September, he has read thirteen and is on his fourteenth. He is comprehending and enjoying the books.
We use a different order than is given on the RC web site. I found a web site that has the books ordered by grade level (for example, the George Washington book is not 4th on the list, but about 60th on the list). The site is
This has been very, very helpful. The site also has additional tests for some of the books.

What I love about this curriculum is that the child is taking responsibility for his education.
I am an unschooler at heart, and the Robinson Curriculum has been a perfect solution for us. My son independently does his Saxon math (including checking his work), a page of writing a day, and 2 hours of reading. This leaves me free to teach my 5-year-old how to read and attend to my 1-year-old baby. My 9-year-old sets his alarm and gets going early each day and has plenty of free time for other pursuits of his choosing.
What I love about this curriculum is that the child is taking responsibility for his education; I know that he is reading high-quality, well-written books; and I can clearly see progress and improvement in all areas since September (reading, writing, and math).
... I am very satisfied with it and consider it a blessing for our family.
Best wishes,

I was asking to little from my children

We have been using this curriculum for the past year and love it.  We have always been on the mindset of "self teaching" and have just done that with other material, this curriculum has put a backbone to a system that was already in place and has made for an easy transition. I can see that I was asking to little from my children and now see how much more they are capable of. 

MC in Ohio

Kids love this Curriculum

If your children are learning to hate school ....

I was using all of Abeka's stuff and their day became drudgery.  They were not liking school at all and they had no time to read except for snippets of information.

Now they love history, they love math, and they enjoy reading!

When we started they had to get the definitions of the definitions because they were still dumbed down.  They still have to live a dictionary but they are having a lot of fun.

I did use the Abeka language book because I needed it to correct their work.  I let them use a computer to take advantage of the spell checker and a spelling game.  The husband is still addicted to TV but even that is being curtailed over time.  So I don't make an issue of it.

It took about a year to make the transition to using the Robinson Curriculum but wow, what a difference.

- fb in TX

"Thomas Jefferson" impressed with RC student

Our Personal testimony:

This past Christmas (2004), we traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia for a historical experience. During a question and answer session with the Thomas Jefferson historical actor of 10 years, your curriculum shone out!

Pres. Jefferson described his four horses, one named Caractacus, and asked the audience for its meaning. My son, Trey, 11, was the sole responder- correctly describing him as the general in Britain during the first Roman invasion etc. he had learned this from your Beric the Briton, G.A Henty reprint. The crowd applauded, Thomas Jefferson called him a scholar, and said that in his 10 years there, no one else had answered this question correctly, and 2 public school teachers questioned us afterward about our children's education, determining to home school their two young children!

The most improvement I have seen is in her character.

 I just want to say that we have been doing a homemade robinson
approach since the begining of June. With great results. I give my 11
and 9 yr old the "weekly record" form downloadable from the robinson
site. I fill out the 7 year olds for her.

My oldest is practicing math facts, writing daily and reading daily.
She finds word she doesnt know either when reading or writing and
that becomes her vocabulary. The most improvement I have seen is in
her character.

My nine year old is doing great as well- especially with writing. Her
hand writing has dramatically improved and she can write much faster.

My seven year old is reading and writing great. She has caught up
with her 9 yr old sister in the flash cards. Her big improvement is
in her character as well. She is really doing great.

Anyway, I see the results and It is great.

An Outstanding Resource - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions


Will this Curriculum work for my children if they have already started with another one?


Yes it will work just fine. It may take more time to transition into the self-teaching methodology, depending on their background, than if they started with the Robinson Curriculum to begin with.


What is the Scholarship Program?


The scholarship program is paid for by those who pay full price. You may direct further questions about the scholarship program to OISM at 2251 Dick George Rd., Cave Junction OR 97523.


Is there a demo available?


No. This is one way we keep the price low.


What are the computer requirements?


For Windows: System Requirements - Win95, Win98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista - CD-ROM or DVD drive
- 5.5 MB of disk space
- Printer (See Printing Recommendations)


Will I need a computer for each child?


No you do not. It only takes one to print out the materials.


Do I have to buy the whole set of Saxon Math books at one time?


You may buy as many or as few as you like. The discount will still apply.


Can I buy the CDs for just one grade?


No, it is a complete set of CDs and we cannot separate it.


Can I buy the Saxon Math answer books alone since I already have the book?


No, we can't do that. We purchased them in sets ourselves.


Do I need the latest version of the Saxon Math books?


No, the versions are virtually the same. However we do recommend the hard cover Student Textbooks with matching Answer keys as these can be used across multiple children.


Is there a money back guarantee?


We have a no return policy to help keep the cost down. We would rather people read the information we offer than purchase the Curriculum without knowing what they are getting.

We do stand behind our product and will replace any defective CDs. We also offer free technical support for the software.


Can I view the books on the computer?


Yes, there is very good on screen reading software (the best of any software of which we are aware) but we recommend you print out the materials since we recommend the children do not look at the computer for extended periods of time. The resolution on current computer screens is about 1/6 that of paper and the contrast ratio is about 1/3 that of paper. This severly retards both reading speed and comprehension.


Can the Curriculum be used as a supplement?


It can be used to great profit as a supplement since it is such a rich resource of materials. However, to get the greatest benefit from the Curriculum it should be used full time if possible.


How long will it take to get my Curriculum?


The Curriculum will arrive 2-3 weeks from when you place your order. It will arrive by Priority Mail from the USPS.


Where do I start my older child?


Dr. Robinson has created a curriculum or educational program that truly is not based on "grades." The student/child is advancing through a series of math books, writing daily, studying, and reading a course of chosen literature at an individual pace. 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 judgement 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 enjoyable and worth reading at any age. A more objective way of placing the student is by using 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.) For Math, Saxon Publishers have available math placement tests. Or, if you have them available, use the tests that come with each textbook. See Placement and Testing for more.


How well does the Robinson Curriculum prepare students for college and do I need a diploma?


The Robinson Curriculum is specially designed to prepare students for the SAT - a standardized nationwide test administered by the College Board (not to be mistaken with the SAT Achievement test which does not give you any credit). The Saxon Math and the RC Vocabulary section do an excellent job for SAT prep. For further credit they can take the Adanced Placement Exams for the college they are attending in order to test out of credit courses. This reduces the time and money required to get their degree. 3 of the Robinson children have done all this with great results. They only need a GED if they are going into something that does not require college but does need a "High School" diploma. A transcript generally does you no good. It is the SAT scores that matter. Any other paper is not important except in unusual cases.


My child scores very high and is gifted. Would this Curriculum be appropriate (he loves computers too)?


The Curriculum has a lot of "headroom" for the gifted student. The science aspect of the Curriculum has optional elements that will stretch the limits of the most exceptional student. The Vocabulary and Exams are especially geared toward preparing the student for the SAT. Note that the Curriculum is mostly paper based for the student. They do not sit in front of the computer to use this Curriculum. The most valuable aspect of the Curriculum is the Course of Study documents (of which the Robinson Story is a part). The section on Oral Learning is invaluable and unique.

I am new to homeschooling. How do I get started?

Here is what I would suggest:

1. Read as much of our website as you can. Listen to the Robinson Radio Online as well.

2. Join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. (see

3. Try out the Robinson Forum and see how others are doing it.

4. See our page on where to start an older child at: Where to Start an Older Child.

5. Look up homeschool groups in your area: Regional Associations - Local Homeschool Groups

More FAQ's

For more frequently asked questions see: Frequently Asked Questions from the Support section.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Teach them to Teach Themselves

The student who masters a subject on his own learns more

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

Home schools have many different purposes each unique to the particular family and their family goals. The academic part of those purposes usually includes the accumulation of skills and knowledge that cannot be as effectively acquired later in life.

Although often overlooked in the morass of subject-related teaching materials, the single most important aspect of early education is the acquiring of good study habits. These can be learned through the regular mastering of challenging academic material in an excellent study environment, on a regular schedule, and by means that will be available throughout life. Without such habits, the academic life and mental achievements of the student will eventually hit an artificial ceiling far below his inherent ability?a ceiling that will probably remain impenetrable for the remainder of his life.

Not a Team Sport

Learning is not a team sport. Learning is an activity that involves solely the student and the knowledge. Everything or everyone else that may become involved in this process is essentially superfluous?and is potentially harmful as a distraction from the fundamental process.

In the adult world this is, of course, self-evident. Adults ordinarily do not have special teaching aids and dedicated teachers available to hold their hands when they need to acquire new knowledge. Usually, they have only books. When the knowledge comes directly from other repositories such as computers, people, or other sources, that knowledge is seldom tailored for spoon-feeding to an unprepared mind.

Good Study Habits

Since certain skills need to be acquired at an early age?particularly mathematics and reading, writing, and thinking in one's native language?it is sensible to arrange the homeschool so that learning these essential skills will automatically lead to the development of good study habits. This is one reason that self-teaching homeschools have a special value.

Consider, for example, the teaching of math and science. Many homeschools use Saxon Math. Although produced with teachers and classrooms in mind, this series of math books is so well-written that it can be mastered by most students entirely on their own without any teacher intervention whatever. This self-mastery usually does not happen automatically, but it can be learned by almost any student with correct study rules and a good study environment.

While the subject matter, can be mastered with or without a teacher, the student who masters it without a teacher learns something more. He learns to teach himself. Then, when he continues into physics, chemistry, and biology? which are studied in their own special language, the language of mathematics?he is able to teach these subjects to himself regardless of whether or not a teacher with the necessary specialized knowledge is present. Also, he is able to make use of much higher-quality texts ? texts written for adults.

Practical Advantages of Self-Study

Besides the great advantage of developing good study habits and thinking ability, self-teaching also has immediate practical advantages. Many children should be able, through Advanced Placement examinations, to skip over one or more years of college. The great saving in time and expense from this is self-evident. These and other comparable accomplishments await most children who learn to self-teach and then apply this skill to their home education.

Even children of lesser ability can, by means of self-teaching and good study habits, achieve far more than they otherwise would have accomplished by the more ordinary techniques.

Just Say Nothing

Self-teaching is an "extraordinary" technique today, but it was ordinary in the past, when most of the great scholars in human history learned in a similar way.

No one can claim to have complete knowledge about the best techniques for human learning. This is a very complicated subject. It is possible, however, to observe individuals who excel and to notice characteristics which they have in common. Self-teaching, excellent study habits, and a well-disciplined approach to independent thought are characteristics of these people.

These are skills that can be taught to any child. When your eight-year-old child is all alone at his large desk in a quiet room with his Saxon 65 book and has been there three hours already?with most of that time spent in childhood daydreams ?and says, "Mommy, I don't know how to work this problem," give him a wonderful gift. Simply reply, "Then you will need to keep studying until you can work the problem."

For a while his progress may be slow. Speed will come with practice. Eventually, he will stop asking questions about how to do his assignments and will sail along through his lessons without help.

These study habits can then spill over into the other subjects?with astonishing results.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Learn to Think Scientifically

Each person needs to distinguish Propaganda from Truth

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

It is essential that each home-school provide a good foundation in science. Although most children will not become scientists or engineers, science and technology play such an important part in the modern world that adults who cannot think logically and effectively about these subjects are at a significant disadvantage. Each person needs to be able to distinguish propaganda from truth, logic and reason from irrationality, and wisdom from foolishness in order to be an effective citizen and to avoid being misled by those who would exploit his ignorance to his own disadvantage and that of his family and others for whom he may be responsible.

The language of science is mathematics. Until a student has learned mathematics through calculus, which can easily be done by ages 14 to 16, he or she is not ready to study science. (The nine Saxon Math books starting with Math 5/4 and extending through Calculus are excellent for this?if they are used in a self-teaching manner.) Until that time, curiosity about scientific subjects should be an extracurricular activity, which is not included in the formal academic hours of each day. If the child shows a curiosity about ants, by all means get him the best books about ants?even very technical books?and encourage his study. Let him choose his interests in the natural world, and then encourage those interests as hobbies or play.

"Pretend" Science is not Science

Some people use a different method. They publish, for example, physics books for children that do not depend upon a knowledge of calculus. The study of physics always begins with the study of Newtonian mechanics, since this is the simplest subject in physics and is also of fundamental importance. Most of our technology depends in some way upon Newtonian physics. (Shortly after the Apollo rocket took off for its trip to the moon, someone in ground control asked the pilot, "Who is driving that thing?" The astronaut's immediate answer was, "Isaac Newton.")
Yet, when Isaac Newton invented mechanics, he also simultaneously in vented calculus. He did this because he could not solve mechanics problems without calculus. If Isaac Newton could not do this, how does one expect a homeschooled child to do it? The answer is that he cannot do it?he can only pretend to do it with physics problems that have been artificially contrived to encourage this pretense. Since modern chemistry depends upon physics and modern biology depends upon both physics and chemistry, an education in any of these three subjects that is built upon pretended knowledge may be worse than no education at all.

What is the Parent's Role?

First, provide excellent books, a good study environment, and a daily schedule conducive to good study habits?and then get out of the way! Academic knowledge is in books. Anyone or any thing that gets between the student and his books is likely to slow the transfer of that knowledge into his brain.

Second, and most important of all, set a good example. Children learn primarily by example. If your idea of recreation is watching television, why do you expect your child to prefer reading? If you do not think logically, why should he? If you sometimes indulge in expedient lies, why should he value the truth?

Science and mathematics consist of certain truths that people have discovered about the world and universe which the Lord created?simple truths that are within the limited abilities of the human mind to comprehend. They have allowed mankind to see and enjoy aspects of the Lord's creations that were not visible to earlier generations, and they have made possible technology that increases the quality and quantity of human life. If your children learn to self-learn these subjects, they will continue to do so throughout their lives and, in so doing, will be able to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Taking Away the Crutches

Gaining self-confidence that arises from independent learning

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

Zachary, my oldest son, started college at Oregon State University this week [Feb, 1996 - Ed.]. He expects to complete his chemistry major in two years. [Zachary completed his degree in Chemistry at Oregon State University in 2 years.  He is now a graduate student in chemistry at Iowa State University. - Ed.] On the basis of College Board Advanced Placement Tests, he was allowed to skip the first two years of courses.

When I looked over his schedule of junior level chemistry and mathematics courses, I began to think I should help. After all, I had taught the same sorts of chemistry courses when I was a university faculty member. So, I said, "If you wish, I will help you with this material."

There was then a long silence.

Both of us were thinking the same thing. How would I help? Would I lecture to him? Show him how to work the problems? Check his homework assignments for errors? Provide workbooks or other study aids? Give practice examinations? In 12 years of homeschooling, I have never done those things. His brain has no experience in the use of such crutches.

Actually, although his university instructors may not realize it, most of their job was over when they selected the textbooks and required that Zachary learn the material in them. Their periodic examinations will reflect that he has learned the material, but the professors will probably never realize that he learned it without further help.

Learning to Learn

For those people who think for themselves, most of life is a self-teaching experience. Otherwise, what would they do when they needed to learn new information or academic skills? Should they re-enroll in the university and ask to be taught? Perhaps they should not learn those things for which no teacher is available?

Unfortunately, for a great many Americans, learning only the things they are actively taught is the usual way. After school, television and the people in their immediate peer group become their primary sources of information and, all too often, misinformation. They lack the ability to learn on their own. Most importantly, they lack the ability to think independently.

From the very first day that a child begins formal academic instruction (at ages five to seven), the ultimate adult mind that will be formed by that child's education should be uppermost in the parents' thoughts. Their goal should be to mold an adult who can learn without help, since there will be no formal schools and teachers for most of the information that he needs in life.

Moreover, each person should have the self-confidence that arises from in- dependent leaning. That self-confidence is an essential part of the process of independent thought?a requirement of individual freedom. And, your child will require individual freedom for the best possible life before man and God.

What Should We Teach?

Elementary education is a race between the biological development of a child's mind and the learning of skills and information required for the optimum use of that mind. Facts and information are important, but even more important are skills that must be developed early in life for optimum mental development. Some such skills, such as mathematics and writing, are also an integral part of the factual information. Other skills are a part of the organization of the school itself and consist of a collection of mental habits and attitudes.

In designing homeschool curricula for our children, we should, therefore, ask ourselves several important questions:

  1. Are the facts we teach fundamental information of primary importance to productive thought?
  2. Are the study habits and attitudes we teach suitable for the adult that our child will become?
  3. Are these things acquired in such a way and with sufficient mastery that the child will develop self-confidence in his independent individual abilities?

Ultimately, no authority can answer these questions. Parents know their child best, and it is their responsibility to answer these questions for their family. Parents should realize, however, the importance of these questions.

These questions lead to some surprising conclusions: First, much of the information traditionally a part of grades 1?12 is of lesser importance than other often-neglected information. Book selection is of crucial importance. Second, study environment and habits are very important, where-as learning tools and active teacher tutoring are of lesser importance and potentially harmful. Three, children learn by example. Most importantly home-school teachers must serve, through their own behavior regarding their own work, as good examples for their students.

Authors Note: The next editions of this column will discuss specific parts of homeschooling and the ways in which each of them fits into these goals. I am delighted to have this opportunity to share these thoughts with you. I hope that you will find among them an occasional gem that proves beneficial for your students.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

Models in the Mind

For an extensive article on how the mind learns and the importance of developing the ability to solve problems, see this excellent article recently published in Dr. Robinson's newsletter Access to Energy by clicking on the link below:

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Children Learn by Example

The single most important thing to keep in mind

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

The single most important thing that homeschool families must keep in mind is this:

Children learn by example.

Actually, adults learn largely by example, too, and this also has a profound effect upon homeschool families.

With this in mind, a visit to a typical tax-financed socialist "public" school provides more than enough motivation to homeschool. Do responsible parents want their children to emulate the behavior of the teachers and children there? Disorder, ignorance, misbehavior, disrespect for parents and family, and worse are the norms in such schools, so they obviously do not provide the examples we want for our children. Even the mobs of immature children and typical adults found in most private and Christian schools are often poor examples.

