Graduation is nearly upon us and like most families with seniors, homeschool families are giving thought to graduation parties and activities to honor our graduates. Here are ideas for celebrating homeschool graduates from our team of authors.
Celebrating Homeschool Graduates
There are many ways to celebrate graduates – whether they are graduating from a brick and mortar school or homeschool.
- Plan a graduation party with family and friends
- Consider a cap and gown
- Order a diploma
- Plan a special senior trip
- Coordinate a graduation ceremony with your co-op or group of friends
- Have senior pictures taken
- Consider a special gift – a birth stone pendant or ring, a professional camera, or computer
- Make a yard sign and a door banner
With social distancing restrictions upon us this year, communities are getting creative. Some are hanging banners from the street lights in lieu of the holiday banners. Others have organized vehicle processions through town with family and revelers cheering from their yards.
My favorite idea comes from Gulfport High School where graduates will be able to don their cap and gown, pose for photos with their family, and most significantly walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Each “individual” graduation will be videotaped and compiled with those of their peers to air on local television or stream online.
From college applications, scholarship essays, and SATs, there are so many things to consider. Let the authors at The Curriculum Choice share their ideas for homeschooling high school seniors and preparing for graduation.
It is our hope you will find inspiration to celebrate and honor your graduate in a memorable way unique to your child and your family.
Tricia at Hodgepodge and You ARE an Artist
In the past, I shared our Homeschool High School to College journey, which includes The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to the College Search, planning a college visit, high school learning styles, curriculum and much more. Each child is unique!
- I ordered a cap and gown for our high school grad a while ago. When we realized that our college senior would not have her commencement, I ordered a graduation cap for her and pulled my college graduation gown out of the closet.
- When the cap arrived, I took my camera and got some special photos of each of my graduates. We used those to make graduation announcements online.
- I also ordered a personalized yard sign to congratulate each of them. Our neighborhood is also organizing a drive by parade to celebrate 2020 grads.
- Our church is doing some very special things to honor 2020 high school grads. Each student will send in a video to be shared in both online church services. We will also have the special dinner for seniors – over Zoom. Each family having dinner in their own homes. Grandparents and friends can attend online too.
- Homeschool Graduation Favorites – with our eldest child, we did everything! From ordering a cap and gown to taking formal and casual senior portraits, a graduation ceremony with our state homeschool graduation, parties, celebrations, announcements and thank you notes and more. *She received a sizable scholarship to attend a private, Christian college.
- Celebrating a Homeschool Graduate – our second born wanted a more casual and low key graduation celebration. His ceremony was our senior recognition Sunday at our church. We had a nice, Sunday dinner with extended family to celebrate. Then we went on a family trip that summer. *Our son has designed his own post-graduate curriculum honing in on his interests and skills and continuing online education and apprenticeship.
Heather from Blog, She Wrote
We’ve graduated two of our teens from our homeschool, both with very different experiences. Our oldest wanted a ceremony with a party and our second oldest preferred a party only. Our third teen will graduate next year and he wants just a family gathering with something special just for him.
Whatever you decide to do with your teens, make sure they get to make the big calls.
As a homeschool mom, I try to focus on my teen’s accomplishments and less on the milestone that it is for me. Sometimes it’s easy to forget because it’s all such a big deal!
Here are a few things we did to make it count for our graduates:
- Homeschool Group Ceremony– this is a popular option whether it is at the state, regional, or local level. The more local you go, the more say your teen will have in the process. Some teens thrive on that and some do not!
- Graduation Party– you can host it at home or at a local venue. We’ve done both, one at our home and one at a local park.
- Taco Bar– for the main food event
- Root Beer Keg & Vanilla Ice Cream– endless rootbeer floats and this is a staple of our graduation parties!
- Senior Display– a stand alone display board with all the memories of years gone by plus the table has work, art, and other items displayed for people to see.
- Special People– whether it’s a big event or not, we love the people who have spoken in to our teens’ lives to be there.
- Graduation Announcements– probably the most conventional thing we do with our graduates and the one thing I make sure I do no matter what. Pro tip: I actually used Amazon photo services through my Prime account.
Helping families to homeschool high school with peace and confidence is my jam!
Here are a few links directly related to high school graduation:
- Homeschooling High School– the hub of information on all things high school at Blog, She Wrote
- Homeschooling High School by Design– build your custom high school for your teens with this self paced course
- Homeschooling for College by Design– how to take that customized high school and package it for college admission. It includes a custom transcript builder along with in the ins and outs of preparing for and applying to college.
- 10 Myths You’re Believing about Your Out of the Box Teen– that are holding them back! Ready to change your mindset on working with your creative teens? Get this free guide!
- Dream Big & Take Action: Goal Conquering for Teens– mentor your teens so they can turn big dreams into big goals
- How to Thrive as Your Homeschool Shrinks– if you have teens leaving home, it changes things. Don’t be afraid to retool and help your younger kids and your homeschool to thrive.
Like Tricia, we have two graduations this year. Our third child is graduating from university, and our fourth from high school. But no parties are planned; in our area get-togethers of more than 5 people are prohibited and there is no end in sight to that. To top that off, the university graduate lives on her own and we haven’t even seen her for many weeks.
So, what will we do? Currently there are no firm plans but reading the above suggestions is getting me thinking happy thoughts.
To be fair, we did send the university grad a Jackie Lawson e-card as well as a regular one (from my stash; I haven’t been in the store for almost 2 months). And we made a chocolate cake (that’s a rare event in our home, reserved for celebrations) in honor of the university admission of the high school graduate.
In our family we have never had a very fancy, formal homeschool graduation for any of our kids; it wasn’t something they really wanted, and in a sense that was sad. But some personalities do not thrive on parties or on being at the center of attention, and that is OK. The beauty of homeschooling is that these things can be individualized.
In our family, university admission was always a big deal that almost overshadowed graduation. I have written about that twice, once while discussing what we must have done right, and once with practical suggestions of things homeschoolers should do. To get to this stage, it is helpful to consider that “You are Your Teen’s Guidance Counsellor.” Finally, in the wake of Covid SAT cancellations, here’s a final bit of hard-won advice from our family: never, ever leave necessary standardized tests to the last minute, or month, or even year if you can help it.
Resources for Graduates from the Curriculum Choice Archives:
- 10 Steps: Preparing for College by Kim Ashbaugh
- Senior High: A Home Designed Form-U-la book review by Cindy
- Homeschool to College by Betsy
- Hack the SAT by Betsy
How have you celebrated your homeschool graduate?
Did you know that our Curriculum Choice review team features a different homeschool topic each month? You can see what they have shared on various homeschool topics under Review Team Features.