How to Create a Unique Homeschool Graduation

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When I talk to anyone who attended my own homeschool high school graduation (I was the top, well only, student in the inaugural graduating class of Logos Christian Academy), they always mention the bagpiper. Nothing sets your homeschool graduation celebration apart quite like the surprise appearance of a bagpiper in full kilt regalia. Forget “Pomp and Circumstance,” it’s time for “Scotland the Brave”! It was one of many special touches that made my homeschool graduation celebration so special.

When it came time to plan my own son’s homeschool high school graduation, I knew I wanted to make it a day he’d remember as fondly as I remember my own.

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

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Are you planning a homeschool high school graduation celebration? Or maybe you’re thinking about homeschooling high school in the future but worry your teen might miss out.

You want to prepare a homeschool graduation as unique and special as your teen… and as one-of-a-kind as your homeschool.

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

It’s easier to create a special homeschool celebration for your homeschool graduate than you may think! I’ve collected tips for making your homeschool graduation celebration a success.

But don’t take just my word for it! In this post, I also share homeschool graduation examples from 7 other homeschool moms with many years of homeschooling experience. (Click here if you want to skip straight to their stories.)

Set the Stage

Pick a date and time that works in your family’s schedule and also for your guests. You’ll want to consider any end-of-semester tests or projects your teen has going on, any outside work commitments, and summer travel plans.

Find a location that works for you! It may be your own living room or backyard. It could be your church or another community facility. Or, hey, you could graduate on a boat! (If you do, can you please invite me, because that sounds really fun!) We chose to hold our graduation celebration at our church building.

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Whatever location you choose will affect how many people you can invite, so that is something to keep in mind.

Invite Everyone… or Keep it Small

Your teen’s preferences and your own are both important here. Perhaps you want it to be a family-only affair. Maybe you want to invite a small group that includes mentors, teachers, and friends in the area. Or maybe you want to invite all the extended family and the whole church! There is not just one right way to do this. What is best for you and your teen?

We chose to send free electronic invitations via Evite and elected to forego printed graduation announcement cards. (We purchased a new laptop to replace our son’s broken one instead. Ahem.) We ended up with 2 great uncles, 3 great aunts, 1 uncle, 1 (pregnant) aunt, 6 cousins, 4 grandparents, 1 great grandma, and tons more friends at Joshua’s graduation, with multiple states and regions represented.

But I absolutely love receiving graduation announcements via snail mail myself! Shutterfly and Canva are both places you can design and customize cards with your graduate’s photo.

Dress up… or Dress Down

There are as many possibilities for graduate attire as there are unique homeschool graduates. Talk to your teen and find out what is important to them! When I graduated from high school, I really wanted a pretty new dress instead of a cap and gown. But my son expressed interest in wearing a traditional cap and gown for his ceremony (he even got to pick the color).

If you’re holding a more informal event, casual clothes are completely appropriate. But I encourage you to find some way to set your graduate apart and make them feel extra special.

how to create a unique homeschool high school graduation celebration

Don’t Forget the Diploma

You can create your own diploma on your computer or using the free design features on Canva. You can also order one online (we got ours from HomeschoolDiploma.com) or obtain one from your certifying organization or unbrella school when applicable.

(And, yes, in case you were wondering, homeschool parents can award a diploma and create their own transcript.)

I do encourage you to actually provide a professional-looking diploma for your teen. They may at some point want to show this “proof” of high school graduation.

how to create a unique homeschool high school graduation celebration

Commemorate and Celebrate

Whether you have a formal ceremony or an informal celebration, it’s important to commemorate all your teen has accomplished…and also to recognize the hard work you have done as a homeschool parent.

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My favorite part of Joshua’s graduation celebration was the surprise video we played for him! I had reached out to mentors and teachers who had been an important part of Joshua’s high school years, and they recorded brief messages of exhortation and encouragement. It was such a special moment for all of us, and I know it meant a lot to Joshua!

