Guide to Homeschool Graduation!

You don’t know how it happened, but you blinked and you now have a high schooler standing before you. You take a moment to appreciate how they’ve nearly become an adult and your mind mentally wanders down the memory lane of your homeschooling years. Perhaps you never even thought you’d take the leap of homeschooling your teen, yet here you are! After all, homeschooling a high schooler can be an intimidating thought. High school is complex with higher stakes at risk than earlier grades. Many homeschooling parents choose to forgo the high school years, feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of advanced courses and college preparation. However, there are advantages to homeschooling a high schooler, and you’ve experienced them personally as your student has now successfully blossomed into a high school senior.

However, before we get into the details for planning a homeschool graduation ceremony for your high school senior, you’ll want to properly wrap up the final years so your student is as prepared as possible.

Finalizing Your Homeschool Years

There are a few checklist items to consider as your homeschooler enters their junior year of high school. In actuality, high school graduation and college preparation begin in 11th grade, so now is the time to take a closer look at credits, applications, the transcript, standardized tests, and more. If you wait until their senior year to check what your student needs for homeschool graduation requirements, it may be too late for a few steps like logging enough community service hour credits or retaking the SAT for an ideal score.

One of the most important aspects of homeschooling your high schooler is to keep a thorough transcript. On their transcript, you will need to record every subject and credit from the ninth through twelfth grades. An official transcript is always requested by college admissions. Certain schools may not consider homeschool diplomas as credible, and therefore, the high school transcript is proof of your student’s work, grades, and GPO. The transcript, coupled with official results from SAT or ACT scores and a university placement test should easily check off the necessary ticket items for college admissions. A solid understanding of your state’s graduation requirements will help guide your high school curricula selections.

For your student’s best success with finishing their homeschool years, here is a list of tips and tools you’ll want to remember for their high school graduation; for example, applying for scholarships. Consider this a bucket list for graduation from high school! As you help your student tick off these items, you’ll help them get one step closer to graduation with honors!

In the end, the junior and senior years are crunch time for high schoolers, but an organized plan can make all the difference between a panicked event or a seamless transition from high school.

Homeschooled High School Graduation Ideas

A high schooler’s graduation is an important event. When a student turns in their last assignment for their senior year, a milestone has been reached. Graduation from high school signals a crossed threshold from the minimum requirement of education for many jobs. A high school diploma offers career opportunities and shows dedication and perseverance. High school graduation is worth celebrating with pomp and circumstance! It’s an exciting moment in a person’s life when their focus may change from general academia to the career field or higher education for specialized work. While a few fellow homeschoolers may have the opportunity to enjoy graduation with honors, even without a perfect GPA, your student should be proud of themselves!

Oftentimes with homeschooled students, they feel compelled to give a graduation speech at their ceremony or reception. A graduation speech may feel like a nice way to thank their parents and any co-op teachers who have helped them finish strong. However, a graduation speech is purely the graduate’s prerogative and never a requirement. If your graduate is introverted or doesn’t do well with public speaking, that’s fine. Not everyone is at ease with public speaking.

With homeschool families, the ceremony for graduation from high school can be as formal or casual as you like. Your statewide homeschool convention group may even host a traditional graduation event for homeschoolers to walk across a stage and receive a diploma in a cap and gown (like this event via AFHE)! If your graduate isn’t interested in the formal to-do, perhaps they’d prefer a reception with loved ones at which the homeschool parents present their diploma. Regardless of your family’s preference for the ceremony, high school graduation should always be celebrated to recognize their hard-earned achievement!

Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Options

The high school graduation ceremony is for presenting the homeschool diploma, perhaps with a speech from the graduate or homeschool parents if desired, and oftentimes information about the student’s plans, goals, and interests. Here are a few ideas for graduation ceremony inspiration!

  • Schedule a graduation pictures photoshoot
  • Create a slideshow of their life
    • This video can play at the graduation party if not at the ceremony.
  • Mail high school graduation announcements/invitations
  • Register for a formal graduation ceremony OR plan a ceremony.
    • It is popular for the graduating seniors of the same homeschool support group to have a shared ceremony.
    • If your graduate would prefer a casual event, you’ll need to decide on food, drinks, and dessert for a reception. Remember to find help for the set-up, plan the order of events, and possibly design programs as mementos.
  • Book their senior trip!

Homeschool Graduation Party Ideas

Once your homeschooler has officially graduated at their ceremony, given their graduation speech, and mom and dad have discreetly shed their tears, it’s time for the party! With a senior slideshow playing and prints of graduation pictures hung alongside streamers and balloons, now is the chance to have fun and embrace the excitement that comes with a graduate! Let them have their day of fun with their friends offering congratulations, dreaming of their future career, playing group games, and indulging in decadent cake. Now that the formal occasion is out of the way, they can look forward to their senior trip and their ideas for the coming year — whether that entails a gap year, an internship, tech school, community college, university, or starting directly into the job field!

As proud parents of homeschool graduates, we’d all love to make our kids feel like they earned every bit of their graduation with honors. To celebrate their achievement, here are several tips and ideas for throwing a high school graduation party!

  • Set a date and time.
  • Purchase and send graduation invitations.
  • Choose a theme suitable for your graduate.
  • Plan the food and beverages.
      • Will you cook? Will it be catered? Will you ask a favor of your “I love to cook!” friend? Or perhaps you’ll go casual with a potluck? (If so, you’ll want to specify on the invite!)
  • Plan the dessert.
      • A cake is traditional, but cupcake towers are becoming popular, as well as creations of cheesecake, tarts, and pies! What would your graduate prefer?
      • Again, will you prepare the dessert yourself, ask a favor, or hire someone?
  • Prepare graduation photo props and a “photo booth” corner for selfies!
      • Along those lines, do you want a photographer?
  • Order a graduation guest book.
  • Create or purchase graduation guest favors.
  • Choose a high school graduation venue.
      • Will you host the party at home or a venue?
      • Fun choices could include a city park, a bowling alley, a mini-golf course, a laser tag arena, a movie theater, an arcade, a skate park, etc.
  • If the party is at a home, set-up easily accessible graduation games.
    • Examples: DIY mini-golf, a bocce court, pool, foosball, air hockey, badminton, volleyball, croquet, chess/checkers, jigsaw puzzles, and so on. You may even be able to rent a few of these options!
  • Have fun! That’s what it’s about, after all!

Try not to stress and take joy in crossing that finish line. You made it! Though you may have more children to homeschool in your family, you now have a homeschooled graduate! You should feel proud of yourself and your graduated senior. Remember to pause and cherish this moment. Well done!