Graduation— Different Paths, Same Result

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By Liese Carberry; Mother of four and homeschooler for 17 years- Denver
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It’s that time of year again when high school kids all over the country are marching down aisles in caps and gowns in celebration of finishing a goal. Homeschool parents have the added bonus of saying, ‘I’m proud of the graduate I taught.’

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching. -Aristotle

People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have. -John Holt

I can now say that I have a graduate—actually he finished up in December, but the diploma will be handed out in a ceremony. His education was a mix of unschooling, homeschooling, and virtual schooling.

Since we can’t know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned. -John Holt

We used canned curriculum, workbooks, living books, hands-on methods, visual-spatial methods, Civil Air Patrol, community college and computer curriculum to accomplish the goal of ‘finishing school.’ We didn’t take just one path, we branched out to find what worked for us.

Joel had a wonderful graduation ceremony. The speaker talked about whether the kids thought they had traveled a school path of a real 14′er or a flat 14′er.

I should explain.

A fourteener is a mountain with a peak of at least 14,000 feet. James and Joel climbed Mt. Evans, just one of the many fourteeners in Colorado. It is arduous, your body aches, you make it to a point where you want to turn around and you wonder why you did this in the first place. Then, you persevere and continue and eventually reach the summit – you get to the goal. A flat fourteener is Colorado’s attempt to get people to be physically active by counting their steps and logging them into a site to climb a virtual mountain. Of course, there is no comparison between the two, it’s harder to climb an actual mountain.

The speaker’s point was to ask the class of 2012 if they felt they had reached the graduation goal by way of virtual school and if that was the same as a virtual 14′er. They all replied ‘No!’ It was hard, they were responsible for their education, they had to be on top of classes, make a schedule and stick to it, make goals and reach those goals. The educational platform may have come in the form of a virtual school, but the path traveled was as hard as any ‘real’ school. Of course, being homeschoolers, we are always talking about lifelong learning and the love of learning. One does not stop gaining information just because someone says you are ‘through’ and that you attained a specific set of goals.

A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime…-Ted Williams

Joel did not slouch around this semester even though he was through with grade 12 in school. He worked on flying and on May 23rd attained his private pilot’s license. I hope that what I am giving my children is not just 12 years of education, but the ability to set goals and reach them, the ability to chase after a dream, the love of learning something new and being able to use that new found knowledge in their lives.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -William Butler Yeats

Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan. -Paul J. Meyer

Graduation is definitely a huge accomplishment, but it is not the end of the road in learning. To all those who have made it to the finish line, congratulations! But, never stop setting new goals and reaching them, never stop learning and never accept that you are done with education – there is always something new to learn.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin