The moment you've worked toward for so many years has finally arrived. Your homeschooler has completed his last lesson, and now it's time to celebrate the completion of his home education. You want to recognize all those years of effort and hard work, but what do you do to honor your homeschool high school graduate? After first consulting your child and asking him what he might enjoy, here are a few ideas to make his graduation unforgettable:
Join other homeschoolers from your state for graduation ceremonies.
Many larger state homeschool associations organize graduation ceremonies to coincide with their annual homeschool conventions. Parents of graduating seniors can contact their state homeschool association several months prior to the convention to add their child's name to the graduating list. (Note: A fee may be required). Resembling a traditional school ceremony, the festivities usually involve a cap and gown ceremony, along with a diploma presentation, a special speaker, and refreshments for family and friends following the ceremony.
Organize a local graduation ceremony within your homeschool support group.
Many homeschool graduates prefer attending a smaller ceremony with other graduates they know from their homeschool support group. These ceremonies can be as carefree as the individual homeschoolers graduating. However, if several graduates are involved, it's best to meet well in advance with the families involved to plan logistics. Here are a few important questions to ask:
-Should a professional photographer take senior portraits?
-Will there be custom-printed announcements or invitations?
-Where will the ceremony be held?
-Who will be the master of the ceremony?
-Will each of the graduates write a speech to share their goals and express their thanks to those who have mentored them along the way?
-Will tassels, caps, and gowns be the same color, or will each child have his own colors?
-Will the diplomas be custom-made or ordered?
-Will there be a special speaker, such as a pastor, a coach, or parents?
-Will there be games, refreshments, or a time for fellowship following the ceremony?
-Will the food be catered or potluck?
Plan a private celebration with family and friends.
Another option preferred by many homeschoolers is sending out invitations to celebrate with close family, friends, and mentors who have been involved in the graduate's life and education. This celebration might involve a meal at your child's favorite restaurant or a special "This Is Your Life" program that honors your graduate's achievements over the years. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others can be offered the opportunity to speak and give the graduate a special blessing. Complete with a guest book, party decorations, gifts, photos, and his own diploma, this can be a memorable time for your child with those he loves most.
Give your child a special trip or gift.
If your child isn't into "mushy stuff," consider making his graduation from high school special with a memorable trip or gift. Travel to a part of the United States he's always wanted to see and spend an entire week together enjoying new scenery, people, and experiences. If your budget allows, you could also give your child a much-wanted gift, such as a new computer to further a college education or a car to open up new opportunities for employment.
Whether your child chooses a large graduation ceremony or simply a dinner party with a few friends and family members, be sure to make your graduate feel special. This is his moment, and it should be touching, heartfelt, and memorable. Most of all, savor all that you and your child have accomplished together as a homeschooling family and have fun enjoying his graduation event.
How has your homeschool family honored your high school graduate? We'd love to hear about your experience! Share your story in the comment field below and let us know how you made this educational milestone special for your homeschooler.