Robinson Curriculum - Pros and Cons

Advantages and Disadvantages - A Must Read Before You Purchase

The Robinson Curriculum was created by Dr. Arthur Robinson, who is a home-based Scientist & owner/president of Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine. Dr. Robinson desired a self-teaching curriculum for his children, when his wife died, that focused on the essentials of reading, writing and arithmetic (The 3-R's method) without all the unnecessary filler information that is being taught today in most schools and most homes across the country.

Dr. Robinson's methods and ideas are simple, but not original and can be traced back to the turn of the century. He has opened many minds to seek a superior education --- the time-tested, proven method using vintage books and the important fact that it doesn't take a lot of money, to educate your children. With today's technology you can access most everything you need from the internet to home school the Robinson way. Dr. Robinson started with a quality home library. Having readily available resources for inquiring, growing minds is always important in every household.

The RC Basic Method or Course of Study:

The RC course of study is what's called Self-Teaching and the famous 3-R's. He says all other subjects should be learned in the essay or reading part of your schedule. He does not discourage other subjects, but says if not required by your state, should be given attention as extra curriculum activities only.

The Advantages:
It is a very simple, an all-in-one type, core only, curriculum for grades 1-12 with exceptions.

It includes a course of study explaining Dr. Robinson's methods and his views on teaching Science and Math in the correct order that your child will not have to re-learn or correct what they has been taught if plans are to attend college. (This information is available to read online from his website at OISM). His opinions on teaching Math and Science correctly are well worth your time to read and consider. Having taught college Science classes, he is familiar with ill-prepared high school students. But do keep in mind, the Robinson children live Science daily as their lab is located on the same property as their home.

When students stick to the instructions the success rate is high. SAT scores are also high. (His teachings/convictions to remove sugar, TV and other distractions are valuable to any home or curriculum.) Our History of Education proves these methods with quality structure works. At the turn of the century most children attended school for eight years or less and after that were enrolled in college --- Harvard or Yale!

As with this and any curriculums using these methods, (self-teaching and 3R's) students can quickly and easily progress in all areas. The material not only prepares your child, academically for college, but includes some college material.

The RC does not require your child be on the internet to utilize their program.

It is cost effective considering most alternatives if you consider unlimited use for 10-12 years of home schooling. The more children, the greater the savings. Once books, vocabulary cards and exams are printed out, they can be re-used. It is a tiny fraction of what it would cost you if you purchased just the books on the list alone. For example, one college text book that is included on the CDs, at last search, was $95 to purchase. Most of the college texts included on the RC can be found online free, but it is nice to have them all readily, to print or view, parts or in whole at your leisure on a CD.

It introduces parents to a more relaxed learning environment verses the spoon fed, direct teaching methods which reflect far less retention and self study skills are not taught as well as they can be and should be. This method focuses on quality-vs-quantity. The RC may seem more rigid or demanding on the child in the area of self-study, self-teaching with little help from the parents. However the program can be, and we feel should be, adjusted according to your home and your child.

Dr. Robinson offers a free scholarship program for those unable to afford the curriculum. You must mail a letter in writing to request it or you may fax your letter to have your CDs shipped sooner. Mail to: OISM, (Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine) PO Box 1279, 2251 Dick George Road, Cave Junction, OR 97523. Phone - 541-592-2597, Fax - 541-592-4142.

Most books on the booklist are either free online or can be purchased for as little as $1.00 each, for example: Book# 58, Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington in not only available online for free but costs only $1.00 from Dover The quality of those online are sometimes of a much better quality and easier to print or modify.

The Disadvantages:
The cost is a lot more than you realize when you consider the cost of paper and ink for printing required with these types of curriculums. Start up costs: RC: 240+ books - ($195); A2: 800+ books/poetry - ($99). (You can choose to print only certain parts and read/view straight from the computer)

However, the cost of time in printing books is far less in comparison with curriculums that involve extensive teacher prep time. Discipline is a must with the RC as it lacks enough structure, organization and directions which requires more extensive planning on the part of the parent. If your state requires any documentation, you will have to obtain this from other parents who have created one that is available at the Yahoo users groups. This program, not unlike most all homeschool curriculums, are not state approved but some states do require the scope/sequence.

It does not include a Math curriculum at all for any grades and must be purchased separately (it does include basic math flash cards).

The Robinson Curriculum CDs contain 208 books, known as the resource library, which include booklets & articles and 43 supplement fictional reading books. The SAT style exams only cover 22 books, all of which are to be used with the fictional books such as Pinocchio and Little Women, except five titles: Christopher Columbus, By Josephine Pollard (3rd gr.), Up From Slavery (6th grade), The Law (7th), US Historical Documents (10th), and Flat Money Inflation in France (10th). Click Here to view the Complete Booklist

The latest version contains a much needed update (NOT authored by Dr. Robinson) offering a Spelling book, Grammar book and games, drills and puzzles for the vocabulary words.

The owner/publisher is not actively involved with the program other than selling it. He has delegated control to another and has said he will not update or upgrade the 22 CDs.

Instead of one CD that you can install and put away. There are 22 CDs because the files are so large in an outdated format. It does not include a phonics program or any other Reading, English or Literature program except the booklist, other than the recent books added in the above mentioned upgrade. The booklist starts at about a 2nd grade reading level. We suggest using the free phonics charts found on our website at robinsoncurriculum.html. The Simply Phonics Series link and other valuable resources are also provided there.

