Homeschool Graduation, Version 9.0

Our ninth child, Ami Grace, was born on the ninth day of April, weighing exactly nine pounds. She was delivered by her Papa, assisted by her oldest sister, because the midwife was still an hour away. Gracie was preceded by five brothers in a row, so it was quite the novelty to have another girl.

I remember sewing white ribbon roses and lace on the white eyelet baby dedication dress for her first Sunday in church more than eighteen years ago. Then, all of a sudden, it was time for her homeschool graduation.


Originally Gracie planned to graduate in December of this year, but some special services at youth church camp had an impact on her life. She made the decision to graduate from high school and join two of her brothers at college. Between planning a graduation celebration and making high-speed preparations for college, we’ve been busy!

Our ninth homeschool graduation took place on a Sunday afternoon at our church. More than seventy family members and friends gathered to celebrate and wish her well on this new chapter of Gracie’s life. (I have to keep mentioning “Gracie” while I have a chance, because when she goes to college she’ll be known as “Ami.”)

First there was a short ceremony that included a quartet with her sister and two of her best friends (you can listen here), memories shared by family, presentation of the diploma, and prayer. Then it was time for the fun: a party!

I couldn’t have pulled off this last-minute event without the help of our grown children and their wonderful spouses! (Special thanks to Tyler Siems for the photography!) Everyone pitched in to carry dishes, tack garland and decorate tables. Speaking of tables, the centerpieces were upside-down goblets with candles on the stems placed on a mirror, and flowers strewn here and there:


The assortment of food included some of Gracie’s favorites, plus our family’s favorite punch recipe, plus cupcakes and a cake baked by her cousin Mary:


Guests were invited to write words of wisdom for the graduate:


We had a display of photos and mementos, including one of Gracie’s all-time favorite books, Unbroken:



It was a lovely time. Ten of our twelve children were able to attend with their families. Most of us cried at one moment or another, especially when Gracie talked about the transition that she will experience after living with her best friend and sister all of her life:


Having graduated nine students, I know what’s ahead. It’s never quite the same after they graduate and go off to college. From then on, they “visit” home. We raise them to be responsible adults, but that doesn’t make the letting go easier. Stay tuned for more tears next week as you join us for the next episode: Moving Her Into the Dorm.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into our Homeschool Graduation, Version 9.0. Nine down, three to go–but it’s okay with me if it slows down a little.

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