Editor's note: this article was originally published by Home School Enrichment Magazine. Learn more by visiting www.HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.

"You're still at home? So . . . what do you do with your time?”

I’m sure I’m not the only homeschool graduate who has ever gotten this question. It usually follows the question “Where are you going to college?” and then the startling revelation that, actually, I’m not going anywhere. Sometimes it is asked in a friendly, curious way; other times, I suspect the questioner thinks I’m not quite “with it” because I’m not following the cultural norm. Most of the time, it just seems to be a new concept which simply needs to be explained.

I am twenty-one years old and still at home with my parents and nine younger siblings. I could go into detail on some of the reasons why I’m not going to college, such as the biblical principle of always being under the protection of a father or a husband, or the fact that so far, I have found nothing in a college that can better prepare me to be a wife and mother than the training ground I have here at home. However, that is not the point I’m trying to make here. I am not intending in any way to preach at anyone who feels that she should get a college degree, and I certainly don’t want to appear critical of anyone who holds a different view in this area. I am simply writing to any young lady who is living at home, regardless of the reason why.

You may be at home because you are not yet old enough to go to college. Or perhaps you already have your college diploma, or you are still studying to get it through distance learning courses. Maybe you are in the same situation I am, and you believe that the woman’s primary role is to be a godly helpmeet to her husband and mother of children, and that before she is married, she is to be her father’s helper, mother’s assistant, and siblings’ friend. Whatever your reason for being at home may be, the Lord has given you this time, and I want to encourage you to make the most of it.

So, what can a young lady do with her time at home? Obviously our highest goal should be to know our Lord. As1 Corinthians 7:34 says, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” We should be using this time to delve into the Word and really learn the character of God, developing a close relationship with Him while we have this time during which we are not carrying the responsibility of managing a household.

Secondly, we should be developing solid, lasting relationships with our family members. So many times we get caught in the trap of thinking that we need “best friends” outside of our family, because our family is just . . . well, they’re just too close. We tend to want friends who only see our good sides and who tell us the things we want to hear. Our families, on the other hand, know us too well, and they aren’t afraid to tell us when we’re wrong. And of course, human nature doesn’t usually appreciate that kind of honesty.

But have we ever considered that God placed us in our families for a reason? He didn’t put us in the same family as our best friend from church. He put us with the exact people He wanted us to be best friends with. I believe that the family is God’s built-in program for sanctification, fellowship, and accountability, and in all reality, if we can’t get along with the people that He has given to us, it wouldn’t be any different if He had placed us with someone else: we would end up having the same complaints with them!