Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum

Return to Categories


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, June 2, 2010
  • Grades Used: began with kids ages 6 - 9
  • Dates used: jan 2010 - present
Our past schooling experience had been with Sonlight, just to give a quick back ground.
With 4 kids, two younger ones in the mix, the reading out loud of the pile of books began to become the first thing I'd have to skip. In my searching to find a way to still use literature based but more self directed, I was drawn to Dr. Robinson and his methods. I had read about it years before but been scared away by what seem to be strict rules, as in no TV and no sugar. I wish I would not have been so quick to judge. I will say that while they worked for Dr. Robinson, you do not need to do an all or nothing with this curriculum. We do eat healthy, no GMO's, mostly organic as much as we can find, no soda, and we use only sugar or honey and no synthetic sweeteners. So if you do not wish to follow those key points of no sugar or no TV, you can still use the rest of the program. My kids are never on that "sugar high" but if a child was like that, I would see it as an issue and alter eating habits.
This program is simply Reading, Writing and Math. Also even though time requirements are laid out, again those are not set in stone. As in you don't have to do 2 hours of math for this to be your program. I've been pleased how customizable this program is.
We are doing 5 days per week of lessons and then day six is just review of math flash cards. He does say that math runs smoother once a child knows his/her facts by rote. So we are focusing on that for as long as it takes and will then pick up with math again.
Also even though Dr. Robinson has stressed Saxon 54 and up as his math choices. When other math program users have contacted him, he has said that other fantastic math programs are now available and we should use what works. So again if you don't like or want to use Saxon, you don't have to do so. The point is really that whatever math you use with your child be used self directed.
If you are scared away by the thought of printing the books (though a good laser printer can be picked up for $100 now). You don't have to do so. They can be read on devices like the kindle, or other ereaders as well. The free baldwin project books and gutenberg books can all be accessed. To me this is a great feature which will allows us to save space in our home and will be much easier for the kids to take their books anywhere. I am saving up for those and can't wait to add those to our school.
You can implement this program without the disks. I was well on my way before getting the disks recently. You can get a very clear picture of what the program is about and how it works from reading on his website. This is no secret as he is very upfront about that there.
Things on the disks like math flash cards, vocabulary and phonics flash cards and tests, are not accessible anywhere else and he gives a great set of older encyclopedias on the disks.
But of course you can make your own tests and cards. I'm going to be using vocab lists come next year for vocabulary. This year our focus in on math flash cards that I've created myself using a system of my own to review and keep from getting overwhelmed. As I've said the CD's are not a must have as we had been doing fine without it for 5 months. But I do appreciate having them. Also for those on a strict budget you can do a special payment plan to make buying the CD's easier. However one does not need to have the CD's to be considered a Robinson user.
The most attractive part of this curriculum or should I say mindset is that I the parent step back to allow the dc to learn.
It is amazing how something so simple and enjoyable as reading great books without breaking it up into subjects and micromanaging can offer a great education. The hardest part for a parent who is used to being all in is to let go I think. I do interact with my dc and they share what they are reading to me. I don't know that I will test at this point, maybe later or maybe not all. I am one who feels I can see what my dc glean from simple conversation. I would recommend to anyone that they read the yahoo group as many questions I have had have been answered by reading over their files of older posts, folks who have had the same questions as I've had.
If you are drawn to using literature based as your learning, but wish to use it on a self directed basis, this is your curriculum.
It is truly as simple as giving your kids great books, and letting them dive in. I feel this is the way of teaching I've been drawn to on my own and was so happy to see how many other happy families have used/are using Robinson. I think it's one of those hidden treasures.
Happy homeschooling.

edited to add this article I wrote for those who may be interested in Robinson and how it works for us:


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, March 2, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1-4
  • Dates used: 2006-2010
This is a very good curriculum and I love it. It is very stress free and it. I have homeschooled since 1997. I have taught other curriculum and had one year of school burnout. I love the simplicity of this curriculum. The children pretty much teach them selves. I just keep the books printed up ahead. I also allow them to read other good books that are not what I call "twaddle"(quote from Charolette Mason).

