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Your Questions… Answered

My High Schooler Helps Out But She’s Falling Behind! Any suggestions for her Studies?

4 minutes

My high school daughter helps me with preparing the meals and taking care of the baby. But she is falling behind in her studies. Do you have any suggestions for me to help her with her studies?

It is difficult for us moms to “let go” of our high school sons and daughters who are so terrific in helping with family and household chores. These duties actually do help them to become good parents in the future.

However, we homeschooling moms need to realize that our high schoolers need to establish a schedule for a regular amount of time each day to be devoted to for serious study.

Give your daughter a special quiet location, her own study space in the house where she can spend serious time away from the family and chores. Even if it is only the size of an oversized closet, it needs to be her own study space. If this is not possible, she could go to a local college library at least a few hours a day.

College libraries are best for space, quiet, and the opportunity to observe older students and professors who are serious about their education. However, if no college library is available, then any library will do. Before your daughter starts college, she will need to establish regular study habits.

It’s only a couple of months until summer. I’m concerned about finishing the school year on time.

Remember that there is no “on time” set by Seton. There is no fixed date on the calendar by which you must be finished with your homeschooling year. Families have a full twelve months to complete their course work. If needed, the academic year can even be extended for a small fee.

It is important to give your children adequate time to learn the material. A great benefit of homeschooling is that the school “year” can and should be adjusted to accommodate the time needed for a child to learn.

Some parents find that their students move along quickly and consistently in some subjects but need more time in one or two subjects. For instance, if your child seems slow in learning his math, continue the homeschooling lessons in math during the summer.

That being said, there are certainly some ways in which you can progress more quickly. For example, you may want to do more oral work. For younger children, you may want to cut back on some of the workbook exercises—as long as you are sure the children are learning the material adequately.

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It sometimes helps high school students to focus exclusively on two courses for a while. That way those courses can quickly be completed, and the student can move on to two more courses.

There are many more ideas which might help in your situation. If you would like advice specific to your family, you might want to e-mail or call a counselor.

Are the Seton videos important for improving the student’s understanding of the lessons, or are they really just a nice extra?

We believe most students will learn more or gain a deeper understanding of the lessons with the online audio lectures and videos. However, we also believe that a student can do very well without the audios and videos. No matter how bright the student, the audios and videos likely add at least some further understanding of the lessons.

The presentations are given by college professors or high school teachers who understand which areas of the subject matter can use more explanation. We have received feedback from students regarding history and English, and they believe the audios and videos generate a greater appreciation and interest in their assignments.

The material presented in audio and video tutorials is not included directly on our tests. However, because the audio and video tutorials will provide more insights and because they review important concepts, they certainly will help the student, though likely indirectly, in taking the tests.

The audios and videos are not meant to deal with the specifics of the tests or book analyses. A student could do well on the tests without the audio and video tutorials, but likely will find the analyses and tests easier with the help of the presentations.

My 7th grade son needs more help with his book analyses than I seem to be able to give him. What can I do?

The lesson plans are fairly detailed in their presentation for helping students to write their book analyses. In the 7th grade, there are extensive explanations for paragraph writing. We recommend emailing or calling a Seton counselor for more help as well.

There are other options available to families as well. Perhaps there is a retired English teacher in your parish who might consider helping your son once or twice a week. You could phone a nearby Catholic school to ask if an English teacher has recently retired from full-time but would like tutoring part-time. Your homeschooling friends might know of a retired teacher.

Consider taking the time yourself to learn the book analysis skills so that you can help more in the future.

We are planning a series of videos for helping students with their composition skills.

I have a son in 5th grade and a daughter in 6th grade. May I put them both in the same grade level? How does that work?

When students are in adjacent grade levels, we encourage parents to think about which subject areas they might take together. We encourage parents to have a younger student work through the summer on a particular subject so he or she can be advanced with the older sibling in the fall. Sometimes an older struggling student would do well to repeat a grade level with the younger sibling. The primary goal is for the student to learn the material.

Sometimes an older sibling who has not done well can be an “assistant” for Mom by helping to teach a younger sibling. This reinforces concepts for the older student, helps the younger student, and helps Mom to accomplish more herself.

My friend has a son who is not doing well in school. According to the mom, he has dyslexia. Can Seton help?

Seton can help in a variety of ways, but the best help for the student is personal interaction with his mother and father. The best help for him is patience, understanding, and encouragement. Our Special Needs counselor can help your friend with trying different methods of presentation. Seton has a series of helpful videos for students with dyslexia, presented by an experienced dyslexia teacher.

Seton also has a series of videos for various methods of presentation for students with dyslexia and various other learning problems or issues. These are presented by Dr. Katherine Moran, who was a homeschooling mom and now a homeschooling grandmother. Dyslexia students can learn once they understand how to learn.

Another helpful resource for parents is Homeschooling Children with Special Needs, available through Seton Educational Media (www.setonbooks.com).

My son needs to do more exercises for some of his English 6 lessons. Do you have an extra practice book I can purchase?

Seton sells extra books for the various subjects and grades, which you can find through our SEM Book Catalog. Just go on our website and click on Book Catalog.

For grades 5, 6, & 8, Seton provides an extra exercise page for every grammar lesson. If you go to Course Resources for English 6, for instance, you can find these and print them out. Look carefully at the titles of the lessons so you can print out the ones you want. An answer key is provided also. Even for updated books, the topics should remain the same.

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About Dr. Mary Kay Clark

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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