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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

I Can’t Seem to Keep the House in Order & School at the Same Time!

I cannot seem to stay on top of the schoolwork and keep the house in order.

Your children should be given responsibility to help keep the house in order. You and your husband are the managers of the children’s housekeeping duties.

Give them schooling assignments, but also make sure they accomplish their housework assignments.

Just as the children mark off their school assignments in their notebook or lesson plans, they can mark off their house assignments on a schedule chart on the refrigerator.

Ask your husband to join you on a Sunday afternoon as you plan the week’s schoolwork and housework assignments.

When the children realize that Dad supports the plan, you will find the children more attentive to getting their housework and schoolwork done before Dad comes home!

My boys did their housework assignments between their school subjects.

It is good exercise for children to clean up and straighten up, wash the dishes, put things away, put laundry in the machine and dryer, put clothes away, keep their closets neat, put out the garbage, make soup and sandwiches for lunch, and so on.

All the housework jobs, throughout the day and between their school assignments, keep them moving, alert, and physically refreshed to start their next school assignment.

You may also want to consider an allowance for finishing school and chores.

Search for ‘chores’ on for ideas from other Seton homeschooling moms.

How can I prepare my children for a quiz or test?

Look over the test yourself and explain to your student the kind of test, whether it is objective or multiple choice, or requires a paragraph to prove an answer.

You can point out some things like, “You need to know the reasons for [this or that]” or “You’d better study the various battles of World War II.”

It is not unusual for classroom teachers to alert the students in a general way about what they should study for a test. However, it would not be fair to give your child the specific questions.

My children resist writing paragraphs and book reports.

The reason your children resist writing paragraphs and book reports is because such writing demands mostly inductive thinking and original ideas.

It is much easier to study certain facts, memorize them, and repeat them; this makes less demand on the brain than original thinking.

To determine the development of plot or character, or to show how ideas relate and develop, takes inductive thinking.

To write a paragraph in a logical manner demands thinking of an important topic, understanding its development—either in a story or in your own thought process or throughout history—and then relating that idea to a sequence of events or arguments.

Explain to your student that, like Sherlock Holmes, he must “investigate” a character or a situation, and come to a conclusion.

Any kind of thinking about what to write to prove a point or to show examples takes an inductive “Sherlock” kind of thinking.

America has been famous for its scientists and inventors who have been inductive thinkers, primarily investigators.

Explain to your children the power of inductive thinking in their own family background and in history.

Talk to them about innovations in any area, such as a family member who learned to play a musical instrument in a different way, or invented a useful new product.

Help your children appreciate the discoveries they read about in their history and science books.

All these people developed their products mainly because of inductive thinking.

Since my daughter has a special learning need, shouldn’t I send her to a school with a Special Education class?

If you spend a week visiting a Special Education class at your local school, you may notice that different children in the classroom have different special needs.

It is difficult for a teacher to be able to give each one of the children the time and special help each one needs.

You might be better off hiring someone who has credentials and experience to come to your home and help you teach your child.

You might consider enrolling your daughter in our Special Needs curriculum.

Mr. Stephen Costanzo, an experienced classroom special needs teacher and homeschooling father, can help you and your daughter to succeed.

My high school senior says he needs more quiet time.

One idea is to convert something like a walk-in closet, or even a quiet corner, into a small study area. A quiet basement corner or attached garage space might provide room for a study carrel.

Consider taking your student to a local college library which has study carrels in quiet rooms.Your son is likely becoming anxious about college work, so being able to focus for a significant length of time is a good habit to develop before college.

My children don’t always finish their assignments for the week.

If your children are not finishing but are progressing at the rate in each subject that you think is best for them, or appropriate according to their ability, then don’t worry about it.

Homeschooling is supposed to be adjusted to the ability of each child, subject by subject. This is the best way to learn.

Putting pressure on them to arbitrarily “meet a deadline” is not good. If you believe your children are wasting time or not focusing on their work, however, you could tell them that whatever assignments they don’t finish up need to be done on Saturday.

You might remind them that the school “year” could go into the summer if they don’t keep up. Try brainstorming with your spouse to find ways to encourage or incentivize your children to finish.

Where can I find more help for paragraph writing for my children?

The Seton English and Reading lesson plans contain helps and ideas for writing skills for the assignments.

As parents ask for more help, we add more to the lesson plans. In addition, we sell four Writing Skills workbooks; each contains more than 140 pages.

Each book is written for specific grade levels, from Grade 3 to Grade 12. In addition, Seton is producing video tutorials for Composition skills starting from Grade 2 through high school.

Go to Course Resources for the particular course, and you should find the videos for your child’s grade level.

Consider asking your children to carry around a small notebook and to write at least one paragraph a day about an event that happened or something that was observed during the day.

They should write not only the objective facts but also what they are thinking about or learning from their experience.

My husband wants to take a couple of our boys with him on a business trip to visit relatives and see museums. I am concerned they will fall behind in their schoolwork.

First of all, spending time with their father, and seeing or coming to understand his work, is extremely valuable. Never neglect giving your children this kind of opportunity.

Secondly, if you think there might be some “free time,” have the boys take along some schoolbooks with them, especially their math books.

They could take another book which you know they will like to have if they have time in the car or on the plane, such as a reader or history book.

When the children get back, have them give a “presentation” to the rest of the family about their adventures with Dad.

Perhaps they can take pictures to enliven their presentation!

You could even give them a grade for English class!

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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