How much does the curriculum cost?
The cost of the Ron Paul Curriculum is $250/year for a household membership ($350/year for non-automatic renewal), plus the cost of courses at $50 per course per student.
The total cost will depend on the number of students and the number of courses you choose for each student. If you have more than one student taking a course, each student pays for the course.
Example: If you have two students, and you choose four courses for the first student and five courses for the second student, the cost would be $250 for the annual household membership, plus $200 for the first student's courses, and $250 for the second student's courses, for a total of $700.
May I Purchase Courses Without a Membership?
A membership is required to purchase and use our courses. The only exceptions are the CLEP/AP Cram courses.
The heart of this curriculum is the system of course-based communities. Here is where students teach other students.
Tutorial participation is important in the mastery of a course's materials. The curriculum's teaching methodology is based on the students' time spent as tutors.
How would a day look? How much homework?
In a homeschool curriculum, homework is all there is!
We are convinced that a lesson should not take more than one hour.
About half of this is a video lecture. The other half is either reading or practice (math). We assume that a student reads at 250 words per minute. The reading assignments are selected accordingly.
If a student practices for 10 minutes a day with the free online Spreeder speed reading program, then the reading portion of the curriculum can be cut sharply.
The writing assignment in lesson five should take 30 minutes. There is no reading assignment on this day.
Most of the student's work day should be devoted to home projects. In high school, "spare" time should be devoted to one or two of these: (1) apprenticing with a successful local business; (2) starting a home business; (3) studying for CLEP exams in order to get out of college at 60% of the cost, two years early. A few students highly motivated will graduate from college at age 18, just as RPC instructor Bradley Fish did. This cost him under $11,000.
If a parent wants a student to take a modern foreign language online, that will take extra time. This should be at least an hour a day.
State Regulations! Help! Where Do I Start?
If you are new to homeschooling, it can be very frustrating and confusing if you don't know where to start.
We are not legally qualified to answer any question about each state's home school regulations.
Rest easy, homeschooling is legal in the United States, all states. Each state, however, has its own requirements. So, where should you start?
We recommend you start with http://www.hslda.org. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a nonprofit organization that defends the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children. While it isn't mandatory for you join HSLDA to use the Ron Paul Curriculum, it is highly recommended.
For information on your state, you may go to this page on their site: Home School Legal Defense Association. Here you can find information on the laws of your state, any legislation currently in the works, a list of state organizations, and other information.
Another great resource is one of your state's home school organizations. You may find a list of those in your state from the link above. They will be able to help you know what is required of you to withdraw your child from the public schools, subject requirements, and what options you have for reporting, if necessary in your state.
You may also find a local home school support group to be valuable. Many times they have organized activities for sports or field trips (museums, zoos, etc.) in which you can participate. However, it is not necessary to be involved in a local support group, if you find it doesn't fit your needs.
Various state governments have requirements governing home schools.
Some homeschool parents are doubtful about these regulations. Other homeschool parents have refused to cooperate with the state in any way regarding these requirements. Other homeschool parents have decided that a particular state's regulations are too restrictive, and they have moved to another state. They educate their children the way they choose. These are parents who have decided that they will not compromise with certain degrees of tyranny. They place their children's education before their own job opportunities.
Every parent must come to grips with the reality of state regulation. These regulations usually have to do with numerous indicators, such as the number of days of the school year and courses taught. But states do not regulate the content of the material in these courses. That is for parents to decide.
This curriculum has 180 lessons per course. This conforms to state requirements in all 50 states. No state requires more than 180 days in class for a one-year course.
This curriculum's methodology rests heavily on weekly essays by students. It also rests on the requirement that students create their own blog sites. Every essay is supposed to be published by the student on his own website. Parents are supposed to enforce this requirement. We know that students do not want to go public with their writing, and if they are forced to do so, they are going to pay more attention to their writing. They are going to do a better job of learning how to write.
If a truant officer approaches a parent who uses this curriculum, and he decides to make an inquiry, the parent is going to be in a position to show the truant officer that the student has a website of his own, and that he publishes weekly essays from the classes. The student may also have a YouTube channel.
What truant officer is going to want to come before a judge and claim that the student who is using this curriculum is not meeting state educational standards? What public school is going to have anything comparable in terms of student productivity?
Parents who want to employ our course providers to teach their children must decide to deal with whatever state regulations hang over them. Parents have to decide whether our program is better than any competing program. They have got to decide whether the content of our program meets their requirements. They must decide whether to compromise with the state.
Parents who are deeply concerned about their children are going to make the decision in terms of the needs of their children, and also in terms of their own religious and ideological preferences. They decide if this curriculum is best for their children.
Do my children have to participate in WordPress and YouTube?
Nothing is required. It is a tool for parents to help their children learn.
