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About Robin

Robin Sampson is a homeschool mom and author. Her titles include The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach, What Your Child Needs to Know When, Wisdom: An Internet-Linked Unit Study, A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays, and Ancient History: Adam to Messiah.

Our Homeschool Journey

We have homeschooled for twenty years. We are blessed with  eleven children and thirteen grandchildren.

Our home school journey began with a desire to teach our children God’s word and the necessary academics to prepare them for life.

At the time we had four school age children and a toddler. I prayed, set up a schoolroom, chose a curriculum, planned a schedule. We were well prepared to go forth on our journey.

Our classroom was equipped with bookshelves, a child size desk for each student, a miniature desk for the toddler, a teacher’s desk, textbooks, pencils, papers, notebooks, and complete with an American flag. Each child had a separate Bible, history, science, math, spelling, and English workbook.

School rules were enforced the children were not allowed to talk to each other or me unless they raised their hand. We were “doing school.”

Obstacles and Pot Holes

The journey progressed as planned except for one unexpected obstacle. I, leader of the expedition, was exhausted. I spent each evening planning six subjects homeschooolfor four grade levels.

I spent so much time planning school that I did not have time to interact with my children. School became little more than a sticky note on the outside of a textbook or workbook telling each student what pages to accomplish for the day.

During the day, I sat at my desk, graded papers and spent countless hours writing scores in miniature boxes in a teacher’s lesson plan book and if I had time answered questions about school work. We were “doing school.”

When a mother becomes exhausted, she begins to see things in a different light. Little things become huge, she becomes irritable. A child’s normal amount of time to learn a fraction concept can become distorted. A few misspelled words seem life threatening. Suddenly, it appears that the children have no intelligence and will never be able to comprehend very simple concepts. When some of my children’s papers reflected a lack of comprehension, I panicked. We spent more time in problem areas and increased the amount of school time. I was determined we were going to “do school.”

Taking a Detour

I realized it was time for a detour. I was so busy planning, I wasn’t teaching. I redid our schedule, changed from a text book approach to a unit study. This allowed me to teach all Bible, history and science, to all the children at the same time. I worked separately with them on math and language arts.

My planning and grading time was drastically cut. The children and I interacted, we read aloud together, worked on projects, and they were really learning. I thought I had found the answer. The children were doing well academically. Our school day was much more interesting and we all looked forward to school. We were home schooling instead of “doing school.”

To be sure I was meeting state requirements, I spend a vast amount of time studying state standards and achievement tests. This work resulted in my first published book, What Your Child Needs to Know When.

Finding an Alternate Route

I’m not quite sure when it hit me, but it hit, and it hit hard. The children were learning academics but somewhere along the line, probably when I wasn’t seeing things in proportion, I replaced Bible time with math, spelling, or history.

A quick evaluation of our school time showed a lack of Bible study. Our curriculum was Christian and we read an occasional Bible verse but we were not spending time in God’s Word. I wasn’t even starting the day praying anymore. We had changed to a better road but somewhere we changed destinations.

I wasn’t the only homeschool parent on the wrong path. The same same attitude prevailed at home school conferences. As I spoke to new and veteran homeschoolers., the most frequently asked question was “How do I know if I am doing enough”. As a result, of all those worries, What Your Child Needs to Know When. rapidly became a bestseller in the homeschool community. This bothered me. Everyone, including myself, was anxious about state standards and bypassing the destination.

What Your Child Needs to Know When It was time to inspect the map to see exactly where we were headed. I believe this happens to most homeschoolers. Either the destination is chosen poorly in the beginning or somewhere along the line, the intentions to teach children what God commands us to teach our children changes to teaching what the state or “world” requires. This happens simply because parents were taught that school equals academics.

God’s Word, our map, is alive. It can quickly reveal a wrong chosen path and put it on course.

One Needful Thing

homeIn the Bible story of Mary and Martha, Martha was so busy with preparations as Mary sat at the feet of Christ. When Martha complained about Mary, Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42.)

The lesson is simple: only one thing is necessary. Everything else that does not promote that one thing is extra. The most important thing we can ever teach our children is to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word. Sensible Martha had many accomplishments, but worry and trouble were her rewards. Mary, on the other hand, was praised for choosing “that good thing” which was itself her reward and which would not be taken away from her.

Martha’s preparation work was not wrong; in fact, it was important. It was Martha’s focus that was wrong. It is your focus that makes the difference. Socialistic achievement, which the world stresses so much, is important, but it is nothing without Christ.

Academics (math, language arts, history, and science) matter, but only as they sharpen your focus on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The academic subjects are important tools, but only tools to help in the journey not the destination or goal.

