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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Can You Recommend Some Appealing Children’s Literature?


Want children’s literature to compete with the computer? Mary Kay Clark says look for adventure fiction, biographies of adventurers and even science books.

My children don’t seem interested in reading books. They like to go on the computer. Can you recommend some appealing literature?

The computer offers continuing movement and change, so they will want similar action books: adventure fiction books, biographies of adventurers and explorers, historical novels, mystery, and even science books.

These books, especially biographies and classics for children, will intrigue them to find clues to further events, discover personalities and actions resulting from certain events or experiences, recognize the relation between cause and event, develop thinking and analysis skills practical for everyday life—­not to mention entertain them with descriptions of exciting events.

In our national culture today, we are desperate for thinkers, desperate for rational and Christian approaches to problems. Reading the works of great and honorable writers can help students to think about solutions already found by others.

Seton has a list of recommended books which is available on our website under Parent Resources. Summer is a good time to encourage reading these books. Some parents “reward” their children with ice cream for each book read from this list. You can check the Seton website under\summerreading for fun summer reading books.

Don’t neglect reading yourself. Parents who never read will have children who never read. Perhaps you can schedule an hour before bedtime for everyone to read. Also, members of the family can relate something at the dinner table about the book they are reading.

You will be surprised how interested your children will become in reading good stories reported on by brothers or sisters. Several children could read the same book and discuss it at the dinner table. This develops thinking skills as well as reading skills and contributes to self confidence in speaking, analyzing, and defending a position.

Summer Reading Sale!

I struggle with disciplining my children, both at home and at church.

Our society is sending messages through the air waves, through television and the internet, that everyone including children, should have freedom, meaning freedom from all boundaries, rules, or authority.

Homeschooling gives us parents the opportunity as well as the responsibility to train our children to be obedient to God’s laws. Our children must be taught, contrary to society’s opinion, that they need to obey God’s commandments, especially the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy Father and thy Mother.

We parents are commanded by God to train our children to obey God’s laws.

If we don’t train our children to obey us in our homeschooling and to be obedient at church, ultimately they will disobey us in later situations where they can be physically or morally hurt, perhaps suffering the consequences for a lifetime, as some have sadly learned.

Soldiers returning from the battlefield have learned discipline because they know their physical lives are at stake. Children need to learn that their physical and spiritual lives are at stake if they do not obey their parents, who are teaching them God’s laws.

For more information on this topic, visit our SEM bookstore. Dr. Ray Guarendi, a homeschooling father and child psychologist who regularly speaks at Catholic homeschooling conferences, has written a number of practical books about disciplinary issues, which can be located through SEM. Seton also sells excellent books by the educator James Stenson, as well.

My children’s tests are being graded twice!

Some parents are sending in their children’s tests twice. First, they are sending tests over the internet, and those tests are graded either automatically or by an online grader. Then, the same tests are being sent again by mail to be graded by a local grader.

This causes problems in many ways. Please be sure to send your children’s work one way or the other. Online is usually preferred since there are fewer problems with any mail being delayed, going to a wrong address, or damaged by post office mailing machines.

My husband is not helpful at all with the homeschooling. Is there anything I can do to encourage him to help?

Some husbands have jobs that are physically so demanding that they can only “rest” while they are at home. Many husbands have jobs where the office or job situation is unfriendly, unpleasant, or filled with anxiety and frustration.

Your husband may not be able to accept the fact that children can be taught at home because the norm in our society for the past several generations has been to send children to a school. His parents, siblings, or fellow workers, may think he is “crazy” to let his wife homeschool.

Try to find out why he cannot or will not be involved with the homeschooling. Take him with you to some homeschooling events, especially where he can meet homeschooling fathers who are more involved with the homeschooling.

Ask him to help, but start with something not too demanding, such as listening to a child read his science book, or helping with a math assignment, on a Sunday afternoon.

One thing fathers learn is that being involved with their children will ultimately bring a higher level of happiness and personal satisfaction, even accomplishment.

Studies have shown that fathers cannot reach a high level of happiness if they neglect spending time with their children during the few precious years they are growing up.

My friend is hesitant to phone a counselor with her questions. How can I encourage her to phone?

There are many reasons why families don’t call the counselors, some of them because they are not sure that they can, or that they will be able to communicate their issues clearly, or that they will be bothering the counselors.

All these fears can be laid to rest. Seton’s team of counselors are proficient in their fields, and extremely understanding, often able to help you phrase your question and give you valuable insights.

Every enrolled family is paying for access to counselors, an extremely valued aspect to homeschooling with Seton. We strongly encourage you to use this resource regularly.

Remind your friend that if a student is not able to solve a problem fairly quickly, waiting often frustrates the student. You can also recommend collaboration between the parents.

This is important whether or not families are calling the counselors. Frequently, if both mom and dad try to work out the problem, it can be solved, especially if it is a math or science problem.

Often if a mom has trouble teaching a concept to a particular child, Dad can explain it in a different way, perhaps an easier way for the student to understand.

However, if mom and dad both try teaching and the student is still confused or not understanding, please be sure to call the counselor for that grade level and/or subject area.

Some parents seem interested in homeschooling and are asking me questions. Where should I begin?

You might consider asking them over for a picnic or cookout, and explaining how your family accomplish such a wonderful feat. Show them the Seton lesson plans. Emphasize that homeschooling is as much about caring for each other as it is about the techniques for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. With the caring comes the working together.

Most parents believe they cannot teach their children, but they need to realize that what is best for their children is their own interaction with their children.

You can tell them that the first year they may not accomplish all they wanted to in relation to the assignments, but they will come to realize that they have discovered the value and happiness of family members working and living together in a very special way.

I want to be more involved in the upcoming elections, but I am afraid we will get behind in our lessons.

Children can learn so much by participating in the election process. They become involved in discussions with older people and candidates about important issues and about the future of their country and what it will mean to them.

They learn to think and to speak, or argue “on their feet.” Most parents have seen their children mature and become better thinkers and better defenders of their beliefs after being involved in an election.

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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