How to honor your homeschool graduate
The unique thing about graduating a homeschooler is that elements normally part of public school ceremony planning and typical “senior year” events all fall to you. But that is also the very thing that allows you to choose precisely how to honor your homeschool graduate best.
Graduating a homeschooler is a huge accomplishment for the graduate and any involved teachers, be they parents, grandparents, co-op teachers, specialty teachers, or online teachers. And just as you’ve chosen course work, tailored lessons, and reinforced interests throughout the years, your graduation ceremony should be very personalized.
Here are 11 questions to discuss and ideas to consider as you plan how to honor your homeschool graduate:
(1) If you belong to a co-op, do you want to celebrate several graduates all together? Or hold your own celebrations to focus on your individual graduates and their personal accomplishments?
(2) Do you want to have a full ceremony, with all the pomp and circumstance, music, short speeches, and handing over of the diploma? Or are you feeling more like just a great party with lots of friends and family gathered around?
(3) What things of significance do you want to include in the celebration and possible ceremony? Maybe your graduate plays an instrument or excels in graphic arts. Consider setting up a display of their work or have a live mini-concert.
(4) Where will you hold your celebration? If you are going to need anything special to show off your graduate’s personality and accomplishments, you might need to hold it somewhere other than at home.
(5) Do you want school/class colors, a cap and gown, tassels and cords, or any other special graduation keepsakes? Check out sites like homeschooldiploma.com for supplies and personalized diplomas.
(6) You’ll definitely want pictures of the special day, so who can you ask (or hire, if you want professional shots)? If you decide to hold a graduation ceremony, you’ll want to video it. Who can cover that for you?
(7) Will you have a cake and food? Something out of the ordinary? Maybe you want to hold a “dessert only” open house. Or maybe you'll do an “all my favorite things” theme where the food is all the graduate's favorites.
(8) Whether you decide on a full ceremony or just a party, how will you really highlight your graduate’s educational journey? Plan how you'll talk about and show off their achievements, great memories, talents, interests – anything that really puts the focus on who they’ve become and all they’ve done. If you hold a formal graduation ceremony, you might do this live or through a video, you create and then play. If you only hold a party, consider creating a video and setting it to play on a loop, for guests to view during the party.
(9) What about photo boards? If you want them, you’ll need time to locate photos, print ones off digital devices, and display them nicely. Another alternative is to create a photo slideshow and have it running on a device for guests to walk memory lane with you.
(10) Do you want senior pictures? Even throughout the summer, you can still to do senior pictures. If you want them for your graduation, you’ll need to time it so they’ll be processed and printed for the big day.
(11) Will you need to make arrangements for out-of-town family and friends to attend the big day? If so, figure out how you'll accommodate them without anyone needing to shell out too much money.
No matter what you decide to do, whether elaborate or simple – relish the joy of having a homeschool graduate! You’ve come a long way together, and a lot of celebration… and maybe a few tears… are in order.