Graduating from high school is one of those “big” steps—when you’re little, you never think you’ll eventually be that old! And graduating as a homeschooler—learning about applications, classes, AP, dual-enrollment, CLEPs, and creating transcripts—adds another level of accomplishment. While some students might not want a “fuss”, having some sort of celebration acknowledges the whole family, and is a fantastic way to end one era of life and start another. Putting a little extra thought into the details will create a meaningful celebration for your graduate.
Graduating with a Convention Class can be fun—I had a graduation ceremony with a bunch of other homeschooled teens at MassHOPE, and it was great to see how many of us there were—and it provides a good reason/photo opportunity for the cap-and-gown! A restaurant meal afterwards, potluck, or going home to eat continue the festivities.
Others might prefer a more family-focused celebration. Testimonies of growth from family members, exhortations for the future, fun times just reminiscing—home parties can be the perfect way to remember all those years of hard work! They also provide a great way to gather friends together before the rush of working through the summer and going dorm shopping.
If you’ve created a portfolio, why not display some of your grad’s best work for visiting friends and relatives to peruse? At least a small table of photographs, accomplishments, and other mementos of their homeschooled-life should be somewhere! If you’ve established any traditions for previous “graduations” or end-of-year celebrations, keep them up—cookie cakes, trips for mini-golf, a late night with popcorn and a movie…whatever your family does to celebrate academic accomplishments can still be incorporated into this last one.
While the festivities are still primarily about the student, it’s also very much a reflection on the parents doing the homeschooling—whether you have an amazing support group or are still battling skeptics, having a homeschool grad is no small accomplishment, and well-worth a party!
It’s hard to believe we’re already into May, especially after the mini-cold snap we just had. I hope your weather is of the beautiful-spring-clear-skies-and-warm-enough-for-no-sweater variety!
I remember all-too-well the scurrying around to finish up projects, books, and workbook exercises as the school year drew to a close, while really just wanting to go outside and read some books of my own, start summer activities, and just lounge around. If you push us, we really will finish.
Enjoy these last few weeks of the school year (unless you school year-round), and take the time to add in a little extra fun to keep everyone on track as you hold on for just a little while longer; homemade cookies (with kid-decorated frosting), extra outside time, and more educational videos can go along way!
As an aside, for some frugal-fun for mom, we’ve got 3 current sales:
Alpha Omega is 15% off all May
Saxon Math & Saxon Phonics are 35% off through August (DIVE/Teaching Tapes are not included).
Save at least 30% off Selected GeoSafari Resources with our Homeschool Deal of the Week.
April marks the beginning of National Poetry Month! A well-organized celebration, www.poets.org has an entire section for teachers with curriculum & lesson plans to print out; there’s a poetry map where you can look up local poetry events, places, bookstores, and even see what other locals are doing–perfect for planning out field trips!; and you can expand your poetry studies further with their list of “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month.”
Poetry is foundational to literature & culture; allusions to famous poems, poetic structure, and the need for an expansive vocabulary are only a few of the reasons why it should be incorporated into every program. Move beyond a few worksheet pages on iambic pentameter by introducing your students to the joys of reading poetry that they personally enjoy: Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, & Walt Whitman are great choices to start with, depending on age and reading level.
Classic Literature & Poetry Shop.
I’ve gone to the MassHOPE conventions for…I don’t even know, but a while! Helping my mom choose my high school curriculum, browsing through books for my younger siblings, listening to workshops and seeing old friends always made it a fun-if-completely-exhausting weekend. And even now, though I get to see most of the curriculum here, there’s still the excitement of meeting with homeschoolers that I just love—and the fun of seeing the current community in a type of microcosm. Current trends, the latest topics of discussion…it’s all there!
Our list of Homeschool Conventions for 2010 has been updated, so check it out for information about your local conference; if you don’t see yours on the list, leave a comment and let me know!