SummaryThe Cowden family promotes the view that Seton Home Study helps families with different circumstances raise their children for heaven.
We are the Cowden Family – and we’re here to let you know it’s OK to do things a little differently when it comes to educating your children! It’s been working for us, and with a bit of creativity, flexibility, humor – and Seton’s help – it can work for you, too.
I have worked for EWTN Global Catholic Network for the past decade, and seven of those years have been remote with regular travel. My husband, Dave, works in healthcare on a non-traditional schedule. We’re also small business owners and the authors of The Prayer Book for Tired Parents: Practical Ways to Grow in Love of God and Get Your Family to Heaven.
We’ve homeschooled with Seton for four years and currently have our seven-year-old daughter enrolled in 2nd grade and our four-year-old in preschool. Our three-year-old follows suit with coloring and Play-Doh, and Baby #4 is due any day!
Along the way, we realized not every family would follow “norms” for educating their children (and everyone has their idea of what is normal, but that is a discussion for another day!). Here are a few ways Seton has meshed wonderfully with our family’s circumstances and goal to raise our children for heaven.
How Seton Helps Raise Children for Heaven
1. Abundantly Clear Lesson Plans.
Since Dave and I both work, it was important to have our kids enrolled in a program that took the “guesswork” out of schooling.
Thanks to Seton’s clear, organized lesson plans, we work together to educate our children. Seton presents a reasonable workload for each grade level, and we write notes and mark progress directly in the printed lesson plans.
For someone like me who originally envisioned creating my own elaborate lesson plans, I am humbled and see the value in having someone else do that for me.
2. Flexibility in Enrollment.
The more our family grows, the more we realize the pressure of homeschooling can increase – ESPECIALLY in Spring as the traditional school year comes to a close. Perhaps you’re chuckling while reading this because you know firsthand the reality of 4th Quarter burnout and the longing for summer break.
To mitigate this, we begin each child’s school year the day after their birthday, which staggers the start and end dates – our eldest begins in June, our middle in January, and our three-year-old will begin preschool next September after her fourth birthday. With this setup, we will never have multiple children stressing to finish the school year at the same time, and I will never be tearing my hair out and praying for summer.
3. Incremental Learning.
As a full-time work-from-home mom for the past seven years, that is all my kids have known, and they are used to keeping themselves busy during the day.
This formula translates well to Seton, as lesson plans are set up for incremental learning. Once our children learn a new concept, they have ample opportunities to practice the skill before adding a new concept.
This method is particularly helpful with Math, English, and Handwriting for our eldest, who can work independently on certain subjects while I work my day job. And then, for the more involved content (Religion, History, Science/Health), she has our full attention when Dave is home or in the evening.
4. Lessons Not Learned in a Book.
Building off the previous point, Seton has facilitated the growth of many skills for our kids, which we see most in our eldest:
Each week, we identify the lessons to complete. Our daughter chooses the order in which she completes the work, and once she finishes, she is free to do crafts and science experiments. Through trial and error, she has seen the benefit of focus and discipline early in the week.
Problem-solving and pushing through frustration
I don’t know if it’s genetic or endemic, but my daughter shares my distaste for math. However, she knows she has to do it. While pushing through groans, tears, and occasionally lost tempers, we’ve seen the arc of her persevering and completing the work, which we celebrate together as a family. We are a team, and Seton is part of that team!
It has been delightful to see how even the concepts taught in the younger elementary courses are relatable to real life. This was particularly evident this past year when we went on a two-week, 5,000 mile road trip out West, with additional trips to Florida, Alabama, and Kentucky.
The first-grade history and geography classes cover topography, reading maps, and American history, all of which our kids saw in action. The concepts in the Math, Science & Health, and Art courses have daily applications.
And, of course, the Religion courses are invaluable as we strive to take our kids to Daily Mass and Adoration and raise them surrounded by prayer and the intercession of the saints.
Curiosity and Love of Learning
Concepts learned in the Seton courses have fostered a love of learning in all areas of life as our children explore baking, cooking, gardening, wildlife observation, crafting, and discovering new books. This has even inspired Dave and me to try new things alongside our kids!
5. A 100% Catholic Curriculum.
We never doubted the choice to enroll in Seton. They have a reputation for orthodoxy, rigor, and comprehensive coursework. Even while starting our eldest in Seton’s preschool curriculum four years ago, we saw clearly how the Catholic faith was woven seamlessly into all the courses.
It is a joy for us to see the Sacred Art (our kids love to guess the saints) and read the rhymes and stories about our rich Catholic heritage, and this is one of the top reasons we recommend Seton to friends.
While there is a temptation to cave to outside pressures to abide by certain school schedules, educational models, or developmental benchmarks, Seton reminds parents that WE are the primary educators of our children, and we have a fundamental right to do so in the way we see fit.
We’re grateful Seton has supported our family’s journey and look forward to continuing for many years!
Family group photo courtesy of Mystical Rose Photography