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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finishing the Course : Homeschool Graduation

Wow!  The month of May had  two graduations, a grad party, our 25th anniversary-- I finally have time to sit down and collect my thoughts.   Three weeks ago our older son (in black) graduated from college, majoring in Graphic Design.  He attended private school for 5 years (K-4); I homeschooled him from grades 5-12 (with 2 outside classes each year all through high school).    He has been able to live away from home for the last 3 years and has worked part-time in his field of expertise for most of that time.  Just this week  he accepted a full-time position as a digital designer for a magazine for which we are all thankful.

The photo above was used for Week 21 of Project 52--The theme Favorites. 
I thought it was an appropriate photo since these are my most favorite people in the world.  :)
Click HERE to see my other photos in this weekly project.

Last Friday our younger son (in blue) graduated from high school.  I home schooled him from Pre-K through 12th grade, also with 2 classes out each high school year.   He dual enrolled at a state college (f/k/a  community college) his senior year  as did his brother and will start there full time in the fall.  We were part of an "umbrella" school, hence the class below.  He has been working part-time since December and is saving his $$ by living at home for now.

Both sons did very well in their courses and received academic scholarships which cover much of the costs of college.  How grateful we are.

Is academic excellence the only reason we home schooled?  I should say not.  The benefits of having home schooled are numerous, but here are just a few:

1.  Their close relationships with my husband and me.  We can talk about anything and everything and love sharing stories and "what we're doing", our interests, problems, church...

2.  Their close relationships with each other. Being 5 years apart in age, if they had been in public or private school, they would have been in different schools for most of their growing up years. They would not have had nearly the time that they did together and would hardly know each other.  Since we only have two children, it was very important for me to see them grow up well together...looking ahead into the future when they will need each other more.

3.  Lots of time.   We usually finished schoolwork by 1:00 p.m.  Until middle school we were usually done by 11 a.m.!
--Time to do what they enjoy doing and develop skills in those areas of interest.  Both lean toward the graphic arts and there was ample time to photograph and experiment with editing, make movies, etc.
--Time to finish schoolwork and play / attend varsity sports without pressure. Our older son played basketball (JV and Varsity) for 3 years.  Lots of practices, drills, camps.
--Time to develop musical gifts (guitar) and play on our church worship team.
--Time to just be a kid-- to play, draw, do crafts, build things,  read, swim, visit friends, travel.
--Time to rest or just nap when needed rather than leave home at 7 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. with hours of homework in the evenings.
--Time to prepare for academic college tests for scholarships.  They both took a prep class prior to these important tests and worked on many practice tests beforehand. One received 100% scholarship; one 75% [technically not actually those percentages, but a large portion of the costs  was/will be covered.]
--Time to work individually on areas that were more difficult with Mom or work with a tutor if  needed.
--Time with the family eating meals together most nights.
--Time to read and study the Bible, spend quality time with youth group and mentors.
--Time for breaks.  We began the school year in early  August, finished in early May and still had time to take  breaks each month with longer ones for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter/Spring.
--Time for conversation and questions, working on wisdom and not just knowledge.

**NOTE:  HERE is a link to our pastor's excellent commencement address for a local high school graduation about wisdom.

4.  Emphasis on good books rather than trashy ones.  Yes, I read or had read almost all of the books they did so we could discuss them, especially the controversial ones.  We still recommend books to each other and talk about them.

Knowing what I do now, would I still homeschool them if it were possible? Absolutely.  It's a one-year-at-a-time decision which we chose for 13 years. There are sacrifices--financial and  timewise, but I believe it's one of the best  decisions for our family that we have ever made.  Looking back, I cherish the years and time spent with each of my children being their teacher, but more importantly, being their mom...a real investment in the future.

I have many other posts on EDUCATION and HOMESCHOOL.  Just click on the links or search those works in the window in the right sidebar.

Proverbs 22:6 
Train up a child in the way he should go, 
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. 

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