Does the Robinson Curriculum require 5 or 6 year olds to have 2 hours of math, 2 hours of phonics and reading and 1 hour of writing?”No! Those study requirements as a goal which each child works toward. Do you get anxiety at the thought of adding homeschooling to the mix, when you feel like you are in the thick of it in a physically and mentally demanding season of life?
Take a deep breath, and keep calm. Remember you already have been homeschooling from birth and I’m sure have already taught your kids several important life skills, so have confidence that you can also do this too and it doesn’t have to cost much time, money or sanity. So what’s the best way to start formal academic homeschooling to get them working independently that long? In this video I am going to go over the basics of how to start homeschooling and I will share my bias with you up front. Efficiency is doing things correctly, but effectiveness is choosing the right things, so we are going to focus on just a few right things which is the solution to homeschool burnout. Let’s get started.
Hello, I’m Karen and I like to help parents like yourselves achieve sustainable and enjoyable homeschooling. If that sounds good to you then please his the subscribe button if you haven’t already, it’s free and it helps spread this message which can be drowned out in a very busy youtube homeschooling arena.
I’m going to share with you 3 major areas or components that I recommend you focus on and low cost or completely free materials to make it happen as well as strategies to save you from a lot of self doubt and bouncing around.
Tip 1. Learning how to read. It’s really important that you choose a good Phonics- based program and not any look and say method. You might see some quick results with the later but without a strong alphabet fluence and taking a shortcut from sounds to letter combinations, words and sentences, you are making your child susceptible to things like dyslexia or reading issues that in the long run will be counterproductive and cause more frustration. How they learn to read the first way because the default or more dominant way and just like with poor handwriting, these are really hard things to change once set in the brain. So I highly recommend from the very start to go slow and steady with a FREE, time-tested classic such as Alpha- Phonics. I will leave a video tutorial on how to use as well as links for not just Alpha Phonics but its supplemental resources in the description below. This is the most demanding component for your time, but once they know how to read, they really have the capability to teach themselves on so many levels and free you up, so this is key.
Once they know how to read you should really encourage them to read a lot for practice and then start a list like the Robinson Curriculum book list that gradually increases in difficulty and has a matching vocabulary program to go with it. In that first year of the RC book list we have books such as the McGuffey primer, 1st and second reader, nursery rhymes(which are very important too) and Arthur Scott Bailey books. They have very few pictures to really encourage imagination, they also have great vocabulary and a great mix of educational and overall some of the best literature for children. You can also supplement with other titles before they move on to harder books with filler titles such as the Little House Series, Charlotte’s Web, Beatrix Potter stories and other picture book favorites. If you want more recommendations, just comment and let me know below because I have a lot.
Tip 2. Let’s talk about math. This is where RC can seem a little radical but this is what Dr. Robinson recommends in that first academic year. That first year 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.
Only after the have committed to memory these math facts in the first year, then they can move into Saxon 54, their first official math textbook. It’s true, children have different capabilities but your response to that is to allow them to work less problems from the lesson, so even if they solve only one problem a day successfully but completely independently, that’s #winning.
Now admittedly this is probably the biggest pain point for parents when their kids are 7/8/9 still working on flashcards and everybody is frustrated. I myself have some, that picked up fine and went on to 5/4 with nothing else no problem, and others that it wasn’t that easy. Here are some tips for that.
1.Introduce each group (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division separately but eventually they will need to be all mixed up for review. I have a few videos on ways to approach this with math fact families, and a CM bible memory type of review system that I will link down below.
2.Give them an abacus to start with to solve problems until it clicks.
3.Worksheets can be ok and helpful if they focus on the math facts and there are several good ones out there and the Saxon 5/4 timed drills are really great for this.
Just a side note, addition and subtraction are the easiest and if they know multiplication they pretty much know division so they key I think is how you introduce multiplication. There is a progression to learning something and it always starts with the ordinary things on a concrete level. We often jump too quickly to the symbols on paper. Starting with skip counting by 2s and then asking questions such as how much is 2 groups of 2 or 3 groups of 2, can really help make that connection. Remember it’s ok to start with manipulatives but after a while you do want to remove them so they are not a crutch and commit things to memory.
If any of this sounds like it;s a lot to remember, or you want more details, I have a whole step by step video course called RC for littles where we go from the very beginning to where RC officially begins and they work completely independently. It’s possible, I’ve lived it several times over with my 6 kids and I give you a road map using free materials along with brief step by step videos, I will leave a link down below.
Lastly, let’s talk about writing. Writing really goes along with learning how to read, which is why in my course the two subjects are integrated into one. There should be writing accompanying all phonics lessons and again Don Potter has some fantastic free resources called the shortcut to manuscript and a shortcut to cursive, again links down below. I also use these in my course when teaching how to form the letters correctly because although it sounds simple, this is one of those areas that you really have to be involved and vigilant because if they learn to write letters in a distorted way, they can view them in a distorted way, and then we have problems.
Now I have a whole video planned in my head about Pre-K preparation and really tips for moms with lots of little children especially. But I only want to make it if the interest is there, so please comment down below if that is something you would be interested in.
I invite you to join me in the RC Course for Littles if you have children between the ages of 4-8 but also know if right now you purchase the RC lifetime bundle, it includes my course for free. You can head on over to RC website’s order page to see what exactly that whole enchilada includes, and I highly recommend it because it’s so nice to be done with ordering homeschool stuff. This year my homeschool haul was just books and board games.
There are so many benefits for the whole family, I really can’t imagine homeschooling any other way.