The moment academics redirect you, cloud your view, to whatever degree they slow your pursuit, they then move from helpful tools to what Jesus calls the “cares of this life.”

Another Change in Course

I purposed to accomplish the “one needful thing” daily by committing to reading the Bible before any academic schoolwork. True wisdom is only available by spending a significant amount of your home school time studying and teaching God’s Word.

I rewrote What Your Child needs to Know When. adding about 200 pages comparing and changing the focus from what the state requires to what God requires us to teach our children. The academics are important (and check lists remain in the book) but the focus in on God’s Word..

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

I set aside strivings and anxieties and purposed to teach my children who Christ is. We began to spend time sitting at His feet and feast at the table of His mercy, forgiveness, and peace. We began to learn the unseen things of God. We began to learn true wisdom.

The Journey Continues
…Our Destination: A Heart of Wisdom

Many, many changes have occurred over my 20 years of homeschooling. I made MANY mistakes. My husband Ronnie and I have a “yours, mine, and ours” blended family of eleven children and thirteen grandchildren.

The teaching methods and approaches have changed but mt he biggest change has been in me, the teacher. I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot. Hopefully sharing some of my mistakes will help others.

See My Story: Unmasked to Truefaced

If you purpose to put Bible before other studies you can’t go wrong. Through the years this included different daily devotions, Bible study curriculum, focusing on one particular book of the Bible, reading a certain amount of chapters per day, or by reading Bible stories.

Honestly, I must say that at times it has been a struggle. It’s very easy to slip back into “doing school,” but each time I slipped, God gently reminded me of the one needful thing and we would get back on track.

The Heart of Wisdom Approach

adamAfter a dozen years of examining different teaching philosophies, learning styles–and most importantly–what God’s word says about teaching children, I designed an approach of teaching based on much prayer and my experience above. I call it the Heart of Wisdom approach from Psalms 90:12, Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Not only must we renew our thinking about the context of what is taught but also the method of which is taught (Joshua 24:23, Proverbs 3:5-6; Matt 6:19-21; Romans 12:22). The Heart of Wisdom centers all teaching on God’s Word.

The Heart of Wisdom teaching approach is more than Bible it is an approach to teach all curriculum. It was greatly influenced, and actually a combination of teaching methods, utilizing the Charlotte Mason’s philosophy; 4 Step Lessons; Ruth Beechick’s language arts teaching methods; the integrated unit study method, the Lifestyle of Learning approach; David Mulligan’s writings in book Far Above Rubies: Wisdom in the Christian Community; and a writing-to-learn philosophy similar to that used by The Principle Approach.

Download Excerpts

Heart of Wisdom Unit Studies

heart of Wisdom History unit studiesHeart of Wisdom Science Unit Studies

I have been developing a unit study curriculum based on the Heart of Wisdom Approach the first nine units are now available. See Heart of Wisdom Unit Studies.

Summary

Ask yourself this question and take some time to really think about the answer.

If someone told you you had one month to live what would you want to do with your remaining days? What wisdom would you like to pass on to your children? What is the wisdom you would share from your heart?

This should be your priority. I hope your answer is that you would want to teach your children about your relationship with God. About who God is and how faithful He is and how He has rules for us to live by. Then I hope your time would be spent teaching them to study, really study God’s Word. Kind of puts fractions and diagramming sentences in perspective doesn’t it? This is the one thing I wish I could share with all those beginning to homeschool: Put the Bible first. It is the one needful thing. Everything else is secondary.

God Bless you and your Family,

Robin Sampson

Family Photos

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Psalm127:3

Robin Sampson grandchildren

Robin Sampson children

43 comments

  1. Hi Robin.

    I just wanted to let you know that I posted my first part of my review of HOWTA that you sent me the link to download. You can find it here: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ThreeLittleLadies/338060/

    I will post more as I go along, maybe section by section. Thanks for letting me do this. I’ve been wanting to read the book, and yet had so much I already own that I haven’t read yet, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to it for a long time. It is a God thing. I am glad that I found your website today.

    Carol

  2. michelle

    Hi, Robin.

    I am really looking forward to blogging here. Thank you for providing this for all of us homeschoolers. I have read the faith statement, and I love what it says. I like the standard of God’s Word as a foundation for this blogging community you are starting.

    You have been an absolute blessing to my family. I have really enjoyed the materials that your ministry sells. I have sincerely cried as my heart leaped with joy when I read them. You are a blessing from God. Thank you so much!!!!