We do not let our children watch T.V. but we do allow video games. This helps keep their attention on their school. We choose to school 4 days a week. We school for 4 to 5 hours a day. The children do Saxon Math, read classics, and write in a journal or write a story every day. I circle the spelling errors and then the next morning the children correct it. This is as stress free of schooling that I think that you can get.

I like having the CD's with the books on them. Even though the books are public domain it is worth the small price to have everything in one place. The CD's also have vocabulary on them in a drill forum. It is a good way to increase the childrens' vocabulary.

If you want a stress free way to school, this is it.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, January 6, 2010
  • Grades Used: 2nd
  • Dates used: 2009-2010
Yes! I found the perfect curriculm for my family and do not have to search anymore or feel the slightest need to compare to see if I should change something.
We follow RC just like he says (with the exception of the no sugar and tv rule).
I work from home and would have no way to do so without RC.
Most of the complaints I hear from other mother's who homeschool are that they do no like teaching or researching and spending so much time doing so. This is why I love Robinson. Because I do not have the time or patience to teach 10 subjects, let alone every lesson. This is actually what is best for the child. For them to learn to teach themselves for life!
Great for: Working Moms (or dads)-Single Moms-or parents who do not like teaching-Also for those who do love teaching and can choose to teach what they want without the pressure of "missing something".
I can get MY work done
I know my child is getting a great edu. and is learning to learn for LIFE.
It is simple!!! Easy to follow. Spelled out.
My son is 2nd grade doing 5th grade math. Not because he is advanced, but because I followed Robinson's advice.
The time to print (which is not much time compared to how much time it saves) And once accustomed to it, it is quick.
I agree that some of the books are hard and my son did not comprehend some of George Washington. He did get bored, so now I take a break after any hard books and let him read some other classic books that peak his interest. But, this is not a reason to give up.

Yes, and Saxon just the way RC says to do it is wonderful! I doubted at first my 7 year old could do it, but he is! And I don't teach him a thing! Saxon does it all! Oh but I do grade it unlike RC says. I LOVE Saxon math!!

I do have to say that if you do not choose Robinson, please highly consider Saxon the way Robinson suggests. I can't imagine not using Saxon!

Oh and one more thing:
Discipline is a big key in this curiculum. If you need any ideas the best book I have ever read on discipline is "Have A New Kid By Friday" by Kevin Leman. This book really helped me make homeschool work.

I cannot say how Robinson has changed my homeschooling and life for my children. It is absolutely great!


  • Reviewed on Sunday, March 22, 2009
  • Grades Used: 3rd grade
  • Dates used: 2008-2009
Before starting the curriculum the student needs to learn to read with phonics and memorize his math facts before starting Saxon math. The CDs contain phonics and math flashcards.

The first part of the curriculum is reading. History and literature books are printed out from CDs and the student reads them independently. My son is reading The Five Little Peppers right now.

The second part is the Saxon math series. After learning his math facts the student starts the Saxon series with Saxon 54. The Saxon series is purchased seperately. We use ACE math.

The third part is writing. Students under ten do copy work and over ten they write one essay per day. We also use ACE Word Building and English.

This link has talks from Dr. Robinson about the curriculum:

I don't own a printer so I borrow the books from the library system and inter-library loan. If you don't have a printer and need to ask a friend or pay a copy shop or the library, this is what you want printed first:

1. The Course of Study ~ This is the most important part of the curriculum.
2. A graded book list:
3. If you have a young child, print off the first two McGuffey Readers. The font is much larger in the printed off version than the ones in the library and it's easier for little eyes to read. ;)
4. The vocabulary flashcards. There are 4 words/definitions per page.
5. The Weekly Assignment Record:

I recommend this curriculum for every parent! If you are using a different curriculum or your student attends school, this would make a great history and literature supplement. I would plan two to three hours per month to print and organize or to request books from the library.