Homeschool Graduation

What Type of Ceremony Fits Your Homeschool Style?

Are you thinking of a large, impressive ceremony where you can be part of a sea of homeschool students in caps and gowns? Or something very small, with close family and friends? Something in-between?

It’s important to bring closure to the years of home education in some way, but the form of that symbolic "closure” can be as personal as the motives and styles of education.

Here at Homeschool, we specialize in helping homeschoolers mark the transition from high school to "life beyond." Because we work with groups as small as 5 and also some of the largest graduation ceremonies in the US, we have a bird's-eye view of the variety of things being done to mark that important transition.

Would You Like to be Part of a Large Ceremony?

Some homeschoolers participate in a group graduation ceremony at a state or regional level. Many state-wide organizations make the graduation weekend a fun time for the seniors to make new friends and have a memorable time, and often have events planned specifically for the seniors other than the graduation itself. The graduation ceremony is often held as part of the convention in the spring. See what your state has to offer! Your whole family might enjoy a state wide or convention-based graduation.

What's Available Locally?
If There's Nothing Yet, Be an Instigator!

While the big graduations can be impressive, some seniors feel that participating in a big ceremony that includes students they have never met would be impersonal and meaningless. More and more local support groups are holding graduations each year, and the personal setting of a graduation with a smaller number of graduates lends itself to the celebration of each student’s unique educational accomplishments. It also allows the parents to take a little larger role in the ceremony.

If you are fortunate enough to have a local group that holds a celebration, this may be the perfect way to have your senior mark this milestone, especially if they already know a few of the other families or seniors. If not, maybe you could consider coordinating such a ceremony, or have your senior head it up with your input and support. It’s a nice opportunity for student-lead initiative and would be a great addition to your son or daughter’s resume!

"A group graduation, especially in the setting of a local support group where the teens can meet on a regular basis throughout their senior year, can be a satisfying and fun way to mark the completion of High School."

Contact us about putting up a private ordering page for the items you need: diplomas, caps, gowns, tassels, and optional announcements and accessories. This way, each family can order their own, personalized diploma, be sure their caps & gowns match the rest of the group, and take advantage of quantity discounts. A group graduation, especially in the setting of a local support group where the teens can meet on a regular basis throughout their senior year, can be a satisfying and fun way to mark the completion of High School.

If you are part of a faith congregation that values homeschooling, there may be an opportunity there for your senior to take part in a ceremony or be recognized for their accomplishment. If your church has a private school, ask if homeschoolers from the congregation can be included in their ceremony, with the parents presenting their own diploma. Some churches hold a baccalaureate service for all high school graduates. Others may have all the seniors wear their cap & gown to a regular service and simply have them be recognized. It’s common for us to hear that a senior isn’t attending a ceremony, but wants a cap & gown to wear for such a service.

How About Something Small, Personal, or Unusual?

Philosophically, the "pomp and circumstance" of a traditional ceremony might feel to some parents like an imitation of a failed educational system that they’ve intentionally left behind. Even such families, however, recognize the value of marking the milestone in some way, and the wisdom of being sure that their student is provided with a diploma, either from a correspondence or umbrella school, or from their own home school.

We hear from a few parents whose students shudder at the thought of donning a cap and gown! It’s understandable that some homeschooled students would feel no need to "celebrate," especially if they are already very involved in life “beyond school.” They may be taking college classes, traveling, blogging, or running their own business or non-profit organization. They may be deeply involved in competitive sports or ministry, and so focused on a goal that they’re "too busy" to mark the end of high school. I'd encourage you to ignore your student's disinterest if it seems they could care less. This is a turning-point moment in life that only comes once. If you need some encouragement along these lines, see our blog post: "5 Reasons a Homeschool Senior Needs a Graduation Ceremony."

"Just about any flavor of fun can be used to congratulate a graduate!"

A ceremony at home, even a brief one, can be a meaningful and memorable way to commemorate the milestone. It does not have to be elaborate! See our blog post about planning a simple ceremony. Some forgo the ceremony and just hold a celebration where family and friends can congratulate the graduate. If you aren't going to "present the diploma" in any official way, be sure to display it so there can be no question in anyone's mind - "YES, the graduate has a diploma!"

The traditional “Open House” celebration doesn’t have to be at a house at all. We hear about barbeques held at a local park, pool parties held at the home of a friend or relative, barn dances, bonfires and picnics. Just about any flavor of fun can be used to congratulate a graduate! One family told us they needed the diploma in time to get it into a backpack so that they could present it on top of a mountain! Another held their brief diploma-presentation at a family reunion, and yet another took the ceremony to a nursing home so that a grandparent could be present.

We enjoy getting to know our customers and hearing about the creative and personal ways that they choose to commemorate their graduations. Think about what fits your homeschool style, your philosophy, and your senior's desires. But we encourage you to do something to mark this important point in the personal history of your family and your graduate. We guarantee... you won't regret it!