Trivium Pursuit

Homeschool Voices From the Past

Excerpt from an interview with Raymond S. Moore in Human Events, September 15, 1984

Q: [Interviewer] I’m quoting you now: “An early start in formal institutionalized schooling deprives children of the free exploration so crucial to the development of genius.” Could you elaborate on that and give specific ways in which institutionalized learning may penalize or stifle genius?

A: [Raymond S. Moore] Harold McCurdy, a distinguished psychologist from the University of North Carolina and a leading student of genius, says that genius is derived from the experience of children being most of the time with adults and very little with their peers. So when you start assembling children in very large numbers for long periods of time, you are on the wrong course for producing strong character and intellect. The more children around your child, the fewer meaningful human contacts he will have.

Let me give you another example, the matter of adult responses. John Goodlad, Graduate Dean of Education at UCLA, came out with an article in the Phi Delta Kappan in March, 1983. He did a comparison of over a thousand schools and found that the average amount of time spent in person-to-person responses between teachers and students amounted to seven minutes a day.

I doesn’t take much to see that if your child is one of 20, 25, 30 or maybe more youngsters in a classroom and the teacher is giving only seven minutes a day in responses, that your child is lucky if he gets spoken to once a day. If he is an aggressive or misbehaving child, he might get more attention. But when a child is home with his mother, he may get one, two, three hundred answers to his questions and ideas a day. So you can see right there where we are in terms of the sheer potential there is for the stimulation of intellect in a home.

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