My mother discovered the Ron Paul Curriculum 1 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!
- https://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com or https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/ron-paul-home-schooling-curriculum/316440/
- J.J Rousseau (1762) “Emile or On Education” New York : Basic Books (1979) pp. 5