Printed or digital lessons?

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In managing the work of the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, I am constantly tormented by questions about HOW we should deliver content to students. Thankfully, for us, the question of WHAT is settled, but the question of HOW is a practical challenge that depends on many factors outside of our control.

Realize that I’m the one who chose to study classics and ancient history as a teenager in college. I live a quiet life on a farm. If anyone loves books and simplicity, it’s me. I would love to run a print-based study program, but I don’t believe that it is prudent,, because the means of printing are not in our control. Christians are, unfortunately, forced to follow the technology, since we’re not the ones directing it. This is a consequence of all of the time and energy wasted by Catholic laymen on fruitless religious and political disputes. Unbelievers are in control of most of the industries we depend on.

I cannot guarantee that printers will be available for purchase in 10 years. I cannot guarantee that computer paper and ink will be affordable in 6 months. I cannot guarantee that the postal service will even be operating in the future. There are so many variables not in our control, that dependence on printed curricula seems unwise.

A clear example of this can be seen in what happened to my original Petty School videos in 2018. I produced over 50 interactive videos for young children in 2009. They were very popular, but they were published in a format (Adobe Flash) that was discontinued because it fell out of favor with Apple and Google. So, in 2018, all of those videos became unavailable. This year, I have to convert those old interactive videos into YouTube videos, which are not interactive. These things are not in my control, and I want to avoid such troubles.

My current plan, therefore, is to make the curriculum available online, but allow for offline study, as parents choose. I want to keep things as simple as possible. My own children study offline, so I know this is feasible if parents are willing to do some work throughout the week. Nevertheless, all of the curriculum materials and student records will be maintained online.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I’m stubborn when it comes to curriculum content, but very flexible when it comes to publishing.

God bless,
Mr. William C. Michael
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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