This Thanksgiving marks another occasion when our family will spend the day with five other homeschooling families. We spent last year’s T-day together; we will again tomorrow. I am looking forward to the day. Nothing substitutes for immediate relatives of course. These days with dispersed relatives, other opportunities become available, like spending a special holiday with families we see weekly with schooling.
Spending time with multiple homeschooling families makes me reflect on our shared values – what makes the other families as interested to spend the day with me and my family as we are with theirs? I can see three shared values:
- Shared sacrifice to God
- Honoring each other
- Grace-giving and space-giving
The families share the value of giving sacrifices of thanksgiving to God above all. While we don’t have to show this during the actual hours of our time together, we see it in the weeks between Thanksgivings. Again, I’m not indicting immediate relatives; I am pointing out something that is present during our holiday though invisible.
Honoring each other especially includes honoring each other’s family unit, the marriage, the parenting, the children, their values and their lives. We mix with each other while suspending a natural desire to judge. We understand that we get a snapshot of time together and we are not to export our values on theirs.
Most likely there will be a moment when someone says or does something “over the line.” I’ve had to correct another family’s son before. It’s a moment of grace for that son’s father to let me do this with his son. Likely in this small space of a home we will bump each other or wear out our welcome a bit. The hosts give us their space for the time and we occupy it. We do our best to be good stewards of the invitation (we want to return next year!)
Perhaps you are surprised to see a missing point of homeschooling. That commitment is not specifically what brings us together on this holiday. What runs under our commitment to God, each other and to the time we have together is what makes this holiday work when immediate relatives are far away.