The advantage of WordPress (or any blog site) and YouTube as learning tools is that they let students post their essays or speeches in a public place. When they post essays online, people can see how they are doing. They will take more care in their writing assignments or speeches, plus they can receive feedback from other students.
A blog filled with essays scares off truant officers. A student posts three essays a week, 36 weeks a course, grades 6-12. Overall, that is over 750 essays. A truant officer would have to persuade a judge that the student is not doing serious work. How many essays do students write per year in a public school?
A student applying to a college can point to a blog with 750 essays. How many students can offer anything like this?
As for YouTube, tutoring in math probably requires access to YouTube. If a student gets stuck, he can show where he is stuck: procedure. The other students can then respond. But getting a YouTube account is not required by this curriculum. Nothing is required. It is a tool for parents to help their children learn.
Both YouTube and WordPress can be closed to all but authorized viewers.
People can have sites and not use their last names.
Given the universality of Facebook and Twitter, I do not see that WordPress essays and YouTube are more of a problem regarding privacy. But each parent must make this call.
What If We Cannot Control Our Child?
On August 21, 2014, a parent sent this evaluation of the Ron Paul Curriculum.
"Our experiences were unfortunately negative. I have nothing bad to say about the curriculum, except on occasion, the timeliness of getting the latest lessons. We had far too many problems with the kids diverting attention to watching South Park videos or other trash cartoons, or videos, or even playing video games on an iPad. It got so bad we have to discontinue and use A Beka Academy curriculum. Perhaps it is their age(s), but we are forced (by their behavior) to send them to public schools."
They were correct in abandoning this curriculum. This curriculum is designed for self-disciplined, self-motivated students. Students whose minds wander, or who watch South Park videos, are unlikely to do well with this curriculum. The typical class assignment requires an hour: a half hour of reading -- or writing every fifth lesson -- and a half hour of watching a lecture and taking notes. If a student takes five courses, that is five hours a day of hard work.
There is no question that lots of students will rebel against this regimen. They will refuse to invest the effort. The parents do not have sufficient sanctions -- positive or negative -- to persuade them to do the work.
If you must nag your child to get him to do his school work, do not adopt the Ron Paul Curriculum. It will not work.
How Important Are SAT and ACT Scores?
SAT and ACT scores are for students and parents who don't know the score.
The SAT is for students who have never received any college credit. The College Board, which produces the SAT, also produces CLEP exams. For about $90, a student who scores 50 or higher gets college credit. A student can quiz out of the first two years of college for under $2,000.
When a student enters as a sophomore or junior, the college pays no attention to the SAT or ACT score. The student has already shown that he or she can do college-level work.
One of the course providers for this curriculum is Bradley Fish, Jr. He received his bachelor's degree from an accredited college in the month he turned 18. He began this course of study at age 14. He was homeschooled. CLEP and upper division exam costs and tuition fees were $13,000, total. He never stepped foot on a college campus.
The Ron Paul Curriculum is an academically rigorous program. Any student who takes an RPC course can probably pass a CLEP with a score of 70 or higher. Students should begin to test for $90 a course at the end of the 10th grade. As soon as a student has passed three CLEPs, the SAT becomes irrelevant.
Is Your Curriculum Accredited?
The question of accreditation has come up, especially in Christian circles, for about seventy years.
One of the most important marks of the complete surrender of Christians and libertarians to the state is the desire for academic accreditation.
Ask these questions:
Accredited by whom?
By whose authority?
By what standard?
Enforced by what sanctions?
Gaining what advantage?
Let us consider the assumptions and implications of accreditation.
First, the state has both the moral authority and the legal right to determine what constitutes a valid education. In other words, the moment that somebody accepts the idea of accreditation, he has accepted the legitimacy of the power of the state to determine the truth. He has also accepted the legitimacy of the state to determine the correct methodology of teaching.
Second, this acceptance of nationwide accreditation assumes that the federal government possesses this authority, too. What else could establish what constitutes a valid curriculum for all fifty states? But has the federal government ever implemented such a program of accreditation? No.
Third, no such national accreditation has ever existed. Even in the case of universities, there are multiple accrediting organizations. There is in fact, no agreement among the experts on what constitutes valid curriculum standards. Educrats squabble endlessly on this issue. They never produce a set of standards, nor do they agree on a system of national enforcement.
Fourth, the quest for accreditation means that the parent is willing to submit to the experts in the most important area of responsibility a parent has with respect to his children. In other words, the parent wants to crawl on his belly before the state or the experts, precisely when he ought to be trying to escape from state control over education. On the one hand, he is willing to spend money to make certain that his child has a form of education that is outside the jurisdiction of the state. On the other hand, he insists on bringing his children back under the jurisdiction of the state and the mutually certified experts.
