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Mom to Mom typography
Jane Lambert & Carrie Bozeman
Courage: Perspective from a Homeschool Teacher & Student
Older mom chatting with younger daughter.

Carrie: My mother loves poetry, all varieties, and she often shared books of poetry with my sister and me during our homeschool days. Verses read aloud over steaming cups of tea and warm scones, muffins, or cookies were always a treat. I remember her excitement when she found a book of two-voice poems*! We enjoyed taking turns reading the separate lines and occasionally hearing our voices come together in shared words.

A poem featuring two voices can be read out loud by two people and often compares and contrasts two items or two perspectives. It’s typically written in two columns so that one person speaks the left-side lines and another person the right-side lines. Occasionally you’ll find two-voice poems where the two voices speak their lines but also speak a line together, almost like a musical chorus, between lines or interspersed into the poem.

*Note: The book of two voice poems she bought is called Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman. 

We want to share both the teacher’s and student’s perspectives about courage in homeschooling. What better way than through a two-voice poem? After you read this poem, we will dive into the fears that you might face as a homeschool teacher and discuss those that your students might face. We hope that you find solace in the commonality of questions and doubts that homeschool teachers and students often share. We also pray that you find freedom and courage in hearing from someone who’s faced those challenges and seen the growth and joy that can come from them. 

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The Teacher Reads:
Do I know enough to teach them?
Can I be a good mother and teacher?
Their minds are amazing…growing!
They can do these things, even without me.
(read together)
Together we learn.
Together we are vulnerable.
Together we discover.
Together we have courage!
The Student Reads:
What if I can’t remember it?
Will she still love me if I’m frustrated?
Mom makes things so interesting!
I can do hard things, even on my own.
Watercolor yellow flower bouquet
Teacher: Do I know enough to teach them?

It’s been years, but I do remember the fears that swirled around in my mind as I ventured into my first year of teaching our children at home. I began the days with an “I can do this!” excitement and a “Please, Lord help me” prayer. This went well until I’d lie down at night and become overwhelmed with worries about how I was doing, how our children were learning, and how I could actually believe it would all work out okay.

The source of nighttime worry came from the fact that we began homeschooling in 1981, and there were very few families engaged in home teaching. Many people, even in our neighborhood, thought we were breaking the law. They thought children must be in public or private schools. One of my worst nightmares, literally, was that the authorities would take our children away.

I’m so blessed to say that we made it through the stresses around us and continued to teach our children, and I say to everyone who wants to know: the choice to school at home was for us, one of the best decisions we ever made.

That is my story, but I have friends who have had to deal with other fears. Some are worried they won’t be able to find the right curriculum, while others stress thinking they have to plan out their children’s K-12 years all at the beginning. A few are anxious about their children having friends or how they can handle schooling and a baby or toddler at the same time. I have watched each of them turn to the Lord and make their requests and fears known. He does answer, as He did for me, and I know He will answer you.

Student: What if I can’t remember it?

I’m sure the fear is the same whether you are in a school or at home, but as a young student, I remember wondering what would happen if I couldn’t come up with the answer or retain the information that I was learning. A wonderful benefit of homeschooling is that we’re always together, and we are learning all the time. At home, learning can be a conversation on the way to a violin lesson or a discussion at the dinner table instead of a lecture, quiz, or test. Together we learn. It is true—that fear faded fast because I quickly came to understand that we would revisit the question and answer several times throughout the day and week until it naturally soaked in.

Together, we learn.
Teacher: Can I be a good mother and teacher?

I believe the Lord planned family life with parents and children for many reasons. One of these reasons was to teach children about the God who made them and the magnificent world He created for them to live in. While some parents can certainly choose to delegate some of these kinds of lessons to a public or private school or engage a tutor for their children, we decided to take the responsibility ourselves. Parents teach their children all the time, and we simply added in academics as well. As we did this, we tried to remember to nurture our children and not make every last thing an “academic lesson.” We realized having a variety of home fun and playtimes were as important as the academics.

Student: Will she still love me if I’m frustrated?

Being not just teacher and student but also mother and child is an overlapping of relationships. It is a natural one, though, and we come to realize that mother and child is the same as teacher and student. Mothers are always training and teaching their children, so adding in academic lessons isn’t any different. Children learn from their parents, and having Mom teach math instead of using a kind voice is just another extension of her natural authority. Maybe this is something that we can’t describe until we’re grown, as I am now, but I believe we know it emotionally as children. If the relationship between mother and child is loving and healthy, the child will quickly realize that their actions as a student will not change the love coming from their mother or teacher. Healthy Relationship = vulnerability.

