This morning, I realized that for the past 13 years, I have been asked a question by parents and I have answered it wrongly. The question is, “How much time does this curriculum require?“.
When I have received this question, I have thought that parents were asking how much time students will need to complete the classical Catholic curriculum. I have answered that the classical Catholic curriculum can never be “completed” and that students may grow and continue studying these subjects for their entire lives.
Parents, however, were not asking about their children. I realize now that parents have been trying to ask me “How much time does this curriculum require for me–the parent?”
I have failed to realize that most homeschool programs provide students with books and workbooks, and the parents received teacher manuals or lesson plans. The curriculum of these programs is arranged according to the K-12 model and the parents are treated like classroom teachers, not like homeschooling parents. Parents are expected to arrange the actual lessons and activities described in the lesson plans, using the books that are purchased.
No Prep Time is Needed in the CLAA
The reason I have never understood the question rightly is because parents do not need to prepare lessons in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy. We do not sell books to parents and provide lesson plans to tell them how to use those books. We provide individual lessons, directly to students, with instructions in every lesson that list the student’s tasks. No preparation is needed by parents, unless they wish to print lessons for children to study offline, which is unnecessary.
For every student enrolled in one of our courses, we provide a “Student Page” which organizes all of the student’s courses, lessons and records. Our students start on their student page every day, where they have direct access to their current lesson in each course. Parents don’t need to track or manage student progress, and they can always see their children’s current status by simply looking at th estudent page. Students simply hit the link to their current lesson in a course and get to work. When a lesson is finished, we update their student page and they continue. We are working to add video content to every lesson so that students can receive expert instruction and progress more quickly. Lessons also include assessments including online quizzes and assignment that can be submitted for grading.
If a family has multiple children enrolled in the Academy, we provide a “Parent Page” which provide the parent which convenient links to each of his children’s student pages. We also provide information and tools useful for the parents on the parent page and help facilitate communication.
Parent Supervision is Needed
While I should not need to say this, I must add that what our students do need is parent supervision. All of the incredible resources available to children on the Academy website will be wasted if parents think that computers can be used as babysitters. We assume that parents using our program are actually committed to “homeschooling” and that they want to help their children succeed. To do this, parents should study to understand the history and principles of the classical Catholic curriculum and carefully supervise their children’s daily activity. We do not ask parents to act like school teachers (which is impossible), but to simply be good parents.
If you’ve asked this question, I apologize if I didn’t understand your meaning and answered it improperly. The right answer is simple: Parents do not need to prepare lessons in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy.
If you have questions about using our program, please ask. I think I’ll understand a bit better what you’re asking. 😉
God bless your studies,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy
P.S. I followed up this post with a walk talk later in the day. Enjoy.