10 Great Tips to Make Your Homeschool Graduation a Success!

10 Great Tips to Make Your Homeschool Graduation a Success!

Caps, gowns, diplomas, songs, seating, cakes, food…how in the world do you put it all together? Where will you have it? What will the ceremony consist of? How many people will attend? So many questions and so little time!

This weekend we are having our homeschool group graduation. We’ve done it and you can too! Here’s some tips for success!

1. Start Early!

Start planning in September for a May graduation. Get all the parents of the grads (if it’s a small group) or a committee of leaders (if it’s a large group) on a text loop so you can communicate easily. Decide on a date and a location (more on that below).

2. Have Some Fun!

If you’re feeling ambitious, plan some fun activities for the year to build camaraderie among the seniors. We did bowling in the fall, a Christmas party in the winter, and a picnic with outdoor games in the spring. The seniors planned some activities and the parents planned others. If they want to, have the seniors form their own text loop as well. This will build community and make it easier later when they have to decide things, like their class colors or song.

3. Get Situated!

Finding a location is, of course, essential. If you’re lucky, you may already have a building or church that you meet in that you can use for free or rent for the afternoon. If not, check around. Put out feelers among people in your group. You never know who might have some pull to get you a free or reasonable place to rent. If your group is small, you might even be able to use someone’s house, property, or barn as a great location. If not, call around. Churches, community centers, or event spaces can be rented. Pavilions and parks are also a possibility, just remember you’ll have to bring in more of your own equipment and food for an outdoor venue. You can split the cost among the participants, or do some fundraising.

4. Count the Costs!

Whether you charge a fee to participants, split the total, or fund raise, here is a list of possible costs you might incur as a group:

  • Location
  • Chair rental
  • Table rental
  • Sound System rental
  • Videographer
  • Photographer
  • Decorations
  • Programs
  • Diplomas
  • Caps, Gowns, Tassels
  • Cake(s)
  • Food
  • Paper Goods (Plates, napkins, etc.)
  • Drinks

Of course don’t be afraid to look for as much as these items as possible for free! You may be able to borrow a sound system or get an older sibling to do the video or take pictures. We got this year’s cakes at Costco to save money, and you can have your group order diploma covers and caps and gown from Amazon way cheaper than buying them from specialized graduation companies. You can also buy inexpensive customizable diploma templates online for the actual diploma certificates.

5. Recruit Volunteers!

It’s nice to have people help out who are not part of the families, so that the parents and grads can just enjoy the ceremony as much as possible without being too tied up in the setup. Other people in your group, friends of the seniors, cousins, aunts, etc. might be more than happy to contribute to this special day. They can help set up, serve food, video tape, hand out programs, decorate, etc.

6. Delegate!

For everything you can’t get a friend to volunteer for, delegate it among the parents or seniors. Here is a list of possible jobs:

  • General Oversight
  • Treasurer
  • Fundraising Organizer
  • Administration (Announcements of Deadlines, links for purchases, making sure jobs are delegated, follow up)
  • Decorating
  • Chair/Table Setup
  • Food Prep
  • Serving Food
  • Kitchen Clean Up
  • Chair/Table Clean Up/Removal
  • Program Maker
  • Handing Out Programs
  • Slideshow Maker
  • Running Slideshow During Ceremony
  • Music/Sound System
  • Piano Player
  • Video
  • Photography
  • Event Planner to give direction on the actual day
  • Volunteers to Show People Where to go

7. Enjoy the Show!

When it comes down to planning the actual ceremony, let your seniors do the talking! Have those that want contribute their special talent to the ceremony. This year we have a violin solo, senior video (funny gaming video compilation celebrating the seniors!), speech, piano solo, and poem recitation, and prayer. Letting the seniors steal the show will make it more personal and memorable for them, and take some work off the parents!

8. Make it Personal!

Make the ceremony personal by adding special touches that are specific to your graduating group. Let them pick which song to come in to (could be “Pomp and Circumstance”, or perhaps something else…my friend’s homeschool group was all boys and they walked in to “The Imperial March!”) and which song to exit with (this year our grads picked “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang). Have a slide show with music as people are coming in to be seated that shows all of the graduates as kids up to today. If time allows (i.e. the group is small) have a slide show for each graduate before they receive their diploma. Have tables or display walls available for seniors to put up their pictures or special mementos of their life or future.

9. Practice!

Make sure to plan a day to run through the ceremony ahead of time. You don’t have to do the whole thing, just make sure everyone knows how to walk in, where to stand or sit, when they need to come on stage, where the parents will sit, if the sound system works, etc. This will help work out the kinks and hopefully avoid any catastrophes the day of!

10. Celebrate!

Now it’s time for the real thing! The hard work is over and now you can enjoy your graduate on their special day! Have fun and take lots of pictures! You’ve both earned it!