Homeschooling offers benefits for many families, but it can have its challenges. One of these struggles is making high school graduation seem like the big, life-changing event it is.
When your child doesn’t have a class to walk with, academic awards to receive or college plans to share with peers, graduating may not seem like a very big deal at all. Here are some ways homeschool parents can make their student’s graduation a special event, rather than just another day.
Make it an Event
There’s no reason to simply tell your student, “Congratulations – you’re done!” and call it a day. You need to make the occasion memorable for both you and your graduate. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime moment, so celebrate it!
Reach Out to Your Community
Many homeschool families have a network of like-minded people with whom they can socialize, review lesson plans and talk about the joys (and struggles!) of homeschooling. Contact other parents with graduating seniors and see who else is interested in a graduation event, when they’d be able to participate and how many family members they would like to invite. Soon enough, you’ll have a list of dates and a headcount.
Make sure to ask other parents if they’d like to help with the planning – they may love the chance to play such a big role in the occasion!
Find a Venue
The space you need will vary drastically depending on how many graduates your community has and how many people plan on attending the party. Community centers, local parks and houses of worship are great places to start. You can even make it a backyard barbecue event if you’re anticipating good weather and have enough space!
Get Your Graduation Essentials
A graduation just isn’t the same without the caps, gowns and diplomas. To keep the ceremony from feeling like any old party, recreate the feel of a traditional high school graduation. You can find caps and gowns and order diplomas to present to the graduates. Having all these necessities doesn’t just add to the excitement – it’s also great for photo opportunities!
Work Out the Details
Nailing down the location, number of attendees and getting diplomas lined up is probably your most important work, but don’t forget these little details that will help make the day extra special for both graduates and their families.
- Music: Who doesn’t love “Pomp and Circumstance?” If you want to play a traditional graduation song, make sure you have a physical or digital recording, speakers to project the music and someone to press play when it’s time for grads to start walking.
- Refreshments: A small pre- or post-ceremony party is fun for everyone. Don’t forget to assign someone snack duty – they can pick up snacks, drinks, plates, cups and napkins. You could also make it a more elaborate potluck-style dinner, especially if you’re close to your homeschool community.
- Photographs: If you’re working with a larger budget, you could hire a local photographer to capture the day’s special moments. Otherwise, make sure cameras and phones are charged and ready for pictures.
- Special presentations: The benefit of a smaller graduating class is the ability to personalize the graduation ceremony. High schools with 1,000 graduating pupils don’t have much of an opportunity to draw attention to each individual student! If your community wants to put together slideshows or videos that showcase each grad’s hobbies, skills or achievements, make sure you have the technology you need available at your venue.
- College and scholarship information: You’ll probably want to tell everyone where your graduates are headed to college during the ceremony. Ask parents to tell the presenter where their child has been accepted to college and if they’ve been granted any major scholarships they’re particularly proud of.
- Decorations: Don’t forget to deck out your space with banners, posters, and photos. The festive ambiance will help pull everything together.