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Nobody tells you how many brain cells you’ll be losing at homeschool graduation time.
For the past month we’ve been working toward this final goal and here we are in the very last leg of this marathon. We are so close…. to losing our marbles. 😉
WELL LET ME TELL YOU…
We’re Graduating Mid-Year
Back in May when my husband asked if we could graduate Catie early, I told him that we couldn’t graduate her then, but she could graduate a semester early, in December. The question was, “SHOULD she?” What are the pros and cons of graduating mid-year??
The problem is that I’m the first person in our circle to do this, and the junior college said that as far as they were concerned, either way was acceptable. So we decided to go for it, to graduate her early, mid-year, this December.
Well, now that we are here, I can tell you that it is totally doable. And it is slightly crazy! I like to think that if I’d had the whole year to prepare for graduation, I might have felt a little more on top of things, I might have been a little more on time, and I might have been a little less stressed out. Maybe.
As it is, you have to do all the same things in half as much time. And during the holidays, no less!
We’ve Done Our Senior Portraits
We’ve decided to do our own senior portraits. Are we professionals? No, we are not. But we have a wee bit of knowledge and we thought, “how hard can it be?”
Truth is, the hard bits have turned out to be bits we thought would be the easiest. In a nutshell, though, we perused Pinterest for some good ideas, spent a few different photo sessions with different outfits and props, and did come out with a good handful of decent photos. Editing turned out to be the most complicated of all, actually, but since we’re not editing the originals, we can start over when we don’t like what we’ve ended up with.
We had to work quick to fit our photo sessions into the tiny bit of good fall weather sandwiched in between Texas Summer and cold winter, too. We had a few more photos we wanted to get taken but we ran out of time. (Perhaps we’ll have another round of photos in the spring, for her 18th birthday?)
We’ve Done Our Graduation Invitations
I had it in my head that I really wanted to do a photo invitation, or a senior photo and separate invitation in the same card. Something cute and lovely from Shutterfly. Thankfully, we did a Facebook event/invite Two months ago with a digital “save the date” graphic. But I really wanted to get some nice invites out to immediate family members, especially the grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
I also had it in my head that we would have finished with the senior portraits and the editing a lot sooner, so that we could do that. (Good intentions and all that..)
In the end, true to our normal M.O., we found ourselves at the Walmart instant photo printer kiosk with one of our already edited pictures, printing out photo invitations to get into the mail at the very last minute.
Miss Manners would be appalled…
We’ve Finalized the Transcript
Homeschooling in Texas, I feel very thankful that we don’t have more paperwork to complete or file. The only box to be ticked on the paperwork list is that final transcript.
All of the free online transcript makers don’t tell you this, but colleges want that transcript to be notarized. Fortunately, our junior college has a free notary on site for the students, and she not only notarized the copy that we printed and turned in to the college but she also notarized the copy that I printed for myself, which was very kind of her!
So after filling in all the rest of the details from this semester, we got that printed, notarized, and turned in to the junior college. She’s been attending as a dual credit student for three semesters but she couldn’t register for spring classes as a full time student until all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed. That meant she needed to get her transcript in, complete the paperwork for the financial aid department, and take the math portion of the TSI placement test (which she had put off as a dual credit student.)
If we’d been graduating in May, we’d have had the summer between school years to work on some of that, but graduating mid-year means you have a MUCH smaller window to work with!
We’ve Registered For Classes
Obviously, she wants to take classes in the spring instead of taking the semester off. So registering for classes was another thing on our to do list. If she hadn’t needed to register, we wouldn’t have needed to fit the TSI testing in right now.
As a dual credit student she could take any non-math class with only having taken the reading, writing, and essay portions of the placement test. But as a full time college student, she wouldn’t be cleared for registering without the math score.
We’ve spent A LOT of time over at the college in the past week and a half, meeting with financial aid, advisers, testing, meeting with financial aid again, and then finally registering for classes once we got the clearance to do so. With 20 hours under her belt already, some of her required art classes, and a couple of her core classes out of the way, she’s about a third of the way through her Associates in Art degree.
We’ve Planned the Homeschool Graduation Ceremony/Party
We spent a lot of time thinking about what we wanted to do. We can do anything we want for a ceremony, so how do we want to do this?
In the end, we decided that we mainly want to celebrate with our friends and family, and that we also want to spend some time praying over her and asking for God’s blessing on her in this new journey. So we’ve made our plans with those two goals in mind.
Again, scouring Pinterest for ideas and pictures, I’ve developed this picture in my mind. I’ve ordered a few supplies and decorations, I’ve enlisted the help of a few friends, and Sunday night we’ll be celebrating this wonderful girl that God has blessed us with.
When this sweet girl was three, and my husband said “let’s homeschool,” I paused and said, “I guess we can give it a go??” In the early years, I approached each year with the same approach, “We can keep going one more year,… who knows after that?” And at some point around junior high, I finally felt like “We’ve got this. We can totally go all the way.”
And here we are.
Our First Graduation
We’ve learned a lot through this first time around! Mainly I have learned that if you graduate in December and want to attend college classes in the spring, you are giving yourself a VERY TINY WINDOW to get all the paperwork done!
The next time we do this I will be much more prepared, I think. (I hope. 😜)
So by the time you read this, most likely we will have already pulled this celebration off. However, this celebration is merely symbolic, and technically, my first-born “baby” is already a high school graduate and a full time college student. And she’s not a baby anymore,.. but a beautiful young woman inside and out. And we are so proud of her!!
For the time being she’ll continue at the junior college, and she’ll stay home and commute to school. And I’m not complaining at all, because I’m in no hurry to push her out the door. That’ll happen soon enough.