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Single Parent Homeschooling: The Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum

Updated on October 11, 2015
"A child can gain a lot of satisfaction from handling a task by himself or herself — building pride in his or her efforts." ~Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts of Piedmont Parent
"A child can gain a lot of satisfaction from handling a task by himself or herself — building pride in his or her efforts." ~Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts of Piedmont Parent | Source
Dr. Arthur Robinson PhD is a biochemist. He is the founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. He is a former professor of chemistry at University of California San Diego.
Dr. Arthur Robinson PhD is a biochemist. He is the founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. He is a former professor of chemistry at University of California San Diego.

"The brain must learn by itself, function by itself, have confidence in itself, and achieve by itself."~Dr. Arthur Robinson


The Robinson story begins with a large homeschooling family and the mother of which develops the educational program and assumes responsibility as teacher. She designs a stellar system covering all grades and subjects, clear from kindergarten through 12th grade. While the program Lauralee constructs is excellent in every way, she did not consider the event of her not being alive to implement it. Ironically, she did have a contingency plan to take out life insurance on her husband in the case that he should pass on. This ensured that she would be able to continue homeschooling if that should happen.

However it was Lauralee who died from an unforeseen sickness. While Dr. Robinson had help from family and friends to assist with chores (they lived on a farm) and other domestic tasks, the children were suddenly left without a teacher and mother. The children ranged in ages from 17 months old to 12 years. Dr. Robinson had suddenly become a single parent of 6 children.

Dr. Robinson Witnesses a "Remarkable" Shift

After Lauralee's death, Dr. Robinson continues to build upon the lifestyle to which he and his wife were committed. He institutes a few new study rules, and then remarkably the children began to take the initiative. "Gradually, with occasional coaching and help from me, they created a home school that actually needs no teacher and is extraordinary in its effectiveness," he says. This program is what he eventually created to become The Robinson, Self-Teaching Curriculum. It is complete and covers all grades, K-12th.

All the Robinson children attained degrees in primarily scientific disciplines, several of which were awarded doctorate degrees from competitive institutions..

Key Tenets of the Robinson Curriculum:

Dr. Robinson says these are actually rules and not "suggestions." They are part of the program and functions as a whole system.

1. No T.V. and no sugar. As we all know, sugar has been added to just about everything we buy. What Dr. Robinson is referring to is mostly added sugars and sweets, not what we find in fruits, veggies and all those other foods we typically buy.

2. Five hours dedicated to formal school work every day. These are to be the most productive hours of the day. This is a goal the younger child works toward.

3. Learn to read by using phonics. Phonics refers to a method of teaching reading that correlates letters or groups of letters with corresponding sounds. It is superior to the rote or "look-say approach.

4. Classic materials are central to the curriculum.

5. Children begin all days with 30 math problems. He highly recommends the Saxon Math curriculum for mathematics. Younger children learn and practice math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.). They progress to Saxon Math 54 (a 4th grade level text) after they have mastered those facts.

6. After math, children are to do a 1-page written essay every day. The younger child does copywork.

7. Older children in high school complete college-level chemistry and physics at the freshman and sophomore level.

There is also a whole host of other do's and don'ts.

Dr. Robinson expresses the importance of children working independently without much parent intervention. He purports that this is what instills a good work ethic and study skill set. "The brain must learn by itself, function by itself, have confidence in itself, and achieve by itself," states Dr. Robinson. The job of the parent is to supervise with very little intervention. With The Robinson Curriculum, the student must be expected and is directed to work independently.

If you're a single parent wanting to homeschool, or is already doing it and in search of a high- quality method, that won't burn you completely out and one that won't send you to the poor house, the Robinson Self-Teaching Curriculum could be a great choice for your family.

Dr. Robinson, pictured here (left) with children.
Dr. Robinson, pictured here (left) with children.

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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Sounds like a great approach to education. No sugar & no TV are definitely great ideas. We also do math, reading & writing every single day and take a more structured approach to the basics, while we take a more hands on/eclectic approach to other subjects-- project oriented, or the kids take classes in things that interest them. Of the 2 teens still homeschooling, one is heavily involved in the arts (particularly musical theater) and the other is taking culinary courses (he has wanted to be a chef since age 4 and plans to go to culinary school. I love the way homeschooling allows for flexibility. Nice hub!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 

      4 years ago

      What a fascinating story! I homeschooled my children for a couple of years when they were smaller. I taught them to read and write. I also homeschooled a teenager that hated reading and math. He was a straight C student. After 6 weeks of intensive language arts and math, he went back to school and got straight As. He also finished early, six months ahead because he caught up with all the credits he needed. He worked independently every day without pressure. He really excelled.

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