Once the children are at home, however, learning by example does not end. It simply transfers to the home itself. If you read, the children will read. If you value academic achievement for yourself, so will they. If your Christian faith is strong, theirs will be. Conversely, if you watch TV, so will they. If you form your opinions from shallow sources of propaganda such as TV news commentators and local newspapers, instead of by responsible independent thought based on accurate information, so will they.

If you permit government agencies to confiscate the earnings of your neighbors and fellow citizens by forced taxation, and then partake of a share of the loot through government payments, and if you carefully vote for politicians who promise you a greater share of the loot, then your children will learn that it is acceptable to steal. If you earn your own way, even when it seems more difficult to do so, your children will learn the virtues of hard work and honesty.

Academic study is only part of the home environment, but it is an essential part. This study best takes place in a quiet, comfortable atmosphere with an adult example nearby. For instance, if a separate room is available, each child should have a large desk in that room, as should at least one adult. The tops of these desks should be completely clear of all items except those immediately in use. The room should be free from distractions such as toys and other interests. Even school wall hangings can be distractions. The action is on the desks?between the students and the books?not on the walls, floors, and ceilings. Anything that interposes itself between the student and those books is a negative influence, whether it be an overly solicitous teacher or a distracting toy (even a toy that pretends to be educational). Academic knowledge is in books, and it is from books that the student must learn to extract it.

The students need one primary thing from their teacher?they need an example. An adult should, if at all possible, do his or her own reading and paperwork, such as accounting and bill paying, at a desk in the school room. I know of fathers with desk-intensive professions who have had great success by simply taking their children to work. The students are given desks in the corners of the father's office and taught to conduct themselves in complete quiet. They work at their desks, while Daddy works at his desk. The children soon learn to tune out distractions such as telephone conversations or other workers visiting the father?and they emulate the father.

There are, of course, a great many possible variations. If, for example, the parents' work requires that another adult supervise the children for part of the day, that adult should be chosen with academic example (as well as moral, spiritual, and ethical example) in mind. The supervisory adult will become the students' role model. Is that person an example of the sort of adults you want your children to become?

It is ridiculous to have children?the greatest blessing that our life in this world offers?and then turn them over to the state or to mobs of other immature children and disinterested adults to raise. When we keep them at home, our homes prosper, strengthening our family lives and our spiritual lives.

None of us are, of course, perfect. The typical adult?as is present in the Robinson home, for instance?has many faults and foibles which he will probably never outgrow. But to a certain extent, my children invert my foibles, having learned from my example about habits (such as sugar addition) that they should not acquire.

Our children even serve, in many ways, as examples for us. There are great stores of inherent wisdom within the minds and hearts of children, especially those who are fortunate to live "out of the world." If an adult shelters a child from the negative influences of the world and then emulates, himself, the wonderful person that automatically emerges as the child grows, that adult is likely to improve greatly in heart and mind.

Academic mental achievement?learning to think and learning to find accurate, reliable information upon which to base our thoughts?is an important aspect of life. Homeschools foster this achievement. The principal duties of parents in this process are to provide a good study environment, excellent study materials conducive to self-learning, good study rules, and?above all else?a good example for the students to emulate.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Multiculturalism and Curricula

Difference can be cool. But not when it's the rule.

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

What should be the composition of a quality education? The answer is obvious?reading, writing, and arithmetic; where arithmetic gradually includes science as the student's mathematical skills increase, and reading includes the broad general knowledge of literature and the world without which no person can be considered educated.

But now, the list of subjects some homeschooled families consider for the reading part of their curriculum includes something called "multiculturalism."

What is multiculturalism? In actual academic context, it is no more than the same information that used to be taught under the headings of geography and history and government. It is a delightful fact that the world is made up of all sorts of people who live in many different ways. Any encyclopedia printed before about 1960 reveals hundreds of articles describing, without prejudice, the curious ways of people in other countries and geographical locations. Books recording these sorts of facts have been popular for thousands of years?going back to Julius Caesar and before. No first-rate selection of books from the great writers of the English language can avoid containing many selections of this type. In addition, America has always been a melting pot of people from many different places, so within our own country, we have had an opportunity to live with many different sorts of people.

Yet now we have this new word, "multiculturalism." This word has been brought to us by the dead hand of government and by political agitators who seek to use American schools as mechanisms for social engineering rather than institutions of learning. By this word and the propaganda that surrounds it, they seek to introduce "values" into the differences between different human beings?the difference itself being the value?and they themselves being the self-anointed custodians of that manufactured value. No longer agreeing with Thomas Jefferson and our other founding fathers that all people are created equal and that each person should have an equal right before the law to life, liberty, property, and an opportunity to better himself by adopting the best examples set by other people, the state schools teach that all people should be forced to remain different so that their "cultures" will not change.

The Inequity of a Watered-Down Curriculum

The latest example of multiculturalism is being called "ebonics." Ebonics is supposed to be a culturally different (and therefore automatically valuable) language spoken in part of the black community. In fact, it is nothing more than a hodge-podge of slang and poor grammar that has arisen as black students, deprived of a decent education by public schools, seek to communicate with one another. Let me illustrate by telling a personal story:

After I finished graduate school at the University of California at San Diego and was given a faculty position there, I spent much extracurricular time with my graduate students and the other graduate students, since we were of the same age. Some of this time was whiled away at a beer and hamburger joint in La Jolla known as El Sombrero. I shall never forget one evening there.

As several of us sat at a back table, the El Sombrero door was suddenly filled by a tough-looking character whose dark skin perfectly matched his leather jacket. The first rule of survival in such situations being no eye contact, I immediately became unusually attentive to the discussion underway at our table.

To my astonishment, however, the new arrival sauntered over to our table and sat down. He knew the graduate students. It turned out that he was also one of my fellow faculty members?assigned to the "third college." a new division of the university for minority students that still had no name because of an ongoing squabble over which third-world revolutionary to name it after (Lumumba-Zapata being the most recent discard).

What followed was a discourse on "third-world" and black-power politics in which I took no part?being unprepared academically, politically, or even psychologically for the prejudices of my esteemed colleague. (Actually, I just wanted to stay out of a fight.)

Eventually, however, the subject turned to teaching. I was at the time teaching freshman chemistry to a class of 300 students and found myself pointing out that I made no effort whatever to tailor the goals of my course to separate standards for minority students or any other group regardless of their preparation or ability. In my opinion, they all needed to know the same material in order to be prepared for the same post-academic world, or?at the very least?they needed to realize that they did not know the material, so that they could plan accordingly.

The black professor's response was immediate. "You are right!" he said. "Your course is tough. I know, I'm tutoring two students in your class. But you are exactly right, our worst enemies are these white liberals who teach watered-down courses to our people and turn them into permanent second-class citizens."

This conversation took place 25 years ago. Today, both the black professor and I would both be in serious trouble for not considering the "cultural diversity" of black students?or Spanish students, or whatever other racial group the state bureaucrats wished to keep on the Plantation of multiculturalism. We would be fired for racial insensitivity, or would have long ago quit in disgust.

Teaching the Truth

My advice to homeschool parents is to teach geography, history, and government largely from books which were written in the 1950's and earlier, before it became popular to teach overt racism under the rubric of "multiculturalism."

First, racism is morally wrong. It should not be taught to students. Second, the world is composed of people of many different races and background with whom your students will interact as they go through life. Every person they meet during their lives must have an equal opportunity in their eyes?eyes that have been trained to see the similarities between all human beings and not the differences.

Racism has no place in the education of an upright young Christian?it is a false religion. Teach the truth to your students. Leave lies like "multiculturalism" and other racist activities to the schools of the secular humanist state.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Motivation by Excellence

The trick is to be so skilled at work that it becomes play.

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

"How do we keep kids from burning out? How do we keep their motivation for schoolwork high?" These are certainly relevant questions, as a short visit to almost any public school illustrates.

Deliberately torn clothes, rings through ears and noses (and worse), painted faces and hair, booming primitive "music," and general demeanor that belongs in the anthropology section of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC are immediately noticeable. Look deeper by listening to the actual conversations and studying seriously the behavior patterns of these very unfortunate children, and only a deliberate act of mental charity prevents one from seriously comparing this to a zoo.

These are not, however, animals. These are children whose fundamental hopes and dreams, whose rights to temporal and spiritual opportunities, and whose mental abilities and productive potential are the same as those of any other children. Why has their motivation been so terribly crushed that they look for fulfillment in demeaning ways?

This is also a crucial question for homeschool families. Without the peer examples and pressures of the public schools, homeschool children don't ordinarily deteriorate so obviously as public school children. This is, of course, one of the facts that often motivates parents to begin a homeschool. The same general deterioration can, however, take place in a homeschool?a drifting away from academic, mental activity, and positive development and the substitution of other pursuits that undermine the purposes of the school and diminish the children's prospects in adult life.

The Cycle of Motivation

A fundamental cycle is present in most remarkably successful personal activities: An individual likes to do the things at which he excels?and he excels at the things he likes to do?and he draws more motivation from the fact that he excels. If he ceases to excel, he ceases to like the activity, and he seeks motivation elsewhere; this diminishes his efforts in the primary activity and lowers still further the quality of his performance. Both of these cycles are self-amplifying. The first leads to outstanding performance and maximum skills. The second spirals downward to failure. A successful home school must assure that students reside in the first cycle, and remain there.

The key to success is to focus upon the essence of the first cycle?excellence and motivation built upon truly individual and independent performance of important work. The most common error is to focus upon pleasure without demanding excellence.

Ability is the Key

You cannot fool children for long. If they are being given busywork, games, or watered-down "educational" work created to respond to the lowest common denominators in the marketplace, they will eventually realize this. If they are unable to learn without lots of colored pictures and entertaining crutches and continual handholding and compliments from a teacher, they will realize this, too. If, however, a child knows that six days a week his first activity will be to read a challenging math lesson and correctly solve the problems given with that lesson without any help whatever, he will begin to take great pride in his ability and to enjoy this activity. The satisfaction of having this ability will become its own reward. Also, he will easily understand the essence of his work?which depends upon the quality of the text and problems and has nothing to do with colored pictures, dancing teaching aids, and other marketing frills.

In this example, it is the mathematics that is fun. It is not fun, however, the first day. For children entering this real learning activity from a poorer background, it may not even be fun for the first few months. For those who are coddled, it will probably never be fun. In many cases, only when the child realizes that he is entirely on his own with the math book and that there is no way out through asking for help or complaining or refusing to complete each day's lesson (even if he sits at that desk the entire day) will he apply himself.

Children, of course, vary in ability. It doesn't really matter how quickly they learn as long as they learn each subject thoroughly and completely. The parent must therefore, provide a study environment responsive to each child's ability. For children who learn more slowly, it is especially important to eliminate all but the most essential work: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Schools organized so that each child progresses at his own rate, and so no child is required to learn materials unnecessary to progress in fundamental thought, are especially valuable to students regardless of their abilities.

Children who have been correctly taught prefer to work alone without help, and they do not like disturbances and interruptions?especially interruptions that interfere with their school work. They are caught up in their own cycles of excellence and dislike intrusions. It is toward this attitude that each homeschool should be directed.

The Blending of Work and Play

Success in this ultimately answers the question of work vs. play because the two activities should become identical in a successful adult. I recall vividly my thoughts when, after graduate school, I obtained a permanent position at the university involving primarily laboratory research. I loved laboratory work which had long been a cycle of excellence for me. My thoughts were, "This is wonderful, I'm going to get to play all of my life, and people are actually going to pay me for it. I'll never have to work."

Adults love to play as much as do children. The trick is to be so skilled at work that it becomes play?and for that play to be so effective that it becomes a foundation for correctly placed motivation and self-confidence.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

The Study of Science

Home schooling and science

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.

Art Robinson
Cave Junction May 2002

Self-Motivation for the Study of Science

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:

  1. Certain basic skills in mathematics and science that are require to think effectively about these subjects.
  2. Self-confidence that he can, without outside help, think effectively about mathematics and science?self-confidence that is based on real ability.
  3. 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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

The Future of Homeschooling

Lets go for higher academic standards

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

Homeschooling has always been a part of the great American experiment with human freedom. Early Americans learned primarily within their homes or in very small schools formed by neighboring families. Due to the rigors of life in that era, parents had little time apart from work, so pre-university education was often largely self-taught. Most students who continued their educations attended universities which were entirely funded by voluntary private means, usually as Christian institutions. These generations of Americans built all of the underlying institutions of freedom of the United States and most of its scientific and technological base.

A Taxing Problem

The rise of socialism and the concomitant reduction of freedom in America during the past century, however, has brought with it the phenomenon of large government schools that are financed by forced taxation. Huge sums of money (now about $5,375 per student per year) are seized from American citizens by force or threat of force (usually the threat of confiscation of homes and other property) in order to finance these schools and the literal army of more than two million bureaucrats and teachers who inhabit them.

The current cost of homeschooling now averages $546 per student per year?about one-tenth the cost of government schooling. Yet even this cost is difficult for many overtaxed American families. With taxes and regulations consuming over half of the earnings of the average family, both parents are often required to work for wages, leaving the family without a homemaker who can serve as teacher to the homeschool.

The Decline of American Education

During their initial decades (without considering their entirely wrongful dependence upon outright theft of private property), government schools were moderately effective. The momentum generated by quality private education within a nation of people with Christian moral principles carried forward into the government schools. As is usually the case when a socialist government takes over a private enterprise, the enterprise continued successfully for a while until the government ruined it.

The demise of government schools in the United States is nearly complete. These schools are now moral sewers that actively oppose most Christian principles. Academically they have sunk to remarkably low levels. These socialist institutions have even invented a whole class of new (nonexistent) learning "diseases." More than five million uncooperative students have been "diagnosed" with these diseases and are then given mind-altering drugs. These schools cannot be saved. The only sensible question is how much longer these institutions of nationalized child-abuse will be allowed to continue operating. Most children who manage to rise above their peers in government or private schools do so by self-learning. They create intellectual islands within themselves, and mentally isolate themselves from the chaos around them.

As parents have become aware of these terrible conditions, they are turning to homeschooling in record numbers. Homeschooling strengthens the family by keeping it together throughout each day, permits the teaching of decent and correct moral and religious principles, and provides an opportunity for academic progress consistent with each individual child's perseverance and ability.

The New Revolution

Fortunately, the revolution in computer costs is occurring simultaneously with the new rise of homeschooling. Researchers have used computers since the 1960s, but computer capabilities that formerly cost millions of dollars now cost only about one thousand dollars. Consequently, 34 percent of American families and over 85 percent of homeschool families now have home computers.

Since these machines permit information transfer at a very low cost, especially by CD-ROM, the price of homeschooling is presently dropping to as little as $100 per student per year (aside from the initial purchase of a single computer available to each family). I expect that, within ten years, the price of computerized teaching materials for homeschooling could drop to as little as $10 per student per year up to age 18, and that homeschooled, fully-accredited university educations will become available at a cost of about $500 per student per year, or about $2000 for a four-year bachelors degree.

As tax-financed education dies, private schools and homeschools are taking its place. American families, and therefore America itself, will greatly benefit if homeschools eventually dominate over private schools. The technology to facilitate this is here, but there are two additional factors that, in my opinion, will decide this issue.

Turning Point

First, will the homeschool movement succeed in growing away from the mediocre academic standards that have been set by government schools? There is a widespread demand for curricula that are "easy and fun." Government schools have met this demand by lowering academic standards. Sadly, many homeschool curricula are still keyed to the "grade" levels of government schools?for the same reason. Easy and fun curricula sell too well to parents and children who have become intellectually lazy. This academic link between the faded standards of government and the academic standards that American children need to excel in the modern world must be broken. If it is not, elite private schools and the high costs associated with them will prevail.

Second, will the homeschool movement realize that learning is an individual activity that, at least until the age of 18 requires very little intervention? The academic growth of a student is not a toy for parental self-satisfaction. It is a completely personal activity that takes place between the student and the books. Parents need only to provide their children with high-quality educational materials, a good study environment, and excellent study habits. Anything or anyone who gets between the student and the books diminishes this activity.

Children learn their faith, morals, ethics, behavior, work habits, and most other important things by example. The examples homeschooled children follow can be closely controlled by their parents. (This is one major disadvantage of even private schools. The examples there are primarily from an undisciplined mob of other immature children.) Children learn academic subjects, however, by self-study.

The keys to expanding homeschooling to include most American children (rather than a fortunate few) are self-learning with non-teacher-based curricula, high academic standards, and an understanding of the importance of disciplined study habits and a good study environment. These keys can unlock wonderful lives for hundreds of millions of American children and can assure a great future for our country. We must provide these keys.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Teaching Government Right

Our children should not be taught to "trust and parrot"

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

As our children go though life, they will continually interact with government. Under present conditions in the United States, government will confiscate about half of everything they ever earn?through direct taxes on their wages and taxes on the people and institutions with whom they conduct business. Government regulations and bureaucrats will limit their activities in business, recreation, home life, and even in the exercise of their Christian faith. Government may draft them to fight in war. Virtually every newspaper they read will be filled with reports of the actions of federal, state, and local government.

Clearly, our homeschools must teach children about government. This education is complicated by the fact that we have essentially two classes of governments?the ones that Americans have agreed to under the federal Constitution and Bill of Rights, state constitutions, and local charters and the ones that we live under, which are quite different. Perpetuated by now vast bureaucracies and often unprincipled politicians, these governments have assumed roles that are not specified or permitted by agreement with the people. This second class?the government we have today?continually spends vast resources "educating" the people with propaganda activities. About which class of government should we teach our children? The practical answer must be both.

Original Writings

In the early years of homeschooling, education about American government can be restricted largely to the study of history. The minds of children who are still too young to comprehend the details of government documents can learn the underlying concepts through the eyes of those who created them. This can be done by studying appropriate history books or by reading biographies, autobiographies, and other writings about and by those who created our government. I much prefer the teaching of history through autobiographies.

Autobiographies are enjoyable to read and give the most accurate account of history possible, since they were written by those who made history and actually participated in the events. No account written by a human being is ever completely unbiased or perfectly accurate, but autobiography is the closest to the truth that we can read?especially if we include autobiographies from several points of view.

