Yes, Homeschooled Students CAN have a Graduation!

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Your child has worked hard over the years. YOU have worked hard over the years. Now, after their senior year, it is time to CELEBRATE! Yes, homeschooling students NEED to have a graduate celebration!

There are so many options for high school graduation ceremony ideas that will highlight YOUR child’s unique accomplishments. Make sure you take the time collaborating with your high school senior to make it an event as special and unique as they are!

Creating an event for your child’s high school homeschool graduation is like nothing else you ever planned. This ceremony is a once in a lifetime event that your child can cherish for the rest of their lives – truly.  And you, as homeschooling parents, should treasure it just as much!

First, think back to when you first began homeschooling.  

  • Think about the family’s sacrifices.  
  • Think about the homeschooling parent’s sacrifices.  
  • Think back to the original excitement about homeschooling.  
  • Think back to the first few days – few weeks – few months when you doubted yourself and questioned, “Can I really do this?”
  • Think about the struggles you may/may not have had and how you got through it.  
  • Think about the celebratory moments of when you say “the light bulbs go off” in your child’s mind as they had that “uh-huh” moment.

That is what will keep you going and wanting to celebrate with a high school graduation ceremony. There is no greater recognition for all the years and hard work of homeschooling than this. 

Practical Advice

Begin planning early.  You want at least three months’ time to think things through.

Involve the graduating senior.  After all, this is his/her celebration.  They should have a big say on what will happen at the celebration.   As parents, we can take over, and go crazy planning, but it would be best to get some ideas from the one who is graduating. They will appreciate it, even more, knowing some ideas came from them.

Here are some thoughts for your graduating senior to ponder while planning:

  • How can we show-off your accomplishments and passions in the celebration?
  • Would you like to invite any teachers/adult mentors to speak about you at the celebration?
  • Over the course of homeschooling, we incorporated experiences that surpassed “book learning” – how can we share these with families and friends?
  • Do you want to incorporate your next steps in life whether college, military service, a trade or a passion you plan on pursuing?
  • What can we do to make the ceremony unique to you?

Popular Ideas

One popular idea is to display an array of projects and/or assignments from all their homeschooling years….. to show the growth that happened!  

  • You might want to show some writing assignments from early on, some from the middle years and then, finally, some from their senior year.
  • You might want to show a science fair project from the child’s younger days as well as one from high school.
  • You might want to show art work they created throughout the years.

Another popular idea is to create a scrapbook of your child’s homeschooling journey.  Have a double page spread dedicated to each year in school. You might want to have pictures of field trips, friends, their work and more! Then, leave out scrapbooking paper for guests to write something on whether it be a favorite quote, words of wisdom or encouragement for the graduate to read once the celebration is done.

Students tend to be technologically adept and can create a video montage to play during the celebration.  In advance, they can film or ask a guest to film and send in a short video with words of encouragement and/or memories. Students can combine these messages with tidbits and highlights of their homeschooling life throughout the years.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Additionally, there are some basic things to decide upon before the ceremony:

  • Does your child want to wear a cap-gown?
  • Are the parents going to give a short speech about the journey and their child?
  • Will you present a diploma and/or gift?  If so, will you create a diploma or order one from HSLDA?
  • Will you have the child’s siblings say a few words about the graduate?
  • Will you have the graduate “walk in” to music such as Pomp and Circumstance?
  • Do you want to hold the graduation at home or at a restaurant/event hall with a private room?
  • Do you want to ask for a dress code?  If so, please indicate that on the invitation.
  • If at home, is it a pot-luck, meal, buffet or snacks?
  • How will you create the invitation?  Will it be an e-vite or a formal, sent invitation?

There are so many graduation ceremony ideas out there to make this even special for your student.  You can Google or look on Pinterest for more; however, do not go overboard to the point where you overwhelm yourself.  

Remember, this is a celebration of many years of hard work – both you and your child should make sure to take it all in and enjoy the moment.  

EvaEva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.

Eva is offering the following courses for the 2019-2020 year:

Adulting 101 – Spring 2020
All About Essays – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
An Author Study: Examining the Work of Katherine Paterson – Winter 2020
Beyond Worksheets: Grammar, Punctuation, Editing – Oh My! – Spring 2020
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session One) – Fall 2019
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session Three) – Spring 2020
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session Two) – Winter 2020
Hidden Figures: The Women who Changed NASA Forever – Spring 2020
I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World – Winter 2020
Introduction to IEW Writing – A Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Junior Historian: The Civil Rights Movement – Fall 2019
Middle School Writing – A Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Middle School Writing – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Outliers: The Story of Success – Fall 2019
Perspectives: Combining IEW Writing with Classic Short Stories (Session 1) – Fall 2019
Perspectives: Combining IEW Writing with Classic Short Stories (Session 2) – Winter 2020
Powerful Paragraph – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Profiles from History (Session 1) Stories of Those Who are Worthy of Remembrance – Fall 2019
Profiles from History (Session 2) Heroes of America’s Growth and Freedom – Winter 2020
Profiles from History (Session 3) Leaders who Changed Worlds Both Large and Small – Spring 2020
Starting at the Very Beginning: A Jump Start to IEW Writing – Spring 2019
Starting at the Very Beginning: A Jump Start to IEW Writing – Spring 2020
Strong Males: Coming of Age – Winter 2020
Strong Males: Two Newbury Honor Novels – Fall 2019
Ten Days to Research Writing – Spring 2020
Ten Terrific Ted Talks! Don’t say that ten times fast! – Winter 2020
To Hope and Back The Journey of the SS St. Louis Combining Literature with History – Fall 2019

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