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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Secrets to Getting It All Done


Homeschooling mom of eight shares her list of simple, down-to-earth success strategies developed over her 28 years of homeschooling with Seton.

This is the time of year when we start to see many comments and questions from moms, especially moms of large families, who seem overwhelmed and worried that they are getting behind.

They may have started out okay, but as the school year progresses, they find that they are getting behind–or what they consider behind. It may be that their students are moving along okay in the books but haven’t done the tests or papers that need to be turned in. Sometimes, the moms are feeling overwhelmed with grading.

Other times, they think some of their students are doing okay, but others feel neglected.

I have eight children, each about two years apart, so I homeschooled seven children at once for several years! I know it can be overwhelming, so I have a few ideas that hopefully will help!

1. Focus on the Essentials

The lesson plans are an ideal, but not everything needs to be done. For all grade levels, the only things we are required to do to receive a grade for the course are the Seton-graded assignments. Otherwise, you can adjust Seton’s daily lesson plans in any way you want.

You can adjust your daily work so your child can focus on the Seton-graded work. If your child needs to do all the pages in the workbook to prepare for the tests, do them, but if he doesn’t, it’s okay to skip some once you’re sure he’s mastered the concepts.

Our motto is “Fit the program to the child, not the child to the program!”

2. Use Parent Grading Options

Remember, too, that certain subjects are parent-graded, and it is entirely up to you to proceed with them. These are art, music, and PE for all grades, handwriting for grades 1-5, Science and History for grades 1-3, and all of Pre-K and Kindergarten.

My girls all took ballet classes several days a week, and my boys played soccer, so that was our PE program. We loved going into Washington, DC to see free or reduced-rate shows and concerts, which can count toward the art or music program.


Whatever you decide to do for these subjects, you are still entitled to submit your parent grades for their report card. By entering your parent-determined grades, you are just telling us that you have done something for those subjects.

3. Combine Classes if Possible

Next, if you have children in similar age ranges, consider working with them together as a group.

If you have 1st and 3rd graders, consider doing 2nd-grade religion with both. Or if you have students in grades 4 and 5, but your 4th grader is extremely good with her language arts skills, consider moving her up with her sibling so they can work on English, Reading, Spelling, and Vocabulary together.

4. Complete Assignments Online

Another time and energy-saving technique is to have your child complete as many assignments as possible online. For 4th grade and up, many tests can be taken online on your MySeton page. The advantages to this are that you don’t have to worry about losing the test either before or after the student has taken it, and you don’t have to scan it or mail it in; you just hit submit!

Online tests are graded much faster than those mailed in, so you get your grades back in a fraction of the time. As the teacher, you may still look at the test to help your child prepare to take it. For the younger children who don’t have online tests available, I suggest scanning the paper test as soon as they have taken it and uploading it immediately. Then it’s done – nothing more to worry about!


As far as daily work and grading, I would always have my younger children bring me their work as they finished, and it usually only took 30 seconds to look over it and give them a “grade,” which I would indicate by making a big check mark on the page if they got everything right.

At the end of the quarter, when I had to submit a parent grade for the home assignments, rather than trying to average the grades for all their workbook page, I would give a grade based on my sense of how they had done the entire quarter – attitude counts, too!

5. You’re the Boss

Finally, you should realize that for the elementary grades, Seton does not require anyone to submit anything. Some years, we felt like we were in “survival mode.” We just did the basics: math and lots of reading and language arts skills. It’s okay for an elementary student to skip science or vocabulary for a year – it won’t make a lasting difference. In that case, you would just get grades for the subjects you are turning in.

However, we know that many families enroll just to get the materials and lesson plans and never turn anything in – that is certainly an option. Of course, Seton cannot issue a report card or grades in that case, but many parents are happy to create their own transcript for record-keeping purposes. You should check your state homeschooling requirements to ensure you meet them. As long as you are confident that your child is ready for the next grade level, Seton does not require the completion of the previous grade to move on to the next.

I hope these hints help you! We want you and your family to do well and your students to learn and grow.

We do not want the program to be a burden, so if you feel it is becoming so, please try some of these tips and reach out to us for help!

6. A Guide to Homeschooling Success

This link will take you to a guide to the keys that are part of your enrollment with Seton Home Study School. It has an excellent description of the MySeton page, including 5 Useful MySeton Tools.

While the article was written for newly enrolled families, it has advice worth reviewing. It will save you time and effort and help you succeed in homeschooling.

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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