A Curriculum Like No Other

 

I recently discovered this curriculum and could not help but share it with the world – a wealth of helpful resources and free sample lessons to get you started.

A student who goes through this curriculum, kindergarten through high school, will have a mastery of the foundations of liberty. There is no other curriculum on the Web to match it. No student who gets through this curriculum will ever need to be nagged to get through college, graduate school, or a career. This curriculum teaches self-discipline. This is a crucial personal habit. It is mostly internal. It develops after years of working in an environment that requires self-discipline. – Ron Paul

Here is the link for those who may be interested:

http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/public/3346.cfm

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Raising Independent Thinkers

Most people will agree when I say we live in a time like no other. This is true in many ways. One aspect I would like to address here is the challenges we face in raising thinkers, independent thinkers in this age of information that we find ourselves living in. Never before was this much information available to humanity. Where before libraries had to be constructed in order to store the knowledge of the world now we have it in the palm of our hand. Things have changed…

As one headline put it “If You Can Know It All, How Come You Don’t?” Well, more information does not necessarily mean more knowledge. But it does mean that the brain has to work harder than ever in order to process and store it. “We are overloaded with junk,” says Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University. “It’s becoming harder and harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff…” Like never before children need guidance in choosing and sorting information and also help in developing the skill of processing it critically and efficiently. We have the important responsibility of training our children to become independent thinkers as well as critical thinkers.

We can not afford to allow our children to passively feast on the information that the internet and the media provides for them 24/7. Researchers say television watching inhibits the brain. It interferes with the development of key neural skills, attention span, and reasoning abilities. What is being fed into the child’s brain when watching television requires very little thought and leaves no room for questioning. In an experiment in 1969, Herbert Krugman monitored a person through many trials and found that in less than one minute of television viewing, the person’s brainwaves switched from Beta waves– brainwaves associated with active, logical thought– to primarily Alpha waves where the information just pours in without being sorted out.

“As real-life experience is increasingly replaced by the mediated ‘experience’ of television-viewing, it becomes easy for politicians and market-researchers of all sorts to rely on a base of mediated mass experience that can be evoked by appropriate triggers. The TV ‘world’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the mass mind takes shape, its participants acting according to media-derived impulses and believing them to be their own personal volition arising out of their own desires and needs. In such a situation, whoever controls the screen controls the future, the past, and the present.” p. 82, Joyce Nelson, The Perfect Machine.

Critical thinking happens when students are given the opportunity to analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs. They will then learn how to make judgments and decisions based on others’ points of view, interpret information and draw conclusions of their own. This is especially important concerning spiritual matters. “We should not take the testimony of any man as to what the Scriptures teach, but should study the words of God for ourselves. If we allow others to do our thinking, we shall have crippled energies and contracted abilities. The noble powers of the mind may be so dwarfed by lack of exercise of themes worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability to grasp the deep meaning of the word of God. The mind will enlarge if it is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture and spiritual things with spiritual.” E.G. White.

Further more the same author explains “There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God’s word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times.”

Students should be taught the skill of reasoning at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way. Both independent thinking, the ability to think for oneself and critical thinking, the ability to actively engage in the analytical processing of information are skills that are to be developed with much attention and dedication. For what could be more important than this. Children should be encouraged to develop this most important skills.  Students should be taught that even the most valuable suggestions and ideas must undergo a thorough and careful examination before being considered and embraced.

The mind must be alert and all faculties of the mind must be on guard. While children and youth gain knowledge of facts from parents, teachers, textbooks, internet, media, etc. we must create opportunities for them to draw their own lessons and gain their own personal discernment in the overwhelming struggle of searching, sifting and sorting growing piles of information to make what is known useful.

Students must understand that it is of utmost importance that each fact and each statement be weighed in the balance of the mind. They must resolve that nothing would be allowed to enter in without thorough critical thinking. Parents and teachers often find it very difficult to encourage critical thinking among their students but this must be done.

Our duty as parents and teachers is to educate thinkers. Our work will not be complete, our efforts will not be rewarded unless we accomplish the task of raising children and educating students who can think for themselves, and who can discern with clarity fact from fiction and principle from popular demand.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

                                                                       Martin Luther King, Jr.

7 characteristics of a mature person.

In my quest of equipping myself with the necessary tools to train my children and to raise them to become responsible members of society, I found that an important aspect of education is to help them become mature intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I thought what is maturity, how do you define it? According to Ann Landers maturity is the ability to stick with a job until it is finished; the ability to bear an injustice without having to get even; the ability to carry money without spending it; and the ability to do once duty without being supervised.

“Obedience paves the road to maturity. Someone who fails, as a child, to learn to be obedient will forever travel a rough road.” John Rosemond

Tim Elmore  shares these important characteristics in his article “The Marks of Maturity”. And he wishes that every adult modeled these qualities for the younger generation.

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.

One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means a student is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.

  1. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.

As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.

  1. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.

Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can even sincerely give honor to their Creator who gave them the talent. This is the opposite of arrogance.

  1. A mature person’s decisions are based on character not feelings.

Mature people—students or adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.

  1. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.

I have found the more I mature, the more grateful I am, for both big and little things. Immature children presume they deserve everything good that happens to them. Mature people see the big picture and realize how good they have it, compared to most of the world’s population.

  1. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.

A wise man once said: A mature person is one whose agenda revolves around others, not self. Certainly this can go to an extreme and be unhealthy, but I believe a pathway out of childishness is getting past your own desires and beginning to live to meet the needs of others less fortunate.

  1. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting.

Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or from other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.

“Children have a much better chance of growing up if their parents have done so first.” Susan Peters

Let’s help children meet the challenge of becoming authentic adults.