How to have a homeschool graduation ceremony — updated with how to throw a graduation party at home and virtual graduation tips! Whether it’s graduation canceled, homeschool high school graduation ceremony, or you need homeschool kindergarten graduation ceremony ideas, we’ve got you covered!
You need homeschool graduation ideas for your homeschooling graduation.
Can you believe it?
There. There. It will be fine! Everything will be OK. I promise.
Enough of that.
I need you to pull yourself together because we have some work to do with planning a homeschool graduation ceremony.
So, your homeschooler is graduating high school (or kindergarten … or 8th grade graduation ceremony ideas)…
. . . but now what?
Lucky for your we’ve got a ton of graduation ceremonies ideas because planning a graduation ceremony can be daunting!
No worries, though!
We’re going to walk you through common homeschool graduation ceremony mistakes, how you should avoid them, and give you some creative homeschool graduation ideas to rock this graduation ceremony party!
Here’s how to plan a high school graduation ceremony (or for any grade graduation) and graduation program ideas.
These are mainly graduation day ideas for high school, but you can adapt them for any homeschool grade or age and even find some things if your child’s if graduation canceled and you need to celebrate your graduate at home!
Before we get to the tips, let’s cover hosting a virtual graduation.
You may have landed here not because you’re a homeschool family who needs a homeschool graduation ceremony.
Instead, you may find yourself in this weird time of having your graduation canceled.
I’m so sorry.
I know the disappointment level is so high.
BUT, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do special things (and even hold your own graduation ceremony) to make your grad feel special, Whether it be graduation high school, college graduation, kindergarten or middle school graduation, graduation 8th grade or even a graduate student, you can adapt these ideas for graduation fun.
You can still have graduation parties — even in these weird times! You’re (of course) not going to be able to replicate their ceremony, but you can make this at-home graduation fun.
What Is A Virtual Commencement?
A virtual graduation is a ceremony that is held via an online platform. It allows friends and family to participate in celebrating with the graduate without actually being at the graduation.
So … how does virtual graduation work?
Ideas for Virtual Graduation
Here are some virtual graduation ceremony ideas so you can still celebrate your graduate!
- Host a full on virtual graduation ceremony at home through Facebook Live, Zoom or other platforms where a small group of friends and family can observe. Ask each of them to prepare something to say about the graduate.
- Send out fun virtual invites with the graduation date.
- Have friends and family come up with some awesome graduation music ideas for your grad to use to walk into the room instead of the traditional graduation march song.
- Ask your grad to prepare a graduation speech and then have him/her give it during the virtual graduation.
- Make amazing (and even silly) awards and graduation honors to present to your graduate.
- Have your grad dress up in full cap and gown and take graduation pictures around your house, with pets, or even outside. Don’t forget to take pics of your Zoom screen with everyone who attends your virtual celebration! (You’ll DEFINITELY want to commemorate this time with graduation photos!) Don’t forget to have your grad decorate their cap!
- Decorate your front door or window with a banner and things about your graduate—their cheer uniform, favorite books, a football helmet, sheet music. Make it things that honor their time in school.
- Make signs for your yard or window about your graduate.
- Ask local friends and family to do a drive-by parade for your graduate!
The next section is specifically for homeschool graduations, but you still want to read through it all. There are great tips in there that you can even adapt to your school-at-home situation!
Simple Homeschool Tips for Your Graduation Ceremony:
- Get your homeschooler involved in the planning.
- Determine what homeschool graduation supplies you will need.
- Pick a date and location. (Will it be at home, an event center, or do you need church graduation ideas?)
- Save money by making your own graduation cake and invitations.
- Don’t forget your homeschool graduation cap and gown (or a special graduation outfit!).
- Brainstorm some fun graduation picture ideas and get them taken to include in the invitation.
- Decide on the type of homeschool graduation ceremony program you will have (formal, casual, etc.).
- Create an official homeschool diploma (and print out a homeschool transcript, while you’re at it).
- Surprise them with something special like a graduation picture collage or a cool DIY yearbook.
- Make it a time of recognition and gratitude for this important milestone by creating a graduation guest book so people can leave their well wishes for a keepsake for your homeschool graduate!
(Also, if you are new to home school and wonder how do homeschoolers graduate, you might want to start here with this “If you are homeschooled how do you graduate?” information.)
