Early Morning Seminary

Tomas is now in 9th grade. While most of you no doubt recognize that for the fact that he’s now officially in high school, some of you will also realize it means he’s now started early morning seminary. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Latter-day Saints high schoolers outside of Utah (and maybe some other states in the west with large Latter-day Saint populations?) go to a church class each morning before school starts.

For Tomas, that means he’s up at 5:30 and out the door by 5:50. (We’re taking turns with a carpool to get him and other students there.) Class starts at 6:20 and ends in time for him to make it over to school before classes there begin.

What do they study? It changes based on the year. One year they focus on the Old Testament. The next year it’s the New Testament, then The Book of Mormon, and finally Church History. Then it starts over, so over the course of four years, each student gets the whole package.

What does Tomas think about it? Well, this morning I believe his direct quote was, “Why do they start this so early?” which I can’t help but ask as well. When there are so many studies coming out that say teenagers need more sleep, suggesting schools should start later in the day, it’s a bummer that it starts to early each day. On the other hand, I also believe it’s a good thing for kids to be thinking and learning about religion. (Though I suppose that’s a topic for another time, and one which a fair number of you might disagree with.)

When I was in high school, I didn’t do early morning seminary. I did home study, which meant I met with a teacher once a week to go over the material, and then it was self-guided during the weeks. In practice (and being completely honest here) it meant that I crammed in the entire year’s worth of study in the last few weeks of the year. Definitely less effective. (Manuals had fill-in-the-blank pages to show you were doing the work. It didn’t take a genius to figure out you could fill those blanks much faster if you just skimmed . . .)

Our school district has school start an hour later each Wednesday, which means we just have seminary Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We also cancel fairly liberally in case of bad weather (thankfully). But this is going to be a long term commitment for us. Tomas, DC, and MC will never overlap years, so we’ll be doing this for the next 8 years straight, followed by a year off, and then it’ll be MC’s turn.

In practice, I got up at 5:55 each morning before this. Now I’ll get up a half hour earlier or so. My plan is to come over to work after I drop Tomas and the others off, and use that half hour to get writing done first thing in the morning. I think it’ll be very doable, even if I loathe getting up so early. (But then again, I hated getting up at 5:55. So it’s not like my feelings are changing much.) I’m not sure what I’ll do on Wednesdays. I typically do better with a sleep schedule if I can do the same time every day.

In any case, wish us luck, and if you see Tomas looking a little bleary eyed the next while, you’ll know why.


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