Friday, June 15, 2007

Graduation Day

Class of 2007, Pierce College, Associate of Arts. GPA 3.5.
The Graduate:
As homeschoolers, we decided a long time ago to forgo the high school diploma in favor of an AA degree. Both our boys participated in the Running Start program, starting at the college at 16 and graduating with an Associates degree at 18. I must admit, I watched the ceremony today with a lot of pride and joy. We decided to homeschool in 1994, when Riley was five and Web was seven. Stepping off the familiar path of public school and into homeschooling was a big decision - one that was not made easily. Though I felt strongly that we were choosing the right path for our family, it was still a bit scary to be responsible for the education of our boys. I chose to create my own curriculum, and trusted in the curiosity and natural desire of children to know about the world to help carry it forward. As each of the boys entered what would traditionally be the sophomore year of high school, I registered them for a couple classes at the high school - it was Web's first school experience since 1st grade, and Riley's first school experience ever. We spent the sophomore year as part-time homeschoolers and part-time public schoolers. As each was ready to enter the Junior year, we had them take the test to enter the Running Start program. This program allows academically eligible juniors and seniors to take classes at the community college level and the state covers the tuition. About one out of 50 Running Start students actually complete an AA degree - and both our boys did. I'm very proud of them.
( in the picture of the crowd, that is Riley at the podium)
Mom and Dad came to visit for a couple of days and share in the graduation with us. When I went off to live in the dorms, my Dad put together a tool kit for me. He gathered tools, engraved my initials on them and put them in a tool box. It was the hit of the dorm. As each of the grandchildren has graduated (only one out of nine to go!) Dad has put together a tool kit for them. He spends a lot of time finding all American-made tools and the kids look forward to it. Riley asked me last week if he was going to get his toolbox when Grandpa came. Dad brought it in after dinner last night - in a shiny, red metal box. Riley, who has always been in love with tools, was thrilled.
We followed graduation up with a celebration dinner at a nice restaurant on the waterfront, then home to an ice-cream cake. Everyone else has gone to bed now - Mom and Dad are out front in their motorhome, Heather has gone home. I'm still up though. I keep thinking that this is the end of an era...















Here's a prom picture from a couple of weeks ago.

16 comments:

Chad said...

Wow - congratulations. That has got to be gratifying. Homeschooling is such a commitment - you should be very proud of yourself and your children.

Thomas said...

Well, you must be extremely proud, you and your boys have done so well.

End of an era, indeed. I hope you can adjust quickly.

Running by.... said...

Congrats! I think having an AA under your belt (and all that college credit) is such a great thing at 18! It's a wonderful idea.

Mama said...

Robin graduates tonight and I know what you mean. Your baby is done with this phase and the next is unknown. Steve and I are looking forward to the adventure of the journey.
I'll be at the Y at 6 for you the next two weeks. Enjoy Western States.
Lorri

Donald said...

Congratulations! You guys are awesome.

Joe said...

What a wonderful story, well told, Michelle!! Has to be a proud moment for you and Eric.

I LOVE the toolbox-for-graduation idea!! That is marvelous! I'd like to know what he put in the box...I may do the same for my Matt who leaves for college in August.

Great photos...you look fabulous, Michelle, as does Eric and your folks!! And the kids are great...as my wife says "Young is cute." Indeed!!

scott keeps running said...

congratulations to everyone! is riley extra short or is that just an optical illusion? :)

robtherunner said...

Congratulations not only to Riley, but to you and Eric as well. He is lucky to have an AA degree at the age of 18 all though he may not realize that yet. Good seeing you this morning. I'll announce the exciting news on my blog later...so don't beat me to the punch.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow! congratulations!

(and i LOVE Riley's date's prom dress)

Try@thlete said...

Congratulations to Riley, and also to you both. What quality homeschooling and parenting!

Wes said...

The end of an era, and the beginning of something wonderful. Some band wrote, "Every beginning is some other beginnings end." I think they were prophetic ;-) Congrats, guys! You did so wonderful. Here's to a bright future.

Robb said...

I have a ton of respect for you and Eric as parents and home-schoolers. You are a source of inspiration for so many.

Congratulations to all of you.

Darrell said...

What a proud moment, made all the more so I think knowing how much you were all invested in it. I can only imagine the committment home schooling must be.

I love the tool box idea. It reminds me of my Grandpa gave each of us a watch for our 14 birthday's. We all looked forward to that year.

wendy said...

Michelle,

Congratulations to you and your entire family. I love the toolbox tradition, what a wonderful idea.

At 18, completing an AS degree! I'm 30 and just finished my first one....please extend a congratulations to Riley for putting in the work, and to you and Eric for raising 2 boys in such a great way to prepare them best for the future.

Addy said...

A huge congrats to your son and your whole family as well. Sounds like you've provided your children with a wonderful education and they'll have the tools (both figurative and literal :) ) to approach their futures head on!

How proud you must be :)

Sarah Elaine said...

Graduating with a *degree* at 18 years old???? Holy moly, that's amazing. I don't think we have that system up here. (AA is something else... more of a 12-step program, not something you'd get a degree in...)

In any case, CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is freaking fantastic!