The Moore Formula Manual
by the Moore Foundation Staff

The Moore Foundation catalog description of The Moore Formula Manual:

Learn how to put all those wonderful principles to work. The best self-help book in homeschooling. By the educational counselors of Moore Academy Staff in collaboration with Dr. and Mrs. Moore.

The Moore Report International has an article in the July/August 1998 edition. I've summarized some of the article here:

The Moore Formula Manual contains 8 sections:

  • Academic Excellence - how you can be sure your child will really achieve without textbooks and workbooks
  • Unit Studies - including a complete tutorial in how to begin with a simple two-subject unit, expanding as far as you wish
  • Pre-School - with our suggestions for early preparation
  • Grades K-3 - differentiating between traditional education and the more informal creative Moore Formula type, and early years' learning objectives, with Activities to Promote Spiritual Development of Children.
  • Sections for Grades 4-6, 7&8, and 9-12 cover the same basic topics, but are appropriate to those grades.

There is also a document called Ways We Learn and Show What We Know which give suggestions on ways to demonstrate knowledge other than testing. The manual supplies the creative ingredients for those who aren't creative!!!!

Section 8 contains things like Child Management, ADHD, Legal Issues, and What to Do When You Feel You Must Put More Pressure on Your Child to Perform for Testing.

"If you've read The Successful Homeschool Handbook, but still felt a little lost about how to apply those wonderful principles... The Moore Formula Manual is for you. If you've felt that you'd like to enroll your child, but allocated education funds are a little low, the Manual is for you..."

Now for my comments:

When I got my Moore Formula Manual I had to at least start reading it!

Bible Memorization is an important factor in the Moore Formula. They suggest doing mainly large blocks of verses, like a chapter or book. Mentioned in the Manual is that many times, within 10 days, there is a marked improvement in attention span when memorization is started. Now, to me this may be worth trying, just for that!!!

Here is a direct quote from page A-3 of the Moore Formula Manual:

"The younger your child is when you begin this program, the easier it is for teacher and student. As soon as the child can talk, he can memorize. But it is never too late to start."

One thing about the Scripture Memorization part of the plan (which in the manual calls it the first step in academic excellence), it is for large portions of scripture. Memorization of a single verse, or a few verses together, are O.K. in some areas, but for the most part, large blocks (like chapters and books) should be memorized.

Here are the beginning steps for memorization (abbreviated and summarized by me):

  • Positive attitude - the Bible must be your guide for your child to respect it.
  • Begin with prayer.
  • Choose scripture that will be of practical benefit.
  • Assign one verse per day at first (if writing, the student can write it, check penmanship).
  • Physical activity between each session.
  • Discuss the meaning of the verse and help him to see practical ways to apply it.
  • Set a specific time of day for recitation

Ways to incorporate the memorization into school subjects (spelling, penmanship, etc.) and how to help your child memorize in regard to their learning style are given. The reasons for memorization, they state, is improvement in attention span, advanced maturity, Christian experience, and scholastics.

The second section has to do with unit studies: why unit studies, how to prepare for them, how to incorporate one into your lifestyle, how to recognize a desire in your children for a study, etc.

The first section is titled "Moore Academy of Academic Excellence". This gives lots of information on their perspective and how to incorporate them. I will explain their five point perspective:

  • First is Scripture Memorization. I have already commented on this above. A quote from page A-2 in the manual:
    "... done carefully and systematically along with Bible study, develops learning pathways in the brain, plants heaven's concepts in the mind, and brings the child into harmony with the only true Source of wisdom -- our Heavenly Father."
  • Second is Observation Skills. Observation contributes to early casual, but creative scientific study and discussion. Providing your child with lots of opportunities to observe, with all the senses, is important. Ask what they hear (while sitting with eyes closed), see, etc. Ask them to give as many details as possible, using adjectives. Listening, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting.
    This reminds me of the "study" we did on digestion. The first thing we did was do a taste test. I gave each of the children (I was watching two other children during this week, both a few years older than my oldest) a dish with the following: salt, lemon slice, sugar, and cocoa. They had to place a bit of each on certain parts of their tongue and let me know where the taste was the strongest for that particular thing. What was so funny was that when they saw the cocoa, they thought, "Wow! Chocolate!" They soon found out what cocoa really was, bitter. Observation!
    The manual gives a number of ways to help your child learn good observation skills.
  • Third is Work and Service Education. This, we all know, has to do with either working around the house, helping someone, or actually doing a paid job (like a home business).
  • Fourth is Building Skills. The purpose for a skill should be realized before it is taught. For example, if a child is selling tomatoes he grew in his garden, he will want to know math, to make sure he isn't cheated. A child wants to read a story they really enjoy, he will want to learn to read. Several examples of how to "drill" without your child knowing are included.
  • Fifth is Guided Questioning. Questions beyond who, what, when, where, and how much to why and how. Don't give answers, let them find answers. Ask your children questions about books you have read to them, things you see, etc.

The goal is to bring your child from a Dependent Learner to an Independent Learner to a God-Directed Learner.

I've read the Preschool and K-3 (ages 5-9). I've skimmed the sections for the other ages (hey, mine aren't there yet). I've also read parts of the General Section.

There is lots of good information. The "age" sections help you in deciding what to teach and when to teach it. Many people think that the Moore method was mainly unschooling for the younger grades. This is not so. They encourage structure in your schedule, and teaching in a non-threatening way is part of it. Phonics teaching during K-3 is included. They do mention that not all children at this age will be ready for phonics training, however, teaching them their letters, the primary sound of the letter, vowel blends, etc. is necessary, at least a start in it. They say that most children will be able to read to some degree in this age group. If you see stress coming on, slow down, not all children are ready at this age. Let them go at their own pace. Ten minutes a day is usually the maximum.

Creative writing is also encouraged, however, mainly in dictation form. Physical writing may be O.K. later in this age group, but only if they are ready. Grammar can be taught as you take dictation. For example, at the end of the sentence, ask what goes there? When quotation marks are necessary, explain that, etc.

Math, like counting, adding, subtracting, etc. with manipulatives, in the kitchen, etc.

Approximate times for each subject, a list of areas that are normally learned by the age group, suggestions for teaching, etc. are all included in each age group's section. We should be active in teaching our children at the younger ages. Yes, they are learning to be an independent learner, and in some cases they will already be doing quite a bit on their own by the end of this period.

The majority of their teaching, however, will be work and service during younger age. "School" subjects can be incorporated during the work and service training.

The General Section includes lots of information and answers to questions, including legal situations.

The manual may seem to be expensive, but I think it is worth it, if you can afford it. There are many ideas that I will be putting into practice.

Jo Dee

Available from the Moore Foundation.

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