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 Homeschooling High School

5 Ways to Make your Senior’s Last Year of Homeschool Extra Special

Make the final year of homeschool a special one with these meaningful gift and activity ideas.

These treats for your teenager will also help you through this time of transition as you stand on the cusp of parenting an adult.

Whether you homeschooled your child from Kindergarten to twelfth grade or only started homeschooling a few years ago, you still want the senior year -- maybe that last year at home -- to be special. When it hits you that in about a year’s time your child will have flown the nest, it can be a tough thing to swallow. These treats for your child will also help you through this time of transition as you stand on the cusp of parenting an adult.

Of course, you will be going all out with senior portraits, graduation announcements, and a personalized diploma. But those are expected as part of our American graduation traditions. The tender and less glamorous gestures below are no less significant, however.

Start The Year With Senior Gear

Being the top dog in the high school strata is a big deal even among homeschoolers. Your teen is proud of making it this far and remembers his leaps forward in maturity from just three years ago as a freshman. Celebrate this new senior status with t-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, stickers, etc. There are lots of styles of senior gear from traditional to ridiculous. Buy a few and bestow them throughout the year to lift flagging spirits and counteract senior-itis that hits in the spring.

If your homeschool has a name, you can have some custom designs created and use on demand print services to order these special senior treats. Or you may want to go for the generic Class of 20## gear so your teen can wear his senior status with pride.

Decorate the Car

If your teen has his own car, he may love a license plate frame, bumper sticker, or keychain that declares he’s almost finished with high school. If he’s eagerly looking forward to college and you are fairly sure of his choice, you may prefer to buy some university themed goods to deck out his wheels.

Closer to graduation, offer your teen a set of colored pens that write on glass (and wash off easily) to decorate her car windows with slogans declaring her senior status. Or if you want to surprise her, do some of the artwork yourself before you hand over the pens.

Finish the Baby Book or Start a Shared Journal

Yes, there are plenty of moms who get to their teen’s senior year and realize that their lofty goals of scrapbooking or even a modest baby book didn’t come to fruition. It’s not too late! Finish it this year so you can present it to your child at Christmas or at graduation. Or make it a joint project for the two of you if your child likes that kind of thing.

Another idea long these lines is to begin a shared journal. There are many commercial versions that have leading questions as writing prompts. Or you can use a blank book if you have plenty of ideas of your own. This is a non-confrontational way to teach those final lessons that you fear never got through to your child. It’s also a way to look back and remember with fondness the childhood that your senior is leaving behind. Be sure to read carefully what your teen shares with you in the journal. You will likely receive very enlightening glimpses into her heart and mind.

Post on Social Media

Use your teen’s fluency with social media to connect with him this final school year. Choose one day each week to post something special about your child. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It can be something as simple as a photo, scanned and uploaded to Facebook with a short caption or background story. If you make this a habit, after just a few weeks, your teen will be eagerly awaiting the next installment of this trip down memory lane.

Of course, use discretion. And don’t post anything that would humiliate your teen. The idea is to build him up and reminisce. One of the ways we move forward is by looking back. So use the senior year to remind your teen from where he has come. Only with that foundation can he move on successfully to the next stage of life.

One of the ways we move forward is by looking back. So use the senior year to remind your teen from where he has come.

Include Your Teen in Graduation Plans

Communicate early and often with your teen about expectations for graduation and the things surrounding it:

Don’t assume you know your child’s wishes. Ask and get feedback. By coming to a consensus, you will have a ready assistant instead of a reluctant and sulky teen when it comes time for ordering party invitations, choosing a tassel color, selecting a party menu, and addressing the announcements. In your enthusiasm to make your senior’s year special, don’t forget it’s her year! So let it unfold the way she envisions it. This spirit of cooperation is more important than the actual graduation accouterments that you buy. 

You know your child better than anyone else, so use your imagination to come up with ways to make the final year of homeschool special. Here’s a quirky example to help you brainstorm. When my daughter was about six years old, she received a mug with a small wooden spoon as a gift. Although the mug was broken a few months later, she used that wooden spoon for years and years, still using it in her teens when she noshed on frozen treats. For her seventeenth birthday I gave her a set of similar wooden spoons and forks. No one else understood the significance, but she loved this $20 gift beyond than the more expensive things she received because of the memories inherent in those utensils. Tap into those kinds of memories and quirky habits when you celebrate your teen’s senior year of homeschooling.

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