Thursday, February 11, 2010

Going in a new direction

There had been some talk recently on a homeschool forum I used frequent about the Robinson Curriculum.
This curriculum was developed out of such very sad circumstances. Mr. Robinson really did an amazing thing for his children/family after the loss of his wife/their mother.
A bit back I had read over the Robinson site and felt drawn to many of the elements of this curriculum. I had decided at that time to put planning about this on hold for awhile.
This topic came up again and maybe it's some sort of sign that is pulling me in this direction. So last night I began reading again. I was able to find several great sources:
-The book list used in the curriculum.

I was lucky enough last night to be able to speak via email with a Mom who does Sonlight ala Robinson. Her blog is located here. And today to hear from a fellow Mom who is a Robinson user. Her children are ages similar to my two older girls and she shared some of the hows that I was unable to get a clear picture of from the Robinson website itself.
-Such as the time requirements which are listed as:
2 hours math, 1 hour writing, 2 hours reading
From what she explained those are in place for ages 10 and up. But I don't see that I'd use that timeline guide here for us. But I did wonder about it.

-Also she shared that they work through one book at a time, though some parents have their kids read an hour of history, hour of literature or an hour of science, etc.

I had felt originally a bit dejected, as my plan was to use Sonlight but not as designed. I was going to have my older daughter do the Sonlight Core solo, with a meeting with me each week, and journaling what she read about. I received a not so favorable response to that plan when I shared my thoughts and asked for some guidance from some fellow Sonlight users. I do clearly  understand the how and why set up of Sonlight as it is meant to be used. However some of us come across seasons in our lives where we are not in a place where we can devote the amount of time needed to do the reading out loud to the kids. Sonlight offers so many great books and just because I cannot sit and read them does not mean I must toss the baby out with the bath water so to speak.
Sonlight itself does say, make the curriculum fit you and not the other way around, so I am heeding that advice : ).

So I did some planning early this morning (baby had me up at 5 this morning). And I went through our shelves. There are many Sonlight books I have that that I'd like my older daughter to read this year. I went through and did the same for what I'd like my younger daughter to read. She is still covering phonics and working on that so her readers are a bit of a mix of Bob books and other leveled readers.

My plan today is to implement the focus on math in a heavier way as Dr. Robinson does with his own children. However we use Math u see as our main curriculum, two plus two is not five as our supplement and my younger daughter uses Ace as well for practice as needed. Also I do not believe in heavy seatwork for little ones so use of workbooks here is limited at best. So the math will not be 2 hours. He uses Saxon so maybe that takes more time, not too sure.
I do use Queens for Language Arts and plan to stick with that.

--SR has been reading The Beginner's bible to me daily from the Sonlight reader package 2. But lately has more preference for reading quietly. She's doing great so I will not change that. What I will be changing is the amount of reading. My goal is one hour in a quiet place of her choice. After I'll just ask her to share what she'd like verbally (narration) about what she read.
At the end of the week, she usually does a mini book report where she picks a line from a chapter she read and illustrates it. I'm going to change that just a hair and have her pick anything she read from any of the stories over the week (since the reading volume will be higher). And have her detail that in her notebook as best she can. I will not check this for corrections as these are her own thoughts.

-SJ has been reading the same book 3 to 4 times verbally to me daily. I might still keep this aspect as she needs the practice and I need to keep a gauge on how she is doing with reading. She is working through Explode the Code book 1 to help cement anything she may need to firm up and will work up until book 3 or 3.5.
I will increase her reading, and she will do some leveled readers quietly to herself for an hour. I'm going to do the same with the journaling for her as above listed for Skylar.

There are some things from Robinson that I just will not implement. Not because I don't think they do not work, but because as all homeschoolers do, we make things our own.
We will not be cutting out all sugar or Television. I believe we have a great handle on those things already. Also we use and will continue to use some computer learning. Books are great fun and enjoyable but my kids enjoy some of the game learning they do and I see no issue with having that.
I also do not plan to switch to Saxon math. For science it seems we have been Robinson like all along LOL, so that's great as I had no plans to fix what was working well.
We also put education above all else so that is not anything that needs to be changed.

I will be buying some of the Robinson books as my kids work through what we already have, those and a mix of Sonlight I think are the way we will go.
I did find a site that offers some of the Robinson items for those  who would not like to or cannot purchase the CD curriculum set.  They have the vocabulary exercises which I think would be a great resource to have in hand.
For the Sonlight books I'm going to use old Instructors guides for the vocabulary that I need for those books. And the kids now have a kids dictionary on the shelf where their reading books are so they can use it. I am hopeful that Sonlight might come out with a guide even for the younger cores that is written to the student to work in a self directed/meet with parent manner.

Today will be day one of our new system. (still using the workboxes).
So I'm hoping it goes very well.


Luke said...

How is the new system going for you? Hope you find a mix that fits your family perfectly!


Melissa said...

Hi Luke,
Thanks for checking in. it's going great so far : )

Meg said...

Thanks for the links to the book lists - I love the one that has the books listed by level and by subject!


Melissa said...

Meg I'm so glad you found that helpful. I was over the moon to find that list.