Writing assignment: Write at least five student benefits of the RPC that I missed in the 26 Reasons landing page. Remember the rule: “Lead with the benefit. Follow with the proof.” Use your own experience as the proof.
I have been homeschooling with the Ron Paul Curriculum, or RPC for short, for over two years now. This curriculum is video-based and features weekly writing assignments as opposed to textbooks and standardized testing. As a result, there are many benefits to this approach to education that common core schools cannot offer. Dr. North makes a list of these benefits on his landing page for the curriculum, including 26 reasons why the RPC is the best choice for your child. But there were 5 benefits he missed.
Number one, students that study with the RPC learn effective notetaking, as each instructor strongly advises taking notes on the lectures, and the curriculum even provides a quick summer course on how to take notes. While of course I can and should always improve, I have become significantly better at notetaking than when I started the curriculum. At the beginning, my notes were unnecessarily specific and consisted of long sentences and irrelevant detail. Now, I take quick, one-to-three-word notes that remind me of the important information from the lesson. When I first started, my typing speed was slow, as I would barely spend any time on the computer before I started this curriculum. Since then, I have seen a huge improvement in my typing speed due to needing to take notes fast so I do not have to pause the lesson. But you do not need to be able to type fast to keep up with the RPC, as another benefit of the curriculum takes care of that.
With the RPC, students can go at their own pace since they can rewind or replay the video lecture as many times as they need to grasp the concept or take notes. This is not true of physical schools or even online schools. In schools with live teachers, such as public school, one teacher teaches a group of almost 20 students at a time. This does not allow the teacher to spend time explaining a concept to any single student or waiting for a student to take notes. If a student in public school does not hear the teacher, or does not understand, there are only so many times he can ask the teacher to repeat himself.
Since RPC is based on prerecorded lectures, students can a flexible schedule and can watch their lectures at any given time. Students can even take their laptop with them on trips to work, something I have done countless times. If the student wants to play outside right now while it is sunny, they can do so. if they have an extracurricular class or event that is time-sensitive, they do not have to worry about missing a lesson because the lesson is not going anywhere. I have taken my laptop with me to the Poconos and to my cousins’ house multiple times so I can study while I am not at home.
Another benefit is the RPC’s Academic Boot Camp, or the ABC. This is a short course teaching students how to get the most out of their studies. In the course, students are taught many important skills such as how to take effective notes, how to raise your reading speed, and the flypaper memory technique. The flypaper memory technique is a method for retaining information by teaching the material you learned to someone else. In the ABC, you are told to teach the wall, as the wall always has time to listen to you. Studies show that when you teach something, you remember above 90% of it, whereas if you passively listen or even just take notes, you will remember only about 15%! The flypaper memory technique has been a huge help to me personally because I have been able to retain much more information when I use it. Granted, I often put off teaching my lessons, as I feel ridiculous talking to the wall, or even a video camera. But that is where another benefit of the RPC comes in.
Dr. North did not mention that students who study with the RPC will learn the highly important skill of self-responsibility and accountability. The RPC is almost completely self-taught, meaning students must be accountable for themselves. They must make sure that they watch their lessons and do their assignments on their own. There are no teachers or parents to breathe down their necks and tell them to keep working. As a result, it can be easy to waste time on dragging out lectures, or getting distracted and not completing lessons and assignments. This is something I have been guilty of many times. In the real world, adults are expected to function on their own, without someone to routinely check up on them and remind them to get back to work. Adults must manage their own time effectively if they want to be successful. RPC students learn this at an early age, much sooner than students at public schools do. While there have been numerous occasions on which I have taken much longer than necessary on a lesson, I am still much better at managing my time than I was when I first started. For example in my first year of RPC, I would often find myself sitting at my desk at 7pm with only one or two lessons out of my five done. These days, I normally finish or at least complete most of my schoolwork by 4pm. Occasionally I finish everything by 2pm or 3pm, and my goal is to complete my workday by 1pm.
In conclusion, Dr. North missed five important benefits of the RPC. Self-responsibility and accountability, the art of effective notetaking, the ability for the student to go at their own pace, a flexible schedule, and finally, their Academic Boot Camp. I have greatly benefitted from all of these, and am better suited to enter the job market now than I would have been had I continued with the disjointed, not very structured education system I was using back in the day.