The kids are out in the other room doing homework, complaining about the confusing instructions the English teacher gave for their essays and trying to decide whether finishing up algebra or coloring in their diagram of a plant cell should take priority.
This is what it’s like at my house four nights a week, when anywhere from one to five 7th graders come by for an evening of homework. It started with just one girl, then another heard about it and asked if she could come along, and now we have four girls and one boy who can be found at our kitchen table, coffee table, and an extra table we set up in the living room with a spare computer we borrowed from a friend.
We’d have more if they asked to come. But even with these kids, when all five show up it’s quite a production. One night in the week before Christmas, when the crunch was on to study for tests and finish projects, we had all five kids working on four different subjects. It’s a good thing our son was here and our daughter home from college to help me and my wife. Four subjects, four adults to help out.
Tonight we started out with two girls. The doorbell just rang. Now we have three.
Getting the Party Started
The first time one of the girls came over she’d stayed late at school to finish some work but ran out of time. So my wife asked if she wanted to come over that evening to get it all done. She did.
It happened again a couple nights later with the same girl. A couple days after that I got a text from my wife.
Her: “What do you think of starting a homework club?”
Me: “What can I do to help make it happen?”*
As the group expanded, our evenings at home got crowded and busy. We’re not the types to go out a lot, spend time being in groups or seek out large gatherings. We like being home of an evening, having dinner quietly, talking over the day and relaxing as we head toward our preferred bedtime between 8:30 and 9:00. That may seem early, but we get up at 4:00 am, and 9:00 pm is nowhere near too early for that alarm clock.
But now sometimes the kids don’t leave until after 8:30. So that’s when we clean up after them (they’re 7th graders, after all), finish the last chores for the evening, and get ready for bed. Sleep by 9:00 is unheard of nowadays.
I wouldn’t give this up. These are our homework kids, and they belong here.
Being Where You Belong
Our heavenly Father wants us with him even more than we want these kids to feel welcome doing homework at our house. We are his kids, and we belong with him.
Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16.)
Not only do we belong with Jesus, but he has prepared a place where we belong as well.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3.)
The hospitality we show the kids who come over for homework help (I had to stop writing this post earlier in order to read over one of their essays), is nothing compared to the eternal, gracious and glorious hospitality God has shown us.
Our home may host what I think is the world’s best homework club, but the home where God is our host is the best place to be ever.
*See what I did there? She had already started the homework sessions, I knew it, and I bowed to the inevitable. Clever, I am.