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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 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 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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