Ever wonder what a homeschool graduation experience is like? Elaine Johnson, from Lone Jack, Missouri, is the oldest of 4 children and daughter of Paul and Dionne. After 12 years of homeschooling, Elaine graduated with MPE in May 2015. In this interview, she and her parents share their reflections.
NOTE: Interested in having your homeschool student participate in our MPE graduation ceremony? All senior students for our 2016 class must register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before Oct. 1.
Why was homeschooling important to your family?
Elaine: There are countless reasons! The biggest reason is that young minds are so impressionable and it is our parent’s desire that we become grounded in the Lord and in our faith during our early years.
Dionne: In the beginning it honestly was important simply because the Lord showed us to homeschool. As time went on, the reasons definitely grew in our hearts. First we knew we wanted above all else our children to be grounded in the Lord. Being home allowed more time to invest in this area. Of course, having them home also allowed us to slow down and emphasize our faith and their walk with the Lord.
Another reason it’s close to our hearts is that it is priceless for children to be educated by one who loves them deeply and can walk with them through struggles.
Of course there are numerous other benefits like catering to learning styles and challenges, having more time to develop personal areas of interest, and allowing teens to learn life management and relational skills in a deeper way by being a part of running a home day in and day out. I guess we could go on all day about the reasons we love homeschooling!
Why did you decide to choose to participate in MPE’s graduation ceremony?
Dionne & Elaine: We have attended MPE’s graduation ceremonies for many years to see friends graduate. We saw that this organization and ceremony was unapologetically Christ centered. Since that’s the reason we had our children at home, it seemed only fitting to choose such a ceremony to finish it.
We really appreciated that the parents of the graduate speak a blessing over their child as they present the diploma. We also loved the way the graduates honor the special people in their lives both in writing (in the program) and in a special token (during the rose ceremony).
We saw MPE’s ceremony as a beautiful occasion to not only honor the graduate but also celebrate the journey of the entire family up to that point.
Tell us about the year-long planning process for the graduation.
Elaine: There were many events and opportunities throughout the senior school year to get together with the senior class and meet other graduates!
I appreciated that there were events that the whole family was invited, and that there were opportunities to have fun while serving as a graduating class. The monthly meetings were very informative and helpful, and they made the day of the graduation rehearsal and ceremony much less intimidating since we knew what was coming!
Everyone in the graduating class was placed in a committee of 2-4 people, and the committee was given an area of responsibility. I liked that we were all able to put our own touches into the graduation, and that the graduates themselves had the responsibility of making things happen.
The flow of the graduation evening was very smooth! The rehearsal on the night before graduation was beneficial for me because I really felt like I knew what I was supposed to do and that made me much less nervous!
Dionne: We deeply appreciate how the MPE graduation monthly meetings were led. Though the meetings are held for the students to collaboratively work together to plan their ceremony, Mr. Kangas would share for a few minutes to speak some godly thoughts and truths into the seniors hearts and to encourage them in godly interaction and leadership as they plan for the ceremony. Even as a parent it always spoke to me.
What was the best part of the homeschool graduation experience for each of you?
Elaine: I loved that my parents presented me with my diploma while giving me their blessing. I also appreciated the rose recipient portion of the ceremony, when I was able to recognize those who have been influential in my life and just say thank you to them in a very special way!
Dionne: Hugging my daughter while presenting her diploma, knowing we’re all celebrating up there the journey we made together… It’s personally so special.
However, the portion of the ceremony set aside for rose recipients is deeply heartfelt. To see your child expressing great thankfulness and love to other special and influential individuals in their lives and to see the blessing it is for those individuals to feel so honored is a blessing I won’t forget.