Every mother who has been homeschooling for any length of time can probably write down a list of benefits her children have experienced:
- Knows how to read and write well
- Can do more than basic computations in math
- Loves books (a personal favorite of mine!)
- Loves learning (another favorite benefit)
- This list could go on indefinitely!
Then there are “eternal” benefits (these supersede any other personal benefits!):
- Loves Christ and family
- Values God’s Word and God’s people
- Desires to please the Lord with their lives
- Possesses a vision for serving and helping others
These latter benefits particularly, if God works in my children’s hearts to draw them to himself, are what I spend my life for, what I pray every day for, and what I labor by faith and with joy for.
Sometimes, however, homeschooling has some unusual and unexpected benefits, such as saving your life. I’m not talking about moral preservation in this instance; I’m referring to good ‘ol plain knowledge gained from our children’s homeschooling years that literally and practically helps them. Bethany is our oldest child, now 24, who last year was working at an equine medical center not far from where she lives with her husband Ben. At the time, she was a full-time student at Patrick Henry College, going to school full-time and working part-time to help with their living expenses.
Bethany’s had a few adventures caring for sick horses and maintaining their boarding quarters, but the one she had one day last year was particularly memorable. She had been cleaning one of the stalls in her scrubs, making sure she grabbed every utensil, tool, and bucket, cleaning everything thoroughly. She reached out and grabbed a big round bucket by the wide rim around the edge and as she did so she felt a spider web with her fingertips.
No problem. Coming across spiders and other kinds of bugs are part of this kind of work; Bethany was used to this. Yet, she realized, just from feeling it, that this spider web was different. It was tough; it didn’t break. In that split second, Bethany knew what kind of spider she had found.
She immediately dropped the bucket, turning it over as she did. Sure enough, right there in the middle of the web, perhaps only an inch of where her fingers had grabbed the bucket was sitting an arthropod with the familiar red hourglass shape—it was a black widow spider!
Calling me that evening after the incident, Bethany calmly related the story. Incredulous, I had to ask her, “How on earth did you know it was a black widow spider?”
“It was the web, mom. Black widow spiders have the strongest web of any spider. If you push on their web, it doesn’t break.”
“And where did you learn that?” I asked.
“Oh, I read about it when I was a kid in some book about spiders in our home school library.”
Well, Bethany was our child who loved to read just about any book she could get her hands on, and I’ve always tried to have a huge variety of books in our home school library on just about every topic (okay, you’re probably wondering how many books are in our home library; I’ll talk about that sometime in another blog post). Out of all the books Bethany has read (probably thousands), one little bit of information she read in one book came back to her at just the right moment that quite possibly saved her life.
From this incident what I marvel at, is how God can and does use what our children learn for their benefit. Sometimes our kids may seem like they are overly preoccupied with a particular topic. We might be tempted to fill their homeschooling days with workbooks and pencil-pushing, but if we give our kids time, all through their home schooling, to read on a variety of topics of interest to them, you can be sure that time spent will not be wasted. You never know, something they read might just save their life one day.
There's no place like home,