Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - March/April 2000

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Questions and Answers

"What Do We Do After We Have Killed Our Daughter's Love For Learning?"

by Ellen Dana

Q. I just finished reading The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook. I checked it out of our local library and it has changed my heart like no other book on the subject. I only wish I would have read it and believed it three years ago when we started homeschooling our daughter, age 6 at the time. She started off loving it, but now she doesn't seem to be interested.

Now I understand that we pushed her when she wasn't ready and that has killed her enthusiasm. We have been using Alpha-Omega for Math and Language Arts since kindergarten and we have added A Beka's science, history and health curriculum as well, doing academics about 3-4 hours daily Tues-Fri. Mondays we belong to a homeschool fine arts group where she learns drawing, musical bells and recorder. She really likes it but ends up very tired because she starts at 9 AM and doesn't get any break until noon.

She loves to read books on many subjects and reads better than most 10 or 11 year-olds, but math is a different story. She absolutely hates it. I guess I just kept hoping she would get it if we did it enough.

Obviously, it isn't working! How do we back track now that we've managed to kill our daughter's love for learning?

A. Children are amazingly resilient; they bounce back from bad experiences when given space and time to heal. Nurture your daughter with hands-on learning, teaching her household skills, and reading to her. Establish a close bond with her while going on field trips, nature walks and overnight camping trips.

For math allow your daughter to heal from burnout, then play Math-it as a game. See how she responds to the activity. If she likes it, do a little more two days later, etc. If there is resistance, study design in God's creation. (Yes, that's math!) Make a scrapbook of design in nature pictures. Fun!

For Language Arts your daughter is too young for Winston Grammar; it's better for grades 7-9. If what you have is working continue using it, but be sure the length of time is short -- maybe 15 minutes. Have oral language some days rather than written!

If you're reading some biographies, you're having history. Check the timeline for their life span, plot their home on the globe, etc. Make it educational. Don't skip science; it's so much fun for this age. Get an easy book like Science Activities, Volume 1, 2 or 3 from our catalog and do them several times a week. By all means, begin your day with Bible. Tell the stories, then the next day let her retell the story from the day before. If you get the Bible Felt Set, let her use felts to tell the story. It is then oral language -- so good for her to do for younger children.

Remember that the knowledge and information that a child is eager to have centers on the world around us, how people live and how things work. Go to places like museums, construct things like long ago people did and watch the enthusiasm return. Get the focus off the skill subjects (math and reading) for the time being. 

An hour and 1/2 is plenty for a day for an 8 or 9-year-old child. Even then, it shouldn't be all in one block of time. Have devotions, tell a Bible story, or let her review a story you told before (15 minutes), sing a song to go with it and you've had Bible, Social Studies, oral Language and Music that day! Let her help you load the washer, or do a kitchen project for 1/2 hour or so, then do a science experiment. Let her help get lunch or make granola for tomorrow, measuring the ingredients. Now you've had math and cooking and/or science.

In the afternoon keep her busy for another hour with cooking or baking, shopping or cleaning, visiting a neighbor who needs her house cleaned because she is ill, etc. then some free time to play whatever she would like and you have a relaxed but fulfilled day.

For additional help, please see our catalog where The Moore Formula Manual is listed. It will help you with more ideas of how to conduct your homeschool. If that is not sufficient help, you can enroll a child and have your own educational counselor to assist you.