Now onto the mistakes that I want you to AVOID for your homeschool graduation ceremony so your homeschool senior (or junior or kindergartener) is excited and proud of their accomplishments! (And, many of these are just as applicable to homeschool 8th grade graduation as senior graduation!)
12 Common Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistakes to Avoid
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #1: Not Checking Your State Laws for Graduation
Once you get to the graduation ceremony planning stage of homeschooling, it’s a little late to be checking your homeschool state laws on graduating for the very first time.
Most states don’t provide guidelines on homeschool graduation, but you may have specific requirements that your homeschooler needs to meet at specific times during the homeschooling process.
However, this is a good time to make sure all your proverbial homeschool ducks are in a row.
So, be sure to double check what is required of you (by your state) for homeschool graduation requirements and tie up any loose ends well before the graduation ceremony!
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #2: Not Checking If There’s a Local Ceremony for Your Homeschooler
In some areas with a large population of homeschoolers, you may find that there’s a local homeschool graduation ceremony hosted through a private organization or group.
Search online, ask in local homeschool Facebook groups, or in your meet-up groups for homeschool graduation ceremonies for your city or state.
And, who knows?
If there isn’t one, but there is enough interest from a small group of other homeschool parents, maybe you can even put something together?
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #3: Forgetting to Create a Diploma
This one is easy to forget because your homeschooler just completes the last of their work and then they’re . . . done.
However, creating a diploma for your homeschooler is one of the most important things that you can do for their graduation!
They’ll use copies of that diploma for job interviews, college, and more.
Plus, it’s a cool recognition of their accomplishment!
(And, you are their “educational institute,” so it is your responsibility to create a diploma!)
However, a word of warning: don’t create one of those cheesy clipart diplomas with a balloon border.
Remember, your child may be using copies of the diploma for official purposes (jobs, college, etc.), so you want a professional looking diploma!
But, don’t worry!
You can order professional looking diploma paper. (And, don’t forget an awesome, official-looking diploma document holder.)
UNSURE WHAT TO PUT ON A HOMESCHOOL DIPLOMA?
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #4: Not Buying a Cap and Gown
A homeschool cap and gown is a symbol of a milestone, but it’s something that many homeschool families don’t buy.
Don’t make this mistake!
A graduation cap and gown makes this process feel more official for your homeschool senior or graduate!
(Plus you can get a cap, gown, tassel, and year to go on the tassel REALLY CHEAP, so there really is no excuse. . .)
(And, think of all those cute pics you’ll get of your grad!)
If you need one for a homeschool kindergarten graduation ceremony, check out these cap and gown options.
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #5: Not Setting a Date and Location
Don’t make your graduation a private event!
This is a CELEBRATION, so invite friends and family to commemorate this time and honor the hard work of your homeschooler.
Consider where and when you want to have your homeschool graduation ceremony and then get it on the calendar.
(The earlier, the better!)
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #6: Forgetting to Create (and Send) Invitations
Graduation time (usually in May) is super busy for a lot of people, so once you get your date and location set you’ll want to get those invitations out ASAP!
You can save money by creating and printing your own invitation with a free online app like PicMonkey or Canva.
Be sure to include the following on your homeschool graduation invitation:
- What the event is
- Child’s name
- Location (including an address)
- RSVP contact info
If you’re wondering how to make a graduation program, also check out Canva. They have a lot of different templates and its super easy to make and download a professional looking program for graduation to print at home or take to a printers.
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #7: Not Planning The Party Adequately (It’s Different Than a Traditional Graduation Party!)
Another mistake people make is not thinking through exactly what kind of ceremony is needed for a homeschool graduation.
Because it’s for homeschooling, it will be a different than a traditional graduation ceremony (where you go to a school for the graduation and then back home or to a venue for the party).
At your homeschool graduation ceremony, you will be performing some type of graduation recognition and then having the party.
What kind of graduation party do you want?
- Will you hold the graduation ceremony and then have an open house type of party where you have cake and drinks and people can drop in anytime between certain hours? (If so, be sure to put this on the invite!)
- Are you having a smaller celebration at a restaurant?
- Are you having a casual party that will last several hours that includes a graduation recognition and then a barbecue?
Most of the time, a casual backyard barbecue kind of ceremony works fine.
Just be sure to plan for everything you need:
When will you have the graduation part of the ceremony? (At the beginning? After everyone eats?)
Don’t forget about homeschool graduation tassels! When will your homeschooler perform the turning of the tassel? (Learn more about turning of the tassel history and which way it goes.)
