Teaching Twelfth grade

(by Dr. Mary Clark )


12th grade is the end of the home schooling road for most students, so they are anxious to finish. No more anxious than parents, however.

The usual problem in 12th grade is that students are working a part-time job which interferes with the schooling, not only because of the time constraints but also because students mentally are occupied with thinking about their futures.

Seton has tried to lessen the writing assignments for this grade so students can spend time on their jobs or preparing for college. Most students take their SAT or ACT tests in the previous grade, but some take them in 12th, especially if their first score the previous year was low. In fact, if students want a scholarship, they should try anyway in the fall of their senior year to try to improve their score.

Students should be taking an SAT or ACT preparation class during their regular home schooling day, using a text-workbook from Barron.s which can be purchased at a bookstore, or from Seton. In many cities, local classes are available for $300 or so.

At this point, just about every college welcomes home schooled students, the only problem being with state schools which have bureaucratic regulations. With state schools, a student may need to take the GED, even though students may have obtained high scores on the more difficult SAT.

Catholic colleges we recommend are Christendom College, Magdalen College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Thomas More College, and Thomas Aquinas College.

Students who want to go into the military or military academies also face the bureaucracy. While we have had Seton students accepted directly into the military, the red tape and paperwork is often time-consuming and exasperating. An easier road is to enroll for one semester in a local college, and from there go on to the military. Such students enter “from college” without any trouble.

In looking ahead to college, home schooled students will find it is especially useful to be enrolled in a high school program such as Seton's. Transcripts from a high school program which show credits, grades, and “normal” High school courses make college entrance much easier, without questions. We have known some students who were home schooling without a program who were required to take additional SAT or ACT exams in subject areas, such as in English, a foreign language, History, and so on.

As an aside, Seton College will be accepting students in the next year or so, for Freshman and Sophomore courses. Seniors who finish early and would like to take advanced courses, or graduates who want to take additional courses before going away to college may be interested in enrolling in one or more Seton College courses.

The Senior Program

All seniors need to take the Senior British Literature course, English 12, based on an excellent

Catholic text Prose and Poetry of England. Unlike the previous English courses, this course combines literary analysis with a survey of British literature. This course does not require essay writing.

Perhaps the most helpful hint in taking this course is to keep at it and answer the questions after each selection as soon as possible. Sometimes students think they can read the selections and put off answering the questions. But if the questions are not answered for several days, they will be more difficult to answer, and this will result in further delay and frustration.

The Religion course is based on a text written by Dr. Anne Carroll, Following Christ in the World. Seton is currently revising this course, and has received ecclesiastical permission for publication. The revised lesson plans contain supplements on recent papal encyclicals. Finally, the entire content of the course has been referenced to the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Religion 12 is a challenging but rewarding course, showing how the perennial truths of the Catholic Faith shed much needed light on many contemporary issues. The course clearly demonstrates how the Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ.

Seniors are required to take a course in American Government, using a Christian text approved by a Catholic political science professor. The professor added comments in the lesson plans to offer even greater insights into the significance of events from the Catholic perspective. Included in the course is a study of The Federalist Papers and the encyclical On Social Reconstruction.

Most students also take the second year of a foreign language since most colleges require that for entrance. We encourage Latin since it is the language of the Catholic Church, and because it is especially helpful in many professional careers, such as in medical and legal careers. Students may also take French, Spanish, or German.

Some students continue their foreign language course over the summer previous to their second year to keep the vocabulary fresh in their minds. This is one subject in which the student needs to be sure to practice every day. Even a little bit of drill on Saturday would help. Attending a weekly local conversational “class” or group session could be very useful.

A course which we are now encouraging seniors to take if they did not have it earlier is Geography. It is a substantial course, using a secular text since no Christian or Catholic text is available. The text contains many “politically correct” views on population growth, ethnocentrism, communism, multiculturalism, and globalism. The lesson plans contain the Catholic perspective on these issues.

This is probably the most underestimated course we have. Those who have taken it, and parents who have taught it, realize that it is chock full of geography as well as important and useful information about political philosophies. Students need to realize that today, in the schools of America, geography is not simply memorizing rivers and lakes, capitals and resources. Today it is taught with a government-approved worldwide philosophy, which must be challenged by the Catholic viewpoint.

A wide range of additional courses are available as electives, such as health, nutrition, physics, computer programming, pre-calculus, economics, and Shakespeare. A high school catalog explaining all the courses is available upon request.

T w e n t y -two credits are needed for graduation from Seton, but two may be non-academic. These may be courses taken locally, such as ballet, skiing, computer programming, waterpainting, piano, home economics or any course approved by Seton.

While many students look forward to graduating from high school and look forward to “no more books,” we hope and pray that our Seton program helps graduates to begin a program of lifelong learning that will lead them ultimately to gain more knowledge and consequently more love of Jesus Christ.


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