We invited both of his grandfathers to pray (one opened, one closed). I spoke very briefly (you can read what I said here) before turning on the surprise video. John then spoke briefly, we presented Joshua with his diploma, and we sang his favorite hymn. Following the closing prayer we sang the Doxology while Joshua walked out and went downstairs to await his guests.

how to create a unique homeschool high school graduation celebration

After the ceremony we had a cookie reception and fellowship time in the church basement. We found some great inexpensive graduation decor at Michaels and Dollar Tree.

how to create a unique homeschool high school graduation celebration

I set up a journal down there for guests to leave notes. We also had photos from Joshua’s life on the tables. I played fun music via a bluetooth speaker connected to my phone, and we all enjoyed a little bit of goofiness on the side.

how to create a unique homeschool high school graduation celebration

Here are a few ways other homeschooling families have celebrated their homeschool graduate:

Each of these families found ways to celebrate in a way that reflected their own homeschools and students. Some graduated with other homeschoolers and some chose to keep it a family affair. But each was unique and special! Thank you to each homeschooling mom who shared their family’s high school graduation experiences!

Cute and festive graduation celebration at home (by Jennifer Knick from The Organized Homeschooler)

I wanted our homeschool graduation and party to match our homeschool. I have always tried to focus on creating a personalized education that matched my student’s needs, abilities, and goals. Our graduation celebration was a natural extension of that. We chose to have the graduation celebration at our home for two reasons. Home is where most of our schooling happened. Also, my daughter has a health condition that makes a traditional graduation with lots of sitting, standing, and walking across a stage problematic. A small graduation ceremony at home was perfect! We used candy quite a bit in our homeschool for things like cell cakes and Rice Krispies maps so I decided to have a graduation candy bar. It was a huge hit with everyone! This graduation was special to me because it was truly personalized for my daughter. It felt like a great conclusion to our twelve years of homeschooling.”

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Low Key Chaotic Joy (by Ticia Messing from Adventures in a Messy Life)

“After a very eclectic homeschooling career starting in preschool, we knew our graduation ceremony was not going to be the same as everyone else’s ceremony. We invited friends and family to our house for speeches and a party. As they came in they were greeted by a table with an advice book for all of my children; I had twins and a daughter less than two years later. People took time to sign the books with advice, letters, and whatever they wanted to say, and after giving sufficient time for people to arrive, because homeschoolers are rarely on time, we started the speeches. Everyone in the family gave a speech, ending with my husband presenting each of the children with a sword, just like they get in Finland upon graduating college. The rest of the time was happily spent talking with friends eating good food, and doing other stupid things as the slideshow we’d put together played in the background with a playlist much longer than the party was heard over the Bluetooth speaker.”

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Cookout with friends and family (by Cindy West from Our Journey Westward)

“I’ve been homeschooling for more than 20 years and have graduated two out of three of my children. As a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooling family, we have spent many precious moments together making memories in learning and in life. When it’s time for graduation, there’s no better way to add to our collection of memories than by honoring the accomplishments with a heartfelt celebration. A big ‘ole cookout with friends and family serves that purpose for us. Great food and fun games meet up with a traditional teary-eyed presentation focused on the graduate. The most precious part is the time we take to pray blessings over our sweet graduate. Additionally, I ask some key people to write letters to the graduate (to read later), and I present them with a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Suess filled with a love note and Bible verses. Along with some scrapbooking ladies at our church, I also help to fill a memory book with pictures that is presented to the graduate, as well. Yes, it’s a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for such a big event, but it’s been absolutely worth it for them…and for me.”

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Flexible and student focused in both style and celebration (by Heather Woodie from Blog She Wrote)

“We’ve been homeschooling for 18 years, 11 of which have included high school! We have four out of the box kids who required an out of the box approach to homeschooling. In fact, our path through the high schooling years is not straight forward. Two of our teens experienced a severe chronic infectious disease that changed the course and time line of their high school years.

