Today is the day I picked for my son’s official high school graduation date. It was an arbitrary decision, made last Fall, and based on the graduation date for our local high school. But it doesn’t really seem to have any significance because nothing has changed. He hasn’t dropped all his books and exclaimed, “I’m done!” A lot of the things he was doing yesterday, he will be doing again tomorrow.
He finished Physics and Calculus a month ago, but he still subscribes to the math and science channels of Reddit because he likes that stuff. He’s also finished with his official English class at community college but he still reads books all the time and writes daily in his journal and customer support emails. I put “Computer Science” down as one of his high school courses this Spring, but he will still be doing that for years to come because things are always changing and there is always more he wants to learn.
With our self-directed homeschooling style, learning is so much a part of living that there doesn’t seem to be a difference between the two. There is no “graduation.” There is no ending.
So, while everyone around us is buying decorated sheet cakes and planning “Safe and Sober” grad night parties, we feel somewhat at a loss. Should we be doing something? Everyone likes to be appreciated, and fussed over, but I think we’ll wait until he turns 18 in August. The transition from “child” to legal adult is an undeniable milestone. On that day, he will be able to sign all of his official paperwork, vote, keep his bank account private, enter legally binding contracts, and be drafted (oh joy). Who wouldn’t want to celebrate all of that?
An even bigger transition will happen when he leaves home this September to go to University of Washington. On my part, it will be an occasion for mourning. But he is excited, and I’m sure that after I get over the initial shock, I’ll enjoy watching him create his new independent life.
With that in mind, does anyone have any ideas for appreciating and fussing over a soon-to-be 18 year old?