Planning for Graduation During the Coronavirus Crisis
Our hearts go out to all our homeschool families and friends. Every day we are adjusting to new information, and graduation feels like a distant dream. Health is our first priority as we venture into a complex future.
There is good news, though: as homeschoolers you can still celebrate graduation with excellence during this crisis! We are here to support you and help you think through the possibilities during these uncertain times.
Graduation still Matters
We believe in the power of graduation. It is a moment for students to reflect on God’s purpose in their lives, and for parents and friends to celebrate God’s provision and leading. It’s also an opportunity to reflect the excellence of homeschooling to a watching world.
We encourage you to honor the journey with a graduation celebration of some kind – not because we want to sell you “stuff” but because we truly believe in the importance of the milestone. A ceremony gives us a sense of purpose and inspiration. A graduation recognizes student’s accomplishments, honors your commitment and helps your young adult move with greater intention to the next phase of their life.
Strategies for Adjusting your Plans
Flexibility is essential, and as homeschoolers you have great freedom to adapt your plans to the changing landscape. Here are a few strategies to help.
Adjust the Time and Place
First of all, we encourage you to use caution and consider others more important than yourselves as you plan. While the scope of the Coronavirus pandemic is still unclear, keep an open mind to the possibility of waiting until late in the summer to celebrate. Your older family members and friends will have to make a difficult decision if you push forward with a springtime graduation when the risk of exposure may still be high.
Many homeschoolers choose to host a ceremony and open house at their home, which is a beautiful way to highlight the communal aspect of the accomplishment. If your heart is set on a church or social hall, the question of venue may need to remain unanswered for a while as thousands of social events – weddings, concerts, etc. – are postponed until the Summer or Fall.
A local park may also be an excellent place to celebrate, giving people space to spread out and get fresh air.
Reduce the Scope of your Plans
A ceremony begins with two people in the same place and time, acknowledging a turning point in life. Who matters most to your graduate? Consider reducing your guest list to only your immediate family and closest friends… then involve everyone else through social media (see “Document the Event to Share” below).
Expand your Open House Timeframe
Graduation Open Houses typically run for 3-5 hours, which often means there’s a crowd there the whole time. Consider expanding your Open House to an entire day, so your guests are able to limit their contact with others. This strategy has the added benefit of giving you and your grad more time with each guest… and is more enjoyable for those of us who don’t love crowds :)
Celebrate Individually, not as a Homeschool Group
Many of you celebrate graduation with others in your local co-op or group, or even at a statewide homeschool convention. If these plans are altered or cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, don’t give up on the idea of a graduation ceremony. You can create a meaningful ceremony at home even if the only attendees are your spouse and children!
Document the Event to Share
Social media is shifting from trite distraction to vital lifeline during this time of social distancing. Here are some simple ways to share your graduation remotely:
· Live-Stream the graduation on Facebook. Invite your “guests” to the event by announcing in advance the day and time you’re planning. Anyone who misses the live event can still see your video after the fact.
· Ask everyone to post a meaningful quote or bible verse to encourage your grad.
· Ask everyone to post photos of them with your graduate, or just photos that contribute to a montage of your grad’s journey so far.
· Once it’s over, of course post photos of the celebration!
Send “Announcements” Instead of “Invitations”
Grad cards often include a call to action: “please join us”. However, even in the best of times it’s proper etiquette to send an announcement that simply informs, rather than invites. This can be a wonderful way to dignify the accomplishment even if you aren’t having a ceremony. Here’s an example of an “informative” announcement text:
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Williams
are pleased to announce
the graduation of their daughter
Hannah Joy Williams
Class of 2020
"For I know the plans I have
for you," declares the Lord, "plans to
prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
There is no question we are in uncharted territory. We do not know what the future will hold but we believe in the power and importance of recognizing life’s milestones even during troubled times. Please know we value you and your journey and are ready to work with you for a meaningful graduation.