Written by Maribeth Spangenberg
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” I Peter 4:10
No sooner had the alarm sounded than my husband rolled over and turned it off. I had set it a little earlier than usual for myself, hoping to get a good start on another week of homeschooling. But as Matthew 26:41 attests, “. . . the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I admit: I was tired. So I rolled over and caught another hour of sleep.
I tried to rationalize to myself that we had had an unusually busy weekend, beginning with Friday morning. My older boys had a scheduled, mid-day basketball game. Our church school graciously allows home schoolers to be a part of their team, for which we are very grateful! Since this was an away game, they needed to be at the school by 10 a.m. to catch the bus. They would not be returning until 3:30 p.m. It was a nice break for them from the academics.
After dropping off my boys, I did the week’s food shopping to get the necessary supplies and ingredients to prepare for the weekend. School was completed hastily with my younger children, so I could devote the remainder of the day to food preparation for the upcoming events.
On Saturday we hosted a “couples’ baby shower” for a dear Chinese couple expecting their first baby. They were friends of my oldest, married son and his wife. To our knowledge, we were the only American family that they knew and with whom they associated. As Christians, we desired to reach out to them in love. My daughter-in-law invited all of their other Chinese friends to help celebrate and to introduce them to the American way of welcoming new babies. This was new to all of them, since the Chinese tradition is to wait until after the baby is born and then have a thirty-day-old party for the newborn. The shower lasted from late afternoon into the night.
The next morning we attended Sunday school and morning services. We then returned to our home with a visiting missionary family to host a meal, fellowship, and to show hospitality. The afternoon passed quickly, and then we needed to have them returned to church early enough to be able to set up their slide presentation for the evening service.
We made it to bed that night, exhausted but feeling greatly blessed at all of which the Lord had allowed us to be a part.
And so, on Monday morning, I did not feel guilty “rolling over” and catching a few extra minutes of sleep. This was one of the “perks” of home schooling: having the authority to tweak the schedule.
But in actuality, my homeschooled children had experienced a different kind of learning. My nine-, eleven-, thirteen-, fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds had been a part of a cultural experience with the Chinese—socializing, talking, sharing, hearing the broken English, watching them taste American food, seeing their likes and dislikes, and extending Christian hospitality. They gained a glimpse of the missionary’s experience on the foreign field. Then, on Sunday, my children had the privilege of fellowshipping with a missionary family on deputation to gain support for their call to Australia.
These experiences could not have been gained from a textbook. In being honest with myself, they were two full days of “learning of a different kind”—real life home schooling! So, I guess I really did not need to feel guilty for turning off the alarm. I venture to say that a late start on this Monday was allowed—if not called for.
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the privilege of having a blessed, busy weekend. Help me not to put my academic homeschooling in such a box that I miss the “real” life homeschooling: the foundational purpose for which You called me into this educational choice.
Maribeth Spangenberg is wife to Steve, homeschooling mother of nine children, and happy, new grandmother to one granddaughter. She considers it a blessing and a ministry to be able to encourage other mothers and home schoolers to “stay the course”!