How to Make Homeschool Graduation Special Without a Formal Cermony
I'm guessing your homeschooler doesn't want to do the big graduation thing? No worries! Homeschool graduation can still be a big deal without all the fluff of a traditional ceremony.
When my son graduated last year he was adamant about not wanting to do a homeschool graduation ceremony of any kind. I wasn't surprised at all! I mean, this kid stopped having birthday parties as soon as he was old enough to tell me he hated them. His last big birthday event was a Nemo pool party complete with a pinata. He hasn't had one since and he's almost 20.
"Mom, you can watch me walk when I'm done with college."
I'll admit, I didn't hate that plan.
Honestly? It wasn't that important to me to share that moment with a bunch of strangers. And when you homeschool, it really is a bunch of strangers. Most of the graduates in our area attend a big homeschool convention in May, where they host a huge graduation ceremony and prom for all the seniors in the ENTIRE STATE OF FLORIDA. It's a big deal and supposedly a lot of fun, but I cannot even begin to describe how much this isn't my family's thing.
That would all be my son's worst nightmare.
If your homeschooler isn't into the idea of a big homeschool graduation ceremony there are plenty of ways to make the event special for your family and give your graduate the recognition he deserves!
Here's some of what we did...
Senior photos and graduation announcements. We ended up doing a family photo session where my boys got a few individual shots. We used one of those headshots for graduation announcements and mailed them out to family and friends. Easy peasy.
Photo credit: Angela Henry Productions
Special dinner with family. Food is my son's love language. We planned a dinner party with family and close friends at his favorite: a Japanese Steakhouse.
It meant so much to our family and my son to celebrate the occasion with the people that have supported us along the way on this journey. Seeing my son's smile that night was the absolute best! I knew he was so much happier with that dinner than he ever would have been at a traditional ceremony.
Celebrate with your homeschool group or co-op. For the past four years, we participated in our homeschool co-op's promotion ceremony. It was a sweet hometown graduation held at the church we attend for classes. The kids get a chance to walk across the stage, get a certificate, take pictures-that sort of thing. It's beyond casual. Some kids wear their Sunday best, other kids barely keep their shoes on.
It's a sweet year-end event that all the families look forward to, and each year the seniors are recognized for all their hard work. I did make my son do this. He got to wear a t-shirt and flip-flops, but it was all the public recognition I subjected him to.
Our co-op photography class made a slideshow and included a special tribute to seniors at the end complete with baby pictures. Maybe there's something special your group can do on a low-key scale to honor your graduates?
Set up a table for your seniors so guest can leave letters of encouragement and cards.
Senior Table Picks
What does your graduate want?
Just ask! What would make celebrating your child's homeschool years and graduation special to them?
Lastly, I tried to remind myself...
It's not about me. It seems like the parents in the homeschool community are super involved in homeschool graduation ceremonies. I think a lot of homeschooling parents use this as their time to shine too. I mean? It is a HUGE accomplishment for the entire family. I get it.
"We did it! I did it! I homeschooled this kid and proved it was possible and here we are are-GRADUATING!!"
Some homeschool graduation ceremonies even require the parents walk across the stage with their kids. That's just a little too much for me. Yes, I deserve recognition for the work I've done. It has not been easy! But I felt like this was his moment to celebrate however he wanted.
He was so grateful to do it his way!
I don't regret not getting that cap and gown for one second! We haven't gone the traditional route all this time. Why start now, right?
How will your family celebrate homeschool graduation?