The three R’s are not really three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic.
They should be basic to any curriculum. In a non-native environment, speaking or conversation skills become very important.
The parents’ problem is this: deciding which is most important for each child.
The best way to teach reading is by the phonics method. But after third grade, most children have mastered the basics of reading.
Then it is time to learn how to read critically. But there is no agreed-on method on how to teach this skill. Also, different academic topics have different standards for critical reading and thinking.
My view is that the best way to teach a student the skill of critical reading is by teaching writing. The discipline of writing develops the skill of critical reading. This is why The Good Curriculum begins assigning weekly essays in the fourth grade.
Parents can watch the progress that each child makes in developing the skill of critical writing. Offering advice, essay by essay, on how to write more accurately and clearly is the best way that parents can teach their children how to think critically and think clearly. Any curriculum that does not center on writing is almost sure to be ineffective in teaching critical thinking.
Arithmetic is important for all students. The math above algebra II and geometry helps students raise their SAT or ACT scores, but students who are not headed for the natural sciences or statistics-based professions will use the skill of writing more frequently in their lives than the skill of manipulating mathematical symbols.
Be sure you select a curriculum that is writing-based.
The Good Curriculum is a flexible and comprehensive approach to education at minimal cost to parents. NT$3,600 per year will get you access for the whole family, with an additional charge of NT$1,200 per course. There are no textbooks to buy — even in math and science courses, except a few copyrighted books in the higher grades.