Fifth, accreditation means that a committee, or a hierarchy of committees, must lay down some kind of criteria of truth. But no such criteria exist for which there is anything like agreement among parents or anybody else. These accreditation organizations never say in print that they are pursuing a pro-state agenda. They conceal this by all kinds of rhetoric about quality education, when in fact the nation's K-12 tax-funded schools are in the process of academic and moral disintegration. The reason why people want to pull their children out of public schools is that they really do understand that the state has destroyed modern education. The parents want out because they do not trust the state. Unfortunately, however, a lot of these parents still trust the state, and they want to make certain that the state has approved the curriculum their children use. Then why should the state approve a libertarian curriculum? Why should the state -- any state -- approve the Ron Paul Curriculum?
Sixth, children will be hampered in their careers without an accredited high school diploma. This is utter nonsense. It is possible to earn an accredited university degree, if that is what you want, from a state university or privately funded university, and never walk into a classroom. Bradley Fish, Jr., who is on the faculty of the Ron Paul Curriculum, earned his bachelor's degree in the same month that he turned 18. He used CLEP exams and other distance learning exams. He never had to pass the SAT. He never was asked about what he studied in high school. All he had to do was take CLEP exams, which he did all through high school. So, why does anyone need accreditation for a high school curriculum? There is no such need.
Parents are in the dark on this issue. They think that all accredited universities pay attention to what the curriculum was that a home school parent assigned. Universities have no time for any of this. They are buried in paperwork. They look at the SAT scores. They may look at high school grades. They do not look at any aspect of the textbooks or anything else. There is no national K-12 accrediting agency, so why should they bother to look for such evidence on a student's application? Parents are completely bamboozled by the illusion that most universities care one way or the other. If a student has passed five 6-credit CLEPs, that gets him in as a sophomore. High school accreditation? Forget about it. The colleges do.
We are watching the Wizard of Oz. The educrats tell us not to pay any attention to the committee behind the curtain.
Who Will Grade My Child's Performance? What About Required Testing?
If you wish to grade your child's performance, you may do so.
The Ron Paul Curriculum is a curriculum. It is not a school. There are not teachers monitoring students' performance, although sometimes the course providers do respond to questions posted on the forums.
There are national exams that parents can pay for their children to take. For information, go here: The Testing Lady.
How long are my purchased courses available?
Access to the courses expire one year after purchase. If you need access to the course longer for the student for whom it was purchased, please contact us at questions@RonPaulCurriculum.com letting us know which course(s) you need extended and it will be extended for one month. Include the email address you use to log in to access the course. If you need longer than one month, please let us know the reason.
What if I have more than one child?
Your membership is a household membership. That means everyone in the household is allowed to use the login and password. Everyone uses the same login. There are not separate memberships, unless you want to purchase additional memberships.
We understand that some of you have twins or two or more children working on the same level. Since each membership can only have one of each course, we will set up an additional membership for the additional child(ren) taking the same course. Since this is time consuming, it will only be allowed for households that will be purchasing the same course in the same year for additional children. In cases other than this, you are free to purchase as many memberships as you wish for your children.
Any free memberships without duplicate courses will be deleted.
We recommend that when posting in the communities everyone "sign" their post with their first name so everyone knows who in the family made the post.
Why Don't You Teach Foreign Languages?
A foreign language is best learned outside of a K-12 program.
Problem: students learn foreign languages in different ways. Learning a foreign language is highly personal -- more so than history or government. It's this problem: "One size does not fit all."
Students learn best from being in the foreign country where the language is spoken. But that is expensive.
There are dubbed movies on DVD. Students who know a movie's script in English can learn it in a foreign language.
There are radio shows on the Internet from every nation.
There is Skype. It's international. It's free. Let students talk to students. That's how to learn a foreign language.
There is a summer immersion program: Concordia Language Villages.
There is Berlitz or the equivalent.
Here is reality: the Ron Paul Curriculum provides courses that are not available online elsewhere. We provide what few other programs can offer: a conceptually integrated curriculum. We have no unique advantage in foreign language training.
Why Don't You Offer Scholarships?
The Ron Paul Curriculum is a profit-seeking publishing organization. It is not a school.
It lets students participate in forums. This is comparable to letting students go to a prom or other event. They pay to attend.
When people go onto Amazon or some website that sells books, and they order a book for their child's curriculum, they do not expect a scholarship. The same rule applies to the Ron Paul Curriculum. It is a publishing organization.
Non-profit schools sometimes offer scholarships. These are only rarely true scholarships. They are in fact concealed discounts that are used to hide the fact that the schools discriminate against parents with more money. Economists call this practice price discrimination. It goes on only when the state prohibits competition through state licensing. Curriculums are not licensed by the state. Therefore, you do not find different pricing programs in terms of family income.
This is a curriculum-publishing organization. It has no full-time staff members. There is no committee to decide which families to discriminate against. That is what price discrimination always is: discrimination against people who pay full-ticket. Why is it their moral responsibility to pay a price premium in order to educate other people's children? We could not come up with a plausible answer.
