If you’ve been homeschooling a while you already know that once people find out you are homeschooling and express shock, horror or the dreaded “I would, but I don’t have enough patience…” Next they ask how in the world will you socialize your children, and, finally, they panic about what your child will do if they cannot attend the prom. If you’re new to homeschooling, come back after a year or two and prove me wrong. The thing is, no one, homeschooler or public/private schooler sends their child through high school just so they can attend the prom. For most parents the prom is simply a highlight/lowlight of their own school years – even for parents who choose to homeschool (as most homeschooling parents attended traditional school).
We’re fast coming up on May – graduation season. What if you did, indeed, opt to homeschool your child through high school? Should you host a prom in your living room? As a mom of three homeschool high school graduates (hhsg’s), I can safely say “DON’T DO IT!” Two of my three hhsg’s attended proms at local and not so local high schools. The third? Not interested. He would not have attended a prom ever – no matter where he was studying! If you ask any of them, prom was not something they consider a marker in their lives.
Graduation? The next biggest thing after prom. Now this is where you want to spend some time and energy! Finishing high school is a big milestone and, it should be celebrated. Below are a couple of ideas on how to make the most of your homeschool high school graduation.
- A formal ceremony – if you are involved with your state’s homeschool association you can participate in their high school graduation ceremony – usually held at the state convention. Often, these ceremonies give you a chance to get formal announcements and invites. If you’re a traditionalist, this might be the way to go. (If you saved your child’s schoolwork, go ahead an make it into celebration confetti. Give your grade a test tube of confetti after the ceremony.)
- An informal ceremony – if you are not into large gatherings and all that entails, have a family-only ceremony to celebrate the end of your child’s home education. Make a special dinner. Have close friends, family and any tutors or mentors your child has had. Eat. Make a toast (or several). Have cake. Take lots of pictures. Give inexpensive frames as party favors and send a picture when you get them developed. (If you saved your child’s schoolwork, go ahead an make it into celebration confetti. Give your grade a test tube of confetti after the ceremony.)
- Burn something – save your child’s schoolwork for as long as you homeschool (go through it before you do the next step and save the things that make you happy). When he’s officially done with school, let him invite a few friends over (invite a few of your friends as well – you’ll need a hug) and let them build a small bonfire (check with your fire department first) in the back yard. Give your child the box/boxes of old schoolwork and let him toss it into the fire. Once it’s all burning, give your child and his friends s’mores supplies.
- Take a family vacation to celebrate. It can be a weekend camping, a cruise or whatever fits your budget. Take time as a family. Once your child leaves high school it will become harder and harder to plan such family outings.
- Get your grad to plan his own graduation. Be prepared if you take this option. There is a good chance it will be weird. But, there is an even better chance that it will be fun.
Finishing high school is a milestone. No matter how low-key your homeschool is, it’s important to recognize in even the smallest way the accomplishment. The suggestions above are only to get you thinking. What is the best way your family can acknowledge the hard work and effort you and your child put into homeschooling? If you’ve made it to high school graduation with homeschooling, there are no limits. Have fun with it!