  3. Stephanie Jackson

    Hi Robin,
    This is my first time finding your site. I so want to homeschool my children. They are in public school now and doing great with everything, but in my heart I really want them home with me and to be homeschooling them. I don’t have the confidence in myself though and am afraid that I won’t be able to do it, but reading all that I have today is helping me. I know I have to pray for wisdom and I know that the Lord will lead me and guide me. Their ages are 7, 12, and 15. Please pray for us. I will pray for your speedy recovery from your heart surgery. You are so blessed to have such a precious family and to have homeschooled all of these years. Glad I found you.

    Stephanie

  4. Robin—your testimony and family is awesome! God has plans for you—you have an obedient heart—you are pliable clay in His hands! I love your blog…I will return!!!

  5. Robin–
    I just wanted to let you know that I got your comment on my blog and the heart question. I answered it there. :-)

    Hope you and your family are doing well!

    Blessings–
    Dana

  6. Hi Robin!

    I’m so glad I visited this morning. You have a wonderful site here. Looking forward to future visits with you.

  7. Melissa Gonzales

    I am really feeling like I am being lazy by spending so much time coming up with a mind map, then lesson plans, then daily lesson plans. I am trying to work on this approach for pre-school through 3rd grade. A 4 year plan, creation- noah for pre-k-kindergarten. I just want to know how much time you spent on lesson plans, how you worked it into your day or night. Do you have suggestions for mind mapping-examples or how you use it for lesson planning.

  8. My husband and I are also have a large family, we, too,are blended. Between the 2 of us we have 10 children, and 2 grandchildren, with number 3 due in 3 weeks, and numbers 4&5 due in Sept. No, numbers4&5 are NOT twins, they have 2 different moms.

    My step-daughter who has one of the grandchildren plans on home-schooling her when it is time,(she is only 17 months old now), but mom and dad both have learning disabilities, so I more than likely will be the one doing the home-schooling.

    Rose’s last blog post..Looking for a Job!

  9. Hi Robin,
    I love your blog, you leave me inspired everytime I read it. May I ask what happened in your first marriage? I am struggling in my marriage with a husband with anger issues. He is not struggling as he doesn’t see what the problem is. We spent months in counseling . . . nothing changed. Nothing will change and I feel stuck in this marriage. Is that what God wants for me?

  10. Hi Robin,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story on some other christian’s reactions to your remarriage. I have been divorced for many years and was saved after my divorce. I have a lovely daughter who is currently at ‘normal’ school though I really want to homeschool her. At the moment, though, her father will not allow this. However, I’m still getting discretely prepared because I know that God is the one that has laid it so much on my heart.

    I found your website after a supernatural impartation of wisdom at church and am so blessed to see that someone else has a similar heart to mine. I loved the extracts of the heart of wisdom and delight based learning books available on your website and am hoping to purchase the full books as soon as possible.

    Also was delighted to find out I wasn’t alone with struggling to create order and beauty in my home!! I have got a copy of one of the books that you recommended, ‘Messie No More’.

    Thank you so much for being you.

    Blessings,

    Joy

  11. Hi there Robin, I think what you and what you are doing is fabulous. I am in the process of building my family site and my blog is there but I LOVE all the information you have for digital scrapbooking and most importantly how your number1 thing is to bring glory to God. You are listed on my links page (Misty’s links) on my site. Don’t feel bad about being towards the bottom (She ROCKS is how it is listed) that just means you went up first. Hope tpo hear from you but if not I will keep reading. Take care and God Bless!
    Faithfully Serving Him,
    Misty

  12. Robin,

    You wrote me quite a while back about the Shack and am just now getting through the emails and going through links. Anyway, I really appreciated your review of The Shack. I just got back from a weekend retreat with my church group titled, “To the Shack and Back”. Anyway, thanks for the email. I will bookmark your site and come back often!

    Shortone

  13. I was blessed by your post. I needed to read this today. I struggle with perfectionism due to my abusive childhood. It is hard to homeschool with that struggle. I have to stay on my knees giving it back to him every day because of the perfectionistic tendencies which want rob me of enjoying my children. Your blog was an encouragement to keep pressing forward in surrendering that false idea of a “perfect homeschool”, “perfect mom”, “perfect….”. God’s hand is on this post. It is an encouragement for the rest of us dysfunctional homeschooling moms so that we can see the beauty in our dysfunction because where we are weak he can be strong, and His glory shines through much more brilliantly. What beauty has come out of your ashes. Thank you for sharing. I have been tremendously encouraged.

  14. I need to contact someone that can help me clarify somethings before I purchase this curriculam.

  15. I need to contact someone that can help me clarify some things before I purchase this curriculam.

  16. Wow. Thanks for that, especially that part at the end. So often when you read a story of how someone was far away from God, the assumption at the end is that they are now fully devoted and living a life exempt from struggle and pain. I think’s it’s important to be honest about the fact that we are still wretched sinners, but we strive to become more Christlike out of love and profound gratitude for what He has done for us. Thanks for pointing me here.

