As springtime quickly approaches, many homeschooling high-schoolers start to get really burned out and long for the warm days of summer freedom. However, there are still two quarters of work to get through before the break can begin. Here are some tips on how to be more efficient in finishing up the year that I learned while I was a Seton high school student.
1. Finish up easier subjects early.
English and Religion were some of the easier subjects for me, so one year I finished them up in April to give myself time to focus on the difficult subjects at the end of the year. I was able to get through the harder subjects, such as Latin and Algebra II, on time because I could give them my undivided attention.
2. Don’t be scared to work on Saturdays.
I discovered junior year that when doing the upper grades of Seton, at least for me, I had three choices:
- Work too many hours a day and get burned out.
- Work through the summers.
- Study for a few hours on the weekends.
Some people might be able to handle long weeks or no summer vacation, but I wasn’t one of them. After slacking my junior year and not finishing up until Labor Day, I started doing more weekend work my senior year, and it really helped me get my assignments done while still having time to rest on Sunday.
3. Don’t overwork.
Achieving a work-life balance was a struggle for me throughout high school. I would go through phases in which I would do school almost every second of every day, and then I would go through phases in which I barely did any and instead wasted time online.
Looking back, I realize that the workaholic phases caused the slacker phases—I was so burned out from studying too hard that I eventually ran out of energy. This lesson finally sunk in the final semester of my senior year. Instead of working all day, I made sure I had time to pray, play piano, spend time with friends and family, and get regular exercise.
Taking care of other important aspects of my life made me refreshed and more ready to tackle my schoolwork.
4. A change of scenery can be a great thing.
For years, I would sit at the same desk for hours each day, and I got so ridiculously sick of it that I had a hard time focusing. Then, I started going into work with my dad at least once a week and either worked in his office building or at a nearby coffee shop.
Sometimes, if it was nice out, I would sit in the park next to his office and read a book analysis book. This approach improved my mood, and the days when I went to work with him were some of the most productive I had that year.
5. Only do what helps.
One thing that people at Seton say often that I really like is that the lesson plans are a guide. I used to think that I needed to rigidly adhere to them, but that’s not the case. Once I started junior year, my mom gave me charge of the lesson plans with the instructions to do the Seton suggested assignments only if they helped me learn the material. This system was great.
I found that I needed to do most of the Seton suggested assignments for tough subjects like Latin and American History, but for English, I could do them orally or skip them entirely. Sometimes, I would skip writing out answers to questions and instead use the questions to help me make a study guide.
When I started using the lesson plans as they were intended, I not only got more work done in less time, but my grades improved.
I hope there’s a current Seton student out there reading this who benefits from what I learned through my mistakes.