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Putting together a graduation ceremony can be an overwhelming task. Add to that overwhelming task a devastating hurricane - enter Harvey, destroying the homes of many graduating seniors and you have the setting of our 2018 HEART Graduation. Through our faith in God and the organizational skills of former grad parents, our graduation was a joyous celebration.

Even though those in charge of our graduation committee lost their homes to flooding, they decided to persevere in their leadership roles with the help of others, including myself. We held to our October 15th graduation registration date. Registering senior families must sign a document reaffirming their consent to honor our organization's mission statement, agree to volunteer in some capacity with the ceremony and reception, and to pay a $150 fee. This fee covers the ceremony expenses, the reception, as well as the cap, gown and diploma.  

We've all read the stories about the college graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is employed as a barista and barely making their minimum payments. It can make you question the cultural myth that everyone must go to college at 18 to have a shot at a good life.

Or perhaps, you have a child with no interest in spending four years and thousands of dollars doing something to which they are indifferent. Maybe we should step back and provide our young adults with unbiased, feasible options to college instead of merely lamenting it as a horrible decision. 

We all know the cost of a four-year degree is high and going higher, but maybe you and your teen have conducted a thoughtful cost/benefit analysis and know this is the right path to take. How can you control the costs of college and help your child achieve their goal without a mountain of debt?

There are many ways, but they don't hold the glamour of four more years of mom and dad footing the bill. What they do require is planning, sacrifice, and work. But if my children can get a degree with minimal debt, then it will be worth our time to pursue these options. 

Here at HomeschoolDiploma.com we are always talking about "Making Graduation Truly Meaningful". Why is that so important to us, and what does it actually mean? In this article I'll give some practical suggestions for a meaningful homeschool graduation - but hopefully also communicate a vision for what a homeschool graduation really can be.

Maybe it’s parental bragging rights, or perhaps the college entrance rat race, but somehow our society has become so focused on making our children “college ready” that we’ve forgotten how to prepare them to live a good life.

Without question, we all agree there are academic skills they need to know for their future, but most of us live our lives never knowing if the person next to us took AP Chemistry. It just doesn’t matter. 

Attending college has become a central canon of America society. Everyone is told to attend, for a myriad of unrelated reasons, yet the actual costs are not thoughtfully discussed.

We hear over and over again how college is an investment, and never a bad one. 

My purpose with this article is not to convince you college is a terrible investment! But as with all investments, there are risks. Also, as with all investments, it's up to the investor to determine if the risk and potential return are consistent. 

Your child will soon be graduating homeschool and deciding what the next step will be. College, right? But why is college seen as the default next step for young adults?

Fortunately, most homeschoolers have been exposed to different options for furthering their education, but frequently we see college as the most reasonable next step. Why has college become the only blindly acceptable choice promoted by our society? 

Homeschool parents often focus on the high school transcript since it's so important for college admissions and discount the high school diploma as an optional, unimportant document. But the high school diploma is important and may be necessary for your graduate down the line.

Colleges, employers, and overseas organizations may request to see your teen's diploma, so it's best to create one at the time of homeschool graduation and store it safely until it is needed.