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School Can Wait

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Better Late Than Early book


The late Dr. Raymond S. Moore was the first person I ever heard to verbalize the idea of delaying formal, classroom-type education in order to have stress-free learning for young children. It was back in 1980 that I started hearing broadcasts of his radio programs, and with the soon arrival of our first child, I listened with interest. Dr. Moore, author of Better Late Than Early, the book that launched the modern homeschooling movement in the United States, passed away on July 13, 2007, but his words of wisdom are still constantly coming back to me as I still continue to work with young students.
Back in 1972, Dr. Moore published an article in Harper’s magazine about early education at the same time California was considering a law to make school attendance compulsory for children as young as 2 years, 9 months. Moore’s article gained popularity when it was republished by Reader’s Digest, and that prompted the editors to request that Dr. Moore write a book. Better Late Than Early was published in 1975, and it was the first of his many books that helped shape the homeschooling movement.
With much experience gained as a career teacher, principal, and superintendent of California public schools, Dr. Moore’s research that he complied showed the negative results that schooling young children had on the children’s future education. From the Moore Foundation website, it is revealed that this research ultimately determined his career path. “But it was the research that he compiled about the effects of schooling on young children that steered his career away from higher education and into homeschooling. He and his wife Dorothy spent years working with legislatures and courts to establish legal precedents for parents desiring to homeschool their children. . . This philosophy of balancing service, work, and study became known as the Moore Formula in homeschooling circles.”
The Moore formula for educating children is based upon Dr. Moore’s research and philosophy that parents should not subject their children to formal, scheduled-type study before age 8 to 10, or even 12. “In addition to our basic research at Stanford and the University of Colorado Medical School, we analyzed over 8000 studies of children's senses, brain, cognition, socialization, etc., and are certain that no replicable evidence exists for rushing children into formal study at home or school before 8 or 10.”
To stimulate inquiring minds in young children, consider spending time reading and singing with and to them. Let them explore and learn to love learning as they grow and develop. Doing so will enhance their brain development, vision, hearing, and cognition (adult-like reasoning) without blocking their creative interests. The Moore Formula encourages parents to interact with their children when they see the little ones are ready to play oral games with phonics, numbers, and etc., but to avoid the pressures of “insistent learning” through formal instruction. During this time, parents should try to identify their children's interests—whether they are about bugs, astronomy, sewing, or politics—and then “open the door wide to knowledge.” The children who are allowed to explore at a young age that which is of interest to them will be more motivated to learn, and the learning will be more productive than that which the most talented professional could force out of a textbook or from a worksheet. Dr. Moore’s philosophy reminds parents to let their children learn about things along the lines of their interests; then stand back and watch them grow!



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