Homeschool graduation. It isn't what many of us think about when we start homeschooling. Homeschooling can seem like a long journey, but with our second child about to graduation, trust me – graduation day will be here before you know it!
How to Make a Homeschool Graduation Special
With his graduation, we will have already graduated two of our four children, and I can't believe how fast it went. I would love to share with you how we have made our two children's homeschool graduation special.
Formal or Casual
Deciding what kind of celebrations for your child's homeschool graduation is the first step. For most graduates, they desire to have a formal graduation with cap and gown, diploma and the pomp and circumstance playing as they walk down the aisle.
Other children, however, would prefer a more casual approach to making that day special, with perhaps a few close family friends, a luncheon and the cherished diploma to be awarded them in front of those that matter most.
These tips are going to be geared toward the formal ways to make a homeschool graduation special, however many of the tips can also be used for a casual celebration as well.
Find Other Graduates to Celebrate Together
Most state homeschool organizations have a graduation for the homeschool graduates in their state to participate in. To find these options, search ‘homeschool organizations for (enter the state you live in)'. These graduations tend to be larger and more formal, less personal in nature in my experience. Knowing that so many, literally two hundred, do this year after year, I would say this would be the most likely option for most. For the most part, you pay an amount and show up to having it all done for you.
Another option is to find a smaller graduation, perhaps with a local homeschool support group. I coordinate one for our local homeschool community that celebrates between 35-45 graduates each year. (Yep, this is where the tips are coming from and you won't be disappointed!) Although this kind of graduation still has an element of things being done for you, it can easily reflect the graduates desire, focus on the parents as being part of the ceremony and even allow the graduates to participate in more ways than just receiving their diploma.
The last option is to find 3-10 other graduates that you know personally and create your own unique graduation that fits just the handful of graduates in this group.
Secure a Location for the Graduation
If you are going with either a smaller graduation or an intimate graduate among a few friends, a location will be first on your to do list. We have found churches to be a great option for our venue and we currently hold our graduation in a very large church, making it nice for the families to invite as many guest as they desire and opening it up to the local homeschool community.
The cost of the location can evenly be divided by the number of graduates graduating.
Plan for the Elements that Say Graduation
You can't have a graduation without a few things: caps and gowns, diplomas and announcements. These are the three elements that make the graduation. We use Herff Jones for caps and gowns, HSLDA for diplomas and if the parents do not desire the announcements from Herff Jones, I recommend getting the graduation announcements from where we did for our son. Check it out here… we have the graduation details on the front and his graduation party details on the back, along with three of the photos that he liked.
Make It Extra Special With a Personal Touch
In the graduation that I coordinate, the graduates vote for the following: colors for the caps and gowns, the Bible verse, the congregational song that will be sung during the graduation ceremony, if there are graduates that want to participate in an Ensemble they choose the song, vote on what graduates will give addresses, pray, introduce the Master of Ceremony and Commencement Speaker.
We also have roses for the graduates to hand to their mothers, as the parents wait for them to cross the stage and receive their diploma from their parents. We even take pictures for that special moment and others.
Don't forget to let them throw their caps!
Top It Off With a Party
We throw a BIG graduation party – HUGE! I start making food several weeks in advance and invite family, friends and neighbors. We have all kinds of fun that day, celebrating the accomplishments of the graduate and taking it all in!
How do you make your homeschool graduation special?