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

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

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 of!

"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 were always home. I struggled between "homeschooling" and "school at home." Group field trips were generally more trouble than they were worth and support groups meant more activities 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!"