Graduation: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 7)

The two most difficult things with any project are starting and ending. No doubt you remember all the issues that you had to deal with at the beginning, although time does dull the memory, especially when it involves negative things! Now, it is looking like the job is done, but you may not know how to stop!

If you have been home educating from the start, you transitioned from the primary level to the secondary level as the children transitioned into adulthood through puberty.

Since then, you have transitioned out of being the teacher, delivering and/or directing the program, into being an overseer and personal mentor, as the children become more self-motivated and move into the post-secondary phase of learning, where they will start to specialize.

Generally speaking, these “metamorphic changes” occurred as the students assumed more responsibility for their education. The rate of learning accelerated, resulting in the completion of their secondary level of education, usually by age sixteen.

They have all they will need to move on in life. If there is anything missing, they, as adults, will do what they have to do in order to go where they want to go. We wanted our children to excel and they did.

It is now time to let them move on to the post-secondary phase of their education. However, since learning actually never ends, when do we consider the task of home educating done?

Most parents and students are fine with simply fading out of “doing school” into “living life.” Some like to have a point in time or a mark to distinguish the end of one, before fully embarking on the next step in life.

School calls this “graduation,” a point in time when the formal education of children is officially recognized as completed. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but one must ask why it is necessary. Even more important, does this have to be a community affair, or is a familial celebration enough?

As our home education industry has directed the community to become increasingly more associated with doing school at home, agencies have been making some sort of graduation exercise a part of their offerings.

I personally question the need for playing into any agency’s redirecting and normalizing a purely “school” based activity. Our determination to do things differently from the “school’s way” should not end with our doing things the “school’s way”.

Why not do something different, in keeping with our theme of being different from the rest, in the first place?

For starters, having inputted the children’s achievements into their cumulative transcripts, now is the time to wrap it up and submit it for “official” recognition that triggers the creation of the Certificate of Achievement, both of which are made available in the Student’s Documents.

Both serve well as indicators of completion for a home education, not to mention being invaluable for progressing to the post-secondary arena.

I am, of course, talking about the online cumulative transcripts parents associated with Education Unlimited have at their disposal. I am also assuming, against our collective experience, that parents were faithful in updating information as things were accomplished in a home education program, rather than having to panic due to the accumulated procrastination of this obligation!

Now that the “official” Transcript and Certificate of Achievement have been presented to the children, you can consider this part of their education as completed.

Another often used, although truly “unofficial” home education “diploma” is the Driver’s Licence! Since most students abandon the notion of doing more “school work” once they have obtained it, it is a good point at which to recognize that the job of secondary education is done.

This license truly frees the students to pursue life and so it is a good place to let them go with the confidence that it is now a job well done.

Some parents and students like to have an official “graduation.” As previously mentioned, this can be as part of a larger group, but my personal suggestion is that this be a familial rather than community event.

Young ladies especially like to do this as it gives them the chance to get a nice dress and to be the focus of attention for an evening.

Guys usually don’t get too excited about new “dresses,” unless of course they are on young ladies! Joking aside, fellows are not as likely to request a graduation exercise, but will accommodate the parents, who may wish to mark the completion of the formal learning process with an event to honour them.

Either way, whether it involves a gathering of extended family members and friends at home or another venue, with or without the presentation of documents, to celebrate a worthy accomplishment, is always a good thing.

Any opportunity for parents to make manifest their pleasure and pride in their child’s accomplishments is a good thing. Anytime a child gets a chance to express gratitude and appreciation for all that the parents have done, is not only a good thing, but a fitting end to this part of the learning journey.

Whatever course the parents and students take to mark the completion of the secondary phase of learning, the real celebration is not having accomplished certain proficiencies and skills, but the demonstrating of principled adult attitudes and responsibilities.

Oh, let’s not forget to be thankful for The One who made it all possible, in spite of the occasional lapse of faith we experienced while arriving at this place. THE END!