2015-5-CE-Seton-'Girl-With-Book'-728x90
Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
Your Questions… Answered

How Can I Give Attention to My Toddler While I am Homeschooling the Older Children?

8 minutes

1. Do you mind if I send work to be graded only when all the children are finished with their quarter’s work?

2. My husband and I believe that we are the best judge for how our children are doing, and we don’t want to give a standardized test to our children.

3. I am keeping up with the younger children, but what do you suggest to help me keep aware of my high school daughter’s work?

4. My children want to join various sports teams in the community, but I am a little reluctant.

5. My son needs help in how to approach different assignments, but I am not sure how to advise him for some of them.

6. We are behind because of medical problems in our family. Do you have any ideas how we can catch up?

7. My son loves the challenge of his math course, and will be finishing up in the next month. May I order his books for the next grade, though he will be starting only his math now?

8. I am a part-time afternoons-only working mother, and home schooling my two boys. They need to work alone in the afternoon. Do you have any suggestions?

Advertisement

9. How can I give attention to my toddler while I am homeschooling the older children?

10. Have you heard of the new Common Core standards for public schools?

1. Do you mind if I send work to be graded only when all the children are finished with their quarter’s work?

You might save a little on postage this way, but it is not the best educationally for your children. It is best to have work graded as quickly as possible, since the concepts should still be fresh in the students’ minds, and grader comments will be most profitable. This is why we encourage taking tests online and/or uploading assignments on your MySeton page. Work graded electronically is often immediately graded by the computer. When it is not immediately graded, it is still graded and returned much more quickly than a mailed assignment.

Sometimes parents send in an entire year of work for a student at once. When that happens, there is really nothing the graders can do to help the student, since there is no ability to do better on future tests.

It is very easy for assignments to be uploaded to our website. Many tests can be taken online for older students. If you don’t have a home computer, your student might still be able to take the online tests at your local library.

When tests or assignments are done on paper, you can fax the work to Seton to save time and money. Our fax number for grading is 540-636-1602.

2. My husband and I believe that we are the best judge for how our children are doing, and we don’t want to give a standardized test to our children.

Certainly parents are the best judge of their child’s abilities, but we still encourage you to administer a standardized test each year. In some states, this is a legal requirement; but, even where it is not required, it is a good proof that your children are progressing. Most families will never need such proof, but it is wise to have standardized test scores in case of some unexpected situation.

Enrolled families receive one free CAT test each year for each enrolled child. When you mail in the third quarter work for a student, we automatically return a CAT test with the papers. If you are sending work electronically, you need to request it.

You may request and administer your free CAT test from our testing department at any time, although we believe that testing after the third quarter is likely to yield the best results for students. Besides the CAT Test, we also offer the Terra Nova Test and the Iowa Test. Some parents might like to use one of these tests since they are more comprehensive than the CAT; however, there is a charge for the Terra Nova and the Iowa tests. Simply go to our Seton website, click on Testing, then move your cursor to Testing Products.

3. I am keeping up with the younger children, but what do you suggest to help me keep aware of my high school daughter’s work?

Your best helper may be your husband. He could check her work assignments every evening or at least every other evening. He could check two or three subjects each night. She would be aware that he will be checking, which might help her to keep on target.

If your husband cannot help, perhaps a grandparent or another relative would be willing to come by once a week, just to oversee the assignments. If she is having problems in a particular area, you would learn about it.

4. My children want to join various sports teams in the community, but I am a little reluctant.

You may be reluctant because you realize how much time would be required out of the home, and thus away from your home schooling classes. Some children learn quickly and may have time for the sports activities. You certainly could consider telling your children that they need to keep up with their studies if they want extra-curricular activities. This can be an effective motivation for students.

From surveys that we have conducted at Seton, we have found that students who have some outside activities often do better with their schooling. Sports activities can be valuable to students for many reasons, including the development of heightened self-discipline.

You do want to be careful about the sports teams your children join. Sometimes, especially at older ages, the other children can pass along attitudes and language that you do not want for your children. If your church offers teams, or if there is a local home school league, you might want to start there. Otherwise, ask other local parents about their experiences with sports teams.

5. My son needs help in how to approach different assignments, but I am not sure how to advise him for some of them.

The first place to start is the Seton lesson plans. Most assignments have specific directions, and these directions are your best resource for the assignment. For some assignments, such as book analyses, we offer further resources online on your MySeton page, both chapter notes and audios, as well as videos, especially for the high school levels. If you need further direction, you might post a message on our message board or contact a counselor.

If the issue is not so much a specific assignment as it is learning skills, Seton offers many resources. We sell a series of workbooks for Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 called Skills for School Success. These books provide helps for students for organizing assignments on a calendar, and learning strategies, such as Read, Cover, Recite, Check. The series emphasizes techniques for previewing book chapters by reading headings and subheadings, taking good notes, outlining written material, strategies for answering chapter questions, proofing assignments, understanding different kinds of graphs and tables, and analyzing various information in the dictionary.

Seton provides a free online Study Skills course for students in 7th and 8th grades, as well as for high school students. The course aims to help students implement routines for study, to organize the study area and study materials, to find appropriate space, and to limit distractions which interfere with studies. The course also includes ideas for study techniques.

