It’s the end of the school year and some of us are at the end of the homeschool journey with one or more of our children. After all the applications and visits, after all the tests, how will we mark homeschool graduation? How will we mark this rite of passage into adulthood in a way that is meaningful? Since we don’t attend schools where everyone marches across a stage and prominent people give speeches, we need to have other homeschool graduation ideas.
Homeschool graduation ideas: Celebrate in style
Some families don’t do anything special. They simply hand their child their transcripts and diploma. And, some young people prefer that. They don’t want all the hype. However, they may regret that decision later. Very often, they come back sometime in their 20s and ask why they didn’t get a ceremony. Then, the parents have to remind them that they didn’t want one. This often brings feelings of regret and sadness that could have been avoided.
Since I have graduated two of my children, let me share what we did for them, whether they wanted it or not, especially considering what I just shared. And hey, I wanted a memorable event, a rite of passage, that they would look back on with fondness. In addition, I felt like I had graduated, too, especially with my two oldest.
One event for several graduates
If you belong to a co-op or support group and there are several students graduating, consider having one event for all of them. The support group I belonged to for years offered this to its members. Every year, there were at least ten graduates–a few for eighth grade and a few for high school. My oldest daughter participated in this event for her high school graduation. It was probably the largest graduating class they ever had! My support group offered the following:
- The parents of each graduate say a short speech about their student
- The graduates all wear a cap and gown
- One of the fathers gives a short message
- Every family receives a multimedia slide show featuring documentary photographs of each student growing up
- A semi-formal reception after the ceremony
- A printed diploma for each student, featuring their homeschool’s name
This option is, of course, very similar to what a public school offers and can have a rather formal feel to it. And it does take a lot of coordinated effort among the parents. But, it’s worth it, right? Your group can host it at a church, a banquet hall, a VFW, a forest preserve, or in someone’s backyard. Add in some flowers, streamers, hand-lettered cards, and maybe some music and you’ve got a dynamite event! My daughter had many friends graduating with her and loved the community feel of participating in a group graduation.
A reception for just your child
If you do not belong to a large group or such an event seems daunting, you could do a reception for just your child. Even if you do belong to a large support group, maybe you want something more personal. My oldest son went this route. He didn’t have as many friends in our support group and didn’t want to participate in their homeschool graduation ideas. So, this is what we did for him:
- Invited all our friends and relatives over for a party with food and beverages, etc.
- Compiled a photographic journey of our homeschooling years with him, set to music.
- Bought a big, professional cake in his honor.
- Gathered everyone around to hear us formally speak about him, sharing our thoughts, highlights of our homeschool, and our hopes for him. And then, we presented him with his diploma.
- Everyone offered their congratulations and gifts.
It was an approximation of what our daughter got, but for only him. He appreciated it and it gave more meaning than just handing him a diploma.
Other homeschool graduation ideas
If you just want something simple, here are a few more ideas:
- Dress up and go to a nice restaurant as a family. At the end of the dinner, say a few words to your child about your journey and present the diploma.
- Present your child with a significant gift, a few words or long letter, and her diploma.
- Have a family movie night, but the featured movie is a video of your homeschooling journey. Enjoy your teen’s favorite treat and at the end of the home video, award the diploma.
- Celebrate with a graduation trip. Some families take their graduate on a special one-on-one vacation to recognize their teen’s accomplishment.
Whatever you choose to do, make it memorable. Encourage your child. Celebrate her accomplishments. Spur him on as a young adult setting out on a new adventure.