Having graduated 2 of our 9 kids, I have a little experience with putting together a graduation ceremony. It can be a challenge to figure out what to do. The world has its customs and expectations. How do we, as homeschoolers, decide how much of that to include in our own ceremony, if any?
For us, participating in a group graduation ceremony was not an option. So we decided to host our own. Yes, one child in the graduating class is a bit unusual. But we are used to being the weird ones; can I get an amen?
Our oldest daughter, Grace, graduated in 2008. She wanted something personal, and so we hosted the event at our home. We rented tables and chairs, bought a couple of outdoor fans, and invited about 150 people to come and celebrate with us. Since it was going to be a family affair, we tried to make it kid friendly. We covered the tables with printer paper and used buckets of crayons for the kids to color right on the table. We made a little village out of appliance boxes and bean bag games for the kids to play.
I ordered cakes from Costco and BBQ (You have to have BBQ in Texas!) from our favorite local spot. Grace asked several women that had been an encouragement to her through her life to say a few words. They shared, my husband spoke a few words, I shared my thoughts and experiences then Grace played her violin and said a few words. That was it – a half hour ceremony – then we ate!
On the front porch, we laid out some of the things that she had loved and/or made, school projects, and a slide show of pictures of her throughout the years.
It was an easy, peaceful day, and I think our friends were blessed to have shared it with us. I know we were blessed by them!
Two years later, when it was time for Jacob to graduate, a graduation in the yard wasn’t what we wanted. It didn’t fit Jacob’s personality, so we decided to have it in a local church. It was more of the type of ceremony that people expect but still with only one graduate.
I found frames at IKEA that were perfect for holding pictures of little Jacob, and we, again, put together a table of his favorite things.
He asked 3 men from his life to say something at the ceremony; then my husband and I shared about raising sons and homeschooling. Then Jacob spoke (we called it the “Valedictory Speech” in the program), and we gave him a diploma – which was actually just a rolled up piece of paper with a ribbon around it!
Instead of serving a meal, we opted to just serve dessert and punch. We bought cookies (Costco again) and served punch from a large bucket. We aren’t a formal bunch, so a crystal punch bowl didn’t fit our style.
The girls and I made little chocolate graduation caps. They were a hit!
Be encouraged to just have your own ceremony and do whatever fits your family! If you want to have it in a bowling alley or on a cattle ranch – do it! Play instruments, serve ice cream, build Legos….the sky’s the limit! You can be sure of one thing – it will be a graduation that no one will forget.