Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - November/December
The Moore Foundation,
Box 1, Camas,
Questions and Answers
"CAN YOU GIVE ME A SOLUTION FOR PERFECTIONISM (Pfism)?"
by Ellen Dana
Q. I am currently reading The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook. Yes, I read
Home School Burnout several years ago, but somehow I wasn't paying close attention. I even
came to your seminar years ago in my area, but I was a brand new homeschooler when everything
was being thrown at me all at once, and I obviously missed your message. Of course, through
the years, I have always recommended your books to new homeschoolers or "prospects"
because I knew you were both very trustworthy. It was your book Better Late Than Early that
convinced my husband and me that homeschooling was the solution to our situation.
You see, I was a public school kindergarten teacher. This is our 7th year of homeschooling
and I'm here to say that I have suffered from Pfism, and have taken the joy out of teaching
and learning. We have recently moved from a homeschooling area of 300 families with lots of
homeschooling activities, support groups, etc. to a small town with 5 homeschool families!
Fortunately, we are only an hour from our "old" hometown, but I can honestly say
that I have felt like that coal that was about to burn out by itself!
In these past 7 years of homeschooling, I have taught part-time in a morning preschool
setting for 3 of those years, trying to supplement our income. Unit studies have always been
our banner and I had been given the privilege of heading up a KONOS co-op for 6 years for our
group. But I have to admit that even while using a wonderful unit-study curriculum like KONOS,
I have made our family too structured.
Here are my questions: Is there any hope for this "old dog?" Can I still
learn those "new tricks?" The Lord showed me this comparison: Recently, we purchased
a used "luxury" car with cruise control. When I first began using this option, I
was scared and unsure of how I would respond if this option failed! As I continued using cruise
control, I became more and more comfortable and now I wouldn't think of doubting it! Is this
what you're describing in your book?
Our beautiful daughters, ages 10 (5th grade) and 13 (8th grade) are both doing well
except for trying to survive their mother! Our youngest was MADE to read in 1st grade by her
task-oriented teacher. Unfortunately, this child still does not enjoy reading and now I know
why. Your specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Our oldest has always been an
independent learner. We began homeschooling her in the 2nd grade.
I know your book addresses much of this, but this PFist needs to know directly how
to RELAX and have fun in homeschooling. I have placed the thought of going to high school in
our oldest's head, yet I know that God has called me to homeschool them and reading your book
has truly helped me recall our original goals in this adventure. Your response would be greatly
appreciated by this traditionalist!
A. You my feel like your situation is unique and your position very much alone,
but actually, you typify many homeschool moms. The solution is to lighten up and I'm sure you
already know that in theory. And, by the way, your comparison to the cruise control
is very appropriate. How can you do it? Begin with a definition of education. What education
is not, is the sum of a specified number of concepts each year, stacked into a child's brain,
after which she recites them back at a high percentage rate.
Instead education is the development of what the child has inherited, the unfolding
of her interests, the encouragement of her pursuit of skills, the flowering of who God intended
her to be. It is her preparation to serve humanity with its many needs to the best of her ability,
and to demonstrate God's love and grace, both here and in the world to come. You will stand
by to encourage, facilitate, provide the tools, the information and the sources. You will help
the student learn to organize her time, her life and her materials, so that as soon as possible,
she will do it for herself. You are not the pedagogue, the lecturer and the source of all wisdom
and knowledge. You will have some ideas where to go to find answers, and when you don't know
where to go, you will go to the reference librarian or someone similar to find out where to
get the answers.
You would profit by having one or both of your children enrolled with us where we
can coach you along and help you put into practice the principles you know in your heart are
best. We can help you relax and enjoy your homeschooling adventure. In the process, so will
your children enjoy it. High schoolers especially like to proceed on their own with a minimum
of direction from the parent. Research studies and projects can still be done. We get some
very exciting reports from our high schoolers.