Homeschool Graduation

The Etiquette of Homeschool Graduations

Learn when to send graduation announcements versus when to send graduation invitations, what to wear under the graduation gown, and how to wear a tassel with these pointers on high school graduation etiquette.

Failing our children at the finish line is a deep-seated fear shared by most homeschool moms. After all, no one wants to mar her child’s high school graduation with a careless or ignorant faux pas. Here are the main points of graduation etiquette that you need to know during the final lap of your homeschool race.

Graduation Announcements and Invitations

Don’t leave mailing to the last minute. Mail invitations to the graduation ceremony or party four to six weeks in advance. Family and friends will need time to receive the invitations, check their calendar, and make arrangements to attend the event. Announcements, on the other hand, are usually mailed anywhere from two weeks in advance of graduation to four weeks after graduation.

Often it’s easier to send the announcements after the chaos of planning a homeschool graduation ceremony is finished. Make plans to mail the announcements at the time easiest for your family. Also you will need to hand-address the announcement and invitations. I suspect you’ll want to recruit your graduating teen to help you address the envelopes. It is a large job for one person.

The Graduation Ceremony

For the graduation ceremony itself, your son will need to wear dark trousers, a light shirt, and dark tie under the cap and gown. Daughters may wear dark slacks and a light shirt, a dark skirt and light shirt, or a light dress. The skirt or dress should not hang below the graduation gown. The graduation gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle for both men and women. No jewelry or flowers should be worn on the gown.

The graduation cap has two points on it. One is a long point which should point down the back of the head. The second is shorter and covers the forehead. The graduation cap should be worn with the front point center on the forehead with the mortarboard parallel to the floor. Remind your son that men should remove the graduation cap when the national anthem is played.

Before the graduation ceremony, hang the tassel on the right-hand side of the cap. After your teenager has received the diploma, your child will move the tassel to the left-hand side.

Remind your son that men should remove the graduation cap when the national anthem is played.

Homeschoolers sometimes participate in large, state graduation ceremonies. If you are doing so, stay seated until everyone has received their diploma. Every graduate’s achievement should be honored whether they are the first in line or the last in line to graduate.

Graduation Party Etiquette

If you are hosting a graduation party, decide if you’re going to have an open house or regular party. An open house is for everyone to come and go as they please. People may arrive late or just pop in for a few minutes to congratulate your child. It’s an informal event, so you may insert the invitation into the graduation announcements or mail the two separately. For a party with a set start time, mail the invitations separately from the announcement and hand address the envelopes.

Often people assume that attending a homeschool graduation party requires a gift. You can include a line about the guests’ presence being gift enough, making it more likely for people to attend and congratulate your child for a job well done.

Remember to include a note asking people to RSVP and give directions for doing so. (Unless your event is an open house; by definition, an open house doesn't require a prior commitment from the guests.) For your graduation party, the RSVP will allow you to know who is attending and who will not be able to make it. You’ll have an easier time planning if you know how many people will be able to attend.

Thank You Notes

Within a few days after the graduation ceremony, sit your teenager down to write thank you notes to everyone who gave a gift. These need to be handwritten notes with a personal reference. If money was given, don’t mention the amount of money received. Instead, have your teen let the giver know how he or she plans to use the money. Again you’ll need to hand-address the envelopes.

The etiquette involved in a graduation ceremony or party is not complicated, but you will want to ensure your graduate has the necessary clothing and thank you notes ahead of time for a successful graduation ceremony.

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