After almost of month of fighting with E tooth and nail about school, we started thinking about other ways to approach school. Since public school isn’t a good option for our family, I started poking around looking for alternative curriculums. At first I thought maybe an online school would be good because then he can just do it himself with no intervention from any teachers (me), except to check in that he’s actually doing it.
But our child constantly on a computer isn’t something we really want for E. It probably sounds crazy in the 21st century to say that, but they are a timesuck if you’re not actually doing any work and E can always learn to type on a typewriter at a later age.
You can tell that in his past life in Taiwan, any caregiver he had used the TV as a babysitter. He had no imagination when he joined our family and no desire to work for anything. Everything that was “too hard” was dismissed and that’s one reason he fights me over school. It’s “too hard,” but the real problem is he’s never had to actually use his brain to think about things for himself.
So brainstorming in that vein of self-learning, we remembered hearing about Ron Paul’s new curriculum. We had heard that it was computer based (a downside for us) but if it was self-taught with little parental teaching and academically excellent (a necessity and one reason we like to homeschool). So I started poking around on his website and found that for 3rd/4th grade there wasn’t much up. BUT, he did recommend a curriculum for those wanting something right now. We were pointed to the Robinson Curriculum (RC).
And wow! Just what we were looking for! They use the Saxon math that we already use (although they start with 5/4 after math fact memorization and skip the K-3 books). They read great books with no socialist, anti-Christian agenda in a variety of subjects. And they write daily. All other subjects besides math, writing, and reading are considered extracurricular and to be explored on the student’s own time. It’s simple! School is 5-6 hours per day 6 days a week (or optionally 5 days with every subject and the 6th day with math only). The student is made to sit and do the work until he’s finished. Math is a lesson a day (or 1/2 a lesson if it’s taking him greater than 2 hours of actual work time). Writing is a page for an hour (or copywork if they are under 10). Reading is 2 hours from a set list that gets progressively harder.
Another idea the RC promotes is a no sugar diet (including honey) and zero TV/electronic media time. I definitely understand no TV, we only watch movies occasionally with a specific reason in mind currently. The no sugar diet I’m not completely convinced of. We practice moderation now and eat very little candy. But I’m not opposed to homemade cookies and cakes, the occasional bowl of ice cream or popsicle, or a piece of chocolate.We do steer clear of all artificially colored and sweetened foods and processed foods. I can tell that the change to a real food diet from whatever he was eating in Taiwan for E has only been helpful to his behavior.
I’m not crazy enough to think that the transition will be easy but I do think it’s the best for E. He does rely on me to explain every word and math problem he doesn’t understand. At some point it will be detrimental to his own learning. Since Wednesday, I’ve had him figure out the math lesson by himself and look up all unknown words in the dictionary. He’s read to himself and done his piano and Chinese homework by himself. So far he’s happy about because he’s in charge. That’s something that he’s wanted for a long time. To be his boss. I’m glad that we’ve found a way where he can be in charge of something without me losing my parental authority.
For now he’s finishing the book he started reading with Sonlight and he’s completing Saxon 3 then we’ll start the full RC.