Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

How Do I Get There From Here? Counselor Tips on Getting Ahead…


If you have more school than year left, try these simple, practical, time-saving tips from homeschooling mom and Seton counselor Laura Clark.

April is upon us! How did that happen?

As a homeschooling mom, I tell myself that the calendar is meaningless and that my children should go at their own pace, but the reality is that as a person who went to school myself, I feel like I should be finishing up the 3rd quarter now. If I want these kids to finish high school before they’re 20, they need to buckle down and get serious about finishing the year.

But what do you do when there are technically less than two months left in the school year, but you’re still in the 2nd quarter???

First of all, breathe. It’s okay.

Then remember, the only things that Seton requires you to do are the items listed on your MySeton page or the Quarter Report Forms as “Seton graded.” You have to do some things to be able to do the Seton graded items, but you don’t have to do every assignment!

For instance, you have to read a history chapter to do the test, and while it might be beneficial to look over the review questions to help you study for the test, you do not have to have your students write down all their answers.

Breaking it Down – By the Subject

Let’s go over by subject how to help your elementary students catch up.

For English, Phonics, and Math, your students must learn the material in the lessons. They should do most of the pages; however, if they thoroughly understand the material, they can do only some problems in the assignments.

If you have time, sit with them and ensure they grasp the concepts, do half the problems, and then move on to the next page – you’ll get done twice as quickly! Sometimes, you can also do the pages orally, which will go much faster.

Instead of taking the entire quarter test at the end of the quarter, mark out which parts of the test go with which chapters, and take those parts of the tests as soon as you complete the chapters.

For History, Science, and Religion, especially in the younger grades, try reading the assignments out loud to them, then go over the questions orally. Chances are they will do better on the test because it is fresh in their mind and will take less time than doing the whole test at the end of the quarter.

For Spelling and Vocabulary, give the weekly test at the beginning of the week. If they ace it, skip the workbook pages for that week, and move on to the next lesson. If they are very good at these subjects, you can give them the quarter tests before doing any of the work for that quarter!

If they do well on them, you’ve just completed a whole quarter of Spelling or Vocabulary! If you have the time, you can have them review and do some of those lessons to reinforce spelling rules or definitions, but that’s up to you. The quarter tests are the only assignments required for those subjects.

Finally, Reading. Without a doubt, the biggest challenge for Seton students is getting those book reports done. However, again, notice that the only required assignments for each quarter in reading are the quarter comprehension test and the book report. Nothing else is required.

Tips for Your Book Report:

So concentrate on that book report! Have them begin each quarter reading the book they have chosen for the book report.

While reading, have them look at the chapter notes or the review questions. It will help them to think about the important themes of the books. Also, be sure they read the introductory paragraph and topic sentences of their book report for their chosen book before reading the book itself. A Helpful Hint: Put a piece of paper or a sticky note in the book for them to jot down page numbers that will serve as examples for their middle paragraphs.

Also, have them look over the book report worksheets that should be in their Book Report Handbooks (if you have lost them, there should be a PDF under resources on their MySeton page). These can help them organize their thoughts while reading and thus help with writing.

All this will help them to finish their book reports in just a few weeks, and then they can do their quarter comprehension test. If you have “extra” time for reading, they can read the stories in their readers or work in their Reading Comprehension or Thinking Skills books. But it’s up to you as these would be optional now.

Finally, if you are very behind, think about which are the most important subjects – I would say they are Language Arts (especially grammar for older elementary students and Phonics for the younger ones) and Mathematics.

If your state doesn’t require proof of progress in those subjects, move on – the material will most likely be covered again in more detail another year. If your child doesn’t finish his Science or History book, it’s not the end of the world. He just won’t get a grade in that subject for that year.

We’re Here to Help – Really!

As always, if you or your student needs help in any subject, please contact the counselors. We are more than happy to help you. I have more ideas for speeding things up for your high school student on page six in “Your Questions Answered!”

About Laura J Clark

Laura J Clark
Laura Clark is a 28-year homeschooling veteran, mother of 8, and grandmother of 9. She was a stay-at-home mom until she began working at Seton as an elementary counselor in 2020. Laura volunteers at her parish by heading the homeschool support group and helping run the teen drama club. She loves directing musicals and watching soccer games – at least, she must since that’s what she does with her free time. She lives with her family in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.

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