Our homeschool year is wrapping up, with just a few more days until "summer" activities start. Jason, my youngest, is finishing his 4th year of our 5-year high school, and will be a senior next year. I can't even begin... nope, not yet, too soon.
Tomorrow is our support group graduation ceremony, with 37 homeschooled students receiving their diplomas from mom and dad. Jason is serving as a Junior Marshall and I, as a member of the Graduation Planning Committee, am running rehearsal this evening for seniors and their parents. We'll go over the schedule for tomorrow, show everyone where to sit, the seniors will practice walking in to Pomp & Circumstance, the groups of seniors and parents will practice walking on and off the stage, finding their marks, learning how to hold the microphone. "Fist on the chest, not on the belly." We'll watch the slide shows of "baby to grad" pictures, as well as the group shots from the 2 senior photo shoots we held during the year - playful shots of blowing bubbles, hula hooping, playing croquet, and cap & gown photos, both serious and raucous! There will be a few tears.
Next year my husband and I will be up there with our 5th and youngest, handing over a diploma and saying goodbye to 22 years of homeschooling. I can't even begin... nope, not yet, too soon.
Last weekend, we celebrated the achievement of my youngest daughter at her college graduation. Amanda graduated with honors, with a B.S. in Child Development. She finished her degree on time, in 8 semesters, even after transferring colleges and changing majors after her freshman year. This is the same child who couldn't read a chapter book until age 12, who took 2 years to get through 6th grade math, who barely squeaked through chemistry after trying 3 different curriculums in 3 years.
She didn't love school. She took a year off after high school because she didn't know if she wanted any more school, but did decide to go for it, applied to a few colleges and got accepted to one (not her first choice) cried through some of her college courses that she was sure she was failing (but never actually did), made good enough grades to transfer to the college she really wanted to go to, and found her niche. At the department reception before the college graduation ceremony, her professor gushed over how amazing she is. ( yes, I know!) She has a job lined up that might not look "successful" to some, based on the pay, but it is an amazing opportunity to help expand a ministry working with immigrant/refugee children in a city apartment complex - running a morning preschool program and an after school tutoring program. She has been interning there for the past semester, her supervisors love her, the kids love her, and SHE loves what she is doing.
My philosophy has always been to take the time we need to learn something, even if it is faster or slower than expected, and to give attention to ALL areas of growth - academic, artistic, relational, practical , emotional, spiritual, physical, etc. Even though one of our children was struggling in math or reading or writing, we didn't cut back on things like sports, time with friends, music lessons, camp activities, volunteer work, church involvement, etc. Those other areas were equally important in their overall development and happiness, and that is what I think contributes to ultimate success in life. Not just taking he hardest courses or getting the highest grades or getting the highest paying job. I know, pretty radical thinking.
Check out the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
for a glimpse into the week of other homeschool families.