I was so excited to hear that my cousin was going to be graduating high school from homeschooling this year and I have looked forward to seeing the graduation ever since the news. I was truly inspired by both the parents and students as I sat there practically in tears for the full two hour graduation this past Saturday. I left feeling a sense of happiness that one day that will be me and my child/children on the podium. I could not have been more proud of my Aunt, the teacher and of my cousin, the student for taking on the journey of homeschooling and succeeding.
The night began with the child being walked down the aisle with their parents. I thought this was such a beautiful symbol of accomplishment for not only the child but for their parent as well. I was so proud of these parents for going the distance and finishing the race of schooling their children, some for all 13-14 years of school. I know how difficult the day in the life of homeschooling can be and I think this graduation helped me feel like I could do it. These parents were able to express there love to these kids through a short speech and a lot of the speeches started with, "it was not always easy," and I wanted to yell out an "AMEN" or start clapping. But every speech ended with things like. "I wouldn't have had it any other way," or "I am so proud of the man or woman you have become today because of our journey of homeschooling." You could see the tight relationships these kids had with their parents. You could see the look of respect in their eyes and you could see how thankful they were for their parents being there through every step of their life.
The next part of the graduation was a mixture of small speeches or poems being spoken by each student. There were only 17 kids graduating. I was blown away by each speech that each student had to say. I could not believe how strongly grounded in Christ each one was. How each child mentioned that they are living the life God wants for them and that that is what they are striving for. They continuously talked about how life isn't all about the college you are going to attend after school or the career that your are going to pursue but that they would follow God's lead and that their main focus was to be a light to the world and others around them no matter what their future holds. Each one seemed way more mature in their faith than I am even as a 30 yr. old woman. Each one showed confidence in what they believed in. Just amazing!
The last part of the ceremony was the parents being able to present the diploma to their child. Of course, this was when the tears just came streaming down my face. I wanted to jump up and give each parent a huge hug and say, "you did it!" They may have struggled at times and wanted to quit, they may have gone to bed and said to themselves. "I just can't continue this anymore," they may have had a melt down in the middle of a teaching session and felt like a failure. But today they were not a failure, and today showed that they had achieved a great accomplishment and that with God they trained their child up to be the godly adult that is equipped to go out in the world and change lives.
One of the verses that was mentioned a couple times was Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it's shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I find that verse encouraging to me as a homeschool mom as well as my children. I feel that this verse gives me comfort that yes, we are running a race which is long and has hardships but that if we fix our eyes on our creator that he will get us to the finish line.
If you are considering homeschooling or have just begun homeschooling I would encourage you to attend a homeschool graduation. I cannot imagine anyone leaving and feeling that homeschooling is not the right choice for their family.