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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

What is the Essential Benefit of Homeschooling My Children?


Mary Kay Clark says the benefit of homeschooling is in the caring and loving of each family member for the sake of the others and the family as a whole.

My husband does not want to be involved in helping with the homeschooling.

That may seem like a real problem, and you definitely want to have some discussions with him about helping, even if it means only listening to a reading assignment, or reading a chapter in the history or science book.

One thing you might try is to have your husband do some activities with the children that he likes, such as playing baseball or football. Whatever it is, encourage these kinds of activities that he likes to do with the children. That strengthens his caring for the children and strengthens their respect and love for him.

Eventually, that caring and respect and love will develop an instinct and interest for helping to listen to a child read, to help with a math assignment, or to show how to take measurements for building a dog house.

The benefit of homeschooling is not in the textbooks, though those are important. The benefit is in the caring and loving of each family member for the sake of the others and the family as a whole, as they all live the Faith together.

What do I say to my son who says “I already learned this last year!”

“Okay, Tommy. You are right, you already know how to do the math problems on this page. But as your parent-teacher, I need to check it out. Tell you what! For every page you figure you already know it all, do all the problems as a review, and for every page you obtain a 100% correct, I will give you a dollar! How’s that?”

He will be trying harder than ever before! Let me know how much you lost!

Do I need to follow the lesson plans exactly?

Certainly not. Each child is different. Our lesson plans are arranged in ways which have worked for most children, but that does not guarantee they will work perfectly for your child.

Try following the lesson plans, but then adapt them, slow down or move more quickly, subject by subject, as you learn more about your own child’s strengths and weaknesses. You will find that after some time, like yourself, they will learn more quickly in some subjects and less quickly in others.

The beauty of homeschooling is that your children can learn at the pace that is best for them, subject by subject! That can never be done in a classroom in a school where teachers are forced to cover certain material or pages every day, no matter how slow that is for some, or how fast it is for others.

God has given us parents a great blessing: the opportunity to teach our children ourselves at home. And in the Sacrament of Matrimony, God gave us the special graces to fulfill this obligation.

My son seems to have a learning problem in math. Any suggestions?

It is important to distinguish between an actual learning problem and mere lack of readiness. Public school educators are required to focus on grade level based benchmarks that reflect broad averages, but which have very little to do with understanding how individuals differ in learning styles, paces, etc. Your son may have a learning problem, but he also may just not be ready for certain concepts, or perhaps has not had enough practice with a particular foundation skill. Tell him that we each learn at different rates in different subjects.

If you seriously believe your son is struggling more than he should, please do contact our Special Needs department. Stephen can talk with you and determine if your son really needs to be taught by a different method. However, even in the event that a different methodology or presentation is required, it is not necessarily the case that a learning problem is involved.

Do you have any videos for paragraph writing for lower grade levels?

We are in the process of producing videos for students [and for moms] regarding paragraph writing for each elementary grade level.

The videos we have done for grades one, two, three, and four are online now. Visit ‘Course Resources for English‘ to access them. Grade five is in process now; grades six, seven, and eight should be up soon. However, all those enrolled in any elementary grade can access all of the elementary grades’ composition videos.

I feel like I am running a race and struggling to keep up!

From the beginning of time, life has been a race and a struggle. In today’s world, we are all in the same race and struggle. Homeschooling definitely changes the daily schedule but there is an inner peace because we are keeping our children away from the dangers and struggles of school classrooms and playgrounds.

The most important key to keep up, or to reasonably keep up, is to pray with your children every day. Start every morning with Mass if possible, but if not with Mass, then with some other form of prayer. Pray throughout the day with your children. Pray every time there is a “bump” in the road!

Train your children to pray every time they struggle with writing a paragraph, solving a math problem, or translating a sentence. Train them to ask you questions or to search for the answers. Train your older children to use supplementary resources to find answers.

Looking at what many Catholic families are suffering, in our own country and in other countries, we realize that our struggles are small indeed. Keep running the race! The pot of gold at the end of the race is the eternal salvation of your children!

My children seem unenthusiastic as we start our fifth year homeschooling. How can I get them excited about homeschooling again?

Change the schedule: Talk to the children about scheduling their courses at a different time of the day than last year. Reassign their chores at different times and with different children. Schedule more active classes between more reading-intensive classes. Ask each child to help decide which classes he would like at which times.

Change/redesign the locations: Consider having some outside classes, on the porch, on the picnic table, in the sunroom. Repaint the classrooms, relocate their desks, even if in the same room.

Change the furniture in other rooms, such as the dining room, the living room, their bedrooms. Allow a high school student two or three afternoons to do schoolwork at the local public library or college library.

Change tools: use a blackboard to give your children some standing time. Purchase a cork board or move your cork board where you put up their schoolwork. Build or repaint or relocate bookcases, tables, and desks.

Combine classes: Have two children work together whenever possible, such as with music, art, perhaps with science or history.

Will the new high school online courses be the same as the textbooks?

It depends on the course. Some of the high school books, such as Economics and American Government, are Christian but not Catholic. Also, they don’t necessarily deal with the issues of the day.

So, while the Latin and English courses, for example, will be the same, Economics and American Government will be different because they will be our own Catholic courses. We are currently developing an online Nutrition course with all-new Catholic content, which is a change from our previous Nutrition course that was built on a Christian text.

A Catholic online Spanish course and a Catholic online French course are also in progress, being written and proofed by native Spanish and French Catholics.

Please keep Seton and our writers in your prayers.

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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