From the time our oldest daughter turned two years old, we planned to homeschool her. Friends and extended family often asked if we would teach her at home all the way through high school. Our answer was always the same: “We’ll see!”
Each year, we continued to have God’s peace about continuing to homeschool, and in August 2016, our firstborn completed her high school work. Of course, we had to host a celebration to commemorate the occasion.
We started by asking our daughter what she wanted. Did she care about having a cap, gown, and formal ceremony? Not at all. She was content to have a simple party with family and friends. Her diploma would be presented as part of the festivities.
I designed her diploma on the computer using Microsoft Word. When the layout was perfect, I printed it on certificate paper. After my husband and I signed it, I inserted into a padded diploma cover and set it aside for the big day.
The kids started working together to plan the event. They voted on school colors, choosing green and blue. While they designed decorations, I sent out informal email invitations to individuals our daughter wanted to invite—her best friend’s family, her American Heritage Girls’ leaders, a couple from our church, and family members who lived nearby.
To keep things simple, we asked each family to bring a finger food to share. My daughter and I ordered a special cake from the local grocery store and stocked our freezer with vanilla ice cream and rainbow sherbet to accompany it.
Her siblings had a blast inflating balloons, folding colored paper to make paper fan decorations, and stretching streamers throughout the house. In my linen closet, I discovered blue and green tablecloths, and a dollar store expedition yielded color-coordinated tableware and individually wrapped chocolates.
Our guests arrived for lunch bearing goodies and gifts. Before long, we were all in the kitchen filling our plates with pimiento cheese sandwiches, cantaloupe, pasta salad, crackers, chicken salad, and cookies. Casual conversation dominated as guests who had just met enjoyed getting to know each other.
After lunch, we all gravitated to the living room, where Dad spoke from his heart and awarded the diploma.
It was so sweet watching my twin daughters cluster around their older sister to admire the document she had worked so hard for and that they would one day have the honor of receiving as well.
Once her graduation was official, the guests presented their gifts.
Our party concluded with cake, ice cream, and sherbet.
After the adult guests had departed, the remaining kids had an after-party—they tore down the decorations, wrapped themselves up in streamers, and played with the balloons. It was certainly a fun way for everyone to celebrate graduation day.
Our celebration was nothing like any other graduation ceremony I have ever experienced. Our homeschool certainly does not look anything like a school classroom, so why should our graduation resemble that of a school’s? Just as we have the freedom to personalize homeschool curriculum to suit each child, we can customize each graduation as well. Our first graduation was as unique as our family, and especially our daughter, wanted it to be.
How does your family celebrate homeschool milestones such as high school graduation?