Our First Homeschool Graduation...and all that's involved

We're excited about our trip tomorrow.  We're heading to Orlando for the Florida Parent Educators Association annual homeschool convention. That was a mouthful! It's the FPEA, for short. Two of my kids will be traveling with me.  They're excited to meet up with friends who don't live close to us.  They'll have some free time to hang out by the pool or play some sports. As I've mentioned before, we have our first graduate from homeschool this year. Although the FPEA has a graduation ceremony and prom for the graduates, my daughter has chosen not to participate because she really won't know any of the other students. Instead she will be participating in our own graduation and promotion ceremony with our church.  Most of the families in our church homeschool and we've been at this church for the last 8 years.  So she's grown up with these kids all through her middle school and high school years. As a matter of fact, there will be five graduates this year. All girls. All good friends.

We've planned a big graduation party for the girls.  It's a party for the girls and their immediate family members and their friends.  Each graduate got twenty invitations, and since most of them share the same friends, it was easy to keep it to under a hundred. All the families will have a separate private party or dinner for relatives and friends not attending this party. The girls have done a great job at doing most of the planning themselves. They created their own Graduation board on Pinterest where we're all adding pins of things we like for either the graduation pictures, like poses, or decorations for the party or ceremony.  We've had a few meetings throughout the year to plan both the ceremony and the graduation.  We'd also like to plan a graduation trip for the girls with the moms, but we're still working on that one. 

As part of the graduation ceremony we've agreed each graduate will have their own table where they can display pictures and other things that represent who they are, their interests, or their schoolwork throughout the year. They will all have a couple of things in common. One is an 8x10 framed picture in their graduation gowns at the center of the table. This will identify whose table it is. Each table will also have their own individual journal for friends and family to write notes of encouragement or congratulations. For our daughter, we decided to have some of her horseback riding trophies, her writing notebook of stories and essays that she started when she was seven years old, a photo album of pictures from kindergarten and including her graduation pictures, and a poster of pictures we've taken throughout high school with friends.  Some of the pictures we'll have are of her riding events, public speaking competitions, summer camps, and yearbook club. I also have a frame that has a picture her for each school year, beginning in kindergarten and ending with her graduation picture in the center of the frame.
I also need to create her diploma using a free template I found on one of my favorite high school homeschool websites, which I use for other resources. Most homeschoolers create their own diplomas.  There are some homeschoolers who use umbrella schools and they get their diplomas from them. Lastly, each graduate will have a five-minute slide show. Yes, that's mom's job. I should've had that done already, but I've had a full schedule the last couple of months.  And I'll have to admit that because I've never done one before, I may have procrastinated just a tad. Thankfully, my nephew has agreed to help me this weekend, and my son will watch so he can learn, also. I want to add messages to the slideshow from her dad and from me, and from her brothers and sisters. The other option would be to have a song playing in the background and say something to her in person on stage. But I'm afraid I may start crying if I choose the second option. The first option is safest, although it may not be easier. We'll see. 

So I've already ordered the announcements, sent out invitations for the graduation party, the ceremony, and our own family gathering at our home after the ceremony. One other thing I've been doing the last week is printing pictures. How many of you do what I do and have hundreds of pictures sitting in our hard drives and in our SD cards?  Well, I've printed over a hundred pictures, and it was so easy to do!  Why don't I do this more often?!  Sending the pictures to print was the easy part. And with the use of coupons, it was not expensive at all. The tedious part was looking through all our files of pictures and SD cards. But it was fun. My sisters and nieces had fun as I texted old pictures to them. We have a 'family chat' where we all can communicate with each other in one place. We had fun reminiscing together for a couple of hours last night through text. A few months ago I started filing my pictures by month and year. That should make it easier for my other kids when it's time for their graduations.  Part of me wants graduation to come and go already because of all the work, but another part of me is saying, "Time is going by too fast. Please slow down." Anybody else with me?


  1. Congrats to both YOU and the grad! I can totally relate to the "please let time slow down" thing. :)