The Work Aspect of the Moore Formula

The Moore Formula is based on creating a balance in the homeschool family between studying, work (manual labor), and service. As the child grows, the percentages of each change. Moore recommends to do as much work as study per day, with service additionally lasting an hour or so. A young child of nine or ten may only study an hour, with service being helping someone in the home or a close neighbor. As the child ages, study may increase to three or four hours for high school, followed by the same in work (home chores, self-employment, or family business), and service consisting of volunteering outside the home on a regular basis.

For some parents the work aspect of the Moore Formula can become a bit confusing. Today, I hope to clarify some questions and also bring in what Ellen White says we, as parents, need to teach our children about work.

As soon as a child can walk, he can begin doing “work.” This can be picking up toys or emptying out the bathroom waste basket. By teaching them early, children learn that they have a place in the family to contribute to the family’s good. There are no free rides for anyone. As they age, their work can include a home business in addition to home chores, in which they learn many practical life application skills. Working in a business (whether their own or a parent’s) can help teach math skills, planning, social skills as they talk with others, manners, patience, and even cause/effect. Running a business helps a child build self-confidence, self-control, and problem-solving. Self-employment helps boost creativity. Work teaches responsibility.

Ellen White wrote that education is more than just the studying of books. Children are to learn to be masters of labor, to use their mental faculties to make work more proficient and useful. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden to dress and care for it. Labor was to provide a safeguard against temptation. Mrs. White also wrote that fathers are to train their sons as they bring them alongside them in their work. Mothers are to teach the girls of the family to handle their share of the family’s burdens. Education is to develop habits of industry, self-control, self-reliance, money management, and business acumen. (By the way, she also states that education should teach children courtesy and kindness to others, which is what service to others teaches.)

By using the Moore Formula, the child learns a truer purpose in education. It is not just learning the “3 R’s,” but learning useful life skills to be successful in the community and fulfill God’s purpose for their life.

From this background, we can see the benefits of adding work to our school day. I think one important aspect of this work is it is to be manual, rather than cerebral. Children have spent some time already doing brain work. Now they need to move their bodies. As I said earlier, work can begin as soon as a child walks by doing simple chores. A child of five can set the table and even help mother with preparing meals. My children even helped with dishes at this age by rinsing. They were washing by the time they were eight, with me standing beside them.

As a child reaches adolescence, self-employment can be sought, using their God-given talents. Moore also suggests that children this age be given an officer position in the family business. If a parent will put this type of responsibility on a child (with parental guidance), they will not see the child fail or suffer burn-out from doing too much. Instead, the child will develop self-confidence and amazing social skills as they practice life application.

In the teen years, the child can take more responsibility with self-employment as they take over covering some of their own expenses of life. They learn financial stewardship and responsibility. Psychologically, teens begin to pull away from their parents in a search for autotomy. This is a natural and essential stage of development. Teens by this time need to be practicing more decision-making, even suffering the consequences of mistakes. The parents can be there as a safeguard, but still allow the teen to feel the results of a bad choice.

The Moore Formula may sound as it would include a lot of work to implement. Instead, it allows the family to work together in God’s purpose while the child learns the needed life skills to become the person God meant him to be. Study, work, and service — three aspects of life we all can use to develop Christ-like character, no matter our ages.

The S Word

Musings of a Retired Homeschool Mom

I currently work at a retail store as a cashier, where I try to be friendly and chit-chat with my customers. One day a woman came through my line buying items for her church, which I noticed was the same church a homeschooling friend of mine attended. I asked the customer if she knew my friend. She cheerfully affirmed that she did indeed know “Melinda,” and asked how I knew her. I told her we were in the same homeschool group together for several years.

Immediately the customer’s attitude changed. She proceeded to tell me how she came from a family of teachers, and how she thought that children who are homeschooled are being shortchanged by it. I told her I homeschooled all three of my children from the beginning all the way through high school. They all excelled academically, and I went into detail about how two had finished college and the third was going to chiropractic school. When that didn’t fit her image of homeschoolers, she told me that they may do well academically, but they are missing out on the socialization opportunities that they would get by attending school. Silently I thought, “Seriously? This is 2016. Are we really still throwing around the S word?”

