Seton or Kolbe or CHC Homeschool?


My children 11, 7, and 6 will finish Catholic School next week. I plan on homeschooling them with a trial run this summer. I also run our family business from my home. Nothing wrong with the Catholic School, I just don't want to commute 1hr 20min every day anymore. Of course, I've looked at all the Catholic curriculums. I need a boxed curriculum for now until I am confident to do my own curriculum.

Can anyone tell me the difference between Seton & Kolbe?

Is Seton & Kolbe completely online?
Do you have to sit at a computer for 4 or 6hrs a day 5days a week?
How many hours a day does Seton or Kolbe take?
Is Seton overwhelming?

CHC is very tempting since it is so gentle.
Will it be too easy for a 6th grader?
How much time during the day do you spend homeschooling with CHC?
Has anyone gone from CHC to Seton/Kolbe curriculum?

Sorry for all the questions & thanks in advance. God bless.


Of the ones you name, I only have experience with CHC.

CHC requires very little time per day, and is very gentle. We used it for PreK-2nd grade until I felt confident building my own curriculum. It was very flexible, very Catholic, very gentle, but still very good academically. It was easy to make a transition from CHC to designing my own curriculum and I still get out some of their lesson plans and materials to use.

I have heard good and bad about Kolbe and Seton, most of the bad being about the rigidity. I think it depends on the kid, on the parent, and on what your expectation of homeschooling is.

From what I understand, both are book based and you will not spend significant hours in front of the computer.

For a catholic homeschooling forum, check out

Hope this helps.


I would definitely recommend CHC for your two younger children. For your 11 year old, Mother of Divine Grace. I also work at home and combining working and homeschooling is definitely challenging! You need good preparation, good routine and good scheduling. Also, I would recommend looking into It is not Catholic, but it has been a good crutch for me when work ramps up and I don't have much time to work with the kids one on one. If they at least do Time for Learning, I know they have done something! Also, if you are in a season of business with work, the younger ones can do the "core" work in CHC and you can let other supplemental things go for a little while.


Even box curricula have preparation and record keeping requirements that will eat some of the time saved (though you will have much less driving stress). We used Seton for my son’s first year but customized it with alternate phonics and math programs. Overall, it has been a positive experience.


I’ve never used Kolbe, but my understanding is that it offers less services than Seton. You’ll be doing a fair amount of grading with both.

Seton will have some online tests and probably book reports. Both programs will have phone counselors. Seton is more traditional schooling in its outlook and Kolbe is more classical. So, Kolbe will emphasize of the classical origins of western civilization whereas in Seton, you will get more of the curriculum you would find in any Catholic school.

At the grade levels you are using, there will be little online work for either program. You can adapt either program to your life. You can skip units, assignments, partial assignments, supplement, go at your own pace, etc. Seton has a lot of work, but it’s really up to you to decide how to use it. Most schools provide the parents with the most complete (extra) material with the understanding that the parent adapts it to their needs.

My biggest beef with Seton is that the Religion courses are dry and boring. I like that they get into the nitty gritty, but I want my kids to be excited about learning religion. Generally, we go through the Seton Religion courses fairly quickly (mostly orally) then do Bible studies, Catholic book studies, and lapbooks. However, that is just my experience.

I like the CHC material as well, esp. in the younger grades. They don’t provide any grading or evaluation services.

We use an eclectic curriculum most years, but I have enrolled with Seton before when I wanted more services–usually when I had a heavy workload (just had a baby, was struggling with a clingy kid, dh working alot). But, I don’t think you really get alot from the services until middle school and high school. I like to have someone else grade my kids’ essays because I work with them on setting them up and editing them and I’m not objective.

In the lower grades with Seton, I would just buy the curriculum and not enroll. Six grade is borderline. I might or might not enroll with a six grader. You will still do a lot of the grading.

I think the biggest difference is the amount of services.

For lower grades, count on about 1 1/2-2 hours of school a day. For a six grader, you should be doing about 3 hours, depending on the attention and on task factor. That’s pretty standard for any curriculum. I work one on one with my kids in lower grades. For the upper grades, including sixth grade, I assign work, help with any difficulties and review/correct with them. So, your time on task should be covered by the commute time. I think it’s a good move:thumbsup:

Seton has a reputation of being overwhelming because parents don’t realize that they can adapt it to their needs. Seton will tell you to skip over material your kids all ready know. Do work orally instead of having them write it out, go at your own pace, etc. If you try to do every assignment, every problem, then you will feel overwhelm. It’s my opinion that they try to provide the most work possible, so you will have the most material to work with. Also, if your child is not ready for grade 1 math, then do the kindergarten book. If your child is not ready for the Seton grade 3 English, then do the 2nd grade English. Etc. If your child is not ready for 15 spellling words a week, then pick 10.

