Planning a Beautiful Homeschool Graduation Ceremony
Designing a memorable and meaningful homeschool graduation ceremony is a simple matter of planning out a few key elements.
Planning a homeschool high school graduation ceremony can be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be though. With a bit of thought, you can plan a beautiful graduation ceremony for your teenager, a ceremony your teen will remember fondly his entire life.
Plan the Location
Where do you want your high school graduation ceremony to be held? You have the option of holding the ceremony at a park, in a church, or in a hotel ballroom. Take some time to consider your options. If you need a bit of help finding an ideal location in your area, research wedding venues available locally. Many will be suitable for high school graduations as well. There’s always the option of holding the high school graduation ceremony at your home.
Choose the Date
Most high school graduations happen in May or June, a lovely time of the year all over the nation. However, with all the graduations and weddings happening then, it can be hard to reserve your ideal location. Being flexible with your date may be necessary, especially if you didn't plan far in advance.
Do keep in mind that a few colleges require a copy of a high school diploma for the final admissions procedures. Waiting too long for a graduation ceremony may delay important paperwork for several weeks. Call your preferred college to inquire.
Send out Graduation Announcements
Once you have a location and date, it’s time to send out the graduation announcements. Make certain you don’t invite more people than will fit within your venue! Most places have a limit of the number of people allowed at any given time.
Remember to send announcements to family and friends who live out of town. They love to stay connected to children in their lives even if they cannot make the trip to attend in person.
Cap & Gown and Diploma
Don't forget to place your order for your cap, gown, tassel, and diploma. Plan to have your order arrive well in advance to prevent stress about whether you’ll actually have a diploma to award your child at the ceremony. That buffer time also allows you to make any needed adjustments if something is not perfect.
Most homeschool families don’t have school colors, so you may allow your teen to choose a favorite color for the tassel. You have the choice of matching the gown to the tassel or using a classic color such as black, the traditional color for graduations.
Plan the Ceremony
High school graduation ceremonies often begin with a procession to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance. If you’re looking to adhere to traditional graduation customs, you can do the same. Alternately, your graduate might have a piece of music that is meaningful to them. It's their day to remember!
You may be able to find a small ensemble of musicians who’d be very happy to play Pomp and Circumstance or another selection at your teen's graduation ceremony. Your graduate may have friends with musical talents who would be happy to participate and would be planning to attend anyway. Alternatively, you could hire a group of musicians, or use a recorded version of the piece.
There are several options for speakers at your child’s high school graduation ceremony. You can ask ministers, pastors, or priests who have been involved with your teen to speak at the ceremony.
You can look to the general community for mentors, teachers, and leaders who have guided your child. There’s always the option of speaking at your child’s graduation ceremony yourself. It can be a very difficult and emotional task for parents, though, so delegating the task is probably wise.
Ask one of the speakers at the graduation ceremony to issue a challenge to your child for the future:
- to stretch their wings
- to try something new
- to travel or explore new territory
- to achieve a grand objective
Usually a valedictorian speaks at the high school graduation ceremony. When there are only one or two students graduating, it’s better to have all graduating seniors give a short talk.
Encourage your graduating teens to speak about highlights of their high school career and wonderful memories they’ve made. Everyone will be curious about the teenagers’ future plans, so have them include that in their speeches as well.
Graduation is an important ceremony in the life of your family. Take pictures or record video to enjoy in the future.
Instead of doing it yourself, look into hiring a photographer or at least asking another teenager with a good eye to take pictures. You will be free to enjoy the event without the pressure of capturing it.
Lay out a memory table at the side of the room where the high school graduation ceremony is taking place. Place pictures of various events in high school, lay out books your teen read and loved, display any awards won, and arrange any other memorable items from the elementary, middle school, and high school years.
A photo portfolio with your teen's senior pictures is a nice addition to the memory table.
Also place a guestbook or scrapbook out on the table for guest to write their names. Include space for the guests to also write a memory, quote, or thought for your child to take with them to the future. This book will be treasured over the years.
Many graduation ceremonies also include slide shows. These pictures can encompass your child’s life from babyhood through adulthood. Or they can focus only on high school events. A slide show can be part of the formal graduation ceremony or simply playing in the background on the screen while people are seated.
Even if you’re having a family party later, it’s nice to have a short reception after the graduation ceremony. It gives attendees time to congratulate your teenager, relax, and mingle.
Lay out a graduation cake and some drinks. Keep the reception simple, especially if you’re moving on to a family party.
With a bit of planning and thought you can hold the ideal graduation ceremony for your homeschool high school graduate. You and your teen will have beautiful memories of friends and family gathering to celebrate this important time in your teenager’s life.