Monday, January 14, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Graduation Ceremonies

As you might imagine, there are as many different options for a homeschooling graduation ceremony as there are options for homeschooling. In fact, there's nothing to say you have to have any particular type of ceremony, or even a ceremony at all.  The unschooling side of me wants to say that learning is a lifelong activity, something you don't graduate from - so maybe hold a "moving on" ceremony instead. 

My children, however, are traditionalists, and have wanted something to show for their efforts.

They're also as independent and individualistic as the next homeschooler, and so we've participated (and held) three or four different types graduation ceremonies ourselves.

The Private Home Ceremony (known in our house as a Bee Movie graduation)

Pick a day.
Dress up the graduate.
Have a party.

It can be as simple or elaborate as you like.  We ordered a black cap and gown from Amazon which we have passed down through the family (A will be the third to wear it).  Each grad has also been given a white tassel with their graduation year (black and white were our wedding colors).

We play pomp and circumstance as the graduate enters the room, demand and give speeches (of the very, very short, tongue-in-cheek variety), snap a few pictures, have a cake or special dinner or ice cream, and then go out for a movie or whatever, as a family.

We have never presented a diploma during our home ceremony, but this year we probably will, and might add in a trip to the notary public as part of the fun, as A (age 17) will need that to present to her college before she can graduate with her dual-enrollment credits (I'd really like to print-off one of the preschool diplomas you can find online and modify it to read "high school" just to see what the college officials would make of it).

The Homeschool Group Graduation

In our area we have a local homeschooling association that hosts a graduation each year.  Seniors are notified through a social media account.  Parents and seniors meet in the fall to begin planning.  A coordinator volunteers, a venue (usually a local church) and date are selected, caps and gowns are ordered (in colors matching our homeschool association's sports teams' colors), parents volunteer to buy food, set-up chairs, usher, secure a speaker, and so on, while the grads put together a slide show of pictures with a favorite song (to be played at the beginning of the ceremony), and prepare tables decorated with things representing their interests for people to look at during the reception afterwards.

On the day, the graduates march in, we watch the slide show, there might be some special music (from students), and a speaker, then parents present diplomas to their graduate with a few words (we try to keep it under two minutes).

Afterwards there is a reception with cake and a light lunch, and time to mingle, congratulate the students, and snap a few photos.

In our area the ceremony is fairly formal, and modeled a bit heavily (to my mind) on the public school graduation format.  But at the end of the day, the kids know they've graduated, and it's the type of thing you can invite the grandparents to, so that's nice.

The Private Homeschool Graduation

This is pretty much like the above, but for just one student (yours) instead of a entire group.  It is often held in your own church, with the pastor presiding and acting as speaker.  Friends and family are invited (so gifts!) and usually parents present the diploma, again with a few words (though rarely under two minutes).  Then afterwards there can be a small reception with food.

The HiSet or GED Graduation

Our local testing station holds a standard, public school style graduation for students who pass the HiSet.  Our two oldest took the HiSet, but opted to receive their diplomas through the mail.

Again, these are just a few of the options available.   While our homeschool has not been traditional, or modeled on the public school system I've found, as I mentioned before, that my teenagers have wanted something formal and at least slightly official to mark the end of their high school years.  I'm still hoping that one of the younger children will decide to bag it all, and want to take a trip to somewhere fun to celebrate instead (or maybe the Man of the House and I will do that after the last one is out).

It's great to be a homeschooler.

1 comment:

Ticia said...

I think posting the preschool graduation form would be hilarious.

I may have a messed up sense of humor however.