SummaryHomeschool veteran Ginny Seuffert walks us through three areas in which students often need help: math, foreign languages and dual enrollments.
Seton’s proven high school program, focused on excellence, with lesson plans, teacher help, online options, and counselors is your best resource for high school.
Additionally, parents make the high school experience easier through supplemental products, dual enrollment, and informal co-ops.
Geometry and Algebra
Many parents, especially those who did not do well in math themselves, wonder whether they can teach math to their children.
Fortunately, Saxon Math’s incremental method will help virtually any student to conquer upper level math.
Instead of having chapters covering broad topics like graphing or word problems, each day’s lesson introduces a small concept which the student practices and expands over the next several months.
For example, if a student has difficulty graphing equations when he first learns how, he will see graphing problems everyday for months, gradually increasing in difficulty over time. This gives the student time to grasp and practice major concepts. It also solves the problem of a skill being forgotten once a chapter test is taken.
As soon as students begin pre-algebra, they may use a solutions manual. The solutions manual not only gives the answer, but also lists the steps to take to work out the right answer. Resources are available also on “My Seton.”
For example, a geometry student can view common constructions on Seton’s website. If a student still does not understand how the answer was obtained, he or she can phone or email a Seton math teacher.
Sometimes students discuss problems on the Seton High School Math Message Board, so a student might check there also.
There are additional helps available for purchase. The Seton Educational Media catalog now offers two companion CD-ROM’s for Saxon math: the D.I.V.E. Into Math series ($50 per course) and Saxon Teacher ($72 per course).
Differences between the two programs are explained in the SEM catalog. (You can find an online copy of the catalog at www.setonbooks.com.)
Both tutoring sets are helpful for students as well as for parents who do not have the time to work closely with their upper level math students.
Another area of concern for parents is foreign languages. Of course, you are likely to be more successful if your children take the language you yourself studied at one time.
Some of it, especially the vocabulary, will come back to you. However, there are basic “rules” about every language, such as plural endings, tenses, and so on, that will help you in teaching your children.
In addition to the textbooks and lesson plans, online audio pronunciation guides are available for enrolled students. Manuel Vicente, a native Spanish-speaker who teaches Spanish at Christendom College, is available for any Spanish questions.
Father Constantine is fluent in both Latin and French, and can help students with those languages.
Most public libraries stock educational audios of native speakers that you can borrow to help your student with vocabulary and pronunciation. Similar products can be purchased in bookstores or online.
In fact, there is an abundance of online help to learn a foreign language. Libraries can provide you with information about any groups which meet for conversational practice.
Many homeschool support groups offer co-op classes taught by a parent with a foreign language background; some priests have helped groups of home schooling students with Latin lessons. Professional tutors can be pricey—$60 an hour where I live—but the cost becomes more reasonable when split among several families.
A foreign language tutor need not be a professional teacher. In many communities, it should be fairly easy to find a Spanish-speaking neighbor who would like to pick up some extra cash helping home schooled students.
Some parents are willing to purchase expensive foreign language conversational courses from companies such as Rosetta Stone. These are always fine as a supplement, but usually cannot substitute for a required high school foreign language credit.
Seton high school students are able to earn high school and college credit by what is commonly called dual enrollment.
That means that although they are working toward a Seton diploma, they earn some of their credits from a local community college which accepts students in their junior year.
Dual enrollment is a popular option for students taking foreign language courses or advanced science or math courses. While Seton will give a high school credit, the college will give credit also. However, the Seton high school guidance counselor must approve the courses.
Seton does accept dual enrollment courses to satisfy credit requirements, but parents must check with the Seton high school guidance counselor first.
Seton will also accept credits from Independent Study, which is a course the student takes independently of a standard educational institution. Such a course can be directed by the parent or could be at a “co-op” class or given by a music teacher.
These credits can either be designated as elective credits, or they can sometimes count for a required credit. However, to count as credit for a required course, they would need to cover similar material to a Seton course.
For more information, visit our website or contact Bob Wiesner, our high school guidance counselor.
You may have noticed that I recommend calling a Seton high school counselor for virtually every situation that involves a student at this level.
Decisions that are made concerning high school curriculum may directly affect our children’s ability to be accepted into the college of their choice, and how well they will do when they get there.
In addition, especially at this level, curriculum content will strongly influence the way your children view the world as adults. We need the best advice available to make sure that their education is permeated with Catholic values.
At Seton, the advice is free!