Dr. Robert Ballard, the underwater archeologist who discovered the remains of the Titanic and the USS Yorktown, said that he is often asked what his greatest discovery was. Ballard answers:
“My greatest discovery is the one I’m about to make.”
I love this response. When you’ve had some achievements in your life, it’s tempting to think back on them and coast a little.
But Ballard’s response is at once challenging and exciting. It’s a way of thinking that yesterday was wonderful, but tomorrow will be even better. What a great thought to start your day!
Though I’ve never experienced even a small fraction of what Dr. Ballard has accomplished, in writing new online homeschool courses for Seton, I’ve felt just a little like Dr. Ballard lately.
Let me explain.
I began doing projects for Seton thirty years ago, when Seton consisted of one or two small rooms. I helped create Seton Educational Media and helped organize the first Seton graduation.
I have typeset Dr. Clark’s Catholic Home Schooling book, written courses and helped write books, been interviewed numerous times on Catholic radio and television, counseled many parents, written hundreds of columns and blogs, and given dozens of speeches encouraging parents to homeschool.
Yet, for all this, I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited as I am with my latest endeavor.
With the help of some exceptionally talented and dedicated people at Seton, we are working to produce online courses.
Seton Online Education
Seton’s new online courses are Catholic, compelling, and technologically cutting-edge.
They will make homeschooling easier for parents and more dynamic, exciting, and interactive for students.
With things like the incorporation of video lessons and other multimedia, I think Catholic homeschooling is about to experience a significant advance.
When I was homeschooled in the 1980’s, being technologically advanced meant you owned a yellow highlighter and a fresh ribbon for your typewriter. With the help of a new learning management system called Desire2Learn, Seton’s course technology will be truly advanced.
Economics and American Government are just now getting their final touches; in past columns, we’ve talked about these.
Example: The Geography Course
Let me tell you a little about our Geography course.
The student will be able to take a virtual walking tour of Vatican City, with the ability to virtually stop into St. Peter’s Basilica and look around. In the section on Italy, we watch a presentation about how the Ferrari sports car is produced.
When we study Malta, we look at the country’s historical tie to the Catholic Faith, and we watch a production about how the Maltese militarily defended their country against its most famous siege. In the section on the Southwest United States, we watch a presentation about the miraculous staircase in the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
We study the tools of geography, explain the limitations of maps and why few maps are very accurate. We watch a presentation explaining the difference between North and True North. We look at the development of the global positioning satellite and how it has forever changed navigation.
We investigate why countries are shaped the way they are, and examine why there is an argument about how many countries exist in the world.
This is a course I would have loved to take as a homeschooler.
Get Parents More Involved
But let me tell you what’s exciting as a homeschooling parent. These courses are likely to get parents more involved in homeschooling, not less.
Since I began writing these courses two years ago, friends have asked me what I’m working on.
As I explain the courses to them, I often get a funny response. You might think they’d say: “I want to enroll my kids in that.”
But that’s not the most common response. The typical response has been: “I want to take that course myself.” In thirty years of homeschooling, I’ve never heard that response until now.
Of course, the beauty of it is that—with the fact that the educational videos can be viewed on a monitor in their own living room—parents and children can “take” these courses together. In fact, the whole family can learn together.
The greatest discovery that some families will make is that they love learning together.
Dr. Ballard was right.
What excites you most about these upcoming features?