I have been doing some thinking. Over the next few weeks, or however long it takes, I plan to include some posts on our family’s philosophy of education. I think that this is important for us, but also for others who may be interested in what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.
I am not an educational expert. I am just a mom who is interested in seeing our boys grow up to be real men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.
Consider this thought:
–The greatest want of the world is the want of men,–men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.–Education, p. 57.
This goal is high. No educational formula or philosophy can accomplish this for us. To have a high aim is good, but in our own strength alone, we will still fail of achieving the mark. We need more than the goal, then; we need help to carry through what we desire. We need prayer.
This thought, from the book Education, probably sums up in a nutshell what our goals for education should consider.
Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come. Education, p. 13
I believe that although we have a direction in mind of where we want to go with our family, we are learning all of the time. We may have to update and revise our philosophy as we learn more.
So far, some books that have shaped where I want to go are:
Education, by Ellen White
Home Grown Kids, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Better Late Than Early, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore
The Moores performed research in the 1970s and 80s, most of it on how children learn and what factors contribute to success and failure in learning. Their books provide a wealth of information, both for the parent/teacher, as well as those wishing to see documentation of what they found when studying children in many different school, home, and daycare settings. I think that the most important thing that I took away from the books that I read by the Moores was the counsel to wait for formal schooling until the child is ready, at which point they will learn much more rapidly than before they are physically, emotionally, or mentally ready.
The Moore website has information and curriculum, and quite a few articles on education as well. www.moorehomeschooling.com For those interested in the books that Dr. Raymond Moore wrote, and his research, this information can be found on the website.
I took the following description of how the Moore Formula works from their website. For me, it makes sense as a very practical way to ensure that we are educating our children for a life of service to God and to others.
How to teach with low stress, low cost, high success and behavior
If you doubt student or teacher burnout or your own ability, join in any Moore seminar or read The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, (The Handbook). It’s not mostly from intellectual or spiritual problems, as some suggest, but from wrong habit or method. We help you avoid or cure fear, frustration, boredom, stress, pain, despair, heavy expense. Teaching should be mostly fun: relaxing, healing, inexpensive, low-stress yet successful like Tom Edison, Abe Lincoln and Christ.
A BETTER WAY
After 55 years of teaching teachers and students, and managing education at all levels, we give you here and in The Handbook secrets of all the ages to avoid or cure burnout and failure, to bring success beyond normal hopes. To our knowledge, we have no failures! Even drill can be fun. Allow for individual differences, follow the principled and balanced Moore Formula, and your normal children will excel in head, hand, heart, and health, proven as it is by history, research and common sense.
1) Study from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the child’s maturity.
2) Manual work at least as much as study.
3) Home and/or community service an hour or so a day. Focus on kids’ interests and needs; be an example in consistency, curiosity, and patience. Live with them! Worry less about tests; we’ll help you there. With the Moore Formula, if you are loving and can read, write, count, and speak clearly, you are a master teacher.
Moores’ free-exploring curricula are largely self-teaching: Math-It, Winston Grammar, etc. Use fewer workbooks and textbooks. Generally parents are the best teachers for their children. The Smithsonian Institution’s study of twenty world-class geniuses stressed three factors: 1) warm, loving, educationally responsive parents and other adults; 2) scant association outside the family, and 3) a great deal of creative freedom under parental guidance to explore their ideas, drilling as necessary. These ingredients for genius are a mixture of head, hand, heart, and health. Mixed in with balance, and your sound example, they bring out great characters and personalities. So we encourage you to unite 1) study, 2) work (and entrepreneurship) with 3) home and community service.
HOW TO BEGIN
First, don’t subject your children to formal, scheduled study before age 8 to 10 or 12, whether they can read or not. To any who differ, as their evidence let them read Better Late Than Early (BLTE) or School Can Wait (SCW). In addition to our basic research at Stanford and the University of Colorado Medical School, we analyzed over 8000 studies of children’s senses, brain, cognition, socialization, etc., and are certain that no replicable evidence exists for rushing children into formal study at home or school before 8 or 10.
Read and sing and play with your children from birth. Read to them several times a day, and they will learn to read in their own time-as early as 3 or 4, but usually later, some as late as 14. Late readers are no more likely to be retarded or disabled than early ones. They often become the best readers of all-with undamaged vision and acute hearing, more adult-like reasoning (cognition) levels, mature brain structure and less blocking of creative interests. Yet late readers are often falsely thought to be in need of remedial help. If you have any doubts about your youngster, have specialists check vision and hearing; possibly see a neurologist. If there are no problems, relax.
If your children are early readers, 15 or 20 minutes at a time is enough for children under ages 8 to 10. They can use a kitchen timer. Then take an hour or two for distant vision play. They can first use crayons or chalk on large paper or blackboards before developing finer muscle coordination required for pencils or detailed drawing or sewing. More on this in BLTE, SCW, and Home Grown Kids (HGK). For ultimate assurance you may want to enroll in the Moore Academy-a low-stress, low-cost, high achievement program that leads homeschooling everywhere. The program for high school students provides them with a transcript and/or diploma if desired.
When your children seem ready, play oral games with phonics, numbers, etc., but authorities from Columbia to Cal-Berkeley say avoid study pressures until they are at least 8 to 12. At that time a few minutes a day may be all that is necessary for the drill or practice in basics they need. Just as important-or more so-is to identify their interests such as bugs, gardening, cooking or baking, astronomy, cars, sewing, cottage industries, economics, history or politics.
