The ABCs of Homeschooling - Letter O

O is for Optimal

   What is the optimal age  to begin homeschooling?  Well, that depends on your definition of homeschooling.  In reality, you've been homeschooling your child from birth; teaching her how to talk, helping him learn how to stand and walk, introducing appropriate life skills.
    I've not heard of anyone pulling out the worksheets at 2, but I'm waiting for it.  When I hear a parent say, "I just can't get my 5 year old to read. I don't know what's wrong", I want to say, "He's 5!  That's what's wrong."  Can some 5 year olds read? Absolutely.  Are some of them interested?  Yes.  For some, no one needs to push them into it, but I have real concerns about the fact that many are now homeschooling their preschoolers.  And by homeschooling, I'm talking about parents who expect their little ones to sit still and "do school" for hours on end.
   If you want to spend hours on end with your little ones, "doing school", fine.  Then make those hours playing games, making crafts, exploring together, cooking together.  It is fine to point out things in nature and talk about them.  It is fine to use a little math while setting the table.  (How many plates do we need? Let's see, one for daddy, one for mommy, and one for you.  One, two, three.) It is great to have puzzles, balls, and other things with which body and mind can be developed. Lastly, and most importantly, it is wonderful to share good, age appropriate books.
   It is also important to introduce Biblical stories and concepts if you are so inclined. Children have great faith and will respond positively to such instruction if given the opportunity.  Sunday School and Church will reinforce the importance
of corporate worship and give your child an opportunity to experience teaching from someone else, as well. AWANA is wonderful, at any age.
   Have you ever watched a kitten?  While mom sits idly by, the kitten will play with her tail, and jump at its siblings.  As with kittens, so with little children.  They are not designed to be still.  To try to force that on them is doing them a disservice. Don't misunderstand, children do need to learn to be quiet at times, to sit still, but only for short periods of time.  They need to learn that skill, as well as any other.  I'm not suggesting mayhem.
   In my early days of homeschooling, I devoured books about home educating.  I came upon the book Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.  I would like to quote from their website because they explain it better than I could.
"To summarize the success of the Moore Formula approach to education: High success comes when close individual attention is paid to the needs of the student, following their interests and allowing them to mature at their own rate, with emphasis on work (for pay)and service (in the home and the community) with these non-academic learning opportunities receiving equal time to book learning. As the children learn to be diligent in their work application, it has been demonstrated that this diligence carries over into their academic performance, as well, as they mature."
   I never used Moore Academy.  I'm not sure it even existed, but I do love their philosophy, which is based on their research done on education in the late 1960's and early 70's.
  Even in a state like Pennsylvania, which requires the documentation of 180 "school days", I have never had any problem with the authorities, using this approach.


  1. I agree with all that you have written from my experience as an home and public school educator. I remember one study I read that looked at the long term effects of early reading. They found that the children who spent more time on science activities at a young age turned out to be better readers than those who read early.

  2. When I go down to Ben's once a week to do a preschool learning time, Bentley likes to cook. Today, we made a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. (sweet bread)


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