Tree of Life Learning
On the cover of Sharnessa's graduation invitation we put the verse:
"For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works
which God prepared beforehand, that
we should walk in them."
This verse has been foundational for our homeschooling experience as we believe "true education" is much more about becoming and walking in what God created and designed us to be than it is about mere "academics" or "school at home." "Education" is all about cooperating with God to prepare for His purposes.
On the back of the invitation we put this motto that Sharnessa made up:
"Dance in the rain"
This saying is very fitting for
Sharnessa, partly because of her love of dance, and partly because this is so true of her spirit. She
is always full of joy and has a wonderful way of seeing the bright side of life, even in the midst of difficult,
challenging, or painful times.
Sharnessa's homeschooling experience was based here at home
~ all the way from
kindergarten up through graduation. So she graduated from "Tree of
Life High School" ~ the name we gave our homeschool high school
However, her graduation ceremony was with W.H.O. (Washington
Homeschool Organization) up in Tacoma,
Washington, 1½ hours north of us. For this reason, only a few people could
attend it, and that included five of her friends, all four
grandparents, and of course Dave, her brother Tory, sister Carlianne, and myself,
The ceremony itself was well organized and full of variety. The grads wore caps and gowns: the girls in white; the guys in red. They showed a well-done professional video of the pre-graduation festivities. A few of the grads presented various musical talents, and did a good job.
Our whole family, including grandparents, went up onto the stage to present her diploma to her. (See picture at right. Click on this picture to go to the Graduation page at the W.H.O. website.)
there was a lovely reception in a beautifully decorated room, with cake
The talent presentations were excellent, but there was nothing from or that represented Sharnessa. It was fun for Sharnessa, as it should have been, but I think that something more intimate would have been even more memorable for Sharnessa too, as she has done much through her years of homeschooling, and at least singing a song would have been very appropriate. But there were probably 50 other great singers in the group as well, and only three performance slots.
Each Grad was given twenty seconds to share. Oh my! Thirteen years of homeschooling compressed into just twenty seconds!?! What a feat!!! (What a JOKE, is more like it!)
But with so many graduates, it obviously couldn't have been any other way! In fact, if you do some quick math, the twenty-seconds-per-grad part alone was over 1½ hours! But that was still disappointing for me personally, as the mom. Again, my disappointment was NOT in W.H.O.! Just in what it "couldn't be" because of the large number of grads who participated. Of course, the wonderful side of that was what a wonderful and BIG representation of homeschooling these 92 students were!!!
W.H.O. let each of the families determine how we wanted to work our student's coming up on the stage, so we invited our parents – Dave's and mine – to go up on the stage with us. And they did! Dave took flowers, which he gave to Sharnessa up there. A WHO representative handed her diploma to me, and then Dave and I together presented it to her. This was all happening while the twenty-second "encapsulation" of her homeschool years was being read by someone at the microphone. A very nice way to do it!!!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience! Many wonderful people worked hard to make it so!
Photos were scanned by
Andy's Photo Services
(my 12-year-old nephew!)
I got the bar with lavender flowers at:
...and the plaid background at:
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