Planning a Homeschool Graduation

Homeschool Graduation Ceremony  Homeschool Survival

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?Graduation Diploma Homeschool Survival

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.

Graduation Baseball  Homeschool Survival

  • 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.

Graduation Homeschool Survival

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 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?


stop and smell the daisies

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.

Free Resources for Homeschooling High School


Free Resources for Homeschooling High School

Curriculum can be expensive, especially when you purchase a program or material that is sub par.  I love finding top-notch curriculum that helps meet our family’s homeschooling high school needs, while staying within our budget.  My son is taking Chemistry, Driver’s Education, Geometry, English Language Arts, US History, and Physical Education during the 2013-2014 10th grade school year.  Geometry, English Language Arts, and US History are all free!


For Geometry, we are currently using Khan Academy, . My son had used Khan Academy for several subjects when finishing up 9th grade.  I like that Khan Academy has a variety of interactive practice tools to aid in comprehension. If the student gets stuck, they can go through step-by-step hints to further aid in the development of skills.  Khan Academy is constantly adding more subjects and continues to enhance their site.  My son learns better with anything hands on and this is really the only area where Khan Academy, like many online based curriculums, is lacking.

Language Arts

With English Language Arts, I had several goals in mind:  increase vocabulary, learn to love reading, prepare for PSAT and SAT exams. I wanted to expose my son to a variety of authors and styles and I was excited when I came across curriculum for an Honors English 10th grade class in a surrounding town, which led us to the quest theme incorporating writing skills into his curriculum.  He’s read and written about Beowulf, Of Mice and Men, No Easy Day, and MacBeth so far. If we did not already have the book, I found the text online for free.  Free PSAT and SAT prep, as well as, ACT prep can be found online at .  Here you can practice, register, and plan for these tests and get lists of vocabulary words to know.

US History

For US History, we are using the AP course on Hippo Campus,  The material follows along in a chronological order and there is a portion you read, a video, and usually document images to investigate and think about or answer questions about.  I am excited that they also have a variety of other subjects available, but I have not yet had a chance to review them.

Other Subjects

With my son’s other subjects, we are using pay programs, especially where we had to purchase all the lab materials for Chemistry. I realize Physical Education normally is free, but my son has taken up swing dancing,  $10 a week, and is on a Native American folk dancing team And we have put a fair amount of money towards his regalia.


Melissa ReadMelissa is in her first year of homeschooling her teenaged son, while working part-time.  She enjoys the simple life, but her husband is a super techie.  It’s an interesting balance as Melissa strives to learn more homesteading skills, while her husband is playing the latest Xbox game.  Find Melissa’s Facebook page:  Minor in Homeschool.