finding opportunities in a nursing
home, a Mother’s Day Out program,
even;with;teachers;we;knew;in;three;dif-ferent public schools.
When the time came for that first
graduation, we decided to celebrate
and graduation party at our home. We
planned components common in traditional graduation ceremonies and added
some of our own. We mailed invitations,
purchased a cap and gown, and prepared
food for our guests. We put rows of chairs
in the former garage that we had made
into a den and set out framed photos of
John as he was growing up.
On graduation day, John donned his
navy blue cap and gown. Family members and friends, old and new, crammed
into our rather warm den for one purpose—to honor the accomplishments
of one young man they loved. When
“Pomp and Circumstance” began, our
graduate marched in—in a line of one.
solo. John gave a speech. Ray and I gave
speeches—not impersonal ones meant
to catapult a room full of graduates into
that gave our son a blessing and gave our
guests an opportunity to get to know
John even better.
We dusted off the cap and gown two
years later for Bethany and two years
graduation unique to honor each daughter and to celebrate the way God created
her.;Both;Bethany;and;Mary;Evelyn;in-troduced each of their guests during the
ceremony, telling why that person was
special;to;them.;For;Bethany’s;gradua-tion, John and Mary Evelyn wrote and
performed a song for her about memories they share.
Our graduation parties gave our children an opportunity to tell their future
plans. They gave our guests an opportu-nity;to;get;a;peek;into;our;homeschool.
They gave the members of our family
opportunities to say sweet things about
a grand time celebrating the blessing of
our homeschool experience.
As another way to celebrate the gradu-
City with two hundred other teenagers,
but wonderful family vacations where we
saw places we had studied about while we
John graduated at a time when we felt
mother’s;family;in;England;while;her;old-er brother was still alive. We scrimped,
cashed in, saved up, and went for three
weeks. We visited Hadrian’s Wall, the
white cliffs of Dover, Stonehenge, the
Tower of London, and so much more. We
spent precious time with Uncle Nobby
who died just ten months later. It was the
experience of a lifetime.
places we had gone as she was grow-ing;up;and;to;visit;the;settings;of;books
Notch, Vermont, the birthplace of Calvin
Coolidge, a president she admires.
And what happened after those gradu-ation;parties;and;senior;trips?;We;kept
being a family, and we still are.
Think back to your own graduation
from high school. Remember how excited
you were to be with your friends, friends
that you thought would be around for
the rest of your lives. My closest friend
from high school lives in Elmira, New
York,;and;I;live;in;Gainesboro,;Tennes-see. We still stay in touch; but we see each
other, oh, about once every decade or
two. Homeschoolers have the blessings
of classmates who are family forever.
about the eighteen years we have with
this child. Homeschooling helped me
learn valuable lessons about family. We
aren’t parents for eighteen years. We
are parents for a lifetime. Homeschool
graduation is not the end that public
what He is going to do next in this life
that we love.
Charlene Notgrass and her husband Ray
write homeschool curriculum for Notgrass
Company. The America;the;Beautiful history and geography course for grades 5-8
is one of her many popular curriculum
titles. She writes a daily blog, Daily Encouragement for Homeschooling Mothers
( notgrass.com/daily), and recently published a devotional book by the same title.
Visit notgrass.com to learn more.
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We aren't parents
the cover price.
for eighteen years.
We are parents for