Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - July/August
The Moore Foundation,
Box 1, Camas,
Questions and Answers
"Why Do Success Stories Discourage Some Homeschoolers?"
Q. I have a friend who says that "success stories" in newsletters depress
her because she doesn't feel successful. Instead of helping her with examples and ideas for
methods, as may be intended, these stories discourage her. Is this typical?
A. Yes, lack
of confidence is probably the most common trait of homeschool beginners. And what often
makes it worse is that so many families start out with a heavy, structured program, causing
boredom and sometimes rebellion in the children. There is nothing more discouraging than to
try to motivate reluctant learners.
A few parents read our books, get the idea and go ahead on their own, but they are
in the minority. Because we don't like to see anyone fail and know that most parents need a
knowledgeable, supportive educational counselor, at least the first year or two, to help them
over rough spots, we have set up the Moore Academy with experienced teachers who know the Moore
Formula philosophy well. Of course, no one is perfect, but if parents stay in close touch with
their counselor, we are confident of their success.
A recent letter from an experienced mother who has been homeschooling for twelve
years gave us some very important insights. Now that her oldest is handling college successfully
and her next one is taking much of the responsibility for his own learning, she realized that
many mothers are like she was. They somehow have a hard time understanding that what they are
doing, even though imperfect, will bear fruit in future years. She freely admits that everyone
has "bad" days or at least days when they don't feel particularly productive.
She says, "Over the years I have certainly learned that we worry more than
we need to (lack of faith in ourselves) and we don't give enough credit to our child's abilities
(lack of faith in our children). Then ultimately it boils down to not trusting God and leaning
on His promises.
"Twelve years ago I felt very inadequate as a 'teacher' but very convicted
as a parent that the Lord had homeschooling in mind for our family. There was no way out, so
I took Matt. 6:33 and 7:7 to heart and taught Bible above everything else. Some days that's
all we got to when they were small! It was a blessing, though, and they learned and grew in
spite of my mistakes.
"Over the years, I've spent many mornings in prayer, asking for God's guidance
and I've spent many evenings in tears, because I didn't have enough patience, time, strength,
or intelligence. Only to realize it was sleep, exercise, and trust that I didn't have enough
"Often I didn't have any plans past the current interest, couldn't keep a journal
going, hated grade books, and keeping attendance seemed ridiculous, because we
home. I struggled between "homeschooling" and "school at home."
trips were generally more trouble than they were worth and support groups meant
and planning. I liked being home and having a simple routine. We still spend most
of our time
as a family. Getting together with friends is social and if learning takes place,
it's a plus.
"The Lord has always pulled everything together for us and provided plenty
of opportunities for the children. He didn't always drop them on the doorstep, but when we
sought, we found just like the promises that "all these things shall be added."
Looking back I am amazed at the answered prayers. At first, I thought it was beginner's luck!
By putting Bible first, everything else followed. like the time we did our transportation unit
and the Art train was in town. We did anatomy and Dad brought home a cow's heart from work.
We studied animal science and our oldest received an invitation in the mail to a vet science
meeting. We never did chemistry with her at home for high school and one year the paper advertised
an evening course with college credit for high schoolers! She surprisingly passed with a 4.0.
"With several children I never had time to think much about success. I learned
that it isn't measured by what others are accomplishing, but what He has in store for
us. Our success is being together daily for family worship and sharing time, talents, and trials.
Teaching my children to love the Lord and balance work, study, and service is my calling and
I've had a lot of help fulfilling that.
"After we enrolled in the Moore Foundation Academy, doing the reports and receiving
evaluations [feedback from our educational counselor] twice a year helped me be more organized
and also made me realize just how much we were doing or accomplishing. They serve as good records,
too. Thanks for keeping it simple!"