What to do if Your Teenager Doesn’t Want a Graduation Ceremony
Some teens are uncomfortable with the idea of being the center of attention in a graduation ceremony. In that case, choose an alternate celebration that removes any awkward feelings while still commemorating this important milestone.
A graduation ceremony is a rite of passage. It is how our society recognizes that teenagers have come of age and are full adults. It’s a mandatory part of a public school education. Public school students, with all of their graduating friends and classmates, stand as a group in front of a crowd of proud family members. It’s only for a moment that they are alone in the spotlight, walking across the stage one by one. At the end of the ceremony, they toss their caps into the air as a collective expression of joy.
On the other hand, homeschool students stand by themselves or with only a few friends in a simple graduation ceremony. All eyes are upon them; they are alone in the spotlight.
Some teenagers relish the attention. Others are terrified and loathe the thought of a graduation ceremony. So what do you do if your teenager doesn’t want to stand alone in the spotlight and is refusing to have a graduation ceremony?
Have a Family Graduation Ceremony
Often it’s the thought of standing in front of a crowd that’s intimidating, not standing in front of mom, dad, and siblings. So instead of hosting a large ceremony and inviting everyone you know, have an intimate graduation ceremony with just the immediate family.
Light candles to make it special. Sign the diploma so it's ready to present. Dress up to honor the special occasion. If your senior is willing, order a cap, gown, and tassel. Otherwise the graduate can simply dress nicely.
Ask your teenager if you can invite one or two close family friends or grandparents over for the ceremony. Perhaps your teen would like to include a close friend or two in the family ceremony. Keep the gathering small and intimate.
During the short ceremony itself, simply congratulate your teenager — no speeches allowed — shake hands, and hand over the diploma. Make an effort to keep it brief and intimate without being too flowery. Let your teenager walk away with beautiful memories of a meaningful event.
Would you like to give your senior a graduation present during the family ceremony? This is the perfect time to do so. Once the ceremony and gift giving are over, have a family party with simple refreshments such as a cake and beverages.
Host a Homeschool Graduation Party with Friends
Sometimes teenagers don’t even want a small, intimate ceremony. Don’t worry. Choose a day to formally graduate your teenager and hand over the diploma. Follow up with a graduation party.
Don’t worry about inviting all of your friends and family. Instead encourage the graduate to invite his or her friends to the celebration even if it’s an intimate gathering of only two close friends attending.
Supply plenty of pizza, chips, and soft drinks. Pop some popcorn and either turn on a movie or pull out the board games to play. Keep things low-key and no-stress.
The party doesn’t have to be fancy; it only has to be fun. Relax and let your teenager do most of the planning.
Go Out to a Nice Restaurant
Another option for the teenager who doesn’t want any sort of ceremony is to take your graduating senior out to a nice restaurant.
Again, choose a day to graduate your teenager so you can make a reservation at your teen’s favorite restaurant. If your graduate would be embarrassed by any special displays of attention at the restaurant, be sure to explain to the restaurant that you would prefer not to have the special song or dessert that may occur at such a celebration.
When the day comes, formally hand over the diploma and congratulate your teenager. They’ve worked hard all these years and deserve the diploma they’ve earned.
Now it’s time to head out the door to the restaurant to celebrate.
If your senior is hesitant to have a graduation ceremony, commemorate the milestone of homeschool graduation by choosing a creative option that your teenager will enjoy. Your graduation event doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
There’s no reason you and your graduating senior have to choose one option. Instead try combining options. Enjoy an intimate family ceremony at home where you give your teenager the diploma. Then disappear out the door to celebrate at the restaurant.
Perhaps you’d like to have a nice dinner to commemorate the occasion with grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but your teen really wants a party with friends. Why not do both?
On the day of the graduation go out to a nice dinner. The next day or over the weekend, encourage your senior to host a party.
The secret to a successful homeschool graduation is to have a meaningful event to commemorate the graduation, but it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s graduation. Plan to commemorate the graduation in a memorable way your teenager will enjoy.