Posted in Curriculum & Reviews, Homeschooling & Education

The Robinson Curriculum and High School Credits



Since the Robinson Curriculum simply contains a booklist to be read throughout a child’s education, the question arises as to how to determine high school credits based on what is read.  There seems to be no one answer to this question, but here is an approach that can be used to determine high school credits:

What Makes a Credit?

I checked the list of recommended textbooks in my province and discovered that one credit approximately equals a 400-page textbook.  A half credit approximately equals a 200-page textbook.

If not using textbooks, a guideline is to use hours of study to determine credit.  A lab science course would be approximately 180 hours, English or History would be about 150 hours, and Electives would be about 120 hours.  This is a good guideline; however, I would take it with a grain of salt.  Some children read faster than others, and so I would take that into account before determining what equals a complete course.  If I relied on hours alone, some of my children would read 10 times what is required for a single credit!  Try to use some sort of “average student” standard if possible for a basic credit.

Another piece of good advice is to check with other curriculum providers and information sources such as Cathy Duffy to see if a particular resource is listed and if it makes a complete credit in and of itself.  Knowing how other sources incorporate the same books can really help determine what can make a full course and what needs supplementing.

Math and Science

Since the Robinson Curriculum recommends textbooks for math and science, determining a math or science credit is easy.  Simply award one credit for each textbook completed, ie. Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Physics I, Physics II, etc.

English and History

Since these courses rely on actual books and not textbooks, the general guideline of 150 hours applies.

For English, another rule of thumb is to read the equivalent of one book per month for one credit.  My family did not exclusively use the Robinson Curriculum for English, but to make an English credit solely using the curriculum, one could:

  1. Group together the Robinson Curriculum suggestions for a specific grade and then round out anything that is missing; or
  2. Sort the Robinson Curriculum high school suggestions into topics like Ancient Literature, etc.

Here is an example of making a credit using some grade 9 suggestions from the curriculum (I am taking these from an old online source no longer available since the Robinson Curriculum does not come with grade level suggestions):

Grade 9 English/English 1: Heather and Snow, The Mysterious Island, The White Company, Tom Sawyer: Abroad, Detective, Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn, and Don Quixote =  7 books.  Add in some poetry, short stories, plays, biographies, etc. as well as writing assignments and your credit is complete.

To make a history credit, take a similar approach remembering to consider the volume of material and the difficulty of the books you are using.  I have seen one US history course made using the following from the Robinson Curriculum:

Grade 9 US History:  The Life of Stonewall Jackson, The Soldier in Our Civil War (Vol. 1) & (Vol. 2), Memoirs of Sherman, The War Between the States, Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Vol. 1) & (Vol. 2), and Lincoln’s Speeches & Letters

Ultimately, you will have to decide what is appropriate for these subjects based on your family’s particular situation.


For non-textbook electives, the guideline is 120 hours.  Again, check with other sources and consider the # of pages and the difficulty of the material to see how you can incorporate a particular book into a credit.  Here a couple of examples:

Economics in One Lesson is about 218 pages.  By textbook standards, this would make half a credit.  Cathy Duffy writes, “this book serves as the foundation for a top-notch economics course.”  Based on these two considerations, I would conclude that the book in and of itself is probably not a complete credit.  To make a complete credit, you could pair the book with another book on economics from the Robinson Curriculum, or you could use only the book but really expand on it with class discussions, assignments, etc.  You will have to decide what is appropriate for your homeschool based on your particular circumstances.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is about 544 pages.  By textbook standards, this would make at least one credit.  The material is also pretty difficult.  I have seen one Robinson parent award one credit for each volume of the book.  That sounds fair, although again, what is best for your student will depend on your student.

Hopefully this gives some guidance as to how the Robinson Curriculum can be used to make traditional high school credits.  How to you determine high school credits for your students?




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