Meet Rhea, an educational consultant and homeschooling mother of 3, who believes that formal education is better late than early!
Tell us about you and your family.
My name is Andrea (Rhea Jonelle) Hall and I am an education consultant, a wife and homeschooling mother of 3 curious children. I have two daughters ages 8 and 5 and a rambunctious 3-year-old son. As an education consultant I write curriculum for schools, provide tutoring services in mathematics for individuals as well as comprehensive standardized testing services for homeschoolers. I love learning, I love teaching, I love everything education.
How long have you been homeschooling?
I have been homeschooling my children for 3 years now, however, I homeschooled triplets from another family to help them get back on track academically. I was amazed at the difference a few months of one on one attention can do!
Tell us about your Better Late Than Early homeschooling approach.
I believe in the Better Late Than Early homeschooling approach. Better Late Than Early is not referring to starting school at 4 p.m. as opposed to 8 a.m. – although I have been known to do this on many occasions. Better Late Than Early homeschooling approach is a method recommended by Dr. Raymond Moore, a respected educator, researcher, and author. In this homeschooling approach, I try to refrain from bringing the school to the home. It is common as we homeschool to try to mimic the classroom, but why? Studies by Dr. Torsten Husén have shown that “the earlier a child had entered school, the more negative were his attitudes toward school” (Better Late Than Early by Dr. Raymond Moore). With this in mind, I strive to teach in a less formal structure 80% of the time. You will notice that I have not listed formal curriculum for my 5-year-old or my 3-year-old based on the Better Late Than Early principle. According to this principle, formal schooling should start at 8 years old. This does not mean your child is not learning before then. It just means you are not doing it in a formal manner but through play, work, and exploration of nature.
Year-round homeschooling or traditional calendar homeschooling?
We do year-round homeschooling, however, we always take the month of July off and have frequent breaks throughout the year. When it all breaks down we have approximately 196 school days recorded.
Tell us about your homeschooling routine.
I have several schedules in rotation as I am still trying to find the BEST one for my family. However, no matter the schedule the day starts with our Busy B’s (Bible, Bed, Bathroom, and Breakfast):
Bible: Kids have prayer, and read their Bible (or look at the Bible Pictures).
Bed: Kids make up their bed.
Bathroom: Kids go to the bathroom, brush their teeth, wash their face and change their clothes.
Breakfast: Finally they are ready for breakfast, they go downstairs and are able to prepare a simple breakfast for themselves.
After our Busy B’s we sit down and have family worship and start our school day. We typically have a mixture of math and English and then go outside to water our garden and have physical education. Our science and social studies is typically done in the afternoon after lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have many breaks in between subjects.
Complete the sentence: Our homeschooling happens mostly at…
Our kitchen table and the library. We tend to gravitate there since after we eat breakfast and have worship there it seems like a natural progression to stay there. We often do science experiments and practical arts in the kitchen since it’s easier to clean up the mess.
Our homeschool group, South Cobb Homeschoolers, meets at the library so we go there every month to connect and do activities as well as get more books for learning.
What have you picked for your curriculum next year?
The list of curriculum my 8-year-old is listed below:
- Reading – Library Books (We do weekly trips to the Library to get new books)
- English Language Arts – http://www.Time4Learning.com and Spectrum Workbooks
- Math – Math-It, http://www.Time4Learning.com and Spectrum Workbooks
- Science – Library Books
- Social Studies – Library Books
- Bible – My Bible First
- Spanish – Mango Languages
- Practical Arts – Learning to cook, clean and maintain a home
Our time spent on Time4Learning is limited to 60 minutes a day or less while the use of workbooks occur less frequently. I use the workbooks as a touch point to make sure that I have taught what I needed to.
List 3 books about homeschooling that really impacted you.
- How to Home School (A Practical Approach) by Gayle Graham – This was an easy to read book that helped me to lay the foundation for my school year. It really helped me to start thinking about what homeschooling could look like.
- Home School Burnout: What it Is. What Causes It. And How to Cure It. by Raymond S. Moore, Ed.D and Dorothy Moore, M.A. – This was by far the most enlightening book. While I thought I did not really need it because of its title, I found that it gave eye-opening information that I needed to keep in mind while I was homeschooling so that I did not fall into the burnout trap.