    In Him,

    Kathy Richards (katdish)

  17. What a moving testimony, one I can relate to in many ways. Write that book, darlin.

  18. WOW thanks for posting part of your journey on your blog. I’m a single mom of 2 and a grandma to 1. I was saved as a teenager but strayed from church after my first marriage (ladies in the church were telling my family members that my husband was going to kill me) Married a 2nd time for convenience as well and that turned into disaster and he ended up in prison. Then I realized I couldn’t do in on my own so I returned to my Lord and Savior. Thought I had found a good man and we were married he attended church w/me when he was in town (he was a truck driver). Well at the end of being married 2 months (we dated 5 years) he sent a text message telling me to get out of the house he was bringing his girlfriend home. (that’s the last I ever heard from him and yes it was by text message) So again I thank you for sharing your testimony. I still have things that I’m working on but I’m not doing it on my own anymore I’m depending on Jesus!!

  19. HI I just wanted to encourage you to read Ex. 12…I saw that you mentioned Rosh Hashanah…and most people that mention it are repeating the orthodox that changed where God officially put the new year to begin. GOd told Moses to put HIS “new year” in the spring 14 days before Passover. God has given no one the authority to change his calendar. We have to stick with how scripture is written and repeat that alone or we are off! Putting Rosh hashanah in the fall covers over a very very significant feast…for believers. But for the lost… it will be a day of distruction..”The feast of trumpets”. Our soon coming KiNG is expected to arrive with judgement in his hands. ARE YOU READY is suppose to be our message not happy new year! The feast of trumpets comes in like a thief in the night. know that scripture in Thess. The sky/calendar is observed until a mere peak of the cresent moon arrives in Israel. NO one knows the day or the hour is the reflection there because observers watch on the wall until they can declare that the crescent moon has revealed itself!

  20. Fantastic site please add my e-mail address to get your blog. Thank you. Susan

  21. Jill Kennedy

    Hi Robin,
    I just want to thank you for your wonderful book . Bibical Holidays,
    the Lord begin to put Israel on my heart about 7 years ago.
    I found very little on the Jewish people or Hoidays. I found your book and my husband bought it for my 56 birtday . One of the best birthday presents I have ever had. I have had a wonderful adventure of studying the Jewsih feast since then . I talk so much about the holidays now others around me are desiring to know more and I have provided them with your website.
    Thank you again for sharing your wealth of knowledge and study with us. Blessings to you and your family
    Jill Kennedy

  22. Hello Robin,

    I love your website! It is wonderful to see how God is using different people to draw all to Himself.

    After researching sites to introduce children to the Messiah in the Seder, I discovered your website. I researched more Bible verses to the great table you have and reformatted it to become a lesson in doing tables to be given away to homeschool families via Christian Keyboarding.com’s newsletter. I added the following to the footer: (excerpt from Heart of Wisdom.com) to hopefully bring more foot traffic your way. Please let me know if this is okay with you. It will be sent on Tuesday, April 27.

  23. On behalf of the Volunteers to Rosetta and myself thank you for alerting your guests to our website at http://www.childrensbooksonline.org

    Guy Chocensky, President
    Children’s Books Online: the Rosetta Project, Inc

  24. Hey. I just come to your blog by Google. My English name also is Robin.

  25. Valerie

    I have never taken the time to thank you, Robin, for your book, your website, your blog, your FREE lesson plans!! I am so blessed! And your lapbook materials and scrapbook pages are so nice to look at, in addition to being rich in depth and knowledge. I’m so pleased with your hard work – it is a blessing to our family.

  26. Penny S.

    Robin, Hi! I am a homeschooling mom of 4. I also coordinate a week of children’s camp for ages 5-12 at a local Christian camp in my area (Benton, TN). I am using the biblical feasts as my theme this year. I was wondering if I could get your permission to copy page 450 from your book on the history of the Sabbath being changed to Sunday for my teacher’s information books. I liked what you wrote and didn’t find it necessary to “reinvent the wheel” if I didn’t have to. Could you please email me at the above address with a response. Thanks so much.

  27. Kara Rosen

    Robin,
    I purchased HOW several years ago and was intimidated. Now my oldest is 12 and I am ready to proceed with HOW. Do I still have access to everything that is available to me through HOW or has my time expired even though I never used the curriculum? If it has expired could I be reinstated somehow? Please let me know.

  28. Debby Herring

    Robin,

    Thanks so much for the great Bible copywork.

  29. This is such nice site. I will return back in near future. Thanks so much for the great information.

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