Homeschooling Memoirs | Part 2

My mother discovered the Ron Paul Curriculum at a time when Common Core standards were becoming more widely adopted in the States. She was concerned that such curricula were contributing to the “dumbing-down” of American children. Ron Paul’s curriculum was not only devoid of Common Core, but overtly against it (as indicated by a conspicuously positioned anti-Common-Core banner on the front-page of the site). 

It was mostly paper free, or at least computer-based. It featured numerous (over 8000) lessons taught by experienced college professors and Ph.D’s. It also was said to be very academically demanding, at least perhaps in contrast to what public schools had to offer. For example, an essay per/week was generally required in each course (something that many from public-school-educated lineages have found almost completely unimaginable).

However, at the age of ten, not much of this interested me. My initial view of the curriculum was that it was largely an opportunity to use a computer. More specifically, a computer which would not primarily serve as a means for educating myself, but rather as a source of entertainment.  “Why should I do that which I am supposed to? Why not just pass the day watching gaming videos or other amusing content?” And so naturally, I did. 

As I look back, I am reminded of Rousseau who once penned – in a book about children – that “God makes all things good ; man meddles with them and they become evil”. 2 This couldn’t have been more fundamentally wrong. My desire to misuse a valuable tool was clearly inborn 3, not somehow learned from or shaped by others. After several months of incessant deceit, my shenanigans were fortunately exposed. My parents were much more disappointed than surprised at my actions. And thankfully, my mother, being guided by Voltaire’s profound notion that the better is the enemy of the good sought a more foolproof (literally!) curriculum. 

It was shortly after that she chanced upon the Robinson Curriculum – the topic of my next post!

Footnotes :

15 Comments

  1. The Ron Paul Curriculum sounds quite rigorous. This is necessary to form a strong intellectual foundation. However, within reason.

    Is it possible that everyone’s favorite Libertarian Congress man’s homeschooling blue print is more appropriate for older students?Possibly later-Middle School/ High School aged students?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No.

      The required reading for fourth and fifth graders (9-10 yr/olds) in the curriculum that I am presently doing (Robinson) is what would, by today’s standards, usually only be expected of some high-schoolers. For example :

      The Hound of the Baskervilles,
      Gulliver’s Travels,
      The Jungle Book,
      Robinson Crusoe,
      The Pilgrim’s Progress,
      Rudyard Kipling’s Verse; 1885-1918 [Poetry],
      Poems (by Oliver Wendell Holmes) [Poetry],

      For high school, on the other hand, some required reads are :

      Paradise Lost (Milton),
      An Essay on Human Understanding (Locke),
      Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Jay, and Madison),
      Julius Caesar,
      Etc…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To me, it seems that the quality of many of the curriculums used in public schools has been deteriorating over the last few decades. What is now considered “rigorous” was once run-of-the-mill for the young scholars of the last few centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see how you were distracted by technology’s other pitfalls while in the RPC! I have found that an issue in the past, as have my brothers, but long use of the curriculum has trained at least myself to focus and get things done, although I still have a ways to improve. Admittedly, I would much prefer that the RPC was book-and-dvd based, like MathUSee, in order to not have to deal with either problematic WiFi or problematic distractions! However, I feel that the curriculum matches well with my priorities and challenges me, so that, along with the fact that I’ve become used to it, means I will likely continue in it for my final year of high school. I enjoy the rigor and Gary North as an instructor – and I can say, I’m certainly never bored! (Additionally, I’d like to enjoy my final year, and switching curriculums could be disastrous as far as routine and preference goes!)
    (regarding the issue of what is “rigorous”, I understand and sympathize. I can’t imagine not being capable of writing an essay within a day; and I feel slightly sorry for the poor training of those who cannot. Some people can’t identify with being able to complete college-level work – I’m grateful that I can.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Makayla,

      Gratitude is definitely a virtue.

      Thinking about it, I couldn’t have been distracted, since I was never even focused. I have discovered that the internet, despite being the source of considerable information as well as the medium for widespread communication, is nevertheless (and this is bursting with subjectivity!) a domain for what often seems to me like unfulfilling activity. Occasioning a sense of existential boredom or emptiness.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In the majority of available activities related to internet use, I would agree with you, Dylan. I’m biased regarding the RPC, but in all other things I agree – although the internet has allowed certain information to become more available, and widened our horizons, it takes us away from the more pressing relational, work-related, and educational realities, for which we had little time even before the widespread use of the internet. (Long-term, I have no desire to be connected internet-wise in any but the most necessary ways. Becoming dependent on internet usage to such an extent that bad WiFi could mess up my day, is not on my future bucket list.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting points!

        Then – assuming that our profession is not that of a programmer, stock trader, etc. – would you say that we should try to use the internet only for necessary purposes? For example, education, banking, (some) communication.

        In saying “some”, I’m clearly drawing an arbitrary line. But I can’t understand how – for instance – a lengthy FaceTime session, overflowing with gossip or clamoring, is somehow as equally productive as a dialogue between an editor and an author.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In my opinion, a ‘productive conversation/meeting’ depends on what values are closest to a person’s heart. You and I might not see the value in a gossip (and wonder how anyone could!) but if someone enjoys feeling ‘included’ or ‘trusted’ with information, or ‘connected’ to others, then they might leave the FaceTime session refreshed. We all feel basic human needs – we want food, warmth, love, etc, and I think the fundamental difference lies in HOW we go about achieving what we want. So although a gossip with a friend might not be as productive financially as an editor-to-author meeting, it may fill an emotional need within a person.

        (Given, online relationships are generally unsafe, and as for friends, I prefer meeting face-to-face. But I just thought it would be interesting to highlight the differences between logical and financial productivity, and emotional and relational fulfillment – both of which are essential to the healthy development of a human being. 🙂 Also, I know you meant productive in the “good-use-of-time” sense, so yes, I agree that the editor and author are probably rolling a little faster in the hierarchical steam engine!

        But in answer to your question … I absolutely agree. With the expansion of opportunities available in the world, the internet has become essential to accessing those opportunities – for example, filling out online camp registration forms, researching and comparing prices for online purchases, etc. One of my exceptions to the “education, banking, (some) communication” rule, would probably be a little blogging. I spend very little time actually on WordPress, but find enjoyment in encouraging others and sharing my goals; although it isn’t exactly “productive”, it motivates me to improve on my goals and my character.)

        It can be frustrating to see others wasting time or effort on something which does not “give back”, but in the end we all make our own decisions. I find that learning from other’s mistakes is easier on the ego than learning from my own!

        Like

  4. Two things, maybe threee, perhaps words of advice, but you’ll have to figure while growing up. 1) Learning is good, better if you find practical uses such as mowing lawns for money, starting a small business, working with your hands. 2) Don’t be an intellectual. and 3) Read Socrates. He admitted to knowing nothing. He was only wiser because others wouldn’t admit to knowing nothing, or very little. Just grow up responsibly. Simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well noted sir.

      Socrates is certainly widely admired for his honesty. It seems that being “right” was never one of his primary motivations in a discourse.

      Like

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