- Better Late than Early by Raymond Moore, Ed.D. – I loved the research in this book. If your child is having a hard time learning, I would recommend parents to read this book. I think many of the labels placed on children at early ages could be avoided if we all knew the research.
Your family is going on an unplanned trip, not much time to pack, you must homeschool the kids while traveling and you can only take 5 of your homeschooling resources/books with you. What would you take?
- Spectrum Workbooks
- Notebooks for documenting experiences
- Clipboards for activities on the go
- Crayons, Pencils, and Pens
If you had the chance to start homeschooling all over again today with the knowledge and experience you have now, what would you do differently?
If I had a chance to start homeschooling all over again, I would learn to relax sooner. As an educator I had many internal pressures pulling at me to be a perfectionist. I would heed the words of Dr. Moore:
“Don’t be concerned about the amount of education you have so much as your attitude toward your children”.
Stumbled across this article and would be interested in hearing from Rhea on how her eldest is doing now.
Was introduced to this concept of starting out late after hearing a speaker at our church. I have a 2.5 yr old and 7 month old daughter and I already have friends asking me if I was going to enroll my 2.5 yr old in preschool this fall because they would be enrolling their own kids. I started to get a little stressed out over thinking my child would be behind. I personally was in school at 3 years old and my parents were told by the principal that I needed to skip straight to 1st grade by the time I was 5 because I already knew how to read. I’m now wondering if this was unwise of my parents. Would I have been “smarter” if they had waited? Of course they did not know anything about homeschooling or Dr. Moore.
I’m interested in hearing testimonies from older children or even young adults who whose parents have adopted these principles to see how they fared academically compared to children who went a more traditional route.
Hi Michelle! Great question! The majority of us who follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education don’t start with formal lessons until age 6. Please note that this not not mean that kids are not learning! They learn through play, read aloud, poetry, music, nature walks, field trips, and anything else that they are exposed too. We just to sit them formally on a table to solve math problems and learn grammar or spelling. But they do learn the letters and sounds, they count beads and sticks and rocks when they are playing, they can name animals, plants, trees, planets, colors, etc because they learn it in an organic way as they explore and discover all things. My kids are now 10, 12 and 14 and they’ve done amazing with their studies!
I LOVE this post for so many different reasons! I love the philosophy behind better late than early. I am going to check out all three of them. I can see how they will definitely help my homeschooling.
I was at the library today with my littles. It is one of our favorite places too!
Yes! I so agree with this philosophy. I have seen firsthand how awesome little ones are at learning naturally. I can’t say, however, that our younger kids do not use a curriculum. I tried that last year, and they felt left out when the older kids were doing their work, so they do a few minutes of phonics and math and FIAR activities. Great post!
Thanks so much Shelly. I had the same problem too with the younger ones. I did buy coloring books for the 3 year old and for the 5 year old we do a little here and there. Her maturity level as compared to her sister at that age is slower to develop.
So great! I love the “better late than early” concept. It totally makes sense. I know with my two youngest I have slowed down a lot. It takes the pressure off of them and attitudes have been increasingly getting better. Thanks for sharing all of your books and resources. I will be checking some of them out for sure.
Yes, the attitude towards learning is so important!
Wonderful, wonderful post. I’ve heard of that book (I may actually have it on my shelf!) but haven’t read it yet. Hearing how helpful it’s been to you makes me want to go back and check it out! We have kind of come to that conclusion over the years through our own experience, so it would be lovely to hear some related data!
Yes, Check out the book! The research is amazing. What’s disheartening is that no one does this research anymore…except Cambridge University. They don’t teach it in a lot of education courses.
Thanks for this! I too found Raymond Moore’s books a few years ago. Our library system doesn’t have Better Late Than Early, but I managed to track down a few of his others and got the feel for what he was saying. Fascinating research, and it made so much sense to me! We are just finishing “kindergarten,” and I really tried to keep things relaxed and natural, even though my daughter really wanted to do “school” like other kids she knows. I’m thankful I read their books, because they are always in the back of my mind, helping me to slow down and not get overwhelmed.
I’m happy you liked it! It’s so important to keep this principle in the back of our minds and to continually practice it especially among all the voices of the world.