3 Unexpected Reasons Why I’m a Grateful Homeschool Graduate
A Day to Remember
As a homeschool graduate of a rather small cover school, I celebrated my graduation by attending the annual Mass offered for all the graduating seniors of our parish. I was privileged to be the cantor at the Mass, and I received a beautiful crucifix and rosary as a graduation gift from the parish.
We had a luncheon after Mass, and I invited about fifty friends and family members, which stunned the unsuspecting coordinator and probably the entire parish.
But we homeschoolers like to go out in style! Everything was happy, nostalgic, and effervescent. I sat amid a hum of pleasant chitchat in our crowded parish hall and munched contentedly on party food.
And then they sprung it on us without warning.
Those Who Were In Charge (our parish priest and the emcee of the luncheon) announced that the graduates were about to be called up individually and handed the microphone.
Moreover, they expected us to elaborate on our post-graduation plans and to express any other heartfelt sentiments or touching tributes we could summon haste-post-haste to our brains. How intimidating!
Given the suddenness of the announcement and the lack of time given for preparation, I think I did pretty well. I used correct grammar (well, I think I did) and even tossed in some eloquence and parallel sentence structures.
If I Could Have that Microphone Again
However, now, two years after graduating, I think I’d like another go at that microphone. There are too many things I left out.
Being able to view my Catholic homeschooled education from the perspective of having graduated several years ago, I’ve noticed miniscule but amusing things about myself that are nonetheless important and which I credit entirely to homeschooling.
Thus, if I could have that microphone again, I think I would break down my current gratitude for homeschooling into three areas of recently realized and amusingly personal impact.
1. Lifelong Love of Learning
First of all, I’ve discovered that I still want to be a student. It never crossed my mind that, after graduation, textbooks and other learning tools would still have such a unique allurement to me.
My itch to stroke the old familiar textbook pages grew so great that, a few months ago, I blurted out an offer to be my youngest sister’s math tutor. Now, I revel in memories of bygone Saxon joy, while she groans in agony.
On another occasion, I did an entire math lesson out of my brother’s textbook on a whim one morning, with the same degree of engrossment and pleasure with which I would read a chapter of a mystery novel. My brother, passing through the room, pinned me down with one long, incredulous stare and said, “Well, it’s your time, I guess.”
In addition, when I was miserable with a sore infection and had just finished reading a novel about the English Reformation, I was mysteriously driven to the school bookshelf. I pulled off a heavy 7th-grade grammar textbook, out of which I completed two lessons in my best cursive handwriting.
These examples of compulsive study-mongering were surprising at the time, but the explanation for them is now abundantly clear to me. Homeschooling most definitely incarnates Yeats’ famous quip, “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.”
It’s safe to say my own fire has been lit, because otherwise a grammar book and a cold would never, ever be seen together on the same day.
2. Lifelong Love of Homeschooling
Secondly, I am grateful because I have discovered that I want to homeschool in the future. My homeschooling experience was so positive that it has never been a question for me about whether or not I will homeschool my children someday.
Moreover, I am increasingly fascinated by the intricacies of what is involved in being a homeschooling mother. I often pore through my mom’s curriculum lists, peer over her shoulder to observe the manifold ways in which she stays organized, read from her collection of books on homeschooling and motherhood, and take notes for the future on curriculum and virtue-building.
I enjoy talking with and listening to the experiences of homeschooling mothers, who are, to quote Tolkien, “the Wise and the Great”. Discussing homeschooling with these moms is a kind of a hobby, although I prefer to call it a serious interest.
3. Homeschooling as a Conversation Starter
Thirdly, I am grateful to have discovered that homeschooling is a fantastic conversation starter. We have all had our awkward moments with family, friends, or strangers concerning our counter-cultural lifestyle. However, I find that most people are very positive and interested in learning more about homeschooling.
My sister and I experienced a great example of this gratifying feedback during a recent doctor’s visit. As we sat in the crowded waiting room, we began to converse with a smiling older woman who sat across from us. She asked us polite questions, including the perennially expected, “Where do you go to school?”
“We homeschool,” my sister and I answered in unison.
“Oh! My daughter is just about to start homeschooling my granddaughter!” the lady replied with obvious pleasure.
As we were leaving the waiting room, an older gentleman, who had overheard our conversation, announced that his grandchildren were homeschooled too. “Good luck with your homeschooling,” he said as we walked out the door, and we all grinned.
I have had numerous other positive interactions regarding homeschooling, and it’s a gift to be able to share my experiences with others and to hear about theirs.
Reflecting on all this, I still do think I’d like to have another go at that graduation banquet microphone.
Or maybe I’ll save my speech for my future children’s graduations.
I think they’d like that.
About Mary Donellan
Mary Donellan is a mercifully blessed homeschool graduate who lives among gorgeous Southern foothills and winding country roads. She spends her hours humming in the laundry room, cherishing her loved ones, reading voraciously, soaking in music, and adoring her Lord at Latin Mass.