Dr. Robinson has created a curriculum that is not based on “grades.” The student advances on a daily bases by working through a series of math problems, writing, studying, and reading a course of chosen literature at an individual pace. Lets look at how you would place your child in each of the three main areas of the curriculum.
By Current Reading
The literature to be read is put in an order from simple to advanced levels and you can choose where to begin by using your own judgment based on your knowledge of your child’s age and reading ability. I would not worry about starting an older child too early in the reading selections as most of the books are enjoyable and worth reading at any age. However you also do not want to run out of time to finish. Thus an older child should work on mastering the vocabulary from the beginning on as this will make a big difference on SAT exams.
A more objective way of placing the student in the Read Order is by using the vocabulary flash cards to determine their reading comprehension level. Each book in the core read order has a corresponding vocabulary. Choose a place in the read order and if they do 80% or better on the first pass through the vocabulary flash cards (Words and Definitions) they can skip ahead in their reading. If they get less than 80% correct you should skip back. Keep on testing till you find their level. (They should master all the vocabulary words regardless of where they start.)
For math, Saxon Publishers have available math placement tests. Or, if you have them available, use the tests that come with each textbook.
You may give children under ten years of age copybook writing to do until they are comfortable writing a page each day. You may have them copy out something from the Curriculum or whatever else you feel they would benefit from. Then begin requiring original compositions on the topic and in the writing format of their choice.
Depending on the child and the kind of educational methodology they are used to it can take 3-6 months, on average, for a student to be completely adjusted to self-teaching for 5 hours a day.
Because most of us were taught with a teacher at the front of the room the concept of self-teaching is foreign to us. This is why it is crucial to read and reread the Course of Study documents. The ideas and the self-teaching methodology do not necessarily all soak in on the first pass through the material.