Any boxed curriculum is a tool.

When I was first looking at programs, I chose Seton over the other boxed curriculum providers because they offered the most services; I also like the traditional school approach over the classical program and I thought if we didn’t continue with hsing, it would make for an easier transition to school.

I think you will like hsing. The hardest part might be helping the kids make good choices to fill their extra free time. I think it helps to shove the tv in the closet. They’ll adapt, though.

God bless.


Wow!! Thank you so much for all the replies! It sure does help a lot. I was always leaning toward Seton because it is so Catholic but I was shying away from how rigid & the long hours required during the day since I still have to run my family business which puts food on the table. lol I am also gonna really research Mother of Divine Grace because it is a classical approach. God bless you all.

@Leonie: thank you so much for going into detail how many hrs a day they should typically spend on work. Yes, I agree on the commuting comment :thumbsup:


I use Kolbe. They do not do the grading for you unless you pay for their enhanced evaluation services. They are very flexible. If you want them to keep records of your grades, you have to send the grade and one work sample per quarter per subject. This is true if you use their materials, or if you make substitutions. You are allowed to make as many changes to the curriculum as you wish, and they will still do this. Personally, I am not overwhelmed by grading things myself (although I have moved away from using grades very often anyway), but I would be overwhelmed by having to send a lot of work samples on a regular basis (as you would do for Seton), so Kolbe's set up works better for me. Other people feel exactly the opposite and prefer Seton. I really like CHC's materials. This may sound silly, but the fact that their self-published materials are spiral bound makes them preferable to me. At this point in the game, I am so opinionated that there is not one program that I will follow exactly for my child who is just going in to K. I use some Kolbe stuff, some CHC stuff, some Seton, and some other. But I do think of CHC as a really wonderful program to start a child out with - gentle, yet thorough, and geared towards independent work. I make my choices based on how well the content of the curriculum matches my goals. Most programs treat math pretty similarly, but History and Science are quite different, and those are the subjects that had the most sway when I was choosing curriculum.

I think you could easily start out with CHC, and then transition to another program later in the game. If I were going from CHC to Kolbe I would probably transition over in 4th grade, because that is when Kolbe starts their Elementary Literature program. If that wasn't important to me, the next obvious point would be Jr. High/7th grade. This is where the Jr. High Lit course begins, and also when Kolbe switches from teaching general science to specialized science classes (starting with Earth Science, there will be a new topic every year until the end of high school). I'm sure you can do that with Seton or any other provider as well, although I don't know what points would be the most preferable ones.


Hey I'm a home schooled kid in ninth grade, and I have been home schooled all my life. I love it. I do Seton, and I don't think it is rigid at all. It is actually SUPER flexible because the mom teaching is the teacher. The curriculum is all Catholic based, and I find it loads of fun. It is true that the English and reading can be challenging for some, but that's the good part. Because it's challenging, you learn more, and Seton counselors can be called up to help with ANYTHING! Teaching, learning, everything. They can help you teach, or they can talk to the students to help them with something. Also, it seems rigid in the schedule, but you can change it to match you and your kids schedule. Just call Seton and they'll help you with anything you need help with. I hope you find what works for you. God bless! :)


Thank you everyone for the replies :thumbsup:


I just started using CHC for my 7th grade daughter and she and I both like it very much. She had been very stressed out in public school and the pace of CHC is much easier to work with. And just the fact she is being homeschooled now makes her very happy and much less stressed.

I am looking into Seton Academy for my 10th grader who would like to be homeschooled for the rest of highschool. Not sure yet if that's what we will end up doing. Our high school is not the greatest, and I told my daughter Seton will definitely challenge her!

My 7th grader is the only one of my family who is interested in Catholicism, so using a Catholic curriculum is a great way to incorporate teaching her about the faith during our daily time together. I just love it.:thumbsup:


We have used Kolbe for years, but for us, the flexibility is the most valuable part of the program. Our son has special needs, so Kolbe allows us to use our own materials and choose our own way of teaching. To us, Kolbe is all about flexibility and empowering the parent.

The proctors at Kolbe are all great - and they are helpful regardless of the materials you use. I used the "boxed" curricula in the early years and found it pretty good - very challenging for the student. I think Seton's "boxed" curricula is about the same or a bit more polished. But Kolbe allowed me to spread my wings and adapt my teaching to my son's special needs and supported me in making changes and adaptations.

Most importantly, trust in your children and their natural ability to learn. Try to RELAX! The first year homeschooling is the hardest on the parent as your expectations get in the way. Most parents try too hard to be perfect.


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