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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

During the Holidays, Should I Keep My Homeschooling Schedule?


Dr. Mary Kay Clark shows how a modified homeschooling schedule can help families enjoy their holiday activities without falling behind in their assignments.

As we head into the holiday season, how can I keep my children on their homeschooling schedule?

One thing some parents do is provide a “reward” at the end of each day, (or at the end of each half-day), but only when the children finish their scheduled assignments.

For instance, one reward can be to start working on the home-made Advent wreath or Christmas wreath. Another reward might be making Christmas cards, or decorations for the Christmas tree, or helping to bake and decorate cookies!

There are many homeschooling families who schedule many after-school activities. Your children must realize that the activities are after the schooling, after the assigned work is done, and not before.

If they miss just one activity due to not finishing their schoolwork, you can bet they won’t make the same mistake again. However, if you allow them to have their “reward” when they did not finish their work, you will have a daily battle on your hands, and you won’t be the winner. Nor will they.

What is the best way to reach a counselor regarding questions about course assignments or teaching methods?

For most questions, the best way to contact a counselor is by email. The email addresses of all our counselors are listed on the inside cover page of our monthly magazine. You can also check the Message Boards on the Seton website, which are monitored by counselors.

If you have a question regarding a complicated situation, we have several counselors available by phone every day from 9 am to 6 pm, Eastern Standard Time. If the phone line is busy, leave a message and the counselor will return your call shortly. Be sure to repeat clearly your first and last name and the phone number.

For questions about course assignments, check the lesson plans first; they are pretty thorough. Be sure you have read the whole introduction, which gives an overview of the course for the year. Skim through the lesson plans, especially the English lessons. Some specific ideas may be within the daily lesson.

There might also be some aids in the back of the lesson plans, especially for high school English. The lesson plans are reviewed and updated each year for the purpose of answering any incoming questions from the previous year.

Be sure to look into the tutorial videos on our website. We now have hundreds of curriculum videos available, mostly for the high school courses. Composition videos are now available for grades one through four.

My friend wants to enroll her daughter for only half the year when they will be out of town. Can she do that?

Parents certainly can enroll their children for only a half year. One thing you might tell your friend is to enroll her daughter in our religion course, even if for only half of the year. Our religion books are Catholic and teach more Catholic material than is found in most other school’s religion textbooks.

My daughter seems to have a different way of learning. How can I find out more about different learning styles?

If you go to the My Seton page for any one of your enrolled children, you can find an icon called Learning Styles. If you click on that icon, you can find about 10 videos by Dr. Katie Moran on “How to Teach Children with Different Learning Styles”. Each of us can learn, but we learn in different ways.

Dr. Moran helps us to recognize different traits in learning styles, and how to teach a student with a particular dominant learning style. They are very helpful videos for everyone. In addition, Seton sells a book by Sharon Hensley, a homeschooling mom with a Master’s Degree in Special Education, called “Home Schooling Children with Special Needs.” Some of her ideas can be helpful for all children, not just those who have a learning problem.

Do you have any suggestions for me to learn more writing skills so I can teach my children?

Our one-semester Composition course in 9th grade is excellent. Dr. Patrick Keats from Christendom College has been teaching the college students composition for many years and he has now produced a number of Composition videos for the Composition 9th grade course, but they are valuable for any high school grade level. You and your children will never find better information to learn composition skills.

I started my son in Seton kindergarten when he was five, but now that he is six in first grade, he seems to be struggling.

Let’s not forget that home schooling is about teaching a child according to the student’s ability subject by subject. How many of us can discuss diagramming as well as discussing the motion of planets or as well as discussing exponents in multiplication problems as well as writing an excellent letter to our senator about the waste of government spending?

Homeschooling is about individualized learning. Seton has written books in all subjects for each grade level. We try to write them for the average children in that grade level. But of course, there is no average child.

If one subject seems too easy for your child, order the next level when he finishes the easy book. If a subject seems too difficult for your child, put the book away until next year, and order the book for the previous grade level.

This individualized approach is why home schooling is so successful. Group education inevitably means some children will be bored in some subjects while other children will struggle to learn certain subjects.

What do you offer to help me and my son learn Latin?

We have Latin videos for our high school Latin I and Latin II courses. The videos feature our new Latin teacher/counselor, Jeff Minick. Mr. Minick has more than twenty years experience teaching the Henle Latin course to homeschooling students. He sent out an email to all our Latin students, encouraging students to send emails with their questions.

If anyone has not received the email from Mr. Minick, please send an email to Kevin Clark and we will send it to you. Mr. Minick is planning to start a Latin Club, and believes our students should take the National Latin Test. Some of his students achieve perfect scores every year. His video tutorials are already online. The Latin lessons will be available online very soon, though we will continue to use the Henle textbook.

For Elementary and Junior High students we also offer Latina Christiana and the First Form Latin Series.

I find myself getting frustrated with the household chores and the constant demand for doing the homeschooling.

Home schooling is a way of life.It can be a truly wonderful experience and wonderful way of life. Like marriage, home schooling has its ups and downs, some days not as good as others. Like marriage, some home schooling days can be truly wonderful and special, and will never be forgotten. Like marriage, don’t ever give up on homeschooling. Years from now, you will look back and realize that after marriage,it was the best decision you ever made.

My son really likes your new science book for Grade 5. Thank you.

A Catholic 5th grade science teacher in California wrote that book for our Seton students. A Catholic 6th grade science book is in progress and in our schedule. Keep that in your prayers; we hope to have it available by summer of 2017.

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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