For example, the War Between the States can be studied by reading the autobiographies of U S. Grant and William Sherman and the writings of Abraham Lincoln on the Union side and the autobiographies of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens (president and vice?president of the Confederacy) on the Confederate Side. Adding the autobiography of Booker T. Washington for a view of post-Civil War America is also valuable. Alternately, one could read a textbook about the civil war by some modern historian; one who will probably give an account that fits the particular social agenda that the writer wished to promote. The autobiographical method is much more accurate.

As the student grows older, the actual documents of government should be studied?the documents themselves and not textbooks telling about the documents. There is no substitute for studying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in their entirety. But what about explaining them to the student? Again, the original is better. The student should read the Federalist Papers and other writings in which the founding fathers themselves debated the issues underlying their creation of our government.

In addition, the student should read autobiographical writings such as those by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; books by scholars who influenced the founding fathers or who eloquently described their principles such as John Locke, Frederick Bastiat, and Adam Smith, and later writers who worked to perpetuate their principles such as David Crockett, Henry Hazlitt, and Leonard Read.

These are not just dry, scholarly works. The autobiographies of great Americans and the principal writings by which they attempted to influence events are some of the most interesting and entertaining books in the English language?written with the skill and erudition that we would like our children to emulate in their own writing and speech.

Thinking for Themselves

Petr Beckmann, an outstanding American scientist who was a refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, wrote often about the "trust and parrot" method by which too many Americans form their opinions?especially about science. He wrote many articles in which he urged his readers to not believe him. Instead, he gave them the primary scientific references and asked them to read those documents and compare their conclusions with his own.

In learning about government (or anything else, for that matter), our children should not be taught to "trust and parrot." They should not be taught to form their principles and opinions by reading overviews, or watching news programs, in which the writer or anchorman leads them to interpret facts in accordance with his own agenda. History textbooks?especially modern politically-correct texts, and even those written by people in whom we have confidence?usually contribute to trust-and-parrot thinking. Students should be taught to learn about history and government by unabridged complete writings of those who made history and created government?and then forming their own opinions of the events.

With a firm foundation in American government as it was created, the student is then well-prepared to study government as it is currently practiced and reported in the daily media. The difference is, of course, astonishing. The last and best hope for the long-term preservation of American freedom and the remarkable legacy of the constitutional republic created by our founding fathers is in the education of young Americans to think and learn for themselves the truth about government as it ought to be.

Our predecessors have written and bequeathed to us a wonderful literature from which these can be learned. It is our duty to provide this literature to our children along with study habits and a study environment in which it can be effectively read and understood.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

College Preparation

Good study habits prepare a student for college

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

A good homeschool provides college preparation far superior to that offered in private or public schools, especially if the student is self-taught. Academically, the homeschooled student escapes being reduced to the lowest common denominator in classroom schools, and he escapes the examples and peer pressures that are exerted both academically and socially by fellow students and teachers whose preparation for college is generally poor. By self-teaching, he also avoids the limits of academic knowledge and study habits that may exist with his parents and siblings in his own homeschool.

One caution: some homeschool programs are academically keyed to public school "grade levels." Do not fall into the trap of believing that completion of these programs necessarily gives good college preparation. "Grades 1 to 12" are, in many cases, merely normalizing concepts whereby all students are lowered to the levels of the poorest students.

The Big Tests

A homeschooled student should be prepared for high performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Tests. With excellent performance on these tests, acceptance by a prestigious college or university is assured. Moreover, high performance on the AP Tests can markedly reduce the time that the student must spend at a university. Both of the oldest students in our home-school, Zachary and Noah, scored so highly on the SAT and AP Exams that they are skipping the first two years at the university. Zachary completed his degree in Chemistry at Oregon State University in 2 years.  He is now a graduate student in chemistry at Iowa State University. Noah Robinson scored 1480 on his SAT (1400 on the PSAT) and also received 2 years of advanced placement in college.  He has now graduated in Chemistry from Southern Oregon University with a 3.98 grade point average.

During the year preceding the SAT exam, the student should take about 10 practice SAT exams at home in order to familiarize himself with the form arid timing of these exams. During the two months prior to the AP Exams, the student should take one practice exam in each subject. He should plan to take 12 or more of these exams in different subjects, so that he will have an opportunity for maximum advanced placement.

All of these exams are given at local high schools. Typically, only two or three AP exams are given, since public school students are so poorly prepared. Arrangements for a greater number can be made with school administrators for a modest fee. The examination cost for proctors and tests for Zachary and Noah was about $700 each?a very inexpensive substitute for two years at college. Practice SATs can be obtained at local book stores, while practice AP Exams are available from the College Board organization. Ask the local high school for the College Board's address and phone number when you register several months early for the exams. AP exams are given only once per year. Check this time with the high school.

These exams are the formality, and taking practice exams can improve performance by making the student familiar with the testing method. But the essential college preparatory work must be carried out during the 11 years preceding these tests, preferably beginning when the student is five or six years old. The tests are just ways of demonstrating that the student has learned good study habits in an excellent study environment and has applied himself with diligence to the acquisition of superior academic knowledge during those 11 years.

Early Preparation

If the student is taught good study habits in a proper study environment at an early age, he is likely to be very well prepared for college. He needs to be provided with an ordered framework of high quality, very well-selected books: this is an endless road that stretches out in front of him down which he may travel at his own pace in accordance with his own abilities. The average student should be so well prepared that he can skip at least one college year, while above average students can skip two years.

Remember, however, that American schools have degraded severely. The first two years of college today are approximately equivalent to the last two years of high school in earlier times before socialism destroyed American education. The academic achievement of skipping two years of college is approximately the same as having been well educated at the ordinary academic levels that prevailed earlier in American history. We are asking no more of our children in good homeschools than their native abilities permit.

A Negative Influence?

Moreover, when our children are raised in a home environment, they can be exposed to good examples of correct social, moral, and religious standards. In group schools, their examples become randomly chosen teachers and large numbers of immature children. Children learn by example! Why have children - the most precious blessing that any home and family can possess and then farm them out to someone else to raise in an away-from-home school'?

Children are inherently modest, quiet, honest, hard-working, and well-behaved when raised in a home where discipline is quickly applied on the occasions when they go astray. When they lose these characteristics, it is almost always a result of following bad examples. Last year a friend remarked to me, "Do you realize that you have five teenagers at home?" I had not noticed because the usual problems associated with teenagers were just not present in our home. No one had taught these children to misbehave.

Healthy social, moral, and religious standards are also a very important part of college preparation. This is especially true of students in science and engineering, since Christian colleges are lacking in these subjects. This forces the student to attend a secular college. A young man or woman must be very well prepared in order to resist the temptations and pressures of these places. Everyone, no matter how well prepared, is susceptible to peer pressure. so this exposure should be limited. Advanced placement can minimize this exposure. Strong links with family are a great help, too, so I advocate the choice of a college as geographically near home as possible.

I strongly believe that entry into college should not be a time when the child is kicked out into the world, never to be seen again except during holidays and funerals. I believe in extended families; having two, three, and four generations living near each other and working together when possible during their entire lives.

College is an opportunity to gain knowledge and credentials ? especially in science, engineering, and other specialties. At present, it is also a dangerous time which can threaten an extended family. Eventually, this threat will be removed by homeschool universities. There is reason to hope that such universities, accredited and of good quality may be only a few years away.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

The Independent Learner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Science Taken Seriously

The language of science is mathematics

By Dr. Arthur Robinson

The academic day should be restricted to the teaching of truth. For example, when teaching spelling, you teach the true spelling of words. When teaching math, you teach how to arrive at true solutions. Two plus two equals four in base ten all the time, not just some of the time!

Science is the study of natural truth. It progresses by a logical sequence?experimental observations, to hypotheses, to quantitative analysis. It is not possible to study or apply most science reliably without first knowing the language in which it is written?mathematics-?at least through introductory calculus. When students lack an adequate understanding of mathematics, yet try to study "science," they are typically presented with oversimplified half-truths which later need to be unlearned.

Real science is largely problem-solving. Skillful problem-solving requires many years of practice and much self-confidence. A self-taught child has a very great advantage in problem-solving, because he has mastered the basic elements of this activity early in life. He has not memorized specific methods for solving particular types of problems. He has instead learned to extract information from the books by himself and then apply it to any problem that is presented. Also, of equal importance, he has learned that he is able to do this without any outside help. These are essential skills that make possible the learning of advanced scientific problem-solving.

Formal Science v. Playing with Science

"Does this mean my child should not study science until he is in high school, or even college?" A distinction needs to be made between activities that belong in the academic day, and those that do not. The five or six hours in the academic day are a narrow window of opportunity in which information can get into a developing brain. The parent must use these hours to concentrate on essential subjects. Other, less essential topics should be skipped. If a child is particularly interested in a non-essential topic, he can study it on his own time, as a hobby, but regardless of his interest level, class time should not be pre-empted for such studies.

Children are always curious about the world around them. Sometimes this interest focuses on a particular subject like ants or electronics. Such interests should be encouraged for many reasons?one of which is that they can be the precursors to later abilities in science or engineering, which is applied science.

If the child is interested in ants, provide him with books about ants and the means to experiment with them, but do not feel you must now incorporate ants into your regular curriculum. If his interest persists, get him the most complicated and complete text on ants you can find. Only part of this text will be understandable to him, but it will show him the limits of his present knowledge. This does not say, "This subject is too difficult." It says instead, "This is your subject presented in the way that it is discussed by those who love it best and have made it their life's work. Study hard, so that one day you will be able to fully communicate with them."

Alternatively, if your student is interested in electronics, he may become a ham radio operator. (Children as young as five have done this.) This is a wonderful hobby that teaches much about electronics. This is an excellent extracurricular activity. Someday, if he goes far enough in his academic studies, he may gain a true understanding of his hobby.

Self-selected hobbies are an important part of personal development. There are thousands of subjects from which to choose. It is best that this choice be made by the child, so that there is an optimum possibility that the interest will endure.

What is "Real" Science?

Contrary to the typical public-school science sequence. physics should be the first science formally studied in the classroom. Knowledge of physics is required to correctly understand chemistry. and knowledge of physics and chemistry is required to correctly understand biology.

Introductory physics usually starts with mechanics, since this is the simplest subdivision and is also that part of physics upon which most of the Industrial Revolution is based. All of mechanics was discovered by Isaac Newton. When Newton discovered mechanics, he simultaneously invented calculus because he found it too difficult to solve real-world mechanics problems without calculus.

If Isaac Newton could not do mechanics without calculus, how can a teenage student do so? The answer is, of course, that he cannot. He can only pretend to do mechanics with the help of texts that contain artificial problems. If he ever has an opportunity to learn physics properly, he will then have to unlearn the incorrect procedures. This is debilitating and wasteful of his time.

One of my sons went through Saxon Math and then decided to take a physics course for high schoolers. He answered all the questions as thoroughly as he did in his Saxon Math books. But when he went on to study a good first-year book from Cal Tech, he discovered he did not know physics. The early book was actually an impediment to his work.

Let me give one example of the difference between "real" physics, based on the math needed to understand it, and oversimplified physics. If you teach the problem of an apple falling from a tree, you can present the formula for calculating the time it takes for the apple to fall. This requires only simple math. Distance = 1/2 x acceleration x time2. if you know the acceleration effect of gravity (32 ft/sec2) you can calculate either distance or time, given one of the two. But this does not teach you what acceleration really is. Acceleration is the second derivative of position with respect to time. If acceleration is not assumed to be constant (which it is not, even in the apple and tree problem) the handy d = 1/2at2 formula no longer works and what the student thinks he knows about acceleration no longer turns out to be true. More importantly, physics is not the memorization of specialized formulas. The Student should have been taught Newton's Law that:







and been required to derive the apple equation.

in chemistry, some books teach young children about electron orbitals by telling them that electrons whiz around the nucleus like planets around the sun. This is wrong. Actually, electrons are distributed around the nucleus in accordance with a probability density equation. The electron even has a probability of being inside the nucleus at any one time. So what happens? We have many children and now adults thinking that electrons orbit atomic nuclei like planets. They have not been taught the truth. But they think they know the truth.

As an analogy, many children coming through the school system think they can read?but all they are doing is memorizing certain words using a look-say method. This leads to very poor reading which will top out at a certain level, yet typically the student will not seek help because he thinks he knows how to read. He just thinks he does not enjoy reading.

Science is the study of physical truth. It should not be undermined by the teaching of half-truths. Children who are taught scientific formulas and concepts before they have learned sufficient mathematics are taught half-truths. Let's make the most of our freedom in home-schooling to give our science students the whole truth.

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: Prices are $19.95 / 6 bimonthly issues or $35 / 2 years.  This publication should be read by every homeschool family.

Ann's Corner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Teaching Younger Children

Phonics and that First Year

It is essential that each young child first receive instruction in a phonics based language program. Although the Robinson Curriculum has phonics flash cards, they are not an instruction program and are really only the building blocks for making one yourself (if you are so inclined!), or a handy review. Dr. Robinson himself says that:

"there are several good phonics programs . These consist of various procedures for teaching the sounds of letters and letter combinations and for gradually combining these into words and sentences. It is absolutely essential that reading be taught by phonics and not by the so-called "look-say" methods currently in vogue in the public schools. If the child is not taught to read correctly, then the entire school program which follows will be so difficult that the child will have a very great disadvantage. The phonics instruction does require interaction with an instructor for a few weeks ... After the child can read, then he or she should be encouraged to read several hours each day in books of gradually increasing difficulty in order to build reading skills and confidence."

The first year for our children has been:

Literature for the first year that you will find in the Robinson Curriculum:

  1. McGuffey's Primer
  2. McGuffey's 1st Reader/2nd Reader
  3. Nursery Rhymes
  4. Childhood's Happy Hours - various authors
  5. Sophie May's books (Dottie Dimple, etc.) 7 books listed
  6. Arthur Scott Bailey's books - 6 included (Solomon Owl, etc)
  7. Bobbsey Twin books (11 books) - many more at the library.
  8. (Penmanship Practice)

This spring our 'first-year' child has also read Elsie Dinsmore and is currently enjoying the Pony Rider books along with her older siblings. They can make 'years' of progress in that first year!

Other literature that I would recommend for the first year:
B - Beginning 1st Year
A - Advanced 1st Year

My Favorite Read Aloud Books for Young Children

To Mrs. Jones and fellow homeschoolers

We were involved in the development of the Robinson Curriculum, helping to obtain some of the books and, primarily, my husband volunteered his time and expertise in writing the programs to put it all on CD's. At present we market the curriculum on the Internet, have become good friends with the Robinson family and, most importantly for our family, have implemented the self-teaching methodology and curriculum in the education of our 3 'school age' children (ages 6-10) these past three years.

It is an established part of our lives now and I feel I have to make an effort to remember that I had some of the same trepidations as you, and others, have at the start. Our children are proving, beyond a doubt, that it is an effective education. They are learning a great deal about everything and improve yearly, as they mature in their abilities to self-teach.

That leads to one of your questions, "Does the program require 6 year olds to have 2 hours of math, 2 hours of phonics and reading and 1 hour of writing?"

I look at these study requirements as a goal which each child works towards.

Beginning in their first year, I set certain expectations which I vary according to the individuals abilities. They do not usually know what the time element is, excepting timed drills for math, and reading time, but are aware of how much work is to be accomplished. Exceptions are made when difficulties arise (i.e. a math problem was done repeatedly till mastered and so a few less problems were done that day).

Our 6 year old works 1-1/2-2 hours at her desk and now, as an accomplished reader, painlessly spends 1 (required) to 2 hours reading.

With each year I increase the time requirement by increasing the work requirement as I see them gain mastery. The important aspect is the work: quantity, yes, but most importantly, quality.

Before the First Year

Another note about young children and reading. Before their first year, as I have described above, I have always taught them certain prereading skills , which takes about 20 minutes a day. The materials I have come to use are as follows:

I teach them how to say each sound as well as to write it. The 100 Easy Lessons is super for transitioning from individual sounds into blending of sounds into words, then sentences, then paragraphs. The Christian Liberty readers lead further down the 'phonetic' road into short stories. After this they are ready for their First Year. Have Fun with your little ones! It is so rewarding to see those little 'light bulbs' go on as they really begin to read!

Note: As I became more practiced at teaching phonics I found it was not necessary to go from this step (100 Easy Lessons and Christian Liberty readers) into the Bob Jones phonics program.  They were reading well enough that they just needed the provision of books to read.  The Bob Jones Readers became a most helpful part of their daily reading assignment.  

The First Year Student and Math Facts

I recently reviewed what Dr. Robinson wrote about learning the math facts using FLASHCARDS. In the next few paragraphs I will summarize the steps I have taken with a first year 'student', as well as quote from Dr. Robinson and Samuel Blumenfeld who are my teachers.

Here are the steps I have taken with our 5/6 year old:

a) I gave him the first family of addition (the ones), had him demonstrate with concrete objects that he understood the concept of adding one, and then he memorized them in order, then in mixed order. (at this stage I had him read them orally as it helped him focus and remember the whole equation)

b) We set these aside and he went through the same steps with adding two. (Concrete, in order, in mixed order)

c) THEN, we put the ones and twos together in mixed order and he (on his own now) practiced till he could get all the answers without error.(as many days as needed)

d) We set these aside and he went through the same steps with adding three. By the way, I have him learn them up to 'plus 12' because he does NOT have trouble with the teens. You may want to keep below the teens for awhile if your child cannot pronounce, count through and conceptualize these higher numbers.

e) Now that the pile has gotten larger I only add 2 or 3 new addition facts at a time and he reviews the WHOLE pile, setting aside any that he got wrong or stuck on and practicing these separately until correct before  putting them away for the day.

f) Now that he is well practiced in 'doing' flashcards he only does them orally with me when he says he knows them all without error. (Like a test, because, as you may ask, "How do you know he really knows them?) I then add the new cards which he practices separately and then adds to the pile in random order.

g) He continues with ALL the cards each day. (This is the part I picked up in my review of Dr. Robinson's course of study and I had omitted with the older children, some still lack mastery as a result.) This review will avoid that problem of forgetting and build long-term memory. Because the majority are mastered he goes very quickly through most of the cards and only need stop and practice the ones in error.

