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How to Plan a Homeschool Graduation ๐ŸŽ“

Davis Carman|May 9, 2023

After 26 years of homeschooling, and seven graduates to show for it, I am intimately familiar with homeschool graduations. Just like public and private school commencement exercises, a homeschool graduation is a ceremony where students who have completed their high school education at home receive a diploma and are recognized for their achievements. These ceremonies are often organized by homeschool associations or support groups, and they may take place in a variety of settings, such as churches, community centers or the familyโ€™s home. They can include speeches, performances, displays, slide shows, music, food and activities to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating student or students.

I think itโ€™s important to note that one big distinction that makes a homeschool graduation unique is that it is a major milestone in the life of the student, the parents and even siblings. You see, homeschooling is a whole family endeavor. And the accomplishment should be celebrated in style and by all the participants (i.e. the entire family).

How can a parent encourage their homeschool graduate? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Celebrate their accomplishments

    • Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your graduateโ€™s achievements. Let them know that you are proud of them and all they have accomplished. Planning a graduation ceremony is one good way to do this.
  2. Support their goals and aspirations

    • ย Have conversations with your graduate about their future plans and goals, and offer support and encouragement as they work towards achieving them. Help them research colleges or career options, and offer guidance as needed.
  3. Provide opportunities for growth and learning

    • Encourage your graduate to continue learning and growing, whether that means pursuing a college degree, taking online courses or engaging in other types of learning opportunities.
  4. Foster independence and self-reliance

    • As your graduate prepares to enter the next phase of their life, itโ€™s important to foster independence and self-reliance. Encourage them to take responsibility for their own lives and make their own decisions.
  5. Show love and emotional support

    • The transition from high school to adulthood can be challenging, so itโ€™s important to show your graduate love and emotional support during this time. Listen to their concerns, offer guidance and support as needed and remind them that they are loved and valued.
  6. Present them with a gift

    • Make this special to commemorate this life accomplishment. Examples of gifts include a new suit or dress, a satchel or purse, a laptop of their own or a suitcase for travel.

Remember that every graduate is different and may need different types of encouragement and support. The most important thing is to be there for your graduate and to show them that you believe in them and their potential.

So how should a family go about planning a homeschool graduation? Here are some general steps and considerations for planning a this special occasion:

  1. Determine the size and scope of the graduation

    • Decide how many students will be graduating, and what kind of ceremony you want to have. Will it be a small gathering with just one graduate and their immediate family, a mid-sized event with a handful of graduates and their families, or a larger event with anywhere from a few dozen to a hundred or more graduates along with extended family, friends, and guests? Weโ€™ve done all three depending on the desires of our graduate at the time.
  2. Choose a location

    • Decide on a location that is convenient and appropriate for the size of your graduation ceremony. Some options might include a convention center (typically occurring at a homeschool conference), a local church, a community center, or the graduateโ€™s home.
  3. Set a date and time

    • Choose a date and time that works well for everyone involved, and make sure to give plenty of notice to the graduates and their families.
  4. Create a program

    • Plan out the order of events for the ceremony, including speeches, performances, and any other activities you want to include. Consider giving each graduate a chance to speak or share something special about their homeschool experience.
  5. Order diplomas, caps, and gowns

    • Make sure to order diplomas for each graduate and consider purchasing or renting caps and gowns for them to wear during the ceremony.
  6. Order announcements

    • Take pictures of the graduate, then order announcements that your graduate can mail to family and friends, sharing the news and inviting them to the graduation ceremony.
  7. Decorate the venue

    • Consider decorating the venue with banners, balloons, and other decorations to make the ceremony feel special.
  8. Hire a photographer

    • Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture the special moments of the ceremony.
  9. Plan a reception

    • Consider having a reception after the ceremony, where graduates and their families can celebrate with food, drinks, and desserts. Often this happens in the same location.

Remember, these are just some general steps and considerations for planning a homeschool graduation. Depending on your specific situation and preferences, you may need to adjust and tailor these steps accordingly.

I want to reiterate the importance of celebrating in style. This is a big deal, and I encourage you to make it special. There are many ways that parents can make a homeschool graduation a lasting family memory.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Take lots of photos and videos

    • Make sure to take plenty of photos and videos to capture the special moments of your studentโ€™s graduation ceremony. You can use these to create a scrapbook, photo album or slideshow, or to share with family and friends who couldnโ€™t be there in person.
  2. Create a special keepsake

    • Consider creating a special keepsake to commemorate the graduation, such as a personalized photo album, a graduation scrapbook, or a framed diploma. Mom and Dad โ€“ make sure you are the ones to sign the diploma. This will give your graduate something tangible to remember the occasion by.
  3. Plan a special family outing or trip

    • Your family trip could be something as simple as a day trip to a nearby attraction or a weekend getaway to a favorite destination.
  4. Host a special family dinner or party

    • This could be a formal dinner party, a casual, backyard barbecue or anything in between.
  5. Create a time capsule

    • Have each family member write a letter or contribute a special item to the time capsule, and then bury it in the backyard or store it in a safe place. Your family can open the time capsule together in a few years to reminisce about the graduation.

Remember, the most important thing is to spend time together as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whatever you do to celebrate your graduateโ€™s accomplishment, make sure itโ€™s something that will be meaningful and memorable.

Congratulations! Youโ€™ve made it. If you are a homeschool graduate this year, make sure you give your parents a little pat on the back. They deserve it. Especially mom.

CREATION-BASED RESOURCES FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL

Apologia is the number-one publisher of creation-based science, math, Bible, and worldview curriculum for homeschoolers, with hundreds of number-one awards. Now thatโ€™s impressive, but more importantly, thatโ€™s why Apologia is trusted by families all across the USA and the world.

Go to Apologia.com โ€“ a great place to explore creation.

Homeschooling in the News

In this new section, Iโ€™m sharing news and stories that I think are noteworthy in the world of homeschooling and that I believe youโ€™ll also find interesting.

NHERI Celebrates 30 Years of Homeschooling Research

Thirty years ago some fore-thinkers and status-quo changers got together and founded the nonprofit National Home Education Research Institute think tank. NHERI has been going full speed ahead ever since!

Read Article


The Inversion of History (and the damage it is doing to our children)

This article outlines ways that history is being inverted in public schools and the resulting negative consequences.

Read Article


The Kingโ€™s Coronation: Generosity, and a Biblical View of Authority

King Charles III of England was recently coronated. This article provides some history of the event, describes the Christian symbolism, and explains how service and generosity are at the heart of it all.

Read Article


Putting Parents in the Driverโ€™s Seat, with Patrick Garrison

In this episode of the Parental Rightโ€™s podcast, you can listen to an interview with Patrick Garrison, the president of the True Corrective. He explains how this organization can help parents reconnect with their childrenโ€™s education.

Read Article

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

Davis Carman

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Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based curricula for homeschooling families. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! You can read more of his articles and devotionals at the Apologia Blog, and you can listen to a weekly message at the Letโ€™s Talk Homeschool Podcast.

ยฉ 2023 Davis Carman