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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The CAPE Graduation ceremony

I took my girls to the CAPE Home school Graduation earlier this month. It was a fantastic event. Our local group did a great job of holding a graduation ceremony for homeschooling teens. It was held at a local church. It was a little hot in the room- but compared to my High School Graduation (110 degrees- sitting in bleachers- in the sun for 5+ hours) it was heaven.

It was a cozy ceremony with four graduates. In the back of the room there were display boards highlighting the kids' accomplishments. At the beginning of the ceremony younger kids were given little medals and ice cream certificates to acknowledge accomplishments, like learning to read, or finishing middle school. I like that they did that because it offered the chance to have the younger kids present and involved in the ceremony. That part of it was over quickly and the spotlight was back to the seniors.

Each senior had a slide show presented on a big screen TV. In a traditional graduation, there wouldn't have been an individual acknowledgment of each graduate. There also wouldn't have been an acknowledgment of the younger kids. I think it was perfect, really- because it got the families of the younger students OUT to the event. My kids have seen high school graduation ceremonies from several of the area high schools but they've never once seen how home schoolers graduate. It was nice to see my 14 yr old daughter envisioning herself as a home school graduate.

Two of the families had been very active and involved in our group, and it was so very heartwarming to see their kids graduate. As homeschoolers, I think we tend to get more of an emotional attachment to our kids' friends. Actually, I had an emotional attachment to one of the graduates because she used to work for us and I only just barely met her parents (who are charming). The other two graduates- I had no idea who they were, that was kind of weird. I think I go to like 75% of the events in our group and it was strange to see people I didn't know. It was very nice, though to see a lively and involved family whose son is creative, talented and has a heart for service.

It was exciting to imagine what's in store for the graduates. They all had goals and plans for the future. It was nice to hear their plans and get to know the real graduates- at a traditional graduation their individuality would have been drowned out by the crowd. This was special.

As an added bonus, one of the mothers in our group had finished her college degree through an online university. She got 2 1/2 minutes of fame (compared to the high schoolers 45 minutes) but it was very inspirational. This gal is also very involved in the support group, helping to plan events and coordinate activities and homeschooling her two boys but still managed to get her degree. I think that's a WAY bigger accomplishment that high school, and I am so glad that she was able to participate in the event.

I like that homeschooling acknowledges the entire life cycle. Kids accomplish things; finishing high school and taking charge of your occupation and studies is an accomplishment and if you decide, in your 30's to finish college online that's an accomplishment, too. I am so proud that our group had a ceremony that rewarded all of these accomplishments. It makes a traditional graduation seem. so. shallow. This was way more meaningful.

As a side note- our group hadn't had graduations for the past few years so big Thank-Yous are in order to the ladies who worked together to plan this one. I can't wait to see what's in store for next year. Hopefully the tradition of acknowledging all accomplishments will continue. Hopefully the big barn party and line dance will continue. Hopefully we'll see more kids graduating as well. I've always felt a little sad about so many of our local group members putting the kids in school for high school. From what I can tell; that's when the fun starts!