Some additional points:

-- He can do the cards each day in under 5 minutes IF he is not in the same room as me. When I am nearby he feels the need to complain!

-- I think this is too early for written timed tests. (They are included in the test book of Saxon Math 54.) Right now the focus is on mental calculation and rote memorization. I include written facts from a standard 1st grade math book for now. This is optional, but I find it gives him opportunity to solve written problems independently, practice writing the numbers, and use concrete objects to reinforce the learning when needed.

h) It has been a number of weeks since our son began with his addition facts and thus far he has learned all the facts through the sevens.  Here are some things we have done in the last little while.

a)  I have thinned out the pile by taking out the facts he finds extremely easy  b) He no longer uses any math book exercises but does write out,  a number of times, any facts that he missed during  the first pass with the flashcards.  c) He now times himself as he goes through the cards and compares it to the previous days time.  Competing with himself  in this fashion made a positive difference in his attitude to his work.

QUOTATIONS from Dr. Robinson:

"The student must learn the basic arithmetic of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of small numbers by immediate, rote, non-thinking memory."

"As with all flash card systems, the best procedure is to place all incorrectly answered cards in a second pile. After the first pile is completed, the second pile is shuffled and answered with errors accumulating in a third pile, and so on. The flash card session is not complete until the student has answered every card correctly.."

"Arithmetic can be learned by the child almost entirely on his own with only occasional parental guidance. DO NOT (his emphasis) sit with the child as he learns his arithmetic flash cards. The mental dependency fostered in this way can be a significant impediment to later self-learning."

"He may wish to spend many hours figuring out the answers with sets of coins as he plods slowly through the flashcards. This is fine. It is acceptable for an entire year to pass during the learning and understanding of the arithmetic tables.....Flash cards are, of course, added gradually, with addition and subtraction first. (They) are, however, -boring. Even a patient child rebels against going through them day after day for better time and lower error rate. I have found one incentive that works well. ...after the entire set of cards is being used (all addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through 12's), on any day that his error rate or time (with the same error rate) is better than ever before, he is not required to do the cards the following day. After a day off, he tries daily for another record." (Excerpts from the RC course-of-study.)

QUOTATIONS from Samuel Blumenfeld,

"At age 5 and 6 children can learn the arithmetic facts by rote. But before having the child memorize an arithmetic fact, first demonstrate it with concretes. For e.g., to demonstrate that 3 plus 4 equals 7, line up three pennies and four pennies and have the child count them to get the total. Then write the fact in numerals, 3 + 4 = 7, and tell the child that this is what he must memorize in order to be able to use this fact in the most convenient way. After you've demonstrated all of the addition and subtraction facts, then demonstrate the multiplication facts....After this laborious task, he will realize that the symbolic representation of 8 times 9 = 72 is a much easier and faster way.. Rote learning is the easiest form of learning. All it requires is repetition. The best way .. is to have the learner see the fact over and over again until it is indelibly imprinted on the mind. .. Flash the correct answer to the learner until he or she learns it cold and no longer has to "figure it out." (Excerpt from "Homeschooling - A Parents Guide To Teaching Children" by Samuel L. Blumenfeld)

As you can see, Dr. Robinson and Samuel Blumenfeld spell it out much the same. The one, but important, difference that Dr. Robinson adds is the element of SELF -teaching.

In closing I will add a thought (I think it also came from Blumenfeld's book, although I might be mistaken.) I read recently. "Learning the math facts is to mathematics as phonics is to reading."

Math Facts and Saxon 5/4

I would like to make some comments in regards to that FIRST YEAR of MATH. Our school-age children are in their 6th, 4th, 3rd and K/1st years. We have used the Robinson Curriculum for 3 years and it has been a very positive experience for the family as a whole. We are committed to continuing on in this way.

Because my husband, Arnold Jagt, is the programmer for the CDs and works closely with Dr. Robinson we have become friends of the Robinson family and we occasionally have aired our educational struggles to Dr. Robinson personally. This is to benefit our children but also because we feel a responsibility, to fellow homeschool parents who call us for advice, to be on track with his philosophy. (Because of the website Arnold has made to promote the RC we receive personal calls asking for advice on this or that issue of concern.)

The most recent call received was in regards to the first year and MATH.   I feel a need to address this issue here. Up to this point I have had our children complete 1st and 2nd grade workbooks, as well as memorize the facts and then begin Saxon 54 in their 3rd year.

Today I conversed with Dr. Robinson in the matter and I would like to impress on you, as he did to me in his always patient and kindly manner, the following points:

  1. When a parent judges his child is ready to begin 'school' his first year in Math must only be comprised of learning all the math facts. Yes, they need concrete aids to conceptualize but only at the start (and do this however you please) but always remove the aids when the concept is learned as soon as possible, otherwise the aid will become an ongoing crutch and will impede their progress. An occasional review with concrete aids is acceptable. RECITATION and FLASHCARDS

  2. Only the facts the first year and then into Saxon 54. Yes, children have different capabilities but your response to that is to allow them to work less problems from the lesson, even if they solve only one problem a day successfully but completely independently. Introducing other workbooks and such he says is "a waste of time." I have found it also works against self-teaching because any workbook I have used requires Mommy to be teacher. This brings me to his 3rd point.

  3. Needing help is self- fulfilling. You must be careful as a parent not to become the child's crutch: that they expect you to help them with the problems they find difficult. And we as parents must be willing to let them solve problems without being their 'teacher'. Point them to where it is taught in the textbook (and it has been), fine, have them read the instructions and work it out orally (for a beginning student to the parent), fine. Education is learning, and learning is hard work. they must solve the problems.


It is now Sept. of 2004.  We have 6 school age children ... all using the Robinson Curriculum.  They are ages 6,9,11,13,15, and 16.  We have that many more years of experience with, amongst other things, learning math facts.  Some have found it an easier process then others but all have progressed from facts into Saxon 54 successfully.  Because I know it can be a struggle setting up a facts learning routine for a youngster I thought I would add a few more pointers.   It has consistently been the question I recieve the most calls on.."I have an 7/8/9 year old who is doing flashcards but I am getting frustrated."  

- each fact group can be introduced separately for a short period but transition quickly into MIXING UP the facts groups

- if they are younger (4/5) when starting mix up all the add. and sub. facts from below 5, in time add more facts from both groups.   Have them pick favourites from the higher level facts  to add as well.  They feel quite proud to recite these each day.   Our youngest even has some mult. in there  (10 x 10=100  for e.g.)  I quizzed her through all the cards one day as a game so she could pick out higher level cards she knew or liked. 

-an ABACUS is a great tool.  Infest in a good sturdy one. No more loosing manipulatives all over the place.  Have it handy for working out the new problems.

- workbooks can be useful if they focus on the facts  ROD and STAFF publications have 2 great lst grade mathbooks that do.  AFTER  timing herself through her required flashcards our just-turned-6 year old daughter thinks it's fun to do a whole page or two of written facts.  Then she does 1 or 2 of their one minute facts timed tests and leaves off feeling real good about math.  (She has also worked her way through Saxon Test A, 100 addition facts...because her bigger sister is.  Already self-teaching at 5/6!)

- always get them to time themselves through the cards.  Some really resist this but I would always insist on it as eventual routine....on days when a stack of new cards are added you can make an exception for a bit if they go into a panic.  The timing is the way of measuring progress. 

-I have found using the Saxon TIMED TESTS to be very helpful as a way to begin the facts routine.  A warmup you could say and a MOTIVATOR.  Make a file of all the facts tests from books 54 and 65...with multiple copies of each test.  The child takes test A for e.g. and sets the timer for 5 minutes and writes down as many answers as possible.   Write HOW MANY correct on the top with the date.  Go on to the flashcards.  Each morning thereafter the child takes 5-10 minutes and finishes a couple lines...with abacus if necessary.  Again, goes on to the flashcards.  When the page is completed they get a new one and start the next morning with another 5 minute timed test A.  They now can compare the # correct with the previous test.  In our experience it has ALWAYS shown improvement...thereby giving ENCOURAGEMENT and motivation.   Continue in this way ... their progress will be evident here..especially if the flash cards are more laborious and not as rewarding at times.   Rotate through the Tests from Addition through Division. 

-2 of our children started Saxon 54 before learning all their flashcards.  They were 8 and it was time to move on.  As long as they have sub. and add. completed it is very workable.  Multiplication isn't introduced till lesson 25.  They followed this routine: 5 minute timed test, flashcards, an hour of Saxon Math.  Learning the facts before 8 is ideal but it is not always what happens.   For our son it helped his motivation to learn the facts.  I knew he was capable but my health circumstances did not allow for close supervision and so he dwaddled and bored himself to distraction.  Our daughter,9,  had real difficulty retaining math facts or reading until she was 8.  She and I have better health now and she is making good progress..well into the add., sub, and mult.  She has been the role model for our 5/6 year old.  They work side by side on their facts.

-when intoducing multiplication they make groups on the abacus..or with counters until they grasp the concept.  When starting I leave off the other facts and just give them mult. for awhile.  I show them how to line each group of cards in order and count by the answers (e.g. 2,4,6,8,10 ....).  Sometimes I have them write them out in order if I think that will help. After a 'couple' days or so shuffle the cards and have them practice the usual way.  Start a time test from book 54 on mult. facts.  When they are showing progress mix them in with the add. and sub. facts and continue as usual.  ( Saxon introduces mult. at about lesson 45. )

- the answers are on the back, it is OK to look at the answer if it is still difficult, this will encourage memorization, but then it must be placed  aside or under the pile for a second (or third) pass.    ( one daughter, being very honest, even made herself a 'cheat' pile for when she had pretended to know a card but really had seen through it.)  

-for one of our son's I made a reward system for improvement on time and #correct.  I made a chart and kept a daily record.  This worked.  He got over the 'hump' of using a timer with the cards and began to be motivated by his progress.   Without the timer he could sit and dwaddle through the cards all day...boring himself and increasing my blood pressure!

-SMILE, give ENCOURAGING words but do not succumb to holding the cards for them

Blessings, Ann Jagt

About Writing

The only resource I have used up to this point is the following:  Learning Grammar Through Writing by Sandra M.Bell and James I. Wheeler. It is a paperback book the size of a regular sheet of paper , 72 pages, and costs $8.95 through All the rules are coded which makes it easy to reference on a child's paper. You can also get it used for $5.50 - 6.95 through Educational Accents.

To find out how to write a book report, to improve on stories, poem writing, letter writing , reports on a topic I bought a book entitled "Writing with Results" by JoAnne Moore with photocopy-able pages for the students. I still like it but haven't used it much as yet because of baby #6, a do first, ask later 3 year old and a 5 year old who I am teaching to read (and loving it).

Also, my writers are plugging along very admirably without me. Reading great books is in itself an excellent model for all kinds of writing.  Be sure to read Ruth Beechick's booklet that endorses this method, "A Strong Start in Language". 

Another helpful resource for children who are not "natural spellers" is A Spelling Dictionary for Beginning Writers by Gregory Hurray.

For Dads: Lots of Preschoolers - What to do

From Arnold Jagt:

1Pe 3:7 - Show Context
Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding since they are weaker than you are. Honor your wives as those who share God's life-giving kindness so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.

I am interjecting a note here as a husband to address fathers of lots of young children.  You wife is at a very taxing stage of life.  Having children takes a lot out of a body all by itself.  Breast feeding is quite taxing as a woman's body is doing double duty of feeding itself and producing the best food possible for a baby.  Taking care of young kids is a full time job all on its own.  In many cases, running a home, cooking, cleaning, and shopping for supplies (lets forget trying to do church/community service) and meeting your needs is a big enough job as well.  Put them all together and add on homeschooling and what we have is a recipe for the destruction of the health of a mother. 

Super-moms are able to juggle everything for a time but its like having a boat loaded down to the point where just a good ripple will swamp the whole thing or just a bit of rocking of the boat will cause it to capsize.  Mom's health will go down the tubes until something has to give: the marriage, homeschooling, sometimes life itself.  Not good.

There is nothing wrong with having lots of children.  It is a blessing and we thank God for answering our prayers and giving these gifts.  There is nothing more precious than our children - they represent the future and are the bulding blocks of God's kingdom.

So what to do?

Your wife simply needs help.  It may be an older son or daughter, a mother or mother-in-law, a hired nanny, a volunteer mother's helper, or a friend.  She needs time to recover from giving birth, to rest and get adequate sleep.  She needs to eat right - especially while breast-feeding and while pregnant.  She needs someone to do the laundry once in a while.  Look to local homeschool groups, family, and sometimes even your church can be helpful.  Set up automatic bill-paying if she now pays the bills. 

Most of the solutions involve cooperation and communication with other people.  You know, relationships.  Let me get theological here for a second.  God's LawWord is the mediator between people if they are to get along well and are mutually beneficial to one another.  It is up to you to learn to take the Bible seriously (no more discounting of God's instructions about life that we find in the first 5 books of the Scriptures), study it, and make it part of your genetic makeup.  Evolution is no more true of God's standards of right and wrong than it is of creation.

Community has been lost in our largely apostate age because we have forgotten God's Law - the very thing our Savior came to reconcile us to.  Moving every five years,  the older generation going into retirement, and now extended families no longer living as a community are all manifestations of this.  We have to acknowledge all this and ask God for help and let our needs to be known to our fellow believers.

Ga 6:2 - Show Context

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

One of the great advantages we as believers have is the amazing efficiencies of the division of labor in the body of Christ (Yahshua).  What may be a crushing burden to you is easy for me to bear for you.  What is hard for me to carry is quite light for me.  So if we just help each other everything gets easier.

I say all this because I wish someone had said it to me 20 years ago.

Father of Six,

Arnold Jagt

For Moms: Lots of Preschoolers, What to do

In response to a letter from Kelly:

Dear Kelly, 
I apologize for the delay in my response.  But, I hadn't forgotten your letter. 
You are at the most demanding stage of a woman's life..  Having youngsters and bearing children calls for a great deal of physical stamina and your focus has to first of all be on their training and physical care. (Along with taking care and/or being cared for yourself )    Academic education is just a small part of this task.   Homeschooling is first of all about childrearing in the home.  And, in our society we are often functioning in a state of deficiency, not having the adequate support around us and our children.  By this I mean extended family who are both God-fearing and within arms reach.  Those who are there to physically care for Mommy especially when childbearing and lactating, and who have the experience and wisdom to teach her how to "respect her husband and to love her children" love meaning lay down the law according to God's Word. 
Our husbands are not women.  They cannot adequately fill the role of other wormen in a woman's life.   Many homes deal with this frustration constantly, I know we did....and many men have been quite effeminized.    But they must be about the task of providing and protecting their family and homestead and 'taking dominion' in whatever realm they are called and we want that for them.  We do want them to live with understanding with us...and be as a shepherd who husbands his flock.  We need close Christian community in our lives, ideally from family, and this intimacy is often lacking ... and this lack is most felt when we are caring and bearing young children.
Well, this all to are not alone in the feeling overwhelmed and how do I juggle all that is required of me?!  
I encourage you to keep the child TRAINING focus. Start with the basics...make a list of them and their rewards or consequences  (e.g. eating with thanksgiving...or the food is removed/or portion or the objectional food increased;  .no yelling in the house...or you sit on a chair quietly for 5-10 minutes following;  physical attack...corporal punishment etc).    Keeping order in the home in all these other ways WILL carry over to a body who is more able and willing to sit and study and learn. (for e.g. They already know they they are not to be yelling...the same applies to study hours. They already know that tantrums get spanks...the same goes about schoolwork.   When our youngest, of 6, is disruptive during study hours she is removed to work alone in a less favourable place, just as I would remove her or any disruptive child from the dining room to eat alone.    
Academics may have to wait on  training sessions.  I know Dr. Robinson adviced parents to start with discipline in the home...without it you won't get far in the academics.  Focus on this when they are young.  Make the older ones who are studing aware that your training of the younger ones is a priority; they must wait, help Mom if needed or go on with their studies without your help until you are available.  
I believe the Robinsons, even without the Mom, functioned more ideally academically because they took all the schoolwork out of the home environment to an outbuilding where Daddy was also available to sit at his desk and write while the children studied.  When the youngest was a baby they took turns by the hour to care for him outside of the school building.   Most of us don't have that available to us, we are doing everything  within the same 4 walls, along with being pregnant and overtired, and didn't have Daddies authoritative voice to help us either.     
When we were in your position we lived in a 2 bedroom townhouse and would soon move to our first house with these 5 youngsters and have baby 6 - it was overwhelming.  But believe me, if all you can do is keep the older ones at their math studies and then have reading time, everyone is reading or being read to from excellent books (something that can be done sitting on the couch while nursing an infant, keep a pile nearby at all times, I know that is when I taught one of ours to read)  it will still go well for your children.  When you have achieved more order in your environment then approach the 'missing' tasks again, having the older children advance into vocabulary and writing.   But don't try to do it all now - like I said, keep child training as your primary focus.    Our oldest is now nearing 18 and I know he spent much of his early academics doing his math, reading and helping his younger siblings. (Last year he spent one year in a small Christian boy's school, came out with all A's except for chemistry and Spanish and won a $200. award for something he wrote) I remember that I didn't feel we really got under way until we moved into that first house and were able to set up the dining area as a separate schoolroom, he was nearing 10 years of age! 
Some practical pointers:  
1) as mentioned above,  keep a basket of good books by the couch, as well as alphabet cards and such for teaching 
2) have a basket of activities for your 2 youngest that are just for quiet time . the Rod and Staff Company has great activity books and such for 3 and 4 year olds although I know some little boys don't do well with paperwork but could have other sorts of things  
3) solicite and use the elder 2 for helping in the home and attending to younger children at regular/expected times  
4) rotate toys so they keep their attention, keep them in a closet out of sight in between times. 
5) use a playpen  
6) make a list of easy, healthy mini meals that the older children can oversee
7) let them play and take the opportunity to rest
8) set a timer for yourself, to check on a student, "I will be back in 15 minutes" 
Boys can be especially challenging for keeping to their studies.  I can't say I have any easy fix answers.  My friend has 5 young boys and 2 daughters in a small home.  They give them math, lots of books and lots of chores and fresh air and exercise. 
Well, maybe I carried on more then needed here. 
Hopefully something of what I said will be of help and encouragement,
Ann Jagt

Ann's Corner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

The McGuffey Readers

What About the McGuffey Readers?

