Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mara's Graduation

We just celebrated the first highschool graduation for our children. Mara has learned far more already then I could teach her (I am so thankful that I don't have to know everything in order for my children to learn it!) and she is ready to spread her wings.

We are excited for the new adventures in store for her but it is pretty bittersweet too. She plans to head off to a mission training program in August (all the way down in Texas and then off to another country) and we will miss her terribly but I am so excited for what she will be learning and doing. 

But that isn't until August... meanwhile the graduation. 

  With homeschoolers a plan for graduation isn't all set in stone like those that go to public school. I guess just like the rest of our schooling for our children we make our own choices, we try to figure out what will work best for us and for our children.

  We discussed various options for graduation and we were leaning towards just an open house with a special time of prayer, a diploma presented and a few words said at the open house but some other friends with a graduate as well really liked the idea of having a group graduation. Mara liked the idea too and so we decided to go with that as well as having an open house for Mara.

 Just in case there are other homeschoolers out there looking for graduation ideas I thought I would share what all we did. I know I have enjoyed hearing what others are doing and how they made it personal to fit their child.

  The group graduation idea was presented to the homeschooling community to see if others wanted to join us. We only ended up with 3 this time. Both are friends that we have known for a number of years so that is neat. In future years with other children I could see this growing but we shall see.

 We are super blessed to have good photographers in our family and my sister Keren took all of Mara's pictures and her husband Benjamin edited them.

 There were many decisions to be made when it came to planning the graduation service. Things like - would they wear caps or gowns or not. What colors? And so on.... They did decide to wear caps and gowns and have the colors of black, royal blue and silver.

  For the ceremony a well known pianist from our community who was also one of the graduates piano teachers played some prelude music, "Pomp and Circumstance" and also played while we sang "The Star Spangled Banner". Andy, a graduates dad, gave the greeting and opening prayer and then my Dad led the national anthem.

Then all 3 graduates did something. Mara read/told a story that she had written. As you may notice her hat fell off during it so it is laying on the floor. :-)
Louisa played a song on the piano.

JJ gave a speech.

Then we parents took turns giving out diplomas and saying a few words to our graduates while a slide show that they had made showcasing pictures of themselves played on the wall above.
Then Ken introduced our special speaker, Tim Tinglestad. He had a very neat talk for the graduates (but for all of us) on walking in the fear of the Lord. The whole ceremony was a blessing as much of it was focused on honoring Jesus Christ and following Him.

 Then, Jason, the other dad gave the closing remarks and a closing prayer.

It lasted right around an hour. It was simple, fairly traditional, pretty emotional and it was a blessing to those who came. I know that Mara loved how it turned out as did all of our family. I also heard that over and over from guests who came.

   We were blessed by all who came to the graduation. Pretty much my whole family were able to come as well as Ken's parents and many friends. Mara's good friend Thomas, from Kansas, was able to come up as a surprise which was pretty fun. He is actually up here now for the summer staying with my sister and brother-in-law (his brother).

We had a display table for our graduates.  On Mara's we put some information about what she plans to do next in life. We displayed things she has made over the years, some things that are important to her (such as her Bible, ocarina, etc), a picture or so, some newspaper clippings and awards and such things like that.
Early on in the planning I had mentioned the idea of girls wearing white dresses in graduations around 100 years ago. Mara and Louisa liked that idea. Louisa bought a dress and we had the pattern and stuff to make one but didn't manage to get at it until around 18 hours before the graduation. But my sister Martha, Mara and I got it done. Okay the lining wasn't actually all properly sewn in but it was done enough to wear. It ended up being pretty amazing that Mara and Louisa's dresses were very close in style to each other.

We are pretty proud of our graduate.
We did decide to have a bit of a reception afterwards. We ordered a couple of cakes, got some M & Ms (the 3 families worked together to get everything done) and had coffee, lemonade and sweet tea. We also got balloons to decorate the tables and some of us had gotten together earlier to make some simple table centerpieces.  

 This is what the balloons were tied to. On the other side was their "class" verse - Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of good courage: do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

 After it was over and most people (other than family) had left the kids started messing around and they were able to get all the table centerpieces (balloon weights and all) balanced on top of Mara's head.

 We also had an open house for Mara the next day. I had a lot of fun planning that and we had a ton of fun at it but I will have to tell you about that in my next post.


Greg and Donna said...

Congratulations! Graduations are so much fun and just a little sad. My last 2 graduated 5 years ago and we did the cap and gown ceremony too. A good friend of theirs joined in the graduation ceremony and it was held at our church. Our pastor gave the message and the dads presented the diplomas and gave the speeches. It was an emotional and fun day...they graduated and I retired from homeschooling since they were my youngest.

Brenda Fricke said...

Congratulations to Mara and you as well! It has been really neat watching Mara grow into young adulthood through your blog! What a blessing and and all glory to God for her first flight out of the nest to be on a mission field! May God use your beautiful girl in mighty ways for His glory.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Awesome!! Our homeschool group does a similar gradutation experience. It is so special for the kids. Congrats.

Abbi said...

Thank you all! It is fun to hear about what you all have done too.


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