Today I’d like to introduce you to homeschool mom LaBeth Brewer. I was privileged to meet her in real life last month at an annual church lectureship my family attends in Tennessee. She and her family were so sweet and it was an honor to meet her. Let me tell you a bit about LaBeth’s family and why she’s a superhero homeschool mom.
Learning is important in the Brewer household, in fact, in the last few years every member of the Brewer family has been in school in one sense or another. LaBeth’s husband was a school of preaching student, LaBeth is in grad school and of course the children are being homeschooled.
A bit about grad school for Labeth. She is continuing her education in Marriage and Family therapy. Prior to beginning the process of getting her masters, she worked full-time as a counselor for the Department of Human Services in Tennessee. Her goal is to work with Christian families, that are experiencing difficulties. Over the next few years, she will be working with children and teens who have learning and behavioral difficulties, and children who have been in abusive situations.
She is mom to two children, Anthony age 12 and Abigail age 11. They are a year round homeschooling family because that is what best fits their life. LaBeth shared that they take 2 full months off each year, one in June ane one in December. Otherwise, they are learning in one way or another.
“We have definitely made learning a lifestyle.”
Because Mr. Brewer has recently completed his preaching school requirements, and LaBeth continues to complete her grad school degree , they are also planning ahead for what lies ahead for them in mission work.
When LaBeth and her husband looked into the public school system where they lived they were not pleased. They were concerned that sending their small children into that system would be counter productive to the Christian values they wanted to teach them.
“We believe that sending them into an environment [public education] without any spiritual armor was harmful.”
When they first started homeschooling, they had a homeschool room for the kids, but after moving several times and the realization that learning happens in life, now she says that most schooling happens at the kitchen table, but also allows independent work to happen wherever the child feels most comfortable.
But they aren’t just learning in a classroom setting. One of the things that Labeth finds to be so beneficial about homeschooling is that they can travel with their children any time of the year. With their faith being at the forefront of their lifestyle keeping the children with them when they attend gospel lectureships or travel for mission work means that education can happen wherever they happen to be. It allows them the freedom to focus their life where they want it to be focused.
I’m sure you are thinking; full-time job, preaching school, grad school; how does this family fit in homeschooling? She says that now that they are in 6th and 7th grades she has absolutely no regrets about their family’s decision.
“One may wonder how do you work full-time and homeschool? Before I was able to leave my job (halfway through their 3rd year of homeschooling), their grandparents helped a lot. We used a full curriculum, I would get their backpacks ready every morning, send their work with them, and their grandparents along with DVD instructors would help them with their work. At night, we would do unit studies that would involve Bible devotionals, writing, reading, history, geography, and sometimes science. I look back on those years, and I really have no idea how we did it.”
Being in their fourth community since they began home education, they’ve experience a wide variety of homeschooling community. From one location where they were the only homeschooling family, according to the town librarian, to a larger community where there was a large presence of homeschool families, LaBeth has experienced the full gamut. Today, her local homeschool community is small, but knows that across the state there are a lot of families home educating. She relies mostly on social media networking for the homeschooling support she needs.
LaBeth is blessed with a husband who fully supports her and the children in their homeschooling efforts. He offers solutions when they’ve experienced a tough day or specific support when it’s needed. He often steps in with quizzes, or explanations. Bringing their son alongside him in his ministry work, he is training him in sermon writing, study techniques, and public speaking. This year he’s taking the teaching lead in science and Bible devotionals. Last year, they made the wise decision to divide the kids when it came to teaching health, with mom teaching the daughter and dad teaching the son.
Finding time to fit it all in and stay on task is this homeschool teacher’s biggest struggle. Being a minister’s wife and a grad student means there always seems to be something popping up and making it difficult to accomplish the days lessons. Couple that with her love to switch up the curriculum often and she can feel like nothing gets completed. Which can make it seem like the kids are gonna miss something important. Like most homeschool mamas, LaBeth worries that they won’t be adequately prepared for their adult life and whatever those futures entail.
She feels that the Charlotte Mason method is the most ideal method for her family with unit studies being an optimal approach to bring alongside the Mason philosophy. Being a busy mom, and student herself, she likes the structure that a program like A Beka can provide but understands that it’s o.k. to mix up curriculum sources to find what best fits her families lifestyle and her children’s unique needs. She’s finding Ambleside online and Simply Charlotte Mason to be good fits for her family needs.For LaBeth, science is the subject she least likes to teach. So she approaches science using unit studies and a big research project as well. Of course, some good literature to accompany the Charlotte Mason method and bringing units and lapbooks into the learning rounds out a full scope of learning.
” A note to any parent who is working and wants to homeschool, it can be done. I thought I was the only full-time homeschooling momma!! But I found out that I wasn’t.”
While she’s no longer working full-time outside the home, grad school does keep her busy and takes much of her time. So I wanted to know what she does to unwind. After having met her last month I am not surprised by her answer at all.
“Pray, read the Bible, refocus on what I think is important. When I first started homeschooling, I got some advice from a blogger or somewhere that said to create a homeschooling folder. In the folder on the front page, write the reason you are homeschooling at the top, your overall educational goals, and what part of education I value the most. I did this, and I still have this notebook. When I get frustrated I go back and read what I wrote all those years ago. I look at it many times during the year and it may sound crazy but it really helps me realize what is important.”
That’s why LaBeth is a real life superhero mom. She has figured out how to manage all of the circumstances of their life, and still choose to provide a customized home education to their children. It might look a bit different, but at the end of each day they are keeping their eye focused on the Christian values that she and her husband want to instill in their children.
This post is part of my Real Life Superhero Homeschool Moms Series.