Together, we are vulnerable.
Teacher: Their minds are amazing… growing!

What could be more fascinating than the mind of a child? Watching him observe his world, make discoveries, and both figuratively and literally put two and two together is a joy to watch! Homeschooling gave me many opportunities to say, “Why, I never saw that! Good observation!” Or “I never thought of that, what a great idea. God gave you such a wonderful mind!”

I tried to keep drawing my students into the totally amazing world that was there to be experienced all around them, one wonder after another. And I had the privilege of introducing to them so many of those wonders, such as reading and writing, how numbers fit together in a pattern, the countless intricacies of nature, the geography of our planet, and so much more! 

Student: Mom makes things so interesting!

I still, to this day, remember nature walks with my mom. Today as I walk with my children, the name of a flower or tree will pop out of my mouth. It always surprises me how much I know that I learned by my mother’s side throughout my childhood. She loves nature: insects, animals, flowers, and trees. She shared these things with us, and because of her interest and excitement, it made them exciting to us as well. Don’t shy away from sharing your interests with your child and teaching them about whatever you love: cooking, baseball, animals, sewing, painting, great books, poetry. All these things can be shared and discovered together as you teach your child.

My mom also asked us what we were interested in and found learning materials specific to those interests. I wanted to learn about Ireland—she found a historical fiction series of novels set in Ireland. She found cookbooks from Ireland and taught me how to make iconic Irish dishes. She took me shopping at an Irish import store in our city. She made learning interesting by asking and listening to what I wanted to learn about and then making it come alive. She learned a lot about Ireland as well. 

Together, we discover.
Teacher: They can do these things, even without me.

As our children grew, I knew they would have to do many things alone. But we eased into independence slowly and proceeded in each separate subject at the pace that was comfortable. It seemed so right to be able to go quickly in some areas and slow down in others, allowing them to learn each subject at their own pace.

I also gave my children some chances to choose what they wanted to learn in history, science, literature, etc. Then I’d make unit studies around their choices and add in bits of the subject to broaden out the lessons. Now and then, I just had to let them work out their own research and projects according to their interests.

Student: I can do hard things, even on my own.

I was a shy, introverted child who hid behind my Mom’s skirts and took a while to warm up to new people and places. Homeschooling was probably the best atmosphere for me to begin learning in. The comfort of home and familiarity let me focus on what I was learning while allowing for the slow but continual rise of confidence in myself and my abilities. There were opportunities to grow: orchestra class and intramural sports through a local Christian school, Sunday school, friends’ parties, family gatherings, and, later, more competitive sports leagues. I am thankful for the outside opportunities but also for the comfort of home to fall back on when I needed to recharge or rest. The ability to gain confidence at my own pace was a good thing. I’m thankful for a parent/teacher who helped when needed but had the strength to step back as I got older and let me do more on my own.

Together, we have courage!
Parents teach their children all the time, and we simply added in academics as well.”

Jane: It takes courage to choose to gather the reins of homeschooling and move out into the unknown. But with the Lord’s help, you can do it, and you will find rewards you couldn’t have imagined.

Carrie: I am now the teacher, and my children are the students. I’m thankful that my mom is still around to ask advice and learn from—Mom-to-Mom—and that she shares her knowledge with all of you through this column. Watching her teach me all those years has given me the courage to tackle the teacher’s role with my children and know that together we will make lifelong memories! It encourages me—gives me courage—to see that we are in this together; I hope that it inspires you too! 


ith a grandmother who owned a private school and a mother who spent 35 years in the classroom it was only natural for Jane Claire Lambert to become a teacher. But Jane’s teaching gifts found expression in homeschooling beginning in 1981. Today Jane’s children continue the family teaching tradition by homeschooling all seven of Jane’s grandchildren ranging in age from three to 19. Jane is the author of the award-winning curriculum “Five in a Row” which is now in its 25th year of publication. Jane’s passion is to introduce children to great books, to nurture a love of learning and to build a firm foundation of faith in Christ.


arrie was homeschooled K-11 before attending college; she began homeschooling her own children in 2012. She is also the author of More Before Five in a Row (ages 3-5) and Five in a Row Mini Units (ages 2-12). Both are children’s literature-based, unit-study curricula. You can find these products at www.fiveinarow.com

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