Jenny's blog

Last Day of Class

Today was our final day of class.  Students cleaned out their cubbies, ate some yummy food, watched some YouTube videos (sorry, kids — still no Strange Brew), and wrote some questions to Stump the Chump.  It was a fun laid back day to enjoy our time together.

New Book of Mormon Manual

I am relieved to be finished with this year but I am still in Seminary mode, I guess.  I started reading the new Book of Mormon manual for next year this morning.  I love the new lesson format.  Finally this is something I think I’ll actually use in  class. 

Biggest Beef?  There’s STILL no expectation for keeping up with reading assignments for Released Time/Early Morning/Daily seminary students.  Only home study students are expected to actually read the material that will be covered during class.  In the manual no expectation is set for for student reading of course material on the explanation material for daily students, whereas, home study instructions make it clear home study students are expected to read the full material on their own plus provide 30-40 minutes of their own study each day and attend 90 minutes of class each week.  Salt Lake’s bias seems to be that having a teacher every day is an substitute, or even to be preferred, over reading the material on your own.  I find this attitude astonishing.  Joseph Smith did not have a daily scripture teacher as a teen.  Neither did Moses.  Nor Enos.  Probably Jesus himself didn’t either.  The key to gospel testimony is hard, PERSONAL study of the scriptures.  Seminary teachers can only encourage — not replace — that pursuit. 

What on God’s green earth are they thinking up there?  Have any of them actually DONE home study?  Assigned it to their own kids? 

I understand on an intellectual level this is not happening, but it surely does feel like an intentional attempt to sabotage home study students.  Only on the HOME study page is the expectation that DAILY students will read set forth.  Daily students should just read something daily. They want daily students to try to get through the full course material, but really it doesn’t matter as long as they “study the scriptures daily”.  Apparently even 2 minutes of daily “study” will do the trick.  This is not good practice.  Not only is there a double standard, this drastic swing in the amount of time expected for home study students to devote to Seminary each week will certainly cause frustrated students to give up all together. 18 chapters (49 pages — approximately 200 minutes of reading) PLUS 120 minutes of workbook time during a single week PLUS 90 minutes of class time (410 minutes total)?  And that week comes immediately after 120 minutes of workbook time plus 90 minutes of class time plus only 64 minutes of reading (5 chapters) chapters (274 minutes) the previous week. 

See why it feels like sabotage?

IMO, every seminary student who is in week 3 should be expected to read the same week 3 material, no matter if they are daily or home study or whatever.  The only thing that should change is the material covered by the teacher during class time.  Is this too big an expectation for the released time students?  SI is already expecting it of those who are already sacrificing the most for Seminary — why can’t the Specials do it?  If you can’t keep up with those who are truly serious about Seminary you should get out of the wagon. You boys can stay in Nauvoo. 

As the product of home study myself, this is a sore spot for me. 

Okay, it’s a VERY SORE SPOT.  

If the goal of the Seminary program is to encourage students to read the scriptures regularly, this is not how.  Home Study students need regular assignments of approximately the same length each day so they can allocate a set amount of time to Seminary and be most successful.  This was a problem even when I was in Seminary.  I can not be the first person who has ever realized this, though I may be the most annoying and whiny.  Can’t someone fix this already? The current reading assignments are based on TEACHER needs instead of STUDENT needs.  This is not the way to go about teaching students to read scriptures regularly, no matter how difficult it is for SI to find stuff to teach in the upper chapters of Alma.  Home study teachers are expected to put in very little time to prepare weekly lessons in comparison to the time students must.  Students are putting in most of the hours, and the home study program should be geared toward them, not teachers.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.