If it’s a bigger party, do you need a sound system with a microphone so you can give a speech, present the diploma, and then others can give toasts?
How many chairs and tables will you need?
Do you have enough dishes and glasses (or do you need to rent or buy more)?
DON’T MISS THIS NEXT STEP FOR YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR:
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #8: Forgetting to Celebrate Your Homeschooler’s Successes
Some of the people coming to the homeschool graduation ceremony for your child probably don’t completely understand how to home school and how your child even got to this point.
Make part of the diploma presentation an explanation of your child’s accomplishments. (Even skeptical Aunt Jo will be impressed to learn that your child covered ancient Egyptian history and also volunteered three times each month!)
Celebrate your homeschooler’s accomplishments!
Graduation Presentation Ideas:
- Highlight in your diploma presentation speech what your child covered and some of their favorite things.
- Put together a slideshow or video of your homeschooling years.
- Make a cool photo collage of the homeschooling years. (You can even ask guests on the invitation to contribute their favorite photos!)
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #9: Not Planning Your Graduation Speech
OK, this is the part where I remind you of something that might terrify you:
You will need to speak in front of the crowd at your child’s homeschool graduation.
(I mean, you’ll be presenting them with their diploma, so this can’t be that much of a surprise, right?!)
This is another area that homeschooling parents may forget about, especially if you were traditionally schooled.
Don’t forget to plan the diploma presentation and your speech!
So, what should you say? (It may even be helpful to create a graduation agenda template.)
What To Say At a Homeschool Graduation:
- Give an overview of their accomplishments.
- Share some funny stories about homeschooling.
- Tell about areas where your child excelled.
- Include any recognitions they received over the years.
- Talk about extra-curricular activities.
- Let your guests know what your child plans on doing next in their life.
If you’re wondering what to say as a graduate for your homeschool graduation speech (commencement speech), just adapt some of the ideas above to first person, coming from you as the student.
After the diploma presentation and your speech, open the floor for anyone else who might want to say something to the new grad!
Also, will there be an opening prayer for graduation party or before everyone eats? If so, who will give it? (This might be and area where you want the grandparents or a trusted friend get involved!)
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #10: Forgetting to Capture Memories from Guests
Don’t forget to give your guests a way to write messages, well wishes, and memories for your grad!
Graduation ceremony ideas for high school (or any grade):
- Get a graduation guest book that allows enough room for people to write things to the grad and also for pictures to be added later.
- Put out a memory wish jar where guests can write memories or well wishes and then slip them into the jar. (I also LOVE these “Advice and Wishes Cards for the Graduate.”)
- Have a rock creation station where guests can decorate or write on rocks and the grad can display them in a cool dish/jar later.
- Get an autograph frame where the guests can sign it and you can add it a picture later. (We did this for my daughter’s birthday one year and she still loves looking at what everyone wrote!)
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #11: Not Getting a Meaningful Graduation Gift
With everything else going on, a graduation gift might slip through the cracks.
But, now is the time to bust out the big gift guns and give your homeschool graduate something meaningful, especially if they’re going off to college or moving out right away.
This is really their last big send off gift that transitions them from childhood into early adulthood, so make it good.
(No pressure . . .)
So, what graduation gift should you give the new graduate?
Here are some of our favorites:
- Upgraded tech like a new laptop, a tablet, or a new phone.
- Gas gift card to cover 3-6 months of gas.
- Meal gift cards (especially if they are moving out or heading off to college)–they can be giftcards to favorite restaurants, a meal service, or even a local grocery store.
- AirBnB gift card (so they can do a mini vaca or getaway with their friends).
- Money. (Seriously, you can never go wrong with cash.)
High school graduation gift: how much money should you give?
Cash for graduation gift is always a good idea! The amount for graduation gift depends on your relationship with the student. An average monetary gift is around $40-50 and gifts usually come in around that amount, too. However, if you’re close to the grad, you may want to give more.
Homeschool Graduation Ceremony Mistake #12: Not Involving Your Homeschool Graduate in the Planning
One of the biggest mistakes homeschooling parents make is not involving their homeschooler in the graduation planning process.
Sit down with your new grad and get an understanding of what they really want.
Maybe they want a huge party with a mix of their homeschool and traditional school friends and you were planning a small family dinner?
Or, maybe they’re mortified at the thought of wearing a cap and gown for their graduation?
Be sure you’re all on the same page and the process will be much more enjoyable!