Parents often ask about flexibility in the Seton Home Study School program, especially in regards to high school courses. In high school, we cannot offer as much flexibility as we have in grade school. Why is this?
In high school, students need to earn credits toward graduation. Credits and grades are also important for college admission. Seton Home Study School has a very high reputation for academic excellence.
When a college admissions officer sees credits from Seton Home Study School, he or she can be sure that those credits are meaningful. One of the reasons we cannot be as flexible in high school is that the high reputation of our courses and credits needs to be maintained, for the benefit of all our students.
Our high academic standard is a main reason why parents choose Seton. This standard also helps us to maintain our accreditation, which makes it easier for students to transfer credits to other schools.
A parent recently wrote from Canada that she decided to transfer her son from Seton into a public school for twelfth grade. The parent was not sure how he would do in his new school since he had been with Seton for ninth through eleventh grade. She wondered if perhaps his home schooling had not sufficiently prepared him.
Her son ended up graduating from his new school with the top academic honors in a class of over two hundred students.
We hear from parents and students all the time who say that the high standards maintained by Seton are extremely beneficial to students. When Seton graduates reach college, they routinely make the Dean’s List and often tutor other students. The high standards that Seton maintains are partly responsible for this success.
However, this is not to say that Seton does not offer flexibility in high school. We actually do offer a good deal of flexibility in the following areas:
Flexibility in the use of lesson plans is encouraged by using them as guidelines to be adjusted according to the ability of the student. A student may be able to move ahead in one subject, doing two or three days of assignments in one day. Conversely, a student may need to take two or three days to do one day’s assignment in a subject which is more difficult.
While the lesson plans are thorough, parents have flexibility in deciding which assignments must be done, and which assignments might be optional.
Although there are tests and assignments which must be completed to receive a grade, the daily work is entirely at the discretion of the parents.
Seton offers a variety of electives at the high school level: students have a choice of three foreign languages, and several math and science courses.
Other courses available are accounting, economics, health, logic, Shakespeare, and Byzantine Catholic Religion courses. Both art and music courses are in progress.
Students may enroll in single courses as well as summer-school courses.
Seton’s Independent Study program offers the opportunity for students to earn high school credits for courses taken in their local area. For instance, students taking music or art or physical education lessons may apply for Independent Study credit.
Sometimes students take a local class in a foreign language or a science, along with other home schooling students in their area; we are happy to give Independent Study credit for such classes.
There are some limits on the courses which may be taken through Independent Study, both in the subjects taken and in the number taken.
More details about Independent Study courses can be found on our Web site at www.setonhome.org, and visit Independent Study. We answer twelve of the most Frequently Asked Questions, and an Independent Study Request Form can be downloaded.
When our students reach sixteen, most community colleges are happy to enroll our students on a dual-enrollment arrangement. This provides flexibility as students may wish to take a foreign language or a science course in a more formal classroom setting.
Some courses, such as Religion, History, and English courses, cannot be taken for Seton credit at a community college. These courses need the Catholic perspective that Seton offers.
Seton has no calendar, that is, no dates when tests must be submitted. Parents have great flexibility in teaching their students at the pace that is best for the student. This also means that in high school, students may take only two or three subjects at a time.
It is not unusual, especially for working students or meticulous students or students striving for the best possible grades, to devote more in-depth study to a few subjects at a time. Often these students have very good grades as they complete a course in a shorter time.
We offer flexibility in the choice of books for book reports, offering two or three titles per quarter. We cannot offer the choice of any title because our graders need to be familiar with the books in order to grade them. We also offer a variety of topics for research reports.
Science and History
We offer flexibility in science. While we encourage parents to utilize our Catholic science textbooks, some parents arrange for their children to be tutored with a group of other home schoolers who are using another textbook.
Students must be approved for Independent Study, so that we can ensure that the textbook is at high school level.
For history, because so many history books have a bias against the Catholic Church, or are slanted to promote certain agendas, we approve the use of only Catholic history textbooks.
Flexibility is available in regards to testing. Tests may be done on paper, or they may be taken online via the Seton web site.
Some of the online tests are graded by the computer, such as in Math and Science, while some are graded by a teacher who grades on a computer using the Internet.