The Marks of a Quality Catholic Education

Every Catholic homeschooler knows the marks of the church – One, holy, catholic and apostolic. We recite them in the Creed at Mass, and they remind us of the nature of our Church. In much the same way, Catholic homeschooling has marks and characteristics too. In keeping with our traditions regarding education, the marks of Catholic homeschooling are excellent, orderly, and Catholic, and each of these should in some way characterize our family learning…

Surviving Christmas

Sometimes it seems like the work for Mom is never ending in our large Catholic families. By Thanksgiving, the first quarter assignments have been completed and the homeschooling is clipping along nicely. Then Bang! Along comes the Christmas season, doubling the work load but halving the class time! It’s more than a little discouraging!…

Discipline: Establishing Authority

Some years ago, I taught the Confirmation class for our parish religious education program. The class was never rowdy or rude; my students were attentive and engaged – a pleasure to teach. A lovely lady from the parish volunteered to substitute when I was away one weekend. The following week, she told me the class had misbehaved so terribly that they had reduced her to tears. To tears! I was horrified and insisted each student apologize individually to her, but I was also quite surprised. What had turned my model students into monster brats? The answer was NOT that I exercised better control over the class; I didn’t feel that I had to control them at all. They just seemed to mind me…

Excellence in English

After twenty-five years of homeschooling, and seeing English offerings at hundreds of homeschooling conferences, I can tell you – absolutely – that I have never seen anything more thorough, more carefully planned, or more Catholic in content than Seton’s English courses. While you may be assured of Seton’s excellence in English, anything worthwhile is hard work, and this subject proves that rule. Let’s face it! English is really two subjects: grammar and composition. Grammar requires a mature thought process, an analytical thought process, while composition is complex to teach and to learn. While Seton’s English courses are challenging, it has proven to be within the reach of the vast majority of students, and is well worth the effort. A few simple tips, based on my own experience, might help English studies proceed more smoothly in your homeschool…

How Much Mom Time?

Work-text based subjects, including spelling, vocabulary, phonics, handwriting, and math, are ideal to introduce and accustom students to working on their own. Other subjects often require more parental involvement. They might be referred to as the “content-rich” courses which include religion, reading, composition, and for high school students, history and science. These subjects frequently require a more sophisticated thought process, memorization, and using skills from other subjects. My experience has shown me that teaching moms and dads need to provide more individual help in these content-rich subjects…

Book Reports

When I first enrolled my children in the program, over twenty years ago, we were told to pick a good book and have the child write a report following some general guidelines. The present assignment–to read a set book and write the report following a provided outline–is a walk in the park, comparatively speaking. I would like to answer some of the usual questions that are asked by Seton parents…

Independent Work

Many home schooling teachers wonder how much parental help with schoolwork is too much. Some would like to sit with each individual student, but simply do not have the time. A number of us have children who seem not to do anything on their own, while other students seem to fly through assignments with little teacher input. While we all know about — and love — the individual attention that home education affords, we wonder just how much is too much, or too little. Each home schooling parent must make up his or her own mind, but here are a few ideas to consider for some basic subjects in the early elementary grades…

On Time and On Task

Training the children to do their tasks on time and in a timely manner is no small feat, yet it can be done with planning, keeping to the schedule, and lots of family prayer throughout the day…

Fall Food Prep

Every fall, circumstances in the typical homeschool family line up to create a perfect educational opportunity. First, Mom is wistfully remembering how Dad grilled all summer as she tries to put some sort of well-balanced supper on the table with a toddler clinging to her legs. Second, the produce at farmers’ markets and grocery stores is both abundant and reasonably priced during and right after harvest. Third, the children really need to learn some practical life skills. Finally, in my own experience, children who moan about having to mop floors or take out the trash actually seem to enjoy meal preparation. All of these factors ensure that Mom can feel good about herself when passing on some kitchen responsibilities because she is training her sons and daughters in necessary adult skills…

Presidential Election

Every four years, American home schoolers are handed an ideal civics lesson: the presidential campaign and election. With TV coverage, the Internet, historic sites, and even public libraries, every family has an opportunity to learn more about the world’s most influential position and the political process. Make sure you and your children take advantage of these resources before November 6…