We plan on utilizing a university schedule at Areopagus Classical Academy. This means students will not attend the same class five days per week for fifty minutes. Instead, they will attend any given class on either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays for longer periods. When students are home they will be working on assignments that have been prepared by their teachers, but they will be working under the supervision of their parents.
Because students will not be on campus every day, ACA will not officially be a private school under Arizona law. It will instead be a non-profit educational institution that partners with parents who are homeschooling their children.
Here are the benefits of a university schedule:
- A university schedule helps ward off student burnout. Our current educational model is broken. We force students to spend eight hours per day at school, five days per week. After class, they rush off to extracurriculars. After extracurriculars, they rush home where they must complete hours of homework before doing it all again the next day. This model makes school a place to dread. A university schedule helps students avoid burnout.
- A university schedule helps students slow down and learn to love learning. There is little time to slow down and think when students are in class for forty hours per week. When on a traditional schedule, students must rapidly move from task to task while absorbing as much information as possible. When on a university schedule, students are able to slow down, think, and actually enjoy their assignments. If a school graduates students that hate learning, that school has failed miserably. Traditional schools tend to graduate this sort of student. A university schedule helps students avoid this scenario.
- A university schedule carves out time for God and family. Students in traditional schools find it very difficult to make time for God or time for their families. Their days are just completely filled by classes, extracurriculars, and homework. Students on a university schedule only attend classes two or three days per week and there is thus more time for God and for family.
- A university schedule allows us to charge less for tuition without lowering educational quality. Let’s discuss a US History class as an example. In most (good) history classes, about half of the instruction will be didactic (think a teacher delivering information). The other half of class time will be devoted to Socratic discussions and the analysis of primary sources. Is the teacher really needed to deliver the content? Will not books and/or recorded lectures suffice for content delivery? And if students have questions about the content, can’t that be sorted out during class discussions? You see, the teacher is not needed to deliver content. The teacher is needed to facilitate discussions and provide expert insight when questions arise. Thus, under a university schedule students can watch lectures and read books at home and then come to class prepared to engage in discussions. This outsourcing of didactic instruction allows us to serve more students per teacher than we would otherwise be able to do; this enables us to charge less for tuition.
- A university schedule helps avoid teacher burnout. Teachers burnout too. Teaching four or five classes for five days per week leaves little time for teachers to really enjoy what they are doing. They are constantly rushing to get ready for the day’s lessons (while attempting to balance grading and other duties). This schedule leaves little time for teachers to really think about individual students. It can also make teachers dread the very thing they love because it becomes stressful and burdensome. A university schedule creates time for teachers. It allows them to hand-craft quality lessons instead of constantly churning out lesser-quality instruction. It allows them to avoid burnout, and provide high-quality instruction for their students.