Thursday, February 24, 2011

Homeschooling: The legacy of Raymond and Dorothy Moore
Raymond and Dorothy Moore began the "delayed formal schooling" movement in homeschool circles. They've demystified the homeschool process by showing how compatable home life is with the learning needs of young children.
So many homeschoolers get hung-up with school-like thinking. Even opting out of preschool is now seen as a radical decision by many. The Moores have provided counterweight to these school-oriented pressures.
Domestic life: Play and chores
The Moores contend that children by nature orient their learning around play. They encourage a life filled with play. No rush to introduce school-ish lessons; just think learning skills as you do all kinds of things. Building blocks teach spacial skills, which are essential for mathematical thinking.
Chores also lend themselves to developing academic skills. For example, sorting socks is a math skill because it relies on patterning. They encourage you to get your preschoolers involved in sorting socks and silverware, as well as setting the table.
Language skills are learned through frequent contact with adults. Casual talking in a fully trusting and loving environment creates thoughtful language skills in children.
Keep children's lives rich and full, and don't rush to integrate formal academics into their days. Delay formal instruction until they show readiness and interest.
Learning in small bits and individually
No need to fill a child's day with academic learning, according to the Moores. Instead read the warning signs that you are overdoing it, when children get distracted, over-energetic or resist. Keep lesson times short, and expand with each child's readiness.
Children need to have one-to-one individualized tutoring to learn best. They felt this was especially vital for wiggly boys, but just as much for chatty girls. Learning large groups has provided evidence of failure. One-to-one instruction provides counterweight.
The Moores advanced developmental thinking for children, and they've freed parents of school or society-assigned "benchmarks" for success. Instead the Moores remind us that children work at their own readiness, and learning must be in sync with their readiness.
Learning, work and service combined
The Moores emphasize that academic learning only prepares children in part for the world. Children need to have an integrated and working home life.
In addition they emphasized external work, or - better yet - home-based businesses. They consider home-based businesses perfect meansfor filling out a child's vocational education, while preparing for vital character lessons. Hard work, attention to detail, organization all become valuable goals in a profit-driven business. Society waits too long to employ children, and parents can make up the difference with home-based businesses.
Service, at least one hour a week, should be integrated into every child's education. They learn vital skills while developing their heart and character, in addition to their capacity to empathize, which is key to emotional intelligence.
In short the Moores' legacy involves a way of educating children at home which provides for the broadest possible education, and not just academics.
* Delay formal schooling, and use play and domestic life for teaching opportunities.
* Introduce academic lessons gradually, and attuned to a child's developmental readiness.
* Limit learning times to short periods and teach one-to-one as a tutor for maximized learning.
* Integrate work, especially home-based business, to provide a fuller education at home.
* Encourage community service from a young age.
These are part of the "Moores' Formula" for education. They provide counterweight to the social pressures that all-to-many homeschool curriculum's mirror. Resist the pressure to let academics weigh too heavily in a young person's life. Give them the broadest education from the best advantage point - the home, according to the Moores. As the bumper sticker encourages: "When it comes to school, there's no place like home.
Ray And Dorothy Moore
The beginning of the modern homeschool method
In the late 1960's and the early 1970's Ray and Dorothy Moore began questioning and researching the how valid early childhood education really was. This led them to do research. Their research included requesting that other researchers who were working with them do independent studies and to review more than 8,000 studies about early childhood education and the mental development of children. This information concluded that introducing children to formal schooling before the age of 8 lacked in effectiveness and actually harmed children. The greatest toll was on boys because a lot of studies have already shown that they were not as mature as girls.
The Moores published these findings. In these publications they asserted that formal schooling damages young children in the areas of academics, social graces, mentality and physiology. Within these writings the Moores presented evidence that demonstrating that childhood problems (including juvenile delinquency, nearsightedness, behavioral problems and the increase in special education classes) result from the early enrollment of children in school.
Of course, there was a need for some children to be out of the home and in some sort of caring environment at an early age. These were mainly children who had special needs or were living in dire poverty. Nevertheless, there were critical long-term results produced by this in both social and emotional areas. An institutional environment cannot replace or correct these problems. In other words, the vast majority of children are a lot better off with mediocre parents than with the most gifted teachers in an institutional environment.
With all of this information in mind, the Moores became strong proponents for homeschooling. They published their first book in 1975 entitled "Better Late Than Early." From there they continued on to become strong, important advocates of homeschooling. They were also pioneers in their publishing of books such as "Home Grown Kids" in 1981, followed by "Home School Burnout" and "Minding Your Own Business."
There was a common theme that ran throughout their philosophy. This is their belief that homeschooling should not be an attempt to bring institutional schooling into the home. In other words, parents should not attempt to construct school in the home. Instead, they should involve all of the family members, even those who are very young, in industrious and gainful enterprises so that everyone benefits. In this way, everyone within the entire family can be educated through the experience of living.

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