Goals Vary With Different Children
Dr. Raymond Moore
Last month we received a letter from Spain that reveals how the role of spokesmen in home education may be misunderstood, especially if their methods are unconventional, yet insist on highest standards. If on the one hand they talk about high achievement, they almost certainly will receive letters asking about emphasizing character development. Yet if they don't stress sound academics, many, particularly schoolmen and state officials, jump in with sharpened axes. The writer from Spain is a home educator who writes simply:
When I read the MRI (Moore Report International), I get the impression that high academic achievement is very important. I know it is when showing homeschooling to education officials, but please, could you also write more about people who were homeschooled but didn't go to university and are happy anyway?
We do understand his concerns. It made us review and take a hard look at ourselves to see how consistent we are about goals and success. We noted that in the last three years since we started publishing the tabloid-type newsletter called The Moore Report International in which a different family or student occupied the lead story for each issue, we have featured four students who had especially rewarding entrance into college. Since home educating for high school is a burgeoning part of homeschooling these days, we have many people with questions about how to get into college. Be assured that we know of no homeschooler who wants to go to college who cannot find one, usually of his choice.
(Following is a descriptive listing of families and students and their achievements that has been slightly edited due to space limitations. For a full reprint of this article, please contact the Moore Foundation at the address given at the end of this article. - Ed.)
We featured Rose of Sharon Keel, who was not highly academically educated at the high school level, but was hired for DNA research out of a University class of 400 by Johns Hopkins University. Obviously her background in much practical experience in labs and her special interest in biochemistry, as well as her stated goals make the difference. Then there was Barnaby Marsh who was the first student homeschooled through high school to receive a scholarship to Cornell. This no doubt was largely due to his particular expertise in birds.
Katherine Brodbeck made it to college in a more traditional way, working part time to pay her own expenses. Her mother feels strongly that "homeschoolers who follow the study, work and service pattern recommended by the Moore Formula consistently excel in whatever goal they chose." David Eidsmore whose long background in Civil Air Patrol and academic success the last three years in academy won a scholarship to the Air Force Academy. Then we mentioned in The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, an update on the unusual older seven of the Harrington's eleven children who are in professional training largely on scholarships. Yet you will find that all of these have consistently done something outside of 'traditional' schooling to draw attention to their value. And that's what homeschooling is all about. Goals may differ, but for the normal child, the opportunities are limitless.
It is easy to overlook MRI reports on those who have chosen other than the typical professional or so-called higher education route. There's the story of Amy Wetmore, whose apprenticeship with her father in art, has made her a career portrait artist in her own right. Now at 21 her father, Gordon, says her work has improved enormously after a recent three months in art courses from master portraitists Cedric and Joanette Egeli at Cape Cod. She is painting many portraits as well as scenes and 'absolutely loves' teaching 35 private students in groups of one to three, 22 of whom are homeschoolers.
We wrote about Kristi Jacobsen whose expertise is in the field of catering. She may take some college at home, but her first love lies elsewhere. Then there's the story of our New Mexico family whose mission is baking. Their oldest son is also interested in upholstery and flying. But if all else fails, he knows how to run a bakery business. These latter stories probably could be grouped into apprentice-type training, including the Pargman boys who are learning professional video from their grandpa and Shannon Reiswig whose training in agronomy with his father in the family orchard can give him a good living whether or not he takes college work.
And there is Kelly Hill whose mother was an Iowa judge and state assistant attorney-general and gave up her distinguished position to come home to teach Kelly and her brother. Although Kelly scored high on her college tests and was eligible for scholarships, she chose for the time being to do mission work. She has been developing a Summit Ministries type of program in their present home state of Arkansas.
For over 50 years we have stressed the crucial importance of manual skills for all children so that they can earn their own living, whether or not they are headed for professional life. Our greatest goal, of course, is character development which certainly does involve work. Christ as a carpenter, along with study at home, before becoming a Master Teacher is a perfect example. True self- respect is hard to come by without such abilities. This is more important to us than academic excellence.
Even Harvard's senior admissions officer has repeatedly told us that the University will give priority to such students even if on occasion they score slightly lower on standardized tests. But it is true that for such institutions, sound academics, including language and math, are hallmarks for the measurement of their programs. We welcome work on any curricula that perform consistently as high as the Moore formula and Moore Academy Curriculum that holds high manual work and altruistic service.
We thank our friend from Spain. We will try harder to make our character-building goals ever clearer. We include the basic ideal of readiness ö not rushing children into formal school work until they are ready, often even until they are in the range of ages 8 to 12 or 13. Many homeschool families are still caught in a race into formal schooling that more often than not leads both parents and children to disappointment of some kind, usually forfeiting the self-worth successes of manual skills.
Most curricula are geared to such uninformed practices. The research is there, but like most schools, they largely ignore it. There is no scientific support for their conventional practices. It simply isn't there. Research and common sense is our plea. This always includes a balance of head, heart, hand and health.
For a catalog of resources available from the Moore Foundation, please write or call their office: P.O. Box 1, Camas, WA 98607; Telephone: 534-835-2736 (PST) Website: www.moorefoundation.com. Books that we feel should be in every family library are: The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, Homegrown Kids, Homespun Schools, Better Late Than Early (in most libraries), Home Built Discipline, Home Made Health. Most of these can be ordered from local bookstores or directly from the Moores.
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