Hosting a High School Prom for Homeschoolers
Homeschooled teens don't have to miss out on high school traditions just because they are educated at home. Even the high school prom can be recreated with a homeschool flair so your teens can participate in their own version of this once-in-a-lifetime dance.
There’s no reason your homeschooled teens can’t enjoy a prom with their friends. With a bit of planning, it will be a huge success that will be enjoyed by teens and parents alike.
In the minds of many, the high school prom is a treasured American tradition. It's often on the list of questions parents are asked when announcing the decision to homeschool through high school: “If you homeschool, how will your child go to prom?”
Not all homeschooled teenagers feel a need to attend a high school prom, and some parents are opposed to them. For some parents, the expense, pressure and drama of prom puts it on the list of "things we're so happy we don't have to deal with!" If you feel this way and your teen doesn't care, then prom is not something your family will miss! But many teenagers long to dress up and attend a formal dance like a high school prom. One solution might be to host your own high school prom for the teenagers of your homeschool co-op or local homeschool group. Here are pros and cons to consider as you weigh the idea of hosting a homeschool prom.
Pros of High School Proms
Teenagers often miss what they don’t have. Because they hear about the wonder, beauty, and fun of a homeschool prom through movies, television and their public school friends, they want to experience it for themselves. They want to see the dance floor, hear the music, and taste the punch. Your daughter will dream of finding that perfect dress, eating at a nice restaurant with a friend or group of friends, and dancing through the night. Sons also enjoy the fun of a social time with a friend or group of friends.
In addition, the homeschool prom is a teaching experience for teenagers. A prom is often a young adult’s first foray into the realm of formal events and dances. It can give teens a foundation of experience for future events (like being in a wedding party) as they select and wear formal clothing, make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, and ride in a limousine for the first time.
Cons of High School Proms
Let’s face it: the price of a homeschool prom can skyrocket quickly into several hundred dollars. There’s the dress or suit, jewelry, and shoes to purchase. That’s not even mentioning the flowers, tickets, dinner, and transportation.
Many teens find a prom or any high school dance stressful instead of fun. The kids may not know how to dance and may be so embarrassed that they hide in the bathroom rather than risk embarrassing themselves on the dance floor.
Adding to the stress of a high school prom is the awkward dilemma of feeling that you must find a date. How do you approach a potential partner and ask for a date? Do you ask a friend or someone you have romantic feelings for?
For girls, shopping for a gown and dressing up can be nerve wracking as they have an expectation to look perfect on this one special night. The pressure our culture puts on young women to look a certain way can make this a painful time! And something as trivial as a pimple or a bad hair day can set a teenage girl into a tailspin of despair if it happens on prom night.
These are some of the reasons prom can be stressful for teens and parents alike. What if it were possible to hold a prom where the teens could have fun 'going formal' - but not feel so many of these stresses?
Ideas for Your Own Homeschool Prom
If your homeschooled teenagers would like to attend a prom, why not plan and host one yourself? You’ll be able to avoid most of the cons of high school proms while ensuring everyone has a good time.
Encourage your teenagers to collaborate with you for planning for the prom. It will be a wonderful learning experience for them. Guide the kids as they find a suitable venue for the dance, choose a theme, and navigate the intricacies of decorating. When in doubt, always go for the simpler option; there will be less to go wrong.
You’ll need a large, open room with a stereo and speakers available. The size of the room depends upon how many teenagers will be attending the dance.
You can ask the teenagers if they’d like to host a dinner at the prom rather than everyone going to separate restaurants. Eating banquet style will likely be cheaper than a fancy restaurant, and it will be far easier for the shy homeschoolers to attend if everyone enjoys dinner at the prom and doesn’t need to find a date. You can simply plan for all the teenagers in the homeschool group to attend and allow them to invite one guest if they choose. You can help relieve some of the "dating" pressure by saying that the guests may be of any age and gender. There was a recent news story about young man who invited his grandmother to his prom, and they both had a wonderful time! Encourage your teens to think about the prom as a time for fun and for making memories and not necessarily about dating.
Another aspect of a formal dance is... well, the dancing! Your teens might enjoy getting together as a group a few weeks prior to the prom to get some basic instruction in formal dancing. As long as there are wedding receptions, there will be a time and place where the ability to be able to do a semblance of a waltz will come in handy! If the kids are interested, call a dance studio that offers "wedding dance" classes for engaged couples and their wedding party; they might be able to give a private class to a group of teens.
You’ll need to find enough chaperones to supervise the dance. This shouldn’t be too difficult since you can recruit parents for the job. The teenagers hang out, dance, and enjoy themselves in one part of the room while the adults enjoy chatting among themselves. Everyone has a wonderful evening with their peers.
There’s no reason your homeschooled high school teenagers can’t enjoy a prom with their friends. With a bit of planning it will be a huge success that will be enjoyed by teens and parents alike.