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Alberta Home Education Association

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Home School Graduation information!

Our support group, Home School Christian Fellowship, offers a grade 12 grad for members (currently around 75 families in the Edmonton area). I helped organize the 2011 grad, and there are a few pictures on our website http://www.hscfedmonton.ca/olderrandom.htm Even with a group our size, it's hard to find many kids still homeschooling through high school, but hopefully that will improve in the years ahead! We have 7 kids interested this year. They're on a private yahoo group & get together to discuss the theme, colours, decorations & group activities.

Our goal is to create a milestone memory, for when parents feel ready to graduate their senior student. It's been done various ways over the years at HSCF, depending on the families doing the organizing. Currently, we have a fairly formal ceremony - processional, anthem, prayer, speaker, etc., but each student is given about 10 minutes to share in whatever way they feel best reflects their homeschooling. So it could be speeches by mom, dad, student, relative, friend, etc., blessings or prayers by a pastor or grandparent, etc., a slideshow, piano solo, hugs, moving the tassel, etc... It doesn't feel nearly as rushed as the typical few seconds of a handshake by a principal! The students also display their homeschool memorabilia on tables in the
fellowship room. Families & friends have cake & light snacks here afterwards, and a photo session. The evening is free then for each family to continue celebrating on their own.

There is a homeschool-friendly company in Wisconsin that I love to get gradwear from! The owner, Joan, was a homeschool Mom! Her kids are graduated now, and this is their family business. It's http://www.homeschooldiploma.com/. Shipping costs are high, but overall the whole amount has still been cheaper compared to other places we've looked, & the customer service has been perfect. For families who want, we place an order together with one Mom being the contact person, and then divide up shipping based on what each family has ordered. Each family is free to choose how much or little they want to include of the "grad look". It helps to show off things ordered previously so parents can see the quality & choices better before ordering online.

When it's all over, an HSCF parent types up a report for "the grad binder" which explains what ideas were used that year, assuming a grad was organized. As our group changes, this allows info to be passed along.

Hope that helps a bit. Mostly these are ideas we've learned along the way from others!

Dawn Engler

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Why Home School Teens?

Elizabeth Smith shares 10 reasons Why to Home School Teens.....

This article connected with me, because I have heard it said that even though we think we need to home educate our littles to reduce peer pressure, increase learning links and time, create more bonding time and so many other reasons - THOSE are the same reasons we need to home school our teens.  I think, personally, our teens need to be home more than we think....  It is more important (or just as important) to me, to have our older children home, as it is to have younger children home.

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Thinking of a Home School Graduation?

Or are you home educating your children through High School and the end is close enough that you are thinking of what you will do?

We've actually been home educating for about 20 years, so our two oldest girls have graduated from our Home School (aka *Home Sweet Homeschool*).  (By the way, I think every home school parent that has a High School graduate should get a gold star. It's an accomplishment to have a child graduate from your Home School!)

Our oldest daughter was one of the first home schoolers we knew that graduated, and the first on my husband's side (home schooled and public schooled children) that graduated. She had more of a *traditional* graduation.  We decorated a church hall in a "Life is a journey, not a destination" theme, with National Geographic maps and sunflowers.  We invited all our friends to attend and had a short program planned, w/ a powerpoint of her life, time for mom & dad to share, an open mike time, and more. Lots of desserts and snacks afterward.  She had a formal prom dress, and used formal invitations. It was lovely.

Our second daughter was more relaxed, and went with a lime green / hot pink (Same Same, but Different - a common saying she brought back from a trip to Thailand) theme. She made her invitations. We had the same kind of program, but she wanted an array of different kinds of cupcakes for the snack afterward. That was fun. Then we all went to the local park and had a gathering there, complete w/ water fights and more. She wore a more informal dress - knee length. It was also a lovely graduation.

I know some home schoolers don't have a home school graduation, but I know we personally liked to mark the event.  I will say it is worth spending a little time and money on.....  We had a budget for each of them. 

We have been to other Home School graduations where there was a program and dance. I have heard of others, that were simply recognized during a church service and then the family hosted a back yard picnic later that day.

I think the best tip is to think what *you and your graduate* want. Perhaps even just what *your graduate* wants. . . It could even be as simple as a meal out as a family, with family members sharing about the graduate. I've heard about that, too.

Here are some links:

How to plan a Home School Graduation 1 and Home School Graduation Speech ideas

Barb Shelton shares about her children graduating:  Sharnessa and Tory

Another idea I saw lately was the graduate going to Walmart or Sears a few times for pictures and then using those pictures to give away at their graduation OR to scrapbook.

There are a lot of ideas to make a Home School graduation special.  Just spend some time thinking about it and make it happen!

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