Homeschool Graduates: The Next Chapter

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Many readers know that our two daughters are homeschool graduates: They both graduated from our homeschool when they were 16. Now that several years have passed, I thought it would be a good time to update everyone on how they are doing post-graduation.

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Our First Graduate

Our eldest daughter Hannah will be 22 next month. After graduating from our homeschool, she attended Victory Bible Institute for a year, then she worked as an intern for a college ministry while also attending the local community college.

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Last year she transferred to Oral Roberts University (my alma mater) and received a Whole Person Scholarship. She is now a junior there, and she has just changed her major from Health and Exercise Science to Business Management. She still has the same goal: to own a gym and, someday, a nutritious restaurant/cafe to go along with the gym. But right now she is more interested in the business side. I think this degree suits her because she has grown up in business working with us, and the business world just makes sense to her.

She’s currently planning a trip to London and Paris over Christmas break: Ironically, the child who really didn’t want to take a foreign language has downloaded Duolingo and is now trying to learn French. She has always been the one who only wanted to learn things she could immediately put into use. For fun, she likes to do things such as run “Conquer the Gauntlet” and “Warrior Dash.” On her 18th birthday, she went skydiving.

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Our Second Graduate

Our daughter Virginia just turned 20, and she is planning to get married in November. Her fiancé is also a homeschool graduate; he is the 2nd child of seven. They would both like to have children and homeschool in the future.

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Virginia is currently doing a great job of managing our busy donut shops. She has a knack for motivating people in the workplace and encouraging them to work well together without hurting their feelings. And the customers love her friendly personality!

A Tough Transition

Both of our homeschool graduates are now doing well, but I have to admit: The years between 16 and 20 have been the hardest years for me as a parent. It was hard letting go and watching them struggle and make mistakes on their own. Although I couldn’t “ground” them or enforce discipline during that time, I still try to disciple them when and where I can. But it has been a difficult transition: They can — and sometimes do — choose to ignore my wise advice, because they think they know better or they want to experience things that I, in hindsight, know they will regret.

I would have never considered myself to be a controlling mother, but even so, this season of letting go has been particularly hard for me. I discovered — to my dismay — that a lot of my identity was tied up in how my children turned out. I have had to repent of that and realize that their future, their salvation and their relationship with God is ultimately between Him and them.

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I have learned to pray for them even more than I did when they were little. And I am no longer attaching my identity to how my children behave and the decisions they make. I’m rediscovering that my identity is found in who I am in Christ alone. And from that identity flows all the other parts of me: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and more.

Although it’s been a challenging transition, I’m thankful for where God has brought us all today!

Do you have any homeschool graduates? What was the most challenging part of homeschooling through graduation for you? What has God taught you in the process that you would like to pass along to other homeschooling moms who hope to have homeschool graduates someday?

Rosanna Ward is a devoted wife of 22 years and mother of four children, two of which are homeschool graduates. She currently homeschools her 11-year-old son Joel and 5-year-old son Leif. Rosanna is a homeschool graduate and a graduate of Oral Roberts University who has been homeschooling since 2005. She and her husband own two Daylight Donuts shops. She is also publisher of Tulsa Homeschool Happenings. Rosanna loves to study History and Genealogy: Her genealogy blog is called “Rosanna’s Genealogical Thoughts.” She and her family reside in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.