Putting together a graduation ceremony can be an overwhelming task. Add to that overwhelming task a devastating hurricane - enter Harvey, destroying the homes of many graduating seniors and you have the setting of our 2018 HEART Graduation. Through our faith in God and the organizational skills of former grad parents, our graduation was a joyous celebration.

Even though those in charge of our graduation committee lost their homes to flooding, they decided to persevere in their leadership roles with the help of others, including myself. We held to our October 15th graduation registration date. Registering senior families must sign a document reaffirming their consent to honor our organization's mission statement, agree to volunteer in some capacity with the ceremony and reception, and to pay a $150 fee. This fee covers the ceremony expenses, the reception, as well as the cap, gown and diploma.  

We've all read the stories about the college graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is employed as a barista and barely making their minimum payments. It can make you question the cultural myth that everyone must go to college at 18 to have a shot at a good life.

Or perhaps, you have a child with no interest in spending four years and thousands of dollars doing something to which they are indifferent. Maybe we should step back and provide our young adults with unbiased, feasible options to college instead of merely lamenting it as a horrible decision. 

Maybe it’s parental bragging rights, or perhaps the college entrance rat race, but somehow our society has become so focused on making our children “college ready” that we’ve forgotten how to prepare them to live a good life.

Without question, we all agree there are academic skills they need to know for their future, but most of us live our lives never knowing if the person next to us took AP Chemistry. It just doesn’t matter. 

Attending college has become a central canon of America society. Everyone is told to attend, for a myriad of unrelated reasons, yet the actual costs are not thoughtfully discussed.

We hear over and over again how college is an investment, and never a bad one. 

My purpose with this article is not to convince you college is a terrible investment! But as with all investments, there are risks. Also, as with all investments, it's up to the investor to determine if the risk and potential return are consistent. 

Nothing really prepared me for the empty house my husband and I returned to after we helped our youngest move into his dorm a month ago.

Do you ever wonder what it will be like to be done homeschooling?

The question might have crossed my mind a couple of times over the last 15 or 16 years, but I never dwelt on it -- I didn't have time!  My life was crammed with the "side-effects" of homeschooling -- musical instruments, field guides, insect pins, cookbooks, tools of every imaginable kind, shelves of wonderful children's fiction, trips to theatre rehearsals and music lessons, and occasional algebra problems.