Congratulations! You have brought your child through the ranks and he’s on the verge of graduating. Just the other day you were sitting side by side, sounding out c-a-t and counting little plastic bears together. Here she is ready to receive her high school diploma! Now what? Is a graduation ceremony required? How do I plan one? What if she doesn’t want a ceremony? Will he regret it if he doesn’t have an official photo wearing that gown and mortar board?
These are all great questions. And the wonderful thing is, just like homeschooling in general, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. You have the freedom to do what suits your family best. The homeschooling laws vary a bit from state to state but once your child has met the requirements, you, the instructor/principal/administrator of your homeschool, can decide how and when to give that diploma.
Many families have the opportunity to participate in graduation activities and ceremony with their local homeschool support group. These often include the cap and gown, presentation of diploma, display of achievements, speakers, the whole sha-bang. But what if you are not a part of a larger support group, or there are no other graduates this year? What if your child does not want to participate? What options do you have?
Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for a graduation celebration. Our family brainstormed this list when our oldest graduated. Much to Mom’s disappointment, no one else in my family is into the ‘pomp and circumstance’ and prefers things low-key and informal. My son and husband both would have been happy with a pat on the back and a “job well done!’ My request was to mark the day in a special way – I wanted a celebration of some type. These are some of the results from the list we created.
- Backyard BBQ – invite friends and family to share graduates favorite foods, with outside activities like volleyball and baseball. Parents & graduate share a few words and present diploma. This is the option all four of our graduates have chosen so far.
- Recital or demonstration showcasing graduate’s talents and/or accomplishments
- Open Mike Roast and Toast – guests arrive for refreshments and presentation of diploma then invite guests to share stories and memories from the life of the graduate.
- Pool Party!
- A Family Dream Vacation – Forgo the traditional graduation party and take a trip together
- Mark this milestone by helping graduate accomplish a lifelong goal – climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, trace his genealogy, go on an archeological dig . . .
- Create a video interviewing your graduate asking her to share her favorite memories, highlights and struggles from her schooling years. Ask about goals and dreams and where she’d like to be in five years, ten years.
Up to this point, none of our children have worn a cap and gown when graduating out of our homeschool. They were happy to gather the important people in their lives, choose the menu, enjoy fellowship together. To my knowledge none of them regret it and have fond memories of the way we chose to celebrate the occasion. As the Administrator, Principal and Teachers in our homeschool, my husband and I did present an official diploma (graduation supplies can be purchased at HSLDA.org) and enjoyed having friends and family witness the big event.
What a blessing it is to have the freedom to custom make our children’s education AND their graduation celebration. Let’s make it unique and memorable!
What graduation plans are you making? Will they be traditional or out-of-the-box and unique?
Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.