6. We are behind because of medical problems in our family. Do you have any ideas how we can catch up?

Consider the fact that you have the summer ahead of you. Many home schooling families are continuing home schooling during the summer, or at least some courses. In areas such as reading and math, this keeps the children reviewing and improving. Unlike children who do not have schooling over the summer, these children keep their minds active in areas which might suffer if they were not reviewing during the summer months.

Lessons could be cut short over the summer, especially in those subject areas in which the student is doing very well. If your student consistently scores 100 on the spelling or vocabulary tests, consider limiting the study time to two or three days per chapter, instead of five.

For high school students, it is best not to skip any assignments, but you may be able to cut down on some of the home-graded assignments. Your student might do some assignments orally to save writing time.

Some students move more quickly through courses by focusing on one course all morning, and a second course all afternoon. This way, a student can do two or three days worth of lessons each day and obtain final grades on those courses very quickly, and then move to two other courses done in the same fashion. Finishing assignments, earning a quarter grade, and finishing courses quickly can give a very good motivational push to a student.

7. My son loves the challenge of his math course, and will be finishing up in the next month. May I order his books for the next grade, though he will be starting only his math now?

You certainly may order his next level books now. Many of our students move more quickly in a favorite subject. You may order either the next grade level for just math, or you may order the whole curriculum for the next grade level. One of our counselors will note on our computer that your son is moving ahead in math, but will not be starting the other courses until later. Certainly, a huge benefit of home schooling is that the student can move ahead in courses in which he is excelling, and yet can move more slowly in courses in which he needs more time to master the concepts.

8. I am a part-time afternoons-only working mother, and home schooling my two boys. They need to work alone in the afternoon. Do you have any suggestions?

You have not mentioned other factors, but we know some families with mothers who teach part of the day, and fathers who teach the other part of the day. In one family, mother teaches a couple of days a week, and dad, still working on his graduate studies, teaches the children the other days of the week. Some families have a home-schooling dad who is physically disabled or cannot find work, but teaches his children while the mother is working. In some families, a grandparent oversees the schooling either every half-day or a few days of the week.

In a situation in which the parents are not available all day, the parents put two children on the same grade level, at least in some subjects, so they can help each other with their lessons. Most children like this arrangement. Each family situation is different, but the important thing is to find what arrangement works best for your family. If you are willing to look at creative solutions, you may find there are more options available than you think.

9. How can I give attention to my toddler while I am home schooling the older children?

As much as possible, your toddler needs to be involved in the home schooling activity. Normally, the mornings are the best time of the day for toddlers. If they could express themselves verbally, they would say, “I want to learn and act like everyone else!” Toddlers want to copy everything that is being said and done. They want their own school books.

Toddlers like older brothers and sisters to help them with their home schooling.

If you have one child in a primary grade, first, second, or third grade, work your toddler along with that child. As you listen to your primary grade student read his book, sit the toddler on your lap and let your toddler be involved in the reading lesson, looking at the pictures and listening to the story. When you ask your primary student a question about the story, ask your toddler a question also.

Toddlers are especially receptive to learning the catechism with a primary level brother or sister, and often like to answer the question first. Toddlers especially like stories in the history books or lessons in the science and health books.

10. Have you heard of the new Common Core standards for public schools?

Every few years, the U.S. Department of Education comes out with a new “program” for the public schools of America. They have had the “Goals 2000” and the “No Child Left Behind” and now they are implementing the “Common Core State Standards.”

The subjects these standards are requiring are the same as usual, though they are emphasizing more math and science. At the same time, the new standards don’t emphasize literature to the extent that we do for high school. English courses in the public schools often overlook the great works of literature, especially those which emphasize traditional American and Christian values.

The Common Core State Standards are for public schools, not for private or home schools. Parents concerned about their children’s ability to score well on standardized tests should realize that our students traditionally have scored in anywhere from the eighty-fifth to the ninetieth percentile on standardized tests. We expect that they will continue to score very well, regardless of what is implemented. Nevertheless, we are all concerned about nationally-standardized education.

For a detailed analysis of Common Core curriculum and methods, check the Home School Legal Defense Association website, and the Heritage Foundation website. Check the internet for information on local state policies and news on the Common Core standards implementation in your area.

Seton intends to continue according to the teachings of the Church, helping parents teach their children the subject areas while incorporating Catholic values, under the approval of the bishop of Arlington. We will still maintain our accreditation from AdvancEd, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Virginia Council for Private Education, which have never demanded we follow the curriculum of the public schools. Please note that Virginia has decided not to accept the Common Core State Standards, along with a few other states.

    Subscribe to My Articles

About Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Dr. Mary Kay Clark
Director of Seton for more than 25 years. Dr. Clark left Mater Dei Academy and began teaching her children at home at seeing firsthand the opportunities and the pitfalls of private schooling. Meet Dr. Clark | See her book
Learn about Homeschooling with Seton
School Pre-K through 12 at home. A quality, Catholic education. Online learning. Accredited and affordable.
Request your Free Info Pack

Pin It on Pinterest