From Luke's Inbox: What About AP Classes?

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What do you think about the push for dual credit and AP classes? We sometimes feel we are behind since we aren't in that super competitive circle. And yet, I feel our more peaceful approach has not left us any less educated than our stressed and pressed for time peers.

It is nice to get college credit before going to college where credits become expensive. But it's very easy to make that overkill. Far better to love learning and continue to lay a foundation for a life of further education. You are absolutely right: Education is more than simply taking classes and passing tests.

High-School-Choices
Which Is Right?

Having said that, I do want to give a big nod to Ken Chapman's series Why Skip High School. That was not at all my path, but having seen the careful planning and great results, I think this idea makes a ton of sense if you want to pursue that. I loved and hated my high school years; a community college campus is likely more mature than a bunch of high schoolers (not surprising at all). Opting to dual enroll in homeschooling and a local college may be much better for your student than a local high school experience. Notice that their goal was not to have young college graduates and add stress, but to spare students four wasted years in a cruel and stupid world.

I took a far more traditional route, transitioning from homeschool to high school. I took two AP classes (Economics and Psychology) and a math class that also earned me college credit (dual credit). I needed Psych and Math for my degree, so I was able to skip both at Biola. Economics came over as an elective. This freed up my college schedule a bit so I had more options and flexibility, which was nice. This fit with my schedule and allowed me to enjoy certain topics at more depth, but I never felt pressure to cram in AP credits.

Some of the kids I know today, however, take, like, five AP classes a semester. They are stressed to the max and do not enjoy their studies. Plus, despite all this effort, they've had to take many classes all over again in college. More beneficial would be to slow down and really learn the content, such that you could take a random Psychology test at a University for fun and do just fine (that's a testament to how great my high school Psych class was).

If an AP or college credit course looks appealing to your student, go for it. If skipping four years of bland social interaction seems like a much better use of your student's time, do it. And if taking these four years to learn and grow at a peaceful pace would be more beneficial, do that.

We definitely do not need more pressure on our kids. Take opportunities that make sense, and be free from any guilt for those things that don't fit.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

P.S. On Friday, I plan to dig a little deeper into the idea of what it means to be educated. I think it is important to flesh out why a more peaceful approach to learning may not leave you "less educated" than those taking tons of classes.

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  1. Pingback: What Does It Mean to be Educated? | Sonlight Blog