By Amy Beckel
I have homeschooled our three children for nearly nine years. I was blessed to read and be inspired by your books when I was starting out on this way of life, but somehow over the years have "missed the boat" regarding the "balance" of work, service, and study. I have just recently signed up on the moore-formula e-mail loop and also just re-read the Successful Homeschool Family Handbook and Minding Your Own Business. Whew! I'm quickly filling up sheets of paper on my clipboard as new, helpful ideas and priorities clamor to be written down.
Although our children are now 17, 14, and 13, I really believe it's not "too late" to build up our family life and love through increased order, health, work, and service...and I have saved some money to purchase the Moore Formula Manual, which I hear is a wonderful "nuts-and-bolts" book incorporating your Formula.
I confess that I have been very inconsistent in teaching about basic things such as doing chores around the house. One child is a "naturally" neat person and takes the responsibility for his chores quite well; the others take after their Mommy and need frequent reminding (and even then one child does not perform simple jobs well, through rebelliousness or laziness). I've not done well at inspecting, nor at step-by-step teaching of new tasks, and we all tend to be pack-rats as well, so you can imagine that although our house is quite presentable in terms of outward neatness, there are various "hot spots" and closed doors which hide considerable mess and disorganization.
My idea, keeping in mind your writings about how manual labor actually increases mental and academic facility, is to work alongside my children (the two younger ones, anyway...and the oldest when her college quarter is over in a couple of weeks) for an hour each day IN the house, and an hour each day OUT of the house, in the yard or garage, that is. Your remarks about the state of the car and garage hit very close to home! A time limit will keep these sessions from being overwhelming, as we will do our jobs and projects in "chunks." As one room gets organized and a routine set up for keeping it that way, we'll move on to the next room together. Then as we get more "breathing room" and as the stress of disorganization lessens, I have some service\volunteer ideas both for neighbors and for organizations as the Crisis Pregnancy Center and the Seamen's Center. We'll still do approximately 2 to 3 hours of formal study each day, including "real life" and interest-initiated learning whenever possible or practicable. The boys often work with my husband in his janitorial business, and they also help a widowed neighbor with lawn mowing and weeding tasks as needed. I myself, am now brimming with ideas for possible businesses, but will take the time to pray over the ideas, as I'm also considering going back to school myself in the fall and older daughter has a wonderful job lined up, babysitting for two young cousins.
[Editor's note: The MOORE FORMULA E-MAIL LOOP is an UNOFFICIAL e-mail group which discusses use of the Moore Formula. To join in a discussion or to find out more information, please visit the following link: http://www.entrustedtous.com/discussions