This address was delivered at the MACHS grad recognition on March 28th. I do not believe it is my best piece of writing, but it has received more positive than negative feedback, which is quite rare for something I write. So your job is to find as many problems with it as you can, and send them to me with all your complaints so that my belief that is not my best piece of writing can be confirmed.
Good afternoon! So here we are… Graduating from high school. We're not the first to do this (I need not tell you when that happened, we covered that in the second chapter of the history of modern education). We're also hopefully not the last, so what makes our graduation unique? Some of the uniqueness comes from what makes homeschooling unique.
When I think about homeschooling, I think of small kids who like to use gargantuan words while probably knowing what they mean. Or of a nice lady asking you what school you go to and you provide the rejoinder of “going to school was so 1980s”. Wait, mother said no sarcasm… Perhaps better to reveal "I attend the national institute for education of children apart from school".
What do I think of all my years of homebound education? I do have many memories of getting outside those four walls. School was always where we were no matter where we were. Actually a lot was going on inside those four walls too, if you add up siblings singing, playing piano, baking cakes, playing couch football and lighting fires for science class simultaneously. Homeschooling starts to sound like a continuous birthday party when you put it that way.
What turned this potential party into valuable learning? My parents. They made the daring decision to part with the help of the school system and trust God. We homeschool because of God and it is with His help that we succeed. Homeschooling is not something that we do because we feel like it. We do it because it is the right thing for us to do. We're not choosing an education as much as we choose a life. We do not choose to homeschool because it's easy- if you say that, you may not know me. Really, when Israel Wayne spoke on hyperactive kids, he had not met this kid. To raise a child from when they are conceived until they go off on their own life is one of the hardest things our parents have bravely faced and done well.
I must now thank my parents and family from the bottom of my heart as well as the others who gave their support. I believe I speak on behalf of all the graduates when I say “thanks mom”.
Moms bring children into the world, and homeschool moms keep us in it. The real world that is. My mom also helpfully had five more kids to remind me how much trouble I was. Homeschool moms do what most people in the world define as… Impossible. But we all know that is what they do every day. Their sacrifice has been great, but it’s been worth it. We thank moms for being able to turn a shopping trip into math class, to teach us how to live when the hard days come, and how to celebrate the great ones. To my mom thank you for all you taught me and, yes, you are definitely welcome for all the inadvertent "lessons" I taught you.
We also thank our dads, for without him our school would not have a principal [or a principal's office] No, really, our Dad’s leading, training and guiding can never be replaced. Thanks Dad!
Thank you to all the grandparents for the great sacrifices they have made. You may not have chosen the potential reproach of having a homeschooled grandchild but would now have to agree-- homeschooling has made us what we are! Thank you to the friends and mentors who gave us hope and inspiration on hard days. Thank you to our siblings for keeping us perpetually annoyed and reporting me to the teacher when I was playing hooky. And last but not least, thanks to my dog for everyday dutifully eating my homework. After all, there’s a lot more homework available to a homeschool dog.
So besides all this, what really makes this graduation unique? For me, and, I expect, for my companions, it is that it doesn't mark a big change in my life. Am I now going to stop learning because I know at all? I can’t start my real life now because I started long ago. I'm already pursuing my goals. I didn't have to arrive at today waiting to begin important things in life. We who are standing before you today are thankful we mark neither a finish line, nor a beginning per se, but a continuation of a life well begun.
Most grad speeches would now say-- “go out and take on whatever you want! Nothing can stop us, we'll conquer the world!” But I can’t recommend that. If we believe Jesus Christ, our lives are not our own, we've been bought for a price. We do not live for ourselves our God reigns over our dreams, our passions our actions; therefore our lives must be used for eternal good, not for whatever we feel like. The Bible says in Mark 8:36 "for what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" There's tremendous value in every soul, you have been given one very valuable life to live. Live it well.