You could spend a lot of time printing, sorting and finding the best methods of printing out, storing and/or binding each book from your computer. The format is not very versatile and many times very difficult to work with. They are hand-scanned images --- large tiff files and are of poor quality. The easiest method of printing is following the directions when you get the CDs. Print even page numbers, flip over and print odd pages numbers and store in a 3 ring binder or folder. However, many users choose to get the free download for "FinePrint" that makes printing easier and more economical.

You will pay more money to print out the books if you use an ink jet/bubble/color printer, plus use more ink for books that contain illustrations and the ink smears easily.

You must consider the ink/toner cartridge and drum replacements costs before you purchase a printer. Especially if you purchase any Brother brand laser printer, which has one of the highest, if not the highest replacement costs compared with any other brand of printers. A big difference compared with most any Hewlett Packard brand laser printer - (this information comes from an ink cartridge replacement company). After we purchased a few drums at Office Depot for our Brother printer for $180 per year a couple times, we took others advice and did buy an HP. Our HP laser printer not only includes the drum w/cartridge replacement, but it costs only $45 per year. We were also refilling with toner for the Brother printer plus having to replace the drum. The bottom line before you buy is look into the matter carefully to avoid ours and many other parent's costly mistakes.

Other Points to Consider:
The vocabulary builder on the CDs is a nice resource. Not all the vocabulary words match each referenced book, but some words do. You can choose to download a vocabulary builder, software program free,  from the free links list on our Robinson page. You'll also find free SAT, ACT, GRE and similar practice tests, which may also be available at your local library. The vocabulary program on the CDs is superior to most other word builders but many feel it is way too much: too many words not applicable to the reading material on the CDs or applicable for today's language. The words, for the most part were collected from old S.A.T's. However, you will find RC users who love the vocabulary builder and use it frequently.

The CDs include the whole set of the 1911 Britannica Encyclopedias and a dictionary which are nice to have readily on the CD, but lacks search features and quality. Having these resources in your home library is the best option, we feel, that your child will learn hands-on the process for manual research.

If you have questions or you need more information, and to read how other RC users use the program, you can join the Yahoo users group. This group also has files, links and a message archive for further research. It is a warm and friendly group and not very chatty. Go to This group has families using either the RC, A2 or both.

You can also learn more about curriculum from the software developer's website, Arnold Jagt, who is a Robinson's family friend, and is also the technical support for the curriculum. His email: He sells the curriculum and other supplies and pretty much appears to be the "Dr. Robinson" online. You can find articles and read more information before you buy at: But, for more information about Dr. Arthur Robinson, and what HE has online, his articles and other information about his work on the RC, see his website (Oregon Institute of Science & Medicine)

For links to the complete booklist, the booklist in proper reading level order, and other contents on the CDs, please see our Robinson Curriculum page before you purchase or before you take advantage of the scholarship program.

Can we use the RC method without buying the CDs? --- Sure you can! Read up on the 3-R's method, adjust or follow the RC rules/regulations to your household as you like, print out the booklist, continue building your own home library, utilize the free resources on the internet by visiting the links we've provided on our RC page.

We bought the RC years ago, started a home based business selling the curriculum and related books because we too, did not want to print out all the books and wanted the real McCoys. The RC introduced us to the value and quality of vintage books. When we were using the RC, we decided to pick and choose from the CDs. We replaced several books on the CDs with other vintage books we found that were far better than those on the booklist. Keep in mind that anyone can create a quality booklist to follow. Finding great vintage books and learning about the best authors from the past will help you decide and create your own "booklist.".

Although most all of the Robinson Curriculum books are public domain, and free online, just as "some" are on the A2 curriculum as well, it is the quality of those books that is key! No twaddle books or watering down of our children's education with these programs! They are superior to most available on the market today.

If you are new to homeschooling, we suggest the book, Easy Homeschooling Techniques, by Lorraine Curry, which describes all the different methods of home schooling, helps you develop your own course of study, gives simple, basic instructions and helps remove any stress. If you must have a book, this book takes the guesswork out of the confusion of all the choices we have. This author and home schooling Mother of four has used this same method for over 12 years successfully, long before the RC hit the market. By clicking on the title of the book, you can read 10 sample pages, read more about the book, and/or buy it from $9.00 used to $18.95 new.

We encourage you to be informed and spend your time and money wisely. We have other helpful articles of interest on our Articles Page. Click on our products link or home page below to see the 1879 McGuffey Readers and other valuable books: vintage reproductions of originals for your personal home library.

We no longer carry the Robinson Curriculum because of the cost, quantity contents, quality, and missing gaps. We felt our customers could use the free resources from the internet without the cost of $195. The RC is quite costly in the view of what you are getting for the money --- a short booklist and a massive vocabulary builder. However, we now offer a similar curriculum, that is better organized, structured yet more flexible, far better reading/viewing/printing quality, more than double the content, especially for book selection, with superior customer service, tech support, instructions, directions, yet half the price AND with the same progressive results when using the self-teaching, 3-R's methods. The Robinson Curriculum has been around a long time and many call the A2 the much needed make-over or updated version of the RC. See A2 for comparison charts, overview, frequently asked questions and much more.

             A2 FAQA2 Booklist
          A2-vs-RCRC Booklist
 A2 Contents/OverviewA2 User Comments  
                             See Demo and Order A2Join the RC-A2 Yahoo support Group


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