It's that time of year! Graduation is rapidly approaching. For many parents of high school age home schoolers, this event can raise various questions, all asked with a hint of panic. "Do we perform a ceremony?" "How do we conduct it?" "Does this really 'count'?" "What about their friends?"

Don't let the stress of the situation rob you of the joy and pride this occasion deserves! This is a once in a lifetime event that your child will never forget, no matter how dramatic or festive the ceremony. They've worked hard to get to this day, and so have you, for that matter! So...CELEBRATE!

You don't have to rent a building with a stage and mega-sound system and call everyone you've ever known. All your student wants is the attention this achievement deserves. They want to relish in the sense of accomplishment and relief that yes, they really did it, and no, they're not dreaming!

There are many things you can do to show your child how proud you are of their achievement. My family planned a very sweet event for me. Keeping with the tradition in our extended family, they reserved a banquet room at a local seafood restaurant on the river and invited all of our family members and a few of my closest friends. Everyone talked and laughed over a dinner of delicious catfish. Thanks to an amazing second-story view of the water, a gorgeous sunset served as the backdrop for the entire event.

Before dessert arrived, my father stood up to say a few words, touching on my past and on the brilliant future before me. He spoke of my good qualities and characteristics, told a few slightly embarrassing stories, and made me cry with several sincere compliments.

My mother took her turn and after the tissues were passed, dessert came and it was time to open a few sentimental gifts. Since I was planning on attending a local college, the presents I received were not of the usual embroidered laundry bag variety, but rather a vanity set for my room and a nice piece of jewelry.

Looking back years later, I am very grateful for my parents' efforts to insure my happiness that night. They didn't want me to have any regrets, and because of that, I do not. It is normal for home schooled seniors to fight doubts over their past choices. Your child might regret missing out on a few of the things that public school offered. He or she might be feeling uncertain about the future or nervous about the important decision-making time before them. This is all the more reason to go out of your way to celebrate their graduation and show them how much you love them. To show them that their journey was not in vain and that God has big plans ahead!

For your child, choose to go as lavish or simple as you like. The important thing is, do something special. Whether that calls for a family trip away or an evening at your child's favorite restaurant, do something to show them how proud you are and how excited you are about their future. That is what your student wants, and truly deserves.

Graduation is so much more than just a closing chapter of your life or the end of an era. It is a new beginning, an exciting adventure just waiting to be taken. It is a continuation of the journey. It is a start on a fresh path and with unknown adventures around the next turn. While this might cause feelings of anxiety or worry for you or your child, the important part to remember is that God is in control, and has been faithful thus far. He won't let your student down now! Jeremiah 29:11 states "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Do all you can to help your child embrace their future this graduation season.

Betsy Ann St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. Betsy has a bachelor's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. Her first published Christian Fiction novel, Midnight Angel, is now available on www.amazon.com. You can contact her at betsystamant@yahoo.com.