In June 2011, my second oldest graduated from high school. For her homeschool graduation, she wanted to participate in a formal ceremony organized by an area group.
While many support groups organize graduation ceremonies for their members, some do not. CHEM, a group located in the western suburbs of Detroit, MI, serves area homeschool families by organizing a graduation each year.
Joining a group just to participate in a graduation has its pitfalls. You many not know any of the other families or students graduating with your teen which may feel a little awkward and a little impersonal. However, you will have one thing in common – your successful completion of homeschooling!
We knew some of the 40 families that were participating; my daughter knew more than we did from her involvement in different homeschool activities, etc. The leadership team, which consisted of parents and students tried really hard to organize activities for the teens so they could get to know each other, which was nice.
I liked how our group organized the different jobs that needed to be done. A parent, together with their student volunteered to oversee the various jobs. Some of the volunteer jobs were:
Communication was done through a website that was created for the families. All the forms and information were available and easily accessible. They also created a timeline, so we knew exactly what we needed to do each month prior to the graduation ceremony.
The cost of participating in the graduation ceremony was around $250. I wasn't too thrilled with having to pay 250 bucks, but my daughter really wanted to have a formal graduation, so it was money well spent. We were able to reduce the cost by borrowing a cap and gown from a friend who graduated last year and creating our own homeschool diploma.
Depending on the size of the venue, your group may have to restrict how many guests each family can invite, which can be a bit disappointing for large families.
Our graduation ceremony was held at a fairly large church and every family could invite 20 guests. Before the actual graduation ceremony, we had a diploma-signing ceremony. All the families met together in a big room where each signed their graduate's diploma at the same time.
Diplomas are lined up on tables, waiting to be signed.
For the actual graduation ceremony, parents of the graduates sat behind the graduating class; each family would go up to the front together, the parent/s would say a blessing to their teen and then give them their diploma. It was pretty amazing and touching to hear some families' stories – at times there wasn't a dry eye in the room!
Parents give a blessing before giving
The ceremony lasted about two hours and then everyone was invited to stay for a cake and punch reception. I really liked that a backdrop was set up for families to take pictures; a photographer was available for those who wanted professional pictures instead.
I guarantee your graduate will feel
Although you don't have to have a formal homeschool graduation commencement ceremony for your graduate, it is definitely something that you may want to consider. Some kids don't care if they have one, others do. For us, it was money well spent for memories we will never forget!
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