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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

How Can I Find Time to Homeschool My Children?


Dr. Mary Kay Clark shares several practical and creative ideas that moms have discovered to use limited time to more effectively homeschool their children.

I am struggling to find the time to help with the children’s home schooling.

There are several ideas that some home schooling moms have discovered. One is to put siblings together in courses whenever possible.

For instance, a bright girl in Grade 3 who always scores a 100 on her spelling tests could possibly move up to Grade 4 spelling with her older brother. They can quiz each other and compare notes while you work with your other children. Think about how the children can help each other.

Some moms pay their high school student or college student to tutor a younger sibling in one subject. Some of our parents ask a retired English teacher or a relative to help with courses. We hear from parents that grandparents and sometimes retired uncles and aunts are happy to help with home schooling.

Subjects for which it is rather easy to move a bright child up or a slower child down with a sibling include religion, math, science, handwriting, history, vocabulary, art, music, and physical education.

Classes which are more demanding in original writing and inductive thinking are the English and Reading courses. Your children need to be enrolled in the appropriate grade for these two courses to learn more basics.

May I switch my daughter to enroll in the new Seton Grade 5 math text-workbook?

Absolutely. The text-workbook was printed just recently, so we could not advertise it sooner.

This text-workbook was produced because many parents of 5th graders said their children did not like rewriting the problems from the textbook.Consequently, our math teachers and counselors worked together to produce this book.

If you would like a copy, please call our Customer Service Department and change your enrollment to the Grade 5 text-workbook.

However, the 5th Grade Saxon textbook is still available, and will be for years to come. Seton-produced 5th grade math tests are available for both books.

Will you have a Grade 6 math text-workbook? What about 7th and 8th grades?

We are working on a 6th grade Seton math text-workbook, although it is not currently close to completion.

Due to various circumstances, we do not plan on producing Seton text-workbooks for Grades 7 and 8.

In 6th Grade, we will continue to support the Saxon texts, even after our text-workbook is completed. We will continue to use the Saxon 76 for 7th Grade, and the Saxon Algebra ½ or Saxon 87 for 8th Grade.

Although we will not produce text-workbooks for 7th and 8th Grade, we are developing Math Practice Workbooks for 7th and 8th Grade. These Practice Workbooks do not teach math concepts, but are for students who need practice in working out math problems. Every page is a practice page.

If you want to know more about the 7th Grade Practice Workbook and its availability, contact

My daughter is in 7th grade. Is she required to take all the courses you have listed for 7th grade?

Seton offers all the courses which are usually required in the state public schools, as well as religion. You need these state-required courses on your daughter’s report card if your daughter ever transfers to another school. If your daughter plans to attend college, the college will expect certain courses in high school as well.

That being said, Seton provides the courses but does not compel what you teach. At a certain grade level, you may decide to focus on some core subjects, such as math and reading, and cut back on other subjects. For example, in the elementary grades, music, art, and physical education could be assigned only once or twice a month.

However, we suggest that the academic courses should be taught, even if briefly, several days a week. The basic reason to teach a subject several times a week is that in order for many children to learn and to remember what they have learned, they must review frequently.

Textbooks usually have reviews of concepts interspersed throughout the textbooks; this is especially true in math, English, spelling, and reading or comprehension skills.

My son did not do well this year with his studies. May he redo his 6th grade for next year?

The point of education is learning, rather than simply being carried along on a current until one is old enough to stop. So, it is reasonable for any student who has not done well to repeat the grade or the particular courses for which he has not learned the material. The student who is pushed along and feels inadequate suffers more than poor grades.

Give your son a second chance, but do so selectively. Don’t have him retake any courses in which he did well, nor do you need to take a whole year if he can be successful in less time.

He might actually do better in all subjects if he could advance a grade level in some of his favorite subjects. Students are not required to take all the courses at the same grade level. The beauty of home schooling is that the student can take each subject according to his own ability.

I put my son in a school, but after one week, my son complained about the books being “strange.”

In the best case, schools act as extensions of the family (“in loco parentis”) and do what the parents would do if they were able. In the best case, parents and schools have a common goal and work together toward that goal.

Unfortunately, American public schools often do not act as extensions of parents. They act as extensions of the federal and state governments, which are increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs.

Even when they are not overtly hostile to Christian teaching, public schools give students the clear message that religion and morality do not matter. Teachers in the schools are not allowed to teach anything except from a secular point of view, which at best ignores eternal truths.

The Church is clear in its teachings: Catholic schools are to have a Catholic curriculum and Catholic teachers. Schools taking state public funds may use it for only secular books. If you decide to bring your son back home, he will learn what you want him to learn, not what others think is best for the secular society.

What does Seton provide to help students with the high school English Book Analyses? I am not sure what I should be doing to help my son.

Seton provides helpful material in the lesson plans to help students with their Book Analyses. Be sure your son looks not only in the day-to-day assignments, but also at the guidelines in the Handbook at the back of the course manual.

Be sure your son looks at the videos Seton has produced for the various book analyses for the high school English courses and for the Literature courses. These lectures are excellent. Also available are notes and sample essays in the online Course Resources. In addition, High school English counselors are available by phone.


How much should I expect my husband to be involved with the home schooling?

As much as possible! In surveys we have conducted, involvement of the father is very important toward successful homeschooling.

Start with your husband taking charge of only one or two classes. If your husband is reluctant, just go slowly. Pick out a class he would really enjoy explaining, such as history or science. Don’t try to give him too much direction, but let him “be the boss” for the class.

Most dads eventually find it interesting and fun, and develop a special relationship with their children. Many children learn more than reading, writing, and arithmetic from their dads, such as working on projects around the house and in the yard. God means for children to learn from their dads as well as from their moms!

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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