Families that want scholarships from private, non-profit schools must supply detailed information about their finances: net worth, annual income (three years), bank accounts, number of children, investments, home ownership, and much more. We have no staff to make determinations about what is fair. We do not have donors to supply funds. We are not tax exempt. We are not a charity.
The proper organization to provide a scholarship is a church. Any family that is in need of a scholarship should apply to its church. If a family does not belong to a church, then a local charitable organization may help, such as the Salvation Army.
Who Can Take These Courses?
Our company is a profit-seeking publishing organization. It wants to sell its products to as many paying customers as it can persuade to buy them.
To buy a course, you must have a site membership. This entitles you to purchase courses and participate in the forums. You may not buy any courses without joining the site. You also are not required to participate in any forums.
May a Private School Use This Curriculum?
The Ron Paul Curriculum is ideal for a private school.
The school's headmaster can go to parents, and encourage them to enroll in his school. Then they pay to register their family on our site. If you give the parents the school's affiliate link, the school gets half of the enrollment fee by. The families pay for individual courses. Then the school lets the students set up carrels, each with a laptop.
This curriculum is idea for schools that cannot afford to hire teachers. One teacher can teach the entire high school program, because there is no teaching required. For younger grades, additional teachers may be required to help the students. The program is mainly self-taught after 3rd grade. A teacher can grade the weekly essays.
If a school charges the parents directly for tuition, the school can then register the families at full price, using their affiliate link, and receive an affiliate commission. You would also charge the parents for the courses and purchase the courses for each student. The school can charge parents whatever fees it chooses.
Do You Recommend Year-Round School, With Only Brief Vacations?
A century ago, half of Americans lived on family farms. Parents put their kids to work in harvest season. This time in the fields was necessary for family budgets.
As soon as there was cheap air conditioning, there was no case for a three-month vacation in cities, unless students had summer jobs.
But the tradition of summer school lives on.
If you start your child in kindergarten at age 5, and the child goes to school every summer, that is 12 summers. That is three years. The child will graduate from high school at age 14 or 15.
If the child takes a few CLEP exams, he will go into college at age 15 or 16. The word "goes" does not mean "depart." Not at age 16. It means "gets into a degree program." He stays at home. At age 17 or 18, the child has a bachelor's degree. It will cost about $15,000. It can be done. Bradley Fish, Jr. did it.
This is more common: entry into college as a sophomore. That saves a year and a lot of money.
If a student uses summers to study for CLEP or DSST exams, that's a good use of summer vacations.
What Is a Self-Taught Curriculum?
A purely self-taught curriculum would have no interaction. It would be a student sitting at a desk or carrel, reading printed materials.
The next step up would be a student not with printed materials, but with a computer connected to the Web.
The third step up is our Online Curriculum: a student sitting at a desk or carrel with a computer connected to our site. Here, the student sees videos, reads a daily assignment onscreen, and clicks links to original sources. The print button is used daily.
If the student gets stuck, he figures out the answer on his own. If he cannot get unstuck after a half an hour, he posts a question on a course forum. Maybe he gets an answer. Maybe not.
There are no certified teachers in our program, unless a parent with a teaching certificate is participating in a course forum. A course provider is not a school teacher. This is a curriculum -- a virtual academy, not a literal academy. A bricks-and-mortar academy costs more -- a lot more. The course providers may choose not to interact in the communites. They are not part of a faculty. They are not paid salaries. They receive royalties for the courses sold.
One of the worst mistakes a parent can make is to intervene in the instruction of a teenager. The teenager learns in a context. If this context is based on parental help, the teenager is less likely to learn how to learn on his own. Then comes calculus. Parents cannot help. The student must then learn on his own.
To understand this curriculum, think "calculus." You will not teach calculus. The online course will. What applies to calculus applies to the entire curriculum after grade 5. A parent does nothing after grade 5, and maybe not after grade 4 There is nothing to grade. If a parent wants to read the papers, fine. Parents can sign their children up for one of the national exams. See the FAQ on "Who Will Grade My Child's Performance? What About Required Testing?" for information on national exams.
This curriculum trains students heading either to college or into business. In college, there are no parents to help. In business, there usually are no parents to help.
Parents know this, but they have not previously used a curriculum that is based 100% on self-teaching, including tutorials by peers who have struggled with the same problems recently -- maybe last week. Parents must learn to turn loose earlier than they may have planned: before the student goes off to college.
This is why we have created our Curriculum, not an Academy. Above 5th grade, students are in charge of their personal approaches to learning. We supply the content. We recommend learning strategies. But the students are in charge. They learn earlier than their peers do what needs to be done in college.
About half of American students who enroll in college fail to graduate with a bachelor's degree. They do not learn how to learn in high school. Students who use this curriculum do.