The socialization question is one that I have heard over and over again over the years, and it doesn’t seem to go away. What is socialization anyway? gives two definitions: “1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position; and 2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry.” The first is really the one that applies to everyone’s concerns about homeschoolers.

Going by the first definition, socialization can be achieved in the traditional school setting, but what kind of socialization is being accomplished? From firsthand experience as a public schooled student for 12 years, I experienced, and in some cases due to peer pressure, participated in much of the following: bullying; cliquishness; foul language; and exposure to smoking, drugs, sex, and alcohol. There was also sexual harassment of students by teachers, coaches, and administrators. The socialization that I received at this small rural school district is one of the main reasons I decided to homeschool my own children.

Living your everyday lives as a homeschooling family is the best possible form of socialization. You interact with others at church, at homeschool group meetings, at the grocery store, the post office, and any other normal day-to-day activity that you do.

Compare that to the traditional school situation. Children now start preschool at three to four years old, and are in school for 14 to15 years before even thinking about going to college. School days are starting earlier and dismissing later, and school years are getting longer as well. The vast majority of a child’s time is spent inside a brick building, sitting at a desk, interacting mostly with peers, rather than truly living in the real world and experiencing a wide variety of interactions through daily life.

Add to that the measures schools are taking to provide an environment safe from active shooter situations, terrorist attacks, and other real or imagined threats. The small school that I once attended cannot even be entered these days without pushing a button by the door so someone inside the office can approve your entry into the building. Another nearby school has installed iron fencing around the entrance — sort of like a prison, but without the razor wire.

So, don’t let anyone intimidate you with questions about the “S” word. The type of socialization they are worried that your child will miss out on is not socialization at all. It is institutionalization, which is something else altogether. (See definition 2 above.)

As the conversation ended with my customer, I told her I had homeschooled for 25 years and was spending my “retirement” working as a cashier. The eavesdropping customer next in line condescendingly said to me, “Well, some of us got an education so we wouldn’t have to do that.” Hmm, I wonder where she was socialized?

Picnic Time!

“He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He sendeth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?” Psalm 147:16,17.

When days are cold and seem to be in a rut, it’s a good time for a picnic. If it’s still really cold and dark where you live, just put a sheet or blanket on the floor (in front of a fireplace is nice) and have your picnic in the house. Consider not doing school book work, or less of it, and making it a “snow day.” Have your favorite picnic foods and play some games. Games like musical chairs and charades are active to get the kids moving. You could also do some table games or read stories. Maybe start some early garden seeds. You can grow things like leaf lettuce in a container that’s at least six inches deep, that is put near a window that gets a lot of light.

For the menu, we like baked beans (recipe to follow), either potato or pasta salad, a veggie tray, and maybe some cookies or other treat. Sometimes we do sandwiches and a salad. Mostly keep it pretty simple, so that you have more time to have fun together.

Baked Beans: two cups or one 1 pound bag dried navy or small white beans; soak over night, rinse, then cook the beans (may be done in a slow cooker/crock pot)

Then add: 1/2 cup maple syrup (can use molasses)

1/2-1 onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 teaspoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (optional)

up to 1 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Smoke (optional)

1 teaspoon salt (especially if not using Bragg’s or Smoke flavor)

When beans are almost done, add rest of ingredients and cook until beans and onions are soft. Make sure you have enough water in the beans not to burn them.

Variation: add up to 1 cup of tomatoes.



Taking Care of Us


There comes a time when we start questioning ourselves, when the challenge of parenting, educating, therapy, work, and all the other things we deal with in our lives becomes overwhelming and we wonder if we are doing the right thing, or if we need to let something drop off our list. These are often signs of burnout and fatigue.

We need to make sure we take time to take care of ourselves. Self-care is something I often neglect. It’s important to take care of the whole family, to remember ourselves while we are doing so much. As parents we often put the children first. There are so many things vying for our attention that it is easy to lose us in the process.

