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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
Your Questions… Answered

Should I Homeschool Through High School?

4 minutes

Several in our homeschooling group stop homeschooling for high school.

Some families homeschool for grade school but put the students into a brick and mortar high school. Parents usually make this decision either because they feel the available high school is exceptional, or because the parents don’t feel competent to teach the high school subjects, or sometimes because the students want to make a change.

The data, both statistical and anecdotal, show that parents can do a great job homeschooling through high school. We have many testimonials from colleges about how great their homeschooled students are. In fact, Christendom College recently ran an ad stating that their valedictorian and salutatorian for 2014 and 2015 were all Seton Home Study School alumni. Our students tend to do very well on the SAT or ACT tests and often receive generous scholarships.

But as important as academics are, we don’t think that’s the main reason to stick with homeschooling through high school. The main reason is that the pressures that high school students are faced with today in brick and mortar schools can dramatically affect their ultimate future.

Homeschooled students entering a high school will either change their values to go along with their fellow students, or struggle in the daily situation of being the strange outsider in a dangerous drug-and-sex-oriented high school culture. Even if the students stay strong in their faith, it will be hard for them not to be affected by the culture around them.

When they are told day after day that good is evil and evil is good, they can easily start to be influenced by this and start to mold their own opinions in the same way.

My neighbor says she will homeschool when the children get older when it will be easier. What do you think about that?

The main reason Catholic parents homeschool their children is because of the corrupt culture in our society, which is promoted in the public school system. Even in Catholic or private religious schools which do not promote the secular culture, it is often promoted through the secular textbooks, other students, and sometimes the teachers.

Although families do often start homeschooling in high school (when, for example, there is a Catholic elementary school but no Catholic high school in the area), it can be more difficult to start later. After being in a school environment, older students want to be with their friends and all the activities they have enjoyed for so long.

Plus, if students don’t develop good self-motivation skills early on, it can be difficult to start developing them in high school. But, starting homeschool at any level of high school certainly can be done successfully.

How do I manage homeschooling several children, with two in high school?

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Consider putting two children together in the same grade level. You might have a girl in 7th grade in some subjects, but you might put her in 6th grade with her 6th grade brother in another subject. Having two children work together on subjects usually encourages them to stay on schedule. It is well worth having an older child even give up the challenges of a higher level course to learn along with a younger child whom she can help with the schooling.

Your children in high school should be taking the same subjects together as much as possible. This helps them to be more successful. Two students taking the same course can discuss their assignments and help each other learn without always needing to ask you.

Even if they are not taking the exact same courses, try to have them take similar courses. For example, students taking Spanish I and Spanish II can still help each other learn even though they will not be doing exactly the same thing in their courses.

Make things as simple as you can by using all the helps available. Especially use your MySeton page, both for supplements (such as audios and videos) and for uploading work and taking tests. When your students take tests online, you don’t need to collect and safeguard tests for mailing.

Don’t ignore the spiritual aspect of homeschooling. We know we need all the help we can get from Jesus and Mary to accomplish this vital task. Each day, try to attend Mass with the children. If you cannot, consider having your family watch Mass on EWTN so the children can pray along with the priest.

Homeschooling is not as much about teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, as it is about living the Catholic Faith as a family. We are homeschooling to keep the Faith for our children. Talk to your children about why you are homeschooling so they can understand and are more “inspired” to do their schoolwork.

If I send my children to a local co-op twice a week, can they finish the Seton program in three days a week instead of five days a week?

That sounds pretty tricky. If the co-op is teaching using the Seton books, that may be possible. It may be that even though the co-op school teaches three days a week, the parents and students are still expected to do their work on the other two days.

You’ll want to really pin down with the co-op school exactly what is expected.

My 3rd grade son struggles with spelling. May I use another book?

You can always choose to use another book or another system for any course; however, bear in mind that when you do this we can’t give a grade on the Seton report card for this subject. For K through 8th grade, that’s usually not a problem, since students aren’t gaining credits toward graduation as they do in high school.

Before trying a new book, you might look for some ideas to help your son learn the spelling words in the Seton speller. There are many web sites with various ideas to teach spelling. You might check on those and see if one works with your son. Also, be sure that your son’s hearing is fine. Some children don’t hear correctly which results in speech and spelling difficulties.

You might also want to contact one of our elementary counselors for some more ideas.

My 8th grade daughter is struggling with Saxon Algebra ½.

The first part of the book is review, so if your daughter is struggling, you need to slow down and go back over the first quarter assignments. She will be lost and doing worse if she continues without having a good understanding of the first lessons in the book. If she continues to struggle after the first few weeks, you might need to go back to the 7th grade book and review the lessons there.

Education is not about moving ahead no matter what. It is about learning by repeating and reviewing, and sometimes about finding a different method of presentation. If she seems to be having difficulty with a certain concept, you might find an alternate presentation on the internet of that particular concept.

For any student struggling with math, Seton carries two CD series which provide tutoring lessons for Algebra 1/2 and all the Saxon textbooks. These are a terrific help for busy moms and dads. Go to SetonBooks.com for both the D.I.V.E. series at $50 each and the SAXON Teacher interactive CD ROMS at $80 each. The first series runs 10 to 20 minutes per lesson, the second runs 20 to 30 minutes.

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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
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