"Yes, I asked him if I could take a half day off Wednesday and the rest of the week off as well, but he said he can't spare me. Two other employees have already asked for a vacation that week." Shelby pulled the covers right around her neck. "Maybe we could take a vacation the week after that."
"No, we've got a really important meeting at work that Thursday. Something about a new way they want us to hang the electrical wires. What about the next week?"
"Remember, that week is revival at our church," she said in a dismal voice. The more they thought about it the more it seemed they wouldn't be able to go on their vacation any time soon. They wanted to take their children on a trip to the mountains one more time before their son Steve started college. They knew that once that happened it would be even harder to schedule a vacation. Shelby was glad she and her husband had decided not to tell their children about the trip until it was final. Now it looked like there would be none.
"It's just so hard for us both to get off work at the same time," Tom complained, interrupting her thoughts.
"I know, and I was really hoping to get away from my job for a while."
"Did you have another bad day?" he enquired.
"It was very hectic. I didn't think it would ever end. I can't wait till the weekend."
"Oh, that reminds me! I saw Mrs. Alice and Jeff Davis at the store today and they invited us out for supper Saturday. She said they're making pizza and spaghetti. She meant to ask us at church Wednesday, but didn't have a chance. She said to give her a call."
"Oh, that sounds like fun. I'll call her tomorrow and ask her if she wants me to bring a dessert. With six kids of her own she would probably appreciate some help."
"Alright. Goodnight Shelby."
"Hello Noles family! Come in," invited Mrs. Alice in a cheerful voice as she held the door open. "We're so glad y'all could come today. The kids have really looked forward to it. Some are out back on the tire swing and the others are . . . here they come."
The three older children walked out of the school/game room to greet the guests. Soon both families were seated at the large table arrayed with spaghetti and several varieties of pizza.
"Mm, mm! Everything looks delicious!" commented Tom.
"Thank you!" chimed in Jeff, mockingly. "I taught my wife everything she knows."
"Oh sure!" several said among lots of laughter.
"Alright, lets say the blessing before the food gets cold. These kids look pretty hungry." said Alice.
After Jeff said the prayer they all began to eat and fellowship.
"Alice, how long have you been home schooling?" asked Shelby.
"Twelve years, and I don't regret it one day. Jeff and I wont gave our children at home forever, so we want to be with them as much as we possibly can. I think the children feel the same way too. They like being home schooled."
"Oh, we do!" chimed in Stacy, one of the Noles' Children. "We're not bound to a schedule, so if we need to go somewhere or if the weather is nice and we want to play outside, we can take the day off and do extra school later."
"Yes, and mama said we can study any thing we want to!" little Jacob exclaimed. "I'm learning about animals and George Washington!"
"You might notice he wont mention math or writing." Alice pointed out. "Those are his toughest subjects. Hailey is really good at writing though and Mark likes math. They're all different."
"It must be a lot of work teaching six children all at one time," said Shelby.
"It can be a little tough at times, but for the most part it goes pretty smooth. After years of home schooling I finally came up with a schedule that works really well. But you know, even if it was hard I would still teach them because I believe that God commands me to."
"Do you mean he commanded you in a personal way? Like in a vision?" asked Tom.
"No, there's a verse in Deuteronomy that we think implies that we should keep our children at home. It speaks of teaching them in many situations," replied Alice.
"Mama, can we say it to them?" asked Jacob who was proud of himself for memorizing the three verses.
All six children began to quote the scripture. "Deuteronomy six, verses five through seven. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest. up."
"Very good!" complemented Shelby, not knowing what to say next. She never heart that verse like they described it. But when she thought about it, it did make sense. The verse commanded to the parents to teach their children, and to teach your children best, you need to be around them all the time. That one line kept ringing in her ears, "and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house." But could they really afford to home school their children?
"Stacy, what grade are you in? asked Margaret.
"Actually, I"m not doing school at home any longer. I'm studying at the Adult Education Center in town to prepare me for the GED test."
"Oh, I thought you were sixteen."
"Well, I just turned 17. Mama and daddy let me finish early so that I can get a head start in technical college. I'm going for Medical Billing and Coding. It's a career that I eventually can do from home, maybe even while I'm home schooling my children. That is, if God blesses me with any." Stacy explained.
"We've had people look down on us for letting her finish school early, but we're just trying to run our home the way God wants us too. Not the way our neighbors would like. Believe it or not, there's even been some Christians who think we shouldn't let her go to college either. They think that women should only be taught how to cook, clean, and take care of children. We do strongly believe those are the most important things they should be taught, but in the day we live in, we think it's good for women to also have some kind of learning. You never know when her husband might leaver her or even die. So we're trying to teach our girls that their most important job is to be a mother and wife, and that their career is only a back up, or something to keep them occupied till they do get married and have children." Jeff told them.
"Makes sense," said Tom. "Looks like y'all have it all figured out," he said in slight amazement.
"It didn't come to us all over night," Jeff joked. ''It took a lot of studying, prayer, and just plain old common sense.''
"I bet it did," commented Tom. "I bet it did."
To be continued . . .