When you first wade into the homeschooling waters, it’s a good idea to scoop up all the knowledge and ideas you can from moms who have been doing this a long time. I’m still in the shallows of homeschooling, but my friend Brenda is an expert at swimming the deeper waters. As a former public school teacher, Brenda’s blend of knowledge and talents made her the ideal teacher for her own two boys.
After graduating with a degree in education, Brenda became a second-grade teacher at a public school. She stayed in that role for six years—until she decided to make the switch to stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher.
“My homeschooling day was very much like a public school day,” she recalled when I asked her about her first foray into homeschooling. “I made a classroom space in my home. I purchased a work table and two desks.” She also set up a bookshelf to hold teacher’s manuals, learning aids, and manipulative materials.
As a former classroom teacher, she immediately saw the advantages that homeschooling provides. She could go slowly with difficult topics or move quickly if her child was grasping the concepts easily. “Teaching your own children allows you to move through the curriculum at your child’s pace rather than waiting for twenty-eight other children to finish each subject!” Brenda told me.
One concern that I have as a homeschool mom is what to do when children start testing their boundaries during school hours. How can I maintain both the role of mom and the role of teacher? “Most children would think twice about acting out in front of another authority figure, such as a teacher,” Brenda admitted. “But acting out with Mom would occur whether a child were homeschooled or not.” She told me that a homeschooling mom needs to commit to being patient and consistent, especially in her role as teacher.
One big question on my mind is curriculum choice, so I asked Brenda about her selection. “I have stayed with BJU Press because I have confidence in their scope and sequence,” she said. “The lessons are so well put together, and I know my children will be taught all the important concepts.”
Brenda’s older son has just entered a private Christian school. I asked Brenda why she made the decision not to homeschool past the elementary grades. “I like the fact that the Christian school provides so much opportunity with music, theater, and sports teams as well as classroom group activities,” Brenda answered. “My son had been in the BJU Press curriculum since kindergarten, and he was very prepared to enter the Christian school setting.”
Not everyone who dives into homeschooling is a former teacher. However, each parent brings a unique set of gifts and skills to the home classroom. In Brenda’s words, “The most beneficial thing is getting to spend quality time with my children, knowing exactly what they’re learning, and being able to give them a biblical worldview.”