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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Help Me Explain Why My Son Should Learn a Foreign Language


Seton Home Study Director Dr. Mary Kay Clark helps a parent explain why learning a foreign language is a valuable component of a well-rounded education.

Can you help me explain to my son why he should learn a foreign language?

There are several good reasons why the learning of foreign languages is critical for young Americans.

First, we live in an interconnected world in which communication between people of different nationalities is essential. People who make important decisions in churches, businesses, and the government need at times to read documentation or to speak to people who use languages other than English.

Second, the structure of our language, such as the use of parts of speech, sentences, and idiomatic expressions, can be understood better when a foreign language is well known.

Third, knowing another language also enhances logical thinking and is known to help students achieve higher scores in college placement testing.

Finally, the Catholic Church is universal, and the knowledge of another language and other cultures is an excellent tool for helping people develop their Faith or for bringing them into the Lord’s fold.

Why is the American Literature course for juniors and seniors only?

American Literature pairs best with American History and American Government, the social studies courses most students take in their junior and senior years. Also, the course’s readings require interpretive skills best reserved until after a student has mastered sophomore-level skills.

For a sophomore who is an avid reader, World Literature is a perfect elective. The poetry, short stories, and essays in the World Literature textbook include rich classics like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and a host of entertaining, frequently moving pieces, difficult to find in other anthologies.

The level of challenge can be increased by enrolling in the honors version of World Literature, which adds essay assignments on two books from a list of options as various in difficulty and interest as Around the World in 80 Days, The Odyssey, and The Song of Bernadette. “Honors World Literature” looks attractive on a high school transcript in terms of college entrance, and as with all our honors courses, students receive a five-point bonus to their final grade (up to a total of 100).

The Catholic, intellectual, and entertainment value of the World Literature textbook (available for purchase on its own through makes it likely to become a cherished part of the family library, even if no students take the course.

I’ve noticed that all three high school diploma tracks require some electives. Is there a list of electives to choose from?

Some Seton courses are not required to meet specific diploma requirements and might be called electives, or enrichment courses. However, any course that is not individually required can be taken as an elective.

For example, in the General and Academic diploma tracks, a student needs three science courses. If the student takes a fourth science course, that fourth one has become an elective. Courses like Computer Programming, Logic, and Shakespeare, and a few others, could be labeled “pure” electives and are available as enrichment courses.

Can my daughter take a foreign language starting in 8th grade, but obtain high school credit?

Yes. Seton will allow an eighth-grade student to take a ninth-grade course, as long as the student has grades that give evidence of obtaining good grades for a ninth-grade course.

If a student cannot finish the course in 8th grade, the student may continue to take it the following year. The student will obtain high school credit whenever the course is completed.

Editor’s note: The cost for an 8th grader to enroll in the High School Latin course is $210.00 or $245.00 to enroll in a Rosetta Stone Online Course (Spanish, French or German).

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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