SummaryWhile Seton is expanding into the world of online homeschool courses, it is re-affirming its mission to retain the Catholic nature of its curriculum.
Since I began homeschooling as a student in the early 1980’s, homeschooling methods have undergone significant changes.
We’ve gone from typewriters to Ipads, from notebooks to notebook computers, and from books to Kindles.
One of the most significant changes that has taken place over the past few years has been the prevalence of online education. This has been a great source of help to homeschooling parents, as they discover that the can find videos and classes online that do much of the heavy lifting for them.
And as a homeschooling father myself, I can see the attractiveness of making online classes and educational videos available to our children. Yet, at the same time, I hope that the Catholic nature of homeschool education remains a priority for homeschool parents. After all, the fact that it’s Catholic is why you’re using Seton in the first place. It’s likely the reason you’re homeschooling in the first place.
Catholic parents have a concern: Do you use online materials and courses because—though they are not Catholic—they are convenient and technically excellent? Or do you forego the advantages of online learning and keep the Catholic in Catholic homeschooling?
Here’s the good news. Seton Home Study School is currently using its resources to develop Catholic online courses. And even though we have rolled out only a few courses so far, we’re pretty proud of them and very excited to offer them. Based on the reviews so far, parents and students have been extremely pleased at almost every facet of these courses.
We believe that the technological quality of these new online courses is as good as just about anything else in the online world. We are constantly focused on making them better. Unlike textbooks, which require additional printings to revise, online courses can be revised and updated frequently.
But the main quality of these online courses is not that they are visually attractive, nor that they are easy for students to navigate, or that they get better all the time. The main quality of these online courses is that they are Catholic.
Since Seton opened its doors about thirty years ago, the goal of the Seton program has been not just to teach the dogmas of the Catholic Faith, but to help children develop a sensus fidei, or a sense of the Faith. It is to help them develop a sensus Catholicus, or a sense of Catholicism.
People ask us how we can propose to write a Catholic economics course or a Catholic American Government course.
I’d like to give a more fancy answer, but the truth is that we don’t know another way. That’s how we’ve always written courses.
Our online American Government course begins by examining the purpose of government, the nature of both human law, natural law, and divine law. We examine justice and rights, and illustrate that man’s rights find their origin in justice.
In our online Economics course, since there is this strange notion going around that money makes you happy, we begin by looking to Saint Thomas Aquinas to answer whether that is true.
We then proceed to explain how the Church has been a defender of private property throughout her history. We then debunk the idea that war causes material prosperity; we illustrate that economics is about production and war is destructive.
Our English 9 course is our newest online entry. The students read classics, including a play by William Shakespeare, and learn the writing techniques of the masters. But they also study the Catholic elements in both Catholic and non-Catholic literature.
All in all, we are trying to ensure that parents do not have to choose between online courses and Catholic courses.
Please pray for us as we continue this work.