Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

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SilentDawning
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by SilentDawning » 06 Dec 2013, 15:45

I don't disagree with all the teaching Seminary provides, or the benefits of some kind of church history training.

But I do disagree with the lack of choice in the format of learning.

If you read the comments in this thread, the early morning component is a burden for parents, often resulting in lack of sleep and hardship. Student grades suffer in their secular school, and it often makes them cranky and difficult to get along with during these already difficult years. Much of the time is wasted in some seminary classes as well (my daughter complains about this too). Strong active families cite resentment about early morning seminary as a cause of less-activity in some youth.

I think an online/face to face hybrid would provide more balance to students, teachers, and parents. I think that giving families and kids a choice of a purely online format would also help. As part of my PhD studies, I assessed whether an online seminary format was feasible. My conclusion was that it was not for purely business reasons only -- business reasons that serve the church's financials more than anything else.

Before one looks at that conclusion as an argument in favor of early morning seminary -- look at the reasons -- BUSINESS reasons. The reasons I presented were
a) underutlized buildings at the early morning time of day, so the church can't capitalize on the savings in brick and mortar facilities that online learning provides

b) increased IT overhead and support required due to the technology needed to support online learning

c) increased technical training of seminary teachers required (technology requires additional training and monitoring skills when people work without a structured time and place to meet and

d) increased resources necessary to follow up with kids and parents to ensure the work gets done. The early morning format is low-tech. But also highly inconvenient to students, teachers, and parents,

Therefore, the reasons against the online format are mostly due to the drain on church resources. It's not as if online or blended learning (partly face to face, partly online) is new, or not effective. It is pervasive in our society now. And there is a lot of know-how about how to do it.

The argument in favor of early morning seminary (for the church) is the fact that the face to face format makes the students, parents, and teacher carry the cost of seminary -- rather than the church.

To me, its another example of church egocentricity at the expense of the members.

So, yes, it works for some people, but not for others. What about those others for whom does it not work? We have the technology, know-how to provide choice in the format students take seminary. And it wouldn't surprise me if we also have the funds to support it as well.

So why do we not provide this option for people who want it?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Dec 2013, 16:59

But I do disagree with the lack of choice in the format of learning.


I've already said I agree completely with that, SD, and would like everyone to be able to choose the best study method for them. Just saying.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by SamBee » 06 Dec 2013, 17:34

I've got sympathy with some of the viewpoints here.

I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I feel every morning as if I am tied to the bed. I've always found it hard to get up, lack of light doesn't help. When I used to work as a construction laborer, I had to get up early, but not as early as seminary!

It shouldn't interfere with school that's bad.

Regarding the financial argument. Church buildings have to be lit and heated while it's going on.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Sheldon
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by Sheldon » 06 Dec 2013, 17:56

Studies show that teenagers are not getting enough sleep.

from the link above
One study concluded that adolescents required 9.2 hours of sleep a night for best daytime functioning


So lets do the math. Here where I live, Early Morning Seminary starts at 6 am. So kids have to wake at 5 to get ready and be there by 6. Nine hours would require them to be asleep by 8 pm the night before. How is that going to work????? If they are a good TBM they are at Scouts/YW at least one night a week until way after 8 pm. And then there are after school sports, homework, etc. Early morning seminary has no payoff except for getting into BYU. I was SO GLAD when my youngest daughter turned 16 and could drive herself!

A brother in our ward once gave a talk, and mentioned how their family had two kids quite late in life. His biggest regret was that he was going to be driving to Seminary at age 64!

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SamBee
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by SamBee » 06 Dec 2013, 18:04

I think 9 hours would be about right. Worth remembering adolescents are undergoing massive physical, emotional and neurological changes...
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by hawkgrrrl » 06 Dec 2013, 19:42

I'm definitely with Sheldon and the studies that show kids aren't getting enough sleep. Like I said, it's ironic that in order to get into BYU, my son had to attend early morning seminary requiring him to be up at 5am, resulting in him not getting enough sleep and his grades suffering. Because his grades weren't good enough he didn't get in to his two top school choices anyway and HAD to go to BYU. His younger brother may not be so lucky, as BYU's admission standards get higher and higher. Like I said, they would never agree to skip it; their friends are there.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Dec 2013, 19:57

Just to put it out there, almost no teenagers are getting over 9 hours of sleep each night - and teenagers in agricultural societies never have gotten over 9 hours of sleep each night.

I agree with that as the ideal, but lack of sleep absolutely isn't unique to the LDS Church. This isn't a Mormon problem; it's a societal problem - and, as an educator, it is an educational system problem, as well. High school students have FAR too much homework these days.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Thankful
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by Thankful » 06 Dec 2013, 23:36

Early morning seminary was a great blessing to me as a teenager.

1. My home life was a wreck and I needed support from people OUTSIDE of our family.
2. We moved multiple times and I didn't get to put down "roots" much. I take a long time to trust and make friends. I needed whatever friends I could get.
3. There were few very Mormons in the places I lived and it was nice to feel less alone. The Mormon kids on our wards were spread over a large-ish geographic area. That meant we had to be out of the house super early to travel. But teens care about peer relationships. It was worth it to me to have peers with something in common, and feel less lonely. The Mormons I knew all went to different high schools. We didn't get to see each other much. Without those weekdays together I'd have had less opportunity to make friends.
4. Seminary taught me to pray and have a relationship with God. I was going through rough things, and that was a lifeline.
5. I'm a morning person, so it wasn't a big deal for me. But our seminary was early enough that we usually had time to play a little basketball or go out to breakfast together after class (and before school started). That was priceless for me.

True I was taught a great deal of nonsense masquerading as doctrine (think BRM's "Mormon Doctrine"). But for me as a youth, the good outweighed the bad.

However, since we live in Utah, I expect my son to not need the above as much as I did. I hope he will opt AGAINST early morning.

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: Seminary is so hard - conversation with my daughter

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 07 Dec 2013, 00:05

I have mixed feelings about early morning seminary. Institute is better in my opinion, but it's too far out of my way to go to it. Anyway, I like the fact I was able to be around other members of the church my age. (I even had crushes on a couple of the girls there. Hahah.) It helped prepare me to gain my own spiritual testimony of the church, Christ, and Heavenly Father. I liked the seminary teachers alot, although I was closest to my second seminary before he got excommunicated. Due to me not being able to go my senior year of high school, my wonderful seminary helped me make up the rest of the work through take home work. My biggest issue with having it so early is that the church was a 10 to 15 minute drive from where I lived, but most of the seminary kids lived in the same town the church was in was that they only had to go across the street to get to the high school. And too often the teachers would go for too long and if the weather and roads were bad in the winter I'd be late for first period. So it was fun, but it would have been far better if the ward would have been big enough to have it after school.

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