Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference.
My oldest daughter recently "graduated" 8th grade. I put graduated in quotes because she didn't really graduate from anything. Our homeschool co-op holds a graduation ceremony at the end of the year for 8th grade and high school graduates. Carley was technically an 8th grader this year, so she technically graduated. Since we consider ourselves eclectic learners, or life learners or unschoolers or whatever you want to call us, we didn't really have anything to graduate from. She didn't finish a curriculum, we don't do curriculum. We don't consider learning to ever stop and start, we learn all the time. Try to go an entire day and not learn something. We all learn something everyday whether we acknowledge it or not. Can't watch the news or read a newspaper without learning something. So that's how we live and learn everyday.
So with that in mind, Carley participated in a graduation ceremony at our co-op. There was only one other girl graduating 8th grade, so it was short and sweet. It was part of other closing ceremony activities, but the graduation came last. After Carley was introduced, her parents (John and I), had the chance to say some things about her. I talked about her accomplishments, how we have always tried to support her in all of her endeavors, about how we unschooled and Carley was able to lead her own learning. I also mentioned how it seemed just like yesterday that she graduated from her Montessori Kindergarten. And yes, I almost cried. I also mentioned that she had decided to send herself to high school next year, and how much I will miss having her home. Her father talked about how she has tenacity and determination and usually follows through on things she sets her mind out to do. It was all quite lovely actually. I wasn't sure I wanted to participate at first, I am not one for ceremony for the sake of ceremony. Carley wasn't even sure she wanted to participate, but in the end I am glad we did. I think it will be a nice memory for her to have.
Here are some pictures for your perusal:
This is before we left the house:
Here is the table we set up with a short history of Carley's life (pictures and accomplishments):
Here she is on stage waiting for her turn to"'graduate" (a little blurry, youngest dd was in charge of the camera):
Here she is with her cake (we had a small reception afterwards):
And one with Sam, the other graduate (and a good friend):
All in all, a happy night and judging by the smiling faces, one that everyone will remember.
What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.