I just happened to have been composing a 'blurb' about that very thing to go on this web site. I took a special interest in them this year after purchasing a little paperback book entitled McGuffey and His Readers, Piety, Morality, and Education in 19th-Century America by John H. Westerhoff III.

As a result, we invested in the purchase of the original (1836-37) hard-cover version from Motts Media last month. All the versions of the McGuffey readers are great reading (the curriculum has the 1879 revision) so, be sure to use the set you already own if want to save the expense of printing.

If you are like me, you will make your own comparisons but, I would encourage anyone to read Westerhoffs's book to get a well studied comparison of all the versions as well as an eye-opening to the changing of the American peoples beliefs and values as it is reflected in the revisions. The originals are filled with Scripture excerpts, the Soverignty of God, salvation etc..

The revisionists thought it best to take this out to fit a changing, pluralistic nation! Yet, even the revisions, in light of our 20th century, have refreshing moral content, a rich assortment of literature and the occasional acknowledgement of God.

You may be interested in getting the full set of the original McGuffey's from Mott Media.

Suggestions For Using the McGuffey Readers:

In our use of these readers the children have been simply READING THEM INDEPENDENTLY.   Of late, as I am incorporating some ORAL READING into our weekly routine, especially with the older children, I find these books to be ideal...for many reasons.

First, being readers, there is an appropriate reading level for each of my 'school-age' children.

Second, they are already broken into short stories or lessons.

Third, the content is wonderfully suited FOR INSTRUCTING CHILDREN of Christian households and lead to much relevant discussion.

Fourth, each lesson has its own VOCABULARY list, with pronunciation helps and the fourth reader (as far as we have progressed) has word definitions as well.

Fifth, I find the 2nd reader to be especially useful for COPYWORK as each paragraph is numbered making it easy to identify a selection for copying. 

As we now own a reprint of the original readers, I am reading these lessons to the children 'over' the occasional lunch . The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th readers in the original version include questions after each lesson. I am presently evaluating the parent-teacher guide by Ruth Beechick (wrote specifically to complement the original readers) as to its compatibility with the 1879 version. So far it looks very probable.

Although lesson examples/stories differ, the teaching suggestions are wonderful. not only for the 'teaching reading stage' but also for grammar and spelling instruction. The purchase of this guide could give the Robinson curriculum users even more 'mileage' from their McGuffey readers. Look into it if you will and I will likely give you further updates on the matter myself.

Ann's Corner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Keeping Organized

How Do I Keep Organized?

A. Day-timer - Keeping a day timer of some sort on my desk and jotting a younger child's daily work helps me a great deal. Sometimes it is done after the fact but it keeps us on track and I do not need to relie on my overtaxed memory facilities.

Categories at the back of the day-timer are invaluable if you are educating a number of children over the years.  Suggestions are:  Educational Resources We Own,  Library Books Worth Reading,  Preschool Reading Program,  Bible Instruction Program, Field Trips, Community Programs Friendly to Homeschoolers, E-mail addresses , $$ Educational Purchases (where, when, how much).    Although this is not an education item I thought I would mention that I also keep one category for each child  and jot down their personal health facts.  It helps a lot when questions arise such as "What was that medication they reacted too?" "Did they get an immunization?" "Who was it that had _______, and when ?"   "How did I try to remedy that problem?"  I wish I had done this for myself over the years.

B. Booklist - I also print out a book list for each child and record books read and exams taken on it. I circle the number of any books to be postponed so we will be sure to come back to them and list any additional reading (such as from the Books of Knowledge [-1962 edition] or any books you have personally chosen as required reading) on the back or a separate page.  

C. RC Weekly Assignment Record - This is a page where each student records their daily work. For the younger student I check it each day or write the summary myself . The older child hands it in a the weeks end and completes neglected work on Saturday.   (see the separate category in Ann's Corner for a link to the printable version)

D. Binders - Each student has a binder in which they keep  1. Supplementary Reading List   2. RC Document List (booklist)  3. RC Assignment Records  4. Writing Helps (student pages that explain how to write a book report, different styles of poems, organizing an essay etc.)   Now I have the older ones keep separate binders for their examinations and daily writing

E. Timer -   As I go about my daily routine with the little ones, in the kitchen, household chores, etc., it is easy to forget 'the time' and neglect checking up on someone who is still learning to self-teach. To minimize this I set a timer for myself and inform the child that I will be back in __ minutes to check on their progress ... and I am.   It is also essential for the child that is memorizing math facts.    We have also gotten them for the older children if  it helps them to be faithful in working for the required time elements.  This CAN be a problem if they use the time for daydreaming and do not actually complete the work. Knowing the  WORK requirement is more important then their knowing a time 'requirement'. 

F. Checklist - The best system (meaning simple and straightforward) for keeping track of younger, or all, children's daily requirements I discovered just this year (Sept. 2004).  I like it better then the RC assignment record.  It just takes moments each day to keep effective track of the whole family.

For each child I took a 70 page spiralbound notebook (all of .10 each on sale at Meijer) and made half inch columns, one for each school day from Sept. through Dec. (in Dec. I will do Jan. - June/July).  On the top of each I put the day of the week from Fri.- Sat and day of the month.   I left some space on the right side for comments.  I took one page out and folded it in half.  Turn the first page so you have columned pages on both sides.  Glue the folded page on the left side, matching the lines, so one folded side will fold out to the left.   (Maybe you can find an actual pre-columed notebook to avoid this busy work..I couldn't.  The Columnar Pads fall apart.)

This extension is for writing down ALL the child's weekly work requirements, in each category, one under the other:    MATH - timed test, flashcards, Saxon, error rate;  WRITING - copywork, original composition, grammar; VOCABULARY; READING; (EXAMS);  MISCELLANEOUS - Bible reading, Scripture memory, catechism: CHORES (whatever they routinely are responsible for through a week) (e.g. empty dishwasher. petcare, wipe table, meal prep, vacuum etc.); MUSIC practice; help younger sibling; (even brush TEETH, make BED if you so choose)...till you run out of spaces.   

Each day I pull out the notebook and simply make a check mark down that days column beside each item that was accomplished that day.   My 13 year old comes and checks it for herself.  (If there was a very bad attitude there will be a check with a line through it. ) It is now clear to each child and to me what the requirements are and how often some things are or are not getting done.   If they want to go off to play..we check the list .. requirements come first.  Not everything is necessarily to be done everyday, on off days you just put a slash through.  If you took a holiday or someone is ill etc. it can be written in the column for that day.  For Math I put the lesson #in instead of a checkmark and can see at a glance how many lessons a child is achieving in a week.  At a glance I can see a child's ENTIRE weeks/months/years accomplishments.   Rewards can now be administered for excellent achievements and improved work ethic. :) 

At the back of the notebook, about 10 pages in,  I put a tab marked BIBLIOGRAPHY.  Each day or so I list the books the child is reading, with a star to mark a favourite.   Now I have a list that goes beyond RC books and I can refer to it for other children's reading pleasure. 

Just beyond the checklist/columed pages  I have plenty of pages for anything else I may want to write in regards to that particular child's schooling etc. I make sure I date each comment.  

G. Drawers - in the kitchen I have placed a small drawered unit.  Each child has their own drawer for handing in writing and keeping of the above notebook. Some also keep their timer there. That way it is convenient for me and writing doesn't get left all over the place.  Eventually it gets handed back to the child to go in their binder.  It works great.


Update: We have found this resource to be very helpful for RC students who need more structure:

Weekly Assignment Record

Have you ever wanted a form to help you help your children be more accountable in their daily work and to have on hand as a record of their yearly work?

Arn and I have designed one recently and have been implementing it with our 3 oldest with good success.

Click here for a printable HTML version of the Weekly Assignment Record.

Click here for a printable PDF version of the Weekly Assignment Record.

Details on How to Use the Record.

MATH - I think it is pretty self-explanatory.  To make sure they are not short changing in the time element my husband now has them write in the beginning time and have it initialled (by one of us). Having the older children accountable directly to him has kept them more honest in this aspect. When they are done they do the same.

READING - The 'book #' refers to those books from the RC booklist. In actuality we use it very little because the children write in the title and then use an abbrev. for the following days they are reading from the same book. It doesn't hurt to have them jot down the book # as it makes it easier to locate on the document list.

I included the 'titles' category because we, and most families have other books, not on the RC list that we allow or require for study time (such as The Books of Knowledge). WE do not even use the 'pages' or 'time' categories but I included them because I thought it would be useful to other families who monitor a child's reading that closely (from discussion on the forum).

WRITING - 'Editing' is the brief way of saying, 'Did you fix the grammar errors?' I just looked the word up in the dictionary and it appears it may not be the best choice here, a little overkill maybe for young writers(editing being "to prepare for publication"). I probably should have used the word 'Corrections'.

Dr. Robinson always had his children correct their writing errors prior to beginning another essay. With my younger children who tend to do their writing with less contemplation and research they fix them the same day under my supervision. When the piece of writing refered to in 'topic' is corrected we put a check mark (or my initial) in the 'edited' column.

VOCABULARY - Again, the 'book #' is the number used on the RC booklist. I use only 2 lines for the 'words' as one can fit more than one word on a line. (We wanted the assignment record to only take two pages. We played around with more but narrower lines but found that the younger children had difficulty writing that small.)

For the columns with 'pronunciation', 'spelling', and 'review' either the child or I check off or initial when the words can be spelled correctly, said correctly and they have not only written 3 new words but reviewed all the words from that week (on Monday they quiz themselves on the previous weeks words).

Now, I have to say that that is the ideal. Most of the time they do not practice spelling them, pronouncing them or reviewing them!! That is too much for me to keep up with so I have left it to them. Those who do more will know more. I DO enforce the 3 words a day. For those who neglect even this during the week they get to add it to Saturday's agenda (as many as they skipped.). We only require the math on Sat. which they, of course, enjoy so adding 'catch up' work is a deterent to skipping requirements during the week.

At the end of the week I go over each child's assignment record and I sign it and make any comments like, "You'll have to do this on Sat., sorry!", "Work on your handwriting for a couple days please." or "Keep it up." etc.

Sometimes a child doesn't fill in the assignment record and so that has to be done Fri. or Sat. just as any other neglected work. It has helped to have the older ones accountable to dad, knowing he is going to look over their record and be pleased or displeased.

Each of our students has a Study Binder and one of the categories is "Assignment Record". They put it in there and I do refer to it to see what my comments were and if they followed through.

Well, I think I have exhausted all aspects. Blessings, Ann Jagt

Ann's Corner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

A Diet Without Sugar


What would replace the sugar in the diet without adding chemicals like the other sweeteners on the market? I would like to cut out the sugar but am not sure how to do that in things like cooking and drinks.


We were never satisfied with 'unsweetening' our favorite baked goods. It's just not the same and the sugar craving 'protested.' Mostly, I replaced our snacks with nuts, carob chips, seeds and raisin mixes, fruit, cut veggies (e.g. 'ants-on-a-log' - celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top), crackers with creme cheese or Sorrell Ridge jams, pretzels etc. etc.. No sweets unless there is a special occasion (and that's usually at someone else's home).

I found some baking recipes using honey as a sweetener (you can substitute half as much honey as sugar) and we especially like the results with muffins. Mini muffins and fruit make a pleasant offering for guests, too.

A recipe book that helped me make many adjustments in our diet, including the sugar-less one, is Step-By-Step to Natural Food by Diane Campbell.

Now, regarding the question, "What is there to drink?" First of all, we bought a Brita filter jug {with hopes to buy an undercounter model someday) which has made drinking water much more desirable and I insist on this for quenching thirst. With warmer weather I keep a 2 gallon cooler on the counter full of cold lemon water or Celestial Seasoning Iced Tea. For picnics I may make lemon water using a third of a cup frozen lemonade. During cold weather we drink herbal teas with some honey. The only exception I have made is after a tobogganing trip, we have hot cocoa. It IS hard to shed old habits!

Fruit juices are tempting but there is still the question of too much sugar in the blood stream , plus, it gets too expensive.

Be kind to any new babes, don't let them have that first taste and they won't have to break a bad habit, dare I say .. an addiction. I wish I had had this resolve when our children were very young.

Sugar Addiction

News articles frequently call our attention to the damaging effect of addictions upon the American people. Once, the principal focus was on alcohol addiction - a disease that afflicts about 10% of American drinkers of alcohol. The remaining 90% apparently receive a slight amount of life extension from this habit. Now, the focus is on soft and hard drugs that destroy the mind - turning the most unfortunate into human vegetables and others into criminals who turn to robbery and worse to feed their habits.


While these addictions do diminish the quantity and quality of human life to a substantial extent, they affect a relatively small number of people. Probably more damaging are the lesser addictions that harm a large percentage of individuals. Principal among these, of course, is smoking. Life expectancy is diminished about 8 years per pack per day of cigarettes smoked. Moreover, this is not 8 years at the end. Smoking compresses life and accelerates aging. This is evident even by casual observation of heavy smokers, who often look older than their chronological age.


Another addiction also accelerates aging - the increased probability of death with time. This is the addiction to sucrose, which also diminishes the quality of life. There is a large amount of information about this; The book Sweet and Dangerous by John Yudkin is a good place to begin a review of the correlations between sugar and all sorts of scourges from tooth decay to heart disease. While virtually all natural foods contain sucrose, the ability to manufacture it cheaply has caused an order of magnitude increase in sugar consumption. In the average American diet, about 20% of caloric intake is sugar - a physiological assault that our bodies are not designed to endure.


Both my wife Laurelee and I became addicted to sugar at early ages. In my case, I was a model student in the first and second grades at ages 5 and 6 - so much so that I was expected to skip the 3rd grade and enter the 4th at the age of 7. Then my family moved, and circumstances caused my mother to supply me with money to buy my lunch at school. I spent the money on candy, and the effects were soon evident. I developed unruly behavior, and my academic performance sharply dropped. The third, fourth, and fifth grades augured very poorly for my future. We then moved again, but I still carried the lunch money, and the sixth grade saw no improvement.


Fortunately, two more moves found my family in Victoria and then Houston, Texas, where my father designed the Union Carbide plant at Seadrift and then became head of engineering and construction for Union Carbide International. In Victoria and Houston I did not have easy access to sugar. The result was that my grades from the 7th grade on were perfect, my extracurricular performance in athletics, acting, and debate was excellent, and I was selected to attend Caltech (also MIT, Harvard, and Rice). If the sugar had not been withdrawn, I would have been lucky to attend college at all.


The addiction was, however, ingrained, and I have struggled with it all of my life. Laurelee, too, had this problem. After our marriage, she largely gave it up, with a marked improvement in her sense of well-being, but she and I were never completely free. Once every month or two, she would make a large batch of chocolate chip cookies, so we would both indulge ourselves - and then suffer the usual physiological penalties.


We were, however, not completely foolish. Before our children were conceived and born, we abstained completely - and we made sure that our children did not develop this affliction. The rewards in quiet, intelligent children with virtually no health problems and good jaw development and teeth were well worth the self-control.


Child behavior is one very common casualty of sugar addiction. I recall one study carried out by colleagues of mine who were interested in food additives and "hyperactivity." Their protocol required the parents to write down the last things the child had eaten before each hyperactive episode. The results - sugar was the hyperactivity trigger.


I remember, too, an outstanding undergraduate student at UCSD for whom we all had high hopes. He was highest in his class in science and superb in the laboratory. This won him a scholarship to Rockefeller University - probably the most exclusive graduate science school in the United States because the graduate student body is very small. Yet, a year later, he had dropped out of Rockefeller. When I offered him a job in my lab as a technician, he warned me, "I am not the man I used to be." Then he told me that sugar addiction and hypoglycemia had led to mental symptoms that destroyed his performance.


The ingestion of excess sucrose supplies the body with very large amounts of fructose. Sucrose, a dimmer of fructose and glucose, is rapidly hydrolyzed in the stomach. Glucose is ordinarily present in large amounts in the blood, but fructose is not. Also, the sugars in sucrose enter the blood stream quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood glucose. For this reason, the blood sugar of sucrose addicts oscillates wildly over a wide range. It is not known which of these effects - fructose or blood sugar oscillation - is the worst health hazard.


Sugar definitely weakens the immune system - which protects us from many things from colds to cancer. As an older person, my system contains a wider selection of immune responses than that of a younger person. Consequently, when the children have colds or other similar maladies, I am usually spared. If, however, there is illness in the house, I must be sure to control my sugar addiction. A plate of cookies will make certain that I, too, share their illness.


Sugar addiction is very common, so many Access to Energy readers have this difficulty. After studying this problem both scientifically and personally for more than 30 years and talking with many people concerning it, I can fairly well predict the letters that this article will elicit There will be many readers who tell me similar anecdotes about their own health problems with sugar addiction. Also, there will be one or two from sugar-afflicted die-hards who insist that their habit is harmless. There is, of course, wide biological individuality; so differing experiences are expected. For most people, however, if they honestly observe their own well-being as a function of sugar ingestion, the experiences will be similarly negative.


After Laurelee died and was no longer here to protect her family with the best nutrition she could design, my addiction reasserted itself.  This is especially a problem because I now buy the family groceries. Grocery stores have many temptations - even with six sugar-free children in attendance. I am one of the few adults who has had the experience of an eight-year-old child (Matthew) standing with arms outstretched in front of the grocery store cookie counter and loudly saying, "No, you cannot have any cookies."


Once, a couple of years after Laurelee died, I noticed that my semi-secret cookie supply was diminishing. The supply was already a hazard because my cookies sometimes inexplicably were found to contain soap. "Now you have done it," I thought, "You have set a bad example, and one of the children is becoming addicted."


