SummaryIn her latest Q & A to families, Dr. Mary Kay Clark has suggestions for when a child does not want to do his math even though he understands the concepts.
We are half-way through the school year but not half-way through the lessons. How can I prepare now so we can be finished with the lessons by June?
By this time of the year, you are pretty much aware of the courses in which your child is doing very well. What you might consider is moving along more quickly in those courses.
For instance, if your daughter is obtaining perfect scores in spelling every week, consider having her do two spelling chapters each week. Take a look at other areas which can be adjusted to move along more quickly.
Another idea is to assign some work on a weekend. One year when we had moved and lost some time, my boys were very agreeable to doing schoolwork on Saturday mornings so they could be finished by June. Ask your husband if he might be able to take over a class to help move it along more quickly.
If a student is moving slowly in a subject, perhaps ask a high school student from your parish to come in two or three times a week and help with the history or science class.
If you have any further questions, or want ideas for a specific subject area, please call one of our elementary counselors.
I am a single mom and must work, but I want to homeschool my young daughter. How can I find someone to help me?
We receive a number of calls like yours. The main priority is to pray to find someone to help you. A relative would be best. Have you thought about an older woman as a nanny and tutor? Might there be a single woman at church who is out of work and may be happy to have room and board in exchange for helping you homeschool?
Try to find a local Catholic homeschooling support group, and attend a few of their meetings, and make some friends there. Tell some of the moms that you need help, that perhaps one or two of them might help by taking your daughter along with their children. They may know of someone, such as a retired teacher, who may be willing to help.
However, remember that you must be in charge, you must direct the learning, and you must do review or whatever else you can with your daughter. Try to work your hours in the afternoon and evening so you can be home with your daughter in the morning when you both are at your “brightest.”
You might ask your company if it would be possible to telecommute a couple of days a week. Consider using the work-free weekends as your best “schooling” days. If you cannot sufficiently cover all the necessary core subjects during the regular school calendar, then you may need to homeschool all year, doing perhaps three or four days a week.
If you can work this out, focus on the primary subjects of religion, math, English, reading, and phonics. History and science can be done in a more casual manner, such as reading history before going to sleep or discussing science over Sunday dinner. Spelling and handwriting can be combined, shortening the lessons to two or three days a week.
How important are hands-on activities?
It depends on the subject and on the student. Hands-on activities reinforce concepts, so they are especially important in the area of science, for which many concepts are not clear until and unless the student “sees” them. Seton sells science kits for homeschooling families, and they are very popular.
We also have a large number of Mr. Wizard DVDs which teach children how to do many, many different science projects. Some of these projects the children can do on their own, or with Dad on a weekend! We also have lab manuals for students taking high school biology, chemistry, or physics courses. Please call Gene McGuirk for further information about this, or visit our SEM book catalog.
It is beneficial for children to learn to play a musical instrument, an important hands-on activity which helps develop the brain for math and reading skills. Studies have shown that children, even high school students, who learn a musical instrument— which demands attention to several details at once—do much better in all their subjects.
Learning an instrument and hence playing music teaches many things including: the use of many parts of the brain at once, memory, communication, coordination, concentration, critical thinking, team and social skills, imagination and creativity, improvisation and composition, cooperation and commitment through lessons and group playing, the development of self-esteem and confidence (Source: EzineArticles.com – 11 Reasons Why You Should Learn a Musical Instrument).
Students at a younger age, from birth through the first three or four grade levels, learn best by hands-on activities. Everyone, at every age, can add to their learning through hands-on activities.
What do I do about my 4th grade son who does not want to do his math?
He does his other work, but fools around for hours and won’t do his math, though he has no problem understanding the math.
First, ask your son why he does not want to do his math. Is he bored? Is it too easy? Does it seem like there are too many problems on the page? Is there something else he wants to do instead, like read a mystery story? Is this an opportunity to be defiant about something?
Have you tried other math books and had the same reaction? Are you using a textbook, such as the Saxon for which the problems need to be rewritten, or are you using a workbook? Some boys hate rewriting the problems!
Second, try telling him that if he does the end-of-section review pages, for example, and he answers all the problems correctly, he would not be required to do the previous lessons related to the review pages. In such a case, he obviously knows the math!
Third, tell your son that he could go on to 5th grade math just as soon as he passes all his 4th grade levels.
Fourth, I would look online and try to find colorful interactive math activities for the 4th and 5th grade levels. Fifth, explain how important math is for astronauts , explorers, doctors, computer technicians, and carpenters. Find children’s books at the library about famous men whose success involved knowing math.
Encourage conversation about things around the house and outside the house which involve math and measuring.
When you put gas in the car, ask him how many gallons you can buy with $10. He needs to see the importance of math in daily life, his own life, your life, and your family’s life.
As my children get older, I am becoming increasingly concerned about college. We need financial aid for my children who want to attend college. What should I do?
The cost of a college education continues to increase, but there are many sources of help available. Colleges want all the students they can enroll and are therefore your best source for financial aid, in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, or work-study.
Another source of help is your extended family, particularly grandparents. There are several financial vehicles available to those who want to help pay for college. A federal program called the Coverdell Education Savings Account is available nationwide, and many states have their own programs. For grandparents with more resources, an educational trust can be established.
It is a problem in our society that many students are graduating from college with a crushing burden of loans. The average 4-year college graduate in 2008 owed $27,803 in loans. The average student graduating with a doctoral degree owed nearly $60,000.
For students at prestigious private universities, loans can easily exceed $100,000. This debt puts a massive burden on people just starting out in careers. It means that many couples postpone marriage and children until these debts can be paid.
We at Seton are highly supportive of Catholic colleges, and we know the value of four years at a good Catholic college. However, in-state public universities are far less expensive, costing between one-half and one-fourth of private college fees.
When families cannot afford four years at a Catholic college, we suggest that students take at least some courses— such as science, math, and language—at a public university or local community college and transfer the credits toward graduation. If you can reduce the years to three instead of four at the expensive Catholic college, that can be a huge savings.
Not to be overlooked as well is the fact that very good students will be offered more scholarship opportunities than average or below-average students.
While we hope that students work hard in high school because they understand the importance of a good Catholic education, the truth is that students who maintain a good GPA and do well on the SAT or ACT will pay less for college.