Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

I Like Seton, but I’m Bothered by Every Course Promoting the Catholic Faith…

I used your program for my two boys this year, and we like it very much, but it bothers me that every course seems to be promoting the Catholic Faith.

Seton is following the directives of the Catholic Church. If you read my book, Catholic Homeschooling, you will see that the Catholic Church has always taught and continues to teach that Catholic children should be taught all subjects with a Catholic perspective whenever possible.

This has been the traditional teaching, not only of the Church, but of Jesus Christ and of the writers of the Bible. From the earliest days of Christianity, parents taught their children the Faith and did not have them attend “government” schools.

In the Middle Ages, Catholic colleges and schools were run by various religious orders, by nuns for girls and by priests and brothers for boys.

In all the Catholic schools in America, nuns and religious brothers were the teachers because every subject was to be taught from a Catholic perspective, incorporating Catholic teachings.

I believe my son should skip a grade. He tests out with 100 on almost all his tests.

Just this past September, a 12-year old girl from England scored perfectly on the Mensa Test, higher than Albert Einstein! She was asked if she thought she should skip one or two grade levels. She answered “I don’t think I need to skip any grades. I can challenge myself. I don’t need to have anyone else challenge me.”

Seton recommends that students should not skip a grade level, even in one subject, but the student can proceed in the lessons at the rate which is best for the student.

There are several difficulties with skipping grades. The first difficulty is that important information can be missed in courses which build upon each other. Grade levels aren’t merely teaching the same material at a higher level; often, they are teaching different material that needs to be mastered at each grade level. When a grade is skipped, this mastery often is not achieved.

The second problem is that even bright students need some time go grow in maturity. Just because a student is intellectually capable of doing work at a certain level, that does not mean the student has the emotional maturity to thrive.

For example, a student who may be a very good reader but not actually understand the meaning of what he or she is reading. The development of children takes time, which really cannot be skipped.

Not skipping a grade, however, does not mean stagnation in learning. Bright children usually have a wide range of interests, and some have a single-minded interest in a certain topic. Whatever your child is interested in, have him or her focus on that.

If the interest is space exploration, then purchase a telescope and a star chart. If the interest is history, then visit nearby museums. If the interest is music, then invest in lessons. Whatever it is, cultivate the interest and watch if flourish.

Bright students don’t need to skip a grade. They challenge themselves.

Why do you now offer three types of high school diplomas?

The General Diploma is for students whose parents believe their child will not be attending college. No foreign language courses are required.

The Academic Diploma is for college-bound students. About 90% of our students attend college. The higher number of credits required by the Academic Diploma helps ensure a student has covered all the material colleges expect high school students to know, and prepares a student for greater success on the ACT and SAT tests. High scores on either of these tests play a significant role in gaining admittance and/or financial aid for college.

We recently started offering an Advanced Academic Diploma, which is meant primarily for students planning to enter one of the military academies. However, some students planning to attend Cambridge or Harvard or another of the Ivy League universities, may want to take courses for this diploma.

Many students on the Advanced Academic Diploma track take the courses over five years, rather than four.

My sister thinks her son may have a learning problem. Can Seton help her?

Seton can absolutely help children with special learning needs. Seton has a Special Services department which will be happy to consult with parents about their child’s needs.

For families who need more help than a simple consultation, our Special Services department can customize the Seton program for your child.

You can learn more about our staff and the services we provide online at www.setonhome.org/special-learning-needs.

Some parents at my parish might teach their children at home since we have no Catholic school. What can I do to help them?

Try to start some conversations. The popes are clear about what makes an education Catholic, and one of the important things is that the textbooks are Catholic.

The majority of Catholic parents today have never seen a Catholic textbook. Consider giving away a Catholic workbook to mothers whom you think might be happy to have their child work in a Catholic workbook.

You needn’t make any further comment than: “Here is a helpful book my children liked; would you like a copy for your child?”

The Catholic Faith is beautiful, good, generous, caring, pleasing, delightful, and fulfilling. Give your friend a Catholic book for her child. God works miracles in the hearts of children.
If you belong to a homeschooling group, encourage your friends to go to a parish gathering, a woman’s club, a rummage sale, a Rosary group, a saint’s feast day, a novena, anything at all, and bring along Catholic textbooks and workbooks for others to look at or for a gift. Let Jesus take it from there.

I have five children and am struggling with teaching the four older ones.

Think about ways the older children can help the younger children. For instance, a 6th grade boy may like math and be willing to help a younger brother or sister with the math lessons. You could even “pay” him to be a Math Tutor!

An older sister might listen to the first grader read, or help the kindergartener shape letters correctly. Purchase a white board and have a student stand at the board and do his math or diagramming while you are helping his older brother do his studies.

Homeschooling should be a family project with the older ones helping the younger ones, even if only for one or two subjects a day. Besides, the younger ones often learn more quickly as they “inadvertently” overhear some of the older student’s lessons.

Consider having the older ones take turns, for even just a half hour a day, to help with babysitting or fixing lunch. There are lots of ideas on the internet to help working mothers accomplish their housekeeping. Think of yourself as a homeschooling manager and see how efficient you can be to accomplish your goals.

Where can I find someone who has homeschooled in my area who might help me?

Every state has a homeschooling organization, and most have a Catholic homeschooling organization. You might check on our website for the groups and locations that sponsor homeschooling conferences. If your state is not listed, check the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website which lists Christian and Catholic state organizations.

If you email Cecilia at Seton csauer (@) setonhome.org, she may have the name of someone in your area who would be willing to help other local Catholic homeschooling families.

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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