Monday, September 7, 2009

My Ever Evolving Schedule

I just keep altering my schedule. I've been reading a lot about Robinson and watching his video on his site, and I am persuaded of a couple of things.

First off (and Charlotte Mason supports this as well), that kids can and should teach themselves. Charlotte says (loosely paraphrased), don't do for a child that which he or she can do for themselves. I'm also convinced that we can expect a lot more out of children than our society expects of them. Particularly, they are much more able to do math and to read and understand reading than society gives them credit for. Robinson says that the schools now are two grade levels behind schools from the 1960's. Additionally he says that those schools were two additional grade levels behind the schools of the 1930's. With all of the "systems" of learning that have been implemented, what has happened?? Charlotte Mason speaks of this a lot - systems of learning get in the way of real learning quite often. Could it be that teaching to the bottom of the class doesn't work? Could it be that giving the child something currently out of his reach, but something to shoot for, something engaging is key to learning?

Secondly, Robinson believes you shouldn't bother teaching science until after the child has mastered Calculus. Under his program a student usually masters calculus sometime between the ages of 14 and 16. He says the science taught in public schools is really just propaganda and that students can't do proper science until they have a strong foundation of algebra and calculus. I absolutely love math, so I'm glad to hear it said that almost all children can reach this level of math - with enough fortitude. Charlotte Mason is definitely strong on science, but not through text books or other systematic methods of learning, but through nature study.

Lastly, Robinson urges parents to do extensive amounts of math, followed by reading and writing, with the reading being primarily high quality classic literature. Pretty much with Robinson you would do two hours of self-taught math, followed by two hours of reading, followed by two hours of writing. He has had tremendous success with this (in terms of college readiness) both with his own children and with many others who have decided to follow his program. The problem, to me, with Robinson, is that it is very narrow. There are other topics I want to cover with my children. And, while I want my children to learn to be primarily self-taught, I also see the value of having a teacher direct you - especially with certain subjects - like geography, spelling, art, music. Robinson argues that you can't do it all, and that when you try to do it all you end up not being very good at any one thing. That is an argument that I need to keep in mind! I am queen of distractibility and sometimes I make my life quite misterable by spreading myself too thing. Yet, I think there is a balance. I can choose a liberal education, such as Charlotte Mason promoted, and I limit some of my activities, so I and my kids don't go batty! One such subject is science. I am tortured about this, since I have already bought the text, but I think that I am going to go with a nature study gentle style of science, like Charlotte Mason suggests. This takes one subject off my plate and affords time for nature walks. I'm also extending child-taught math time and reading time in my schedule, encouraging my eight year old to teach herself and giving me a break from hands-on time.

So, here is my new daily schedule I am hoping ot follow. The booklists will be the same, except for the science text.



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