Some of our methods are inspired by the Robinson Curriculum (RC), though we do not use RC directly. RC is a set of CD's containing the complete pages of various older books and classics. The books are in the public domain so are not copyrighted. The CD's contain photocopies of all the books which you read directly from the computer or print at home. A complete K-12 education is provided as the books span all the way from first grade primers up through college level classics. The books are combined with Saxon Math to provide a complete education. Robinson sells a supplemental CD set with G.A. Henty novels, which can be optionally used in the reading plan.
The Robinson method is to spend 2 hours a day on Math, 2 hours reading, and then 1 hour writing. The student check their math and corrects any errors. The only parental involvement is to read the daily writing and check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and check the math error count to be aware of any remedial math work required. The Robinson claim is that there's no need separately teach language arts, grammar, vocabulary, geography, science, etc. since the student will learn this automatically by reading great historical writing and practicing writing everyday.
I know of families who have followed the Robinson plan with great success. This method encouraged me to "think outside the box" as to what is possible with self-directed learning. Our middle school plans are a combination of the RC methods with some traditional work added for logic, language arts, geography, science, etc. We can confirm that a 6th grader who is a good reader can follow a self-directed course of learning. We make daily assignments but then do very little to pressure the student to get it done. They seem to enjoy the freedom.
I imagine that a student who uses RC starting at 1st grade, would truly need only RC in the middle school years. Since we did not use RC in the early years, we were concerned there would be "holes" in our children's educational experience. We chose to use a mixture of ideas, though with a heavy influence of the RC methods. As our time for daily discussion has expanded, we're glad to have more interaction. For the busy parent that does not have time for more than 15 to 30 minutes of daily lesson planning and checking, I think the RC method would work great. I would recommend this over any institutional school setting.
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