For a while, no one admitted to the crime. Finally, however, my oldest son Zachary came forward He had, he said, been stealing my cookies and throw them away because he and the other children had noticed that I was more irritable when eating sugar. They were right Increased irritability is a common side effect of sugar consumption. The effects of sugar addiction increase with age, but they can be very damaging to young people, too. Diminished mental performance, irritability, excess weight, and headaches are some of the milder symptoms. Those are for the fortunate. Increased probability of degenerative diseases and early death await the not-so-fortunate.


The best solution, as with any addiction, is not to start. This is the reason that Laurelee and I raised sugar-free children. I hope they do not cast off this blessing. They will, I hope, have families of their own and will want the best nutritional health, both before and after birth, for their children. The world, however, is filled with temptation. Five of them are in colleges now, and are influence by their peers. One is starting to eat sugar. Another is too fond of very high sugar fruit juices. I hope that they will pull back before it is too late.


This Access to Energy is being written without sugar. Readers may notice that the rhetoric is not quite so strident. Yet, who knows what words you will encounter as a result of the large number of mercury amalgum fillings in my teeth - put there by lunch money long ago. We addicts try all sorts of artifices. Aspartame is the most common, but aspartame is physiologically active, too. You have read many words (not these) written under the influence of aspartame-laced diet soda, which also feeds one's caffeine addiction. Of caffeine, I can echo Mark Twain's boast concerning his cigars. I know that I can give it up. I have done it a thousand times. Caffeine withdrawal takes three days and follows a predictable course of tiredness and then reawakening.


The terrible irony is that, absent these addictions, the flavors and effects of ordinary foods are much more enjoyable and certainly surpass those of health-diminishing concoctions. A sugar-free individual finds natural foods to be quite sweet and those laced with sugar to be too sweet; a caffeine-free individual is uniformly alert, not just after his fix; and a child who has been blessed with parents who keep him free of health-damaging addictions has a chance for a far better life.

by Art Robinson, Access to Energy, December 2002 (Vol.30, no.5)

Ann's Corner - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

About Essays

Exactly What Is An Essay?

My child has been filling pages with handwriting, poems, stories, copywork, letters to friends and relations, and even the occasional book report.  It has been quite a process!   Now, how do we get from here to writing essays? .......Exactly what is an essay?

The broader definition  of an essay as given in Webster's dictionary is this: "A short composition that deals with a single topic."    To add more content to this here is an excerpt from "Learning Essay Writing" by Marvin Eicher (Rod and Staff.)      "The four kinds of prose (nonpoetic) writing are expositiion, argumentation, description, and narration. 

An EXPOSITION explains an idea or process;

an ARGUMENTATION sets out to prove a particular point of view;

 a DESCRIPTION shows the reader how something looks, sounds, or feels;

and a  NARRATION tells a story."

It is possible for one essay to contain elements of all the above.  From my experience younger children deal best with the last two, description (e.g. This is my best friend and what we do together. or, My Favourite Hobby), and narration ( e.g. Our Trip to Oregon, or a story from their own imagination. The more stories they read, the better their stories become.)

  Hey," Maybe my child has already actually started writing essays!" you say.   But, is there a particular format to follow?   And, how can they improve in their essay writing?  In brief, yes, there is a format and by becoming acquainted with the following steps to writing a person's writing is bound to improve.

Step 1. GETTING STARTED   What is the first question a prospective writer asks? We have all heard it before.  "What am I going to write about?"  Yes, The first thing is to choose a topic.  That takes  a little thought, maybe a little prompting or a list of suggestions.

Step 2. It is important at this stage to keep the TOPIC narrowed down to a manageable field.  E.g. 'Literature' is a very broad topic. 'Literature in the 19th Century' narrows it down.  Choosing one specific author from that century would narrow it down further 'Horatio Alger, A Favourite Author of the 19th Century'. 

Step 3. Make an OUTLINE.  The writer should ask, "What ideas do I have about this topic?"  Asking questions about the topic helps a great deal. Write these ideas down in point form as they come to mind.

E.G. Horatio Alger 

  • where did he live? 
  • date of birth and death 
  • did he have a family? 
  • what were some events of his early life? 
  • when did he start writing? 
  • what was he like? 
  • what influenced his writings?
  • why were his writings such a big hit? 
  • my favourite Alger story is ______ 
  • etc. etc.
Step 4. ORGANIZE your ideas.  Ask, "In what order should I set out these ideas?"   Do some of them fit together?  E.G. Horatio Alger First,  the ideas about  his personal life. Second, the ideas about him as an author.  Third, my favourite Alger story.  I think I will set this idea aside as a separate essay, a book report. 

Step 5. Write an INTRODUCTION.  This is the part that my children  usually left off.  Focusing on it for a few days in their daily writing and helping with suggestions, giving them models in other writings helped significantly.  Here is an e.g. from  our 8 year old daughter Rose's composition book:  "I have a little sister who's name is Leah Grace Jagt."  or "I like squirrels."  These of course are very simple, but, they do the job.  Following the e.g. of the Horatio Alger essay one could write, "Some of the greatest literature was written in the 19th century.  Horatio Alger was one of those authors.  He wrote exciting and adventureous stories about boys in America that even girls, like myself, love to read  (a suggestion from Rose).  Who was Horatio Alger, and how did he come to write such great stories?"  The introduction has to, of course, lead to what is coming next.

Step 6. The BODY of  the essay is what comes between the introduction and conclusion.  It could be one or more paragraphs, depending on how many ideas you have.  Go back to the outline and write about each of the ideas that are there.   Some research, more or less, depending on the age and ability of the child, could or should happen at this point.   Research, even from one source (such as the Book of Knowledge) helps ideas to be accurate, answers questions the writer had about the topic and developes the idea.  It may spark new ideas as well that you then add to the outline. Use the outline to write the body of your essay. Warning: This may be a very sloppy process .... does not end here.

Step 7. Write a CONCLUSION. This could simply be one sentence or thought.   E.G. from Horatio Alger: "I believe Alger's stories are sure to be around for another 100 years.  They are true classics."  E.G. from My Baby Sister:  "Babies are a lot of fun!"  Certain lengthier essay's may need to conclude with a summary. 

Step 8. REREAD your essay.  Correct all the errors you find.  Do I need to suggest a few?  Check spelling (dictionary), check capitalization and punctuation (Learning Grammar Through Writing, is our favourite child-friendly help), take out unnecessary words  (e.g. "In my opinion, I think that...." is saying the same thing twice, and starting every sentence with "Now" or "Then" ) , and change any sentences or words that do not seem right.   Some parental help at this point is very helpful in building better essays.

Step 9. If necessary, REWRITE the essay and hand it in. Now it will look great. Way to go!

Since introducing the outline and roughcopy approach with our 12 year old son he has commented that  it  has become EASIER to write an essay. Yeah!  Planning ahead is sure to  improve the final product too!  (And it has.)

Writing Composition by RJ Rushdoony

A Teachers Course 11-16-1972


Introduction by Rev. Thoburn


It is a privilege to introduce tonight brother Rousas J. Rushdoony who is at home in many fields including education.  He's written a couple of books on education: The Messianic Character of American Education and Intellectual Schizophrenia as well as many other works that deal with education, science, politics and so forth. 


But tonight he is going to speak to us on the subject of composition, a Christian approach to composition.


Rush, thank you very much for being with us tonight.



Writing and Culture


I'm a little hesitant about talking on teaching composition to all of you who do more teaching of it than I ever do.  But Mrs. Thoburn felt that I should speak on this subject. 


As a professional writer I do have some ideas on the subject.  And, perhaps, some of the things I say may be relevant to you in your work as teachers.


First of all, teaching composition simply means, "teaching good writing."  It's as simple as that. 

Second, we must say that good writing is clear thinking.  Muddled thinking and muddled writing is a headache in any and every area.  In fact, one of the problems of our day is that, as at the end of every age, thinking is muddled and therefore writing is muddled.  It's a curious, but very significant fact. 

But in the days before the fall of Greece there was no good writing and no good thinking.  Before the fall of Rome there was no good writing and no good thinking.  As the medieval era came to a close, again, there was no good thinking and no good writing.  We have the same problem today.  Good writing is clear thinking. 


This is why in a Christian school you can teach good writing in a way that you cannot in a state school. The whole philosophy of humanistic man is such, today, that it militates against clear thinking and therefore good writing. 


Examples of Muddled Writing


Look at the major magazines in the country today.  When I pick up, for example, a copy of a National Review I find it infuriating reading.  The style is so bad.  The points are made in such a peculiar and involved way.  These are conservative writers.  I find myself usually in somewhat of an agreeable position to what they have to say.  But I very often simply throw the magazine aside and refuse to go ahead any further because I find that it's too irritating, too aggravating to me to read that kind of muddled writing.


I read Harpers and the Atlantic Monthly.  These two periodicals are supposed to represent the best in American literary standards.  They are, definitely, superior to much else.  And yet, here again, we have this same problem.  More than once I've gone to my wife with a paragraph and I have thrust it in front of her and I've said, "Read it and tell me if it makes any sense to you."   And she has to agree with me that somehow there isn't a coherent and a consistent point made. 

At the end of every age there is a collapse of culture, a collapse of thinking and it reflects itself in the writing.  This is why I think composition can only be properly taught in this day and age in a Christian school; precisely because the Christian school, in my opinion, represents the wave of the future.  It represents that agency which, alone, is teaching the consistently good leadership for tomorrow; only there can you teach good composition. 


Bad Writing in Colleges


I do a great deal of lecturing on secular college and university campuses and, once in a while, as this week, at a Christian college campus.  On some of these secular university campuses I have had occasion at times to see some of the papers that some of the students are doing and the superior grades they get for them. And it is appalling to see the kind of garbage that is turned in. And I mean garbage in terms of any kind of literary standard. 


The inability to think straight, and then to express that, is one that is more and more apparent in our culture.  We must say, further, that the purpose of good punctuation and good grammar is simply to further clear thinking.  This is the emphasis we must make when we teach grammar and punctuation. 


I had the usual problems that children do with grammar and punctuation.  I think I was better than most. I was getting A's.  But it wasn't until I encountered a teacher who simply explained what each punctuation mark did and what the rules of grammar did for clear thinking that suddenly the purpose of it all came home to me and I never forgot, thereafter, the rules so that when you explain the rules of punctuation and of grammar, emphasize their function in teaching clear thinking. 


False Syllogisms


The structure of a paragraph: It's a body of thought.  It is not a false syllogism.  It is important, therefore, in teaching good composition to stress thinking in the composition and the content thereof so that besides being grammatically correct and correct as far as punctuation is concerned, it is clear, logical thinking; that it does not involve false syllogisms. 


Now, in case you don't know what a false syllogism is, it's a proposition which is seemingly logical but which leads to an illogical conclusion because the various aspects of it are improperly phrased, involve too much and therefore lead to false conclusions.


I can illustrate with this: 


A.        Man is a two-legged animal.


B.        A chicken is a two-legged animal.


C.        It follows, therefore, that a chicken is a man.


Now, that's a false syllogism.  You have begun by defining man in terms of being a two-legged animal, which is true.  Man is a two-legged animal. But he is more than a two-legged animal.  And your definition, thus, leads to a false conclusion. 

Now, this is important because so much of our writing, so much of the argument you hear nowadays in politics, on television talk shows, magazine articles, involves this kind of illogical thinking; false syllogisms. That's why it is important to stress this kind of thinking, clear headed, avoiding false syllogisms with the child.


Thinking Before Writing


A paragraph is a logical, consistent body of thought.  And thought must precede writing always.  Thought must precede writing. 


It's important, therefore, to think something out before it is written.  When I sit down to write, for example, I have been dealing with a subject for some time so that when I go over a chapter that I have written for any one of my books?I write in long hand?on rare occasions I may make a correction. Very often my chapters will appear exactly as I wrote them in the book.  The reason, of course, is I have thought the subject through backwards and forwards so that when I sit down to write it's just a question of letting it flow. 


You can have logical writing, good writing, when you have given as much time as possible to thinking beforehand. And this is why it is important for children to be taught they must think before they write. 


I had a teacher once who tried a novel experiment with us.  Everyone in the class was to get up and give a five-minute talk.  That talk was criticized and then we were to write it.  The whole point was to see how our writing reflected the thinking of the oral composition?and we'll come back to that subsequently?in terms of the criticism of the kind of argument we had used.  The point was to improve our thinking before we came to writing.  It was a very healthy exercise especially because the class was encouraged to be ruthless with everyone who was up in front talking.  They took to that very quickly.  And it was good discipline. 


"Propositional Truth"


Next, a very important point; one which is never stressed nowadays: the question of propositional truth.  A few of you may be familiar with this subject because there are some who deny that the Bible gives us propositional truth.  But what we must say is that all language is propositional.  All language is propositional.  Every word involves a proposition concerning reality.

Take, for example, the word "sovereign."  The word "sovereign" properly belongs to God: ultimate, absolute, final, Lord over all things.  When men begin to use the word "sovereign" for the state or for state's rights or for man, they have thereby made man or an institution of man into God. 


The word "is" is propositional.  The word "is" says there is being, present being.  That's a proposition. 


All language is inescapably propositional.   As a result we must say the emphasis in modern writing, modern composition, modern literature on mood writing is utterly ridiculous.  It is false.  You cannot even convey a mood without, first of all, having a proposition. 


As a result, it is very, very helpful to stress the use of a dictionary, a very precise emphasis on definitions, the very careful limitation of words to their precise and original meaning in order to further good composition. 


Using Correct Language


When I was a senior at the university I took a course in Advanced Composition from one of the most wonderful men I ever studied under. He was an old Scotchman with a Scotch burr, G. Dundace Craig; an elderly white-haired man who peered over his glasses with his eyes twinkling, just the ideal kind of professor, the kind you dream about and rarely, if ever, see.  And I shall never forget the time when we had been given a number of words to use in a sentence.  And he picked up my paper and read something that I had written that I had been raised in California and Michigan.  And he looked at me and he said, "Mr. Rushdoony, we raise hogs. We rear children."  I've never misused that word again.  You see, the significance there of the proper use of words. 


Our failure to teach this kind of thing has led to a blurring of language.  Of course there's a reason for this.  I said, earlier, that language is propositional.  Very few people ever teach that.  In fact, let me say I've never heard anyone stress this in any teaching of composition.  And yet one of the reasons why there is the effort to break down language is precisely because it is propositional. 


Marcel Duchamp's War on Language


One of the most interesting figures of this century was Marcel Duchamp?D-U-C-H-A-M-P.  Anyone ever hear of him?  Yes.


Now, Marcel Duchamp was a French artist who was very famous in the early years of the century?I think it was 1913, the Armory Show in New York?where his painting Nude Descending a Staircase created a sensation.  It was the first example of modern art of an extreme variety that this country had seen.  And so millions of people heard about it across the country.  Thousands lined up to see the Armory Show and to figure out where the nude was in that painting.  They couldn't see a nude. 


Marcel Duchamp, as a champion of modern art, was totally anti-God and, as a result, ultimately anti-art.  Later on instead of painting anything or sculpting anything, he would go to the dump, pick up any random article and bring it and display it.  Finally, he would have nothing to do with art and he retired.  He dedicated himself for some years to an effort to create a new language in which words would have no meaning.  "Because," he said, "language as it exists today with its meaning, is propositional and it ultimately points to the total world of meaning that is God."  He wanted a logically atheistic language.  He worked for years to create a language in which words would have no meaning, no propositional character and finally decided if he invented it there would be no one he could communicate with.  It was an impossibility and he gave up.  And he did nothing more the rest of his life. 


To do anything would have meaning and would point to God. 


Now, Marcel Duchamp was, at least, knowledgeable as far as the significance of language.   Language is propositional.  Language does point to a world of meaning and to God.  Man is the creature who has language and is, therefore, the creature who worships God and is related to God. 


Ideas for Composition


For this reason it is extremely important to stress the propositional character of language. 


We must, therefore, say that compositions dealing with ideas are, thus, more useful than compositions dealing with "What I did on my vacation."  A composition on "Why capital punishment?" or "Should schools have corporal punishment?"  That might get them very interested.  Deal with ideas.  And this is the kind of writing you need to encourage because good writing and good thinking are inseparable.  And you're not going to teach good writing unless you stress good thinking. 


Some day, perhaps, our composition textbooks will begin by teaching elementary logic.   This is important.  It is essentially related to the teaching of composition.  Because good thinking is so basic, it is important for children to have good models. 


I have been upset several times in recent years when I have found that some child or other has been reprimanded for a composition because they copied so much of it out of an encyclopedia.  I think that's good.  In fact, I think it's a good discipline to assign, say, a 10-page article or to mimeograph one and then tell the child to take and condense this into two or three pages. 


They have, first of all, a model of good thinking.  Then, they have, further, the discipline of getting to the heart of that article in their condensation.  The more a child can go to models like an encyclopedia article and work with it to restate it, even though he restates, say, his two or three page condensation largely in the words of the original writer, he is learning something thereby.  He is learning how to assess the original article in terms of its significance and importance, the central points thereof, and then to condense it.


Frankly, I did a great deal of my learning as a child precisely in that way.  I thought it was one of the most helpful things I did.  Every time I had a paper I would go to an encyclopedia and, essentially, condense it.  I learned a great deal thereby.  I knew that I had to understand what that article said no matter how much I followed the wording thereof.


You can take these articles and then go over them with the children in terms of the original article?if you have mimeographed a copy for everyone in the class?in order for them to understand what the essential points are, to see where they went astray, to enable them to think so that they can write better.


Speaking as Composition


I mentioned earlier giving five-minute talks and then writing.  Oral composition is a form of composition.  It is excellent training.  Talking is composition.  What I'm giving you now is a composition, an oral composition. 


When we give an oral composition we are put on our metal because in an oral composition we see the results immediately.  We know whether people are getting bored and going to sleep or getting restless and looking at the clock.  And it's a good test of whether we are getting the point across and getting it across properly, creating interest and empathy as we do.


