Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Homeschool in Transition

We have had it so good for these past seven years. My son has sailed through the Rod & Staff curriculum, loving most of it. We also used Climbing to Good English and the Pathway Readers. There is something about those Amish/Conservative Mennonite texts and workbooks that really appealed to him. All were very much to the point, yet thorough and without a lot of distracting color or illustrations. Topics flowed well and were logically organized. It also blended well with our vintage Catholic texts because of it's generic Christian tone. Once he learned to read well, he was able to work through these books with minimal instruction. Rod & Staff texts are good for independent learners - they pretty much self teach, each grade builds upon itself in a fluid manner.

Rod & Staff texts only go through eighth grade(full curriculum), and the last grade begins to lean heavily toward Mennonite doctrine and history. So, I've been exploring options for eighth grade and beyond. We'll most likely transition to mathematics with Christan Light Education, similar to Rod & Staff. We may even use their Bible study if it's free of doctrine. Rod & Staff Bible study(K-7) has been excellent - so interesting with many bits of ancient history and culture. Since my son has been leaning in the direction of self directed learning for a while now, I've decided on the Robinson Self-Teaching program. He's an independent learner who likes to research things which interest him. He also loves to read, so I think this reading heavy curriculum would be a good fit for the rest of his schooling.

Robinson uses vintage texts in public domain. We have used these sources for ancillary learning. He seems to prefer the mature tone of the older books. We will probably be reading most of these on our mini lap top as we have in the past with public domain texts. I download them to a Sansdisk compact flash memory card(AKA: Thumbdrive) stick for easy access. We don't have the Kindle ebook Reader; however, I think you can use this device to read the books as well. Best of all, it's a very good value with only a one time purchase for all twelve grades(doesn't include math).

Robinson Self-Teaching main website

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.

Independent Robinson Resource Site - freebies, tips, links, etc.
Books Sorted by Reading Level 

Happy Hearts Homeschooling Library

Personal review

An Old Fashioned Education has a similar approach using public domain books, only all the lesson plans and helps are free.

Samizdat Express has a mind boggling amount of books by subject on CD. I purchased the children's set for my niece years ago. His prices have gone up quite a bit; I think he has realized the value of his collections, especially with the popularity of Amazon's Kindle. Samizdat lists all the books in each CD collection, all are in public domain, so it's a good reference as well. If you'd like to pair this will some auditory learning of a dramatic flavor,  OTR Cat offers old-time radio show collections on CD at a very low cost, a super time saver. Some are live recording of wartime coverage, others are historical shows. Free downloadable versions here at Internet Archive, Old Time Radio. Also see: Librivox Free Audio Books.

A huge archive of children's history books organized by reading level and historical period. Free to read online, or order collections of CD. Some of these books may be found online in public domain as PDFs - try a Google search as well.

Update: I just noticed that Robinson files are actual scans of book pages(not PDF or plain text), so we may go another route, but still using the vintage texts. They are serious about not wanting the curriculum to be read on a computer screen.


Myrnie said...

Good luck!!! We're using Calvert next year, I think.

Alexandra said...

That's a nice curriculum. I've seen some of the lower grade books. The K program looks like fun!

Debbie J said...

Alexandra, you are amazing! What a gift to your children you are.

Alexandra said...

Debbie. you are very sweet. Thank you. :)

Jen Leibert said...

We use the Robinson Curriculum. We LOVE it! Ok I Love it the most because it just fits my personality. As for your concern on the books just being scanned and not pdf or plain text. If you use this link http://homeschoolfreestuff.wordpress.com/books-for-reading/robinson-booklist/

It has a link to almost every book on the list. This is what I use to print the books. You just have to do a little more searching to do the the vocabulary and comprehensive questions on the books. But if you google the book you can usually find them. Good Luck!!

Alexandra said...

I just checked it out. Thanks so much! This is awesome. :)

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here:http://www.etsy.com/people/Alexandra66 And a blog: http://happyheartsathome.blogspot.com/