We’ve done graduation just about all the ways you can imagine. Our oldest wanted to participate in a group graduation with our homeschooling group. This one had all the perks of a graduation ceremony, including the juniors moving up. The event was senior planned and I was the advisor that year. Our son was the senior speaker and there was a junior parent planned reception of the event. He had five years of high school and in his fifth year applied to university and was accepted with their largest scholarship. He needed a medical gap year before going to Purdue as a 20 year old freshman. He’s now graduated with a BA in Professional Writing and works as a technical writer for an engineering company.

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Our second senior opted to have a party with her bestie from birth. Our families planned the event at a local park and they set up their senior tables and enjoyed the coming and going of family and friends. It was perfect. She was accepted to a small design program at an Ivy League school. She graduated with a BS in Fashion Design and has her own business doing freelance design work and has her own t shirt business.

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Our third senior opted for a family dinner followed by games. He attends our local community college part time as he navigates recovery from his illness and understands his neurodivergence. He’s studying history and is considering law school for the history of law.

Next year we’ll graduate our last senior. This teen will have a family acknowledgement as well. I doubt we’ll even get a picture with the family cap and senior chosen tassel!”

Heather also has this wise advice to share with other homeschooling moms: “My biggest advice is to listen to what your senior wants when it comes to marking this milestone in their life. In some sense, graduation is a big deal for homeschooling moms, but we want our senior to feel like they got to celebrate their way. Moms, no matter the type of ceremony or milestone marking, you can take a bow. Your teen made it to the finish line and you were there every step of the way. Bravo to you both! You’ve earned it.”

Texas-style BBQ, complete with a pool party, cake, and family (by Courtney Messick from Grace, Grow & Edify)

“Our family has homeschooled from the beginning. We began with a rigid box curriculum and evolved into relaxed eclectic year-round homeschoolers over time. My daughter has always thrived with a hands-on learning approach, so we fostered her love of art, music, and creativity. She will pursue a career in cosmetology, doing hair and makeup. We are excited about her future and are thrilled that she will be doing something she is passionate about.”

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Ceremony, liturgy, and festivity! (by Katherine Weitz from Cottage Press Publishing)

“When my first two sons graduated from high school, twenty-plus years ago now, my good friend Jeanne and I decided to forego the large and impersonal graduation at our state’s capitol two hours away and instead initiated a local ceremony, at once traditional and personal, to celebrate our boys and their accomplishment. The boys themselves were amiable, but skeptical: “We are doing this for you, Mom. It really doesn’t matter to us.” After the ceremony, however, they thanked me for understanding what they did not imagine: the deep significance of marking milestones with traditional festivity. Our other four children participated in that same local celebration which endures to this day. When my youngest son’s turn approached, closing in on a decade ago now, his graduation day also marked the close of my quarter-century as a home educator. So my graduating son, his siblings, and my husband insisted that it also be a celebration of my significant milestone. Now, my children have all graduated from college and beyond; add in marriages and baptisms, and there have been many more such celebrations. None of us could imagine dispensing with these “Ebenezers.””

how to create a unique homeschool graduation celebration

Well done, Grad. Well done, Mom and Dad. Let’s Party! (by Charity Miner from A Note From the Future)

“When we started homeschooling 14 years ago, I never envisioned graduating a Senior. We had a different plan. As always, though, God had a better plan. Since we do CC with a pretty tightly knit class, the parents all got together at the start of the school year to discuss what we wanted out of OUR ceremony. We’re a pretty introspective, intentional bunch, so this meant basically a whole year of events to celebrate and honor all they’ve done, all we’ve done, and all God has done in all of us. Starting with greeting the dawn of our first last day and prayer (Senior Sonrise), we capped our year off with Senior Thesis and a whole week of celebration. It was exhausting, but really satisfying.

Many people are afraid of graduating their kid from homeschool. I’m not saying it’s easy—but it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life. Graduating my oldest is the most fun thing I’ve done. The years it took to get here were the best, most eternal good work I’ve done.”

You may also enjoy:

3 Things I’ve Learned as a Mom of a Homeschool Graduate

Parenting Teens: the Most Asked Questions and a Real Mom’s Answers


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