Debating is a form of composition.  When we debate or when we speak it is necessary for us to have some thing to say and to say it clearly and well.  Thus, in teaching oral composition a very good way of doing it is to ask the children to give a "how to do it" talk and then to write a "how to do it" paper.  This is the most difficult type of oral and written composition. 


Transferring Ideas with Little Common Ground


We all know how to do something, but when it comes to telling someone else to do it, it is clearly a problem.  It requires thinking the matter through so that a person who knows nothing about it will know precisely what to do:  how to bake a cake, how to play basketball.   This sounds simple until you try it.  It does call for clear headed thinking.  


Have a child explain playing baseball to someone from France who has no idea what baseball is or what a baseball diamond is about.  This type of thing requires them to look at their writing carefully to make sure that such a person will understand what they have to say.


Of course, outlining, short essay, locating topic sentences, recognizing how important topic sentences are, and analyzing sentence structure not only grammatically, but in terms of a complete thought are important. 


Developing Basic Ideas


Then, again, it is important to teach a child how to develop an idea.  The composition is an idea or a series of ideas.  They need to, therefore, to take a basic idea and develop it.  At this point the Bible is a very convenient and useful textbook.  The book of Proverbs, for example; take Proverbs 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."  What is the idea there?  Let the child develop it. 


Or, in Proverbs 28 here are a couple of verses I like. Verse four: "They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them."  "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination."  Verse nine.


There are lots of marvelous verses in Proverbs which set forth an idea.  The child can be assigned such a verse and asked to develop the idea, to analyze what Scripture is saying, to apply that idea concretely, to illustrate it, to learn, in other words, to read clearly and then the develop the implications of what he reads. 


I indicated earlier that the study of the meaning of words is important.  I cited Dr. Craig's teaching that the meaning of words to us and how he made me remember in an unforgettable way that I was not raised.  I was reared. 


The use of a dictionary is important. It should be stressed.  Children should be given a number of words to look up then to use in a sentence. 


Destructiveness of "Creative" Writing


Then, finally, what we need to stress in teaching composition is not creative writing, but good writing.  I do not believe in creative writing.  I think more harm has been done in the name of creative writing the past generation than in any other way in our culture.  It has encouraged anarchy of mind and anarchy in composition.  I very early realized when I was a student that these were courses to stay away from. I recognized the students who had potentiality as good writers were very quickly spoiled by such courses.  Man cannot think creatively.  Creativity is an attribute of God.  God, alone, is Creator.  God, alone, can bring something out of nothing.  Man's thinking is not intended to be creative, but intelligent. 


In creative writing you have, precisely, what you do today in the arts: striving after novelty.  Creativity has been stressed for a few generations now. And in every area of art there is a straining after endless novelty.  In painting there is a new style in almost every year: hop art, pop art; the idea being that unless you have something new you are not creative. 

The same is true in writing styles.  There is a continual straining after novelty so that if you read some of these avant-garde periodicals you find that it is very difficult to follow what they are saying because they speak in esoteric language.  Unless you have kept pace with the changing styles of writing, the writing is somewhat esoteric. 


Of course, the same thing, today, we have in styles.  A hundred years ago a woman could spend a sizable amount on several dresses and be sure that she could use those dresses for 10, 20 years.  She would simply introduce variations with some of the accessories.  Those dresses were works of art.  Perhaps you have seen some of them in some museums.  They were beautiful. Because there was no straining after continual novelty there could be a development of beauty and of quality.  The same is true of writing.  If there is no continual straining after novelty?such as you have today in the arts?there can be a development of quality and of beauty.


About a year or two ago I had trouble keeping my temper with the professor of English in a so-called Christian college.  There were several pieces of writing that I regarded as of great beauty and character.  They were the work of a Christian writer of the last century.  I called them to his attention.  He brushed them aside contemptuously and said, "The language is old-fashioned and trite.  Who could be interested in that?"  His interest is in avant-garde literature.  To be one step ahead of all his colleagues, he is now spending his time studying Russian literature and finding special revelations there.  In fact, he's beginning to get a reputation across country?unfortunately a very high reputation, which says very little for academic circles?because he reads all kinds of esoteric evangelical Christian messages in the Russian writers.  He has a theory that some of them must be underground or secret Christians because he reads a symbolism into their characters and into their themes.  It's pure rubbish, of course.  But it's the kind of rubbish that goes over well today.


And the kind of thing he reads into some of our avant-garde American writers is on the same level.  There are profound spiritual levels with their hatred of life, with their contempt for all our old standards.  He nevertheless sees a tremendous spiritual breakthrough.    They are disillusioned with our material civilization and are on the verge of some kind of spiritual breakthrough.  This is nonsense, of course. 


When you stress creativity you will wind up with this kind of nonsense and you will forsake beauty and art.


In one exhibition of paintings recently which I visited I was very struck with a beautiful landscape, very much.  I knew the part of California the artist had portrayed and I thought he had caught something of its very haunting beauty, a fall sunset mood.  When I was looking at it I overheard some people as they went by look at it with contempt, "My God, it's beautiful."  That was the worst thing they could say about it. 

I think that sums up what we have today:  creativity in the arts, creativity in composition, continual novelty to prove that, somehow, you are the god-man who can come up with something new faster than anyone else. 


At a Christian school we are not interested in creativity.  We are interested in intelligent writing, clear thinking, and propositional thinking.  This is what constitutes good composition. 

RC Communications - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Robinson Forums

Ask Questions, Get Answers, or Just Chat

Robinson ForumClick here for the Robinson Forum

There are several forums available to you.  The Robinson Forum and additional 3rd party forums that specialize in the Robinson Curriculum (see below).

The Robinson Forum is the place where experienced RC users and newcomers as well as the curious can come in, read and discuss the issues that are important to you.

Note: There are 6 Sections in the Robinson Forum:

  1. Robinson Curriculum Discussion
  2. Robinson Curriculum Information
  3. Parental Contributions
  4. Robinson Printers and Binders
  5. Robinson Technical Support Forum
  6. Community - Share and Prayer

Robinson Forum Help

Forum Users Guide

EntreWave ForumWave is a web-based threaded discussion application used to host online conferences. In addition to reading and posting messages, you can also customize a number of conference options, like email notification, which, if enabled, allows you to receive notification by email of any messages that have been posted to threads you are interested in.

Use this documentation to learn about:

ForumWave terms and concepts Posting messages Setting conference options

With its end-user customizable interface, you can define a number of options for viewing conferences and interacting with other conference participants. For example, you may be able to choose between a frames and non-frames view of conference pages, depending on whether your conference administrator has enabled this feature. You can choose a font face and font size for view messages, and you can choose a number of options for managing how messages are displayed.

To view or edit your conference options, click the Options button in the main conference page.



This group is for Bible and Trinity-believing, God-fearing, "Jesus-Plus-Nothing-Else" Christian families using or investigating the Robinson Curriculum. Single parents are especially welcome, this curriculum was created by a single parent.

We share ideas and provide support. We discuss day-to-day issues faced by homeschooling families, and answer questions about the curriculum. Many of the group members have been homeschooling for several years, and enjoy helping new homeschoolers. We also like to talk about our families and how well they are doing, and we strive to support and uplift members who need love and prayer from like-minded families.


We have a CatholicRobinson  yahoogroup for Catholic families

To Join, send a blank email to:

 [email protected]

Catholic Robinson Curriculum Homeschool

Please join us! Welcome!

Homeschool email group for Catholic families which will revolve around the Robinson Curriculum. You do not necessarily have to be using RC to join the group but should have an interest in learning more about the program or be willing to offer suggestions that worked for your family. Additionally, many homeschool families may not use RC exclusively and are encouraged to help others find solutions to fit their family's way of life.

yahoogroup - CatholicRobinson

Keywords: homeschool homeschooler homeschooling homeschoolers Seton MODG DYOCC Mass sacraments well-trained mind TWTM classic classics classical education independent study reading writing arithemetic Magisterium Latin

RC Communications - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Logo Info & Brochures

How to add the RC Logo to your messages & web pages

Robinson Logo

The following code snippet is all you need to add the RC Logo to your web page or forum messages.

In the Robinson Forums you can choose Options from the Forum menu and add it to your Default Settings Signature.

Our Children Use the Robinson Curriculum

Printable Brochures

We have printable brochures available in 3 sizes:

1 Page: One Page Brochure

4 Page: Four Page Brochure (PDF)

100 Page: Printable RC Website

Please feel free to print one or more of these out for you and your friends. You are also welcome to print out some for your local homeschool group or book fair.

RC Communications - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Contact Info

From our homeschool family to yours

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Robinson Curriculum
3321 Sesame Dr
Howell, MI 48843

Phone: (517)546-8780

Email:  robinsoncurriculum "at"

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Technical Support

Support Options and Services

Robinson Support

There are several options available to you if you are in need of techincal support:

1. Check the Support FAQ to see if your question is answered there.

2. Go over the rest of the Support section and your RC Application Guide . It was installed on your computer when you installed the program and can accessed at the same place you start the Robinson Curriculum program.

3. Try the Robinson Forum Support Sections where you can ask questions and read other people's questions and answers.

4. You may download the RC setup file (see below) if you need it for some reason (requires the CDs to be of any use). 

5. If none of the options above provide the help you need for Robinson Curriculum Windows technical support you can send an email to: robinsoncurriculum "at"

6. For Robinson Curriculum use on the Mac, please note that we can only support users of Virtual PC for the Mac and Windows under BootCamp.

7. RC Works Under Linux/WINE!  This note from Glenn, an RC user:

FYI - I'm successfully using the Robinson Curriculum with RedHat 7.1 Linux
and "WINE," which is a windows emulator. The only limitation is that I have to
restart the program when I change CDs (this seems to be a limitation of linux.)

You may want to let people know that they don't have to pay Microsoft license
fees in order to use your excellent Curriculum.


Replacement CD Request

For broken, lost, or damaged CDs.

Note: Although the form will show that you are being charged $15 this charge will not take place if you purchased the curriculum new and include the serial number in the "Special Instructions" section of the order.

Click here to order a replacement CD.

General Advice

Some printers and print drivers are more prone to problems than other as manufacturers try to gain a competitive advantage by pushing the technology envelope.

As a rule, the print drivers that ship on the Microsoft Windows CD are more reliable than those that come with the printer. Thus, if you are having problems, look in you printer manual for information on which other printers your printer is compatible with. Then install the print driver(s) for those printers (My Computer - Printers - Add Printer). Print drivers for earlier models may be simpler, more thoroughly tested, and thus more reliable.

For many printers that are PCL (HP's Printer Control Language) compatible, the HP LaserJet Series II print driver is a solid choice for a fast, reliable print driver.  If you have the Brother 1650/1850 printer the best prit driver is the HP LaserJet 8100 Series PCL.

RC Program Download

We have new software (Version 2.29 - January 1, 2006) available that is a slight upgrade to what is available on the CDs.  It will also look in a c:\robinson\books for the book folders from the CDs for all the RC CDs (no more flipping CDs!).

Note: For Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.  If you have an older version of Windows please use the older version.

You can get it by clicking on the button below and choosing Run or Open.

Click here to download

RC + Henty Program Download

For those of you who have both the Robinson Curriculum and the G.A. Henty Collection we now have a program (Version 2.29 - January 1, 2006) that combines the two together.  It adds the Henty books and stories to the bottom of the books list.  It will also look in a c:\robinson\books for the book folders from the CDs for all the RC and Henty CDs (no more flipping CDs!).

Note: For Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.  If you have an older version of Windows please use the older versions.

You can get it by clicking on the button below and choosing Run or Open.

Click here to download

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Where to Start Older Children

Placement: Transitioning into Self-Teaching

Dr. Robinson has created a curriculum that truly is not based on "grades." The student/child is advancing through a series of math books, writing daily, studying, and reading a course of chosen 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 Grade: For initial placement you may find the Grade Level Book List helpful as it orders the books by Grade Level. 

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 enjoyable and worth reading 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: A more objective way of placing the student in the Read Order is by using 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 the 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) as well as 3rd party websites such as: JoyfullLight BookLevel (click on the X link beside the books).

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 Tracking: For complex tracking and reporting, as required by some states, you may wish to use the Homeschool Tracker, a free program from

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Online Application Guide

A Round-The-Clock General Support Service

Robinson Application Guide The Online Application Guide is a round-the-clock general support service for the Robinson Curriculum software application. Here, you can find help with installing the software, using the interface and viewing and printing the curriculum's CD-ROM books.

There is also an on-line trouble-shooting section which provides technical solutions to a variety of appilcation-related problems.

If you have questions other than those concerning the function of the curriculum software, please consult the information sheets that came packaged with the software and the Course of Study documents.

Hardware/Software Requirements

The Windows version requires:

Installing the Program from CD Disk 1

To install the main curriculum program on your computer, it is best to run the appropriate download available from our Technical Support page.  This is where the latet version of the RC software is made available.  If you do not have access to our website you should run the setup program CD Disk 1. It should start automatically from the AutoMenu. 


If it does not, then in order to run the setup program:


   1.  Insert CD Disk #1 into your CD drive.

   2.  Choose Start then Run

   3.  In the Open box, type d:\setup (where d is your CD Drive letter), and press Enter.

   4.  Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

   5.  If the default drive chosen for installation has insufficient space, change this to another drive during installation. (The program requires 6MB of space and Windows needs about 20 MB free for working space).

   6.  The main program is then started by clicking on the Robinson Curiculum icon on your desktop or by Choosing Start, then Programs, then Robinson Curriculum, then Robinson Curriculum Version 2.2.

Special Note: Use Caution When Handling the CDs

Choosing a Document from the Curriculum

The three tabs at the bottom control whether you are in Choose, View, or Print mode.

When you first open the application you are show the "Choose" document screen with six tabs along the top and three at the bottom.  The six tabs at the top allow you to choose from among the documents available.

Choose from the list of documents by double clicking on the document line or by single clicking and choosing "View".   Note: Be sure to read all of the "Course of Study" documents before attempting to use this Curriculum.   Insert CD Disk 1 into your CD ROM Drive. 

CD Drive for setting the CD Drive (it should work automatically but you can set it manually here as well.)  Pressing the  button will check for which CD is in the computer and show its label. 

About gives you Version and Copyright 2012information.

Print List lets you preview then print out any of the lists of materials you are viewing. Choose the print button (see below) in the previewer to print the list.

Exit will exit from the program.

The Advanced button  can be turned on and off  to reveal advanced controls.

Log shows you a Print Log of all previous print jobs.  Clicking on any document will also show you the last date and pages you printed from that document in red on the Status Line at the bottom.

Help and Viewing Documents


Extensive help is built into the program and made available through the "status line" at the bottom of the screen. Also available are the "About" box for version information and "Instructions" buttons on the vocabulary screens.

Viewing Documents and Books

On the left of the screen is a scrollable list of all available pages in the selected document.  The size of the elevator slide control is proportional to the size of the page list.  The content area shows the page itself.  

View panel gives choices for different viewing situations.

Clicking on the image allows you to move it around as well as to zoom in and out with the left and right mouse buttons as well as with the mouse scroll wheel.

Finder lets you type in a page number (or index word for the Encyclopaedia or Dictionary) and then press Enter to immediately goto that page.

Page Views allow for Full Page, Full Width, Two Column, or Three Column views.  The latter two are for use with books that are printed in 2 or 3 columns.

Doc Nav is a simple way to navigate to the prior and next pages in a document. 

Alt-1 - Prior Page

Alt-2 - Next Page

Page Navigation allows for navigation within the page itself.  You can move to the upper left or right of a page when in Two or Three column view or rotate the page when in Full Page or Full Width views.

Alt-3 - Go to Upper Left or Rotate Left

Alt-4 - Move down the page

Alt-5 - Go to Upper Right or Rotate Right

Alt-6 - Move up the page or Rotate Straight

Quality... is an advanced control that allows changes to the way the image is displayed.  The default is Mitchell for best quality.


If you have a desire to see as much of a page as possible, click the Maximize button at the bottom right of the screen.  Press it again (Normal) to bring it back to normal.  The Maximize button increases content space while still allowing access to essential navigation aids.  You can also click the full screen button at the top right side of the window to make it fill the whole screen.  Reclick to return to normal view and navigation aids.

Printing Documents and Books

First you should print and read the Course of Study documents.  They will explain the unique aspects of a Self-Teaching home-school and how to organize it.  If you do not read the Course of Study, you may lose much of the value of the Robinson Self-Teaching Home-School Curriculum.

When you have chosen a document and are ready to print it, click on the Print tab. 

Select - Pressing the select button gives you a convenient way to select the pages you wish to print.

Even Pgs, or Odd Pgs  - Use this option for two sided printing.  You can print on one side at a time with an ordinary printer and on both sides with a duplex printer.  You would first print the odd pages then the even pages on the other side of the sheets.  On an ordinary printer this type of printing is suseptible to errors from page misfeeds.  A simpler type of two sided printing is to print half the book on one side of the paper and feed it through again to print the other half of the book on the other side of the paper.  When the book is read it is read on the right side only.  When you come to the last page you flip the binder around and page through, again reading only the right side.

Print brings up the Windows Printer Dialog where you can make printer choices unique to your printer as well as set the pages to be printed.  The default is to print the current page. If the printer designated at the top of the dialog box is not the printer you want to use, click on Setup and change it.

Note:  Because you are printing very high resolution digital images of original pages, the printing process may be slower than for other programs you use, especially if you have an older printer.  This is normal.  For tips on optimizing your printing speed and overcoming printer related problems, see the next section on Possible Problems and Their Remedies.

Print % allows you to print at any size larger or smaller than the original.  This is especially useful for smaller sized books.  For instance, the Rover Boys books print well at 150%.  The books are preset to print at 6.5" X 9" on letter sized paper.

Fit to Page is the other choice here.  It works with the Margins button to simply fit every page within the bounds of the margins you set.

R Check this box to print out pages in Reverse order.  This is useful if your printer does not order the sheets correctly.

Skip D Check this box to skip grayscale photographs and dark picture pages marked with a "D" (to save time and ink).  See the Set Mode option on the View tab for more about this feature.

