I don't know that I ever promoted the homeschool-hybrid program my kids attended, but now I feel I must. You see, my kid graduated last year and right now would do anything to spend just one day back at her homeschool program.
I picked daughter up from school last Friday, at 4:30 sharp. It was the earliest she could get out of her on-campus job, and she had me high-tail it straight to the Artios Academies Hoe-down. It is a yearly square-dance fundraiser the "school" has every fall. Initially, she was coming home for a doctor's appointment on Monday morning, since she had a couple of days off (and a somewhat serious health issue), but as chance would have it, it was also hoe-down weekend, so that worked for her.
She was so excited to go that she had worn her cowboy boots and the ugliest square-dance skirt ever all day (at college), and she jumped in my care excitedly raring to go. So as any good mom would do, to make my kid deliriously happy, I drove her back to her old stomping grounds... and stayed there over 3 hours, even in my exhausted-from-driving-two-hours-each-way state.
She wasn't even the only post-graduatee there. There were about a dozen kids there who had graduated in the past 3 years, mixing in and enjoying themselves as if they were still living in homeschool land. I could see them refueling and soaking up the atmosphere and love of their homeschool family who they loved and missed. It was refreshing to see.
I even managed to reconnect with a few of my favorite homeschool parents from the past. I have to say, that in this group, I have always felt like a little bit of a sore thumb. I know that I don't necessarily mesh politically or even socially with this group, but the point is, my kid needed this program to become who she needed to be. My own comfort, I have always known, could and should be set aside for the sake of my child's growth and development. And even in that discomfort, I have still managed to find a few kindred souls.
As the night wore down and my kid stalled going home, closing down the party, she and her other previously graduated friends attempted to make plans to show up for "school" on Tuesday. I hated to disappoint, but since I hate driving at night and don't have powers of teleportation, I had to inform her that she could not visit/ i.e. disrupt Tuesday's lessons with her presence. It was time to return to the real world - back to college. She tried to protest and reminded me that this was her family... the place where she felt most at home, but I promised she could visit as much as possible during winter break, but she could not let it interfere with college.
I just feel like it says a whole lot about a school or program when your kid isn't happy to graduate (mine wanted to graduate, but then she didn't). It says even more when her heart doesn't want to move on and she feels so uber connected to highschool days, even in the midst of enjoying college. Most kids are happy to move on, but in this program, a great many kids are even happier to return, time and time again.
By the way, there are 6 Artios Academies across the US (and counting). If you are nearby any of them, please try them out. My kids attended the Academy as young kids... attended the Prep program in their middle school years, and primarily focussed on the Arts Conservatory in their high school years.