Several weeks ago we celebrated the culmination of our efforts in homeschooling one of our children — his graduation ceremony. After twelve long years of careful instruction and effort, Joshua stood on the dais and received his diploma as a homeschool graduate.
Proud Parents of the Graduate
Joshua is a fine young man, thoroughly ready to take the next step in his education, godly and thoroughly equipped for every good work. I’d like to take the credit, but it is mostly Kathy who has made him the man that he is. She has crafted his learning plan throughout the years and has guided his mind in loving knowledge and preferring godly instruction. Truly a graduation ceremony is as much about the teachers as the students; as Joshua’s primary instructors, we are very proud of what he has become, and excited about what God will do in him, in the future.
This year's crop of H.O.P.E. graduates sit, listening to the Commencement Speaker.
The graduation ceremony was early this year, due to availability issues with the church where our Homeschool Co-operative meets. Seven other graduates shared the stage, with Ken Sartain presiding and Washington State Representative Jim McCune as Commencement Speaker. McCune, an unprepossessing, soft-spoken and casually-dressed man in his early sixties, gave the most powerful Commencement speech I have ever heard — strongly advocating homeschooling and charging the graduates to be spiritual leaders in their generation.
Stuart, Tim and Joshua have been friends since sixth grade.
Our family has attended H.O.P.E. Co-op for the last seven years, gathering each Friday with like-minded homeschool families, to pool teaching talent and to build friendships with other students. Joshua was blessed to find clever and quirky friends at H.O.P.E. — friendships which persisted throughout his high school years.
Joshua's Grandparents were able sneak away from their responsibilities as hosts at the Refuge, to attend the ceremony.
Obviously we were not the only ones to invest in Joshua and to disciple him. Many others deserve to be recognized, including:
- Bill and Cindy Moore, grandparents
- Jim and Robbie Edgren, grandparents
- Jody Weed, Wilderness Northwest Camp
- Kevin Klas, youth leader
- Carl DeyArmin, youth leader
- Jamie Davis, discipler
- Jesse Roberge, boss
- Dee Duke and Bill Jack, inspirational instructors
- Many other small group and youth group leaders, over the years
Joshua with his beloved Mamie.
We wish that Kathy’s Dad could have been there to see Joshua’s graduation. With his deep love of learning and ability to celebrate joyfully, I can just imagine him avidly browsing the student displays or button-holing the Commencement Speaker for a quick chat. He is greatly missed by us all. We were thrilled to have Cindy with us to mark this momentous occasion.
It was inspiring to view so many of Joshua's accomplishments and honors, all in one place.
Kathy and the kids put together the ‘Student Display’, highlighting many of Joshua’s achievements as a student. It was a lot of fun to remember the stories that went along with many of these keepsakes, and to reflect on the rich tapestry of God’s work in his life. Indeed, God has been very good to Joshua, gifting him with a great number of opportunities and experiences far beyond those of most high school students.
A few weeks before Joshua’s graduation, I was asked to write a statement ‘from the parents of the graduate’ to be included in the program. As I thought about how to express our heart, one of my favorite verses from Proverbs came to my mind:
“Joshua, what a privilege it has been to watch you grow in grace as a mighty, young man of God. Laughing with you through the years, we have deeply enjoyed the adventure of teaching you and sharing our love for Jesus with you. Your godly character and deep convictions are a shining example and encouragement to those who know you. Your bold leadership, tempered with kindness toward your younger siblings, has profoundly impacted our family. Truly, you exemplify Proverbs 23:24: â€œThe father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.â€ We love you and rejoice in you, beloved son.