Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hold on to your hat ... it's a Homeschool Graduation!

When you start homeschooling, 

you're not really thinking about graduation.  

At least I wasn't.  

But two years in a row now, we've had graduations.  


I think my life is stuck on fast forward.  
Our son Nathan should be here ...

Not here.

Because of some wonderful, creative, hardworking, visionary moms, our homeschool co-op began offering a graduation ceremony a few years ago.  It's not the standard walk across the stage, 
shake hands with the principal and get your diploma ceremony.  It takes a dedicated team of highly organized, diplomatic, flexible, willing to laugh women, along with the families of every single graduate to pull together a ceremony that suits the desires of more than twenty families.  

The ceremony starts with a lovely candlelight prelude, where the younger siblings line the aisle holding candles 
to honor their graduating brothers and sisters.  

One senior is selected to give a speech.  
This year, Lauren grabbed everyone's attention right away in telling about a very serious 
auto accident.  She told about waking up in a hospital bed, having totaled their family car
 and nearly killed her mother ... and her father told her he loved her, and that he was proud of her.  

She told how the investigating police officer said with tears in his eyes that she shouldn't be alive, and that God clearly had a purpose for her life.  
And her message to her peers was the same ... 
God loves you.  He's proud of you.  And He has a purpose for your life.

The Keynote speaker was the Honorable Keith Self, local county judge.  

Judge Self has been married 34 years, 
served our nation for 25 years in distinguished military service, 
and was elected as county judge in 2006.  
He challenged the seniors to take charge of their futures 
and use the talents God has given them.  

Three highly deserving students were awarded scholarships.  

Nathan and his friend Aavery gave a fabulous performance on guitar

accompanied on the drums by their friend Josiah ...

It was VERY cool to see them collaborate.
And they totally rocked.

The highlight of the ceremony is a personal video for each of the graduates, 
put together and narrated by their parents.  

It's not easy to cram everything you want to say to your graduate into 90 seconds.  
Nor is it easy to hold back the tears whilst you're trying to say it.  
So it's a great thing that the videos are produced by a professional and pre-recorded. 

Here's our tribute video for Nathan.  
(I sound like I've been heavily sedated, but I have not been ... I just detest recording my voice!)

It's so much fun to see each family's video.  Everyone's is different, 
and it makes the ceremony very intimate and personal.

After each video, the parents award their student their diploma.  
The class of 2013 exited to Kool and the Gang's Celebrate!  

So much fun!

Following the ceremony, each student receives guests at their memory table.  

The memory tables are also very fun, 
as they're all very different and reflective of the kids and their interests.    

It's customary to have a guest book for people to sign ... 

or a drum pad, if that suits you best.  

Guitar and airsoft ... what our boy does for fun.

That's the cover of his school journal from 8th grade, 
complete with mustache, beard and sideburn embellishment.  

See that tiny shirt there on the left?  He used to wear that shirt!

Later at home, we continued the fun with a family roast in Nathan's honor.

Ben and Caleb had to put up with Nathan as Host of the Roast last year, 
so they got to double team him.

There was LOTS of laughter ...

and more than a little heckling.

Everyone had a great time telling Nathan stories.

The morning of graduation, we had a little drama.
The graduation hat was nowhere to be found. 
Have you ever tried to come up with a graduation hat three hours before the ceremony?
It's not like you can just stop by Target on the way and pick one up.
The house was turned upside down.  
We looked high and we looked low.
We put out an all points bulletin.
Friends from across the metroplex were offering hats from past graduations.
Friends were going through yet unpacked moving boxes to see if they could find one.
Several friends brought old ones to the ceremony just in case.

But the hat was found.  

It was in someone else's car.  
From taking group pictures months ago.  
Had I checked my phone messages the night before, I would've known this, 
because friend's mom knew, of course, that we would be desperately be searching for it.  

Every time I hear someone go off about how our future as a nation is doomed
 because just look at the youth of America, 
I ask them to come and meet some of these homeschoolers.

Because they are bright.  

And their futures are bright.

BRIGHT, I tell you.

Provided ... of course ... that they can keep up with their hats.

sharing this post at the weekly wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers !

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. LOVED reading this. You are a blessing! Great pictures too.

    1. thank you Shannon ... happy to bless someone who blesses me!