It’s an exciting time! You have invested your heart, soul, time, and energy into your child. And, now the day has arrived for your student to don his or her cap and gown (or not). It’s completely up to your individual homeschool!
In any case, we’ve got some creative homeschool graduation ideas and tips to help inspire you and your graduate.
Your Student’s Personality
As loving parents, it’s natural for us to want to tailor home education to our child’s individuality. This may be something to take into consideration for your graduate.
A homeschool graduation is also a monumental moment for you, too. But, what do you do if you have a graduate who is an introvert and he or she doesn’t want a big hoorah made about them? Conversely, what do you do if you’re an introvert and your student does want to be surrounded by lots of people?
With this in mind, we’ll offer some tips for the introvert, ambivert, and extrovert individual.
How much time you need for planning will depend on how elaborate you plan on making the homeschool graduation ceremony. Here are some tips for getting started:
- Choose a date. Consider being somewhat flexible with your date so that your odds of securing a venue if you need one are greater.
- Graduate with others. Will you team up with other family members or friends who are graduating?
- Decide on a location. If you plan on renting a venue or utilizing a friend or family member’s backyard, secure the venue as soon as possible. Grab your location while you can. For rented venues, decide on and communicate participation fees to the other families in order to cover the costs.
- Invitations and announcements. Make or purchase graduation invitations and send them out. For those whom you don’t plan on inviting, make or purchase graduation announcements and mail them out about the same time.
- Create a diploma. You can create one yourself, use the diploma template provided for OCEANetwork Supporting Members, or you can order a pre-printed one through an organization such as HSLDA.
- Cap and Gown. Will your student be wearing a cap and gown? If so, you may want to order this the same time you order your graduate’s diploma. (HSLDA offers these as well.) Also, your student may want to decorate his or her cap. If this is the case, you’ll want to give it to them well in advance.
Organize the Style and Flow
There are so many wonderful options to consider for a homeschool graduation celebration! You may want to incorporate them all or you may want to cherry pick a few. It’s entirely up to you! All of these may appeal to your extrovert graduate. For ease, this list is written in the typical order of how things flow at a graduation ceremony.
- Will the atmosphere be formal or informal? Be sure to indicate on the invitations so that your guests know.
- Programs: If there are several features or activities included, you may want to print up a program for guests so they know the order of events.
- Emcee: If you have several graduates participating, consider having someone emcee the event to help with transitions. Provide a simple script. Hosting a brief practice right before the event is an effective way to make sure things move along smoothly.
- Entrance: What will be the timing of your graduate’s entrance? Right at the beginning, before prayer, during the music for the walk?
- Prayer: Will you want to have this at the opening, the middle, or the end of your ceremony? If you have someone in mind to say the prayer, be sure to talk with them and let them know when you’d like them to begin.
- Pomp and Circumstance Graduation Walking March: Will you want to play this at the ceremony? Find this music ahead of time and any other music you’d like to have playing softly throughout the ceremony. How loud will you play Pomp and Circumstance? Introvert graduates may appreciate it being played softly while extroverts may prefer the energy of it being rather loud.
- Sound System: If you’re at home you can use whatever you have on hand. If you’ll be hosting at a church or other facility, you may need to have someone on hand who knows how to use it. Or, you may need to hire a D.J.
- Speaker: Will you have a special speaker at the ceremony? If so, you’ll want to connect with them as soon as possible and work out the details. Some choose to offer honorariums to speakers, in which case your participation fees, if any, should take that into consideration. Also consider whether parents and graduates will do any speaking.
- Memory Keeping: You may want to get a guest book or hire a photographer or videographer for the event.
- Honoring the Parent(s): Will your student honor you by giving an appreciation speech for all you have done?
- Slideshow and Biography: Playing a slideshow for the audience highlighting the fun and accomplishments of the homeschool years can be a memorable and meaningful thing to do. Consider having the Emcee or parent read a biography of the student while it plays.
- Present the Diploma: Typically, the parent(s) will do this. At what point will you present the diploma?
- The Tassel: Will your student move it from one side to the next or will you do it?
- Presenting Your Graduate: How will you do this? Will you officially announce your graduate or simply have him or her turn to the guests?
- Reception: If you’ll be hosting a reception afterward, plan ahead for refreshments, paper goods and serving supplies, decorations, group activities, and clean up details. See below for a list of activity ideas.
When Your Graduate Wants It Simple
It may feel a little deflating if your homeschool graduate would prefer to have just immediate family involved. If this is the case for you, here are some creative ideas.
- Make and Display a Memory Board: Using a firm poster board or tri-fold board to paste photos from throughout your homeschool experience: (lessons done at home, co-op participation, music, sports, field trips, outings, etc.)
- Invite Few: Have your student give you a list of whom he or she would like to invite.
- Open House: Typically, introverts don’t like to be in the spotlight. Having an open house where people can flow in and out can help to make it feel less overwhelming for your graduate.
- Time the Diploma: Open house guests should know when you plan on giving the diploma so that guests who will be leaving and guests who will be arriving may be able to overlap for a brief moment. This way, several if not all guests can be a part of this special moment.
- Give the Diploma Early: If your introvert graduate feels that the above option will be too much, then perhaps give the diploma early. Then, have it on display next to the memory board.
- Keep it Small: Have a celebration with your friends, homeschooling parent friends, and family members for your success and dedication in homeschooling your child. This can be a great solution for you to be acknowledged even if your graduate wants his or her own ceremony small or prefers not to have one at all.
The Reception Party
Again, this can be as big or as small as you like. What about some of these ideas?
- Simple refreshments and mingling
- Host a senior recital
- Ice cream social
- Dinner and movie party
- Jam with friends and family
- Escape room
- English country dancing
- Square dancing
The possibilities are endless!
Homeschool Graduation Resources
OCEANetwork Supporting Membership: benefits include fillable diploma and transcript templates, and an HSLDA discount.
Homeschool Graduation supplies: You can purchase caps, gowns, tassels, diplomas, announcements, etc. from the HSLDA Store. HSLDA members receive a discount! Contact HSLDA for questions about group orders.
Share Your Homeschool Graduation Celebrations!
Have you graduated a homeschooler? Share in the comments how you celebrated them!