Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - July/August 1998

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Lifetime Bonding: How Does it Happen?

by Dorothy N. Moore

Over the years we have observed many exciting and wonderful side effects of homeschooling which we did not anticipate when we publicized our research on young children, which essentially launched the homeschool movement. Of course, John Hold was sure that school was bad for kids and he convinced some; but without research, many were reluctant to experiment.

One of the special bonuses that we did not expect is the priceless bonding which takes place between parents, children, and God in properly conducted Christian homeschools -- that perfect triangle of love which keeps families together and teenage rebellion or alienation nearly out of the question. What are the essential ingredients of a family which demonstrate this special quality? I decided to ask one set of parents, whose bonding is particularly noticeable, what components in their home life have contributed to this. Bob and Bonnie Groth give their answer as follows:

When thinking about the ingredients that have been a part of our home education, four areas stand out in addition to a good meausre of God's grace.

Curriculum: Your method of study-work-service worked well for us, providing good balance to our lives. We developed the curriculum around areas of strong interest -- aviation for Andrew; history and foreign languages for Peter. We used few textbooks and many library books. Our boys were motivated to learn for themselves with Bonnie as the facilitator. They learned how to teach themselves, not simply to do problems in workbook after workbook. We used a tutor for higher level math.

Variety of Experiences: We were able to travel to 30 states, Israel, and Jamaica, as well as attend church conferences around the United States. Andrew and Peter had an active part in the planning of each of the trips. We met many people different from ourselves. Even in Madison, work and service brought our sons into contact with all kinds of people. Our intent was never to "protect them" from the things of the world, but rather to experience them together and gently guide them according to the Word. We did things together and had a lot of fun together.

Atmosphere of Freedom, Not Legalism: We have noticed that parents, especially those who have come out of difficult situations (alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, unbeliev, etc.) become "controlling" and "legalistic," hoping to keep their children from similar behavior. We have seen many of their children rebel against "unreasonable rules." We tried not to overreact as our boys grew and began to formulate their thoughts and stands on issues, especially if opposed to ours. We have freedom in our house to talk about any subjects honestly. Andrew and Peter always had the option to attend a private or public school as they got older, but they chose homeschooling all the way through high school (college for Andrew)! We are "real" with our boys. We are a part of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship denomination that puts a premium on being "real" and a "lack of hype."

Peer Pressure: This seems to be rampant both in public schools and in Christian schools. We believe that because of the education stayle we used, the great variety of experiences our boys have had, and the atmosphere of freedom and honesty in our home, our family relationships are stronger than any other peer group. We have had no problem with rebellion. The boys love to learn and love the Lord. We are extremely grateful for that!

One more thing I would like to add that I know is also present in this home, but they may have been too modest to mention it, and that is the Example of the parents, particularly as they show love and respect for one another. I have heard it said that the most important thing parents can do for their children is to love each other. They set the pace for the love and bonding that take place in the home from birth through adulthood.

We, the Moores, are so thankful that these kinds of influences and results are repeated over and over in many homeschooling families. We could not have imagined any greater blessing.

Yet, we want to mention the existing fact that some children can and do rebel. Even God, who is a perfect parent, had children who rebelled, for He granted them choice, a freedom available to all. In that case, do not give up. Keep praying and claiming His promises that He will content with him that contendeth with you and He will save your children. I hold in my hand a letter from a 22-year-old young man who had left home at age 13, hit bottom mentally and spiritually, but had a radical conversion. He wrote to his mother and dad with regrets that he had not appreciated all the family events and privileges he once had a home. He thanks his parents that they did indeed "train him in the way he shoudl go."