Thursday, August 23, 2012

What About the Prom, Graduation and High School Reunions?

From the Teachable Moment May 1998:

"Many people have different questions when they find out we intend to homeschool the high school years also. These questions focus (of course!) on college, the senior prom, high school activities and clubs, and then, always thrown in for good effect, "but what about class reunions?".

This is not unknown territory for me since I gave up my senior year to go ahead and start community college. We had moved again (military family) and I was about to attend my third high school. For some reason, I was ahead on credits and only needed one class to graduate. The new school had a counselor that wanted me to attend the whole year. I just wanted to take my one class. It became a standoff. He wouldn't relent (2012 note: he had terrible skills at dealing with a responsible teenager) and I was just fed up enough to declare myself free of the system. I would just quit! My hysterical mother called the superintendent of schools and he found a loophole that allowed me to start community college. (2012 update: This is a commonplace thing nowadays. Our homeschoolers can dual enroll at most local community colleges for their junior and senior years. Back in 1977 in this location, this was a major thing!)

This kindly superintendent asked all these same questions. The senior prom and all those activities didn't matter (at this point the other seniors were all strangers!). And it was true I did not feel the lack of those things in my life. I've also read that many homeschoolers still get the senior prom in. They get asked as a date - one boy attended 3 different ones! (2012 again: As our children matured, the girls each attended more than one senior prom. Our boys could have cared less. And with the FPEA graduation I will mention later in the article, a senior prom is included with the statewide graduation.)

The one thing that nagged at me though was the class reunions. Since I had gone midway through my junior year at one high school (all the way up in Alaska), I wondered if I was going to feel some regrets about this. As the time approaches for that class to have its 20th reuinion and I've talked with a lot of other friends about their experiences, I realize again, it doesn't matter.

It seems most people keep up with the people they were really close to in high school. Guess what? I've done that too! Many people don't even feel a need or desire to attend their high school reunions. My husband has missed two now. And you can always plan your reunion to see those you really want to see. I've just spent last weekend with a friend that I hadn't seen in 19 years!

We couldn't believe it had been 19 years. We've kept up with little notes and pictures throughout the year and when we first saw each other, the talking just flowed. It was that way throughout the entire visit. She informed me what all the people from the second high school we had in common were up to.  I have heard many people say when they go to their reunions, it's the same groups automatically pairing off just like in high school. Everyone was comparing how they aged compared to the others. Plus trying to decide who the successful ones were. (2012: Recently saw an Everybody Loves Raymond episode and it was hilarious! His wife met a woman in the restroom and had Raymond sitting with a group he did not get along with at all in high school.)

I realize this is not everyone's experience. I have a friend who graduated in a small class of twelve (1963) girls and then some boys. Ten of the twelve just got together for a luncheon the other day. They certainly had a great time. However, they all still live in the same small town and haven't lost track of each other.

It is experiences together that cement these relationships and it doesn't matter whether the friendships form inside a school or not. With the ability to email, keeping up with friends as they go all over the globe is easier than ever. (2012: This makes me laugh. Look at where we are just since 1998! Facebook, Skype....Wow!) I don't think homeschoolers have some terrible gap in their lives because they won't have an official class reunion to attend. They, like everyone else, will keep up with the people who matter to them."

2012 Good Stuff to know if you live in FL:  Visit  and find out about the statewide graduation for homeschoolers. It is a magnificent classy event! You can have the whole shebang, class ring, graduation pictures, etc. and a little bit more. They actually slow it down and read a short bio on each graduate and project pictures on the big screens...a childhood activity picture and a grown up picture. It WILL make you cry. I always enjoyed keeping count of which professions the graduates were aiming towards. That is in the biography read as the graduates cross the stage. This event is always held in a 5 star resort convention center such as The Gaylord Palms or Shingle Creek Resort. At times, graduates with relatives in FL have come from other states to participate in this ceremony. The graduates spend a couple of days together before the ceremony and some quickly become friends who keep up with each other. A senior prom is also optional.

And, drumroll, not only do we have dual enrollment for our homeschool kids in Leon County, Tallahassee, FL but we have just been blessed in our area with 3 years now of dual enrollment at Tallahassee Community College. Visit this link to find out more:  A big thank you to Brenda Dickinson of Home Education Foundation!!!   Every state needs a Brenda Dickinson.

I am especially grateful all these years later to a mom who cared enough to call the superintendent. I am grateful to that man and the president and dean of the college who cared so much about a 17 year old who had had enough and went out on a limb I realize now to make that happen for me. It is humorous to me now to recollect that after I had completed the first year, they called me in and said something about making this legal now, please take your GED.   :  )))  Wonderful people who saw the big picture! And, unfortunately, my parents had to relocate that same first year of college. I would have been starting yet another high school. I did move out on my own at a very young age at 17, but the heavens were smiling down on me and everything worked out. Due to all this, I did not have the concerns mentioned in the first paragraph regarding my own children.

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