Monday, June 27, 2011

Cross Post From Three Thinking Mothers

It is graduation time.  All over town there are balloons and banners and lawn placards with the little mermaid wishing Tory a Happy Graduation.  There are Congratulations Class of 2011 wishes on business signs and write ups on star athletes and class valedictorians in the local newspapers.  
This is when homeschooling can be hard.  My nieces were the valedictorians of their town’s class of 2010 and 2011.  They are both either at or off to great universities to continue their studies.  Their accomplishments are easy to see.  Their ribbons can hang on walls.  The report cards can be displayed.  The varsity jackets can be worn.  Their diploma will rest on a shelf.  
But what about the graduating homeschool seniors?  Do they consider themselves part of the class of 2011?  With all these signs, balloons and banners it the message is conveyed that something is over, or has ended, when in fact nothing is over, nothing has ended, except the fact that they left a school building.  There is always more learning to be done whether or not you find that education in the classrooms of a college, through an internship, exploring the world, or working at your first real job.
I sometimes feel bad for my girls.  I feel like their accomplishments are overlooked because the are not listed on the honor roll in the newspaper each semester.  They do not get to attend awards banquets, and they are not named Student of the Month.  They will not have a 6th grade and an 8th grade graduation.  They will not be named Homecoming Queen.
But they have so much to celebrate.  While it may be easy to focus on the accolades that come from teachers, coaches and reports, it is equally important to acknowledge the amazing things that homeschool students do.
I hope my girls do not feel overshadowed by the praise that is sometimes lavished on children in school.  I am so proud of all they have done this year.  Looking back over our year it is hard to pick just one or two things that surpass the others.  My children:
  • completed a series of classes at the Audubon Center.
  • finished Story of the World Volume 1
  • will finish Apologia Botany and we began nature journals.
  • learned advance math concepts.
  • created and maintained blogs.
  • spent a year on independent studies of nature and weather.
  • read wonderful stories.  
  • wrote wonderful stories.
  • learned cursive.
  • memorized poems.
  • wrote poems.
  • learned pottery and sewing, piano and flute.
  • participated in two art shows.  
  • visited museums, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, farms, factories. 
  • organized a food drive.
  • raised money for the Red Cross.
  • made new friends.
  • learned more about themselves, their interests, passions and what they are capable of.  

Our children should never for one single moment think that their accomplishments are not recognized.  They have been given a gift of understanding that learning is not something that has an graduation date.  We expect them to do great things with this gift.
We know that they are capable of doing great things with this gift for to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.

**This is also posted at Three Thinking Mothers.  There is always lively conversation there.  Please join in!  


Monica said...

Dear Jess,

I hope, at least that is what I am striving for, that my girls won't care about the prizes or diplomas. Learning in itself is the prize. It has been hard, very hard, for me to let go of "the carrot", I still am not over wanting it. The girls don't seem to need it or miss it at all, because it has never been there for them. They are still young, I don't know what will happen when they are older.

As we have been driving around looking at the graduation balloons on some mailboxes, I have been thinking about when will the girls decide it is time for college? I hope they will take a year or two of traveling before. Maybe 18 is too young for college. Maybe 20 would be a better age, they would have a better idea of life by then.

I really don't know, but we are all learning.

Jessica said...

Monica, It is hard isn't it? We have our own set of expectation and worries and often they are very different from our children's. Lilah is pretty amazing because in the midst of all the pomp and circumstance over a graduation, she looked at me and whispered " is just a graduation!" She gets it. But Grace is a bit different and I wonder what she sees her teen years looking like. The beautiful thing is our group of friends is large enough and diverse enough that we could give them a prom, or a talent show, or a graduation...

Karen said...

Read this at TTM and commented. Love this post and I have an idea this subject will be on my mind for awhile.

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