As part of our summer plans, we wanted to have some actual academic time amidst all the running through the sprinkler and playing in the pool. I have had my eye on Ron Paul’s home school curriculum for a while, and summer seemed an ideal time to give it a test run.
For those unfamiliar with Ron Paul, he is a prominent libertarian who was a US representative from Texas for many years. He is an outspoken critic of the federal government in several areas, including military policy and public education, and he is a strong advocate for homeschooling. Several years ago, he began designing his own home school curriculum, which is composed primarily of video lectures by experts in their fields. Overall, the curriculum supports libertarian principles such as personal liberty, free market economics, and the non-aggression principle.
There are two trial courses available for free on the Ron Paul Curriculum site: Math1A and Reading1A. Both of these are forty lesson trials aimed at the first grade level of a traditional school. My son is three, so I was not sure if he would be ready for these yet but decided we had nothing to lose.
He has been faithfully doing a reading lesson at least three times per week and really enjoys them. They are phonics lessons that include a hand-writing component. He pretty much ignores the hand-writing but loves the phonics and is absorbing the content really well. Frequently, he’ll ask to re-watch a lesson he’s already done, and sometimes he’ll view the same lesson two or three times in a row. I also catch him reciting their little mnemonics to himself while he’s playing around the house or riding in the car.
He’s less enthusiastic about the math. He has done ten lessons over the course of the summer, but the pace is a little quick for him. The presenter doesn’t leave much think time between posing a question and giving the answer, so my son has a hard time responding quickly enough. He enjoys it more when I sit right with him and pause the video after every question to give him time to figure it out.
Have you ever tried a video-based curriculum for your kids? If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!