There are things we can do, though. We don’t have to go big to take care of us:


  • Journal – Writing for some is greatly therapeutic! It gives us a place to vent and express our thoughts and feelings in a safe place. Sometimes all we need to do is express it.
  • Be Alone – Sometimes just doing something by yourself is refreshing. Grocery shop without the kids, get out of the house alone, go for a drive, sit in the driveway, just find some silence where no one is able to interrupt.
  • Exercise – Plan something regularly to get out and move! Find what you enjoy — dance, aerobics, yoga, swimming. There are many classes you can enroll in to bring accountability into your exercise program. I once joined Middle Eastern dancing for the fun of it, and I’ve done rock climbing too. Find something different, try something new!
  • Friends – Just spend time with friends. Go out for dinner or to a movie, have coffee, go window shopping. Do something you enjoy with someone you like.
  • Date – This isn’t (just) for single folks. If you have a spouse, make a plan for date night. Take care of your relationship, add some spice to your relationship. Make room in your life for uninterrupted quality time with your partner.
  • Get Creative – Draw, paint, photograph, write, decorate, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, needlepoint, sew… You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to do it. Express yourself!
  • Play – Be social. Have game nights, spend time with friends as a family. Have family movie nights, family games, family outings. Make time for fun. So often we get so focused on raising and teaching kids that we forget to have fun with them. It’s important to make sure our kids know relationships are important too.
  • Know Yourself – Know what you enjoy and go do it. Make time for yourself. If you don’t fit this list, make your own.


Burnout happens to everyone. We need to be proactive; if it happens, be honest and gracious with yourself. Be purposeful, make appointments with yourself and keep them! Take care of yourself. Remember we show our children how to take care of themselves, and this is something we must model, not teach.


Peace On Earth — But Only Sort Of

The new year is upon us. The Christmas decorations are being put away, and the regular routines of life are resuming. The phrase “peace on Earth,” however, still echoes through our recent memories. It has been sung, read, and recited. In a society brimming with political angst and cultural discord, aren’t we all desperately longing for a bit of peace? Additionally, there is the alarming frequency of natural disasters, illnesses, and tragedies to remind us of humanity’s state of utter chaos. Let’s be honest, though. If we zoom in on our experience as homeschooling families, don’t we crave peace in our own homes too?

Popping over to my place for tea on any given afternoon, you would find a wide assortment of animals announcing your arrival while completely disregarding your personal space. You would likely have to move a pile of books in order to sit down. You would be greeted by three small humans, eager to share with you every exciting thing in their life since their last birthday. Ten minutes later the sounds of sibling squabbles, mishaps, and, yes, even complaining would waft through the house. Then, if we actually got a moment to chat, I might share with you my concerns about Lucy’s upcoming state testing, or Robby’s attitude towards reading. Not exactly peaceful, right?

Being Jesus’ parents was not always peaceful either. In Luke 4:41-51, we find the story of a young boy who disappeared for three days. Can you imagine not knowing where your child is for THREE DAYS? But, wait! If we back up just a few verses in the very same chapter, don’t the angels herald at the top of their lungs, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (vs.14)? Back to verse 48, Jesus’ mother says to him, “Son why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” He responds most matter-of-factly, almost unconcerned with his parents’ ordeal: “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (vs.49).

Mary and Joseph certainly weren’t experiencing peace during those three days of searching for their missing child. But, is that really the kind of peace that God promises?

Take a look at Matthew, chapter 10. Jesus’ very words declare, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword….Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (vss.34,37,38). At first glance there seems to be a mighty juxtaposition between the message of peace at the birth of Jesus, and His words verily declaring war!

I wonder if the answer lies in our definition of peace. Is peace merely the absence of discomfort and disagreement, or is peace something bigger and deeper? Philippians 4:4-9 promises peace that transcends our human understanding if we zoom out, surrendering our narrow perspectives and worries to the sovereign God of the universe. Yes, there will be challenges, anxiety, even pain. But I believe that through the lens of God’s big story of love and salvation for humanity, there is peace. Not necessarily peace in the form of a clean and quiet household, or children who always get along and diligently finish their lessons with a happy heart, but peace in knowing we belong to a God who adores us, that we have a specific purpose to fulfill in the story of humanity and the war between good and evil. There is peace in knowing how the story ends, and in choosing to fight for the Victor. There is peace on Earth, but only sort of.