February 9th, 2020
It may not seem like offering a diploma track is all that different from other schools, but the way Kepler supports teachers whose courses satisfy credits on our diploma track is unique and will provide a remarkable benefit to parents and students.
To truly understand why our diploma track provides this unique benefit to parents and students, it would be helpful to understand what a diploma track is, generically speaking. A diploma track is simply a tool to help maintain order and balance in the whole education process. Really, it is a guided course of study, a suggested scope and sequence for the students’ entire education in the same way a syllabus offers a scope and sequence for a particular course of study.
In a public school setting, the diploma track is created and maintained by the State Board of Education. In a private school, the diploma track is typically developed by the governing board that oversees the school. At Kepler, our diploma track is designed by experienced educators who have a passion for helping parents give their children the best classical liberal arts education available.
So now that we’re on the same page about what we mean by a diploma track, Kepler’s diploma track is unique from others and thus beneficial to parents and students in three ways: our classical model, the diversity of courses that can satisfy a particular credit, and the simplicity of tailoring a student’s education on the diploma track.
In the first place, the Kepler diploma track accounts for a truly western liberal arts education—sometimes called classical Christian or Christian classical education. In other words, our diploma track is not designed around a modern approach to education with touch of the liberal arts worked in to make it feel classical. It consists of both a specific body of knowledge to be learned as well as a classical method of teaching it. Consider, Fr. Schall’s explanation of a liberal arts education from his book, The Life of the Mind:
The question of a proper education follows the question of what to read. The two, reading and education, are clearly related, though which comes first can well be disputed. In this chapter, I want to recall the familiar notion of the "liberal arts," those studies, those disciplines which, on going through them, enable us better to see what is there. The liberal arts are not one person's invention, but rather represent the collected wisdom of many generations and nations. We should recognize, from the beginning, that these "freeing" or "liberal" arts are not simply a body of books to read, but a way of life enabling us to be free enough to know the truth of things. When we do know something "for its own sake," we also know its truth or falsity; otherwise we do not really know it. It seems well, then, to take a further look at these famous "freeing arts."
What is important in his statement for our purposes is that within the tradition of western liberal arts, it is recognized that there is a certain body of knowledge (“reading”) as well as a pedagogy, a certain approach to teaching this body of knowledge (“education”), that are related. What makes an education truly liberal (in the sense of freeing the mind, not in the sense of a modern political liberalism) is both what is read and how one is educated. When both are included in a student’s education, it allows the student to live in a way that enables him or her to be free enough to know the truth of things.
That said, in the second place, at Kepler we recognize that within the boundaries of what is called liberal education, there is a spectrum of pedagogies as well as a spectrum of emphases on the various books within the greater body of knowledge that is recognizable as liberal education. In the modern classical Christian education movement, just like in times past, various educators and institutions have often tried to argue their own pedagogy and selection of reading was better than another’s.
As classically minded educators, we at Kepler acknowledge that what is best within the classical tradition largely depends on answering the questions “for whom?” and “for what end?” As Christians, we believe only the parents of students can answer those questions adequately, because they alone have been given the mandate to educate their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Within the division of labor, Kepler sees its role as offering assistance to parents in carrying out this mandate, not replacing the parents. That is why our diploma track allows for a variety of courses (each with different pedagogies and different books emphasized) to satisfy a given credit within the diploma track. Our diploma track recognizes the boundaries of a truly classical education while also accounting for diversity within the tradition.
For example, to satisfy a credit in Latin I, students may take a course from any of the Latin teachers they choose. The choices may consist of one teacher who teaches the Henle approach, one who teaches Wheelock’s approach, another who uses a spoken or reading approach, like Picta Dicta or Lingua Latina. On the Kepler diploma track each of these approaches satisfy the requirements for a high school credit in Latin or Foreign Languages. The same principle applies for math, science, and the humanities. This means options in teachers and courses abound for parents.
Due to the diversity of courses that can satisfy a high school credit at Kepler, it would be expected that some parents might be concerned about continuity in their child’s courses. Not only will the power of our unique, integrated platform help automate the registration process on the diploma track, the skill of our parent/student guidance counselor and registrar will make enrolling your child in the course that is right for him or her simple, straightforward, and painless.
So, whether you are a homeschooling family and only need one or two courses to help satisfy the requirements for your own course of study or you prefer an institutional diploma track but want to offer your child more diversity or give them access to a specific high-quality teacher, take a look at our diploma track at https://kepler.education/diploma-track then check out our courses to see how many courses are available for your child.