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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

My Son Knows the Math, Can He Skip to the Next Level?


If a child can do all the math in the math book for his grade level, can he skip to the next level math book? Dr. Mary Kay Clark’s advice may surprise you.

My children still have not finished their work for this past year. They want a vacation. What do you recommend?

As a parent, you should decide what is best. You might impress on your children, however, that if they don’t finish up now, they will feel more pressure next year. Consider having them do the math and any subject which may be difficult for your children to “catch up” in the fall.

Can my high school daughter take a Seton course over the summer?

Yes, Seton offers individual or single course enrollments for all grade levels throughout the year. Summer is a good time to take any subject that needs continuing practice, such as a math or foreign language course.

My son wants a break from the schooling over the summer. Is there a problem if he finishes up his grade work in the fall?

There is no problem with Seton for whatever you choose for your son in the summer. However, some subjects may be difficult for him if he takes off three months, especially in math and reading if he is still in a lower grade level. Some families encourage the children to take along some of their books when they are traveling in the car. You can encourage your son by asking questions about the topics or even treating him for doing an assignment.

Should I insist my children do some reading over the summertime?

A good approach might be to encourage them to join a library reading club over the summer. The library allows the children to read the books of their choice, and usually gives a “reward” of some kind.

Otherwise, you might want to give a reward for every book read over the summer. Be sure to review any fiction as these days, they tend to deal with unpleasant situations. You might give your children a dollar to read non-fiction, such as biographies or history or science books.

I encourage you to check the Seton Summer Book Club as a way to keep up reading skills over the summer. You will find a wide selection of literature from early elementary to high school that the Seton bookstore and our Academic Counselors have gathered. You can register in the Club for free and we will send you an email with your Book List.

My son can do all the math in the math book for his grade level. Can he skip to the next level math book?

Usually students struggle if they skip a grade level in math. You might have your son take all the end-of-chapter tests at the lower level, and if he has perfect or nearly perfect scores, then you may advance him to the next level.

My son wants to attend a technical school after graduation. Is there any disadvantage with taking the General Diploma track?

Seton has three high school diploma options to meet the needs of our entire student body. All adhere to the high standard Seton has always expected of our students. These diploma tracks are General, Academic, and Advanced.

The General Diploma is an option for students that might not necessarily be looking to attend four year university or college immediately out of high school, or might be considering going to local community colleges or vocational schools.

The overall credit requirement is the same as the Academic diploma, 22 credits, but the foreign language requirement is dropped.

The English requirement for the General track is four English or literature courses rather than the five required in the Academic track. Grammar and Composition is considered a separate type of course and is required in both tracks.

The Academic Diploma is the standard diploma that the great majority of our students seek and which is in line with the requirements for most colleges or universities.

In this track, Seton requires three years of math and three years of Science and a half credit of Economics. Otherwise, everything else is the same as our past diploma requirements.

The Advanced Academic diploma is a new program Seton instituted in 2014 in an attempt to offer an organized path towards taking Seton’s more rigorous courses while rewarding students for that extra work. Many states have Advanced Diplomas, and Seton’s is based on the Virginia version.

With added Math, Science, and Language requirements, this diploma is meant for students who might be trying to get into programs related to those fields, such as engineering, or into upper echelon schools such as Ivy Leagues or Military Academies.

Remember that you are not locked into a diploma option. If a student is enrolled for the Advanced Diploma and wants to switch over to either the Academic or General Diploma, that is perfectly acceptable.

You will find more about choosing a Diploma track on the Seton website or in the high school catalog. If you have further questions, contact Mr. Nick Marmalejo, our high school counselor, at 540-636-2238 or

My children are in 6th and 3rd grade. Can they work on their own with your lessons plans so I can take care of the baby?

It is rare for children to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic entirely on their own. Perhaps a relative would come to your home to help with the schooling and/or with babysitting. Some moms have learned to keep the babies nearby, and to have the older ones help with the younger ones. It takes patience.

Focus on the essential subjects, and perhaps Dad can help in the evenings and on weekends with other subjects. You may not appreciate these years as much as you hoped, but in later years, you will be rewarded with children who love you because you cared and made sacrifices to strengthen their Faith in a secular society.

Can my son pick his own book for a book report?

Because our graders need to be familiar with the books for the reports they are grading, we need the students to write reports on the books we have listed, or sent to the student.

You can check our Elementary Catalog for the Book Report Choices. The complete list for grades 4 – 8 is on page 31.

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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