As my boys and I were discussing plans for the upcoming week, which would include attending a relative’s eighth grade graduation ceremony, my eldest son made an interesting comment. It was something to the effect of “That’s another thing I like about homeschooling; you don’t have to do that.” He was referring to the graduation ceremony. We have attended several graduation ceremonies before, so he has a good point of reference. They tend to be long affairs with lots of speeches and rowdy cheering spectators. Don’t get me wrong. I feel blessed to be able to support my family member and witness this educational milestone. It’s just that the ceremonies can be a bit over-the-top.
In some areas, it is common for homeschoolers to participate in a graduation ceremony. Maybe that’s the case where you live. Where I live, it is not and I’m perfectly fine with that. I have made my peace with letting go of traditional public-school events. In my early years of homeschooling, I wondered whether my kids would “miss out” on certain things. This was fueled partly by other non-homeschooling friends and family who had their own agendas. I remember an instance at one graduation ceremony when a family member suddenly realized that she would not be attending a future graduation ceremony for my kids since they were homeschooled. She seemed genuinely upset about it. At that moment, I felt bad for her. Honestly, I was a little sad and second guessed myself. Would my kids be missing out? Was I a bad mother for denying them a “proper” future graduation ceremony?
Upon further contemplation, I realized my sadness was unfounded. I was not and am not denying them anything. I get to spend extensive time with my children every single day. We can celebrate milestones as often as we want and whenever they seem appropriate. I don’t need to parade my children in front of a room full of strangers to prove how great they are or to show what they’ve accomplished. I know how wonderful they are, and God knows, too. He made them that way! I think the distress of my family member had more to do with pride than anything else. She wants to feel proud of the kids and tell her friends about them. Plus, she doesn’t like explaining homeschooling. She would prefer that we just went along with what everyone else did.
So, hearing my son’s comment about the graduation ceremony put a big smile on my face. He is not concerned about missing out. In fact, it is quite the opposite. He is thankful that he is homeschooled and not required to participate in formalized ceremonies or events. When he graduates from twelfth grade next year, we will celebrate together as a family. Maybe we will have a party. Who knows? Whatever we do, we will do it with a thankful heart; grateful that God led us on this wonderful journey and satisfied that we completed it without bowing to society’s expectations.