It Takes an Army
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Do you ever wonder what goes into making the BJU Press Homeschool curriculum? Recently my family and I met some of the many people who work behind the scenes to create the curriculum and learn about their jobs. I now have a better appreciation of the books that I handle and the video courses my children watch.

We started with a tour of the BJU Press Printing Division, led by a long-time employee who explained every step of the process. From start to finish, each book is handled by many people who love what they do! I learned that they genuinely care about us, as parents and customers, and do their best to get a great product out the door. (And they are the sweetest people you will ever meet!!) A book has a long journey before it is ready to ship to your door.

Before printing, the books were written and designed by teams of writers, editors, and designers. Once they have the final product, the book is sent to the Press Printing Division. At the Press, it all starts with metal plates which need to be etched with the imprint of the individual page. Each page takes four plates, one for each of the four different colors of ink used to print the book. Did you know they only need four colors to make the variety of colors in the books? It is an amazing process.

After etching, the plates make their way to the large printing press. This machine is vast and takes several people to run it. Huge rolls of paper are fed into the machine at one end, and printed pages emerge at the other. When they are done, all the pages go onto pallets, where they wait until all the book pages are ready to be bound. Oh, and don’t forget all the people who must look at every page to ensure there are no mistakes, ink spots, or other problems. Then off to the binding machine, it goes. The staff at the binding machine have a big job. They must be sure they are paying attention and get all the pages in order, so it is correct when the book is glued together.

Then the books are shrink-wrapped so they don’t get dusty and dirty while waiting for the journey to your home. The teacher’s editions have a little longer journey. After they are printed, they need to have holes punched, and spirals put into them before they are shrink-wrapped. Each of these jobs has a wonderful staff member to make this happen.

But of all the products, I now have the most appreciation for the manipulative packets. Did you know those have to be collated by hand? Someone must take each piece and put that packet together for you. They can’t use a machine, or you would be missing several parts of your packet. These packets are made with love and take many hands (and many steps around the tables!). The next time you hold a BJU Press book, JourneyForth book, or a manipulative packet, I want you to think about the sweet person who helped make that just for you. It takes an army!!

The army of BJU Press staff doesn’t end there. After the printing division, we were off to the digital portion of BJU Press Homeschool. Those who do the video courses are familiar with all the excellent teachers. Before we started the tour, several teachers came out to meet our kids and spent some time getting to know them. We forget that they spend their days teaching to a camera, so they love to see their students in person!

As we walked through the building, we learned all about the complicated process of making a video. It’s not as easy as you think. So much planning must be done before they even start to record. The teachers must plan their lessons, write scripts, find just the right props to make it exciting for your child, choose outfits that don’t clash with the backgrounds, and head into the recording studio.

Plus, they make sure they have several days ready at a time, so when it’s time to record, they can do a couple of days at a time. We were able to go right into one of the studios and see everything up close, as the teacher took time to show our kids familiar props and characters. As I stood there learning about the process, I was extra thankful that they took the time so I could have an excellent product for my child.

There are so many behind-the-scenes people that I wouldn’t be able to list them all. Did you realize there are two to three other people in the studio with the teacher, running the camera, advancing the teleprompter and the on-camera slides, and balancing sound? Have you ever wondered about the backdrops for the video courses? A whole department of gifted artists is given an idea and then creates a product out of foam. The backgrounds and props are so lifelike that even up close, it is hard to tell they are made of foam.

Did you know that someone must watch every video looking for mistakes and then get them fixed? Did you know someone must schedule the teachers to use the recording rooms and coordinate the special segment actors? And our whole day wouldn’t have happened without a friendly receptionist who was happy to schedule our family’s visit. The list goes on and on.

We, as parents, only see the finished product. When you see the process from start to finish, you have more appreciation for the video courses. The next time you click on a video online or pop in a DVD, I hope you remember all the hard-working people putting together excellent classes for our kids. It takes an army!

Meet the Author

Melissa Vosburgh - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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