The idea of hosting a graduation ceremony seems daunting, but it really all comes down to what you want to do. First I would look around and find local homeschool groups that are already having a homeschool graduation ceremony for a fee and see if you like what they are doing. If you can’t find one, then maybe you can host your own.
It could be as simple as presenting them their diploma in front of family and friends and then having a reception in your living room or joining together with other homeschool senior families and collaborating.
These are a few things to think about when planning a graduation ceremony.
Date & Time: When works for everyone involved? Do you have family that needs to travel? Are you doing a larger group that needs to coordinate? Are you going to be competing with other graduations in the same families? Take into account obstacles in time. That being said, it’s really hard to make everyone happy and sometimes you have to set the date where the majority rules.
Location: You are going to need a large space for friends and family to attend. Assume in general that there will be 20 attendees for each graduate. Find the venue that works for the group you have or limit how many you can have at the graduation. Another option is to have multiple graduation ceremonies. Be sure to book that venue as soon as a date and time is set!
Attire: If you want them to wear robes and stoles and caps and gown, then you have to buy those. A great place to do that is graduationoutlet.com. You can allow them to keep the caps, tassels, and stoles and then sell the gowns or keep them for the following year. Gowns are usually around $20-$30 each. If you decide to run a graduation ceremony as a service for local homeschoolers it could be a great way to earn extra side money!
Cost: You will have to add up all the expenses and divide it by the number of graduates. It’s OK to make a little extra to pay yourself for all the hard work if you are doing it alone. Be sure to include fees for speakers, media, sound techs, venue fees, cleaning fees, not to mention the caps, gowns, diplomas, stoles, honor cords, etc.
Programs: One of the cool new things that people are doing is having digital programs. These can be opened by QR Code on a service such as canva.com. You can print just a few for family members to keep for their scrapbook and reduce costs having the rest be digital.
Key Note Speaker: Who will give the address? Make a speech, etc? Usually someone who has been homeschooled or a pastor who will challenge them or even a local official like a police chief or judge.
Music: You can play pretty much whatever you like, but a quick google will give you the most popular or most traditional graduation tunes. Use Spotify to reduce costs!
Master of Ceremonies: Who will announce the graduates and talk about their plans? Who will hand them the diplomas as they cross the stage? These should be different people. An official of some sort like their teacher, homeschool group director, parent, etc. should convey the diploma. Anyone with a great voice can be the Master of Ceremonies and announce. Some ceremonies have even had one parent introduce and speak about their student and then the other parent conveys the diploma.
Itinerary: You will need a binder or notebook with every step outlined on the podium if you have a graduation ceremony for more than just your own. Having everything outlined so the master of ceremonies knows exactly what to say, when to pray, when the music should start, etc. is vital. If you have a tech working a sound booth, they need a copy as well so they can follow along.
Typically it is good form to pay everyone who provided a service. That includes the master of ceremonies, sound/media tech, key note speaker, and anyone else who did a service.
If you have any questions about how to run your own graduation ceremony, use the contact form to reach out and ask!