Addie graduated this past month, the only member of her class. Does that make her the valedictorian? I suppose, though it is a class of only one. The important thing is that she has successfully completed her high school education, ending that chapter of her life. And now she is ready to begin the exciting part: She is headed to college at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, to study apparel design and development.
It's true, we are very proud of Addie and all of her accomplishments. In the same way that it was for her brothers, she truly earned her diploma in that she had to plan and carry out all portions of her classwork. As she put it on her blog profile, her parents are busy people, so she is basically self-taught. We oversaw what she was doing, gave lots of advice along the way, and enrolled her in an accredited school to keep an eye on things as well. She has an official diploma that she can stash away....as we all seem to do. The end.
It's the end in another way, too. We no longer have any homeschoolers in the house. For the last twelve years, someone was always homeschooling, and sometimes it was all three someones. They soon learned that schooling at home didn't necessarily stop in the summer. Robert also liked to point out how often I turned things into learning opportunities. "Even Christmas presents," he grumbled one year, when they opened a new game called Cranium. Never mind that it turned out to be a really fun game, and that Addie and her friends are playing it even as I write this. With a name like that, it must be about school and learning! But for the most part, I think that all three kids were very glad of the education each got. They not only studied all of their lessons, they learned about life as well. They got to command their own time schedules, and as a result, they were able to delve into their hobbies to a large degree. Hence, Addie was able to pursue her interest in textiles, fashion, sewing, and ultimately opened her own shop on the internet.
It's been a heck of a ride, and as I've mentioned before, the very best part was all of the time that we got to spend together. They still come home for the summer, and so we still work and play in the same place, at least for part of the year. I find myself doing less parenting, and more discussing of issues and such, as each makes his or her way into the arena of adulthood. I still scratch my head over how we got here so fast, but no sense in dwelling on it. Too much fun to still to be had, and too many memories yet to make. We've just added Addie's grad party to that list. On to the next great thing...for all of us.