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After years of hard work, graduating as a homeschooler can sometimes feel anti-climatic. Both you and your child have achieved much and laid solid plans for the next stage of life. But, how do you celebrate when you're a one student school?|
Homeschool groups across the country hold graduation ceremonies for collective families wishing a formal acknowledgement. The Excelsior Academy, an umbrella group offering services to families in Maryland and Pennsylvania host one such graduation ceremony. A keynote speaker delivers a special talk and every student is formally recognized for their personal accomplishments.
A little bit of pomp and circumstance goes a long way in acknowledging this significant rite of passage. Whether you participate in a formal ceremony or not, families can adapt a number of traditional senior year activities to make their graduating homeschooler feel special.
Class RingJostens, the classic high school ring company, offers a homeschool crest to families looking for a traditional class ring. However, think outside the box, if you are willing to pay that kind of money for a piece of jewelry.
A class ring can be anything you want that symbolizes this special time of life. A local jeweler can help your senior select a modest ring that they will want to wear long after the novelty of a high school ring wears off.
An engraved signet ring with a young man's initials is one option. A simple birthstone ring works well for a graduating girl. Rings made out of silver or gold can be re-sized over time. Opting for a less expensive material, such as titanium or steel which can't be resized, will become a keepsake that can always be passed on to the next generation.
Some kids don't care for rings, so substitute something else. A nice wristwatch, cuff links or a short strand of pearls are all modest pieces of jewelry that signify a step towards adulthood.
Senior PortraitYou don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for a professional studio sitting. Sears and JC Penney's still have in-house portrait studios where you can have a nice photograph taken.
Before you go, however, consider making a special shopping trip for a new jacket and tie or a nice dress. If your graduating homeschooler is going off to college, you can think of it as an investment for the next couple of years. It's not unusual for students to be invited to special events on campus that require something more than a t-shirt and flip flops.
Senior Class TripMany schools offer extravagant trips to Europe for graduating seniors. Then, there's always senior week at the local beach. If neither of these ideas appeal to you, then consider other travel options.
Do you have more than one child? Is it hard to find one-on-one time to spend with your oldest? Why not plan a special weekend getaway for the two of you? It could be a favorite vacation spot from years gone by. Or, you could hop a train and share a new adventure to a place neither of you have been before.
Don't forget to talk to the grandparents. You may be surprised to find that an especially proud Grandpa may want to take his graduating senior on a special trip. Not only does the trip serve as an acknowledgment of a job well done, it also signifies your child's transition into a more adult relationship with her extended family.
DiplomaHomeschoolers don't generally qualify to receive a state issued diploma. But, that doesn't stop parents from issuing their own. You are the principal, after all.
A simple word processor and a color printer can create a beautiful document, that may actually be needed in the future. Model the text from a traditional high school diploma or come up with your own.
Be creative and come up with the name of your home-school. Campbell Academy. McKenzie Institute. The Bowers School.
Add an image of your state's seal or your family crest. Print the diploma on nice cardstock. Frame it. And, viola, you have a diploma.
YearbookThis idea takes a bit of time and planning, but it makes a wonderful keepsake.
Go through your old picture from the last 4 years. Pick out the most memorable shots from different activities, group classes, and even everyday life. If your child has taken classes at a particular location, either a church, community center, or local college, then make sure you get pictures of those buildings, too.
Create memory book pages that offer a look back over the past four years. Did your homeschooler participate in competitions, like First Lego League or Destination Imagination? If so, pick your best shots that highlight each year's involvement and make a 2-page spread.
Have fun making the yearbook. Include pictures of family pets, who can be labeled "school mascot", as well as those goofy shots that you can look back on years later and laugh about.
Don't forget to leave some empty pages so friends and family can sign the yearbook with special messages.
Graduation PartyWhether you go the family cookout route or pay for a catered event, a party is the perfect time to let your graduating homeschooler enjoy the spotlight for an afternoon.
Presents are nice, but what really makes the day special is inviting guests to write a short letter to your senior. Encourage party attenders to take some time to write a few thoughts about how they've watched your homeschooler grow up over time. Moving on to the next stage of life after high school is both scary and exciting, so letters can also share a word of wisdom.
Get inspired with some graduation-themed party games to celebrate the special day.
Homeschooling through high school is a long, hard journey. However you choose to celebrate, know you've accomplished much and you deserve to be proud.
January 16, 2018