The Essentials of a Simple Homeschool Graduation Ceremony
Planning a graduation doesn’t need to be a difficult process when you host a simple ceremony with family and friends.
Does the thought of hosting a homeschool graduation ceremony fill you with dread? Maybe you've never attended anything but a large ceremony at a public or private school and can't imagine how you could pull off that much pomp and circumstance with a single graduating teen. Don’t worry! Planning a graduation doesn’t need to be a difficult process when you host a simple ceremony with family and friends.
Make an Invitation List
This may seem backwards, but for a simple graduation ceremony begin with the invitation list. Write down everyone you’d like to attend your high school teenager’s graduation. Now ask your teenager for a guest list. I recommend giving him a few days to ponder the question because in my experience teenagers keep remembering one or two more people they’d like to invite.
Keep the list in an easily accessible place such as the family bulletin board or kitchen refrigerator so that family members can write names down as they think of them. After a few days you should have a good idea of the number of people who may be attending your graduation ceremony.
Decide on the Location
Since the goal is to have a very simple graduation ceremony, my strong suggestion is to have the ceremony either at your house or at a local park to which you have easy access.
Take a look at the list as you decide. You need to have the space to accommodate everyone you want to invite. If you have a large list but want the ceremony at your house, trim the list down to your closest friends and family.
If you have a large guest list, plan on having the ceremony at a park. You’ll have enough room to host everyone, there will be tables for refreshments, and you won’t need to worry about spills.
Choose a Date
Pick your ideal date and time for the graduation ceremony. If you’re planning to host the party at your house, you’re now ready to send out the announcements.
On the other hand if you’re having the ceremony at a park, you’ll need to make the reservations now. There are certain times when all the parks in town are reserved months in advance. Check your ideal date and make the reservations if possible.
Otherwise try different dates and times until you find a date and time for which your park is free. Make certain the date and time also works for your family before reserving the park.
Now you have your ceremony date, time, and location.
Use the invitation list you created at the beginning of your planning to send out the announcements. Mail, call, or invite people through social media like Facebook to your graduation ceremony.
You can also carry announcements around in your purse or your senior’s backpack. Often it’s easier to hand the announcements to friends as you run into them on your normal routine rather than trying to come up with mailing addresses for everyone.
Remember to mail announcements to family and friends who live out of town and won’t be able to attend. High school graduation is an important milestone. Family and friends want to be a part of it even if they’re simply receiving announcements.
Place Your Orders
For the ceremony itself, you’re going to need the traditional cap, gown and tassel for your teenager to wear. Don’t worry too much about the colors. Keep the graduation simple with a black gown and cap. Order the tassel in your teenager’s favorite colors.
Also order the diploma for your teenager. It’s a central part of the ceremony itself, so you don’t want to suddenly remember the diploma at the last minute before the graduation ceremony and be forced to print out a shoddy looking document on your home printer.
While you’re making these orders, decide if you’d like a graduation cake for the ceremony. You can go ahead and place the order with the bakery.
Plan the Refreshments
Keep the refreshments at the graduation simple with a graduation cake, a vegetable plate, and some drinks. You can always add more if you’d like, but there’s no reason you can’t keep the graduation menu simple. It's not a meal. It's merely a light snack.
Order the graduation food in advance so you can pick it up the day before the ceremony or on your way to the park. Remember to pick up plates, napkins, forks, cups, and drinks. Set them up on a table at your house or at the park so guests can serve themselves and you are free to socialize.
Outline Your Simple Ceremony
A simple format for the ceremony is to have a parent then the teen say a few words to everyone attending the ceremony before handing your student the diploma.
An easy speech for the parent would include a thank you for coming before telling all assembled how much this means to the family. Be certain to give a few highlights of your child’s high school career. Also mention how excited you are to be sending your accomplished young adult into the world.
Your child can make a similar speech saying thank you for coming, giving a few highlights of high school, and a brief comment about his future plans.
Now formally hand the diploma to your graduate. Let your other children know they should start cheering and clapping when the hand off happens. It will let everyone know they can do the same.
It’s time for refreshments and to party. You have just graduated your teenager -- simply!