Thursday, July 13, 2006

Creating Homeschool Traditions

As homeschoolers, we tend to be rugged individualists pioneering (mostly alone) through academic and relational terra incognita. So much so, in fact, that we tend to forget that some things do take a community. Marking milestones and applauding achievements are two of those things that simply shouldn't be done alone.

My eldest graduated in May - and in June. The first time, we crafted a ceremony for our tiny homeschool co-op and for a shy young man who was new to our group. The graduates were led in by our daughter's menfolk dressed in full Highland regalia, bagpipes blaring. The graduates' remarks focused on thanks to those who have made possible their achievements. And the fathers presented diplomas with words of encouragement and inspiration. We finished off with cake, hors d'ovres and a Scottish country-dance ball for the whole local speech & debate community (Think Jane Austen at Bath). And when the musicians tired, we roasted and toasted the graduates.

It was simple and heartfelt. I felt sorry for the non-Christians in the crowd, because the graduates' remarks and the fathers' charges had so many references to the faith that it surely amounted to mission work. However, one of those nons told me at the punchbowl that he had really enjoyed himself. Most other graduations, he said, were all about how hard the graduates had worked and what heights they had achieved. This one, he mused, was about gratitude rather than self-aggrandizement. It was about families working together and enjoying each other, having a part in the successes each member accomplishes.

Others went home rubbing their hands with glee, because "now we have a tradition to look forward to when it's our turn. This IS going to be a tradition, isn't it?" Yes, it must become a tradition. We need them. They provide us a way to enjoy the fruits of our hard work, and to realize how much it means to us to have companions in the field hoeing alongside us.

Even if it means that I'm not left alone to revel in decorating the hall and preparing gourmet goodies. Even if I have to do the (shudder) admin.

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