My name is April and I am a homeschooling mom (said in the tone of someone introducing themselves at an AA meeting for the first time; Hi, April). I have two students whom I am striving to turn into productive members of society. No pressure here. Every year, I re-evaluate how and why I homeschool. Every year, I panic and think I am not getting enough through their thick skulls teaching enough. This thought usually ends in me spending SEVERAL hours researching different homeschooling philosophies and curricula (lest you think I made a mistake there, curricula is the Latin plural form of the word curriculum and is preferred in academic circles #google, #defensivehomeschooler). And every year, I come to my senses and return to what has worked for us for the last 10 years – the Robinson Curriculum.
The Robinson Curriculum is not well-known (I found out about it from my mother, but have never met someone else who was using it except for the people I convinced to use it – I can be very persuasive when I believe in something). I chose it because it lined up the closest to my homeschooling philosophy. This philosophy isn’t fancy or well-written. It’s just the thought I shared with my husband when my daughter was 2, and I was contemplating homeschooling (yes, I thought about homeschooling years before my children were old enough for school – I am a planner). I told him my end goal for our children was to make sure they loved to read, could write a decent research paper*, and could do enough math to function in life (i.e. keep a checkbook, manage their money, COUNT OUT CHANGE MENTALLY WITHOUT A CASH REGISTER, figure out how much it would cost to tile a bathroom, etc.) And even though my children are only 14 and 12, I have already succeeded in 2 of my 3 goals. (If you are curious about which goal I did not meet, read the note at the end of this post and take a guess.) Therefore, this year we are moving on to a bigger goal as a family – HISTORY. (It was a toss-up between a) American politics, and b) the whole scope of World History from the beginning of time to 1900. We went with the easier subject.)
To facilitate this goal, I hung this in our living room:
That baby is over 22 feet long. It is Adam’s Synchronological Chart of History. Its scale is 4 inches = 100 years. When people see it, they have 1 of two reactions: wow (said in a bored, “April is so weird” tone), and WOW (said in an interested and overwhelmed, “That is neat but I would never hang that up in my living room” tone). It can be ordered from Amazon for around $30 (in case you find yourself in need of one). The best part of this map is that it provides a visual for when major civilizations arose in relationship to each other. Our goal is to work our way SLOWLY through history chronologically, and read other books on the time periods and civilizations as we come to them. We covered about 1000 years the first week of school, but that was because it predated written records. I have a feeling things are going to slow way down soon. The only drawback to this plan so far is that we have no good place to hang the TV so we can keep up with election news Tiny House episodes.
This map does help to bring perspective to life. THOSE WHO FORGET HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT. It also reminds me that each 4 year election cycle is equal to about 1/6 of an inch (even if the political ads and pundits make it seem interminable.
Sometimes you have to take a step back to see the big picture.
*I have since decided that there is no such thing as a decent research paper. They are ALL boring. That is the purpose of the research paper – to bore the teacher to tears while she searches for grammatical errors as justification for lowering the student’s grade.
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