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Principle and Precepts of Economics Review by DaLynn McCoy

Pac (Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum)
Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum
P.O. Box 810
Zephyr, TX 76890

I have a senior in high school who until now hadn't had the pleasure of taking an economics course which is recommended as a half credit in our state for graduation. That's what I was thrilled to have the chance to review Principles and Precepts of Economics, by Paradigm Alternative Centers, Inc (PAC).

They sent their full course kit which includes a Text and Activity booklet for each of three chapters, as well as a Teacher's Resource kit which includes section quizzes, chapter tests, and answer keys. The student portions are individual, bound booklets while all of the teacher resources are hole-punched for placement in a ringed notebook.

This is a homeschooling specific course intended for high school seniors and provides a half credit in economics for transcript purposes. The course is largely geared so that the student can work independently. My son read the text for the current topic first - there are three sections with five topics in each chapter – and then he would fill out the activity questions for that topic. These are basically just worksheets; there are no copy-paste activities nor experiments or anything of the sort.

At the end of five topics, the student is assigned a section quiz; it informs them of this in the student activity book but the quizzes themselves are in the teacher resource kit. At the end of three sections, then, is the chapter test. It allows your student to be exempted from the chapter test if he has done well enough on all of the section quizzes—at least 85% on each individual section quiz exempts the student.

My student reports that there is a lot of text to read at once and he wishes they were shorter as the reading portion can become overwhelming in a sitting. Occasionally we found spelling errors in the reading text, as well as questions which were asked but never addressed in the text itself. My student is wrapping up chapter two and estimates close to a half dozen of this latter type of error, more in the first chapter than in the second. He's had to google an answer in these cases, and it's not indicated anywhere in his material that he should ever need to search outside his course. There are also some occasions when the answer key is messed up; the multiple choice answers don't align to the ones on the actual worksheet, and things like that. We found it frustrating but also gave us opportunity to discuss things we might not have discussed otherwise.

One of my concerns was that this publisher says that they want to address character and provide a principles-based program, but they don't list the standard by which they are viewing those principles. The texts do mention that our country is based on Judeo-Christian values and emphasize that the further we stray from those values the more dire our situation becomes. While the text doesn't come across as faith-based or specifically Christian, it does seem to align with those values that we hold.

The course description mentions students becoming acquainted to the implications of Islam. An entire lesson is dedicated to the economic system of Sharia law, explaining how Muslims view outsiders, etc. The text explains the socialist practices inherent in Islam and why these are economically unsound, as well as terms like “jihad” and what impact that has on our economy. It stays on the topic of economics and stops short of making a call as to whether the religious practices are acceptable or not, but gives information for the reader to make that call themselves. I'm happy with the way it was presented to my student.

All in all, we have been very happy with the PAC Economics course. My student can study independently and converse with me about major topics of concern or when he isn't sure of an answer. I believe that it has given him an insight and prepared him for life in a way that was missing before, and I'm happy to be able to include this course on his transcript as it's plenty for our needs.

-Product review by DaLynn McCoy, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017