Since the 1850s, compulsory education has been a reality of American life. As a consequence, the public-school system sprung up in order to meet the educational needs of a nation. Some will argue that this system of public education served its purpose for a time even playing a key role in the ascendance of the United States to its dominant position among developed nations.
However, since at least the turn on the 20th century, the country’s public-school system has gradually morphed from an institution for imparting objective truth and a love of learning into into something less than optimal. Public schools have also largely abandoned even teaching the fundamentals that students absolutely require to succeed in an advanced economy.
Since the 1980s, the homeschooling movement has been exploding in popularity among American parents, especially over the last decade. Parents are confronted with the realities of many public schools that are complete objective failures, earning standardized test scores that indicate virtually none of their students are even minimally proficient in any subject by the time they graduate.
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Many parents recoil upon witnessing the realities of today’s public-school system. But when they start investigating alternatives, usually in the form of private schools, they quickly realize that such alternatives are largely off limits to middle class families, with many schools costing in the tens of thousands of dollars per student per year. In most cases, these families would still be forced to pay the same amount in taxes even if they have found the services offered by the public-school system dismally inadequate.
But for the self-motivated student, there is an alternative that is dramatically more cost effective. The Ron Paul Curriculum is a home-schooling program that costs just $250 per year and $50 per course. Compare this to the typical private school, which will run you $10,000 to $15,000 or higher per year for each student that is enrolled.
With the Ron Paul Curriculum, a typical student will cover five courses per year, leading to a total cost of just $500 per year. But even deeper savings accrue to families who have multiple children. These only need to pay the $250 yearly membership fee once.
Additionally, the Ron Paul Curriculum is designed specifically to allow students that complete it to test directly into their junior year of college. This is accomplished when students who have completed the Ron Paul Curriculum take a series of CLEP tests. Students who have successfully mastered the complete Ron Paul Curriculum will be able to easily pass the CLEP tests up to the junior year. But particularly motivated and talented students may be capable of directly testing into a college degree.
In fact, Bradley Fish, one of the Ron Paul Curriculum’s teachers, was a former student of the program. He was able to test directly into his junior year of college and subsequently graduated with a bachelor’s degree at the age of 18!
A great deal of what passes for modern-day education in America’s public schools amounts to little more than just the basic skills needed to survive in today's climate. Most of this is delivered by way of rote learning, encouraging students to cram days before exams, only to forget most of the material by weekend. State standardized testing and a widespread move away from critical thinking and towards mindless repetition of terms and dates, this hobbles students, filling students’ critical formative years with inefficient exercises that impart often-nonsensical lessons.
The Ron Paul Curriculum discards all of that, distilling the educational process down to its purest and most useful elements. This is where the real value of the program is on display. The Ron Paul Curriculum has been carefully designed by some of the country’s leading thinkers, including Thomas Woods, Timothy Terrell, Gary North and, of course, Ron Paul. Most of the Ron Paul Curriculum instructors have doctorate degrees in the fields that their courses cover.
And this all-star ensemble of course instructors has led to a nearly perfect exemplar of what homeschooling can be. The Ron Paul Curriculum does away with all extraneous ideological interjections, focusing strictly on core subjects. Social sciences are not covered at all until the high-school level. And even then, they are approached from a highly rigorous, scientific perspective that is rooted heavily in statistics and the scientific method.
In short, the Ron Paul Curriculum tosses all the dead weight that is normally associated with a public-school education, leaving the pure foundational concepts that genuinely help to edify students while also preparing them to score their way into years of college credits through eventually taking and excelling at the CLEP exams.
The Ron Paul Curriculum shares some features with so-called academies and other online courses that pass themselves off as institutions of higher education. However, the people responsible for the Ron Paul Curriculum are serious scholars and educators whose primary intent was not to create a money-making gimmick but to enable parents and students across the country to access a first-rate education at a highly affordable price.
The Ron Paul Curriculum consists of thousands of lessons of video-based courses, which can be viewed by the student online. The coursework mostly consists of writing assignments, which the students are encouraged to post on their own blog sites. This reliance on blog-style essays as coursework serves two main purposes. The first is that students are often more apt to try their best at any given assignment when they know that it will be posted online for the whole world to see. Second, the creation of a blog-like record of one’s assignments serves as a great portfolio to demonstrate a student’s ability, not only to universities but also to any prying truancy officers that may be sent out to harass homeschoolers.
Even in the hard sciences, knowledge is both imparted and learned from texts. The Ron Paul Curriculum’s focus on advanced writing skills as a primary means of scholarship is one of the course’s greatest strengths. There is much scientific literature showing that the top performers throughout the highest professions and the sciences all demonstrate high verbal aptitude. The Ron Paul Curriculum focuses on developing strong writing skills as a means of both proving mastery of subjects as well as allowing students to blossom into strong independent and creative thinkers while building the single most important skill that a student will use in the professions: strong writing abilities.
The Ron Paul Curriculum is primarily designed for self-motivated students. Everything after the third grade is designed to be 100 percent self-taught by the student. Those students who do not possess the self-discipline necessary to adhere to five hours per day of intense schoolwork may not be good candidates to follow this program. However, those that are able to handle the demands of the course can expect to receive a far better education than anything their publicly schooled peers could hope for. Many students may be able to finish their college studies by the time most public-school students are graduating from high school.
This program is one of the few that eliminates the problems that education expert John Taylor Gatto has identified as being inherent in public schools. Let's look at two of the most important problems that Gatto identified and how the Ron Paul Curriculum effectively counters them.
The public-school model uses a television-like, passive presentation of material that fills all of the student’s free time while relying almost exclusively on rote memorization. This method of education almost universally fails to truly engage students’ interest, leaving them to quickly forget what they have supposedly learned.
The Ron Paul Curriculum involves very little rote memorization. Instead, it immerses the student in the subject matter, forcing them to grapple with real issues that arise within the material and resolve them through critical thinking and analysis in the form of a cogent written essay on the topic.
One of most insidious aspects of public education and the schooling model in general is a near total reliance on teacher-orchestrated instruction, with a clearly hierarchic classroom where the teacher is the dictator. This creates both emotional and intellectual dependence in students, failing to teach them the critical skills of self-education that determine whether they sink or swim in college and, later, in the job market.
The Ron Paul Curriculum, on the other hand, teaches children how to teach themselves from the third-grade level. Students of the Ron Paul Curriculum will become truly independent thinkers, will learn to rationally deliberate, evaluate arguments and evidence and, ultimately, become indispensable members of whatever field they eventually make their life’s work. If you just can't get enough liberty education then also go ahead and check out the Liberty Classroom. It makes a great add-on to the Ron Paul Curriculum.
If you are a homeschool parent we understand your pain. From preparing the next days lessons to keep students motivated and wanting to learn, homeschooling is a ton of work. Let the Ron Paul Curriculum help get you back on the right track.