real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

your teacher education syllabus ~ bringing back the Moore books


One comment I often hear from those who are considering homeschooling is that they do not feel adequately prepared to teach their children at home. The education establishment has done a terrific job of communicating their belief that teacher certification is mandatory in order for the job to be done properly. In fact, most private Christian schools have even determined to hold their teachers to the same state standards as have the accrediting agencies.

After spending hours upon hours in teacher education classes and doing classroom observation while in college, teaching in those same classrooms, and listening and observing in many teachers’ lounges, I can say with confidence that a committed mother, no matter her education level or teaching background, is the best choice to teach her own children.

Raymond and Dorothy Moore knew this to be true as well. In order to encourage parents and to offer their support and encouragement, they authored several books that are, together, a mini-course in education and in actuality offer more practical information and instruction than you would find in any teacher education syllabus.

Here is a brief synopsis of some of their writings. Some of them can be found by ordering directly from the Moore Academy. You can also find them fairly inexpensively by going to or I would imagine that asking around at your local homeschooling support group will produce at least a couple of them IF your can get their owners to part with them!

Better Late Than Early ~ This is the premiere book that launched the modern day homeschooling movement. For decades state legislatures, backed by the National Education Association and teacher education colleges, have promoted lowering the required age for entrance into public education. Currently President Obama is pushing the same agenda, though without any solid research that supports doing so. In fact, the Moores studied over 8000 research projects that proved otherwise. This book is a great first book to read as an introduction to their philosophies and to education in general.

Home Grown Kids ~ This book is an invaluable tools for assessing the needs and characteristics of children during various stages of development. The back of the book states: “Do you really want to enjoy your child? Do you want him or her to have the best possible teacher and go to the best possible school? According to Raymond and Dorothy Moore, that teacher is you, the parent and that school can be your home. They have prepared this influential book to show how, by using the everyday resources and experiences of your own home environment, you can truly enjoy your child and give him or her a wholesome, first class education.”

Home Style Teaching ~ A Handbook for Parents and Teachers ~ This Moore book helps the parents implement many of the principles taught in the previous book using tried and true methods that work. This includes an emphasis on how to teach reading.

School Can Wait I and II ~ These books include the list of sources for the research the Moores used to prove their theories.

Home-spun Schools
~ Personal stories and testimonies of homeschooling families showing the different philosophies and methods in action.

The Successful Homeschool Handbook
(can also be found under the title Homeschool Burn-out) ~ More personal stories that demonstrate the hows of homeschooling. Also, the Moores were able to identify concerns they had regarding the homeschooling culture and to offer suggestions on how to rectify or avoid those problems. (Reading this section will be prophetic to many who have been around homeschooling long enough to see the metamorphosis that has occurred.)

The Homeschool Primer
by Kathy Kordenbrock and Judy Shewmake ~ Kathy is the daughter of Raymond and Dorothy Moore. These two homeschooling moms have written a wonderful primer for those who are considering homeschooling and for those who need to come back to the heart of what homeschooling should be. Seriously, this may be the best first book you can read! In this 24 page book, Kathie outlines the “Moore Formula” and gives many suggestions of books and resources. You can order your own copy from her for $4.95 by contacting me and I will forward your inquiry or e-mail to her. She will also be discussing this book in the upcoming podcasts I recorded with her.



  Leah wrote @

Karen, I would love to buy a copy of “The Homeschool Primer”. I appreciate your mediation!

  thatmom wrote @


Kathie says the best way to get a copy of the primer is to order one on their website:

  wendy wrote @

Thanks for reminding people of the Moores. I started with their books, then tried many other homeschool theories. Only to return to them after years of wondering. Wish I would have just stuck with their methods.

  thatmom wrote @

Here is the link for the Primer:

  thatmom wrote @

Oh, Wendy, you are so right! There are many rabbit trails we took but as I have been re-reading their books, I have come to realize just how much influence they really had in our whole process, even along some of those weird trails. I think a big part of it was building a home library filled with “real books” that were always available.

  Lisa wrote @

I found “Home Grown Kids” and “Home Style Teaching” in a used book store either while I was in college or soon after in the early-mid 80s. They hit a cord with me, even though I was single, childless radically career oriented [product of a very radical University education.] I still have them and have reread them many times. They were one of the reasons I knew I would homeschool my kids. While I only have one in homeschool (other is in public school for a variety of reasons) I never lost that determination to homeschool and keep my kids at home as much as is possible in a single parent home.

  Abby wrote @

Karen, I totally agree with your assessment here, and this video. I struggle though, because there is a conflict in my mind between early teaching and late teaching. There is scientific research that shows that children’s brains grow much more in the first few years than they do later, and that teaching children certain things early (like reading) can actually benefit them later on. Sure, they may not be that much more above their peers, but the most brilliant minds are often those whose parents put in the work early in the children’s lives. But I don’t put that much structure into the rest of their day, meaning, the reading lessons take up less than 20 minutes of their total day, and they spend most of the rest of the day in play (they are 4 years old and 11 months). We also read to them and play music, but the point is that we spend some time in structured learning, but not much.
I think what has drawn me to learning systems like montessori and the reggio emilia preschools is that they have some structure, but the structure is meant to be fun, not a burden. The kids are in charge of the learning, the teachers simply provide the materials that the children are interested in.
Anyway, I think universal preschool is unnecessary, but as a parent with two little ones at home, I wonder how I can teach them things without it seeming like I’m just doing school at home? And where do we draw the line between structure and play?
These are all questions that I’ve pondered in my own search for the best way to teach my children the things that they will need to know, but without any pressure. It is a great balancing act I think probably takes a lifetime to learn.