Dark sets that page as a "Dark Picture Page" indicated by a "D" following the page number.  These pages can then be skipped when printing (see Skip D button) to save on ink and toner.

Batch lets you set the number of pages that will be sent to the printer in a batch.  This keeps the printer subsystem fro mbeing overwhelmed with too large an amount of data to deal with at one time.  20 is a good default for this setting.

Some Practical Guidelines

Printing with a Pentium computer and an HP 4 Plus printer proceeds at a full 12 pages per minute. With the very slowest computers and printers, this rate can be reduced to as little as 6 pages per hour. Just let your computer print at whatever speeds its capabilities allow.

We used to purchase paper already punched for 3-hole notebook and 3-hole binders at our local Price-Costco or Sams discount store. The 3-hole paper costs about $30-$35 per 5,000 sheets and the 3-hole binders cost about $1 each in bulk. Now we buy the regular paper and the older children 3 hole punch it with a heavy duty (fixed hole - not sliding) punch. It does about 25-40 pages at a time.

Since you will want to print many pages, it would be advisable to have a new model, good-quality, low-operating-cost laser printer. See the Printer Recommendations for more suggestions on printers and Inexpensive Bulk Ink Supply if you plan to use an ink jet printer.

Possible Problems and Their Remedies

Difficulty in reading the CDs

If this happens while using the CDs and it affects some books and not others...  The disks of the Curriculum are full.  Therefore they exercise the CD Drive to its fullest extent.  Some low quality CD Drives have difficulty reading the outer tracks of full CD ROMs.  The directories are on the outside tracks and may be unreadable by these drives.  Solution: try a different CD Drive.

Cannot See All Curriculum Control Buttons

This occurs on large graphic screens and screens with a Large Fonts setting.  It may be corrected by either reducing the size of the font or using the double arrows to pull down the bottom margin thereby increasing the screen size.

Program gives Error Messages on Some Pages, especially Grayscale and Color.

This may be fixed by updating your video driver.  If an update is not available, it usually may be fixed by using a Quality Mode less than 10.

Note: PostScript Printer drivers may fail to print properly or may be extremely slow.

Additional Suggestions

Be sure you have enough free space on your C Drive

Make sure you install on a drive with at least 6 to 8 MB available disk space.

Narrowing down the problem

You can try to install the program on another computer.  If it works fine there then chances are there is no problem with the CDs but a misconfiguration or faulty hardware on the original computer.

Use another printer driver

Is there another driver that can be used to print to this printer, or is there another emulation that can be used? If so, try these options and see if the printer driver is the problem. Check the version of the driver through Control Panel and ensure you have the latest version.

General Advice

Some printers and print drivers are more prone to problems than other as manufacturers try to gain a competitive advantage by pushing the technology envelope.

As a rule, the print drivers that ship on the Microsoft Windows CD are more reliable than those that come with the printer. Thus, if you are having problems, look in you printer manual for information on which other printers your printer is compatible with. Then install the print driver(s) for those printers (My Computer - Printers - Add Printer). Print drivers for earlier models may be simpler, more thoroughly tested, and thus more reliable.

For many printers that are PCL (HP's Printer Control Language) compatible, the HP LaserJet Series II print driver is a solid choice for a fast, reliable print driver.


A simple reboot (stopping and starting) is also an effective way to get around many computer problems.

Does the printer driver memory setting match the printer's capability?

If the printer driver memory setting is set higher than the amount of memory actually available on the printer, you could encounter various printing problems such as dropped text, missing graphics, etc. Be sure that you set the memory for exactly the amount available on your printer. If you are unsure of the amount of memory on your printer, set the printer driver memory setting to the default.

Reinstall the Robinson Curriculum

You may reinstall the Curriculum application any time you wish.

An Unsupported Feature - No more flipping CDs

A unsupported use of the Robinson Curriculum may be very convenient  if you have enough free hard drive space.

Method A - Using the Start I Run command line.

Create a folder called books in your Robinson folder so it look slike c:\robinson\books.  Windows Explorer is the ideal program to use for this. 

A Start I Run command that would do this would be:

md c:\robinson\books

Then simply copy all the CDs to that c:\robinson\books. 

A Start I Run command that would do this if your CD drive letter were d:\ would be:

xcopy d:\*.* c:\robinson\books

The effect of this is that you no longer have to put any CDs in the machine in order to access all the books and other materials.  It also means less wear and tear on the CDs which can be put away in a safe place.

Method B - Using the Mouse to Drag and Drop.

Some steps to follow:

1. Click on Start I My Computer.

2. Then click on your CD drive (under Removable Storage).  We will call this the CD Drive Window.  Move this window to the right and size it to take up the right half of your screen.

3. Double click on the My Computer icon again. We will call this the My Computer Window. Move this window to the left and size it to take up the left half of your screen.

4. Locate the c:\robinson folder under My Computer - C: drive and click on it.  Then right click (click on the right mouse button) anywhere on the right pane of the window and choose New Folder from the menu.  Name it books.  Then double click on this folder.

5. Go back to the CD Drive Window and click on the first folder in it and press Ctrl-A to highlight all the folders.

6. Drag and drop the folders onto c:\robinson\books folder in the My Computer Window (one with enough space [at least 650 MB] to hold the contents of the CD). It will from 5-15 minutes depending on your computer's speed.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for all the CDs you wish to transfer.

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Printer Recommendations

Recommended Printers

Because printing is central to the use of the Robinson Curriculum I know a lot of you have questions as to which printer would be best.  The good news is that technology is now delivering the ideal printers at a lower cost than ever before.  Someone said that the power of the press is for those who own one - and have something worthwhile to print!  Your computer, one of these printers, and the Robinson Curriculum give you that power.

Brother HL5250DN Printer

The main factor to consider when choosing a printer is cost per page since this cost is often more than the cost of the printer in the long run. Paper costs about $20-$30 per 5000 (1/3 to 1/2 cent per sheet which is 2 pages) so this a minor cost. Generally ink jet printers can cost from 3-5 cents per page for ink. Laser printers are faster and cost from 1-3 cents per page. Thus the major cost is the ink or toner.

The ideal is a duplex printer that will print both sides of the paper at one time.  Amazingly, the cost of these printers has dropped in half in just the last 3 years. A duplex printer is the closest thing you can have to your own printing press.  And with prices for toner down at 1 cent per page it is cheaper than buying preprinted books. The ones that best fit the bill are:

Duplex Printers and Supplies
Click on the price to see where to buy

Printer - Description

Market Prices



Brother HL-5250DN $229 Brand New 7K  $62 25K $120
Brother HL-5150D  $149 Refurbished 6.7K  $54 20K $105

* K means 1,000 pages.  A 5K toner cartridge is good for 5,000 pages.

Tip: Our expereince has shown that the best print driver to use with the Brother printer and our curriculum is the HP LaserJet 8100 Series PCL.  This print driver is available on your MS Windows CD.  It is very reliable and stable. More info...

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

What about Printing Books

Some Ideas

First of all, remember that you will be spreading this out over quite a number of years. Of course, if you are beginning with older children the printing will be much heavier to begin with. But still, print books as needed and children can share much of the same reading - as great literature is great literature at any age. The read order is as flexible as you need it to be. Presently out 5th year, 3rd year and 1st year 'students' are all reading the Pony Rider books.

To save costs, browse your local used book sales for some of the titles - often the great oldies go for under $1.00. You'll find others worth owning as well.

The public library still has some of the original classics (such as Alcott's lengthy books, Little Women, Little Men) that you could borrow rather than print.

One advantage to printing your own 'old' books is being able to enlarge the print, especially valuable for younger eyes. Another advantage is that the books you print and put in binders are more 'user friendly' than the old and aging copies one can purchase. Binders don't suffer if left open, and individual pages that have been damaged can be reprinted and inserted back in. Books that you own are also more likely to be reread and you can't acquire library fines for them!

Printing for the First\Second Year

Let's look, for instance, as you asked, specifically at what the printing requirements might be for a first year student. If a child is progressing slowly it will be first and second year.

I have listed the books previously, under the section Teaching Younger Children: Literature for the first year that you will find in the Robinson Curriculum. There is a total of 28 books plus Penmanship Practice pages. This is a total of 5,214 pages.

Dr. Robinson has also included two of Josephine Pollard's history books (in one syllable words) early in the reading list and if you were to include these in the first year the book total would be 30, the page total would be 5,509.

What will this cost? How much time will it take?

Well...this will depend to a great extent on your printers capabilities and where you purchase paper and ink (see Printing Recommendations) - we estimate our costs to be about 1 cent a page (not including the cost of the printer). To print all 30 of the first year books it cost us $110.30. Binders can be found at real discounts once you have your 'eye out' for them. So far, our first 50 binders have cost from $0 .00 to $1.00 a piece. (See: for more professional type binding equipment. They have binding machines that start at only $60.00 and will bind up to two inches thick.) Our shelving is brackets and boards (painted white) in a 'user friendly' basement.

Does this seem formidable? At this 'stage' of reading (1st year), I think it is absolutely possible to use the library to the maximum if printing costs are a hindrance. If you don't own the McGuffey Readers already be sure to print these out as well as the Josephine Pollard books. Using your own careful discretion you could make a reading list for your youngster. Be sure to gradually increase the level of difficulty (vocabulary and length of story) and include fiction and non-fiction (children's bibliography is probably your best resource. Books Children Love, A Guide to the Best Children's Literature by Elizabeth Wilson is our best used one.

When a child is 6 years old, the focus is to get them to read, to love reading, and to increase their ability to read. Then they can move forward in their quest to learn more and more and more.

In conclusion, the assumption, regardless of age, is always... the best literature available. And, I believe, the books offered in the curriculum are a large part of why our children have come to love reading.

RC Support - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions


Where do I place my child(ren)?


Nobody but you can decide where the children fit in. You could just look at the material and start them where they belong according to the work they have been doing. I would not worry much about starting a older child too early in the Curriculum as the book are quite interesting and enjoyable to read.  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. A more objective way of determining their placement in the Read Order is by using the vocabulary flash cards to determine their reading comprehension level. 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. However they should master all the vocabulary words regardless. To know where to start older children in Saxon Math, you can click here to find the free placement exams. See Placement and Testing for more.


How long will it take to get my Curriculum?


The Curriculum will arrive 2-3 weeks from when you place your order. It will arrive by Priority Mail from the USPS. If you paid extra for Express delivery you will recieve your curriculum within 3-4 business days.


I installed the 1st CD but I cannot get the other CDs to install?


Once you install the program from Disk 1, you only insert the other CDs when you choose the book you want to read - see the Disk number on the right side of your screen.  Our Robinson applicaiton is the best way to view and print the materials on the CDs.  If Windows pops up something when you insert a CD choose, "Take no action" and check mark the box that says, "Do this every time."


How do you get to the Math and Phonics Flash Cards?


Go to the Vocabulary tab at the top of the screen and then click on the Print Flash Cards tab at the bottom of the screen.


My child has read all the books - what are some more that they could read?


The Sugar Creek Gang Series (30). Laura Ingalls Wilder stories (5). Grandma's Attic Stories (10). Wilson Rawls: Where the Red Fern Grows (glorious sad ending but very nice story) and Summer of the Monkeys. Also see Teaching Younger Children.


What is the software support number?




Are the CDs ordered by grade?


No. You follow the Read Order as per the Course of Study and are prompted to insert the correct CD when it is needed.  Note: There is a Grade Level book list available to assist you in placing your older child in the Read Order.  See: Grade Level Book List 

Is there a way to assign course grades to subjects?


Is there a way to assign course grades to high-school subjects to help meet college admission requirements?


Good scores on your SATs are often all you need.  However, you can separate the curriculum books out by subject and add subjects that you think are needed. 


One of our CD's has been damaged. How can we get a replacement of that CD?


It would be helpful if you could check that CD (and any other that might appear to fail) on another computer to be sure it is the CD and and not that particular computer's CD drive that is failing. Some CD drives lose their tolerance for full CDs and so may work with some CDs but not all.

If the CD is broken or lost you can order a new one at the following link: Technical Support


Is there a support team for the student when they run across something that they and the parent don't quite understand? Or is it strictly individual?


Everything is self-taught once they get beyond learning to read and they know their math facts through the twelves.  The math books, for instance, point to the lesson where a concept was originally taught for each problem.

When our children run into a problem they are convinced they cannot understand, they skip it and come back to it later (after the rest of the lesson is done). If they still don't get it they come into a separate room (so as not to disturb the other children) and then read the whole problem (and the lesson if necessary) out loud as if they where teaching it to a class.  This gets them over it every time.  Oral learning is a powerful concept explained in full in the Course of Study.  Keep in mind that the value of a problem is in learning how to overcome it.  If someone shows you how to solve a problem the value of that problem as a learning aid is taken away.

More FAQs

For more Frequently Asked Questions see: Frequently Asked Questions from our About section.


I have had RC for over a year but have only recently begun printing in earnest. Sometimes it prints just fine and other times I have problems. I have gotten an error message several times. Can you tell me what's happening and what I should do about it?


Some printers and print drivers are more prone to problems than other as manufacturers try to gain a competitive advantage by pushing the technology envelope.

As a rule, the print drivers that ship on the Microsoft Windows CD are more reliable than those that come with the printer. Thus, if you are having problems, look in you printer manual for information on which other printers your printer is compatible with. Then install the print driver(s) for those printers (My Computer - Printers - Add Printer). Print drivers for earlier models may be simpler, more thoroughly tested, and thus more reliable.

Try a driver from an earlier model of the same line of printers from the Windows CD. That will usually work.

Also, in order to avoid problems while printing, we advise that print spooling be disabled when printing from the Curriculum. With the spooler disabled, pages will print directly to the printer without first being cached on your hard disk by the Print Manager.

To disable spooling, click through the following sequences:

  1. My Computer
  2. Printers
  3. Highlight a printer
  4. From the Menu choose File - Properties
  5. In dialog box click Details tab
  6. Spool Settings...
  7. Click "Print directly to printer" (note: this may be grayed out if your printer is shared).

A more stable operating system such as Windows XP will be far less likely to exhibit spooler problems.


I am having problems printing or viewing certain pages from the Course of Study.  Also the books beyond book 400 are not coming up.  The Error Meesage says: "Insert correct Disk" but I have the Disk 1 in the machine.


You are using our Version 2.2 software but the Version 2.0 CD Disk 1.  You need to upgrade to Version 2.2.

Helpful Links - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum


Saxon Math Publishers

The Robinson Curriculum recommends Saxon Math program. You can click here to find math placement exams and other information.

Home School Legal Defense Association

Join this organization for a nominal amount per year and you get to call them if anyone bothers you about home schooling your children. This is worth it just for the peace of mind.

Regional Associations - Local Homeschool Groups

State & Local Home School Organizations and Support Groups

King's Harvest had a very helpful page on State & Local Home School Organizations and Support Groups, including contact information and short descriptions.

Homeschool World

The publishers of Practical Homeschooling.  "the best homeschooling site on the web - contains articles, lists of homeschooling organizations and conventions, Homeschool Mall, Help back issues, and much more!"

Wisdom's Gate  

This is a website for publications that live up to its name.  We met this wonderful family at a homeschool camp this summer.

Worthwhile Links

Some worthwile links for older students: and

These websites present many worthwhile books and MP3 CDs chock full or highly intellegent and worthwhile lectures and colloquies on a variety of topics.

Gary North gives you an explicitly Christian economic commentary of the Bible. This website presents you with the full texts of the books in HTML format and DjVu formats.

Also see the Uncle Eric series by Richard Maybury at:

See George Gilder's Book of the Month list for mostly very worthwhile books:

This website is a good overview of all the good reasons to homeschool.

The Writing Course

The Writing Course, designed by a RC family, helps parents give the feedback needed to cultivate excellence in grammar, punctuation, style, etc.

Read Write Play Music

A homeschool music course that follows the RC type of methodology for music.  By Dr. Ian Hodge and his talented family.

The Homeschool STUDENT Planner

My wife loves this homeschool planner by an RC family.  Our kids like it too.

Homeschooling Parent

This website is all about supporting homeschool parents in the various aspects of homeschooling life.

Helpful Links - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum


Homeschooling: The Best Education Reform

by Isabel Lyman

Homeschooling was the way the Founding Fathers received their education. Today's homeschooling movement continues to excel by producing literate students with minimal government interference at a fraction of the cost of any government program.


Before the Public Schools

by Gary Benoit

Not surprisingly, the education and opinion cartels claim that the demise of the public school system would mean the demise of education. They paint a bleak picture of a nation of unschooled illiterates who would not even be able to read and write, much less acquire technological or scientific expertise. As is the case with so much of what is presented as "conventional wisdom," however, the truth is exactly the opposite. ...

Deliberately Dumbing Us Down

By Sam Blumenfeld

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt's new book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, is one of the most important publishing events in the annals of American education in the last hundred years.

Iserbyt has done what no one else wanted or could do. She has put together the most formidable and practical compilation of documentation describing the well-planned "deliberate dumbing down" of American children by their education system. Anyone who has had any lingering hope that what the educators have been doing is a result of error, accident, or stupidity will be shocked by the way American social engineers have systematically gone about destroying the intellect of millions of American children for the purpose of leading the American people into a socialist world government controlled by behavioral and social scientists.


Transforming Family Life And Learning Through Homeschooling

by Linda Dobson

After all enjoy their fill of oatmeal and fruit, and the last child laces up his boots and adjusts his hat against the winds, a mom and her three school-aged children wave at the school bus lumbering by and head off for a walk in the woods, instead.

The children grow increasingly excited as they spy the tracks of three different animals. Questions soon fly as freely as the snow. Mom knows she'll be busy for the next few weeks, possibly months, immersed in the study of weather patterns, drawing and photography, animal tracks and tracking, and the Native Americans who originally lived in the area. She'll soon shop for materials that compliment her children's natural curiosity and keep the wonder alive in their eyes - and hearts.

This family, like an estimated million others, delights in a revolutionary approach to learning. Known as homeschoolers, they have, for myriad reasons, decided to take responsibility for their children's education into their own hands.

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Our Children Use the Robinson Curriculum

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