Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

I Feel Overwhelmed – My Children Neglect Their Studies and Household Responsibilities. Suggestions?

I feel sort of overwhelmed. My children neglect their studies and their household responsibilities. What do you suggest?

There is something in the air, or should I say in the culture, which encourages an attitude which promotes self at the expense of others. It is an attitude that demands attention and self-satisfaction. Children innocently breathe this cultural air.

The answer lies in constant prayer and constantly practicing Christian virtues, not only for yourself but also by insisting that the children practice Christian virtues toward each other. Try to keep the pagan culture out of your home by controlling the television and computer sites. Be careful about allowing them to carry around smart phones which are mostly hand-held computers. Purchase or borrow good family movies or Catholic saint DVDs. Be sure their outside activities are with children you know have good Christian values from families you know.

Look on our website for our catalog, and see what we offer for raising Catholic children and keeping discipline. Dr. Ray Guarendi is a child psychologist and is raising a large home-schooling family. He has a regular show on EWTN. Five of his books are in our sales catalog, which you can find online on our website.

Keep your family together with the daily rosary, frequent family prayer and daily Mass, if at all possible. Practicing the virtuous life with your children will eventually have results for their home schooling and family responsibilities.

Can Seton write Study Guides for the history and science courses?

While Seton could write study guides for history and science courses, we believe that study guides should be written by the student, because the process makes the student examine the ideas in the chapter and see how they relate to each other. One of the best ways to study is to write a study guide. Of course, the second step is to study the study guide!

We are trying to do what we can to help without taking the process out of the hands of the students. We are working on including more chapter outlines, with more subheadings, in both the Table of Contents and at the beginning of each chapter. We are adding within the text the headings and numbering for each section. We have included outlines for the chapters in the English books.

If you work with your students in grades 4 through 8 by teaching them how to do an outline and teaching them to outline each section of each chapter, they will soon learn how to identify, label, and remember important ideas. They should learn to distinguish major and minor topics or concepts.

Students should make an outline before beginning to write a paragraph or a book report. Unless the student is working from an outline, the paragraphs will likely not be in a logical sequence.

Outlining is a skill that is necessary for being a successful student.

Another necessary item is for your children to pray as they begin each assignment. When I went to Catholic school years ago, students were to put a “J.M.J.” at the top of the page as they said the silent prayer, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph.”

My husband is not involved with home schooling our children. Have you any suggestions for me to help him become involved?

Many fathers do not realize what they are missing by not teaching their children. Many fathers think that teaching is the mom’s job. However, the Bible emphasizes the importance of fathers teaching their children. Remind him about that and look at my book, Catholic Home Schooling, for the many quotes from the Church documents about parental responsibility. Ask your husband to help with a subject that is of particular interest to him, and ask him if he would try teaching that subject.

Start out by asking your husband to help some Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a particular assignment. Don’t make a “schedule,” but just encourage him to help at a time when he does not have something else planned. Once dads become involved with their children, once they learn their child’s way of thinking or even their attitude or understanding (or misunderstanding) about something, dads will want to be more involved, hopefully on a regular basis, even if only an hour a week. Dads who take time with their children find great satisfaction in contrast with the daily problems of the secular society.

In the surveys Seton has conducted over the years, we have found that the father’s involvement and support are immensely important toward homeschooling success. Children need to know that their father strongly believes in what they are doing.

How can I find out about colleges which accept homeschooling students?

As far as we know, every college in the United States accepts home schooled students. In fact, most colleges are happy to accept home schoolers because they are excellent students. Colleges are happy to have home schooled students who are independent workers, which is what the colleges are looking for.

We recommend that Seton high school students should start in the 9th or 10th grade to request information from Catholic colleges and to investigate possible colleges. We encourage you to contact Seton’s College Partners, which all offer great academics and are faithful to the Church. Parents should emphasize the necessity for a Catholic college, where students’ Faith can be strengthened, where their education is not slanted toward a secular agenda, and where many students meet their future spouse.

Seton’s high school program is structured so as to give you the credits which colleges normally want to see on a transcript. However, if you have a specific college in mind, you should contact that college as early as possible to ask about their entrance requirements.

Should I help my son “correct” his test before he sends it to Seton?

Yes and no. If your student will benefit by a review, then go ahead and review the test with him. In the process, you may find that he misunderstood a question, in which case, please have him redo the answer.

Sometimes students answer too quickly and are careless in their answer. Sometimes students answer incompletely, answering only part of the question. In these cases, point out the mistakes or lack of information, and have your student go back and correct or answer the question completely. Tests are not for the purpose of tricking a student, but rather for the purpose of being sure he has understood the lessons.

You don’t want reviewing the test to become a crutch for a student, though. The fact is, by high school a student should understand and be able to do most tests pretty well. If a student does his or her work carelessly, simply expecting that a parent review will fix the problem later, the parent isn’t really helping the student. Remember, once the student is in college, a parent will not be there to help. The idea is to review with an eye toward helping the student identify and correct weaknesses.

We are trying to get our schoolwork finished by June. I feel like we’re not doing as well as we could toward meeting our goals. Do you have any suggestions for working more efficiently?

First, you want to have a family meeting, with your husband and your children and work out where things are not going as well as you would like. Are you having a lot of distractions that are preventing working on the schooling? Are there problems logistically with how the work is done, perhaps due to space considerations? Once you identify the areas that need to be improved, you can come up with a plan to address the problems. For example, could you work out a better schedule, perhaps with your husband or an older child helping with some of the schooling?

Whatever the issues are, organization and scheduling are usually the best answers. If you can set up a reasonable schedule and you can stick to it, you will likely be successful. Including everyone in the planning is a key element to this, because everyone will be more inclined to stick to a schedule if everyone has had input in creating the schedule.

Organization, as well as daily prayer, is the key for success.

About 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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