  Cindy K wrote @

In either the first or the second series with Karen’s interview with Ellen Dana, she mentions that kids are right-brain dominant. I have been taught and Dana echoes this teaching that early learning is largely Right Brained. Syntax (the intonations and coos that a young child makes) is all right brained skill. Kids can also learn sign language long before they can speak, and often with autistic children, this is a way of developing language skill apart from the actual words which are a Left Brained skill. It is the left -brained skills that are best left until this part of the brain begins developing later in childhood, but you can pour on the Right Brained skills which is what baby play and music and kinesthetic (feeling/movement) oriented learning is all about. Karen referred to the more Left brain activity as “seat work.”

I’ve also been fascinated with the accounts of people who have had Left Brained strokes and temporarily lost their Lt brain function as adults. Their accounts afterward, if they have memories of it, are fascinating. It is like becoming a child again, and many describe a life-changing sense of wonder that accompanied their stroke, reminding them and reorienting them to what many describe as the more important things in life. It helped them see the big picture and reminded them of the joy and wonder that our Left-brained world tends to forget.

This also confirms what I’ve studied regarding hypnosis. Children remain in a constant alpha state all the time (no critical thinking or problem solving) until age 8 to 10 unless they are traumatized for some reason. At about this age, they develop beta waves, faster brain waves indicative of problem-solving activity that is primarily generated by the “prefrontal cortex.” Kids don’t organically develop this activity naturally until this later age which is why it is nearly impossible to teach 98% of children algebra (requiring abstract thought) before ages 10 to 12.

Hypnosis for enhancing learning also uses right brained processes to bypass the left brain (analytical thought), capitalizing on the abilities of the right side of the brain. Dana says something to this effect in Karen’s podcasts with her — that the real and important learning takes place on the Right Side of the brain.

I take that all to mean that one does not refrain from all teaching and instruction until later but rather that the heavy focus on Left Brained skill is avoided until children are older. Classical schooling stumbled on to these advantages by focusing on memorization during these earlier years (prior to the development of problem-solving abilities) by working memorization into the curriculum. The alpha state is ideal for memorization, it is feeling oriented and is kinesthetic (built around physical sensation and physical movement). Until kids get older, pour on all of the Right Brained instruction that you can, those things that come naturally between mother and young children anyway.

This link focuses on sensory integration issues, but it offers a pretty good overview of how you can help kids learn those right-brained skills without forcing the left-brained stuff too early. For kids with learning issues, this is all the more critical. Pushing these kids with Sensory Integration issues and other things too early can result in obsessive compulsive problems, anxieties and other issues.

Every child is different, and some of these cues about what activities are processed on what side of the brain can also help guide a parent, indicating to them what skill has started to develop in their child. This can be a marker and milestone indicating when a child is ready to move on to new skills. That way, you give the child what is called for, essentially the idea that you feed when someone has hunger, not because you watch the clock and know it’s mealtime. That way, you don’t force a meal proverbial intellectual meal on a child that they unable to metabolize. The child directs the learning and calls for what they need. The idea behind this creative approach is that you don’t sour the child, and you foster a lifelong love for learning. It’s an organic an wonderful thing (but I am someone who a dear friend of mine says is so far right brained that I get into my left brain by going all the way around in a circle first). Actually, I just have good integration. (Individuals also prefer one side of the brain over the other. CPAs and scientists prefer left brained activity, and musicians, artists are right brained dominant. But we all start out on the right side and stay there until late childhood.)

BTW, testosterone inhibits connection between right and left sides of the brain which is why girls appear to learn certain right and left brained skills earlier than boys. And this is why men get more mellow as they age and their testosterone levels start to drop. It explains why men are more compartmentalized in some ways, showing more Left brained activities as a group in comparison to women.

  thatmom wrote @

Abby, I think that structure and learning are two very different things and we have to keep that in front of us all the time. Kathie Kordenbrock will be talking about this during the interview with her that is coming up in a couple weeks. I would encourage you to get a copy of her Homeschool Primer because she has a terrific list of the things we need to stress in the pre-school and early years that are so easily learned because of the physiological make-up of the human brain, as Cindy described so well.

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy, I was reminded of a fun story to share when you mentioned teaching young children sign language. When my grandson, Jude, was about a year old, he began signing some words. Since I saw him every day, I thought it would be a great idea to teach him “grandma” and “cookie” as one phrase! It worked and when I would sign it to him, he grinned and waited for the cookie, signing back to me. The first time he ever signed my name, I melted! 🙂

  spunky on obama, holzmann on swanson « thatmom wrote @

[…] to my first year of homeschooling and my first real understanding of education. Having read the Moore books, I then spent a couple afternoons listening to Inge Cannon explain basic principles of teaching and […]

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