We Homeschool for Life!

One afternoon, while I was sitting outside watching my last brain cell fly away hand in hand with my last nerve cell, my neighbor came by. She sat beside me and asked me the most-asked question of the century. She asked me why I don’t send my kids to school. Well, with no brain cells left, it was a hard thing to deal with. So I began to tell her my recorded speech. “We like the time we have together…they learn better…we have a wonderful support group.” Satisfied, my neighbor then asked the second most common question: “Why do you have so many children?” Sadly, the second question, posed by many well-meaning Catholics, asked me why I do everything that I do…what a deep question for a mother of four little ones with another on the way.

Questions We Are Asked – May 2012

May I adjust the program for my 8th grade boy toward easier courses, or less time-consuming courses?

One thing to remember is that boys go through a growth spurt in the junior high years, and once they settle down in high school to their studies, they become better students.

Questions We Are Asked – April 2012

How important is it to keep up with the schedule in the lesson plans?

The lesson plans are meant to be a guideline, a plan to cover the lessons in a normal thirty-six-week year. Without a guideline, many would not finish the material that needs to be taught in a year.

Questions We Are Asked – March 2012

This is our first year. Should I be concerned that we are not totally on schedule according to the lesson plans?

The lesson plans are a suggestion. Most home schooling parents want a guideline based on how many lessons they need to cover in 180 days, the usual schedule for state schools. However, you can and should adjust the schedule according to the abilities and interests of each child. You certainly don’t want to slow down a student who loves math, finds it easy, and can do two lessons a day. At the same time, you don’t want to rush a student who is struggling with reading or grammar; that student may need two days even though the lesson plans call for only one day. It usually evens out, with students taking more time on some subjects and less time on other subjects.

Questions We Are Asked – February 2012

How do I prepare my son to take a Seton test?

The first step is to be sure your student reads and follows the directions in the lesson plans. One problem we see is that the student “short cuts” the daily assignments. The assignments may include reading the chapter, studying any outline in the chapter, highlighting or underlining important points, answering the end of chapter review questions, and making a chapter outline if there is not one. One thing we are doing when we write our high school textbooks is adding an outline at the beginning of each chapter.

Questions We Are Asked – January 2012

Am I required to give home grades?

You are not required to give home grades; if you do not, then your student’s quarter grade will be based solely on the Seton-graded assignments. There is no problem with this, except that students tend to receive higher grades when the home grades are averaged with the Seton grades.

Questions We Are Asked – December 2011

Sometimes it seems like there is too much in the lesson plans.

If you have ever seen a teacher’s manual, there are always plenty of suggestions, but the teacher uses what he or she thinks is important for the students. Seton writes lesson plans which we believe will help most students, but some students may be able to learn the lessons by doing less. It is up to the parent to decide how much work is necessary in each subject for each child. A student in 5th grade may need to do every problem in the book to reinforce the concepts, while another student—even in the same family—may learn the concepts so quickly that doing fewer problems is sufficient.

Questions We Are Asked – November 2011

How can I stay on top of things during the year when I am homeschooling?

Being organized is difficult, as most homeschooling moms will readily admit. However, there are some parents who have worked at it over the years, and have good control over the homeschooling and homemaking. There are several ways to find good ideas that might help you. Read some of the chapters in my book, Catholic Home Schooling, especially on discipline and home management. Read Ginny Seuffert’s book Home Management Essentials. Read some of the articles appearing in our past newsletters regarding home organization. Purchase one of our blank lesson plan books and use it to organize and schedule your own home management, appointments, and inside and outside tasks. Look on the Internet for tons of ideas about organizing your home.

Questions We Are Asked – March 2011

I am so busy with the younger children, I am trying to have the older children follow the directions in the lesson plans.

We need to be careful about the children reading the lesson plans and doing their lessons without daily oversight by parents. Certainly most high school students should be given more responsibility, but younger children need close direction and supervision. Even high school students need fairly close oversight. Sometimes high school students will report that everything is progressing just fine, but parents find out later that all is not as it should be.

Questions We Are Asked – February 2011

Our family has been attending Mass every day, but with the price of gas, I’m not sure we can afford to keep going.

The priest shortage in many rural areas, combined with the high cost of gasoline, has made it a definite hardship for many families just to get to Mass. When driving a large SUV or van, a trip to Mass and back might cost $10 or more. We all want to attend daily Mass, but in the current economic situation, the cost may be more than your family is able to pay.