Talk to any veteran of Seton Home Study School, and you’ll hear the same story: Seton English is tough, but when you’ve finished it, there’s little in the academic world that you won’t be able to handle. There’s no denying that Seton’s English courses are challenging and rigorous, but they can be accomplished successfully with determination and hard work.
The key is to have a can-do attitude and to master the English courses before they have a chance to master you. Following are tips and tricks for doing just that, as well as featured supplements and resources that can make a world of difference to students and parents embarking on a Seton English course.
Remember, Seton is here to help. Use the tools we’ve provided for you, stay alert, and you’ll do just fine in Seton’s English courses. When in doubt, we’re just an email or phone call away! Together, we’ll make sure that you master English before it masters you.
“If the book report worksheet isn’t helping the student, I suggest he or she simply read the book with the topics printed on a sheet of paper. This way, when the student finds something that will support or prove the topic, it can be jotted down beneath the relevant topic.
“For very young or inexperienced students, I recommend that the parent-teacher take dictation. Once students can see that they have thoughts worth putting on paper, they’ll gain more confidence. Additionally, the parent-teacher can read the book with the child and point out supports for the topic, which teaches the child what to look for.
“I also recommend that parent-teachers not make too big a deal of the five-paragraph requirement, which can overwhelm young students. Instead, focus on having the student write a separate paragraph each day. At the end, these can be combined into the full assignment. Once you break down the assignment like this a few times, the student will become much more comfortable and capable of working independently.”
Sharon Hassett, Elementary Counselor
Advice from the High School English Counselors
“Seton provides an array of options for the book analysis each quarter, meant to accommodate every kind of reader. If you’re new to Seton or reading is not a strong point, be discerning in your book choice. Our message boards often have threads in which students have shared their experience with reading certain book analysis books, and these conversations can be a useful guide in your decision-making process.
“Students working on the book analysis assignment may want to take notecards, just as they would for the research report. Writing incidents and conversations that act as evidence for a trait or theme will help determine if the student has enough evidence to support his conclusions.
“Don’t ignore comments on graded work! Those comments are meant as helpful advice that can teach you how to improve your English skills. Be sure to access any resources that the grader may have attached to your work, as well.”
At the elementary level, students struggle with understanding grammar and developing writing skills.
3rd through 6th as well as 8th grade students needing opportunities to strength-en understanding of grammar concepts or practice grammar skills can find preliminary exercises in the course resources online.
For students who need additional help with understanding the principles of diagramming, a full suite of diagramming video tutorials is available on MySeton.
When it comes to writing, young students seem to struggle most with applied writing skills, or instances when they are required to write about something they have learned or read. At Seton, the elementary book reports are one of the most frequent assignments of this type. Fortunately, Seton provides worksheets for students to use with their Book Reports. These worksheets are sent with the Lesson Plans.
Junior high students needing to solidify writing skills before entering high school may find the 6th and 7th grade Paragraph Writing Handbook within the lesson plans particularly useful.
High school presents its own set of English challenges, most of which center around analyzing literature and writing the research reports.
The recurring book analysis assignments can be helped by a viewing of the relevant video tutorials, found in the Course Resources for each English course. These tutorials provide an overview of the works you’ll be reading for the book analysis assignment, as well as key advice on important scenes, character development, and ideas.
Additionally, the Chapter Notes, also found in the Course Resources, can make a big difference to a student’s ability to comprehend the works assigned for the book analysis. These questions encourage creative thought on ideas and plot details important to the development of the book analysis essays.
Keep in mind that these questions are meant to be answered briefly and orally, either in conversation with a parent-teacher, or into a recording device.
Don’t forget the sample book analysis essays! Even our highest-performing students have benefited from regular review of these resources, which show exactly how a book analysis should be structured.
As for the research reports, remember that the Lesson Plans are your friend. There’s a reason why the research report is divided into smaller assignments that occur in each of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters. If the assignments are tackled as scheduled, students accomplish manageable portions of the workload step by step, instead of being overwhelmed by a huge project at the end of the year.
This also gives students the chance to discover early on where they might be having trouble, so that problems can be corrected early.