Whatever their interests, open the door wide to knowledge. Don’t give them mostly textbooks/workbooks nor try to keep ahead of them; let them do original reading along the lines of their interests and watch them grow! A child’s motivation is more educationally productive than the most skilled teaching. And let them sample old standardized tests or manuals to lose fear of testing.
Instead of toys, give them tools (kitchen, shop, yard or desk), encyclopedias, magazines; use libraries, etc. Don’t be shocked at their interests, even if they are guns or motorcycles! From these they can learn chemistry and physics (internal combustion motors), economics, math, history, geography, languages, cultures and manual skills (at local repair shops or in home businesses). Girls are usually a year or so ahead of boys, at least until late teens.
The “antennae” sprouting from the brains of most students are blocked by mass-education’s cookie-cutter substitutes for life that destroy creativity. Kids come out uniform-sized cookies, or sausages. Better to learn history realistically by reading biographies rather than textbooks. Let creative interests expand to other learning. As they mature, they teach themselves, learn at their own initiative-as few now do!
Constructive, skill-building, entrepreneurial work builds children’s self-confidence, creativity, and self-control, and does it more quickly. It is the most dramatic and consistent cure for behavior and personality problems. If you give children authority to manage your home to the extent that they can accept responsibility, they mature rapidly and naturally. Make them officers in your home industries. There is no more certain key to happy home education-or other schooling-regardless of institutional level. We’ve seen no one fail, rebel, or burn out.
Begin small. Start your children to work when they start to walk. Add freedom as they accept responsibility. No cash allowances! Let them earn their way, helping you make or grow and sell cookies, muffins, bread, wooden toys, vegetables, or service lawns, baby-sit, etc. By 6 or 8, many can run businesses. See Minding Your Own Business (MYOB) for more than 400 cottage industries. Do comparison shopping: apples/oranges, Grapenuts/Sugar Pops, etc. (nutrition, frugality, and math lessons). Let your kids use your checking account to pay your bills. The bank corrects their “math papers.”
This begins at home and neighborhood with daily/weekly visits to needy neighbors, nursing homes, pediatric wards or other community or personal service. It makes self-centered kids self-less and moderates any tendency their businesses bring toward materialism. Family, community and church provide fruitful ways of building great-hearted children. Some schools now use service as a wholesome activity. Children with bouquets of wild flowers or crayon drawings are usually welcomed in nursing homes even when they are too young to be allowed to visit in pediatric wards.
This is the Golden Rule in practice. Our children once had a secret society (“SOS”-for Service Over Self) that specialized in secret good deeds for the aged, poor, sick, or handicapped-like washing or repairing a car, chair, or washing machine, or painting fences, shoveling snow, or weeding gardens. Great fun!
Some ask why more families don’t follow this Formula. Most parents are uncomfortable with the unconventional ideas. They teach as they were taught, unaware that such methods are responsible for many of today’s school problems. So they pay heavily for books which tie them, and their children down and burn them out. To them, we as professionals say, “It took us awhile to believe too.” Certified teachers often have the hardest times. Moore students average near the top in student achievement, sociability, and behavior and at low stress and cost. Carefully read The Handbook and view the professional HGK video, read MYOB, then Home Made Health, Home Built Discipline and BLTE. You will have both security and joy!
GENTLE WARNING: Properly done, home education offers low-stress, low-cost, and high achievement and sociability from a balance of study, work, and service. Few curricula do this!
Insist on proven research and experience. Patiently study methods and materials before you send your check or credit card number to anyone. Question closely all testers, lecturers, and entrepreneurs. Insist they prove their quality. Homeschool leaders like those in pro-life and anti-porn fall into two groups: 1) Selfless laymen and professionals and officials who sacrifice money and time to elevate homeschooling to new heights; and 2) A few lacking professional background or ethics, or both, who urge stressful, costly school-at-home materials, programs, or services on unwary parents who then burn out and come to loathe homeschool. Some fought homeschooling until the 1980’s. Some authors, editors, and speakers know little of research, and persuasively misuse Scripture to convey an image of a bigoted Christ to secular friends. They are homeschools’ most divisive influence. For your sake and for your friends’ sake, study to know the difference.
Warm responsive parents who know their children’s interests. Drill to develop their phonics, writing, and math when the children are ready in senses, brain, and reasoning. More association with you than with peers.
Encourage them to freely explore their ideas with few restrictions by workbooks and school methods, reaching out as interests expand.
Children combine household chores (from the time they learn to walk) with home industries in which they share management. They learn math, etc. by earning money and accounting for it.
They also become well and positively socialized as they buy and sell. And they build character as they work and serve.
(On a regular basis at variable times)
Service begins at home and in the neighborhood, with daily or weekly visits to nursing homes, pediatric wards or other ventures in community or personal service.
NOTE: The time you devote to study, work, or service should depend upon children’s maturity and interests. Teens are easiest of all with Moores’ Formula.
This is the formula. I am currently part of a Yahoo group centered around the Moore Formula of education. It’s a good place to find others who are trying to educate by the Moore Method. I “met” a lady on our group a few years ago, who has now schooled her two boys all the way through high school by following the recommendations of the Moores, and she reports that her sons are doing well in their chosen fields of college study. She sings the praises of having allowed her sons to learn at their own pace and at their own interest levels.
I believe that our children can expect to have success too, and that we can help them. Part of that is learning how.