This is half a vent, and half asking for suggestions for graduation from those who know about homeschooling, and especially those who have been through it. We live in PA.
Prepare for graduation - how? Academically? Life skills? A party to commemorate the transition for high school age to college age?
Sorry about the relatives. My MIL expressed disapproval once upon a time for HSing (now I just do not bring it up, I think she thinks all my kids are in school) - I thought it was very ironic given the fact 2/3 of her kids loved school so much they dropped out of highschool. Yeah.
There is a battle of two wolves inside us. One is good and the other is evil. The wolf that wins is the one you feed.
Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?). We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...
Bummer about the relatives. Your best strategy is probably a veneer of pleasant confidence, and then changing the subject. But it would help to know a bit about your reasons for homeschooling, your philosophy and the age and aspirations of your child.
My dd was unschooled most of her childhood, though she did some high school courses part-time as a teen. I really think "graduation" is a concept that doesn't really fit a lot of homeschoolers. Graduation is the process of marking the successful completion of a prescribed course of study in an institutional environment. For us, homeschooling wasn't about institutionalized learning, or a prescribed course of study, or the successful completion of anything. It was about moving forward through a process of growth and maturing and learning. We never really separated learning from life, and we never separated "academic learning up until June of the calendar year in which you turn 18" from any other learning.
My dd is a musician, so we used a major recital to mark her transition away from home and community into a bigger world and life elsewhere. That was her most meaningful celebration: the whole community came out to support her and the charity she was fund-raising for, and to appreciate and mark her musical and personal growth.
Educationally we made sure she could successfully jump through the hoops she would need to in order to be admitted to the post-secondary program she wanted, we made sure she had the life skills she would need to live independently, and we made sure she had training and experience in two marketable skills (in her case: coffee-shop barista and piano accompanist).
Good luck! My dd transitioned to adulthood extremely successfully. In fact, I'm quite jealous of her life and the opportunities she's made for herself!
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Alright. My son is sixteen, and we have always homeschooled/unschooled. My family has always been against it. I'm pretty immune to their criticisms, but it annoyed me that this time they were advising me.
They have decided that we should :
a. Arrange for him to have a homeschool diploma
b. Have him take the GED test
c. Have him enroll in k-12 online school and get a degree from there
d. Have him take Community College courses to have post high school credits
(Yes. They mean all of the above.)
It was mostly my sisters who made this plan. Their adult children are either staying in school or working in areas other than what they want, because they can't get the kinds of jobs they want. It just frustrated me.
On the other hand, it is time to decide what my son is going to do. He calls himself a writer, and has his own plan. He feels he has already completed his education, and is working on a work that he plans to be his first money maker.
So...if you were advising him, what would you say?
Well, given that writing is not exactly known to be a lucrative or reliable source of income, I would certainly advise him to make sure that he has a couple of plan B marketable skills to tide him over. He should be looking at what he would like to have on a resumé in order to market himself in those areas. How does he intend to support himself as a young adult, while writing, while trying to find a publisher, etc. etc.?
That's what I would use as my starting point in discussing the future with him. What should he have on a CV in order to make himself attractive to potential employers? Certification in areas like first aid, life saving, food safety, babysitting? Employment-related community college courses? Volunteer experience in sports coaching, community service, politics, digital publishing and editing? Would mentorships or internships be helpful?
I have a 16-year-old ds too. He has a couple of long-term volunteer positions and is looking for a regular job. He does occasional music gigs as an orchestral violist. He's working with a mentor in the field of computer repair. He's not really sure what he wants to do, but he's thinking about music, computer software design or graphic design. He's looking for ways to build contacts and explore the sorts of opportunities that might make those possibilities realistic for him. I wouldn't say he's close to having a plan yet, but he is at least beginning to look at ways to open doors and build for contingencies. We built a mock-up of a resumé and looked at things from that perspective: that was a very helpful exercise for him.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this. Actually I had a great response but my computer lost it then I lost it! ;)
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I have a lot in common with your son. When I was his age I had my own plan, business plan and how it was going to lead me to my successful career as a writer. I gave myself the summer and fall semester between graduating from high school and joining college as a freshman to achieve this. I worked my butt off, but I had no clue how long it would really take to do it all on my own. My dad told me he would help me and he knew a publisher who said he would help me as well, but no one actually helped me.
I went to school in the winter/spring and now almost 10 years later I am still putting together this plan of mine. I was published first at the age of 19, after I submitted something at the age of 17. Once I was in college I didn't have time to submit much else, but I made one submission in my last semester in college before I quit. When I quit I almost immediately became a freelance writer working on the internet and still working on my plan. Only at this point I was also in school to be a yoga teacher, housesitting, caregiving and really struggling. Certainly my parents weren't going to help me at that point.
Writing actually is a very marketable skill(one of the most reliable, in fact), but it helps to have several skills within the writing genre. Someone who can write great stories and poetry can learn to write speeches, scripts, articles, sales copy, etc. as well as research and editing.
But if I could go back to being where your son is, I would ask my family to help me put my plan together. I would've given myself a year with the book "The Pocket MFA in Creative Writing" and any Eric Maisel book on creating and/or writing. I would've joined writer's groups, get him an internship/apprenticeship or writing mentor and get him working with children or the elderly or people learning new languages or different health issues that may provide not only stories but people to listen to his stories.
I would get him working with people his own age who are doing what he's doing(or on his own level, age doesn't really matter) and people who are where he wants to be. Even if he is just going to talks/seminars/book signings at libraries, book stores, colleges, community centers, etc.
Also, I've been putting together a program to help young people promote and encourage each other to make relevant creative work and support that as a sort of movement as well as discuss relevant creative works by more experienced professionals and support that as well, rather than some of the crap that is passed off as art. So while I am looking for ambassadors/founding members, I realize I don't yet have any boys in your son's position. So if he might be interested let me know and I'll send you some information.