When we get to the finish line of our homeschooling days with our teens, that is something to celebrate! I’m going to lay out some creative ways you can celebrate your homeschool graduate. Whether you want to have a big bash or something smaller and intimate, this post will help you give your homeschool graduate a memorable send off.
If you’ve been homeschooling your child for all 12 years of their schooling or just a few years, it’s cause to celebrate. Pouring all the hours, prayers, and love (and sometimes tears!) into our kiddos deserves a big bow on top for us too, mamas.
Last May, my oldest graduated from our homeschool. A year later, I still can’t really believe it. In three short years, my second child will be graduated too. It all really does go so fast, just like they say. So I always think it’s appropriate to take some time to pause, acknowledge the passage of time, and celebrate this amazing achievement.
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So let’s get to it–there’s a celebration to get together! From party ideas to diplomas to practical tips, here are 12 creative ways you can celebrate your homeschool graduate
1. Get your homeschool graduate a proper diploma
A lot of people ask me, “if your child graduates from homeschool, do they have to get a GED? Do they really get a high school diploma?”
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Because you have created your own school at home, that means that when your child has accumulated enough high school credits–whatever number you’ve set before him–that child has graduated your school.
The difference is that we don’t have a school secretary, so we order our own diplomas. Homeschool Diploma created beautiful, unique, and personalized diplomas. We ordered through them for Noah’s graduation and were so pleased with how professional they were! Homeschool Diploma has lots of other items for your graduate too. I highly recommend this company.
2. Go Big! Organize a Graduation Ceremony with Friends
If you are blessed to live near other homeschool graduates, get together and do a ceremony together! Even if you don’t know them ultra well, you can still plan a ceremony your kids will remember. Sometimes homeschool families like to be islands, but this is an occasion, were joining together with other families, even if you’re not super close, can be so amazing.
Rent caps and gowns. Pick a date and time. Find a group of kids to play Pomp and Circumstance on their instruments. And organize a program. Maybe even your pastor would do the honors of MC-ing the event.
We were able to participate in an amazing homeschool graduation ceremony with other high school grads and it was so memorable. Noah, my son, didn’t know everyone well, but they bonded anyway over the course of the weeks leading up to the ceremony as they were put in charge of several parts of the ceremony.
Another idea is to look into your state homeschool organization. Very often, they have a big ceremony too.
3. Plan a Party
Whether you do a ceremony or not, I highly recommend honoring your grad with a big party! Opening our home and being hospitable doesn’t mean our houses are perfect and sprawling. Last summer, when we hosted a big bash for Noah, we had projects 1/2 begun all over the place and our house really is pretty small for 75 guests. But we did it anyway, and it was such a happy memory.
Having a big party gave all my kids something…Noah was able to be congratulated by so many family and friends. My other kids were able to see friends and family and learn to entertain and mingle with lots of people. We talked ahead of time about hospitality and making sure guests had drinks/food and making sure you said hello to each person. It was so great to see them host too.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Super Simple Party Tips for Your Homeschool Graduate
- Backyard Parties feel so much more laid back and relieves the pressure from having to have the inside of your home in top shape 🙂
- Simple Food Ideas: Grill burgers, have it catered from Qdoba or Chick-fil-a, ask family to bring giant salads and take care of the main dish on the grill, walking tacos. Jarrod loves his meat smoker, so a few days ahead, he smoked several pork butts and we had pork sandwiches.
- Lighting: string cafe lights across your backyard…instant ambiance! We bought these and loved them!
- Ask Your Friends’ Kids For Help Waiting Tables: I hired my friends kids who are middle schoolers and my nephew to walk around and pick up trash or grab guests drinks or food. It was so helpful!
- Turn the Speaker On! Maybe your grad wants to make the party playlist or maybe you do, but either way, have some fun music playing!
- S’more Kits + Fire: We made these little packets people could grab and make s’mores over the fire and that was really fun!
- Guest Book with Advice: We found a nice blank book and instead of a traditional guest book, asked guests to write a little note to Noah or leave him advice.
Fun Supplies for your Party:
I thought it was a fun idea to have Noah choose some “school colors” and play our party theme around those colors. He chose black and gold, so I found some fun things in those colors. Here are some party supply links to get you started:
4. Send out Announcments For Your Homeschool Graduate
So many companies can create inexpensive, beautiful graduation announcements. We ordered ours through Canva and they turned out great!
Sometimes people wonder who to send them to. Here’s what I did.
- Noah’s friends’ families
- All family near and far away
- My close friends who know Noah
- Noah’s co-workers
- Anyone who helped with Noah’s activities (church leaders, Boy Scout leaders, etc.)
5. Create Simple Photo Displays
There are so many fun ways to create a photo display for your grad! Even a science fair board is perfect!
We had an old pallet that we spray painted black. Then we took string and attached that to the pallet and clipped photos to the string. We added some battery operated lights for fun.
6. Put Together a Graduation Program
It’s nice to have something memorable to hang onto long after graduation day. The group that Noah had his grad ceremony with made these amazing graduation programs, but I think you could make them on your own too. Or if you’re doing a ceremony with a group, offer to make something like this for your group too!
This program booklet had a page for each grad. Their page included a senior photo and a note from the student about what homeschooling meant to them. (It was so amazing to read these kids’ responses! So heartfelt!) Then the page also included a note from the parents to their grad–blessings, prayers, or just a note to say well done. I loved this!
The program also included scriptures the kids had picked out, their future plans, and a reading of encouragement.
7. Set Up a Display of Memorabilia
At your party or celebration, drag out all the trophies, awesome papers, plaques, awards, photos, and whatever else you can find to celebrate your kid! Set it all up and display their hard work.
8. Sew a T-shirt Memory Quilt
This was an idea I found years ago on pinterest and I never forgot it. I was lucky to have a woman from my hometown that loves to quilt and she does an amazing (and fast!) job. If you have a family member that quilts, ask them to help you out!
So here’s what I did. Over the years, I saved camp t-shirts, church t-shirts, boy scout t-shirts, and just t-shirts Noah loved. Then I turned them all over to Virginia and she worked her magic. Noah was totally surprised by this and he loved it!
9. Give Your Homeschool Graduate a Timepiece to Mark the Occasion
Jarrod loves watches and thought it would be a great idea to give Noah a really nice watch to mark the occasion. For a girl, maybe this wouldn’t work as well. But any nice piece of jewelry would be a wonderful “congrats, grad!” gift!
10. Create a Video Slideshow of Favorite Photos + Music
Creating this nearly killed me but I did it. Going back through years and years of photos is ROUGH!!! Then add the music and just curl up in a ball and cry for hours.
But it really is nice to have it playing for your party or just to watch as a family…if you can emotionally handle it!
11. Create a Homeschool Yearbook
I love to create photobooks for our family–I’m a couple years behind, but who’s counting? And wouldn’t it be awesome to have a homeschool photo yearbook too? Grab all the photos from years past in homeschooling. Photos of projects and field trips. Maybe even add some of the poems your child memorized. You could do so many fun things with creating a homeschool yearbook.
12. Decorate the Yard for Your Homeschool Graduate!
All of my neighbors put signs in their yard when they have graduates: MHS 2021 GRAD!!!! Well, homeschoolers can decorate their yards too 😉 Plenty of sign companies would make a yard sign or you could create your own too. What a fun way to honor your homeschool graduate!
I hope this got your wheels turning with creative ways to honor your homeschool graduate. This really is an accomplishment for your child AND you, homeschool mom (and dad too!) We poured years into our kiddos and now that time of instruction is closing. Let’s celebrate!