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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

How Much Help Can I Give My Daughter on Her Book Report?


Parents ask how much help should they give a child with homework. Dr. Clark offers a guideline and practical suggestions for this frequently asked question.

How much input should I give to help my 6th grader with her book report?

While you don’t want to dictate the exact words or sentences, you certainly could point out a particular issue with a question, such as “Don’t you think you should explain why the character made that decision?”

In other words, instead of giving a specific sentence or idea, ask a question for your student to help him think about what he needs to explain.

We are almost in spring and I feel so far behind. What can I do to catch up?

First, consider which courses are the most important, and then concentrate on those. Religion, Reading, English, and Math should be caught up as much as possible. Consider having classes or discussions on the weekend to catch up with these courses. History and science could be studied in the evening or on weekends to catch up.

Some parents have children catch up by doing some assignments while traveling in the car when they can ask questions.

Remember that the lesson plans are suggestions, not commands. Students are not required to do every assignment in the lesson plans. To receive a grade for a quarter, a student needs only to submit the specific Seton-graded tests or assignments.

To catch up, look over the lesson plans and see what can be skipped or consolidated. Similarly, for workbook pages, if a student does half the problems on a page correctly, then there may be no need to finish the page. The goal is to have the student learn the same material but progress more quickly.

My son is attending a weekly class with a group of homeschoolers. Is this a good idea?

Homeschooling is as great as it is because children are learning from their parents, those who love the child the most, and are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help their child understand and learn.

Homeschooling strengthens not only the learning process as parents can individualize the presentation to accommodate the particular learning style of the child, but it also strengthens the relationship between parent and child.

Parents should be aware of the potential situations for a particular child in a group-class situation, not only from the aspect of learning the lessons but also how the group may be influencing your child’s perspective, perhaps even on an unrelated issue, for which you might be concerned.

Homeschooling is wonderful because it affords parents and children the opportunity to learn in a number of different environments. Homeschool classes that assist parents in subjects such as foreign languages, science labs, the fine arts, and phys. ed. are a part of a wide and generous education. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for parents to find support and encouragement with others who are “in the same boat”.

In short, as long as your family is not too committed outside the home and all of the schoolwork is getting done, enjoy your classes!

May I submit the book report for my son from his local homeschooling class?

It is not uncommon for parents to ask us if their students may submit a different book for a book report than we send with the curriculum. You have to remember, though, that it’s very difficult for a grader to grade a book report for a book that the grader has not read.

The Seton graders are familiar with the books Seton has provided for our students at each grade level. They are also familiar with the specific guidelines which Seton requires for the book report. Unfortunately, Seton graders cannot adequately grade a report for a book which is not on the Seton list, nor follows the guidelines for a Seton book report.

With spring coming up, I know my boys will want to be going outside and joining a baseball team. How strict should I be to insist the boys finish their schoolwork before they go to their practice?

Remind your boys at the beginning of the week, and also at the beginning of each day that, if they want to go to baseball practice, they need to finish their schoolwork as scheduled. If they are trying but do not finish their scheduled work, they need to finish it up, either in the evening or on the weekend. It is important to do this because, in their adult lives, they cannot leave their jobs undone.

You might have a weekly sheet listing the courses, and your boys could check them off as they are done each day. You can put the baseball or football practice at the end of the day’s schedule. This emphasizes that schoolwork needs to be done before playtime.

Sports are great for teaching such virtues as learning to do difficult things and learning to be part of a team. Parents understand that these virtues and others taught from sports will help their children later in life when difficulties and tough choices arise.

However, education is even more important since that will last with them throughout their lives and directly affect much that they do every day.

So, as important as sports are, we don’t want to value sports above education. Education and sports should go together.

If our children are truly ready to make a commitment to their team, then part of that commitment must also be to do their schoolwork when they should, thus leaving them time for sports practices.

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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